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Bioethics 101

Recommended Reading

March 31, 2011

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

The Journal of the American Medical Association (Volume 305, Issue 5, February 2, 2011) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Association of Hospice Agency Profit Status with Patient Diagnosis, Location of Care, and Length of Stay” by Melissa W. Wachterman; Edward R. Marcantonio; Roger B. Davis; Ellen P. McCarthy, 472-479.

March 30, 2011

Slate: all-star conversation about childhood obesity at the Cleveland Clinic on April 21

For the last month, Slate readers have been brainstorming and debating ideas for reducing childhood obesity. Now we’re inviting you to a conversation about these ideas with the top thinkers, scientists, doctors, political leaders, and policymakers in the field. On April 21 at the Cleveland Clinic, we’ll be holding a morning discussion about the childhood obesity crisis. (Slate)

New Issue of Bioethics is Now Available

Bioethics (Volume 25, Issue 3, March 2011) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “On the Supposed Moral Harm of Selecting for Deafness” by Melissa Seymour Fahmy, 128-136.
  • “Equality and the Treatment-Enhancement Distinction” by Nils Holtug, 137-144.
  • “Reconsidering the Value of Consent in Biobank Research” by Judy Allen and Beverly McNamara, 155-166.
  • “The Ongoing Charity of Organ Donation. Contemporary English Sunni Fatwas on Organ Donation and Blood Transfusion” by Stef Van Den Branden and Bert Broeckaert, 167-175.

March 29, 2011

Tumors follow stem cells to bone

A stem cell homing signal may explain why so many cancers spread to bone tissue. Researchers have identified a molecular mechanism that may explain why so many cancers spread to patients’ bones — they piggyback on signaling pathways that hematopoietic stem cells use to home to the bone marrow for self-renewal. (The Scientist)

Event: UNESCO Ethics Teacher Training Course

Inter University Center in Dubrovnik, Republic of Croatia
July 4-8, 2011

Ethics Teacher Training Course in Belgrade, Serbia, organized in cooperation with the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

June 27, – July 1, 2011

The Ethics Teacher Training Courses (ETTC) project is an important component of UNESCO’s capacity-building strategy in bioethics, targeting the young generation of experts and educators engaged in teaching ethics at various academic faculties and institutions around the world, who can serve as agents for expanding and improving ethics teaching programmes in their countries in the near future.

The main objectives of the Ethics Teachers Training Course are to:

·         Introduce the participants to the means and resources of teaching ethics;

·         Teach the participants the methodologies and methods of teaching ethics; and

·         Assess and provide feedback on the participants’ demonstrations of teaching skills under the guidance of experienced teachers.

For more information

New Issue of The American Journal of Bioethics is Now Available

The American Journal of Bioethics (Volume 10, Issue 12, 2010) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Medical Tourism and Bariatric Surgery: More Moral Challenges” by Jeremy Snyder and Valorie A. Crooks, 28 – 30.
  • “Rethinking Roe v. Wade: Defending the Abortion Right in the Face of Contemporary Opposition” by Bertha Alvarez Manninen, 33 – 46.

Access to MS treatment criticised

Debbie Purdy says that guidance on assisted suicide issued in 2009 is being “undermined” because the quality of life of MS sufferers is being damaged by inconsistent access to medication. (The Press Association)

(Mis)Understanding Exploitation

The term “exploitation” is notoriously hard to define. Yet it is frequently invoked to frame moral concerns about clinical research. Recently, a group of influential authors have proposed a so-called nonexploitation framework for the ethics of randomized controlled trials that appears to address these concerns. (The Hastings Center)

The politics of making babies

The media is awash with stories of so-called ‘‘fashion babies’’. Whether we’re talking about Elton and David’s son Zachary, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s ‘‘gestational carrier’’ or Brisbane couple Melissa Keevers and Rosemary Nolan’s new quintuplets, everyone is apparently entitled to moralise about babies born by artificial reproductive technology or what columnist Miranda Devine calls ‘‘the latest fashion accessory … or political statement’’. (Sunday Morning Herald/a>)

Most States Unclear About Storage, Use of Babies’ Blood Samples

The challenge of reining in the rising costs of the Medicare Program is particularly thorny because it confronts a recalcitrant societal tension between the necessity for cost control and the value of open-ended technology use for life extension in the later years. (Newswise)

Medicare’s Embedded Ethics: The Challenge Of Cost Control In An Aging Society

The challenge of reining in the rising costs of the Medicare Program is particularly thorny because it confronts a recalcitrant societal tension between the necessity for cost control and the value of open-ended technology use for life extension in the later years. (Health Affairs Blog)

Many Hispanics hesitant about organ donation

Hispanics, especially first- and second-generation Mexican-Americans, are less likely to donate organs than Americans as a whole, according to organ donation experts. (Reuters)

Idaho House sends assisted suicide ban to governor for signature

Republican Rep. Lynn Luker of Boise argued that outlawing assisted suicide was necessary to help prevent abuse of elderly residents by their caregivers who are seeking to profit from their patients’ demise. (The Republic)

FDA approval of drug to prevent preemies prompts price jump from $10 to $1,500

In addition to making the drug unaffordable for some women, experts fret about the added costs for insurers that choose to pay for it, especially Medicaid programs already being slashed in states struggling with deficits. (The Washington Post)

51 died under Washington’s assisted-suicide law in 2010

The physician-assisted suicide total represents a 42% rise from the 36 doctor-aided deaths in 2009, though the law didn’t take effect until March of that year. In Oregon, the only other state with a law authorizing physician-assisted suicide, 65 patients died last year after taking life-ending medication prescribed by their doctors, according to a state report released in January. Oregon has allowed physician-assisted suicide since 1998. (American Medical News)

March 28, 2011

On Method and Resolution in Philosophical Bioethics

A large tranche of contemporary bioethical inquiry is self-consciously focused on purpose and methodology. Bioethics is a field of disparate disciplines, and it is not always clear what role the philosopher plays in the wider scheme. Even when philosophical reflections can, in principle, find application in the real world (and often, in bioethics, there is too heady a degree of abstraction for this), there can be difficulty in finding sound resolution between the competing perspectives. [Premium (Cambridge Journals Online)]

Reductionism and daily medical practice

The results of the application of reductionism in modern biomedical research and practice has been nothing short of miraculous, but while wondrous for some things, reductionism alone is incomplete. (KevinMD)

Europe-Wide Survey Reveals Priorities For End-Of-Life Care

A survey of over 9,000 people in 7 different countries across Europe has shown that the majority would want to improve the quality of life in the time they had left, rather than extend it. (redOrbit)

Europe rules against stem-cell patents

Stem-cell researchers in Europe are reeling after the Court of Justice of the European Communities issued an opinion last week questioning the ethics of their work and threatening to ban them from patenting procedures that involve human embryonic-stem-cell lines. Some scientists fear that the opinion could also prompt European countries to tighten their legislation on such research, or ban it altogether. (Nature News)

Children Conceived After Death of Parent Face Uphill Battle for Inheritance Rights

The use of assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination, is becoming more widespread among U.S. troops and cancer patients as they are increasingly banking their sperm to prevent a premature death or sterility-inducing injury from allowing them to have children, observers say. (Fox News)

UK: Budget boost for clinical trials

New body should end bizarre paradox in medicine and make trials cheaper and easier to run. (The Guardian)


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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