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Bioethics 101

Recommended Reading

February 20, 2014

A New Edition of Journal of Medical Ethics is Available

Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 40, No. 3, March 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Responding to complexity” by Kenneth Boyd
  • “Imposing options on people in poverty: the harm of a live donor organ market” by Simon Rippon
  • “Organ sales and paternalism” by Gerald Dworkin
  • “Live liver donation, ethics and practitioners: ‘I am between the two and if I do not feel comfortable about this situation, I cannot proceed’” by Elin H Thomas, et al.
  • “What ethical and legal principles should guide the genotyping of children as part of a personalised screening programme for common cancer?” by Alison Elizabeth Hall, et al.
  • “Disclosure ‘downunder’: misadventures in Australian genetic privacy law” by Wendy Bonython and Bruce Arnold
  • “Attitudes towards euthanasia in Iran: the role of altruism” by Naser Aghababaei
  • “Discovering misattributed paternity in genetic counselling: different ethical perspectives in two countries” by Pamela Tozzo, et al.
  • “In need of remedy: US policy for compensating injured research participants” by Elizabeth R Pike
  • “The acceptability among young Hindus and Muslims of actively ending the lives of newborns with genetic defects” by Shanmukh Kamble, et al.
  • “Cultural explanations and clinical ethics: active euthanasia in neonatology” by Ayesha Ahmad
  • “The best interests of persistently vegetative patients: to die rather that to live?” by Tak Kwong Chan and George Lim Tipoe

February 18, 2014

Human lungs successfully grown in a lab for the first time

(Medical News Today) – Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston have succeeded in growing human lungs in the laboratory, using components from the lungs of deceased children. Stem cell specialists have been working on growing lung tissue for some years, but the lung is a complex organ, which presents more problems than regenerating other organ tissue, such as human skin.

February 17, 2014

Math saving lives: New models help address kidney organ donation shortages

(Fox News) – On any given day in the United States, approximately 100,000 patients are waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant. The main problem is availability.  In 2012, only 14,209 transplants took place in the U.S., leaving many on the waiting list for an available kidney.  And the longer they wait, the lower their chances for survival. So, what is there to be done?  While it’s very difficult to increase the amount of viable kidneys available for transplantation, researchers from Northwestern and Stanford Universities have proposed new, innovative ways of optimizing kidney distribution throughout the country – using simple mathematical models.

February 13, 2014

A New Edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association is Available

The Journal of the American Medical Association (Volume 311, No. 6, February 12, 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “ICU Bed Supply, Utilization, and Health Care Spending:  An Example of Demand Elasticity” by Rebecca A. Gooch and Jeremy M. Kahn
  • “Realizing the Promise of the Affordable Care Act—January 1, 2014” by John E. McDonough
  • “Understanding Choice:  Why Physicians Should Learn Prospect Theory” by Amol A. Verma, et al.
  • “Risk of End-Stage Renal Disease Following Live Kidney Donation” by Abimereki D. Muzaale, et al.
  • “Legislative Challenges to School Immunization Mandates, 2009-2012” by Saad B. Omer, et al.
  • “Bioethicists Issue Guidance on Handling Incidental Findings” by Mike Mitka

February 12, 2014

In China, harvesting organs is government policy

(The Epoch Times) – Currently, China stands next to the US on the number of reported transplants performed every year, with 600 transplant centers nationwide. It has effectively become a destination of transplant tourism with perspective organ receivers traveling to China from neighboring countries for the purpose of finding a matching “donor”.

February 10, 2014

Brazil doctors convicted in organ trafficking scheme

(Global Post) – Two doctors have been sent to prison in Brazil for selling contraband organs to the United States as part of a suspected trafficking scheme, law enforcement officials said Friday. The two men, Celso Roberto Scafi and Claudio Rogerio Carneiro Fernandes, are both urologists who practiced medicine in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

February 6, 2014

A New Edition of Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine is Available

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (Volume 107, No. 2, February 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Why don’t doctors worry about being under-prepared?” by Kamran Abbasi
  • “‘Is it normal?’ A simple question that often lacks an easy answer” by Selaine Niedel and Martin McKee
  • “Opt-out organ donation: on evidence and public policy” by Brian H Willis and Muireann Quigley
  • “Gender, ethnicity and graduate status, and junior doctors’ self-reported preparedness for clinical practice: national questionnaire surveys” by Elena Svirko, et al.
  • “Public consent for neonatal studies: putting values and virtues back into the practice of medicine” by Hazel Thornton

February 3, 2014

Stem cell donation: Make a friend, save a life

(The Guardian) – If a stranger saved your life, wouldn’t you want to meet them? Many stem cell recipients do – and forge lasting friendships with their donors. Somewhere in London is my perfect match. He is well-built, a year older than me, popular with my friends and family – a real hero. We’ve never met.

January 31, 2014

A New Edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association is Available

The Journal of the American Medical Association (Volume 311, No. 4, January 22, 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Accelerated Approval of Oncologic Drugs:  Lessons From Ponatinib” by Vinay Prasad and Sham Mailankody
  • “Improving the Drug Development Process:  More Not Less Randomized Trials” by Benjamin Djulbegovic, et al.
  • “Time to Get Over It” by Ellen D. Feld
  • “Hormone Therapy Use and Outcomes in the Women’s Health Initiative Trials” by Eric Roehm
  • “Hormone Therapy Use and Outcomes in the Women’s Health Initiative Trials—Reply” by JoAnn E. Manson, et al.
  • “Public Health Officials Mark 50th Year of Measles Vaccine:  Concern Remains About Outbreaks in Pockets of Unvaccinated” by Bridget M. Kuehn
  • “Pertussis Vaccine May Not Prevent Spread” by Bridget M. Kuehn

January 27, 2014

Womb transplant patient has embryo implanted

A woman is on course to become the first in the world to give birth from a transplanted womb, after doctors successfully introduced an embryo into her body. The embryo was transferred last week, months after the unidentified woman, who has a genetic condition that means she was born without a womb, became one of nine to receive pioneering transplants last year. (Sydney Morning Herald)

January 23, 2014

A New Edition of The Journal of Medical Ethics is Available

The Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 40, No. 2, February 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Challenging accepted ethical beliefs” by Julian Savulescu
  • “Is prostitution harmful?” by Ole Martin Moen
  • “The harms of prostitution: critiquing Moen’s argument of no-harm” by Anna Westin
  • “How can bedside rationing be justified despite coexisting inefficiency? The need for ‘benchmarks of efficiency’” by Daniel Strech and Marion Danis
  • “Rationing, inefficiency and the role of clinicians” by Kristin Voigt
  • “Ethical decision making in intensive care units: a burnout risk factor? Results from a multicentre study conducted with physicians and nurses” by Carla Teixeira, et al.
  • “Medical expertise, existential suffering and ending life” by Jukka Varelius
  • “‘Existential suffering’ and voluntary medically assisted dying” by Robert Young
  • “A simple solution to the puzzles of end of life? Voluntary palliated starvation” by Julian Savulescu
  • “Does professional orientation predict ethical sensitivities? Attitudes of paediatric and obstetric specialists toward fetuses, pregnant women and pregnancy termination” by Stephen D Brown, et al.
  • “A study of consent for participation in a non-therapeutic study in the pediatric intensive care population” by Kusum Menon, et al.
  • “Altruism in organ donation: an unnecessary requirement?” by Greg Moorlock, et al.

January 22, 2014

2 sisters with scarred lungs each get 1 transplanted in Houston from same donor

For months, 71-year-old Irma Myers-Santana and her younger sister, Anna Williamson, 69, had been debating who more urgently needed a lung transplant, each wanting the other to go first. Earlier this month, though, the sisters ended up in the same operating room, each getting one lung from the same donor in what doctors at Houston Methodist Hospital say is a first for their facility. (Associated Press)

FDA grants orphan drug designation to Soliris for prevention of Delayed Graft Function in renal transplant patients

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ALXN) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an orphan drug designation (ODD) to Soliris(R) (eculizumab), a first-in-class terminal complement inhibitor, for the prevention of delayed graft function (DGF) in renal transplant patients. DGF is an early and serious complication of organ transplantation that is characterized by the failure of a transplanted organ to function normally immediately following transplantation. In patients undergoing a kidney transplant, DGF leads to the patient requiring dialysis in order to survive. (The Wall Street Journal)

January 14, 2014

Recycled wombs could nurture child and grandchild

Uterus transplants are go. A Swedish surgeon who successfully transplanted wombs into nine women is now helping some of them get pregnant via IVF. “We are in the process of starting embryo transfer,” says Mats Brännström of the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Hospital. If successful, it will be the first pregnancy in a transplanted womb. Since some of the uterus transplants are from mother to daughter, pregnancies could lead to a second generation being born from the same womb. (New Scientist)

January 13, 2014

Can China stop organ trafficking?

Even though China performs more transplants annually than any country except the United States, less than one per cent of the population in need of life-saving transplants receives them (as compared to about twenty per cent in the United States). According to China’s Ministry of Health, some 1.5 million people continue to wait for transplants. (The New Yorker)

January 8, 2014

A New Edition of Bioethics is Available

Bioethics (Volume 28, No. 2, February 2013) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Islamic Bioethics: The Inevitable Interplay of ‘Texts’ and ‘Contexts’” by Mohammed Ghaly
  • “Pre-modern Islamic Medical Ethics and Graeco-Islamic-Jewish Embryology” by Mohammed Ghaly
  • “Do Motives Matter in Male Circumcision? ‘Conscientious Objection’ Against the Circumcision of a Muslim Child with a Blood Disorder” by Ayesha Ahmad
  • “To Donate a Kidney: Public Perspectives from Pakistan” by Farhat Moazam, et al.
  • “Rituals of Infant Death: Defining Life and Islamic Personhood” by Alison Shaw
  • “Islamic Views on Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in Terminally Ill Patients” by Sami Alsolamy

A New Edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association is Available

The Journal of the American Medical Association (Volume 310, No. 23, December 18, 2013) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Rethinking Reanalysis” by Dimitri A. Christakis and Frederick J. Zimmerman
  • “Enhancing Physicians’ Use of Clinical Guidelines” by Peter J. Pronovost
  • “The Optimal Practice of Evidence-Based Medicine:  Incorporating Patient Preferences in Practice Guidelines” by Victor M. Montori, et al.
  • “Medical Communication Companies and Continuing Medical Education:  Clouding the Sunshine?” by Lisa M. Schwartz and Steven Woloshin
  • “Medical Communication Companies and Industry Grants” by Sheila M. Rothman, et al.
  • “Suicides Among Military Personnel” by Remington L. Nevin and Elspeth Cameron Ritchie
  • “New Law Allows Organ Transplants From Deceased HIV-Infected Donors to HIV-Infected Recipients” by Preeti N. Malani, et al.
  • “Clinicians Examine Advances and Challenges in Improving Quality of End-of-Life Care in the ICU” by Jill Jin

A New Edition of Cell Stem Cell is Available

Cell Stem Cell (Volume 14, No. 1, January 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “ESCaping Rejection: A Step Forward for Embryonic-Stem-Cell-Based Regenerative Medicine” by Tim Willinger and Richard A. Flavell
  • “The Race for Regeneration: Pluripotent-Stem-Cell-Derived 3D Kidney Structures” by Valerie Gouon-Evans
  • “Enhanced Telomere Rejuvenation in Pluripotent Cells Reprogrammed via Nuclear Transfer Relative to Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells” by Rongrong Le, et al.
  • “Redefining the In Vivo Origin of Metanephric Nephron Progenitors Enables Generation of Complex Kidney Structures from Pluripotent Stem Cells” by Atsuhiro Taguchi, et al.
  • “Contractile Forces Sustain and Polarize Hematopoiesis from Stem and Progenitor Cells” by Jae-Won Shin, et al.

January 7, 2014

Human stem cells are converted to functional lung cells

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in transforming human stem cells into functional lung and airway cells. The advance, reported by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers, has significant potential for modelling lung disease, screening drugs, studying human lung development and, ultimately, generating lung tissue for transplantation. (Irish Medical Times)

January 6, 2014

Quest to grow human organs inside pigs in Japan

The ultimate objective of this research is to get human organs to grow inside pigs. By itself, that would be a massive breakthrough for science. But what Prof Nakauchi is trying to achieve goes further. He is hoping to develop a technique to take skin cells from a human adult and change them in to iPS cells. Those iPS cells can then be injected into a pig embryo. (BBC)

December 31, 2013

Boy who fought ‘under 12 rule’ gets lung transplant

A young boy who spent months lying a few beds away from Sarah Murnaghan at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia awaiting a lung transplant received new lungs and is now recovering, his mother said Monday. Twelve-year-old Javier Acosta underwent an adult double-lung transplant on Oct. 13, but his mother, Milagros Martinez, didn’t want to announce it until he recovered from surgery. (ABC News)


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

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Which area of research should more money be invested in:
Animal-Human Hybrids
Gene Therapy
Reproductive Technology
Stem Cell Research
"Therapeutic" Cloning
None of the above

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