A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘fertility

[DM] Some news links: fertility, population aging, migration, demography is not destiny, Eurabia

Over the past week, I’ve come across some interesting news reports about different trends in different parts of the world. I have assembled them in a links post at Demography Matters.

  • The Independent noted that the length and severity of the Greek economic crisis means that, for many younger Greeks, the chance to have a family the size they wanted–or the chance to have a family at all–is passing. The Korea Herald, meanwhile, noted that the fertility rate in South Korea likely dipped below 1 child per woman, surely a record low for any nation-state (although some Chinese provinces, to be fair, have seen similar dips).
  • The South China Morning Post argued that Hong Kong, facing rapid population aging, should try to keep its elderly employed. Similar arguments were made over at Bloomberg with regards to the United States, although the American demographic situation is rather less dramatic than Hong Kong’s.
  • Canadian news source Global News noted that, thanks to international migration, the population of the Atlantic Canadian province of Nova Scotia actually experienced net growth. OBC Transeuropa, meanwhile, observed that despite growing emigration from Croatia to richer European Union member-states like Germany and Ireland, labour shortages are drawing substantial numbers of workers not only from the former Yugoslavia but from further afield.
  • At Open Democracy, Oliver Haynes speaking about Brexit argued strongly against assuming simple demographic change will lead to shifts of political opinion. People still need to be convinced.
  • Open Democracy’s Carmen Aguilera, meanwhile, noted that far-right Spanish political party Vox is now making Eurabian arguments, suggesting that Muslim immigrants are but the vanguard of a broader Muslim invasion.

[BLOG} Some social science links

  • The Cranky Sociologists consider a series of controversial videos examining issues of racism and discrimination in Auckland.
  • Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram argues that European countries are responsible for migrant deaths in the Mediterranean.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the international market in surrogate mothers.
  • The Frailest Thing considers desire in the world of things, and examines the connections between machine work and the value of people.
  • Kieran Healy notes the often wild guesses made by Americans at the population size of the United States.
  • Language Hat notes the dislike of Russian aristocrats for the Russian language, and maps London’s different languages.
  • Language Log takes issue with a map of the languages of the world in regards to China, and looks at Cantonese usage in Hong Kong.
  • Languages of the World considers Google Translate.
  • Marginal Revolution examines China’s ideological spectrum and notes a New Zealand database that can predict outcomes for young people.
  • The New APPS Blog argues in favour of citing unpublished papers and praises the bravery of migrants.
  • pollotenchegg maps the distribution of refugees in the Ukrainian government-controlled Donbas.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at recent fertility increases in post-graduate American women.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog examined the changing nature of migration to and from Russia, looks at the demographic experiences over Belarus, considers the Russian HIV epidemic, and examines the link between fertility and economic shocks in the United States.
  • Savage Minds examines a new book on the Bougainville conflict, looks at racism in Baltimore, and reacts to the earthquake in Nepal.
  • Towleroad and the Volokh Conspiracy note that, properly analyzed, the data of Regnerus actually contradicts his claims about same-sex parents.
  • Zero Geography looks at the hidden biases of geodata.

[DM] “On why demographics mean a near-term recovery in Greece is unlikely”

I’ve a post up at Demography Matters arguing that, whatever the government, the scale of mass migration from Greece is such that economic recovery is not very likely.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

[DM] “Some thematic links: France, Ukraine, Russia, Japan, China, South Pacific”

I’ve an extended Demography Matters link post examining in brief situations in the six countries/regions mentioned above. Original content to come tomorrow evening.

[LINK] “Making Babies with 3 Genetic Parents Gets FDA Hearing”

Dina Fine Maron’s Scientific American article concerning new technologies that could marry DNA from three individuals, creating three-parent children, is a good overview of the technology’s position in the United States right now. (I’m for it, for whatever it’s worth, in that preventing inherited mitochondrial DNA diseases in children is a good thing.)

Scientists have already had successes with this type of reproductive approach in monkeys and in human embryos, and are now eager to launch human clinical trials. First, however, they must get the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which will convene a public hearing before an advisory committee on February 25.

The technology, called oocyte modification (but sometimes nicknamed “three-parent IVF”), involves scooping out potentially mutated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from a woman’s egg and replacing it with the mtDNA of an unaffected donor woman. The process is designed to prevent the transmission of some debilitating inherited mitochondrial diseases, which can result in vision loss, seizures and other maladies. Such inherited diseases, often unfortunately known by acronyms for complex medical names that include LHON, for Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, along with MELAS, MERRF and NARP, occur in about one in every 5,000 live births and are incurable.

Once the mtDNA has been swapped out, the egg could be fertilized in the lab by the father’s sperm and the embryo would be implanted back into mom where pregnancy would proceed. The resulting child would be the genetic offspring of the intended mother but would carry healthy mitochondrial genes from the donor.

[. . .]

Scientists already have evidence for the promise of this type of oocyte modification. Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon Health & Science University and his colleagues created human embryos in this way, although they did not implant those embryos to make babies. Their findings were published in October 2012 in Nature. Other work from that same team also found that in monkeys the process could lead to the birth of healthy offspring that remained free of complications into adulthood. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group).

[. . .]

But wading into this type of approach is also fraught with ethical issues. Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, fears that this reproductive approach could soon lead to tampering with other traits, such as intelligence or sports ability. “Life is full of slippery slopes and we need brakes,” she says. “This is described as saving lives but it is not aimed at people who are sick,” she adds. The FDA advisory committee does not plan to consider ethical issues at this meeting. Instead it will focus on the scientific aspects of future clinical trial considerations, including long-term risk of carryover of abnormal mtDNA, the potential benefits and harm to mothers and future children, and the need for multigenerational follow-up in any trials (because female children could pass on mitochondrial disease to future offspring). “Our job will be purely to air the issue and bring it out into the open,” says Evan Snyder, chair of the committee and director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Program at Sanford–Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. “We’re not going to come out at the end of the meeting and say we are advocating for clinical trials or any particular technique. This is educational,” he says.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2014 at 8:47 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Big Picture shares pictures of Muslims around the world celebrating the beginning of Ramadan.
  • BlogTO notes that RuPaul recently visited Toronto.
  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait explores the star SBW1, a star about to go supernova.
  • D-Brief and io9 both report on the recent successful womb transplants in Sweden.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that, on re-analysis, the very old star HIP13044 does not have a hot Jupiter.
  • Geocurrents’ Asya Pereltsvaig notes the prominence of Ukrainian ultranationalists–the Svoboda party–in the ongoing protests in Ukraine.
  • Joe. My. God., Towleroad, and the Volokh Conspiracy all note the recent passage of very strongly anti-gay laws in Nigeria, laws which prohibit even social gatherings. David Mixner’s analysis at Towleroad should be read.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is skeptical about the excessive hyping of masculinity by authors claiming to be very masculine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer takes a look at how Syrian refugees are doing. (Surprising fact: apparently one-third of people living in Lebanon are Syrian refugees.>
  • Towleroad notes that Luxembourg is likely to get marriage equality by the end of the year and links to a Vice documentary on hidden gay life in Russia.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the recent conviction of a Mauritanian on charges of apostasy. He now faces the death penalty.
  • Window on Eurasia links to a Russian magazine article summarizing the many failed opportunities of Russia to be an enthusiastic colonial power, from Tobago to Thailand to Tabriz and even off-world.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Crooked Timber’s Jon Mandle reflects on his experiences of a visit to Auschwitz.
  • The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird notes the development of a robot that can walk like a cat.
  • Eastern Approaches suggests that Croatia, set to enter the European Union, should pick up economic tips from Finland’s experience in the 1990s.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen argues convincingly that the lack of payment for sperm donors in Canada means that domestic sperm–from paid domestic sperm donors, at least–is short.
  • Savage Minds considers language revival among tribal peoples in Taiwan by looking to the mixed experience of Southern Maori revivalists in New Zealand.
  • The Search offers guidelines as to the digital archiving of images. (Keep them in TIFF but don’t worry if they’re JPEG.)
  • Torontoist’s Desmond Cole notes a recent protest in Toronto to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the federal government’s limiting of access to healthcare to refugees.
  • Towleroad reports on the GLBT components of the anti-government protests in Turkey.