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December 21, 2011

Scientists Find Safer Ways To Test Medical Procedures

Scientists are developing ever more sophisticated versions of “virtual patients” with the aim of testing medical devices and procedures that can’t readily be assessed in real people. (Wall Street Journal)

Amid concern over lab-bred bird flu, US says full details of research shouldn’t be published

The U.S. government paid scientists to figure out how the deadly bird flu virus might mutate to become a bigger threat to people — and two labs succeeded in creating new strains that are easier to spread. (Washington Post)

Pharmacies Mislead Teens on Morning-After Pill

Women who live in low-income neighborhoods are more likely than their wealthier counterparts to get misinformation about emergency contraception from their local pharmacies, a new study finds. (Scientific American)

December 20, 2011

Why Cancer Screening May Not Be a Good Idea for the Elderly

Our risk of cancer rises dramatically as we age — cancer is, after all, a disease of aging, a consequence of our increasing longevity. So it makes sense that the elderly should be routinely screened for new tumors — or doesn’t it? (TIME)

The demographics of late-term abortion

Only about 10 percent of pregnancy terminations happen after 13 weeks, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Those procedures, however, are by far the most controversial. (Washington Post)

Selective abortion of girls increases in Armenia: UN

The percentage of male children born in Armenia has risen significantly due to an increase in female foeticide, the United Nations Population Fund said on Monday. (AFP)

Many surgeons don’t discuss end-of-life care: study

Many U.S. surgeons fail to discuss their patients’ wishes in case a risky operation goes awry, and even more would not operate if patients limited what could be done to keep them alive, a survey found. (Reuters)

December 19, 2011

High Court to Hear Health-Care Case in March

Supreme Court arguments over President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul will stretch over three days, beginning March 26, the court said Monday. (Wall Street Journal)

Health Care Law Will Let States Tailor Benefits

In a major surprise on the politically charged new health care law, the Obama administration said Friday that it would not define a single uniform set of “essential health benefits” that must be provided by insurers for tens of millions of Americans. Instead, it will allow each state to specify the benefits within broad categories. (NY Times)

Digital Data on Patients Raises Risk of Breaches

One afternoon last spring, Micky Tripathi received a panicked call from an employee. Someone had broken into his car and stolen his briefcase and company laptop along with it. (NY Times)

FDA issues warning to sperm donor who meets mothers on Internet, gives sperm away for free

A man from the San Francisco Bay area has fathered 14 children in the last five years through free sperm donations to women he meets through his website — and is now in trouble with the federal government. (Washington Post)

Hockey Hits Can Lead to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Hits and checks have long been accepted as inherent to the game of hockey, but a decision by the NHL’s biggest star to sit out of the game indefinitely represents only the latest professional athlete to suffer lasting injuries to the brain. (ABC News)

December 16, 2011

DNA death predictors: What do they really tell you?

MY PATERNAL grandfather lived until he was 89; his brother outdid him by a decade. My grandmothers made it to 85 and 93. My parents are both alive and kicking at 73 and 82. The only people to die young in my family were killed in wars or industrial accidents. (New Scientist)

Hospitals Cut Doses Amid Drug Shortage

Hospitals are grappling with a shortage of nutrition drugs and disinfectant products that has led doctors to cut doses and ration supplies, prompting patients at a handful of facilities to get sick. (Wall Street Journal)

US to adopt strict new limits on chimp research

Days in the laboratory are numbered for chimpanzees, humans’ closest relative. (AP)

US bioethics panel urges stronger protections for human subjects

A panel advising US President Barack Obama on bioethical matters says that although human subjects in US government-funded research are generally protected by existing rules and regulations, their safety and well-being could be enhanced with stronger measures, including increased public transparency and a system of compensating subjects who sustain research-related injuries. (Nature News)

A medical miracle poses ethical dilemma

Only 24 weeks into her pregnancy, Haydee Ibarra’s doctors told her that her baby wasn’t getting the blood and oxygen she needed to survive. (LA Times)

December 15, 2011

The Ethics of Altering Memory Get a Bit Ahead of the Science, but Just a Bit

Lawyers and philosophers have already begun debating the ethical implications of an incipient future in which a memory is simply overwritten as if it were a digital file destined for the trash icon on your desktop. (Scientific American)

Medicare may penalize hospitals that readmit too many patients

It’s a return trip nobody wants to take: You are discharged from the hospital, only to find yourself readmitted a few days later. (Washington Post)

Disability-Benefits System Faces Review

The Social Security Administration has commissioned an independent review of the federal disability system amid concerns it awards benefits to those who don’t deserve them and denies benefits to those who do. (Wall Street Journal)

Bill Would Require More Monitoring of Implants

Amid growing problems with artificial hips and other medical implants, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday that would force manufacturers to track the performance of such products after they were approved for sale. (NY Times)


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

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