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Bioethics 101

Recommended Reading

December 20, 2009

New Issue of Dialog is Now Available

Dialog (Volume 48, Issue 4, Winter 2009) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Healthcare is about Bodies and Bodyselves” by Phillip Hefner, 309-311.

New Issue of Bioethics is Now Available

Bioethics (Volume 24, Issue 1, January 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Research on Prisoners- A Comparison Between the IOM Committee Recommendations (2006) and European Regulations” by Bernice S. Elger and Anne Spaulding, 1-13.
  • “Detained and Drugged: A Brief Overview of the Use of Pharmaceuticals for the Interrogation of Suspects, Prisoners, Patients, and POWs in the US” by Laura Calkins, 27-34.
  • “Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychiatric Research on Mentally Disordered Offenders” by Christian Munthe, Susanna Radovic, and Henrik Anckarsater; 35-44.

December 18, 2009

Genome to Hormones: The Top 10 Medical Advances of the Decade

The first decade of the 21st century brought a number of discoveries, mistakes and medical advances that influenced medicine from the patient’s bedside to the medicine cabinet. In some cases, these advances changed deeply rooted beliefs in medicine. In others, they opened up possibilities beyond what doctors thought was possible years ago. (ABC News)

Genetic Lessons From a Prolific Sperm Donor

Maxey, 51, happens to be one of the most prolific sperm donors in the country. Between 1980 and 1994, he donated at a Michigan clinic twice a week. He’s looked at the records of his donations, multiplied by the number of individual vials each donation produced, and estimated the success of each vial resulting in a pregnancy. By his own calculations, he concluded that he is the biological father of nearly 400 children, spread across the state and possibly the country. (Newsweek)

FDA Panel Recommendation on Crestor Spurs Debate

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel’s recommendation that some adults with no prior heart problems should take the cholesterol-busting statin Crestor appears to have pitted cardiologists against many primary care physicians over the best use of the popular drug. (ABC News)

Wales seeks organ opt-out powers

Wales could become the first part of the UK introduce an opt-out system of organ donation under plans by the assembly government. It would mean that Welsh residents would be presumed to be organ donors unless they have joined an opt out register or immediate relatives object. (BBC)

Shinya Yamanaka Crucial to Bay Area’s Role in Stem Cell Research

When Dr. Shinya Yamanaka arrived in the United States from Japan in 1993, he recalled recently, he was “half a scientist, half a failed surgeon.” A disaffected doctor with a newly minted Ph.D. in pharmacology, he had but one job offer, from the Gladstone Institutes, wedged into crowded laboratories by San Francisco General Hospital. (New York Times)

Op-Ed: Clash of medicine and ethics

The Israeli government deserves congratulation for its courage and innovation in adopting a radical new approach to the problem of organ transplantation.The shortage of organs available for transplant is a global problem and is getting worse. But its move pushes medicine across a new ethical frontier. (The Independent)

Videos may aid end-of-life care decisions

Videos that depict different options for end-of-life care may help terminally ill cancer patients decide on what they want, a new study suggests. (Reuters)

December 17, 2009

New Issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association is Now Available

JAMA (Volume 302; Number 22; December 9, 2009) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Relationships of Primary Care Physicians’ Patient Caseload with Measurement of Quality and Cost Performance” by David J. Nyweide, William B. Weeks, Daniel J. Gottlieb, Lawrence P. Casalino, and Elliott S. Fisher; 2444-2450.
  • “Eliminating ‘Waste’ in Health Care” by Victor R. Fuchs, 2481-2482.
  • “Failure to Report Financial Disclosure Information” by Pascale Barberger-Gateau, 2433-2434.
  • “Screening for Intimate Partner Violence” by Achini Jayatilleke, Krishna C. Poudel, and Masamine Jimba; 2434.
  • “The Investigator-Participant Relationship” by Henry S. Richardson, 2435.
  • “No Easy Answers for Physicians Caring for Pregnant Women with Depression” by Bridget M. Kuehn, 2413-2420.
  • “Picturing Medical Progress from Pasteur to Polio: A History of Mass Media Images and Popular Attitudes in America” by Margaret Humphreys, 2492-2493.

Women without partners will soon be able to freeze ova

Women aged 30 to 40 who have no partner but want to conceive once they do, will be permitted, in up to half a year, to have ova removed and frozen until they are ready to become mothers. This major change in Health Ministry regulations will take place following new recommendations by the National Bioethics Council, presented this week to ministry director-general Dr. Eitan Ha’am. (Jerusalem Post)

Obama’s Bioethics Commission – We Still Need Philosophical Debate

Science and ethics are inextricably linked, and it is sometimes unclear whether science can be considered friend or foe. Despite a history riddled with examples of destruction at the hands of scientific ingenuity (the atomic bomb) or simple moral disregard through experimentation (various instances of horrific studies involving human subjects), science today seems to generally fall within the “friend” classification. Battle cries of “cure cancer” and “vaccinate against HIV” greet the valiant scientist in shining armor, as he/she rides off to the laboratory. Yet, both the condemnation of scientific missteps of the past and the extolment of scientific virtue today illustrate the fact that conversations regarding science and ethics are all too often consumed with extremes. There is a paucity of discourse in the middle ground. (Genetic and Engineering News)

‘Retrograde’ closure of bioethics body criticised

The Irish Council for Bioethics is to close at the end of this month after a decision by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to terminate its funding. (The Irish Times)

Dissent over animal to human transplants

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council should have consulted the public before giving the green light to xenotransplantation, says a former member of the Council. (ABC Science)

Stem-cell research leaving minorities behind?

Scientists using stem cells to chase cures for disease and to repair debilitating injuries may be unknowingly focused on only part of the world’s population — mostly that with northern and western European ancestry, according to a new study by University of Michigan researchers. (Detroit Free Press)

Stem cell company launches commercial product

Cellular Dynamics International’s iCell Cardiomyocytes beat like a human heart and can be used early in the development of new drugs to determine whether they will be effective or toxic to people, the company said in a news release. (JSOnline)

Consent issue dogs stem-cell approval

The US expansion of federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell research is being hampered by details in consent forms. Earlier this month, researchers celebrated the government’s approval of funding for a broad variety of work on 13 stem-cell lines — the first approved under the policy announced by US President Barack Obama in March. [Premium (Nature News)]

December 16, 2009

Op-Ed: State shouldn’t over-regulate stem cell research

A year after Michigan voters approved the broader use of donated embryos for stem cell research, some state legislators are seeking to put limits on the science. Since the voters already have spoken, Lansing shouldn’t meddle in this promising research. (The Detroit News)

Irish court rules against woman in frozen embryo appeal

An Irish woman has lost her legal battle to have three of her frozen embryos released to her. The Supreme Court in the Republic of Ireland dismissed the appeal which was taken by a 43-year-old mother. (BBC News)

Glaxo Discloses Doctor Payments For First Time

All the pressure on drugmakers to fess up publicly about the money they pay doctors is, er, paying off. Just take a look at GlaxoSmithKline’s first-ever report on how much it forked over to U.S. doctors and other health professionals for speaking and consulting gigs. For the three months ending in June, the drug maker paid $14.6 million to about 3,700 people, or an average of about $3,900. (NPR)

December 15, 2009

US Healthcare: Ethicist Callahan: ‘Set Limits’ On Health Care

For decades, ethicist Daniel Callahan has argued that expensive medical care be parceled out carefully – essentially rationed – for elderly patients. Now, at 79, his quest to stem late-in-life spending is coming face to face with his own mortality. (eGov monitor)


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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