Bioethics.com

Subscribe to Bioethics.com feed
Your global information source on bioethics news, issues, & events
Updated: 4 hours 15 min ago

Pricey Precision Medicine Often Financially Toxic for Cancer Patients

November 1, 2018

(STAT News) – The high cost of cutting-edge tests and treatments is threatening to keep precision medicine — one of the most celebrated areas in cancer research — out of reach for many patients. Patients who pay for these new treatments on their own “could be in debt for decades,” said Dr. Scott Ramsey, director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research in Seattle. Already cancer care is hugely expensive. A recent study in the American Journal of Medicine found that 42 percent of patients depleted 100 percent of their assets — an average loss of $92,000 — within two years of diagnosis.

First U.S. Drug Containing Marijuana-Derived Ingredient Goes on Sale

November 1, 2018

(Medical Xpress) – The first Food and Drug Administration-approved drug containing an ingredient derived from the marijuana plant went on sale Thursday in the United States.  Epidiolex is a twice-daily oral solution—a cannabidiol, or CBD liquid—made by Britain-based GW Pharmaceuticals. It is approved for use in patients 2 years old and older with two types of epileptic syndromes, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

How an Outsider in Alzheimer’s Research Bucked the Prevailing Theory–And Clawed for Validation

November 1, 2018

(STAT News) – Armed with the new data, Moir earlier this year tried one more time for an NIH grant, to study in greater detail how herpes viruses might spur Alzheimer’s and, if so, what therapies might work. If he and other scientists are right that beta-amyloid is an antimicrobial, that the brain goes on an amyloid-making immune rampage in response to pathogens, and that the rampage ignites neuron-killing inflammation, it suggests very different therapeutic approaches than the 30-year pursuit of amyloid destroyers.

With Machine Learning, Researchers Get New Clues in the Hunt for the Source of Mysterious Virus

November 1, 2018

(STAT News) – Thousands of viruses are out there in the wild, circulating in animal hosts and only gaining attention when they infect people. Viruses can make that jump in various ways — sometimes through direct contact, sometimes via an intermediary like a mosquito or tick. But researchers don’t have great tools to quickly determine the reservoirs that house the viruses or the “vectors” by which they were transmitted. On Thursday, researchers unveiled a new system, based on machine learning models, that identifies patterns in the genomes of viruses to offer a hypothesis about their hosts and vectors.

Review Reveals Ambiguous Understanding of Genetic Privacy in US Study Participants

November 1, 2018

(Science Daily) – Confusion and ambiguity in how U.S. patients and researchers perceive genetic privacy is uncovered by a study published October 31, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Ellen W. Clayton from Vanderbilt University, USA, and colleagues. To uncover the links between gene variants and disease, researchers must collect genetic data from participants. In the USA, researchers may obtain participants’ consent for broad data sharing, which gives other investigators freedom to use their data for future research — but participants often cite privacy as a major concern.

UCL Stem Cell Death ‘Cover-Up’ as Two Young Women Die After Experimental Treatment

November 1, 2018

(iNews) – UCL researchers have been accused of covering up the deaths of two women who died during experimental treatment in a bid to obtain funding. Professors obtained millions of pounds to lead three multi-million pound trials that looked into trialling tissue-engineered trachea and larynx transplants, reported The Telegraph. Keziah Shorten, 20, and Shauna Davison, 15, died after they underwent surgery to be given stem cell-engineered larynxes. Ms Shorten was left fighting for her life in intensive care for six months after she underwent an operation to fix her failing windpipe in 2010.

Years After Promise of Stem Cells Seemed to Be Fading, Clinical Trials Underway

November 1, 2018

(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) – In January 2007, nine years after James Thomson’s discovery, a gloom about human embryonic stem cells had begun to set in, epitomized by a New York Times headline: “Concerns of Dashed Hopes From Promised Miracles.” Today, a little more than a decade later, the gloom appears to be lifting. Mature cells developed from the embryonic lines Thomson grew as an assistant scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been implanted in humans — the first real wave of clinical trials. Thomson now works as director of regenerative biology at the Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison.

After Clinic Debacle, New Technology Helps Protect Frozen Eggs and Embryos

November 1, 2018

(CBS News) – After the heartbreaking loss of thousands of eggs and embryos at an Ohio clinic earlier this year, a fertility center in New York is revealing a new measure to protect the genetic material. Research out Tuesday shows how the Columbia University Fertility Center determined that monitoring the weight of storage tanks could provide better security than just measuring their temperature.

French Ain Babies: Missing Limb Births Prompt National Inquiry

October 31, 2018

(BBC) – France has launched a national investigation into the number of babies being born with missing arms or hands – weeks after an initial inquiry closed. The first investigation began after it emerged more than a dozen children had been born with the condition in clusters in three French regions. It ended after health authorities failed to identify a common cause. But now another 11 cases have emerged in the eastern region of Ain, prompting officials to open a fresh inquiry.

A Leading Genetic Expert Tackles the Nature vs. Nurture Debate

October 31, 2018

(Quartz) – Robert Plomin is no stranger to controversy. It comes with the territory, he tells me, for someone who has spent over four decades studying the role genetics play in making us who we are. That question is at the heart of a field of science known as behavioral genetics, or the study of the interplay of genetic and environmental influences on human behaviors. The question of how much of a role genetics play in making us who we are is controversial, not just because no one seems to be able to agree on an answer, but also because figuring out how we become who we are is filled with social, historical, and political minefields.

Prenatal Exposure to Antidepressants, Antipsychotics Not Linked to Autism Risk

October 31, 2018

(UPI) – A mother’s use of antidepressants and antipsychotics during pregnancy is not associated with a higher risk of autism spectrum disorder in her children, according to a study. Researchers studied the prenatal the effects of drugs that target neurotransmitters among 96,249 individuals — 1,405 cases of autism and 94,844 without — from a large health maintenance organization in Israel, where all citizens are required to purchase a medical insurance plan.

Rubella Is Eliminated in Australia as the Disease Prompts a Travel Warning for Japan

October 31, 2018

(CNN) – Australia has eliminated rubella, a disease also known as German measles that’s already been eliminated in the Americas and across much of Europe, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. The announcement, which Australia’s health minister called a “highly significant public health accomplishment,” comes just days after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned travelers — especially pregnant women — about an outbreak of the disease in Japan.

Research Is Often Unpaid in Sub-Saharan Africa

October 31, 2018

(Nature) – Unpaid research stints are the norm for scientists in sub-Saharan Africa, according to an online survey of 412 academics that spanned 6 countries. Eighty-five per cent of respondents report having had research positions with no pay. Of those, 33% had spent between 1 and 5 years doing research for free, and 4% had spent more than 5 years doing so (see ‘Unpaid research in Africa’).

New Articles from BMC Medical Ethics Are Now Available

October 31, 2018

BMC Medical Ethics has new articles  available online.

Articles include:

  • “A Bioethical Framework to Guide the Decision-Making Process in the Care of Seriously Ill Patients” by Daniel Neves Forte, Fernando Kawai, and Cláudio Cohen

 

A New Edition of The New England Journal of Medicine Is Now Available

October 31, 2018

The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 379, no. 5, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Accreditation of Clinical Research Sites — Moving Forward” by G. Koski, L. Kennedy, M.F. Tobin, and M. Whalen
  • “Firearm Injuries and Violence Prevention — The Potential Power of a Surgeon General’s Report” by J. Maa and A. Darzi
  • “Sociogenetic Risks — Ancestry DNA Testing, Third-Party Identity, and Protection of Privacy” by T. May
  • “History of Medicine: Deliberating Death in the Summer of 1968” by E.F.M. Wijdicks

 

A New Edition of Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Is Now Available

October 31, 2018

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (vol. 57, no. 2, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Meaning in Life Moderates the Relationship Between Sacred Loss/Desecration and Health” by Neal Krause, Kenneth I. Pargament, and Gail Ironson
  • “Religion and Disability: Variation in Religious Service Attendance Rates for Children with Chronic Health Conditions” by Andrew L. Whitehead

 

Lucrative Drug Trials Prompt Regional Hospitals to Join Forces

October 30, 2018

(Bloomberg) – Small hospitals need money. Drug companies need patients for tests. Both sides say they’ve found a solution. Regional hospitals across the U.S. are banding together to make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to use their facilities for clinical trials, a strategy that could boost revenue and give drugmakers increased access to patients.

Unpublished Medical Research ‘A Threat to Public Health’

October 30, 2018

(BBC) – Important information on the efficacy of new drugs and treatments is going unpublished, posing a risk to health, says a report by MPs. The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee says despite repeated warnings, not enough is being done to make sure the results of all clinical trials are reported. Nearly half of clinical trials go unreported, evidence suggests. It means some clinical decisions are made without all the available data.

Web Service Makes Big Data Available to Neuroscientists

October 30, 2018

(Nature) – Vogelstein worked with Burns to build a system that would make those data — 20 trillion voxels’ worth — available to the larger neuroscience community. The team has now generalized the software to support different classes of imaging data and describes the system this week (J. T. Vogelstein et al. Nature Meth. 15, 846-847; 2018). NeuroData is a free, cloud-based collection of web services that supports large-scale neuroimaging data, from electron microscopy to magnetic resonance imaging and fluorescence photomicrographs.

CDC Confirms 10 New Cases of Rare Polio-Like Neurological Condition

October 30, 2018

(Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday it has confirmed 10 more cases of an extremely rare, polio-like condition, across 24 states.  The CDC had earlier this month confirmed about 62 cases of acute flaccid myelitis that causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. Most of the cases reported so far are people under 18 years of age. The agency said in a health advisory on its website that it recently received increased reports of patients with symptoms of the disease over the last three months.

Pages