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Bioethics 101

Recommended Reading

October 22, 2010

New Issue of Cell Stem Cell is Now Available

Cell Stem Cell (Volume 7, Issue 4, October 2010) is new available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Highly Efficient Reprogramming to Pluripotency and Directed Differentiation of Human Cells with Synthetic Modified mRNA” by L. Warren, et al.
  • “Origin of New Glial Cells in Intact and Injured Adult Spinal Cord” by F. Barnabé-Heider, et al., 470-482.
  • “Identification and Classification of Chromosomal Aberrations in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells” by Y. Mayshar, et al., 521-531.

Nationalizing IRBs for Biomedical Research – and for Justice

I know that when my medical school sends us all an announcement that we’ve broken a record for funded research, I’m supposed to be happy. Wrong week for that. (Bioethics Forum)

All Natural: Why Breasts Are the Key to the Future of Regenerative Medicine

A passing waiter does a double take at this lively slide show, but Calhoun is oblivious. He’s talking excitedly about how these women’s bodies led him and his team of scientists to a discovery in tissue engineering, a process that could well be one of the most momentous medical advances of the 21st century: the use of stem cells—specifically stem-cell-enriched adipose (fat) tissue—to enhance, heal, and rebuild injured or damaged organs. (Wired)

The Most Wanted Surrogates in the World

Cash-strapped and alone on the home front, some military wives are making a living by carrying babies for other couples. What’s behind this emotional choice? And why are they so hotly in demand? (Glamour)

Sterilising drug users is not the answer

I can see why some may consider sterilising addicts as an option for the ever expanding drug-using community here in the UK. Hundreds, maybe thousands of children are born here every year to addicted mums and dads. They’re born suffering withdrawal symptoms, and will often go on to suffer neglect, poverty and the possibility of being removed from their homes and sent to live with people other than their birth parents. This is a very sad fact. (Guardian)

Technology destroys doctor-patient relationships

In front of an audience of nearly 100 people at the Anlyan Center on Cedar Street, Nuland, a worldclass surgeon and author, argued that new technology and the rapid advance of science is distancing physicians from their patients. In his talk, sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Nuland emphasized the importance of empathy when dealing with the ill. (Yale Daily News)

October 21, 2010

New Issue of Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy is Now Available

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (Volume 13, Issue 4, November 2010) is new available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Oughtonomy in healthcare. A Deconstructive Reading of Kantian Autonomy” by Ignaas Devisch, 303 – 312.
  • “Free Will and Psychiatric Assessments of Criminal Responsibility: A Parallel with Informed Consent” by Gerben Meynen, 313 – 320.
  • “Death by Request in the Netherlands: Facts, the Legal Context and Effects on Physicians, Patients and Families” by G. K. Kimsma, 355 – 361.
  • “The cultural Context of Patient’s Autonomy and Doctor’s Duty: Passive Euthanasia and Advance Directives in Germany and Israel” by Silke Schicktanz, Aviad Raz, & Carmel Shalev, 363 – 369.
  • “Doctor-cared Dying Instead of Physician-assisted Suicide: A Perspective from Germany” by Fuat S. Oduncu & Stephan Sahm, 371 – 381.
  • “The role of Religion in the Debate about Physician-assisted Dying” by William E. Stempsey, 383 – 387.
  • “Assisted Dying: The Influence of Public Opinion in an Increasingly Diverse Society” by David Badcott, 389 – 397.

October 20, 2010

New issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association is Now Avaliable

The Journal of the American Medical Association (Volume 304, Issue 14, October 13, 2010) is now available online and through subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Intentional Infection of Vulnerable Populations in 1946-1948: Another Tragic History Lesson” by Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, and Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, Free Full Text.

October 19, 2010

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

The New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 363, Issue 16, October 14, 2010) is new available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Patient-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem-Cell Models for Long-QT Syndrome” by  A. Moretti and Others, 1397-1409.

After the Media Frenzy, Preventing Another ‘Guatemala’

I might easily have missed it. I was being a compulsive historian, going to one more archive (having already been to many) to find more material for what would become the book Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and its Legacy (2009). I was in the University of Pittsburgh’s archives to read through some of the papers of Thomas Parran, the American Surgeon General (1936 – 1948) famed for his fight against syphilis and his book, Shadow on the Land. I realized that John C. Cutler, one of the key physicians in the study in Tuskegee who continued to defend it into the 1990s on the Nova film “Deadly Deception,” also taught at the University of Pittsburgh. He left papers there as well. (Bioethics Forum)

Practicing Patience at the Doctors’ Office

Of all the problems with the U.S. health-care system, one of the most vexing for patients is simply sitting in the doctor’s waiting room. Being ushered into the exam room, only to be left shivering in a paper gown, to wait some more, adds to the aggravation. It’s the health-care equivalent of being stuck on the tarmac in a crowded plane. (Wall Street Journal)

Surgery mix-ups surprisingly common

Unthinkable errors by doctors and surgeons — such as amputating the wrong leg or removing organs from the wrong patient — occur more frequently than previously believed, a new study suggests. Over a period of 6.5 years, doctors in Colorado alone operated on the wrong patient at least 25 times and on the wrong part of the body in another 107 patients, according to the study, which appears in the Archives of Surgery. (CNN)

Polish bishops condemn government plan to subsidize in vitro fertilization

In vitro fertilization is legal in Poland, but the procedure is expensive and a real option only for families with money. After Prime Minister Donald Tusk took office in 2007 he promised state financing for it but the legislation was bogged down in heated debate and controversy. There are several proposals floating in parliament, including plans put up by conservative opposition lawmakers that would make it illegal. (The Associated Press)

Empowering brain science with neuroethics

Neuroethics has established itself as a discipline dedicated to tackling tough practical questions like those of unexpected brain anomalies in research and has been moving age-old debates about mind and brain towards modern theoretical discussions about the understanding of human behaviour enabled by advances in neurosciences. In unusually interdisciplinary collaboration between neuroscientists and scholars from ethics, philosophy, law, and others who focus on the implications and applications of science, consideration of the ethical, legal, social, and policy challenges of neuroscience have been explicitly brought forward. These initiatives are allowing neuroethicists to think about topics well known to other pursuits within the domain of research and bioethics, such as consent, confidentiality, and disclosure, and others unique to the brain, such as personhood, authenticity, agency, and mental states. Through this wide lens, the societal implications both of laboratory studies and clinical neuroscience studies have come into view. (The Lancet)

Is healthcare a right? A balanced opinion

I’ve heard the question posed, is healthcare a right? On the surface, I am inclined to think everyone is entitled to healthcare. As it is in America, even without paying and without insurance, everyone can get his or her most basic or emergent healthcare needs met. Mr. Mathews pointed out that a person without insurance still gets an ambulance ride to the nearest hospital if they need it. Dr. Paul raised the question of who has to pay for the healthcare, questioning the morality of forcing someone else to pay for another person’s healthcare, and the morality of not paying for your own healthcare. (KevinMD)

Japanese researchers report on liver transplantation studies using animal and iPS cells

wo research teams from the Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine (Okayama, Japan) have reported breakthrough studies in liver cell transplantation. One team found that the technical breakthrough in creating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) from mouse somatic cells (nonsex cells) in vitro had “implications for overcoming immunological rejection.” Whereas a second team using liver cell xenotransplantation – transplanting cells of one species into another (in this case transplanting pig liver cells into mice) – found that transplanted liver cells from widely divergent species can function to correct acute liver failure and prolong survival. (R&D Mag)

The next generation of stem cells

Embryonic stem cells behave very differently outside the pull of Earth’s gravity, researchers suggest. (PhysOrg)

October 18, 2010

Revolution Postponed: Why the Human Genome Project Has Been Disappointing

The Human Genome Project has failed so far to produce the medical miracles that scientists promised. Biologists are now divided over what, if anything, went wrong—and what needs to happen next. (Scientific American)

More Legal Jousting in Stem Cell Case

he two sides in the ongoing court battle over stem cell research filed another batch of legal documents yesterday in response to court-ordered deadlines. Neither side added much to their previous arguments. But for readers following the nitty-gritty details of the lawsuit: (ScienceInsider)

Suit Against Health Law Will Move To Trial After Florida Judge’s Ruling

“In a foreboding ruling for the Obama administration, a federal judge in Florida decreed Thursday that a legal challenge to the new health care law by officials from 20 states could move forward …,” The New York Times reports: “‘At this stage in the litigation, this is not even a close call,’ wrote Judge Roger Vinson of Federal District Court in Pensacola, Fla., before asserting that the insurance mandate was an unprecedented exercise of Congressional authority. ‘Of course, to say that something is ‘novel’ and ‘unprecedented’ does not necessarily mean that it is ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘improper,’ Judge Vinson continued.” (Kaiser Health News)

Healing faith?

Research explores whether spirituality may be good for the body as well as the soul. (The Boston Globe)


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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