Event: Public Health Emergency Preparedness: A Free Workshop for Congregations and Faith-Based Organizations
The Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, Cook County Department of Public Health, and the Chicago Department of Public Health
Oak Park Temple
Oak Park, Illinois
May 22, 2014 9AM to 4PM
See here to register.
Public Health Ethics (Volume 7, No. 1, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Do Social Networking Sites Enhance the Attractiveness of Risky Health Behavior? Impression Management in Adolescents’ Communication on Facebook and its Ethical Implications” by Julika Loss, Verena Lindacher, and Janina Curbach
- “Parents’ and Children’s Perceptions of the Ethics of Marketing Energy-Dense Nutrient-Poor Foods on the Internet: Implications for Policy to Restrict Children’s Exposure” by K. P. Mehta, et al.
- “Using Social Networking Sites for Communicable Disease Control: Innovative Contact Tracing or Breach of Confidentiality?” by Kate L. Mandeville, et al.
- “Social Networking Sites as a Tool for Contact Tracing: Urge for Ethical Framework for Normative Guidance” by Mart L. Stein, et al.
- “Beyond Individual Responsibility for Lifestyle: Granting a Fresh and Fair Start to the Regretful” by Sarah Vansteenkiste, Kurt Devooght, and Erik Schokkaert
- “Recruiting and Educating Participants for Enrollment in HIV-Vaccine Research: Ethical Implications of the Results of an Empirical Investigation” by Sibusiso Sifunda, et al.
- “Ethical Challenges in Implementation Research” by Ruth Macklin
(The Atlantic) – According to an article this month in the American Journal of Medicine, my patient’s predicament is common: nearly one in three U.S. adults with a chronic disease has problems paying for food, medicine, or both. Researchers at Harvard and the University of California at San Francisco studied data from the 2011 U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey.
(The Telegraph) – A need for copper could be the Achilles’ heel of some cancers, scientists believe. It may allow them to be tackled with drugs used to block copper absorption in patients suffering from a rare disease. Cancers with a mutation in the BRAF gene need copper to promote their growth, according to research published in the journal Nature. They include melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer that kills more than 2,000 people in Britain each year.
(New York Times) – The release on Wednesday of Medicare payment data is getting mixed reviews from doctors. Many say they favor sharing information but worry that the data presented by Medicare omits important details and may mislead the public and paint an unfairly negative picture of individual doctors.
(Associated Press) – It may sound far-fetched, but scientists are attempting to build a human heart with a 3-D printer. Ultimately, the goal is to create a new heart for a patient with their own cells that could be transplanted. It is an ambitious project to first, make a heart and then get it to work in a patient, and it could be years – perhaps decades – before a 3-D printed heart would ever be put in a person. The technology, though, is not all that futuristic: Researchers have already used 3-D printers to make splints, valves and even a human ear.
(BBC) – Hundreds of millions of pounds may have been wasted on a drug for flu that works no better than paracetamol, a landmark analysis has said. The UK has spent £473m on Tamiflu, which is stockpiled by governments globally to prepare for flu pandemics. The Cochrane Collaboration claimed the drug did not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications, and only slightly helped symptoms. The manufacturers Roche and other experts say the analysis is flawed.
(New York Times) – But in this age of technological wizardry, doctors have been taught that they must do everything possible to stave off death. We refuse to wait passively for a last breath, and instead pump air into dying bodies in our own ritual of life-prolongation. Like a midwife slapping life into a newborn baby, doctors now try to punch death out of a dying patient. There is neither acknowledgement of nor preparation for this vital existential moment, which arrives, often unexpected, always unaccepted, in a flurry of panicked activity and distress.
(Reuters) – Italy’s constitutional court overturned a ban on using donor sperm and eggs in fertility treatments on Wednesday, knocking down part of a divisive set of restrictions on assisted reproduction. The court said in a statement the ban breached the constitution, without going into further detail, and lawyers in the case said the ruling was effective immediately.
(The Lancet, by subscription only) – Rapid growth in the genetic sequencing of pathogens in recent years has led to the creation of large sequence databases. This aggregated sequence data can be very useful for tracking and predicting epidemics of infectious diseases. However, the balance between the potential public health benefit and the risk to personal privacy for individuals whose genetic data (personal or pathogen) are included in such work has been difficult to delineate, because neither the true benefit nor the actual risk to participants has been adequately defined.
(Nanotechnology Now) – Responsible research has been put firmly on the political agenda with, for instance, EU’s Horizon 2020 programme in which all research projects must show how they contribute responsibly to society. New research from the University of Copenhagen reveals that the scientists themselves place great emphasis on behaving responsibly; they just disagree on what social responsibility in science entails. Responsibility is, in other words, a matter of perspective.
(Medical Xpress) – Stem cells culled from bone marrow may prove beneficial in stroke recovery, scientists at UC Irvine’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center have learned. In an analysis of published research, neurologist Dr. Steven Cramer and biomedical engineer Weian Zhao identified 46 studies that examined the use of mesenchymal stromal cells – a type of multipotent adult stem cells mostly processed from bone marrow – in animal models of stroke. They found MSCs to be significantly better than control therapy in 44 of the studies.
(Nature) – Haruko Obokata, the Japanese scientist at the centre of a controversy over studies purporting to turn mature cells to stem cells simply by bathing them in acid or subjecting them to mechanical stress, today apologized for her errors in the work. Kicking off a press conference in Osaka amid a storm of snapping cameras and flanked by two lawyers, Obokata blamed her immaturity and her lack of awareness of research protocols for the errors that were found in her two high-profile papers on the studies, published in Nature in January (Note: Nature’s news and comment teams are editorially independent of its research editorial team). These included the use of a duplicated image.
(New York Times) – A new study found that the popular pain relievers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or Nsaids, may increase the risk for the most common type of irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation. Dutch researchers followed 8,423 people, average age 69, with normal heart rhythm at the start of the study for an average of 13 years. Over the period, 857 developed atrial fibrillation.
(New Scientist) – Waste not want not. An initiative launched this week aims to breathe new life into neglected data from clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars collecting trial results, only for these findings to collect dust after a drug is either marketed or abandoned. Through Project Data Sphere, six pharma companies and a medical research centre will release data from 34 cancer trials by the end of the year. The pooled results will be from the control groups of the trials – those not given new treatments – adding up to data from 25,000 people.
(New Scientist) – How do you get more injecting drug users, who have a serious risk of getting and transmitting hepatitis B, to take a highly effective vaccine against the virus? The answer could be as simple as offering them a £10 shopping voucher each time they get one of the three shots they need.
(Science) – A group of European pro-life organizations is mobilizing against embryonic stem cell research in a way that the European Commission cannot ignore. One of Us, a so-called European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures from all 28 E.U. member states for a proposal that would block funding for research in which embryos are destroyed; under E.U. rules, the European Commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation.
(New York Times) – About 700,000 Americans have had their DNA sequenced, in full or in part, and the number is rising rapidly as costs plummet — to $1,000 or less for a full genome, down from more than $1 million less than a decade ago. But many people are avoiding the tests because of a major omission in the 2008 federal law that bars employers and health insurers from seeking the results of genetic testing.
(Washington Post) – The Medicare program is the source of a small fortune for many U.S. doctors, according to a trove of government records that reveal unprecedented details about physician billing practices nationwide. The government insurance program for older people paid nearly 4,000 physicians in excess of $1 million each in 2012, according to the new data. Those figures do not include what the doctors billed private insurance firms.
(The Epoch Times) – Researchers have identified a coding gene that has a profound effect on the central nervous system. They say the finding could shed light on paralysis, stroke, and other disorders of the central nervous system, including Alzheimer’s disease. Coding genes contain DNA sequences that are used to assign functions required for development and maintenance within a cell. These coding genes articulate how a fingernail grows, help develop nerve cells responsible for chewing, and are vital in helping the spinal cord facilitate movement in arms or legs.