April 22, 2014
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.
- “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.
(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.
- “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
April 18, 2014
Identical Twins, One Case of Down Syndrome: A Genetic Mystery
(Los Angeles Times) – A rare occurrence in the earliest days of a pregnancy produces an unusual and mystifying outcome: Identical twin fetuses are conceived of the same meeting of egg and sperm. And despite their shared DNA, one of the twins has Down syndrome (the most common genetic cause of intellectual impairment), but the other does not.
Scientists Make First Embryo Clone from Adults
(The Wall Street Journal) – Scientists for the first time have cloned cells from two adults to create early-stage embryos, and then derived tissue from those embryos that perfectly matched the DNA of the donors. The experiment represents another advance in the quest to make tissue in the laboratory that could treat a range of maladies, from heart attacks to Alzheimer’s. The study, involving a 35-year-old man and one age 75, was published Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
April 17, 2014
What It’s Like to Spend 20 Years Listening to Psychopaths for Science
(Wired) – Kiehl recounts the story in a new book about his research, The Psychopath Whisperer. He has been interviewing psychopaths for more than 20 years, and the book is filled with stories of these colorful (and occasionally off-color) encounters. (Actually, The Psychopath Listener would have been a more accurate, if less grabby title.) More recently he’s acquired a mobile MRI scanner and permission to scan the brains of New Mexico state prison inmates. So far he’s scanned about 3,000 violent offenders, including 500 psychopaths.
April 16, 2014
Digital Mirror Reveals What Lies Under Your Skin
(New Scientist) – Maître and his collaborators built the digital mirror to explore philosophical questions about how we relate to our body. But in the future, they say they could imagine doctors using a similar system to help people explore a particular part of their body or prepare for an upcoming operation. Other researchers have already started exploring how augmented reality can help medicine.
A Patient’s Bizarre Hallucination Points to How the Brain Identifies Places
(Wired) – In the new study, Mégevand and colleagues report what happened when they stimulated a brain region thought to be important for the perception of places — the so-called parahippocampal place area — in one particular patient. “At first we were really stunned. It was the first time in 70 patients that someone gave such a detailed, specific report,” said Mégevand, a post-doctoral research fellow at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York.
Biologist Defiant over Stem-Cell Method
(Nature) – The lead author of two hotly debated stem-cell papers made a tearful plea for forgiveness last week after her employer found her guilty of misconduct. Haruko Obokata, a researcher at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan, struggled to answer questions about errors in the papers, which described how simple stressors such as acid or pressure could reprogram mature cells into an embryonic-like state. But that did not stop her from insisting that the reports were not fraudulent and that the phenomenon described in them is real.
New Video Highlights the Need for a Plan When It Comes to Incidental Findings
(Bioethics.gov) – The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has posted its latest video, in which Commission Members discuss their report Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings in the Clinical, Research, and Direct-to-Consumer Contexts. In the three minute piece, Members highlight the essential message of the report on the ethical management of incidental findings across contexts: the importance of practitioners—including clinicians, researchers, and direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies—having a plan to anticipate and manage incidental findings.
April 15, 2014
Sperm RNA Carries Marks of Trauma
(Nature) – Trauma is insidious. It not only increases a person’s risk for psychiatric disorders, but can also spill over into the next generation. People who were traumatized during the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia tended to have children with depression and anxiety, for example, and children of Australian veterans of the Vietnam War have higher rates of suicide than the general population.
April 14, 2014
Former NIH Stem-Cell Chief Joins New York Foundation
(Nature) – Stem-cell biologist Mahendra Rao, who resigned last week as director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a new job. On 9 April, he was appointed vice-president for regenerative medicine at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), a non-profit organization that funds embryonic stem-cell research.
Harvard Investigation Leads to ‘Expression of Concern’ on Brigham-Led Stem Cell Research
(Boston.com) – Two days after a heart research paper was retracted, questions have been raised about a stem cell study overseen by the same prominent Brigham and Women’s Hospital cardiovascular researcher. In an “expression of concern” posted online Thursday night, editors of the British medical journal The Lancet said Harvard Medical School had notified them of an ongoing investigation examining the “integrity of certain data” used in two sets of images of cells in a 2011 paper overseen by Dr. Piero Anversa at the Brigham.
April 11, 2014
A New Edition of Developing World Bioethics is Available
Developing World Bioethics (Volume 14, No. 1, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Bioethics and Forensic Psychiatry” by Debora Diniz
- “Impact of Three Years Training on Operations Capacities of Research Ethics Committees in Nigeria” by Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan, et al.
- “On Abortion: Exploring Psychological Meaning and Attitudes in a Sample of Mexican Gynecologists” by Ma. Luisa Marván, Asunción Álvarez del Río and Zaira Campos
- “Ethical Issues in Field Trials of Genetically Modified Disease-Resistant Mosquitoes” by David B. Resnik
- “The Ethics of Engaged Presence: A Framework for Health Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Development Work” by Matthew R. Hunt, et al.
European Union Debates Initiative on Embryo Protection
(New York Times) – A packed hearing on a petition calling for the protection of human embryos led to a rare outbreak of raucous exchanges in the European Parliament on Thursday — a sign that the battles over abortion and stem cell research that divide nations like Spain and the United States are making a serious incursion into European Union affairs.
A New Edition of Clinical Ethics is Available
Clinical Ethics (Volume 9, No. 1, March 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Can informed consent apply to information disclosure? Moral and practical implications” by Jacques Tamin
- “A principlist approach to presumed consent for organ donation” by Hannah Welbourn
- “Imperfect informed consent for prenatal screening: Lessons from the Quad screen” by ML Constantine, et al.
- “Informal ethics consultations in academic health care settings: A quantitative description and a qualitative analysis with a focus on patient participation” by Abraham Rudnick, et al.
- “The impact of an ethics training programme on the success of clinical ethics services” Andrea Dörries, et al.
- “Staffs’ perceptions of the ethical landscape in psychiatric inpatient care: A qualitative content analysis of ethical diaries” by Veikko Pelto-Piri, Karin Engström, and Ingemar Engström
- “The medical record as legal document: When can the patient dictate the content? An ethics case from the Department of Neurology” by Robert Accordino, et al.
- “Longing to a fetal patient” Tutku Ozdogan, et al.
A New Edition of Public Health Ethics is Available
Public Health Ethics (Volume 7, No. 1, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Do Social Networking Sites Enhance the Attractiveness of Risky Health Behavior? Impression Management in Adolescents’ Communication on Facebook and its Ethical Implications” by Julika Loss, Verena Lindacher, and Janina Curbach
- “Parents’ and Children’s Perceptions of the Ethics of Marketing Energy-Dense Nutrient-Poor Foods on the Internet: Implications for Policy to Restrict Children’s Exposure” by K. P. Mehta, et al.
- “Using Social Networking Sites for Communicable Disease Control: Innovative Contact Tracing or Breach of Confidentiality?” by Kate L. Mandeville, et al.
- “Social Networking Sites as a Tool for Contact Tracing: Urge for Ethical Framework for Normative Guidance” by Mart L. Stein, et al.
- “Beyond Individual Responsibility for Lifestyle: Granting a Fresh and Fair Start to the Regretful” by Sarah Vansteenkiste, Kurt Devooght, and Erik Schokkaert
- “Recruiting and Educating Participants for Enrollment in HIV-Vaccine Research: Ethical Implications of the Results of an Empirical Investigation” by Sibusiso Sifunda, et al.
- “Ethical Challenges in Implementation Research” by Ruth Macklin
April 10, 2014
Tamiflu: Millions Wasted on Flu Drug, Claims Major Report
(BBC) – Hundreds of millions of pounds may have been wasted on a drug for flu that works no better than paracetamol, a landmark analysis has said. The UK has spent £473m on Tamiflu, which is stockpiled by governments globally to prepare for flu pandemics. The Cochrane Collaboration claimed the drug did not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications, and only slightly helped symptoms. The manufacturers Roche and other experts say the analysis is flawed.
Scientists Disagree on Responsible Research
(Nanotechnology Now) – Responsible research has been put firmly on the political agenda with, for instance, EU’s Horizon 2020 programme in which all research projects must show how they contribute responsibly to society. New research from the University of Copenhagen reveals that the scientists themselves place great emphasis on behaving responsibly; they just disagree on what social responsibility in science entails. Responsibility is, in other words, a matter of perspective.
April 9, 2014
Acid-Bath Stem Cell Scientist Apologizes and Appeals
(Nature) – Haruko Obokata, the Japanese scientist at the centre of a controversy over studies purporting to turn mature cells to stem cells simply by bathing them in acid or subjecting them to mechanical stress, today apologized for her errors in the work. Kicking off a press conference in Osaka amid a storm of snapping cameras and flanked by two lawyers, Obokata blamed her immaturity and her lack of awareness of research protocols for the errors that were found in her two high-profile papers on the studies, published in Nature in January (Note: Nature’s news and comment teams are editorially independent of its research editorial team). These included the use of a duplicated image.
Pro-Life Citizen’s Initiative Worries E.U. Scientists
(Science) – A group of European pro-life organizations is mobilizing against embryonic stem cell research in a way that the European Commission cannot ignore. One of Us, a so-called European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures from all 28 E.U. member states for a proposal that would block funding for research in which embryos are destroyed; under E.U. rules, the European Commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation.