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Drug-resistant TB threatens decades of progress

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Random mutations blamed for big role in cancer

Cancer patients often wonder “why me?” Does their tumor run in the family? Did they try hard enough to avoid risks like smoking, too much sun or a bad diet?

Lifestyle and heredity get the most blame but new research suggests random chance plays a bigger role than people realize: Healthy cells naturally make mistakes when they multiply, unavoidable typos in DNA that can leave new cells carrying cancer-prone genetic mutations.

How big? About two-thirds of the mutations that occur in various forms of cancer are due to those random copying errors, researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported Thursday in the journal Science.

Whoa: That doesn’t mean most cases of cancer are due solely to “bad luck.” It takes multiple mutations to turn cells into tumors — and a lot of cancer is preventable, the Hopkins team stressed, if people take proven protective steps .

Thursday’s report is an estimate, based on a math model, that is sure to be hotly debated by scientists who say those unavoidable mistakes of nature play a much smaller role.

But whatever the ultimate number, the research offers a peek at how cancer may begin.

And it should help with the “why me” question from people who have “done everything we know can be done to prevent cancer but they still get it,” said Hopkins’ Dr. Bert Vogelstein, a pioneer in cancer genetics who co-authored the study. “They need to understand that these cancers would have occurred no matter what they did.”

Gene mutations cause cancer, but what causes mutations?

You might inherit some mutations, like flaws in BRCA genes that are infamous for causing aggressive breast and ovarian cancers in certain families.

More commonly, damage is caused by what scientists call environmental factors — the assault on DNA from the world around us and how we live our lives. There’s a long list of risks: Cigarette smoke, UV light from the sun, other forms of radiation, certain hormones or viruses, an unhealthy diet , obesity and lack of exercise.

Then there are those random copy errors in cells — what Vogelstein calls our baseline rate of genetic mutations that will occur no matter how healthy we live.

One way to think of it: If we all have some mutations lurking in our cells anyway, that’s yet another reason to avoid known risks that could push us over the edge.

How cells make typos

New cells are formed when an existing cell divides and copies its DNA, one cell turning into two. Every time DNA is copied, about three random mutations occur, Vogelstein said.

We all harbor these kinds of mutations and most don’t hurt us because they’re in genes that have nothing to do with cancer or the body’s defense mechanisms spot and fix the damage, said Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society, who wasn’t involved in the new research.

But sometimes the errors hit the wrong spot and damage genes that can spur cancerous growth or genes that help the cell

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The difference between sexual orientation and gender identity

The CBSN Originals documentary, “Gender: The Space Between,” debuts on  CBSN Monday, March 27, at 8 p.m. ET and will be available afterwards on CBSNews.com.


It’s a common misconception that gender identity and sexual orientation are connected. If someone is transgender, for example, many people automatically assume that they must also be gay. That, however, is not the case. Gender and sexuality are different, and it’s an important distinction to understand.

“People often perceive that they intersect. But many of us are working very hard to unhinge one from the other,” said sj Miller, deputy director at NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. “They’ve been conflated for so long, and they’re completely different.” 

Gender identity is defined by the Human Rights Campaign as the “innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.” It can mirror what a person was assigned at birth, or be entirely different. There are dozens of genders, outside of just man or woman, that people can identify with.

Sexual orientation, on the other hand is the “inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.” Basically, it’s who you are interested in dating and being intimate with. Someone can be transgender, but also be gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, or a whole host of other sexual identities that exist. 

“Sexuality is who you go to bed with, and gender identity is who you go to bed as . That’s the simplest way I can describe it,” explained YouTuber Brendan Jordan, who identifies as gender fluid.

But it is often not that simple. Most of the transgender and gender non-conforming people who spoke with CBS News said it’s not uncommon for others to become preoccupied with their identity and sexual orientation.

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CBS News

“[Sexuality] really doesn’t have anything to do with gender at all,” said Ela Hosp, a 19-year-old non-binary student at the Kansas City Art Institute. “But there is a huge thing with like ‘Well, what, if you don’t identify as a female, then are you gay? Do you not like boys, do you like girls?’ And that’s just a whole other thing.”

People’s preoccupation with gender and sexuality can come to the forefront in the dating world.

“A lot of people are really concerned with what genitalia you have, that’s what they want to know. So there have been instances with relationships that could have worked out perfectly fine if you weren’t non-binary, and after that person found out that you were, everything changed,” Hosp continued.

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CBS News

Quinn Diaz, a non-binary transgender man living just outside of Los Angeles, echoed that sentiment. “When you’re trans, I feel like people try to sexualize you a lot, or romanticize you. So that’s been very uncomfortable.” 

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Tinder now offers 37 different gender identities, and the option to write in your own

Tinder

In response to this, dating apps like Tinder amended their profile options

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The gender identity terms you need to know

The CBSN Originals documentary, “Gender: The Space Between,” debuts on  CBSN Monday, March 27, at 8 p.m. ET and will be available afterwards on CBSNews.com.


The latest CBSN Originals documentary, “Gender: The Space Between,” takes a deep dive into the complexities of gender identity and gender expression. While transgender stories have become more visible in the media, there are many identities and terms outside of the two most culturally accepted genders — man and woman — that fall under the trans umbrella. And in many social circles, the vocabulary related to gender identity is unfamiliar or inaccessible.

Gender identity is an extremely personal part of who we are, and how we perceive and express ourselves in the world. It is a separate issue entirely from sex, our biological makeup; or sexual orientation, who we are attracted to. There are dozens of dynamic and evolving terms related to how people identify. While this glossary cannot cover every possible identity a person might have, it provides definitions for some of the most common vocabulary necessary to understand the layered world of gender.

Below is a guide to some of the topics and terms discussed in “Gender: The Space Between,” as defined by the  Human Rights Campaign , GLAAD The Trevor Project , and the National Center for Transgender Equality .

Gender Identity Definitions

Agender: A term for people whose gender identity and expression does not align with man, woman, or any other gender. A similar term used by some is gender-neutral.

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Brin Solomon, a graduate student at NYU, identifies as agender.

CBS News

Androgynous:  Identifying and/or presenting as neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine.

Bigender:  Someone whose gender identity encompasses both man and woman. Some may feel that one side or the other is stronger, but both sides are present.

Binary:  The gender binary is a system of viewing gender as consisting solely of two identities and sexes, man and woman or male and female.

Cisgender: A term used to describe someone whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth.

Dead name: How some transgender people refer to their given name at birth.

Gender dysphoria: Clinically defined as significant and durational distress caused when a person’s assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify.

Gender expression:  The external appearance of a person’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined masculine or feminine behaviors and characteristics.

Gender fluid:  A person who does not identify with a single fixed gender, and expresses a fluid or unfixed gender identity. One’s expression of identity is likely to shift and change depending on context.

Gender identity: A person’s innermost concept of self as man, woman, a blend of both, or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. Gender identity can be the same or different from one’s sex assigned at birth.

Gender non-conforming: A broad term referring to people who

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Health care vote - the latest news

Last Updated Mar 24, 2017 10:17 AM EDT

After Republican leaders abruptly postponed its vote on the GOP health care bill Thursday, President Trump declared he was finished negotiating with Republicans opposed to the current measure and sent the message he wanted the vote Friday.

The House will take up the measure this morning, and expect to begin voting later this afternoon. Follow along here for live updates:


10:11 a.m.  The House Rules Committee, which sets the terms of the debate and schedule for the bill, just finished its meeting, Catherine Reynolds reports. The committee issued the rule for the health care bill to be debated soon in House: They’ll debate the bill for four hours, include the manager’s amendments which made changes to Medicaid and the IRS code before voting, probably in the late afternoon.

8:26  a.m. The president may be done negotiating, as Mulvaney said to Republicans last night, but he’s not done tweeting about the health care vote.

7:40 a.m. House Rules is meeting now. This morning, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney was asked why issuing an ultimatum to House Republicans would be effective now, when it hasn’t worked before. 

“Because I think you’ve about got a new president in place and a president who tried to deliver the message last night, which is that the Republicans are all on the same page,” he told “CBS This Morning.” The seventh anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act was yesterday, and “today should be the beginning of its unwinding,” Mulvaney said.

“Lawmakers will have to be accountable as to why they didn’t vote to get rid of Obamacare when they had the chance,” he said, “and that chance is today.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ)  is the latest to announce he intends to vote against the GOP health care bill, bringing the number of House Republicans who plan to vote “no” to 35. Only 22 no votes are needed for the measure to be rejected in that chamber. 

12:56 a.m.: The House Rules Committee will meet Friday at 7 a.m. to discuss the Republican health care bill. An amendment to the bill has been filed with the panel by House Speaker Paul Ryan. According to CBS News’ Catherine Reynolds, the four-page amendment includes:

  • Transferring control to states to define Essential Health Benefits, which would give states the ability starting in 2018 to determine EHBs for individuals purchasing insurance with a tax credit 
  • Dedicate an additional $15 billion to the Patient and State Stability Fund (PSSF) to provide resources for services included in the EHBs, including maternity, mental health, and substance abuse care  
  •  Delay the repeal of the Medicare Tax Increase for six years, until January 1, 2023; those resources would pay for the increased funds to the PSSF

The House Freedom Caucus met Thursday night, but didn’t announce how they would vote Friday. Rep Justin Amash (R-MI) said as he left the meeting that he thought the majority of the Freedom Caucus would oppose the bill and

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