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Unsafe Abortion: 7 Million Women Treated Globally Each Year

August 21, 2015

(Medscape) – Complications from unsafe abortion resulted in treatment at a hospital or other health facility for an estimated 7 million women worldwide in 2012, or 6.9 of every 1000 women aged 15 to 44 years. That rate rises to 7.4 when excluding countries in which abortion is legal and widely accessible. The estimates, derived from both health systems data and a nonsystematic review of published studies, come from 26 countries and were published online August 19 in BJOG.

Study Provides Hope for Some Human Stem Cell Therapies

August 21, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – The scientists also found that these cells may not be rejected by the immune system if iPSCs are turned into retinal pigment epithelium cells destined for the eye. Their discovery provides hope for the development of human stem cell therapies to treat macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness and visual impairment in older adults. An estimated 30 million to 50 million people worldwide are affected by the degenerative medical condition.

For a Rare Disease, Drug Trials Scramble for Patients

August 21, 2015

(The Wall Street Journal) – After years of effort, scientists and families of young patients with the genetic condition Niemann-Pick Type C are in a position to which any rare-disease community aspires: the prospect of not one, not two, but three companies launching clinical trials to develop therapies. But the flurry of commercial interest has sparked an urgent debate. Can the community support more than one trial at the same time?

Why South Africa Needs Better Laws for Stem Cell Research and Therapy

August 21, 2015

(The Conversation) – South Africa has a patchy array of laws dealing with stem cells. While it does have legislation in place, like many other countries its laws have failed to keep pace with developments in science. Many countries have implemented strict legislation that will govern how stem cells can be used. If South Africa wants to be a competitive player in the global stem cell research and therapy sphere, it must amend its laws to provide updated, modern and unambiguous legislation. The legislation must have appropriate context, detail and clarity to stipulate what is allowed and what is not.

Editing Humanity

August 21, 2015

(The Economist) – That is a Rubicon some will not want to cross. Many scientists, including one of CRISPR’s inventors, want a moratorium on editing “germ line” cells—those that give rise to subsequent generations. America’s National Academy of Sciences plans a conference to delve into CRISPR’s ethics. The debate is sorely needed. CRISPR is a boon, but it raises profound questions. These fall into two categories: practical and philosophical.

Adult Stem Cells for Sports Injuries

August 20, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – University Hospitals Case Medical Center’s (UH) Dr. James Voos, Head Team Physician, The Cleveland Browns, outlined details about a pilot trial using mesenchymal stem cell therapies in patients and athletes at the ongoing the MSC 2015 conference on Adult Stem Cell Therapy & Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Voos, is also the Division Chief, Sports Medicine at UH Case Medical Center as well as Clinical Associate Professor, Orthopaedics at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine.

Wondering if I Hastened a Patient’s Death

August 20, 2015

(New York Times) – I was left wondering, not for the first time in my career, if I had launched someone on a path toward premature death. At the very least, I was guilty of that act of hubris of which oncologists are often accused: giving chemotherapy to a person only days before his death.

Cancer Researchers Publish Landmark “Basket Study”

August 20, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – Researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) have announced results from the first published basket study, a new form of clinical trial design that explores responses to drugs based on the specific mutations in patients’ tumors rather than where their cancer originated.

15-Year-Old “Transparency” Effort Seems to Curb Dubious Biomedical Findings

August 20, 2015

(Scientific American) – The launch of the clinicaltrials.gov registry in 2000 seems to have had a striking impact on reported trial results, according to a PLoS ONE study that many researchers have been talking about online in the past week. A 1997 US law mandated the registry’s creation, requiring researchers from 2000 to record their trial methods and outcome measures before collecting data.

FDA Approves Addyi (Flibanserin), ‘A Milestone Moment’ in Women’s Health

August 20, 2015

(Forbes) – After one of the most contentious and polarizing scientific and cultural debates in recent memory over a drug and its medical indication, the FDA tonight released its decision to approve flibanserin for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in premenopasual women whose issues have not been adequately addressed by nonpharmacological approaches.

Miniature Brain-in-a-Dish Could Help Advance Alzheimer’s Research

August 20, 2015

(CNET) – The brain was created from adult human skin cells, and grew to about the development of the brain of a five-month-old foetus, containing around 99 percent of the genes present in the foetal brain. This will allow the testing of experimental drugs, unlike tests that are performed on rat or mouse brains. And, because of how the brain was grown, it’s more ethical, too. The brain cells were created from adult human skin cells reverse engineered into pluripotent stem cells; that is, stem cells that can develop into any other type of cell.

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Stem Cells

August 20, 2015

(The Conversation) – Broadly speaking, stem cells are used to treat disease or repair damaged tissue, to understand disease processes and for drug discovery. They are able to be used for these purposes because they belong to a special group of cells that are capable of differentiation. This means that they can form any of the more than 200 different cell types found in our bodies.

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Exosomes Offer Hope in Healing Chronic Wounds

August 20, 2015

(News-Medical) – Chronic non-healing wounds, common in patients with diabetes and paraplegia, affect over 6.5 million people annually and cost an estimated $25 billion a year in treatment alone in the United States. Offering new hope, is a study led by Evangelos Van Badiavas MD PhD, Professor of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery and a Principal Investigator at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Badiavas’ research demonstrates how mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) exosomes, cell-derived vesicles that exist in biological fluids, function to repair non-healing wounds.

Intelligence, Creativity and Bipolar Disorder May Share Underlying Genetics

August 20, 2015

(The Guardian) – Serious mood disorders such as bipolar may be the price humans have had to pay for our intelligence and creativity. That’s according to new research which links high childhood IQ to an increased risk of experiencing manic bipolar traits in later life. Researchers examined data from a large birth cohort to identify the IQ of 1,881 individuals at age eight. These same individuals were then assessed for manic traits at the age of 22 or 23.

California Top Lawmakers Vow to Push Aid-in-Dying Bill

August 20, 2015

(Reuters) – Aug 18 California lawmakers on Tuesday reintroduced a bill to legalize assisted suicide that had stalled amid opposition from the Catholic church and disability rights activists, as leaders among majority Democrats vowed to make its passage a priority.

Sierra Leone Awaits Countdown to Ebola-Free Declaration as Families Still Grieve

August 19, 2015

(Associated Press) – Sierra Leone also has marked its first week of no new cases nationwide since the outbreak began nearly 15 months ago, the World Health Organization announced. Yet even amid the jubilation, there is reason for caution. Authorities continue to monitor dozens of others who came into contact with 23-year-old Kamara, his mother and uncle, who later became infected. Both are recovering, health authorities said. The World Health Organization says that 43 people will remain in quarantine until the end of this week, while 38 others in the capital, Freetown, where Kamara lived, must stay in quarantine until Aug. 29.

Synthetic DNA Vaccine against MERS Induces Immunity in Animal Study

August 19, 2015

(Science Daily) – A novel synthetic DNA vaccine can, for the first time, induce protective immunity against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus in animal species. The experimental, preventive vaccine, given six weeks before exposure to the MERS virus, was found to fully protect rhesus macaques from disease.

Scientists Are Crediting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for Breakthroughs in Research

August 19, 2015

(Washington Post) – At the time, the Ice Bucket Challenge had become the viral campaign everyone was talking about — an online effort to raise awareness and funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The movement attracted criticism of social media “slacktivism” — a convenient way for people to act like they’re making a difference without achieving anything at all.

Whose Job Is It to Talk to Patients about Death?

August 19, 2015

(The Atlantic) – Last month, Medicare announced that it would begin to reimburse health-care providers for discussions on end-of-life options, sparking a new debate about who, exactly, should be having those discussions. Whose responsibility is it to clarify how many times a patient wants to be shocked if her heart stops? The critical-care doctor? Who should give the patient a well-informed and plain-spoken prognosis? The oncologist? One of the words that kept coming up in the meeting in Chicago was ownership. In the American medical system, with all its experts, shift work, and moving parts, it can be difficult to place ultimate responsibility for a patient’s care on one individual. That is to say, responsibility is shared—which is how certain duties, like talking with a patient about how close he is to death, can fall through the cracks.

Setting Ground Rules for Nanotechnology Research

August 19, 2015

(Physorg) – In two new studies, researchers from across the country spearheaded by Duke University faculty have begun to design the framework on which to build the emerging field of nanoinformatics. Nanoinformatics is, as the name implies, the combination of nanoscale research and informatics. It attempts to determine which information is relevant to the field and then develop effective ways to collect, validate, store, share, analyze, model and apply that information—with the ultimate goal of helping scientists gain new insights into human health, the environment and more.

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