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January 31, 2012

Kenya doctor fights mental health stigma in ‘traumatized continent’

As Kenya’s leading psychiatrist, Frank Njenga has been championing the cause of better mental health care on the east African country and the continent for more than three decades. (CNN)

Skin transformed into brain cells

Skin cells have been converted directly into cells which develop into the main components of the brain, by researchers studying mice in California. (BBC News)

Amelia Rivera, Mentally Disabled, May Get Kidney Transplant After All

Chrissy Rivera, the mother of the 3-year-old girl who was initially told by a doctor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that he would not recommend a kidney transplant for her mentally disabled daughter, is “hopeful” the hospital will help after an outcry of indignation online. (ABC News)

Should People Know About the Results of Their Genome Screening?

If you were at higher risk for developing a condition like Alzheimer’s disease or breast cancer, would you want to know about it? (ABC News)

Contraceptive mandate could face tough sledding in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court and the Obama administration, already headed for a face-off in March over the constitutionality of the healthcare law, appear to be on another collision course over whether church-run schools, universities, hospitals and charities must provide free contraceptives to their students and employees. (LA Times)

Searching for Side Effects

You’re taking a new medication and have dry mouth and feel dizzy. Want to know how many other people have reported those side effects—and how your drug compares with similar drugs? (Wall Street Journal)

Doctors Track Patients’ Mood, Social Life to Manage Illness

When Amy Messier was preparing to undergo back surgery, doctors asked her to fill out a survey with an unusual question: “Have you felt so down in the dumps that nothing could cheer you up?” (Wall Street Journal)

January 30, 2012

Hospitals offer patients free parking, discount shopping, seminars and screenings

Credit card companies, airlines and hotels all have customer loyalty programs. Maybe it was only a matter of time before hospitals got in on the act. (Washington Post)

Ear Doctors Performing Face-Lifts? It Happens

After moving from New York to Los Angeles in 2010 to take a job with a financial services firm, Joan, now 59, believed she needed to freshen her look. So she got a face-lift and tummy tuck from a board-certified doctor in Beverly Hills. (NY Times)

Joint Effort Announced Against Tropical Diseases

Thirteen drug companies, the governments of the United States, Britain and the United Arab Emirates, the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lions Club and other smaller charitable organizations on Monday announced a joint effort to tackle 10 neglected tropical diseases in a coordinated fashion. (NY Times)

Informed consent on trial

Informing clinical-trial participants of the risks they face is a cornerstone of modern medical research, and it is enshrined as a human right in international codes of ethics. (Nature News)

Military Masks Could ‘Give Injured Soldiers Their Faces Back’

This is how the military might treat burned faces in 2017: A mask, worn for several months, that’s layered with sensors, actuators and a regenerative elixir — including stem cells — to regrow missing facial tissue. (Wired)

January 27, 2012

Should Patents on Pharmaceuticals Be Extended to Encourage Innovation?

Pharmaceuticals have improved and extended the lives of millions of people. But the many advances over the past couple of decades haven’t come without controversy, much of it centering on the massive profits the industry makes on blockbuster drugs. (Wall Street Journal)

Should Healthy People Take Cholesterol Drugs to Prevent Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the biggest killer in the country. But an argument is raging about a popular way of preventing it. (Wall Street Journal)

Tax on sugary beverages projected to have broad health benefits

A nationwide penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would reduce consumption of the beverages by 15% and save an estimated $17 billion in medical costs over 10 years, says a study in the January Health Affairs. (American Medical News)

Can Better Access to Health Care Really Lower Costs?

Health care access — as measured by the ease and timeliness with which people obtain medical services — is a key indicator of quality of care. Some people have high-quality care, with round-the-clock access to doctors. (TIME)

An Rx? Pay More to Family Doctors

The nation’s second-largest health insurer is shaking up its approach to paying doctors, putting a major investment behind the idea that spending more for better primary care can save money down the road. (Wall Street Journal)

Brain bank examines athletes’ hard hits

For 17-year-old Nathan Stiles, his senior year was supposed to be the best yet. (CNN)

January 26, 2012

DNA sequencing quickly identifies metabolic diseases

DNA sequencing has identified difficult-to-diagnose diseases in humans – the first time the technology has been used in a clinic. (New Scientist)

As America ages, millions try to juggle ailing parents’ caregiving needs from afar

Kristy Bryner worries her 80-year-old mom might slip and fall when she picks up the newspaper, or that she’ll get in an accident when she drives to the grocery store. What if she has a medical emergency and no one’s there to help? What if, like her father, her mother slips into a fog of dementia? (Washington Post)

Federal rule would ease access for face, hand transplants

Plastic surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, PhD, asks one to imagine what it’s like to live without a face, with no nose, lips or eyelids. (American Medical News)

 

The Bioethics Poll
Should individuals and/or institutions be allowed to patent human genes?
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