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October 31, 2011

No testing of anthrax vaccine on children _ for now _ federal advisory board tells regulators

Should the anthrax vaccine be tested in children? It will be a while longer before the government decides. (Washington Post)

Obesity Fuels Custody Fights

The nation’s waistline is expanding, and so too is the role of obesity in child-custody battles in the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)

World population hits 7 billion on Oct. 31, or thereabouts

It took only a dozen years for humanity to add another billion people to the planet, reaching the milestone of 7 billion Monday — give or take a few months (LA Times)

Stem-cell find breathes new life into lung repair

There is new hope for heavy smokers, people with asthma and those with chronic lung scarring. Stem cells have been discovered that rapidly rebuild alveoli, the tiny air sacs in lungs – a finding that could herald new treatments for people with damaged lungs (New Scientist)

A Child in Time

The entryway to the neonatal intensive-care unit in my hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, is lined with photographs of children who were born prematurely. Jeremiah, delivered at twenty-four weeks, sixteen weeks early, weighed one pound six ounces. (New Yorker)

Obama to order FDA to help ease drug shortages

President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Monday aimed at easing shortages of prescription drugs, according to a White House official. (MSNBC)

October 28, 2011

New Issue of Journal of Medical Ethics is Now Available

Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 37, Issue 11, November 1, 2011) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Gettier Problem in Informed Consent” by Shlomo Cohen, 642-645.
  • “Futile Treatment, Junior Doctors and Role Virtues” by Rosalind McDougall, 646-649.
  • “Ethical Issues in the Development of Tele-ICUs” by Lior Nesher, and Alan Jotkowitz, 655-657.
  • “Moral Experience: A Framework for Bioethics Research” by Matthew R Hunt, and Franco A Carnevale, 658-662.
  • “Research, Engagement and Public bioethics: Promoting Socially Robust Science” by Martyn D Pickersgill, 698-701.
  • “Ethics Briefings” by Martin Davies, Sophie Brannan, Eleanor Chrispin, Veronica English, Rebecca Mussell, Julian Sheather, and Ann Sommerville, 702-703.

IVF May Be Tied To Ovarian Tumors Later In Life

A Dutch study suggests that stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs for in vitro fertilization or IVF, may increase the risk of developing ovarian tumors, some of which may become cancerous, later in life. (Medical News Today)

NYC man pleads guilty to kidney trafficking

A New York man pleaded guilty Thursday to what experts said was the first ever proven case of black-market organ trafficking in the United States. (Associated Press)

Surrogate Mom Stuck With a $200,000+ Medical Bill

Carrie Mathews of Windsor, Colo., said she became a surrogate because she just wanted to provide a couple with children. (ABC News)

Gene therapy used in a bid to save a man’s sight

Researchers in Oxford have treated a man with an advanced gene therapy technique to prevent him from losing his sight. (BBC News)

When breast cancer tests get it wrong

Imagine going in for a cancer screening, and the technician turns to you and says, “We’re finished, but if I push this button over here, the machine can detect even smaller cancers. But here’s the hitch: You have to pay $700 if you want me to push this button.” (CNN)

Pharma giants open up drug patents in new collaboration

Pharmaceutical giants and the UN intellectual property agency launched Wednesday a collaboration to share certain patented drug information with public organisations. (AFP)

Do All Women Need Genetic Testing Before Pregnancy?

For two years, a bunch of medical geneticists in Maryland and New Jersey sifted through 1,000 different genetic mutations. They looked for cellular changes that are fatal and ones that are treatable. (TIME)

October 27, 2011

New Issue of International Journal of Technology is Now Available

International Journal of Technology (Volume 27, Issue 4, October 2011) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Cost-effectiveness of a Cervical Screening Program with Human Papillomavirus Vaccine” by Elizaveta Sopina, Toni Ashton, 290-297.
  • “Coverage with Evidence Development: Merit for Motherhood?” by Pedro Koch, 322-333.
  • “Different Methods for Ethical Analysis in Health Technology Assessment: An Empirical Study” by Samuli I. Saarni, Annette Braunack-Mayer, Bjørn Hofmann, and Gert Jan van der Wilt, 305-312.
  • “The Role of Health Technology Assessment in Coverage Decisions on Newborn Screening” by Katharina E. Fischer, Scott D. Grosse, Wolf H. Rogowski, 313-321.

Artificial blood could be used within next decade

Clinical trials using blood created from adult stem cells are set to begin within the next two or three years, raising the prospect it could soon become routinely used where real blood is unavailable. (Telegraph)

Quality incentives become bigger factor in physician compensation

The percentage of organizations offering physicians a salary combined with a bonus structure has stopped increasing after several years of growth. These plans are placing a greater emphasis on factors that probably will play a role in reimbursement under health system reform. (American Medical News)

Push for ‘Personhood’ Amendment Represents New Tack in Abortion Fight

A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder. (New York Times)

What keeps healthy 100-year-olds going? Scientists to scour DNA for hints on resisting disease

George Eberhardt turned 107 last month, and scientists would love to know how he and other older folks like him made it that far. So he’s going to hand over some of his DNA. (Washington Post)

How to Test the Anthrax Vaccine in Children

Later this week, a Federal advisory committee, the Health and Human Service Department’s National Biodefense Science Board will recommend whether and how the anthrax vaccine should be tested in children. Why is the board, all MDs and PhDs, being consulted now? (ABC News)

October 26, 2011

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

The New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 365, Issue 16, October 20, 2011) is now available on-line and by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Role of Cost-Effectiveness in U.S. Vaccination Policy” by J.J. Kim, available on-line.
  • “Defining Essential Health Benefits — The View from the IOM Committee” by J.K. Iglehart, available on-line.


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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