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April 24, 2014

FDA Releases Proposed E-Cigarette Regulations

(CNN) – The Food and Drug Administration is making another attempt at regulating electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products. On Thursday, the agency proposed rules that call for strict regulation of electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, water pipe tobacco and hookahs. Currently, the FDA only has regulatory authority over cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco.

Most Support Birth Control Mandate, Survey Shows

(NBC News) – Most Americans — 69 percent — support the requirement that health insurance plans pay for birth control, a new survey shows. The 2010 Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to pay for contraception as part of 10 essential benefits, including vaccines and cancer screenings. It’s the most controversial requirement, with religious groups, some conservative commentators and some employers objecting.

Miss. Governor Signs Mid-Pregnancy Abortion Ban

(ABC News) – Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Wednesday signed a bill to ban abortion starting at the midpoint of a full-term pregnancy. Supporters say it’s designed to protect women’s health, while abortion-rights advocates say it’s unconstitutional. House Bill 1400, which becomes law July 1, will ban abortion starting at 20 weeks’ gestational age. That’s defined as 20 weeks since the start of the woman’s last menstrual period. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks.

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.

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.

April 22, 2014

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.

A New Edition of European Journal of Public Health is Available

European Journal of Public Health (Volume 24, No. 2, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Why the European Journal of Public Health will no longer publish tobacco industry-supported research” by Martin McKee and Peter Allebeck
  • “Risk of child obesity from parental obesity: analysis of repeat national cross-sectional surveys” by Philip McLoone and David S. Morrison
  • “Urban greenways have the potential to increase physical activity levels cost-effectively” by Mary Anne T. Dallat, et al.
  • “Risk factors for diagnosed intentional self-injury: a total population-based study” by Birgit Modén, et al.

A New Edition of Journal of Bioethical Inquiry is Available

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry (Volume 11, No. 1, March 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Investigating Research and Accessing Reproductive Material” by Trudo Lemmens & Bernadette J. Richards
  • “Market Liberalism in Health Care: A Dysfunctional View of Respecting “Consumer” Autonomy” by Michael A. Kekewich
  • “The Incredible Complexity of Being? Degrees of Influence, Coercion, and Control of the “Autonomy” of Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa Patients” by Terry Carney
  • “Treatment Refusal in Anorexia Nervosa: The Hardest of Cases” by Christopher James Ryan & Sascha Callaghan
  • “Making Sense of Child Welfare When Regulating Human Reproductive Technologies” by John McMillan
  • “Understanding Selective Refusal of Eye Donation” by Mitchell Lawlor & Ian Kerridge

April 17, 2014

US Judge Overturns 6-Week Abortion Ban

(Associated Press) – A federal judge on Wednesday overturned a North Dakota law that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland said the law is “invalid and unconstitutional” and that it “cannot withstand a constitutional challenge.” The state attorney general said he was looking at whether to appeal the decision by the Bismarck-based judge.

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.


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

View results

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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