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September 30, 2011

Bahrain sentences medics who treated protesters

A court in Bahrain has jailed 20 medics who treated protesters for up to 15 years each, after convicting them of incitement to overthrow the regime. (BBC News)

Mexico court upholds Baja California abortion stance

Mexico’s Supreme Court has upheld an amendment to Baja California’s state constitution that stipulates life begins at conception, in a move hailed by anti-abortion campaigners. (BBC News)

Dying cancer patients should not be given ‘futile’ drugs

After a year-long investigation, a panel of leading academics said that the cost of treating cancer to western societies is spiralling out of control, as the ageing population means that increasing numbers of people are growing tumours. (Telegraph)

Thousands in Calif. started school without vaccines

Last year’s class of California kindergartners had a record high percentage of parents who used a personal belief exemption to avoid immunization requirements, a development that concerns state health officials. (USA Today)

The Future Is Now: 23andMe Now Offers All Your Genes For $999

Call it a dramatic sign of how far the field of genetics has come: Google-backed startup 23andMe is now offering consumers the ability to get their genes sequenced for $999. You can see the offer here, at least for a select few who will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. (Forbes)

Draft guidelines for nanomedicine unveiled

Nanomedicines, advocates say, will one day be commonplace. Nanoparticles are already being used in bone-replacement composites and chemotherapy delivery systems, and more sophisticated systems could eventually carry personalized therapies to the precise site in the body where they are needed. (Nature News)

September 29, 2011

Health Overhaul Heads to Justices

The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to decide the fate of its health-care overhaul, setting the stage for arguments at the high court and a probable ruling in the thick of the 2012 presidential campaign. (Wall Street Journal)

Catholics Fight Health Rules

Catholic organizations have ramped up opposition to new federal health-care requirements to cover contraceptive services, saying the rules may prompt them to drop insurance or shut down. (Wall Street Journal)

Dementia Patients Suffer Dubious Hospitalizations

One-fifth of Medicare nursing home patients with advanced Alzheimer’s or other dementias were sent to hospitals or other nursing homes for questionable reasons in their final months, often enduring tube feeding and intensive care that prolonged their demise, a new study found. (ABC News)

‘Patent Trolls’ Target Biotechnology Firms

The biotechnology industry has had its share of woes, but so far ‘patent trolls’ have not numbered among them. These companies, which profit by legally enforcing patents they own rather than developing products, may benefit from a 31 August ruling at a US federal court of appeal in Washington DC. (Scientific American)

Economic Pressures Leading Many to Make Medical Sacrifices

Although she survived lung cancer and has such difficulty breathing she can’t walk more than 60 feet without stopping, Sandy Kintz of Westport, N.Y., can’t afford to take all the medication doctors prescribe for her. (ABC News)

‘Baby Joseph,’ focus of treatment dispute, dies in his sleep

Joseph Maraachli, the infant who became the center of an international end-of-life debate, died peacefully in his sleep at his Windsor, Ontario, home, a spokesperson for the family said Wednesday. (CNN)

Down syndrome’s rewards touted as new test looms

David and Annelies Reilly had dozens of questions swirling in their minds when doctors diagnosed their newborn daughter, Melissa, with Down syndrome. (MSNBC)

Event: Ethics Teacher Training Course

Baku, Azerbaijan
December 12-16, 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.

For more information

September 28, 2011

Event: 5th Annual Bioethics Forum of the Bioethics Society of the English Speaking Caribbean

November 10-11, 2011
Ross University School of Medicine
Portsmouth, Dominica

“Ethics, Equality & Stigma” will feature presentations from regional and international speakers as well as workshops on Setting up Research Ethics Boards and Publishing in Bioethics.

For more information

German Ethics Council Weighs In On Human-Animal Chimeras

Mice carrying human genes are ethically acceptable, but German scientists who want to make transgenic monkeys with human genes should get permission from a national ethics panel, according to recommendations issued today by the German Ethics Council. (Science)

Vaccine campaign to target deadly childhood diarrhoea

Every year, more than one million children under the age of five die as a result of diarrhoea. It is the second-biggest killer in this age group, after pneumonia, and 40% of diarrhoea deaths are caused by rotavirus. (Nature News)

Aboriginal genome analysis comes to grips with ethics

En route from Sydney to Perth, Australia, in the early 1920s, British ethnologist Alfred Cort Haddon acquired a tuft of human hair from a young Aboriginal man. He added it to his sizeable collection of hair from people living around the world. (Nature News)

Hampshire woman has part of limb artificially regrown

A Hampshire woman has become one of the first patients in the country to have part of a limb artificially regrown in a laboratory and put back in her body. (BBC News)

NJ lawmakers: CDC will study, create protocols for student athlete concussions

As awareness continues to grow about sports-related concussions among student athletes, two New Jersey lawmakers say it’s time for schools to start following nationwide protocols governing such injuries. (Washington Post)

Health Insurance Premiums Rise Sharply in 2011

Health insurance premiums shot up 9 percent this year, nearly three times the rate of inflation and the most since 2005, a new study shows. (ABC News)

 

The Bioethics Poll
Should individuals and/or institutions be allowed to patent human genes?
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No
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Which area of research should more money be invested in:
Animal-Human Hybrids
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