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A New Edition of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy Is Now Available

January 17, 2019

The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy (vol. 43, no. 5, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Are We Obliged to Enhance for Moral Perfection?” by Alfred Archer
  • “Can Prudence Be Enhanced?” by Jason T Eberl
  • “Why “Moral Enhancement” Isn’t Always Moral Enhancement: The Case of Traumatic Brain Injury in American Vets” by Valerie Gray Hardcastle
  • “Moral Enhancement, Self-Governance, and Resistance” by Pei-Hua Huang
  • “Moral Enhancement Can Kill” by Parker Crutchfield
  • “Eight Kinds of Critters: A Moral Taxonomy for the Twenty-Second Century” by Michael Bess

 

Patients Turn to GoFundMe When Money and Hope Run Out

January 16, 2019

(Kaiser Health News) – Setting up a GoFundMe page has also become a go-to way for people in need of help to pay their doctors and other health providers. Medical fundraisers now account for 1 in 3 of the website’s campaigns, and they bring in more money than any other GoFundMe category, said GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon.

A New Study Says the CDC Inflated Women’s Risk of Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancies

January 16, 2019

(Quartz) – In 2016, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) famously advised all sexually active women of reproductive age to refrain from drinking, lest they inadvertently harm a theoretical fetus. That guidance was based in part on the CDC’s estimate that 3.3 million American women were “at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol” every month, should they turn out to be pregnant. Now a new study (pdf) published on Jan. 11 in the journal Women’s Health Issues is challenging the CDC’s claim—a finding that sheds light on the judgment and criticism faced by women of childbearing age.

Call the Midwife! (If the Doctor Doesn’t Object)

January 16, 2019

(Kaiser Health News) – Every morning at Watsonville Community Hospital in Northern California, the labor and delivery team divvies up its patients — low-risk ones go to the midwives and high-risk ones to the physicians. Then, throughout the day, the doctors and midwives work together to ensure the births go smoothly. “We kind of divide and conquer,” said Dr. Julia Burke, chair of the hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department. The hospital began allowing certified nurse midwives to deliver babies in 2017, part of an effort to decrease cesarean sections and make mothers happier.

Doctors Fired after Giving ‘Potentially Fatal’ Doses of Pain Medication to 27 Patients

January 16, 2019

(CNN) – A doctor is accused of giving potentially fatal doses of pain medication to at least 27 patients who were near death, according to an Ohio hospital. The osteopathic physician ordered “more than what was needed to provide comfort” to patients whose families had requested that all life-saving measures be stopped, Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus said in a statement. The doctor was removed from patient care and fired, following an internal investigation, the hospital said.

What People Actually Say Before They Die

January 16, 2019

(The Atlantic) – Felix’s 53-year-old daughter, Lisa Smartt, kept track of his utterances, writing them down as she sat at his bedside in those final days. Smartt majored in linguistics at UC Berkeley in the 1980s and built a career teaching adults to read and write. Transcribing Felix’s ramblings was a sort of coping mechanism for her, she says. Something of a poet herself (as a child, she sold poems, three for a penny, like other children sold lemonade), she appreciated his unmoored syntax and surreal imagery. Smartt also wondered whether her notes had any scientific value, and eventually she wrote a book, Words on the Threshold, published in early 2017, about the linguistic patterns in 2,000 utterances from 181 dying people, including her father.

One Couple’s Tireless Crusade to Stop a Genetic Killer

January 16, 2019

(Wired) – Almost immediately, Sonia decided that she wanted to be tested for her mother’s mutation. Her doctors, genetic counselors, and even some of her family members recommended against it. If a disease has no cure, their reasoning went, what’s the point in knowing? Isn’t ignorance bliss? But Sonia was adamant. “You really want to hope that you’re negative, but the fear that you’re positive keeps interrupting, and it’s a constant psychological dialog,” she says. “Once you know, you start to adapt. What you can’t adapt to is something that keeps changing shape on you.”

GPs Prescribe More Opioid Drugs for Pain in Poorer Areas of England

January 16, 2019

(The Guardian) – People living in deprived areas of England are more likely to be prescribed opioid drugs for pain relief than those in wealthier parts of the country, according to research. A study found GPs in parts of Blackpool and St Helens prescribe the highest levels of opioids in England. Five areas in north-east England and four areas in the north-west were among the top 10 highest prescribers.

Hospital Replaces Leadership after Blood Transfusion Mistake

January 15, 2019

(ABC News) – A Houston hospital has removed its president and several other leaders following an unusually high number of patient deaths, a loss of some federal funding and a recent case in which a patient died after receiving a transfusion of the wrong blood type. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center announced the decision to replace its president, Gay Nord, its chief nursing officer and a top physician on Monday, the Houston Chronicle reported. The departures come after investigative reports by the newspaper and ProPublica last year revealed a high rate of patient deaths within the hospital’s renowned heart transplant program, as well as major complications after heart bypass surgery and repeated complaints about inadequate nursing.

The Scourge of Sepsis

January 15, 2019

(Scientific American) – Yet this is not an isolated tragedy—and it is a preventable one. More can and must be done to understand the urgency of sepsis, the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, including in children. More than7 million die annually from sepsis—averaging one death every 3.5 seconds. Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to infection is dysregulated, leading to injury of the body’s organs and tissues. A more severe form of sepsis, called septic shock, results when the body cannot maintain adequate blood pressure to support needed blood flow to vital organs, increasing the risk of death from sepsis.

A Remarkable New Study Shows Stem Cells Can Reverse MS in Some Patients

January 15, 2019

(Vox) – The treatment is an experimental chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplant offered in the first randomized trial comparing the outcomes of patients receiving the treatment to patients who took standard MS medications.  The results of the trial appeared Tuesday in the journal JAMA, and they are impressive: Among the 55 patients in the control group who took medication, 34 saw their disease worsen. But for the 55 (including Loy) who received the chemo and stem cell transplant, only three got worse. The rest saw their quality of life and disability improve.

Microsoft and Walgreens Pair Up Amid Fierce Competition to Deliver Digital Health Care

January 15, 2019

(STAT News) – Microsoft has struck a deal with Walgreens to build digital health tools for pharmacy customers that will include efforts to use artificial intelligence to deliver stepped-up telehealth, improve medication adherence, and reduce emergency room visits. The impact of the seven-year partnership, announced Tuesday, remains to be seen, but it represents another attempt by a large provider of health care services to increase the use of technology to deliver medicines and medical advice. The world’s largest technology companies, including Apple, Amazon, and Google, are making aggressive forays into health care, both through partnerships with providers and the development of their own health care businesses.

‘A Blizzard of Prescriptions’: Documents Reveal New Details about Purdue’s Marketing of OxyContin

January 15, 2019

(STAT News) – When Purdue Pharma started selling its prescription opioid painkiller OxyContin in 1996, Dr. Richard Sackler asked people gathered for the launch party to envision natural disasters like an earthquake, a hurricane, or a blizzard. The debut of OxyContin, said Sackler — a member of the family that started and controls the company and then a company executive — “will be followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition.”

IVF Clinics Are Helping Women Have Babies Up to 55, Despite Greater Risk of Miscarriage and Stillbirth

January 15, 2019

(Daily Mail) – British IVF clinics are helping women aged up to 55 to have babies – because there is no legal age limit. One private doctor in the UK said he would even consider helping 60-year-olds give birth. For years many medical experts have refused IVF for women over 50 using donated eggs from a younger woman to become pregnant. But there is no cut-off in law, and no guidance from the fertility regulator, leaving clinics free to push the limits. Critics now say they must face stricter rules.

‘Unconstitutional’ US Anti-FGM Law Exposes Hypocrisy in Child Protection

January 14, 2019

(The Conversation) – When a US federal judge ruled recently that a 1996 law prohibiting “female genital mutilation” (FGM) was unconstitutional, it prompted shock and dismay across the political spectrum: how could it be unconstitutional to protect little girls from this form of violence? I was also disturbed, but not surprised. I have followed the legal developments surrounding FGM in the US for some time and have warned that a ruling like this was bound to happen.

A New Edition of Developing World Bioethics Is Now Available

January 14, 2019

Developing World Bioethics (vol. 18, no. 3, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “African Perspectives in Global Bioethics” by Mbih Jerome Tosam
  • “African Communal Basis for Autonomy and Life Choices” by Polycarp Ikuenobe
  • “Reconciling Female Genital Circumcision with Universal Human Rights” by John?Stewart Gordon
  • “How to Deal with Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Light of an African Ethic” by Thaddeus Metz
  • “Global Health Inequalities and the Need for Solidarity: A View from the Global South” by Mbih J. Tosam et al.
  • “Racial Identity, Aesthetic Surgery and Yorùbá African Values” by Ademola K. Fayemi
  • “Implications of Odera Oruka’s Ethics of Consumerism for Reducing Globesity” by Ademola K. Fayemi
  • “Unethical Authorship Practices: A Qualitative Study in Malaysian Higher Education Institutions” by Angelina Olesen, Latifah Amin, and Zurina Mahadi
  • “Should We Formulate an Incentivized Model Facilitating Kidney Donation from Living Donors? A Focus on Turkey’s Current System” by Ercan Avci
  • “European Perspectives on Big Data Applied to Health: The Case of Biobanks and Human Databases” by Itziar de Lecuona and María Villalobos?Quesada
  • “Consent for Participating in Clinical Trials ? Is It Really Informed?” by Teodora Alexa?Stratulat et al.

 

A New Edition of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics Is Now Available

January 14, 2019

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics (vol. 39, no. 5, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Should Physicians Be Empathetic? Rethinking Clinical Empathy” by David Schwan
  • “The Dramatic Essence of the Narrative Approach” by Oscar Vergara
  • “Birth with Dignity from the Confucian Perspective” by Jianhui Li and Yaming Li

 

A New Edition of New Genetics and Society is Now Available

January 14, 2019

New Genetics and Society (vol. 37, no. 3, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Dimensions of Responsibility in Medical Genetics: Exploring the Complexity of the ‘Duty to Recontact'” by Shane Doheny et al.
  • “Extending Experimentation: Oncology’s Fading Boundary between Research and Care” by Alberto Cambrosio et al.
  • “The Politics of Valuation and Payment for Regenerative Medicine in the UK” by Alex Faulkner and Aurélie Mahalatchimy
  • “Realizing Responsibility. Institutional Routines, Critical Intervention, and the ‘Big’ Questions in the Controversy over Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing in Germany” by Kathrin Braun and Sabine Könninger

 

Imagine Giving Birth in Space

January 11, 2019

(The Atlantic) – SpaceLife Origin, based in the Netherlands, wants to send a pregnant woman, accompanied by a “trained, world-class medical team,” in a capsule to the space above Earth. The mission would last 24 to 36 hours. Once the woman delivered the child, the capsule would return to the ground. “A carefully prepared and monitored process will reduce all possible risks, similar to Western standards as they exist on Earth for both mother and child,” SpaceLife Origin’s website states. The company has set the year 2024 as the target date for the trip. The concept raises a host of questions—we’ll get to those later—but perhaps the most immediate may be this: Why?

Virtual Repurposing Can Speed the Discovery of New Uses for Existing Drugs

January 11, 2019

(STAT News) – The process for discovering drugs tends to be based on the same kind of pigeonholing that doctors use to treat disease: Parkinson’s is one disease, Crohn’s is something completely separate. A new approach, sometimes called virtual repurposing, offers a way to discover unknown connections between “unconnected” diseases that may lead to new treatments.

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