China’s First Nobel Laureate in Science 

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Ms. Tu won for the discovery of artemisinin, a drug that has significantly reduced mortality rates among malaria patients.

Tu Youyou, awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine on Monday, is the first citizen of the People’s Republic of China to win a Nobel for a scientific discipline and the first female Chinese citizen to win any Nobel. Imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo was the first Chinese citizen to win a Nobel while in China in 2010 when he was awarded the peace prize. Chinese novelist Mo Yan won the literature prize in 2012.

Physicists Li Zhengdao and Yang Zhenning, who left China prior to the Communist Party takeover in 1949, shared the 1957 physics prize while working in the U.S. Both men later became U.S. citizens.

Tu Youyou: Conqueror of Malaria

Tu Youyou: Conqueror of Malaria

Ms. Tu won for the discovery of artemisinin, a drug that has significantly reduced mortality rates among malaria patients, according to the prize announcement. The 84-year-old retired professor at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences was awarded the prestigious Lasker Medical Research Award in 2011 for the same feat.

The discovery of the drug came in the early 1970s as the result of a program established by Mao Zedong to find a cure for malaria that would help the North Vietnamese in their fight with South Vietnam and the U.S., according to Chinese state media. Ms. Tu led a team that scoured traditional Chinese medicinal texts for remedies that might fight the parasite. They eventually identified artemisinin, a compound contained in a plant known as sweet wormwood that proved unusually effective in fighting the disease.

[Read the full story here, at China Real Time Report – WSJ]

“It is one of the few very truly innovative drugs to come out of China,” said Ray Yip, former China program director for both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Gates Foundation. “The introduction of artemisinin was a major force in containing the scourge of malaria.” Read the rest of this entry »


First Head Transplant Patient Valery Spiridonov Schedules Surgery for 2017

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A man set to become the world’s first head transplant patient has scheduled the procedure for December 2017.

“When I realized that I could participate in something really big and important, I had no doubt left in my mind and started to work in this direction.”

Valery Spiridonov, 30, was diagnosed with a genetic muscle-wasting condition called Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, and volunteered for the procedure despite the risks involved, Central European News (CEN) reported.

Russian computer scientist Valery Spiridonov, suffering from Werdnig Hoffman’s disease, has volunteered for the world’s first head-to-body transplant. VLADIMIR SMIRNOV/TASS/CORBIS

“The only thing I feel is the sense of pleasant impatience, like I have been preparing for something important all my life and it is starting to happen.”

— Spiridonov, a Russian computer scientist

“When I realized that I could participate in something really big and important, I had no doubt left in my mind and started to work in this direction,” Spiridonov, a Russian computer scientist, told CEN. Read the rest of this entry »


Rich Chinese Women Are Now Hiring Surrogate Moms in America for $150,000 

Due to restrictive Chinese laws on childbirth, American surrogate mothers are becoming an increasingly popular choice for Chinese citizens who are having problems conceiving.

Although there is an underground surrogacy network set up in China, authorities have been strict in their efforts to enforce their laws, making it dangerous and difficult to successfully bear children using Chinese surrogate mothers, according to CNNMoney.

While American surrogacy is expensive, costing upwards of $150,000 per child — of which $35-45,000 goes to the mother — it’s being chosen more frequently by Chinese citizens who desire parenthood. John Weltman of Boston-based agency Circle Surrogacy said:

“I’ve never seen anything like what I’ve seen with the Chinese. It’s like an explosion.”

Extraordinary Conceptions, a surrogacy center that helps clients meet with doctors, said they receive upwards of 10 inquiries from China a month, and around 40% of their clients are Chinese. Mario Caballero, the center’s executive director, said:

“It’s like anything else — once somebody discovers something, and word spreads, people realize there is another option.”

Dr. David Smotrich, a physician who has worked with hundreds of Chinese patients, said that there are a number of medical reasons that lead families to surrogacy. Read the rest of this entry »


China: Meet Yuan Meixia, She Has 100,000 Cockroaches, Says They Are Her Family

Yuan Meixia says she was inspired to breed the Palmetto bugs after seeing a show about the insect last year. Photo: Nandu.com

Yuan Meixia says she was inspired to breed the Palmetto bugs after seeing a show about the insect last year. Photo: Nandu.com

”These are all my children, my babies.”

Most people hate cockroaches and would do just about anything to keep them out of their homes. But that is not the case for one woman.

Keira Lu Huang at the South China Morning Post is reporting that Yuan Meixia in China shares her home with 100,000 cockroaches, which she considers her children.

(Photo by PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

“They are most active at night, mating and hunting for food. They mate with each other after eating. The mating process lasts for two hours, and then spawning happens. Every spawn hatches dozens of baby cockroaches.”

— Yuan Meixia

She breeds them and raises them so she can sell them to a pharmaceutical company, which uses them for medicine.  She lives in separate home, but visits the breeding home everyday. She was inspired to start breeding them after she saw a program on television which talked about their potential healing properties.

Although she calls them her 'babies' or 'children', the insects are killed and dried before being sold to a factory. Photo: Nandu.com

Although she calls them her ‘babies’ or ‘children’, the insects are killed and dried before being sold to a factory. Photo: Nandu.com

[Also see China: At Least 1 Million Cockroaches Escape Farm in Jiangsu]

”These are all my children, my babies,” she says to a Southern Metropolis News reporter on a tour of the facility in Linbian village. Yuan resides at another house in Siqian county, but visits the breeding house every day. Read the rest of this entry »