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Extremely Preterm Infants Enrolled in RCTs Do Not Experience Worse Outcomes

June 16, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – In a group of more than 5,000 extremely preterm infants, important in-hospital outcomes were neither better nor worse in infants enrolled in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) compared with eligible but nonenrolled infants, findings that may provide reassurance regarding concerns about performing RCTs in this vulnerable population, according to a study in the June 16 issue of JAMA.

Special Report: Why India’s Medical Schools Are Plagued with Fraud

June 16, 2015

(Reuters) – In a four-month investigation, Reuters has documented the full extent of the fraud in India’s medical-education system. It found, among other things, that more than one out of every six of the country’s 398 medical schools has been accused of cheating, according to Indian government records and court filings. The Reuters probe also found that recruiting companies routinely provide medical colleges with doctors to pose as full-time faculty members to pass government inspections. To demonstrate that teaching hospitals have enough patients to provide students with clinical experience, colleges round up healthy people to pretend they are sick.

Study Supports Antibiotic Use to Treat Appendicitis

June 16, 2015

(New York Times) – For more than 100 years, the standard treatment for appendicitis has been surgery. Now a large Finnish study provides the best evidence to date that most patients can be treated with antibiotics alone. The study, published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, involved 530 patients aged 18 to 60 who agreed to have their treatment — antibiotics or surgery — decided at random.

Blood Test Could Pick Up Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease 10 Years Early

June 16, 2015

(The Telegraph) – British researchers found that the blood level of a protein called MAPKAPK5 was lower in individuals whose cognitive ability declined over a ten year period. A blood test could identify the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia 10 years before symptoms develop, scientists believe.

S. Korea Reports 15th MERS Death, Seven New Cases (Update)

June 16, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – South Korea Sunday reported its 15th death from the MERS virus as the growing outbreak that has now infected 145 forced one of the nation’s biggest hospitals to suspend most services. The latest fatality from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was a 62-year-old man who died Sunday afternoon in the southern port city of Busan, the city council said.

Researchers Develop New Technique for Modelling Neuronal Connectivity Using Stem Cells

June 16, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – Human stem cells can be differentiated to produce other cell types, such as organ cells, skin cells, or brain cells. While organ cells, for example, can function in isolation, brain cells require synapses, or connectors, between cells and between regions of the brain. In a new study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers report successfully growing multiple brain structures and forming connections between them in vitro, in a single culture vessel, for the first time.

Brazilian Social Scientists Call for Ethics Watchdog

June 16, 2015

(Sci Dev Net) – Social scientists in Brazil demand the creation of a new ethics committee to oversee the treatment of people studied by researchers. The specialist watchdog would develop a code of ethics for social science involving human subjects, and would act as a go-to organisation for dealing with scientific misconduct, they suggest.

U.S. Justices Refuse to Restore North Carolina Abortion Ultrasound Law

June 16, 2015

(Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by the state of North Carolina to revive its law requiring women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound of the fetus performed and described to them by a doctor. The high court let stand a December appeals court ruling that struck down the 2011 law as unconstitutional because it forced doctors to voice the state’s message discouraging abortion. The action does not impact similar measures in other states.

New IVF Technique Uses Signalling Molecule Found Naturally in a Mother’s Uterus

June 16, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – Couples undergoing IVF will soon benefit from the next phase a novel treatment option that cultures an embryo in an environment that closely mimics what occurs naturally in a mother during conception. Women who have been struggling to start a family for years are finally getting pregnant thanks to a world first in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, developed by researchers at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. BlastGen is the next phase of the highly successful EmbryoGen trial.

Cancer Patient Takes BRCA1 Gene Mutation Patent Decision to High Court

June 16, 2015

(The Guardian) – A long-running fight to stop private companies from owning the rights to isolated human gene mutations has reached Australia’s high court, and is the last legal hope for those seeking to stop gene patenting. The case dates back to December 2013, when the federal court of Australia ruled that a US-based biotech company, Myriad Genetics, had the right to a patent over a cancer-causing mutation of the BRCA1 gene.

Drug Makers Regularly Hide Reasons Their Drugs Are Rejected: Study

June 16, 2015

(The Wall Street Journal) – Whenever the FDA declines to approve a new drug, the agency issues what is known as a complete response letter to the drug maker detailing the reasons for rejection. But a new analysis of these letters finds a disturbing trend – in recent years, companies often failed to disclose some or all of the information about FDA decisions in press releases and regulatory filings.

A New Edition of Journal of Bioethical Inquiry is Available

June 16, 2015

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry (vol. 12, no. 2, 2015) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Bioethical challenges of the ebola outbreak” by Ça?r? Zeybek Ünsal, Duygu Akçay, and Nüket Örnek Büken
  • “Between palliative care and euthanasia” by Tom Mortier, René Leiva, and Raphael Cohen-Almagor
  • “Reconceptualising the doctor-patient relationship: Recognising the role of trust in contemporary healthcare” by Zara J. Bending

Immunization Could Halt Post-Traumatic Stress

June 15, 2015

(Scientific American) – Tweaking the immune system could be key to treating, or even preventing, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research in rodents suggests that immunizing animals can lessen fear if they are later exposed to stress. Researchers have known for some time that depression and immune-system health are linked and can affect each other. Early clinical trials have shown that anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce symptoms of depression, raising hopes that such treatments might be useful in other types of mental illness, such as PTSD.

UK Court Denies Woman’s Attempt to Use Dead Daughter’s Eggs to Create Her Own Grandchild

June 15, 2015

(Associated Press) – Britain’s High Court has denied an attempt by a woman to use her dead daughter’s frozen eggs to create her own grandchild, after deciding it wasn’t clear whether the daughter wanted the procedure. The daughter died in 2011 at age 28 and had signed a consent form agreeing that her eggs could be stored after her death but had not specified how they should be used.

Legal Experts: Law Enforcement Officers Should Be Authorized to Administer Overdose Antidote

June 15, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – Opioid overdose is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the epidemic accounts for some 25,000 deaths per year—or approximately 68 fatalities per day. One way to reduce the nation’s number of opioid-related deaths, said Northeastern University drug policy expert Leo Beletsky, is through the timely administration of naloxone, the life-saving overdose antidote.

Switzerland Votes ‘Yes’ in PGD Embryo Tests Referendum

June 15, 2015

(Deutsche Welle) – Switzerland has voted in favor of preimplantation diagnosis (PGD) in a nationwide referendum. The constitutional amendment will enable doctors to select which embryos to transplant after artificial insemmination. More than 60 percent of the referendum electorate voted in favour of the controversial reproductive treatment on Sunday. The forthcoming amendment to Switzerland’s reprodutive medicine law will allow PGD to be available only to couples who are carriers of severe hereditary diseases, as well as those unable to naturally conceive a child.

Chicago Court Gives Woman Frozen Embryos Despite Ex-Boyfriend’s Objections

June 15, 2015

(New York Times) – In a closely watched, long-running dispute over who gets custody of frozen embryos when the man and woman who created them disagree, an appeals court in Chicago ruled 2 to 1 on Friday that a woman whose fertility was destroyed by cancer treatment could use embryos she created with her ex-boyfriend, over his objections.

The American Medical Association Is Finally Taking a Stand on Quacks Like Dr. Oz

June 15, 2015

(Vox) – The AMA will look at creating ethical guidelines for physicians in the media, write a report on how doctors may be disciplined for violating medical ethics through their press involvement, and release a public statement denouncing the dissemination of dubious medical information through the radio, TV, newspapers, or websites. The move came out of the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago this week, where representatives from across the country vote on policies brought forward by members of the medical community.

CIA Torture Appears to Have Broken Spy Agency Rule on Human Experimentation

June 15, 2015

(The Guardian) – The Central Intelligence Agency had explicit guidelines for “human experimentation” – before, during and after its post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees – that raise new questions about the limits on the agency’s in-house and contracted medical research. Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian on Monday, empower the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research”.

Florida Abortion Rule Requiring 24-Hour Wait Faces Lawsuit Challenge

June 15, 2015

(The Guardian) – Two groups sued the state of Florida on Thursday seeking to stop a 24-hour waiting period for abortions from taking effect, arguing that it imposes an unnecessary burden on women seeking to end their pregnancies. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the suit one day after Republican governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law.

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