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January 30, 2009

Malawi: Unauthorised HIV trial questions ethics processes

The trial of a hospital technician accused of conducting unauthorised drug trials has highlighted a host of ethical issues surrounding research on patients, say commentators. (SciDev)

Social and ethical issues concerning nanotechnology

Recent action in Congress to reauthorize the U.S. federal nanotechnology research program offers the chance to address the social and ethical issues concerning the emerging scientific field, experts say. (News-Medical)

SKorean firm says it cloned dogs using stem cells

A South Korean biotech company claimed Thursday to have cloned dogs using a stem cell technology for the first time in the world. (AP)

MS stem-cell treatment ‘success’

Stem-cell transplants may control and even reverse multiple sclerosis symptoms if done early enough, a small study has suggested. Not one of 21 adults with relapsing-remitting MS who had stem cells transplanted from their own bone marrow deteriorated over three years. (BBC)

Paying organ donors’ expenses at center of ethics debate

Organ donors, living and dead, would receive more money for expenses under an initiative being proposed today designed to shorten the wait for transplants. The National Kidney Foundation, a New-York based non-profit, released a set of recommendations it says could end the wait for a kidney in 10 years. (USA Today)

UNSECO launches Bio-ethics Committee

A 16-member National Bio-ethics Committee which play an advisory role regarding national issues pertaining to bio-ethics, facilitate the simplification and dissemination of information for the benefit of stakeholders and the general public and provide a platform for reflection and discussion on the subject was on Thursday launched in Accra. (Ghana News)

New Issue of Archives of Internal Medicine is Now Available

Archives of Internal Medicine (Volume 169, Number 2, January 26 2009) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “The Effects of Health Information Technology on Inpatient Care” by David W. Bates, 105-107.
  • “Clinical Information Technologies and Inpatient Outcomes: A Multiple Hospital Study” by Ruben Amarasingham, Laura Plantinga, Marie Diener-West, Darrell J. Gaskin, and Neil R. Powe, 108-114.
  • “Ability of Hospitalized Patients to Identify Their In-Hospital Physicians” by Vineet Arora,  Sandeep Gangireddy, Amit Mehrotra, Ranjan Ginde, Megan Tormey, and David Meltzer, 199-201.
  • “Physician Influences on Patient Care: Random vs Fixed Effects” by Samuel Field, Mark Weiner, and Judith Long, 202-203.
  • “Racial Disparities in Diabetes and Physicians: Lack of Association Does Not Indicate Cause or Cure” by Barry Saver, 203-204.
  • “Tailoring Internal Medicine Training to Improve Hospitalist Outcomes” by Jeffrey J. Glasheen and Ethan U. Cumbler, 204-205.
  • “Hospitalist Care” by Martin Terplan, 205.

New Issue of Artificial Organs is Now Available

Artificial Organs (Volume 33, Issue 2, February 2009) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “Are We Closer to the Clinical Use of Blood Substitutes?” by Paul S. Malchesky, 91.
  • “Artificial Oxygen Carriers: A Clinical Point of View” by Akira T. Kawaguchi, 97-99.
  • “Possible Role of Artificial Oxygen Carriers in Transfusion Medicine: A Retrospective Analysis on the Current Transfusion Practice” by Fumiaki Yoshiba, Akira T. Kawaguchi, Osamu Hyodo, Takaaki Kinoue, Sadaki Inokuchi, and Shunichi Kato, 127-132.
  • “Development of a Composite Degradable/Nondegradable Tissue-Engineered Vascular Graft” by Sunil Kanwal, Jagmeet Singh, Nasir Malik, Faisal H. Cheema, and Imran Khalid, 194.

NHGRI Planning White Papers Now Available for Comment

NHGRI Planning White Papers Now Available for Comment: Deadline Extended to February 27!

As part of our planning process, the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI) has added a white paper on the “Future of Genome Sequencing” to the collection of white papers available for viewing and comment at  To stimulate discussion, comments received will be posted anonymously for others to view and react to.  

We invite your review and comment in two phases.  Phase 1, open now, will collect community thoughts solely on the questions posed in the white papers, aimed at ensuring we are asking the right questions.  Since we have just added this white paper, we are extending the deadline for Phase 1 comment on any of the white papers to February 27, 2009. 

Once the questions are refined based upon the comment received, Phase 2 will collect community input regarding how best to answer the questions, probably starting in mid-March 2009 and continuing through mid-May 2009.  Other white papers on other topics may be added as the process continues.

Comments received through this white-paper process will be used to generate topics for further planning activities and workshops, which will be held in 2009 and 2010.

January 29, 2009

California Petitions to Block Overhaul Federal Health-Care System

California Attorney General Jerry Brown petitioned a federal court Wednesday to remove a court-appointed receiver and halt his plan for an $8 billion overhaul of the state’s prison health-care system. (Wall Street Journal)

Gene therapy cures form of ‘bubble boy disease’

Gene therapy seems to have cured eight of 10 children who had potentially fatal “bubble boy disease,” according to a study that followed their progress for about four years after treatment. The eight patients were no longer on medication for the rare disease, which cripples the body’s defenses against infection. The successful treatment is reported in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and offers hope for treating other diseases with a gene therapy approach. (AP)

Stem cells used to reverse paralysis in animals

A new study has found that transplantation of stem cells from the lining of the spinal cord, called ependymal stem cells, reverses paralysis associated with spinal cord injuries in laboratory tests. The findings show that the population of these cells after spinal cord injury was many times greater than comparable cells from healthy animal subjects. The results open a new window on spinal cord regenerative strategies. The study is published in the journal Stem Cells. (PhysOrg)

Study: Kidney donors do fine, no long-term issues

Donating a kidney doesn’t appear to have any long-term health consequences for the donor, a reassuring study shows. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found those who gave up one of their two kidneys lived a normal life span and were as healthy as people in the general population. The donation also didn’t raise the risk of having kidney failure later. (Boston Globe)

World’s first mandatory national nanotech rule pending

The Canadian government reportedly is planning to release in February the world’s first national regulation requiring companies to detail their use of engineered nanomaterials, according to environmental officials. The information gathered under the requirement will be used to evaluate the risks of engineered nanomaterials and will help to develop appropriate safety measures to protect human health and the environment. (PhysOrg)

Event: Science and Technology in Society Conference

Science and Technology in Society Conference
March 28-29, 2009
Hosted by the ST Global Consortium in Washington, DC

The emerging fields of Science and Technology Policy (STP) and Science and Technology Studies (STS) have become prominent disciplines in recent years.

The increasing prevalence of technology issues – in governmental policies and the public eye – demands a workforce equipped with the tools and training necessary to negotiate these complex relationships. Though often from different perspectives, STS and STP deal with many of the same issues.

Traditionally, however, there has been little communication between the two. Thus, the main purpose of the Conference is to bridge that divide and provide a forum for networking, bringing together graduate students from historically fragmented communities to learn from one another. We hope the event will add value to students’ research and writing, and contribute important new ideas to the S&T challenges of the day.

Register by February 1, 2009

To Register or For More Information

New Issue of Clinical Genetics is Now Available

Clinical Genetics (Volume 75, Issue 1, January 2009) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “Depression during pregnancy: the potential impact of increased risk for fetal aneuploidy on maternal mood” by C Hippman, TF Oberlander, WG Honer, S Misri, and JC Austin, 30-36.
  • “The impact of familial environment on depression scores after genetic testing for cancer susceptibility” by S Ashida, DW Hadley, BK Vaughn, NR Kuhn, JF Jenkins, and LM Koehly, 43-49.
  • “Radiotherapy for childhood cancer and risk for congenital malformations in offspring: a population-based cohort study” by JF Winther, JD Boice Jr, K Frederiksen, A Bautz, JJ Mulvihill, M Stovall, and JH Olsen, 50-56.
  • “Predictive testing for Huntington disease in a developing country ”  by MJ Futter, JM Heckmann, and LJ Greenberg, 92-97.

New Issue of Journal of Applied Philosophy is Now Available

Journal of Applied Philosophy (Volume 26, Issue 1, February 2009) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “Killing, Letting Die, and the Morality of Abortion” by Anton Tupa, 1-26.
  • “Is the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Compatible with Good End-of-Life Care?” by Michael B. Gill, 27-45.
  • “Magnanimity, Athletic Excellence, and Performance-Enhancing Drugs” by Michael W. Austin, 46-53.
  • “Tonkens on the Irrationality of the Suicidally Mentally Ill ” by Michael Cholbi, 102-106.

January 28, 2009

Real Bioethics Means Talking about Science

President Obama’s pledge that his administration will “restore science to its rightful place” is already echoing through several significant policies that undo years of Bush-era antiscientific partisanship. Last week, he lifted the “global gag rule“; today he will direct the EPA to grant California its long-delayed emissions waiver; later this week it’s expected that he will lift restrictions on federal funding of stem cell research. (Science Progress)

Genetic Testing Yes, ‘Designer Babies’ No

The age of “designer babies” may be further off than some pundits suggest, researchers here think. (Medical News)

California health insurers discriminate against women, lawsuit contends

San Francisco’s city attorney sues state regulators, saying they approved a system that allows the insurance companies to use ‘gender rating’ when pricing individual policies. (Los Angeles Times)

Couple welcomes home cloned dog

The 10-week-old golden Labrador retriever is a clone, created in South Korea by a California biotech firm from the DNA of the first Sir Lancelot: beloved pet of Ed and Nina Otto of Boca Raton, Fla. (PhysOrg)


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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