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May 31, 2011

Unicef Reveals Vaccine Prices

Unicef, one of the world’s largest vaccine buyers, is for the first time publishing the prices it pays individual companies for immunizations, a step public health campaigners hope will boost competition and drive down prices for all vaccine buyers. (Wall Street Journal)

Egg Freezing Puts The Biological Clock On Hold

As more women postpone motherhood into their 30s, even 40s, they’re hitting that age-old constraint: the biological clock. Now, technology is dangling the possibility that women can stop that clock, at least for a while. (NPR)

Abortion soars among women in 40s

Experts said the dramatic rise reflects increased sexual activity among older women, and higher numbers of single women and divorcees – who are far more likely than previous generations to have casual sex or short-term relationships. (Telegraph)

Mexico Bans Discrimination Against the Disabled

Mexican President Felipe Calderón signed into law a measure to extend anti-discrimination protections to people with disabilities. (Fox News)

Unapproved stem-cell treatments causing concern

Doctors at top U.S. medical centers are increasingly worried about a flourishing stem-cell underground where patients get expensive, untested and unregulated treatments that are promoted as stem-cell therapy. (USA Today)

May 27, 2011

A 21-Week-Old Baby Survives and Doctors Ask, How Young is Too Young to Save?

Last month, a baby girl widely considered the most premature European baby ever to survive left a German hospital and headed home. Frieda Mangold was born more than four months early, at 21 weeks and five days. She weighed a smidge over a pound. (TIME)

Critics: Military should cover abortion after rape

Though rape is a problem of deep concern to the U.S. military, its health plan doesn’t cover abortions for victims who become pregnant — a policy that indignant critics are now pushing to change. (AP)

Canada must make ‘medical tourism’ part of health-care system: Report

Two years ago, Brendan King turned to a medical-tourism company to help book his trip. The Campbell River, B.C., man was on his way to Costa Rica to receive a controversial treatment for his multiple sclerosis. The “liberation” treatment isn’t offered in Canada, and many MS patients have gone abroad for the procedure. (Montreal Gazette)

Skin cells ‘turned into neurons’ by US scientists

A Californian team say they have managed to convert human skin cells directly into functioning brain cells. (BBC News)

Should we be taking a closer look at the potential dangers of nanotechnology?

It is impossible to deny the potential and excitement that nanoscale technology offers for the future. Whether it is in aerospace materials, medical treatments or improving computer devices, nanotechnology cannot be ignored. (The Guardian)

May 26, 2011

France set to uphold curbs on embryonic stem cells

France looked set on Thursday to maintain its curbs on human embryonic stem cell research after the conservative government fought off a parliamentary bid to liberalize the country’s bioethics law. (Reuters)

Besides Noise, Vuvuzelas May Spread Airborne Germs

Stuck between two unruly fans at a ballgame, one drunkard spewing more spit and vitriol at the ump with every heckle and the other with a ear-blasting vuvuzela, which one is worse? (Wired)

Feeding tube risks for dementia patients often not discussed

The decision to insert a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube in a family member with advanced dementia is often made with inadequate discussion of the risks involved, said a study published May 3 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. (American Medical News)

Drugging the Vulnerable: Atypical Antipsychotics in Children and the Elderly

Pharmaceutical companies have recently paid out the largest legal settlements in U.S. history — including the largest criminal fines ever imposed on corporations — for illegally marketing antipsychotic drugs. (TIME)

U.S. Measles Caseload Hits a 15-Year High

So far this year, 118 cases of measles have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — the highest number for the January-to-May period since 1996 and double the median number of yearly cases reported from 2001 to 2008. (TIME)

Smartphones are messing up home life

More than a third of working folk check their mobile devices in the morning before touching a toothbrush, a new study says. (MSNBC)

Two Devices Treat Alzheimer’s

Pharmaceutical companies developing Alzheimer’s drugs have faced one hurdle after another. The most effective treatments are difficult to get into the brain, while those that show success in animals have yet to benefit humans. (Technology Review)

Ads Implant False Memories

My episodic memory stinks. All my birthday parties are a blur of cake and presents. I’m notorious within my family for confusing the events of my own childhood with those of my siblings. I’m like the anti-Proust. And yet, I have this one cinematic memory from high-school. (Wired)

NFL Broadens Player Safety Rules, Infuriates Players

It’s said that no good deed goes unpunished, and so it is with the NFL trying to cut down on the traumatic brain injuries and concussions that have dominated football discussion for two years now. (Wired)

May 25, 2011

Military staff to qualify for IVF

The military covenant will include a guarantee of three cycles of IVF treatment for personnel who need it, the Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced yesterday. (The Independent)

‘The process is beautiful’: Chilling boast of ‘New Dr Death’ after assisting almost 300 suicides

A hugely controversial doctor who has assisted the suicides of almost 300 patients across the country has spoken of the ‘beauty’ involved in helping ill people die. (Mail Online)


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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