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April 23, 2014

Senate Passes End-of-Life Planning Bill

(Yale Daily News) – The Connecticut Senate passed a bill on Thursday that, with House approval, would create a system for terminally ill people to declare their wishes for end-of-life care. The Medical Orders for Life-sustaining Treatment (MOLST) bill, which passed the Senate with a unanimous vote, would create a two year pilot program in two different locations in the state for people with terminal illnesses to discuss with healthcare providers how much treatment they want, from limited care to life-support treatment.

Reprogrammed Cells Kept Bug-Free by SIRT1

(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – Regenerative medicine—the promise of rejuvenating or replacing damaged or diseased tissues—will most likely rely on the use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are obtained when adult cells are essentially thrown into evolutionary reverse. This abrupt change can be hard on cells, which may suffer chromosomal abnormalities and DNA damage. And so the bright vistas of regenerative medicine are shadowed by a stubborn cloud—the uncertainty thatstem cells that are derived from adult cells are really safe.

Let’s Get a Medical Tourism Certificate! Is It Worth the Paper It’s Printed On?

(IMTJ) – A new industry is developing around the business of medical tourism. It’s the certification business. You need an impressive sounding name, a web site, a decent laser printer (and a good relationship with a certificate framing service!). There’s a plethora of “get rich quick” certifications which are appearing around medical tourism. They are quick and easy to obtain.

New Patenting Guidelines Are Needed for Biotechnology

( – Biotechnology scientists must be aware of the broad patent landscape and push for new patent and licensing guidelines, according to a new paper from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Published in the current issue of the journal Regenerative Medicine, the paper is based on the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) v. Myriad Genetics that naturally occurring genes are unpatentable. The court case and rulings garnered discussion in the public about patenting biological materials.

More than One-Quarter of Morning-after Pills in Peru Don’t Work

(Washington Post) – A study has found that more than a quarter of emergency contraception pills sold in Peru do not work. Some of the pills were defective while others were just plain fake. Women rely on emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex, or when other birth control methods fail, such as when a condom breaks during sex.

Non-Enzyme Nanotechnology Sensor to Detect Blood Sugar

(Nanowerk News) – Researchers at University of Tehran produced a very highly sensitive sensor to measure the amount of blood sugar (“Highly Stable and Selective Non-Enzymatic Glucose Biosensor Using Carbon Nanotubes Decorated by Fe3O4 Nanoparticles”).  The newly-invented sensor has applications in foodstuff and medical industries to measure the concentration of glucose in samples.

A New Edition of The New England Journal of Medicine is Available

The New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 370, No. 6, April 17, 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Calculus of Cures” by R. Kocher and B. Roberts
  • “Using a Drug-Safety Tool to Prevent Competition” by A. Sarpatwari, J. Avorn, and A.S. Kesselheim
  • “Comparative Effectiveness Questions in Oncology” by S. Mailankody and V. Prasad

A New Edition of Nursing for Women’s Health is Available

Nursing for Women’s Health (Volume 18, No. 2, April/May 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Donor Motivations, Associated Risks and Ethical Considerations of Oocyte Donation” by Amy L. Boutelle
  • “Fertility Preservation Options for Women Treated for Cancer” by Kelsea Lucas and Desiree Hensel
  • “The Increasing Role of Genetics and Genomics in Women’s Health” by Elisabeth (Lisa) Z. Klein

A New Edition of Journal of Internal Medicine is Available

Journal of Internal Medicine (Volume 275, No. 5, May 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Combined efforts in immunology and vaccinology will lead to effective vaccines against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria” by F. Chiodi and S. H. E. Kaufmann
  • “The path of malaria vaccine development: challenges and perspectives” by C. Arama and M. Troye-Blomberg
  • “The importance of validating proposed genetic profiles in IBD” by I. C. Lawrance
  • “Assessment of the validity of a multigene analysis in the diagnostics of inflammatory bowel disease” by J. T. Bjerrum, et al.

A New Edition of JAMA Internal Medicine is Available

JAMA Internal Medicine (Volume 174, No. 4, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “23andMe, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Future of Genetic Testing” by Patricia J. Zettler, Jacob S. Sherkow, and Henry T. Greely
  • “National Hospice Survey Results:  For-Profit Status, Community Engagement, and Service” by Melissa D. Aldridge, et al.
  • “The Changing Face of the Hospice Industry:  What Really Matters?” by Kimberly S. Johnson
  • “The Importance of Influenza Vaccination” by Hilary M. Babcock, John A. Jernigan, and David A. Relman
  • “The Importance of Influenza Vaccination—Reply” by Peter Doshi

April 22, 2014

A New Edition of International Journal for Quality in Health Care is Available

International Journal for Quality in Health Care (Volume 26, No. 2, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Standardization in patient safety: the WHO High 5s project” by Agnès Leotsakos, et al.
  • “Physician communication behaviors from the perspective of adult HIV patients in Kenya” by Juddy Wachira, et al.
  • “Improving mental health outcomes: achieving equity through quality improvement” by Alan J. Poots, et al.

A New Edition of Genetics in Medicine is Available

Genetics in Medicine (Volume 16, No. 4, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Noninvasive prenatal testing: limitations and unanswered questions” by Monica A. Lutgendorf, et al.
  • “Communication of genetic test results to family and health-care providers following disclosure of research results” by Kristi D. Graves, et al.
  • “Processes and factors involved in decisions regarding return of incidental genomic findings in research” by Robert Klitzman, et al.

A New Edition of Public Health Nursing is Available

Public Health Nursing (Volume 31, No. 3, May/June 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Gender Differences in Immediate Hypersensitivity Reactions to Vaccines: A Review of the Literature” by Mari Griffioen and Neal Halsey
  • “Intimate Partner Violence and the CDC’s Best-Evidence HIV Risk Reduction Interventions” by Kayleigh M. Prowse, et al.
  • “Risk of Very Low Birth Weight Based on Perinatal Periods of Risk” by Christine M. Demont-Heinrich, et al.
  • “A Rural African American Faith Community’s Solutions to Depression Disparities” by Keneshia Bryant, et al.
  • “Policy Considerations for Improving Influenza Vaccination Rates among Pregnant Women” by Elizabeth K. Mollard, et al.

A New Edition of Ethical Theory and Moral Practice is Available

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (Volume 17, No. 2, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Life in Overabundance: Agar on Life-Extension and the Fear of Death” by Aveek Bhattacharya & Robert Mark Simpson
  • “Seeking a Variable Standard of Individual Moral Responsibility in Organizations” by Michael Skerker

A New Edition of Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy is Available

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (Volume 17, No. 2, May 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Neither property right nor heroic gift, neither sacrifice nor aporia: the benefit of the theoretical lens of sharing in donation ethics” by Kristin Zeiler
  • “The relevance of the philosophical ‘mind–body problem’ for the status of psychosomatic medicine: a conceptual analysis of the biopsychosocial model” by Lukas Van Oudenhove & Stefaan Cuypers
  • “Written institutional ethics policies on euthanasia: an empirical-based organizational-ethical framework” by Joke Lemiengre, et al.
  • “Diagnosing mental disorders and saving the normal” by Fredrik Svenaeus
  • “Empathy’s blind spot” by Jan Slaby
  • “Empathy as a necessary condition of phronesis: a line of thought for medical ethics” by Fredrik Svenaeu

New Painkiller Rekindles Addiction Concerns

(New York Times) – The abuse of prescription painkillers has reached epidemic proportions in America. Nearly half of the nation’s 38,329 drug overdose deaths in 2010 involved painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These narcotics now kill more adults than heroin and cocaine combined, sending 420,000 Americans to emergency rooms each year. So many state health officials and advocacy groups were incredulous when the Food and Drug Administration approved just such a drug — against the advice of its own expert advisory committee.

Stem Cells Show Bizarre Absorption Property ‘Not Seen before in Cells’

(Medical News Today) – Scientists at the University of Cambridge in the UK have discovered that the nuclei of stem cells have the unusual ability to become thicker when stretched and thinner when compressed. The counterintuitive property – termed auxeticity – is already known to materials scientists, who see its application ranging from super-absorbent sponges and bulletproof vests to soundproofing.

Brain-Mapping Milestones

(New York Times) – As the Brain Initiative announced by President Obama a year ago continues to set priorities and gear up for what researchers hope will be a decade-long program to understand how the brain works, two projects independent of that effort reached milestones in their brain mapping work. Both projects, one public and one private, are examples of the widespread effort in neuroscience to create databases and maps of brain structure and function that can serve as a foundation for research.

A New Edition of Clinical Trials is Available

Clinical Trials (Volume 11, No. 2, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “An evaluation of the effectiveness of recruitment methods: The staying well after depression randomized controlled trial” by Adele Krusche, et al.
  • “Enrollment of racially/ethnically diverse participants in traumatic brain injury trials: Effect of availability of exception from informed consent” by Jose-Miguel Yamal, et al.
  • “Ethical issues in HIV prevention research with people who inject drugs” by Jeremy Sugarman, Scott M Rose, and David Metzger

A Loot at the Lives of American Nurses

(Washington Post) – Photographer and filmmaker Carolyn Jones created “The American Nurse” after publishing a coffee-table book on the subject two years ago, and the film builds on the same mix of powerful images with words of men and women whose lives are devoted to healing.

Pain Relievers Are Valuable, but Even Over-the-Counter Versions Can Be Hazardous

(Washington Post) – Almost 80 percent of adults say that they take some kind of pain medication at least once a week. But determining which pain drug we actually need, and how to use it, has become increasingly fraught. The news on prescription pain pills is even more worrisome. As prescriptions for powerful painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone (Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin and related generics) have shot up in recent years, there has been an increase in visits to emergency rooms and deaths from the illicit use of those drugs, known as opioids. Three-quarters of prescription drug overdoses (for which the death rate has more than tripled since 1990) are now attributed to painkillers.


The Bioethics Poll
Should individuals and/or institutions be allowed to patent human genes?
Yes, with some qualifications

View results

Poll Results
Which area of research should more money be invested in:
Stem Cell Research 28.3%
None of the above 25.3%
Animal-Human Hybrids 23.8%
Gene Therapy 13.6%
Reproductive Technology 5.7%
"Therapeutic" Cloning 3.3%

Total votes: 9304

Version 2.03

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