December 11, 2013
Bariatric surgery isn’t ‘one size fits all’
Once feared by patients and denounced by primary care physicians, bariatric surgery has become more accepted as research shows it’s not only helping people lose weight, but also reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease and reversing type 2 diabetes. (CNN)
December 5, 2013
How medical nanotech will change humanity forever
Futurists have long speculated that nanotechnology — the engineering of materials and devices at the molecular scale — will revolutionize virtually every field it touches, medicine being no exception. Here’s what to expect when you have fleets of molecule-sized robots coursing through your veins. (Io9)
November 26, 2013
Surgically implanted eyeball jewelry is the new piercing
Dr. Emil Chynn surgically implanted the eye jewelry a few weeks ago on Park Avenue in Manhattan for $3,000 as local news cameras captured the moment. Chynn operated in front of a floor-to-ceiling glass window so passersby could watch from the street. But Luckayanko didn’t mind. Chynn said he’d given her a Valium and some laughing gas to calm her nerves. (ABC News)
Doctor Who villains echo concerns about technology
On the eve of Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, a bioethics researcher at the University of Leicester claims that one of the Doctor’s most fearsome villains – the Cybermen – represent public concerns about the greater use of technology in medicine. In their article “The Cybermen as Human,” Dr Chris Willmott from the University’s Department of Biochemistry and his former Research Assistant, Bonnie Green, reflect on ways in which the Doctor’s metal-clad foe can offer insight into human enhancement and the development of the “posthuman.” (Phys.org)
November 20, 2013
Study reveals potential breakthrough in hearing technology
Computer engineers and hearing scientists at The Ohio State University have made a potential breakthrough in solving a 50-year-old problem in hearing technology: how to help the hearing-impaired understand speech in the midst of background noise. (Cybernetics News)
November 15, 2013
A putative antiaging drug takes a step from mice to men
The drug rapamycin lengthens lifespan in mice, but a paper published earlier this year questioned whether it slows aging in the animals. This week a new study comes to rapamycin’s defense. Meanwhile, researchers have begun a clinical trial to test whether the drug can improve the mental acuity and physical condition of elderly humans. (Science, by subscription only)
November 13, 2013
Taking testosterone to muscle up? Men might want to reconsider that
Older men who take testosterone are more likely than those who don’t to have a heart attack or stroke or to die over the following few years, new research indicates. The study included men who were in their early 60s, on average. Most of them already had blocked heart arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems, so it’s unclear what the findings mean for younger, healthier men who take testosterone, researchers said. (Washington Post)
November 12, 2013
Self adjusting glasses offer instant vision fix
Perfect vision no longer requires numerous trips to the eye doctor and multiple pairs of glasses to see near and far. Thanks to the new trend in self-adjusting eyewear, you can instantly focus eyesight with a light touch or toss of the head. (ABC News)
November 11, 2013
Would you be willing to merge with machinery?
A British boy has become the first individual in Britain to receive a special implant which allows the young child to walk unaided. The boy in question, Eddy Parry, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at a very young age, and was sadly forced to have his leg amputated. This unique surgery has resurrected his physical ability, though, and now Eddy is able to walk thanks to what he calls his ‘robot leg’. (Yahoo! News)
November 7, 2013
Body modification — or mutilation?
Extreme body modification procedures are almost never performed by actual physicians. These treatments are more often associated with tattoo parlors than medical offices. In fact, I’ve never heard of a single plastic surgeon who’s admitted to performing extreme body modification. And because actual doctors aren’t involved, the patients don’t benefit from modern anesthetics. (CNN)
November 6, 2013
The augmented organization: Wake up to this huge competitive threat
Here’s controversial Cybernetics Professor, Kevin Warwick, on the future of worker productivity. His chilling warning: If we don’t wake up, countries like China will soon be producing cyber-enhanced super-employees—workers who far outclass even the most capable employee here at home. Will tomorrow’s resume need to include your version number? (Forbes)
November 1, 2013
India favourite destination of cheaper cosmetic surgery
Many people from US and other western countries are travelling to India for less-expensive cosmetic surgeries such as rhinoplasty or breast augmentation procedure, a new study has found. Prompted by the ease and relatively low costs of travel, more patients from these countries are travelling to the developing world to access less-costly medical and surgical procedures, researchers said. (Business Standard)
October 29, 2013
Live to 120? Thanks but no thanks.
Most people wish to live a long and healthy life. But apparently…not too long. That’s among the major findings in a recent survey by the Pew Research Center that looks at attitudes about aging, medical advances and “radical life extension”—the possibility that science might slow (or stop) the aging process and “allow humans to remain healthy and productive to the age of 120 or more.” (Wall Street Journal)
A New Edition of Bioethics is Available
Bioethics (Volume 27, No. 9, November 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Brain, Mind and Machine: What Are the Implications of Deep Brain Stimulation for Perceptions of Personal Identity, Agency, and Free Will?” by Nir Lipsman and Walter Glannon
- “Existence: Who Needs It? The Non-Identity Problem and Merely Possible People” by Rivka Weinberg
- “Adequate Trust Avails, Mistaken Trust Matters: On the Moral Responsibility of Doctors as Proxies for Patients’ Trust in Biobank Research” by Linus Johnsson, et al.
- “What Does Respect for the Patients Autonomy Require?” Kam-Yuen Cheng
- “Misconceptions about Coercion and Undue Influence: Reflections on the View of IRB Members” by Emily Largent
- “Ethicovigilance in Clinical Trials” by David Shaw and Alex McMahon
October 22, 2013
Biological clock able to measure age of most human tissues
Everyone grows older, but scientists don’t really understand why. Now a UCLA study has uncovered a biological clock embedded in our genomes that may shed light on why our bodies age and how we can slow the process. Published in the Oct. 21 edition of Genome Biology, the findings could offer valuable insights into cancer and stem cell research. (Medical Xpress)
October 16, 2013
Our final invention: Is AI the defining issue for humanity?
Humanity today faces incredible threats and opportunities: climate change, nuclear weapons, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and much, much more. But some people argue that these things are all trumped by one: artificial intelligence (AI). To date, this argument has been confined mainly to science fiction and a small circle of scholars and enthusiasts. Enter documentarian James Barrat, whose new book, Our Final Invention, states the case for (and against) AI in clear, plain language. (Huffington Post)
October 15, 2013
The future of prosthetics could be this brain-controlled bionic leg
About a year ago, Zac Vawter climbed all 103 flights of stairs of the Willis Tower in Chicago. On its own, this accomplishment would be pretty unremarkable, but Vawter, who lost his leg four years ago during a motorcycle accident, happened [to] climb more than 2,000 steps while wearing a prosthetic leg. Even crazier yet? Vawter could control this prosthetic leg with his mind, sending instructions from his brain, down through nerves that would communicate with his mechanical limb. (Wired)
A New Edition of The Journal of Medical Ethics is Available
The Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 39, No. 11, November 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “The making of medical ethics” by Kenneth Boyd
- “Framing patient consent for student involvement in pelvic examination: a dual model of autonomy” by Andrew Carson-Stevens, et al.
- “Evaluation of clinical ethics support services and its normativity” by Jan Schildmann, et al.
- “Medical confidentiality and the competent patient” by Gerard Niveau, et al.
- “Moral responsibility for (un)healthy behaviour” by Rebecca C H Brown
- “Aiming at a moving target: research ethics in the context of evolving standards of care and prevention” by Seema Shah and Reidar K Lie
- “We must not create beings with moral standing superior to our own” by Nicholas Agar
- “Attitudes toward euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: a study of the multivariate effects of healthcare training, patient characteristics, religion and locus of control” by Carrie-Anne Marie Hains and Nicholas J Hulbert-Williams
October 11, 2013
Perfecting the face-lift, Gangnam style
The number of tourists visiting South Korea for cosmetic surgery has increased more than fivefold since 2009, to 15,428 last year, according to the country’s health ministry. Like Vu, many make a beeline for the so-called beauty belt—hundreds of clinics clustered around subway stations in Gangnam, the upscale Seoul neighborhood made famous by Korean pop singer Psy, whose Gangnam Style music video has garnered more than 1.78 billion views on YouTube. (Blooomberg Businessweek)
October 4, 2013
A New Edition of The Journal of Medical Ethics is Available
The Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 39, No. 10, October 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “The active recruitment of health workers: a defence” by Javier S. Hidalgo
- “A plea for end-of-life discussions with patients suffering from Huntington’s disease: the role of the physician” by Suzanne J Booij, et al.
- “Examining the ethico-legal aspects of the right to refuse treatment in Turkey” by Gurkan Sert and Tolga Guven
- “What are the attitudes of strictly-orthodox Jews to clinical trials: are they influenced by Jewish teachings?” by Joan Box Bayes
- “Human enhancement and perfection” by Johann A R Roduit, Holger Baumann, Jan-Christoph Heilinger
- “Human dignity and rights beyond death” by Kam Lun Hon
- “The contested realm of displaying dead bodies” by D Gareth Jones and Maja I Whitaker
October 1, 2013
A New Edition of The Philosophers’ Magazine is Available
The Philosophers’ Magazine (Volume 2013, No. 62, 3rd Quarter 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Living on Google earth” by Luciano Floridi
- “Ethics in the supply chain” by Mohan Matthen
- “Hypocrisy and abortion” by Wendy M Grossman
- “Should students take smart drugs?” by Darian Meacham
- “A transhuman future” by Russell Blackford
- “The need for moral enhancement” by Erik Parens
- “Untangling dignity” by Remy Debes
- “Silicone carnage” by John P Sullins