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Euthanasia Used for 4.5 Percent of Deaths in the Netherlands

August 4, 2017

(ABC News) – Euthanasia has become “common practice” in the Netherlands, accounting for 4.5 percent of deaths, according to researchers who say requests are increasing from people who aren’t terminally ill. In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country in the world that made it legal for doctors to help people die. Both euthanasia, where doctors actively kill patients, and assisted suicide, where physicians prescribe patients a lethal dose of drugs, are allowed. People must be “suffering unbearably” with no hope of relief — but their condition does not have to be fatal.

A New Edition of Studies in Christian Ethics Is Now Available

August 4, 2017

Studies in Christian Ethics (vol. 30, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Ethics, Human Oocytes and the Teleology of the Body: An Appreciation of Gilbert Meilaender’s Work” by Paul Lauritzen
  • “Gilbert Meilaender and the Tragedy of Biological Individualism” by David H. Smith
  • “Finitude, Freedom and Biomedicine: An Engagement with Gilbert Meilaender’s Bioethics” by Gerald McKenny
  • “The Pain in the Gift and the Gift in the Pain” by Jennifer A. Herdt
  • “Political Life under God: Some Questions for Gilbert Meilaender” by William Werpehowski
  • Friendly Rejoinders” by Gilbert Meilaender

 

A New Edition of Bioethics Update Is Now Available

August 4, 2017

Bioethics Update (vol. 3, no. 1, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • ” In Defense of the Vulnerable in Medicine and the Life Sciences” by John M. Hass
  • ” A Proposal for a Shared Care Plan at the End of Life: The Natural Death Protocol” by Vittoradolfo Tambone and Laura Leondina Campanozzi
  • ” Bioethical Perspective of Ontologically-Based Personalism” by Francesca Giglio

 

A New Edition of Human Reproduction Is Now Available

August 4, 2017

Human Reproduction (vol. 32, no. 5, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Safety and Efficacy of Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation for Fertility Preservation in Women with Early Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review” by Rachael J. Rodgers et al.
  • “Family Building Using Embryo Adoption: Relationships and Contact Arrangements Between Provider and Recipient Families—A Mixed-Methods Study” by Lucy Frith, Eric Blyth, and Steve Lui

 

A New Edition of Medicine, Science and the Law Is Now Available

August 4, 2017

Medicine, Science and the Law (vol. 57, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Use of Human Samples Obtained During Medicolegal Autopsies in Research: An Introduction to Current Conditions and Initiatives in Japan” by Takako Tsujimura-Ito, Yusuke Inoue, Kaori Muto, and Ken-ichi Yoshida

 

A New Edition of Bioethics Is Now Available

August 4, 2017

Bioethics (vol. 31, no. 4, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Methodological Reflections on the Contribution of Qualitative Research to the Evaluation of Clinical Ethics Support Services” by Sebastian Wäscher et al.
  • “What Outcomes do Dutch Healthcare Professionals Perceive as Important Before Participation in Moral Case Deliberation?” by Janine de Snoo-Trimp, Guy Widdershoven, Mia Svantesson, Riekie de Vet, and Bert Molewijk
  • “Evaluating Clinical Ethics Support: A Participatory Approach” by Suzanne Metselaar, Guy Widdershoven, Rouven Porz and Bert Molewijk
  • “Discovering What Matters: Interrogating Clinician Responses to Ethics Consultation” by Stuart G. Finder and Virginia L. Bartlett
  • “Evaluating the Quality of the Deliberation in Moral Case Deliberations: A Coding Scheme” by Hylke Jellema, Swanny Kremer, Anne-Ruth Mackor, and Bert Molewijk
  • “Moral Hard-Wiring and Moral Enhancement” by Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu
  • “When is a Choice not a Choice? ‘Sham Offers’ and the Asymmetry of Adolescent Consent and Refusal” by Neil C. Manson
  • “The Substance View: A Critique (Part 3)” by Rob Lovering
  • “Is There a Right to the Death of the Foetus?” by Eric Mathison and Jeremy Davis

 

The Opioid Epidemic Explained

August 3, 2017

(Vox) – If you want to understand how we got here, there’s one simple explanation: It’s much easier in America to get high than it is to get help. In talking about this, Brandeis University opioid policy expert Andrew Kolodny draws a comparison to New York City’s fight against tobacco. In his telling, the city took a two-prong approach: It made tobacco less accessible — by banning smoking in public spaces and raising taxes to make cigarettes much more expensive. But it also made alternatives to tobacco more accessible — by opening a phone line that people can use to get in touch with a clinic or obtain free nicotine patches or free nicotine gum. It has seen its smoking rate steadily drop, from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.3 percent in 2015.

To Grow Market Share, a Drugmaker Pitches Its Product to Judges

August 3, 2017

(NPR) – One reason for this preference is that Alkermes, the drug’s manufacturer, is doing something nearly unheard of for a pharmaceutical company: It is marketing directly to drug court judges and other officials. The strategy capitalizes on a market primed to prefer their product. Judges, prosecutors and other criminal justice officials can be suspicious of the other FDA-approved addiction medications, buprenorphine and methadone, because they are themselves opioids. Alkermes promotes its product as “nonaddictive.”

EMS Delays in Rural Areas Leave First-Aid Gap for Bystanders to Fill

August 3, 2017

(Kaiser Health News) – Better hope that you aren’t in a rural area if you are seriously hurt and need an ambulance. The wait could be dangerous. Response times for emergency medical services are more than twice as long in rural areas than urban locations, according to a recent research letter in JAMA Surgery. Median response times were 13 minutes out in the country compared with six in both city and suburban locations, researchers found after reviewing records of nearly 1.8 million EMS runs across the U.S. in 2015.That’s not the worst of it. In rural areas, one in 10 EMS units did not reach an emergency scene for nearly half an hour after the 911 call came in, the study reported.

How Can We Achieve Greater Balance in Future Cases Like Charlie Gard’s, Ask Experts

August 3, 2017

(Science Daily) – Professor Dominic Wilkinson at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics says it is in the interests of all children that cases like Charlie Gard’s are accompanied by fair, accurate, and balanced discussion — and he asks, how can we achieve greater balance in future cases? Difficult and ethically challenging discussions about life-prolonging treatment for a seriously ill child, usually take place privately, between parents and doctors, he explains. However, in the recent Charlie Gard case, these discussions have taken place in public, on a wide global stage.

FDA Approves First Drug for GVHD after Stem Cell Transplant

August 3, 2017

(Medscape) – In a first, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a drug for use in patients who develop the life-threatening condition of chronic graft-vs-host disease (cGVHD) after having undergone a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). This condition develops in about 30% to 70% of patients who undergo HSCT, which is a standard treatment for various leukemias and lymphomas.

CRISPR Star Jennifer Doudna Calls for Public Debate on Embryo Editing

August 3, 2017

(San Diego Union-Tribune) – Doudna said she wasn’t cognizant of the ethical issues when she and collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier began exploring CRISPR. Beyond the call for society to grapple with the ramifications of germline editing, Doudna said, it’s difficult to get more specific, except to exercise general caution.In many cases, genetic defects don’t even need to be repaired if multiple embryos are being generated, she said. These embryos could simply be screened for genetic defects, and a healthy embryo would be chosen. “In my opinion, we still need to respect the recommendations in the (National Academy of Sciences) report published in February that recommended refraining from clinical use of human germline editing until and unless there’s broad societal consensus about the value,” Doudna said.

Elective Freezing of IVF Embryos Linked to Higher Pregnancy Rates in Some Cases

August 3, 2017

(Medical Xpress) – A delay in transferring embryos to the mother improves the success of in vitro fertilization in certain cases, according to a study by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Celmatix Inc. and several other institutions. Women undergoing IVF who have high levels of the hormone progesterone when their egg cells are retrieved benefit from having the resulting embryos frozen and transferred back to the uterus at a later date, the researchers found. The study appears in the August issue of Fertility and Sterility.

After French Drug Trial Tragedy, European Union Issues New Rules to Protect Study Volunteers

August 3, 2017

(Science) – The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has issued new, stricter rules for studies that test drugs in people for the first time. They aim to better protect participants in such first-in-human studies—often healthy volunteers who receive a financial reward. The guideline, which was issued on 25 July, will take effect in February 2018. It comes in the wake of a tragedy in a French drug study last year that led to the death of one man and serious neurological damage in four others. But some say the revision isn’t going for enough.

Drug Puts a $750,000 ‘Price Tag on Life’

August 2, 2017

(NPR) – But that common hope has taken them down different paths: In April, Gundy’s child, who is on private insurance, began getting the drug Spinraza, which costs $750,000 for the initial year of treatment. Chaffin’s child, a Medicaid enrollee, did not, as his state regulators debated whether to offer it to children like him who use ventilators to breathe. Across the country, similar stories are playing out as private insurers and already-squeezed state Medicaid programs wrestle with what, if any, limits to place on patients’ access to break-the-bank drugs — weighing the needs of the ill against budget realities.

Clinical Trial Fails to Disclose Risk of Death, Repeat Heart Attacks, Group Says

August 2, 2017

(Miami Herald) – A clinical trial testing blood transfusion therapies for heart attack patients may place participants in danger of death or a repeat heart attack without fully disclosing those risks, a Washington, DC-based consumer advocacy group said Tuesday in a letter asking federal health officials to immediately suspend enrollment in the study, which is recruiting patients at dozens of hospitals, including Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.

Rhode Island Now Requires Coverage to Ensure Fertility

August 2, 2017

(ABC News) – Rhode Island has enacted a law that requires insurers to cover “fertility preservation” for patients who undergo medical treatments that could leave them sterile. The legislation is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. The Providence Journal reports the legislation was designed to help cancer patients of childbearing age who may be rendered infertile by chemotherapy treatments.

CRISPR Fixes Disease Gene in Viable Human Embryos

August 2, 2017

(Nature) – An international team of researchers has used CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing — a technique that allows scientists to make precise changes to genomes with relative ease — to correct a disease-causing mutation in dozens of viable human embryos. The study represents a significant improvement in efficiency and accuracy over previous efforts. The researchers targeted a mutation in a gene called MYBPC3. Such mutations cause the heart muscle to thicken — a condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that is the leading cause of sudden death in young athletes. The mutation is dominant, meaning that a child need inherit only one copy of the mutated gene to experience its effects.

Many Still Sidestep End-of-Life Care Planning, Study Finds

August 2, 2017

(Kaiser Health News) – Not everyone is as motivated to tackle these issues. Even though advance directives have been promoted for nearly 50 years, only about a third of U.S. adults have them, according to a recent study. People with chronic illnesses were only slightly more likely than healthy individuals to document their wishes. For the analysis, published in the July issue of Health Affairs, researchers reviewed 150 studies published from 2011 to 2016 that reported on the proportion of adults who completed advance directives, focusing on living wills and health care power-of-attorney documents.

Gene Editing Is Revolutionizing Medicine But Causing a Government Ethics Nightmare

August 2, 2017

(Newsweek) – Late last week, reports emerged that scientists in Oregon had used gene-editing technology, known as CRISPR-Cas9, to edit a human embryo. While research like this is already occurring in China and Great Britain, this is the first time scientists in the U.S. have edited an embryo. The move raises the question of whether regulations are strict enough in the U.S. Both Congress and the National Institutes of Health have explicitly said they would not fund research that uses gene-editing to alter embryos. But laws and guidelines are not keeping pace with this fast-moving and controversial work.

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