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Bioethics 101

Recommended Reading

June 30, 2010

New Issue of Harvard Theological Review is Now Available

Harvard Theological Review (Volume 103, Issue 03, July 2010) is now available.

Articles Include:

  • “Reintegrating Care for the Dying, Body and Soul” by Michael J. Balboni and Tracy A. Balboni

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

JAMA (Volume 303, Number 24, June 23, 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “Health Care Reform-A Historic Moment in US Social Policy” by Elenora E. Connors and Lawrence O. Gostin
  • “Genomic Analysis of Mental Illness: A Changing Landscape” by Jon McClellan and Mary-Claire King
  • “Down Syndrome-New Prospects for an Ancient Disorder” by Stewart L. Einfeld and Rebecca Brown
  • “Surgical Care Improvement: Should Performance Measures have Performance Measures” by Mary T. Hawn
  • Book Review: “The Ethics of Consent: Theory and Practice” by Robert M. Veatch

German Court Liberalizes Rules for Right to Die Cases

In a landmark ruling that will make it easier for people to allow relatives and other loved ones to die, Germany’s highest court ruled Friday that it was not a criminal offense to cut off life-sustaining treatment for a patient. (New York Times)

Some blind patients regain sight via stem cells

Dozens of people who were blinded or otherwise suffered severe eye damage when they were splashed with caustic chemicals have had their sight restored with transplants of their own stem cells, a stunning success for the burgeoning cell-therapy field, Italian researchers reported last week. (Washington Post)

The Medical-Industrial Complex

Three years ago, the Department of Justice took stock of the orthopedic medical device industry–represented by the five big makers of orthopedic implants–and concluded that it was rampantly violating federal anti-kickback laws with the bribes and favors it was offering to surgeons. Such bribes often came in the form of training grants for those just starting out in the profession, or as lucrative consulting contracts for influential academic orthopedists. (The Atlantic)

H3Africa, a Refreshingly Ethical Research Endeavor in Africa

In the realm of biomedical ethics, there is certainly no shortage of topics to be discussed. It is true that we could converse, debate, and conclude until we were blue in the face. In many instances, certainly in the United States, domestic issues abound such that conversation less often wanders to issues beyond our borders. Faced with controversy over stem cell research funding, gene patents, and the like, we must not become so absorbed in our own debates that we fail to acknowledge and address the ethical concerns arising from research on foreign soil. So let’s take a moment and turn our eyes towards the African continent. (GEN)

New Issue of Nature is Now Available

Nature (Volume 465, Number 7301, June 24, 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • Editorial: “A Pandemic of Hindsight?”
  • “Strange Lesions after Stem-Cell Therapy” by David Cyranoski
  • “Human Genome at Ten: Science after the Sequence” by Declan Butler

June 29, 2010

New Issue of The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics is Now Available

Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics (Volume 38, Issue 2, Summer 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “Embryo Stem Cell Research: Ten Years of Controversy” by John A. Robertson
  • “Why Scientific Details Are Important When Novel Technologies Encounter Law, Politics, and Ethics” by Lawrence Goldstein
  • “Old and New Ethics in the Stem Cell Debate” by Richard M. Doerflinger
  • “Creating Embryos for Use in Stem Cell Research” by Dan W. Brock
  • “Resolving Ethical Issues in Stem Cell Clinical Trials: The Example of Parkinson Disease” by Bernard Lo and Lindsay Parham
  • “Allowing Innovative Stem Cell-Based Therapies Outside of Clinical Trials: Ethical and Policy Challenges” by Insoo Hyun
  • Stem Cell Research and Economic Promises” by Timothy Caulfield
  • “Diagnosing Consciousness: Neuroimaging, Law, and the Vegetative State” by Carl E. Fisher and Paul S. Appelbaum
  • “Damage Control: Unintended Pregnancy in the United States Military” by Kathryn L. Ponder and Melissa Nothnagle
  • “Teaching Health Law: Teaching Law and Medicine on the Interdisciplinary Cutting Edge: Assisted Reproductive Technologies” by Susan B. Apel
  • “Recent Case Developments in Health Law” by Kate Wevers

Misgivings Grow Over Corporate Role in Keeping Doctors Current

In the latest effort to break up the often cozy relationship between doctors and the medical industry, the University of Michigan Medical School has become the first to decide that it will no longer take any money from drug and device makers to pay for coursework doctors need to renew their medical licenses. (New York Times)

Philippines to Set Up Donor Register to Curb Illegal Organ Trade

Over the past decade the Philippines has gained an international reputation as a hub for the illegal traffic in human organs from living donors, with some hospitals catering for wealthy foreign patients requiring kidney transplants. (MedIndia)

Organ donation: An opt-out policy?

A suburban New York assemblyman whose daughter is a two-time kidney transplant recipient wants to flip New York’s organ-donation system on its head by presuming people are donors unless they indicate otherwise. (USA TODAY)

New Issue of The New England Journal of Medicine is Now Available

NEJM (Volume 362, Number 25, June 24, 2010) is now available.

Articles Include:

  • “Buying Health Care, the Individual Mandate, and the Constitution” by Sara Rosenbaum and Jonathan Gruber
  • “Is Computed Tomography Safe?” by Rebecca Smith-Bindman
  • “The Uncritical Use of High-Tech Medical Imaging” by Bruce J. Hillman and Jeff C. Goldsmith

Extraordinary Session of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), Paris, France (28-30 June 2010)

The members of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology will convene in Extraordinary Session at UNESCO headquarters in Paris (Room XI, Fontenoy Building) on 28-30 June, 2010.

COMEST is an advisory body and forum of reflection composed of 18 independent experts and 11 ex officio representatives of international scientific bodies. The Commission is mandated to formulate ethical principles that could provide decision-makers with criteria than go beyond economics.

The agenda will focus on environmental ethics with an emphasis on ethical principles in relation to climate change, an interim report on which will be adopted at the Session. In addition, questions concerning the ethics of science, nanotechnologies, and converging technologies will be an integral part of the programme.

The session will be open to the public with the exception of the morning of the 28 June and the afternoon of 30 June. Advance registration, which is free of charge, is required for persons wishing to attend the Session.

John Crowley
COMEST Secretariat
1 rue Miollis 75732 Paris Cedex 15 FRANCE
Tel.: +33 (0)1 45 68 38 28
Fax: +33 (0)1 45 68 57 24


New Issue of Nature Neuroscience is Now Available

Nature Neuroscience (Volume 13, Issue 7, July 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • Editorial: “Culture Clash on Consent”
  • “Genome-Wide Association Studies: The Key to Unlocking Neurodegeneration?” by Sonia Gandhi and Nicholas W. Wood
  • “What Can Pluripotent Stem Cells Teach Us About Neurodegenerative Diseases?” by Hynek Wichterle and Serge Przedborski

June 28, 2010

Britain’s IVF free-for-all

Britain’s National Health System just may lift a controversial age limit on free in-vitro fertilization (IVF). As it is, all infertile women between the ages of 23 and 39 can receive three free cycles of treatment through the national service — and the potential change would extend those services to women over the age of 40. The move is catalyzed by the Equality Act, which passed in the U.K. last year and broadly expands anti-discrimination laws. (Salon)

FDA vs. antibiotics for animal growth

The Food and Drug Administration issued a document Monday stating that antibiotics important for human health shouldn’t be used to help animals grow faster. Officials say it’s the beginning of a process to halt their use in meat production. But critics say the agency has made similar statements before, yet nothing came of it. (USA TODAY)

Birth of a booming baby industry

Childless Australian couples — heterosexual and gay — are looking to Indian women who are prepared to rent out their wombs for the chance to improve the lives and fortunes of their own families. (The Australian)

June 25, 2010

New Issue of New England Journal of Medicine is Now Available

NEJM (Volume 362, Number 23, June 10, 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “Geographic Variation in Medicare Drug Spending” by Y. Zhang and Others
  • “The Havasupai Indian Tribe Case – Lessons for Research Involving Stored Biologic Samples” by M.M. Mello and L.E. Wolf
  • “Health Insurance Exchanges – Key Link in a Better-Value Chain” by J. Kingsdale

New Issue of Nature Medicine is Now Available

Nature Medicine (Volume 16, Number 6, June 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “An Unhealthy Disregard,” 609.
  • “Data Handling Errors Spur Debate Over Clinical Trial” by Stu Hutson, 618.
  • “Health Reform Unhealthy for Pharma,” 618.
  • “Stem Cell Decision Could Rewrite Rules of Patentability” by Alla Katsnelson, 619.
  • “The State of Clinical Research in America,” 621.
  • “Straight Talk With…George Daley” by Elie Dolgin, 624.
  • “US Cancer Trials May Go the Way of the Oldsmobile” by David Dilts, 632.

Book Review

  • “A Shameful System of Research – Contested Medicine: Cancer Research and the Military by Gerald Kutcher” by Audra J. Wolfe, 633.

New Issue of Stem Cells is Now Available

Stem Cells (Volume 28, Issue 6, 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “European Scientific, Ethical, and Legal Issues on Human Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine” by Outi Hovatta, Miodrag Stojkovic, Maria Nogueira, and Isabel Varela-Nieto, 1005-1007.

Scientists Build a Rat Lung

A team led by researchers from Yale University took apart rats’ lungs and rebuilt them with new cells in a glass jar. When transplanted into live rats for a few hours, the new organs successfully exchanged oxygen and carbon dioxide, just as natural lungs do. The findings are published in the online version of the journal Science. (Wall Street 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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