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May 31, 2012

Brave New World of Genetics Requires Safeguards, Experts Say

Advancements in human genetic research could lead to improved patient care, but safeguards are needed to protect against the misuse of people’s genetic data, the American Heart Association says. (US News & World Report)

Sex Selection Is New Front in Abortion Battle

Republicans opened a new front in their battle against abortion Thursday, by calling a House vote on legislation to ban abortions conducted for the purposes of sex selection. (Wall Street Journal)

The New York City Soda Ban, and a Brief History of Bloomberg’s Nudges

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is hoping city residents will drink a lot less this summer — less soda, that is. (TIME)

In Rat Experiment, New Hope for Spine Injuries

Rats with a spinal cord injury that left their hind legs completely paralyzed learned to walk again on their own after an intensive training course that included electrical stimulation of the brain and the spine, scientists reported on Thursday. (NY Times)

New Issue of New Genetics and Society is Now Available

New Genetics and Society (Volume 31, Issue 2, June 2012) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Oöcytes for research: inspecting the commercialization continuum” by Kathrin Braun & Susanne Schultz, 135-157.
  • “Consuming genomes: scientific and social innovation in direct-to-consumer genetic testing” by Margaret Curnutte & Giuseppe Testa, 159-181.
  • “Genetics and insurance in the United Kingdom 1995–2010: the rise and fall of ‘scientific” discrimination’” by R. G. Thomas, 203-222.

May 30, 2012

Premier of Turkey Seeks Limits on Abortions

Calling abortion an act of murder and an insidious plan to reduce the Turkish population, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Tuesday for legislation to restrict women’s access to the procedure. (NY Times)

Gallup poll on abortion: ‘Pro-choice’ position hits record low

The percentage of Americans who say they are “pro-choice” reached a record low, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday, but the political impact of the new data remain unclear given the volatile nature of the abortion issue. (LA Times)

Young women having IVF treatment at ‘higher risk of breast cancer’

Across all age groups there was no overall increased risk of breast cancer associated with IVF. However researchers at the University of Western Australia found women who had IVF treatment at a younger age had a higher risk of developing the disease over the following 15 years. (Telegraph)

Why Genetic Tests Don’t Help Doctors Predict Your Risk of Disease

Our genome — the blueprint for what makes us who we are — can provide valuable clues about our health and potentially help us predict our risk for various diseases. But a new study shows that knowledge of our DNA isn’t actually as revealing as doctors hoped. (TIME)

New Issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association is Now Available

The Journal of the American Medical Association (Volume 307, Issue 20, May 23, 2012) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Assessing Value in Health Care Programs” by Kevin G. Volpp, George Loewenstein, David A. Asch, 2153-2154.
  • “The Journey Across the Health Care (Dis)Continuum for Vulnerable Patients Policies, Pitfalls, and Possibilities” by Grace Jenq, Mary E. Tinetti, 2157-2158.

May 29, 2012

New Issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association is Now Available

The Journal of the American Medical Association (Volume 307, Issue 19, May 16, 2012) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Achieving Equity in Global Health: So Near and Yet So Far” by Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, K. Srinath Reddy, 2035-2036.
  • “Policy Making With Health Equity at Its Heart” by Michael G. Marmot, 2033-2034.
  • “Primary Health Care in Low-Income Countries: Building on Recent Achievements” by Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2031-2032.
  • “Prevalence of Malaria and Sexually Transmitted and Reproductive Tract Infections in Pregnancy in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review,” by R. Matthew Chico, Philippe Mayaud, Cono Ariti, David Mabey, Carine Ronsmans, Daniel Chandramohan, 2079-2086.

Illegal kidney trade booms as new organ is ‘sold every hour’

The illegal trade in kidneys has risen to such a level that an estimated 10,000 black market operations involving purchased human organs now take place annually, or more than one an hour, World Health Organisation experts have revealed. (Guardian)

Emergency rooms designed for the older set

Will Turner, 94, has never had an emergency room experience quite like this. At Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, he found thick mattresses to prevent bedsores, skid-proof floors, and curtains designed to produce less noise. (MSNBC)

Long Medical Waits Prove Hard to Cure

Efforts in the medical world to reduce the amount of time patients spend waiting for appointments can have unintended consequences. (Wall Street Journal)

White House petitioned to make research free to access

More than 17,000 people have signed an online petition urging US President Barack Obama to require all scientific journal articles resulting from US taxpayer-funded research to be made freely available online. The signatures, obtained within a week of the petition’s launch after an active social media campaign, put it over two-thirds of the way towards the threshold that will require an official response from the White House. (Nature News)

California considers DNA privacy law

California lawmakers are weighing a bill aimed at protecting their state’s citizens from surreptitious genetic testing but scientists are voicing their growing concerns that, if passed, such a law would have a costly and damaging effect on research. (Nature News)

Scientists, doctors use snake robots for surgery, rescues, and exploration

Imagine a tiny snake robot crawling through your body, helping a surgeon identify diseases and perform operations. (Washington Post)

Transplant experts question impact of Facebook’s organ-donor registration push

Facebook’s move to allow users to add their organ-donor registration status as a “life event” on their profile pages led to a surge in donor sign-ups and earned the company plaudits from physicians and other professionals in the transplant community. (American Medical News)

3D blood vessels could aid artificial organs

Growing artificial organs might help solve the transplantation shortage, but one major hurdle still exists: it is difficult to get blood vessels to grow all the way through a large organ. A gel that allows blood vessels to grow in precise shapes and respond to human cells in a manner similar to natural vessels might help jumpstart that process. (New Scientist)

May 28, 2012

New Issue of Journal of Medical Ethics is Now Available

Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 38, Issue 6, June 2012) is now available by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Is the commercialisation of human tissue and body material forbidden in the countries of the European Union?” by Christian Lenk, Katharina Beier.
  • “The quality of informed consent: mapping the landscape. A review of empirical data from developing and developed countries” by Amulya Mandava, Christine Pace, Benjamin Campbell, Ezekiel Emanuel, Christine Grady.
  • “Cognitive neuroenhancement: false assumptions in the ethical debate” by Andreas Heinz, Roland Kipke, Hannah Heimann, Urban Wiesing.

May 25, 2012

Top court to hear doctors’ end-of-life appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada decided Thursday to hear an appeal by doctors over who has the final authority to end a comatose patient’s life. (CTV)


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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