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April 16, 2014

The Changing Legal Climate for Physician Aid in Dying

(JAMA) – While once widely rejected as a health care option, physician aid in dying is receiving increased recognition as a response to the suffering of patients at the end of life. With aid in dying, a physician writes a prescription for life-ending medication for an eligible patient. Following the recommendation of the American Public Health Association, the term aid in dying rather than “assisted suicide” is used to describe the practice. In this Viewpoint, we describe the changing legal climate for physician aid in dying occurring in several states.

April 14, 2014

Payment Bid to Boost IVF Cycle

(Sydney Morning Herald) – Women who donate their eggs so others can have children would be paid for their trouble, under changes to the IVF code of ethics being considered by Australia’s chief medical advisory and research authority. As part of its review of the ethical guidelines for the practice of assisted reproductive technology in Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council has sought public comment on whether women should be ”compensated for the reproductive effort and risks associated with donating their eggs”.

April 11, 2014

A New Edition of Health Policy and Planning is Available

Health Policy and Planning (Volume 29, No. 2, March 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Impact of user fees on maternal health service utilization and related health outcomes: a systematic review” by Susie Dzakpasu, Timothy Powell-Jackson, and Oona M.R. Campbell
  • “Estimates of performance in the rate of decline of under-five mortality for 113 low- and middle-income countries, 1970–2010” by Stéphane Verguet and Dean T. Jamison
  • “Financial protection in health in Turkey: the effects of the Health Transformation Programme” by Mahmut S Yardim, Nesrin Cilingiroglu, and Nazan Yardim
  • “Health reform and out-of-pocket payments: lessons from China” by Lufa Zhang and Nan Liu
  • “Through the back door: nurse migration to the UK from Malawi and Nepal, a policy critique” by Radha Adhikari and Astrida Grigulis

A New Edition of Health Education Research is Available

Health Education Research (Volume 29, No. 2, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Barriers and facilitators in health education for adults with intellectual disabilities—a qualitative study” by H. Bergström, L. S. Elinder, and U. Wihlman
  • “Using the Precaution Adoption Process model to describe a disaster preparedness intervention among low-income Latinos” by Deborah C. Glik, et al.
  • “A televised entertainment-education drama to promote positive discussion about organ donation” by Georges E. Khalil and Lance S. Rintamaki
  • “School-based HIV/AIDS education is associated with reduced risky sexual behaviors and better grades with gender and race/ethnicity differences” by Zhen-qiang Ma, Monica A. Fisher, and Lewis H. Kuller
  • “Including a client sexual health pathway in a national youth mental health early intervention service—project rationale and implementation strategy” by C. A. Edwards, 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.

Articles include:

  • “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

Italian Court Overturns Divisive Ban on Donor Eggs, Sperm

(Reuters) – Italy’s constitutional court overturned a ban on using donor sperm and eggs in fertility treatments on Wednesday, knocking down part of a divisive set of restrictions on assisted reproduction. The court said in a statement the ban breached the constitution, without going into further detail, and lawyers in the case said the ruling was effective immediately.

April 9, 2014

Should We Pay Drug Users to Get Vital Vaccines?

(New Scientist) – How do you get more injecting drug users, who have a serious risk of getting and transmitting hepatitis B, to take a highly effective vaccine against the virus? The answer could be as simple as offering them a £10 shopping voucher each time they get one of the three shots they need.

April 4, 2014

FDA Approves Easy-to-Use Auto-Injector for Heroin Overdose Antidote

(CNN) – A new medical device that could save thousands of lives by preventing opioid overdoses was approved Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The hand-held auto-injector is designed for family and caregivers to administer a single dose of a drug called naloxone, which rapidly reverses the effects of heroin and other opioids.

Young, Fabulous and Rich? Most Health Insurers Still Won’t Take You Outside Enrollment Windows

(Associated Press) – Here’s more fallout from the health care law: Until now, customers could walk into an insurance office or go online to buy standard health care coverage any time of year. Not anymore. Many people who didn’t sign up during the government’s open enrollment period that ended Monday will soon find it difficult or impossible to get insured this year, even if they go directly to a private company and money is no object. For some it’s already too late.

April 3, 2014

Surrogacy Birth Bill Passed by Louisiana House: Snapshot

(The Times-Picayune) – At-a-Glance: The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill 79-14 to establish enforceable, legal surrogacy birth contracts between married couples and the women who carry their children in Louisiana. The bill: Rep. Joe Lopinto, R-Metairie, has sponsored the legislation which puts regulations in place for a couple and woman who enter into a surrogacy birth relationship. Surrogacy allows a couple to have a child that is biologically their own, but carried to term by a third party.

April 2, 2014

Inhaled Insulin Clears Hurdle toward F.D.A. Approval

(New York Times) – A government advisory committee on Tuesday recommended approval of a form of insulin that is inhaled rather than injected. The endorsement could lead to a new option for millions of Americans with diabetes and vindication for the persistent billionaire who spent a large amount of his fortune to develop the product.

April 1, 2014

Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Generic Drug Case

(New York Times) – As the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has been critical of brand-name manufacturers that try to block generic versions of their high-priced medicines. But Teva is now emulating its rivals, mounting an aggressive effort to stave off generic versions of Copaxone, its big-selling brand-name drug for multiple sclerosis, which is set to lose patent protection late in May.

Official: Obamacare on Track to Meet Original Goal

(CNN) – After a surge of sign-ups on the last day for open enrollment, Obamacare is on track to hit the White House’s original target of 7 million people signing up, a senior administration official said Tuesday. President Barack Obama will address the milestone with a statement from the Rose Garden at 4:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Supreme Court Declines to Hear New Contraception Cases

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up preliminary appeals brought by Roman Catholic groups that want an exemption from part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law requiring employers to provide insurance that covers contraception. The cases were brought by a series of Roman Catholic-affiliated nonprofit groups based in Washington, D.C., including Catholic University.

March 27, 2014

Behind the Legal Challenge to Obamacare’s Contraception Mandate

(The Guardian) – When the US supreme court hears a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception requirement on Tuesday, the owners of dozens of for-profit companies will be hoping the justices side with their belief that it infringes on their religious freedom. The highly anticipated hearing concerns cases brought by crafts company Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, a cabinet-making business. They are two of the 49 for-profit companies to have filed suits challenging the ACA requirement that says preventive health services, and therefore birth control, should be provided without out-of-pocket costs under insurance plans.

Baby M and the Question of Surrogate Motherhood

(New York Times) – Fast forward a few thousand years and we see that such kinks in human nature have not been entirely ironed out, a stubborn reality even if the technology of baby-making is vastly different from what it was in Sarai and Hagar’s day. That brings us to this week’s offering from Retro Report, a series of documentary videos re-examining major news stories from years past. This installment deals with the painful Baby M case of the 1980s, the first instance of American courts’ dealing with the validity of a surrogacy contract and the nettlesome question of who should have custody of the child.

March 21, 2014

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

Journal of the American Medical Association (Volume 311, No. 8, February 26,  2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Innovation, Risk, and Patient Empowerment: The FDA-Mandated Withdrawal of 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service” by Nicholas S. Downing and Joseph S. Ross
  • “Returning Pleiotropic Results From Genetic Testing to Patients and Research Participants” by Jonathan M. Kocarnik and Stephanie M. Fullerton
  • “Finding the Role of Health Care in Population Health” by Emma M. Eggleston and Jonathan A. Finkelstein
  • “A Unified Code of Ethics for Health Professionals:  Insights From an IOM Workshop” by Matthew K. Wynia
  • “The Patient-Centered Medical Home:  One Size Does Not Fit All” by Thomas L. Schwenk
  • “Nonspecific Effects of Vaccines” by David Goldblatt and Elizabeth Miller
  • “Live Vaccine Against Measles, Mumps, and Rubella and the Risk of Hospital Admissions for Nontargeted Infections” by Signe Sørup, et al.

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

The New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 370, No. 9, February 27, 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Preventing and Controlling Influenza with Available Interventions” by T.M. Uyeki
  • “Enterovirus Vaccines for an Emerging Cause of Brain-Stem Encephalitis” by P.C. McMinn
  • “Pancreatic Safety of Incretin-Based Drugs — FDA and EMA Assessment” by A.G. Egan, et al.
  • “DNA Sequencing versus Standard Prenatal Aneuploidy Screening” by D.W. Bianchi, et al.
  • “Beyond Malaria — Causes of Fever in Outpatient Tanzanian Children” by V. D’Acremont, et al.
  • “Efficacy, Safety, and Immunogenicity of an Enterovirus 71 Vaccine in China” by F. Zhu, et al.
  • “An Inactivated Enterovirus 71 Vaccine in Healthy Children” by R. Li, et al.
  • “Attention Deficit–Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents” by H.M. Feldman and M.I. Reiff
  • “Screening for Trisomies in Circulating DNA” by M.F. Greene and E.G. Phimister

March 20, 2014

In U.S. Contraception Case, a Question of Corporate Rights

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court could dodge the contentious question of whether corporations have religious rights when it weighs objections to an Obamacare requirement that employers provide insurance coverage for contraception. The court, which hears oral argument in two consolidated cases on March 25, could rule that individuals who own closely held companies, rather than the corporations themselves, can argue their religious rights have been violated. Such a ruling would allow the court to avoid criticism that it favors corporate rights too much.

March 19, 2014

Mom Sues for Wrongful Pregnancy after Failed Sterilization

(ABC News) – An Illinois woman is suing her doctor for “wrongful pregnancy,” claiming a botched tubal ligation led to the birth of a daughter with sickle cell disease. Cynthia Williams, a 40-year-old mother of three, only had one ovary and believed she couldn’t get pregnant because the tube tethering it to her womb had been tied –- or so she thought.

March 18, 2014

China Bans Genetic Testing

(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – For nearly a half-century, interrupted only by the Cultural Revolution, China promoted the growth of genetic testing to prevent and address birth defects through state-run hospitals, as well as charities and increasingly in recent years, private enterprises. Then last month, China reversed course. The China Food and Drug Administration posted a new regulation that immediately banned genetic testing—even previously approved services “including prenatal genetic testing, gene sequencing technology-related products, and cutting-edge products and technologies.”


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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