The Linacre Quarterly (vol. 82, no. 3, 2015) is available online by subscription only.
- “Of Wholes and Parts: A Thomistic Refutation of ‘Brain Death'” by Michel Accad
- “A Thomistic Defense of Whole-brain Death” by Jason T. Eberl
- “Stewardship Challenges Abortion: A Proposed Means to Mitigate Abortion’s Social Divisiveness” by Robert G. Tardiff
- “Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Effects of Contraceptive Steroid Horomones” By Hanna Klaus and Manuel E. Cortés
(Medical Xpress) – Children in rural India have higher vaccination rates than those in cities, and Hindu kids are more likely to get their shots than Muslim youth, say University of Michigan researchers. Their study is believed to be the first that compares vaccination rates across religious groups in India. It’s also significant because the findings that rural kids are better vaccinated are contrary to earlier studies.
(UPI) – Previous research has shown that surgery to correct spina bifida in a fetus while still in the womb can prevent complications from the condition, as well as prevent later surgery after birth. Researchers found in a new study, however, that fetuses with enlarged ventricles in their brain are less likely to benefit from the risky surgery because they’ll likely need a surgical procedure after they are born regardless.
(CNN) – Research on prosthetic hands has come a long way, but most of it has focused on improving the way the body controls the device. Now, it may also be possible for prosthetic hands to send signals back to the body and “tell” it information about what the bionic hand is touching, according to a new study.
(Medical Xpress) – Health authorities in Sierra Leone said Tuesday they had quarantined almost 700 people as they battled to contain a new outbreak of Ebola which killed a 16-year-old girl. The teenager died Sunday in a rural suburb of the city of Makeni, in a northern province that had not recorded a single case of the deadly virus in nearly six months.
(Reuters) – Young people taking antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat are significantly more likely to commit violent crimes when they are on the medication, but taking higher doses of the drugs appears to reduce that risk, scientists said on Tuesday. In research published in the PLoS Medicine journal, the scientists said that while their finding of a link does not prove that such drugs cause people to be more violent, further studies should be conducted and extra warnings may be needed in future when they are prescribed to people aged 15 to 24.
(Harvard Gazette) – Possible stem cell therapies often are limited by low survival of transplanted stem cells and the lack of precise control over their differentiation into the cell types needed to repair or replace injured tissues. A team led by David Mooney, a core faculty member at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, has now developed a strategy that has experimentally improved bone repair by boosting the survival rate of transplanted stem cells and influencing their cell differentiation. The method embeds stem cells into porous, transplantable hydrogels.
(News Medical) – A new study published in Pharmacogenomics suggests that a person’s response to anticancer drug treatments is strongly related to their genetic ancestry. Pharmacogenomics is published by Future Science Group. Researchers used lymphoblastoid cell lines from 589 patients to identify associations between genetic variants and differential drug response, as well as the role of ethnicity in drug potency and efficacy for 28 chemotherapeutic compounds. Patients self-reported their ethnicity as Hispanic or non-Hispanic/Caucasian.
(ABC.net) – A Sydney woman who travelled to the United States to design her own baby is giving away her excess embryos to help childless people. Natalie Lovett told Australian Story about her plans to create an extended family for her 18-month-old daughter Lexie, but there is a catch. All the embryo recipients must sign a contract agreeing to an annual reunion with Lexie’s siblings and they must stay in touch via a private Facebook page.
(BBC) – As technology advances, a group of people known as transhumanists are increasingly seeking ways to enable us to live on in new forms. How plausible are their ideas? “We have this strange idea that dying is something we need to do. It’s not – we’ll look back and think of dying as something as barbaric as slavery,” Dr Ben Goertzel explains. He is one of the leading figures in transhumanism – a movement that believes in using technology to improve our intellectual, physical and psychological capacities.
Ethics and Information Technology (vol. 17, no. 2, 2015) is available online by subscription only.
- “On the Adoption of Personal Health Records: Some Problematic Issues for Patient Empowerment” by Paraskevas Vezyridis and Stephen Timmons
(The Toronto Star) – If you are an animal, Peter Singer might be the closest thing you have to Moses. If you are a severely disabled human baby — or a disability activist — he’s more akin to the Angel of Death. This week, the 69-year-old Australian philosopher is being celebrated at Western University in London, Ont. In lectures and conversations, the power of his logic, the force of his world view, the startling and sometimes unexpected conclusions to his arguments will be on full display.
(The Telegraph) – The long-running campaign to relax Britain’s anti-euthanasia laws is set to switch to the courts after Parliament emphatically rejected moves to legalise assisted dying. MPs voted by a margin of almost three to one against a bill, tabled by the Labour backbencher Rob Marris, which would have allowed terminally ill patients in England and Wales to be given help to end their lives. It was the first time in almost 20 years that the Commons has voted on the issue and the first time ever that it has been given a full second reading debate in the elected chamber.
(BBC) – Earlier this year, a 10-year-old girl in Paraguay made headlines when she arrived at a hospital 20 weeks pregnant. But this was not a one-off case. Last year, more than 700 girls aged 14 and younger gave birth in this South American nation of seven million people. At the Casa Rosa Maria in Paraguay’s capital, Asuncion, the kitchen is full of chattering girls preparing food to celebrate the 13th birthday of a new resident – a girl who is five months pregnant.
(New York Times) – In a landmark victory for supporters of assisted suicide, the California State Legislature on Friday gave its final approval to a bill that would allow doctors to help terminally ill people end their lives. Four states — Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont — already allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to some patients. The California bill, which passed Friday in the State Senate by a vote of 23 to 14, will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will roughly triple access to doctor-assisted suicide across the country if he signs it. Mr. Brown has given little indication of his intentions.
(BBC) – Dozens of people who had fertility treatment might not be the legal parents of their children as a result of “widespread incompetence” in the sector, a judge has said. Sir James Munby’s comments came after the case of seven couples who had assisted reproduction by sperm donor. Consent forms, which give legal parental status, were not properly completed by clinics, it emerged. Sir James also questioned the oversight of regulator the HFEA.
(Popular Science) – Four years ago, scientists in the Netherlands and the U.S. very carefully created a potentially devastating disease. They made a few mutations to a virulent strain of bird flu that induced it to become airborne and infect mammals, giving scientists a peek into the ways flu might evolve in nature. It launched an international outcry and became the most public display yet of a question that scientists will frequently face in the future: Now that we know how to do this, should we?
(Michigan Daily) – Researchers at the University’s Michigan Center for Translational Pathology announced this month a new breakthrough in pediatric cancer treatment — the use of genetic sequencing. Using a practice called precision oncology, a team of University researchers conducted a study that used genetic sequencing to tailor diagnoses and develop new drug treatment for cancer patients for whom standard treatments were no longer effective. In some cases, researchers were able to recommend early counseling for family members based on the results.
(The Guardian) – Despite the defeat of the assisted dying bill, legalising euthanasia is seen by many in the UK as a way of enabling people to choose a humane and dignified death, and to die in their own homes with friends and family if they wish. Of all deaths in the Netherlands, 3.4% are the result of euthanasia, which was sanctioned after the NVVE Right to Die organisation campaigned to get the 2002 Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act on the statute books.
Surgeons Participate in Record-Setting Day of Organ Transplantation at Baylor University Medical Center
(News-Medical) – One week ago, surgical teams took part in a record-setting day of organ transplantation at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. Surgeons on the medical staff performed nine organ transplants on seven patients in one calendar day. The successful day of surgeries broke the previous Texas record of eight organ transplants performed in one calendar day, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).