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Bioethics 101

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September 30, 2010

Event: The Second International Congress of Bioethics

Presented by the National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

Pajoohesh, km 15, Tehran – Karaj Highway,
Tehran, Iran, P.O. Box: 14965/161

Abstract Submission Deadline: November 1, 2010

Registration Deadline: November 19, 2010

Following the “First International Congress of Bioethics”, which was
sponsored by the National Institute of Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology (NIGEB) in cooperation with UNESCO and other national
organizations and was held from 26- 28nd March, 2005 in Tehran; and with
the experiences that were gained from the first Congress, the National
Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NIGEB) is planning to
present the “Second International Congress of Bioethics with emphasis on
Morality, Spirituality and Creationism ” from 20-22 November 2010, in
collaboration with ISSESCO and a number of eminent and prestigious
clerical and theological institutes, universities and other regional and
international organizations.

Main subjects of the congress are as follows:
•       Theoretical and philosophical principles and basis of Bioethics
•       Bioethics in Islam and other Abrahamic religions
•       Applied topics of Bioethics

For more information


U.S. Reviews FDA Scientists’ Complaints

Federal health department inspectors have reopened a review of complaints by Food and Drug Administration scientists who say they were pressured by their managers to approve some high-tech medical devices, overriding their concerns about potential harm to patients. (Wall Street Journal)

IVF influences baby’s sex: study

Australian researchers have shown that assisted reproductive technology influences male-female birth ratios. (ABC Sydney)

Dementia is health crisis of the century

The global cost of dementia will exceed $600 billion in 2009 alone, according to a new report. But it is not just the economic toll which is reason for alarm. (BBC News)

New research could end organ donation

Until now the researchers have only tested the implant on lab mice. After a two-week period, both bones and fat like tissue from the same implant began growing, making the Danish researchers the first ever to successfully get stem cells to develop in two different directions at the same time. This is necessary as human organs are always made of several different types of cell and tissue types. (Copenhagen Post)

Euthanasia bill introduced to parliament

AUSTRALIAN Greens leader Bob Brown has kept his promise to introduce legislation to parliament allowing the NT and the ACT to make laws around voluntary euthanasia. (Herald Sun)

September 29, 2010

Medical Research Images Frequently Reveal Unrelated Abnormalities in Study Subjects

Researchers lack a standard about when to disclose unanticipated findings to study participants and their doctors, raising ethical–and financial–dilemmas. (Scientific American)

Reprogramming the Ethics of Med Students

A few days ago, the Mayo Clinic released the results of a study on the relationship between burnout and ethics among students at seven medical schools across the country. The study’s first result, which was not surprising, was that more than half of the students reported burnout. More surprising was its finding that 40% of 3rd and 4th year students admitted to “some form of unprofessional conduct in relation to patient care,” such as saying they’d done an exam when, in fact, they hadn’t. (The Atlantic)

Prescribing and government expense

I was honoured again this year to be invited by the Italian College of Family Doctors who held once again, in Caserta, a conference on medico-legal issues. I was asked to invite two colleagues from the UK and Holland. We heatedly discussed the gatekeeper role in the prescription of medicines in the respective countries. Now with the new proposal on the primary health care reform in the hands of cabinet, and what with some debates in the past on whether doctors receive compensation for prescribing, this issue should be addressed again. I wish to look at the situation in the UK and that in Italy, two contrasting states, where doctors are very upset about the moral position they are put in, especially because they are policed by the guardia di finanza, income tax police, as it were. (The Malta Independent)

Health Insurers Finally Get Some Oversight

Over the past decade, Americans have seen what happens when insurance companies have free rein. The cost of health insurance has more than doubled, while millions of hard-working Americans lost their coverage or drained their savings to keep up with premiums. Employers—big and small—have struggled mightily to absorb these cost increases and have been losing the fight. (Wall Street Journal)

Ruling allows stem cell research to continue during appeal

An appeals court has permanently lifted an injunction imposed by a federal judge, thereby allowing federally funded embryonic stem-cell research to continue while the Obama administration appeals the judge’s original ruling against use of public funds in such research. (CNN)

September 28, 2010

New Issue of Stem Cells is Now Available

Stem Cells is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Law, Ethics, Religion, and Clinical Translation in the 21st Century – A Discussion with Andrew Webster” by Majlinda Lako, Alan O Trounson, and Susan Rainey Daher.

New Issue of Bioethics is Now Available

Bioethics (Volume 24, Issue 8, October 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Equality and the Duty to Retard Human Ageing” by Colin Farrelly, 384-394.
  • “A Right to Reproduce?” by Muireann Quigley, 403-411.
  • “The Duty to Die and the Burdensomeness of Living” by Michael Cholbi, 412-420.
  • “Inductive Risk and Justice in Kidney Allocation” by Andrea Scarantino, 421-430.
  • “Risk Detection in Individual Health Care: Any Limits?” by Ger Palmboom and Dick Willems, 431-438.
  • “What ‘Empirical Turn in Bioethics’?” by Samia Hurst, 439-444.

September 24, 2010

When Does Life Belong to the Living?

With thousands of people on the waiting lists for organs, doctors are bending the rules about when to declare that a donor is dead. Is it ethical to take one life and give it to another? (Scientific American)

Stem Cells That Save Big Pharma a Bundle

Researchers hope they can use human tissue created from stem cells to help identify potentially dangerous side-effects from drugs under development before human trials. (BusinessWeek)

This Genetically Altered Salmon Is No Fish Story

For 15 years, AquaBounty Technologies has tried to win U.S. approval to sell a genetically modified salmon that can reach full size up to twice as fast as its naturally occurring brethren. Now the effort by the Waltham (Mass.) company may be drawing to a close. U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers last week held what may be the agency’s final hearing on whether AquaBounty’s salmon is safe to eat. (BusinessWeek)

Biohackers aim to open Silicon Valley lab for group research and lessons

The Silicon Valley-based club BioCurious, seeking to bring life sciences within reach of do-it-yourself amateurs, is raising money to rent a local lab where anyone can learn how to extract their own DNA, test the waters of San Francisco Bay or insert a fluorescent gene into bacteria. (San Jose Mercury News)

First clinical trial involving human embryonic stem cells gets underway in Chicago

Enrollment has begun for the first clinical trial to test a therapy developed from human embryonic stem cells.

The trial’s primary aim is to assess the safety of Geron Corp.’s experimental oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, which have been in development for about a decade. They were derived from some of the earliest human embryonic stem cells ever created. (Los Angeles Times)

Federal Funding for Human Cloning?

It’s baa-ack! Just when you thought the political fight over federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell research (ESCR) was over, United States District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that President Obama’s ESCR policy violates the “Dickey-Wicker Amendment,” a federal law barring federal funding of “the creation of a human embryo . . . for research purposes” and “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed.” In response, a group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would authorize federal funding for human cloning. (National Review Online)

September 23, 2010

Cyborg professor looks to future of bionic technology

In 1998, Kevin Warwick became what some people call “the world’s first cyborg.” To be exact, Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at Reading University, had a radio frequency ID chip implanted in his arm. Years before RFID chips became common, this small implant allowed him to turn on lights by snapping his fingers, or open doors without touching them. (

‘Savior sibling’ raises a decade of life-and-death questions

Ten years ago a little girl from Colorado made medical history when her parents and her doctor at the University of Minnesota used genetic screening to create a baby that could save her life. (Star Tribune)


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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