March 10, 2014
Japanese researcher backtracks on ‘breakthrough’ STAP cell research
(Reuters) – A Japanese scientist called on Monday for withdrawing stem-cell research he had been involved in that had appeared to promise a new era of medical biology as doubts have arisen over the results. The research, described as game-changing by experts at the time, was covered breathlessly in Japan after it was published in the journal Nature, with co-researcher Haruko Obokata becoming an instant celebrity.
March 4, 2014
Artificial heart patient dies
(BBC) – The first patient to be fitted with a pioneering artificial heart in France has died. The 76-year-old man, who has not been named, died 75 days after the operation in Paris. The bioprosthetic device, made by French company Carmat, is designed to replace the real heart for up to five years. It is intended to help patients who are in the advanced stages of heart failure.
Women’s health harmed as medical studies miss gender differences
(Chicago Tribune) – Scientists continue to neglect gender in medical research, endangering women’s health by focusing on males in studies that shape the treatment of disease, according to a report released Monday. The lack of attention to gender differences occurs at all stages of research, from lab to doctor’s office, according to the report released by the Connors Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health at George Washington University in Washington.
February 28, 2014
Stem cell scientist gets suspended prison term
(Korean Times) – The Supreme Court Thursday upheld a suspended jail term of one year and six months for two years issued to stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk after he was convicted on charges of embezzlement and violation of the Bioethics Law. “The appellate court’s judgment that Hwang had concealed and used research funds invested on his research project was justifiable,” the top court said in its ruling. It added that Hwang had violated the Bioethics Law by deducting sterilization fees for women who donating ova during his research.
February 27, 2014
Disbelief after Egypt announces cures for AIDS and hepatitis C
(New York Times) – At a news conference late last week, an Egyptian Army doctor confidently announced that the country’s military had developed a cure for the virus that causes AIDS, as well as hepatitis C, one of Egypt’s gravest public health threats. The doctor, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Abdul Atti, said the cures were the result of 22 years of his own study. At some point, he added, military intelligence had taken on his research as a secret project.
February 26, 2014
‘Death test’ predicts chance of healthy person dying within five years
(The Telegraph) – A ‘Death Test’ which predicts the chance of a healthy person dying from any medical condition in the next five years has been developed by scientists. Researchers said they were ‘astonished’ to discover that a simple blood test could predict if a person was likely to die – even if they were not ill. They found that the levels of four ‘biomarkers’ in the body, when taken together, indicated a general level of ‘frailty’. People whose biomarkers were out of kilter were five times more likely to die with five years of the blood test.
More evidence for stem cell errors
(The Scientist) – An investigation by the University of Düsseldorf in Germany has found evidence of scientific misconduct related to research conducted there on stem cells used to heal damaged cardiac tissue. The conclusion follows a 2013 indictment by researchers at Imperial College London, alleging that dozens of papers by the leader of the studies, cardiologist Bodo-Eckehard Strauer, were plagued by contradictions, miscalculations, and duplications.
Oklahoma House approves embryonic stem cell ban
(San Francisco Gate) – Conducting certain types of embryonic stem cell research in Oklahoma would be a felony punishable by at least a year in prison under a bill that the Oklahoma House overwhelmingly approved on Tuesday. The House voted 73-14 for the Protection of Human Life Act of 2013, despite concerns it sends the wrong message to the nation’s research community. The bill, which now heads to the Senate, prohibits “nontherapeutic research” that destroys a fertilized human egg, although the measure specifically exempts embryo transfers connected to in vitro fertilization.
February 25, 2014
A New Edition of Scandinavian Journal of Public Health is Available
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health (Volume 42, No. 13 supplement, February 20, 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Evidence-based evaluation of information: The centrality and limitations of systematic reviews” by Bengt Järvholm and Ingemar Bohlin
- “Organisation of evidence-based knowledge production: Evidence hierarchies and evidence typologies” by Hanne Foss Hansen
- “Evidence on public policy: Methodological issues, political issues and examples” by Orazio P Attanasio
- “Why and for what are clinical trials the gold standard?” by Sven Ove Hansson
A New Edition of Bioethics is Available
Bioethics (Volume 28, No. 3, March 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “2014 International Bioethics Forum Between UK and China and the Professional Development of Bioethics in China” by Li EN-Chang, et al.
- “Living Organ Procurement from the Mentally Incompetent: The Need for More Appropriate Guidelines” by Kristof Van Assche, et al.
- “Are Bans on Kidney Sales Unjustifiably Paternalistic?” by Erik Malmqvist
- “Equity Under the Knife: Justice and Evidence in Surgery” by Wendy Rogers, et al.
- “A Costly Separation Between Withdrawing and Withholding Treatment in Intensive Care” by Dominic Wilkinson and Julian Savulescu
- “Are Phase 1 Trials Therapeutic? Risk, Ethics, and Division of Labor” by James A. Anderson and Jonathan Kimmelman
- “The Nocebo Effect of Informed Consent” by Shlomo Cohen
February 21, 2014
A New Edition of The New England Journal of Medicine is Available
The New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 370, No. 7, February 13, 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Choosing Wisely — The Politics and Economics of Labeling Low-Value Services” by N.E. Morden, et al.
- “PCORI at 3 Years — Progress, Lessons, and Plans” by J.V. Selby and S.H. Lipstein
- “Open Data” by J.M. Drazen
- “Undocumented Injustice? Medical Repatriation and the Ends of Health Care” by M.J. Young and L.S. Lehmann
A New Edition of Science and Public Policy is Available
Science and Public Policy (Volume 41, No. 1, February 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Nanotechnology: Rhetoric, risk and regulation” by Graeme A. Hodge, et al.
- “The European Research Council and the European research funding landscape” by Terttu Luukkonen
- “Governing ‘dual-use’ research in Canada: A policy review” by Bryn Williams-Jones, et al.
- “The fall of research and rise of innovation: Changes in New Zealand science policy discourse” by Shirley Leitch
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.
- “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 19, 2014
Novartis’s Japan unit faces criminal probe for hypertension drug marketing
(Science) – Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare today asked public prosecutors to investigate a possible criminal violation of drug marketing laws by the Japanese subsidiary of the giant Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis. The ministry says the company may have exaggerated the benefits of its hypertension drug valsartan.
February 18, 2014
Acid-bath stem-cell study under investigation
(Nature) – A leading Japanese research institute has opened an investigation into a groundbreaking stem-cell study after concerns were raised about its credibility. The RIKEN centre in Kobe announced on Friday that it is looking into alleged irregularities in the work of biologist Haruko Obokata, who works at the institution.
February 17, 2014
Disgraced scientist granted U.S. patent for work found to be fraudulent
(New York Times) – Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk electrified the science world 10 years ago with his claim that he had created the world’s first cloned human embryos and had extracted stem cells from them. But the work was later found to be fraudulent, and Dr. Hwang was fired from his university and convicted of crimes. Despite all that, Dr. Hwang has just been awarded an American patent covering the disputed work, leaving some scientists dumbfounded and providing fodder to critics who say the Patent Office is too lax.
Scientific racism’s long history mandates caution
(Phys.org) – Racism as a social and scientific concept is reshaped and reborn periodically through the ages and according to a Penn State anthropologist, both medical and scientific researchers need to be careful that the growth of genomics does not bring about another resurgence of scientific racism. “What we are facing is a time when genomic knowledge widens and gene engineering will be possible and widespread,” said Nina Jablonski, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. “We must constantly monitor how this information on human gene diversity is used and interpreted. Any belief system that seeks to separate people on the basis of genetic endowment or different physical or intellectual features is simply inadmissible in human society.”
Breakthrough highlights lack of women in science
(University World News) – National euphoria over a young female scientist who led a groundbreaking stem cell research project has quickly turned into anguished soul-searching in Japan, where similar success stories remain woefully inadequate. “Japan has highly talented female scientists reflecting quality education in the country. Yet the harsh reality is researchers usually end [up] as assistants to male heads in their departments, a critical reason for the low rate of women entering this profession,” said Dr Mariko Ogawa of Mie National University in western Japan.
Rewriting the text books: Scientists crack open ‘black box’ of development
(Phys.org) – We know much about how embryos develop, but one key stage – implantation – has remained a mystery. Now, scientists from Cambridge have discovered a way to study and film this ‘black box’ of development. Their results – which will lead to the rewriting of biology text books worldwide – are published in the journal Cell. Embryo development in mammals occurs in two phases. During the first phase, pre-implantation, the embryo is a small, free-floating ball of cells called a blastocyst. In the second, post-implantation, phase the blastocyst embeds itself in the mother’s uterus.
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.
- “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
Disgraced scientist’s stem cell tech receives US patent
(Business Korea) – Disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk’s controversial NT-1 “embryonic stem cell line” officially received a United States patent on Tuesday, in a development that could reignite debate surrounding his research. The US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) public notification site confirmed the “human embryonic stem cell line prepared by nuclear transfer of a human somatic cell into an enucleated human oocyte” has been patented and subject to legal protection.