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Bioethics 101

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April 30, 2008

Designing The Genes Of Future Generations- A public forum

As screening for genetic abnormalities becomes more and more prevalent as
part of prenatal care and assisted human reproduction, we open up a host of
important and contentious ethical questions. Are these screening programs
part of preventative medicine? What sorts of genetic conditions should we
allow screening for? Why? Who all is affected, positively or negatively by
these practices? What should our way forward be with these technologies?
Come participate in a panel discussion lead by experts in the field that
will cover issues relating to the science and ethics of reprogenetics.

May 7, 2008. 7:30PM
Michelin Theatre, Discovery Centre ,1593 Barrington St., Halifax, NS

UNESCO Ethics Teacher Training Course in Minsk, Belarus, 17-21 November 2008

One of the activities undertaken to disseminate information concerning the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, adopted in 2005 by UNESCO, is the Ethics Education Program. This program is mapping existing teaching programs in the area of ethics in the Member States of UNESCO. The various programs are described, discussed in expert meetings, and made available in the Global Ethics Observatory ( Experiences concerning the contents, intensity, methods and materials of existing programs are therefore publicly accessible and can be exchanged among experts. Teachers who want to initiate ethics teaching can find suggestions and ideas in the database. UNESCO has organised meetings with ethics teaching experts in the previous years in Budapest, Moscow, Split, Muscat and Istanbul. In 2008 a similar meeting will take place in Marrakesh, Morocco.

More information as well as a registration form can be found on the SHS website.

A New Issue of Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology is Now Available

Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology (Volume 2, Issue 1) is now available online.

Articles include:
“Death in Traffic: Why Are the Ethical Issues Ignored?” by Leonard Evans
“The Ethics of Autonomous Military Robots” by Jason Borenstein
“Privacy, Data Protection, and the Unprecedented Challenges of Ambient Intelligence” by Antoinette Rouvroy
“The Legal and Ethical Changes in the NHS Landscape Accompanying the Policy Shift from Paper-Based Health Records to Electronic Health Records” by Alan C. Gillies
“Engineering Greater Resilience or Radical Transhuman Enhancement?” by Andy Miah
“The Historical Idea of a Better Race” by Matti Häyry

Book Reviews
“Review of Biotechnology and the Human Good” by David B. Resnik
“Review of Nanoethics” by Jason Robert

New type of stem cells coaxed into heart tissue

A new type of powerful stem cell made from ordinary skin cells has been coaxed into becoming three different types of heart and blood cells in mice, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Gene Sequencing for the Masses

An inexpensive new gene-sequencing machine is due to hit the market next month, and its creators hope that it will make sequencing more common, ultimately giving a boost to personalized medicine. The machine is the brainchild of George Church, a genomics pioneer who developed the first direct sequencing technology as a graduate student in the 1980s and helped initiate the Human Genome Project soon after. (Technology Review)

Philippines Bans Kidney Transplants for Foreigners

The Philippines is banning kidney transplants for foreigners, as part of a government crackdown on a growing but illicit trade in human organs bought from the poor, officials said Tuesday. (New York Times)

Wis. parents who prayed as diabetic daughter died charged

Two parents who prayed as their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes were charged Monday with second-degree reckless homicide. (The Associated Press)

April 29, 2008

Genes Explain Race Disparity in Response to a Heart Drug

The findings, heart failure specialists say, mean that people with the altered gene might be spared taking what may be, for them, a useless therapy. And since patients with heart failure typically take multiple drugs, which can interact and cause side effects like fatigue, getting rid of a drug that is not helping can be a huge benefit. (New York Times)

FDA Faulted for Approving Studies of Artificial Blood

A new analysis concludes that the Food and Drug Administration approved experiments with artificial blood substitutes even after studies showed that the controversial products posed a clear risk of causing heart attacks and death. (Washington Post)

Nano RNA Delivery

An experimental and potentially powerful way to fight disease, called RNA interference (RNAi), could now be closer to reality, as researchers at MIT and Alnylam, a biotech company based in Cambridge, MA, have addressed a key obstacle to effectively delivering the treatment to targeted cells. The researchers report a method for quickly synthesizing more than a thousand different lipid-like molecules and screening them for their ability to deliver short RNA molecules to cells. They’ve shown that some of these delivery agents are 10 times as effective at delivering RNA than previous methods were. (Technology Review)

Half man, half chimp – should we beware the apeman’s coming?

A LEADING scientist has warned a new species of “humanzee,” created from breeding apes with humans, could become a reality unless the government acts to stop scientists experimenting. (The Scotsman)

McCain pushes choice as health care fix

Republican presidential candidate John McCain called on Tuesday for greater competition for health care coverage for Americans, saying more choices for insurance will drive down costs and improve the system. (Reuters)

April 28, 2008

Medical marijuana patients face transplant hurdles

His liver, ravaged by hepatitis C, is failing. Without a new one, his doctors tell him, he will be dead in days.

But Garon’s been refused a spot on the transplant list, largely because he has used marijuana, even though it was legally approved for medical reasons. (AP)

South Korea aims to become Asia’s new medical travel hub

Helped by active government support, a boom in cosmetic surgery and a pool of experienced surgeons, the country wants to surpass Singapore, Thailand and India to become Asia’s new medical tourism hub. (AFP)

Gene therapy experiments improve vision in nearly blind

Scientists for the first time have used gene therapy to dramatically improve sight in people with a rare form of blindness, a development experts called a major advance for the experimental technique. (AP)

April 25, 2008

Senate passes genetic discrimination bill

The bill, described by Sen. Edward Kennedy as “the first major new civil rights bill of the new century,” would bar health insurance companies from using genetic information to set premiums or determine enrollment eligibility. Similarly, employers could not use genetic information in hiring, firing or promotion decisions. (AP)

Scientists say menstrual blood can repair hearts

The monthly discomfort many women see as a curse could pay off someday as Japanese researchers say menstrual blood can be used to repair heart damage. (AFP)

Nanoparticles Help Gauze Stop Gushing Wounds

Now chemists have infused cotton gauze with nanoparticles, giving it a vastly improved ability to halt blood loss — even in tight spots like the neck or groin where it’s hard to apply pressure. The new material could help save lives on the battlefield and in civilian situations, where trauma victims often bleed to death before they can be transported to a hospital or other medical facility. (Wired)

Pharmacist appeals to Wis. Supreme Court

Pharmacist Neil Noesen, who faces punishment for refusing to refill a woman’s birth control prescription, asks the Wisconsin Supreme Court to consider his case. (The Daily Cardinal)

‘Ivy League Egg Donor Wanted’

Sound familiar? From the News to the New Haven Register, this and similar ads for egg donors have appeared in the pages of local newspapers, attempting to lure intelligent Yale women with sums ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. (Yale Daily News)

Embryonic stem cell debate trips up Ohio cloning bill

The bill, which appeared ready to clear a Senate committee last week after introduction last year, has been slowed by the complex debate among lawmakers trying to balance medical ethics and Ohio’s economic development. Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland opposes the bill, and a narrower proposal two years ago did not pass the Republican-controlled Legislature. (Akron Beacon Journal)


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

View results

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your global information source on bioethics news and issues