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Bioethics 101

Recommended Reading

October 29, 2010

New issue of Neurology is Now Avaliable

Neurology (Volume 67, Issue 10, October, 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Safety and Immunological Effects of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” by Dimitrios Karussis, Clementine Karageorgiou, Adi Vaknin-Dembinsky, Basan Gowda-Kurkalli, John M. Gomori, Ibrahim Kassis, Jeff W. M. Bulte, Panayiota Petrou, Tamir Ben-Hur, Oded Abramsky, and Shimon Slavin, 1187-1194.

HPV Vaccine Use in Boys Is Debated

Federal vaccine advisers on Thursday began the delicate task of deciding whether two vaccines against sexually transmitted infections that can result in genital warts and cancers should be used more widely in boys and young men. (New York Times)

Abolishing anonymous sperm donation could kill donations: fertility experts

Fertility experts are warning that the Vancouver trial examining the rights of children conceived through artificial insemination could have major repercussions for a reproductive industry already facing a semen shortage. (CBC News)

October 28, 2010

Brain-computer interface used to quickly call up images

Reverse image searching with your brain is now for real, so long as you’re looking for either Josh Brolin or Marilyn Monroe and can provide your own set of intracranial electrodes. In a recent experiment, researchers hooked twelve people up to a game where they fought to display a particular image on a screen by firing the correct neurons in their brain. (Ars Technica)

Technology and the People

On day two of TED MED, running between Oct. 27 and 30, three themes stood out: the difference between children and adults for therapies; the connection between animals, people and disease; and how genetics will shape healthcare. (Scientific American)

Nanotech’s impacts on Africa must be carefully considered

Recommendations that attention should be paid to nanotechnology’s ethical, economic and social risks for Africa, put forward by a regional workshop in Côte d’Ivoire, must be built on, says Kathy Jo Wetter in Pambazuka News. (SciDev.Net)

Freezing ovaries ‘could boost fertility’ in older women

Young women should freeze parts of their ovaries if they want to postpone motherhood until later in life, a US fertility expert has said. (BBC News)

Ten uses for your body after you die

Like many Americans, you probably think you’re pretty charitable. Perhaps you donate money to the needy or ill, give away your old clothes, volunteer at your child’s school or participate in holiday gift drives in December. But you may be missing something. As you’re charitable in life, you could also be charitable in death. This holiday season — Halloween — you could start thinking about a kind of ghoulish donation: your body. (CNN)

Mental health patients ‘locked up in hospitals without legal authority’

Health regulator says blanket measures introduced in the name of patient security may infringe human rights law. (The Guardian)

Teens have right to consent to services – without parents’ OK

In New York state, adolescents can agree to and be given care and treatment for health-care issues ranging from anxiety, smoking and eating disorders to prenatal care and abortion. (Record Online)

Nurse caught on CCTV turning off paralysed patient’s life support machine

A paralysed patient has been left severely brain damaged after a nurse switched off his life support machine in an incident captured on CCTV. (Telegraph)

October 27, 2010

Court case seeks to strip sperm donors’ anonymity

Two years after launching a court action with the hope of learning the identity of her biological father, Olivia Pratten will be in court Monday for the beginning of a trial that could have major implications for people conceived through artificial insemination – and donors involved in the process. (The Globe and Mail)

Spurious Accusations Against Stem Cell Researchers

Stem cell researchers in Boston and in Stockholm confronted a bizarre and uncomfortable situation last week: accusations of scientific fraud from an anonymous e-mail address, sent not only to the researchers in question but also to other prominent stem cell biologists, several scientific journals, and reporters. (ScienceInsider)

‘IVF destroyed my family’

When Helen James embarked on fertility treatment in pursuit of her longed-for ‘perfect’ family, she didn’t anticipate how all-consuming her quest would become. Then, when her marriage began to crumble under the pressure, she found herself facing the most difficult decision of her life. (Mail Online

Scientists probe nose, find stem cells

Scrapings taken from inside the nose – from the olfactory system, which provides the sense of smell – were found to contain adult stem cells very similar to those that would be active inside the brain. (The Age)

Buying up baby: Why are experts dragging their heels when it comes to cheap IVF?

Those who can afford it pay up to £10,000 for IVF, but a gentler technique, priced at just £174, could soon be available to all. So why are experts dragging their heels? Jeremy Laurance counts the real cost behind the fertility industry’s pursuit of profit. (The Independent)

Bioethics committee against regular freezing of embryos

The government-appointed Bioethics Consultative Committee said today that while it backed most of the recommendations on assisted procreation made by a parliamentary committee, it disagreed with the regular freezing of embryos. (Times of Malta)

The ethics of direct-to-consumer genetic testing

A report into a 1-year investigation of genetic testing firms selling directly to consumers by the US General Accounting Office (GAO) concluded in July that test results were “misleading, and of little or no practical use”. As a result of the investigation, the US Food and Drug Administration is in the process of tightening regulations for firms that sell home genetic testing kits. (The Lancet)

Journals Should Disclose Revenue Sources

Journals have a vested interest in the studies they publish — both in profits from reprints and increases in their impact factor — and should disclose potential conflicts just as their authors and reviewers must do, researchers said. (MedPage Today)

Beware the miracle cure

Ethicists say patients, often carried away by glowing reports of the procedure’s successes, need to be carefully briefed on DBS’s unusual side effects, which have included mania, personality changes, marital discord and increased rates of suicide. (National Post)

October 25, 2010

New issue of Journal of Academic Ethics is Now Avaliable

Journal of Academic Ethics (Volume 8, Issue 2, June, 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Medical Ethics Education: A Survey of Opinion of Medical Students in a Nigerian University” by Temidayo O. Ogundiran and Clement A. Adebamowo, 85-93.


The Bioethics Poll
Should individuals and/or institutions be allowed to patent human genes?
Yes, with some qualifications

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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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