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India’s Top Court Limits Sweep of Biometric ID Program

October 1, 2018

(New York Times) – In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, India’s Supreme Court placed strict limits on the government’s national biometric identity system while also finding that the sweeping program did not fundamentally violate the privacy rights of the country’s 1.3 billion residents. A five-justice panel of the court decided by 4-1 to approve the use of the program, called Aadhaar, for matters involving the public purse, such as the distribution of food rations and other government benefits and the collection of income taxes.

Zika Love Stories

October 1, 2018

(BBC) – Both boys are growing up with congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), a set of physical impairments caused when their mothers were infected with the Zika virus while they were pregnant. In Brazil, more than 3,000 children were born with CZS, following the outbreak in 2015 and 2016.  The most well-known symptom is microcephaly – abnormally small heads. Three years ago the world’s news outlets were filled with pictures of screaming newborns, their heads so small that their scalps folded into a mass of wrinkles.

Canadian Clinics Are Selling Shady Stem Cell Treatments, Study Finds

October 1, 2018

(Gizmodo) – Doctors selling dubious stem cell treatments isn’t just a problem in the U.S., suggests a new study published in Regenerative Medicine. Clinics in Canada are also marketing these treatments directly to consumers, the study found, and seemingly misleading them about their benefits and risks.

US, Japan Duo Win Nobel Medicine Prize for Cancer Therapy

October 1, 2018

(Yahoo! News) – Two immunologists, James Allison of the US and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won the 2018 Nobel Medicine Prize for research into how the body’s natural defences can fight cancer, the jury said on Monday. Unlike more traditional forms of cancer treatment that directly target cancer cells — often with severe side-effects — Allison and Honjo figured out how to help the patient’s own immune system tackle the cancer more quickly.

‘Give Her a Chance’: North Texas Family Fights to Keep 9-Year-Old on Life Support

October 1, 2018

(WFAA) – Doctors at the hospital were eventually able to get back a heartbeat, and the girl has been stable and on a ventilator ever since. “She has a mass behind her heart that is twice the size of her heart,” said Tiffany. “They speculate that is what caused her to stop breathing.” The girl’s parents desperately want her to remain on life support, at least until they see some additional physical signs she’s deteriorating.

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

October 1, 2018

The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 379, no. 1, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Primary Care and the Opioid-Overdose Crisis — Buprenorphine Myths and Realities” by S.E. Wakeman and M.L. Barnett
  • “Moving Addiction Care to the Mainstream — Improving the Quality of Buprenorphine Treatment” by B. Saloner, K.B. Stoller, and G.C. Alexander
  • “Methadone in Primary Care — One Small Step for Congress, One Giant Leap for Addiction Treatment” by J.H. Samet, M. Botticelli, and M. Bharel

 

A New Edition of JAMA Is Now Available

October 1, 2018

JAMA (vol. 320, no. 1, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Big Data and Predictive Analytics: Recalibrating Expectations” by Nilay D. Shah, Ewout W. Steyerberg, and David M. Kent
  • “Supporting the Next Generation of Biomedical Researchers” by Ron Daniels and Victor Dzau
  • “Preparing Physician-Scientists for an Evolving Research Ecosystem” by Matthew E. Hirschtritt, Penny M. Heaton, and Thomas R. Insel

 

New Articles from BMC Medical Ethics Are Now Available

October 1, 2018

BMC Medical Ethics has new articles  available online.

Articles include:

  • “A Reflection on the Challenge of Protecting Confidentiality of Participants while Disseminating Research Results Locally ” by Anne-Marie Turcotte-Tremblay and Esther Mc Sween-Cadieux
  • “In Pursuit of Goodness in Bioethics: Analysis of an Exemplary Article” by Bjørn Hofmann and Morten Magelssen
  • “Ethics Beyond Ethics: The Need for Virtuous Researchers” by Mark Daku

 

A New Edition of British Medical Bulletin Is Now Available

October 1, 2018

British Medical Bulletin (vol. 126, no. 1, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “How to Talk about Genome Editing” by Sandy Starr
  • “Genetic Counselling in the Era of Genomic Medicine” by Christine Patch and Anna Middleton
  • “Fortune and Hindsight: Gene Patents’ Muted Effect on Medical Practice” by Jacob S Sherkow and Ryan Abbott
  • “Conscientious Objection in Medicine: Accommodation Versus Professionalism and the Public Good” by Udo Schuklenk

 

A New Edition of Ethics and Information Technology Is Now Available

October 1, 2018

Ethics and Information Technology (vol. 20, no. 2, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “How to Describe and Evaluate “Deception” Phenomena: Recasting the Metaphysics, Ethics, and Politics of ICTs in Terms of Magic and Performance and Taking a Relational and Narrative Turn” by Mark Coeckelbergh
  • “The Other Question: Can and Should Robots Have Rights?” by David J. Gunkel
  • “Artificial Moral Agents: Moral Mentors or Sensible Tools?” by Fabio Fossa
  • “Societal and Ethical Issues of Digitization” by Lambèr Royakkers, Jelte Timmer, Linda Kool, and Rinie van Est

 

Experimental TB Vaccine Shows Promise in Clinical Trials

September 28, 2018

(STAT News) – As world leaders pledged support for the fight against tuberculosis at the United Nations this week, some good news in the effort to develop weapons to combat the bacterium nearly slipped under the radar. An experimental TB vaccine showed solid protection in a clinical trial reported Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The vaccine is being developed by GSK and Aeras, a nonprofit organization working on affordable tuberculosis vaccines.

Why Your Doctor Wants to Talk about Guns

September 28, 2018

(CNN) – our doctor already talks to you about sex, drugs and alcohol, but should they talk to you about guns, too? A newly-formed coalition of healthcare providers thinks so — and patient intervention is just one part of their plan to reduce what they call an “epidemic” of gun violence. The organization, Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic, known as SAFE, is demanding an increase in federal funding for gun violence research, and is calling on lawmakers to implement “evidence-based policy” on guns.

When Conventional Wisdom Is Put on Trial

September 28, 2018

(Undark) – Leigh, a former economist at Australian National University, fills his account with tantalizing examples that reinforce the Scared Straight lesson: When we go with our gut, we’re often wrong. Making teenage girls care for a demanding baby doll does not diminish, but according to one study actually doubles their risk of teen pregnancy. (Those baby dolls are cute.) Advancing microcredit in the developing world does not significantly raise household income. (It just puts people in debt.) Annual physicals do nothing to prevent illness.

World’s First Human Case of Rat Disease Discovered

September 28, 2018

(CNN) – For the first time, a case of rat hepatitis E has been discovered in a human in Hong Kong. A 56-year-old man has been diagnosed with the disease, researchers from the University of Hong Kong said. It was not previously known the disease could be passed from rats to humans.

In the Race to Use Genetic Tests to Predict Whether Antidepressants Will Work, Science Might Be Getting Left Behind

September 28, 2018

(STAT News) – With the new test (part of a $249 product), Color joins several dozen companies probing patients’ DNA in search of insights to help inform decisions about which psychiatry medications patients should take. They’re touting applications for depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But some top psychiatrists say the evidence doesn’t support the commercial rush.

Recent Research Sheds New Light on Why Nicotine Is So Addictive

September 28, 2018

(Scientific American) – Although our society currently finds itself focused on the tragic epidemic of opioid overdoses, there remains no better example of the deadly power of addiction than nicotine. The measure of a drug’s addictiveness is not how much pleasure (or reward) it causes but how reinforcing it is—that is, how much it leads people to keep using it. Nicotine does not produce the kind of euphoria or impairment that many other drugs like opioids and marijuana do. People do not get high from smoking cigarettes or vaping. Yet nicotine’s powerful ability to reinforce its relatively mild rewards results in 480,000 deaths annually.

Kingdom Surrogacy Law Set to Lift Burden from ‘Victims’

September 28, 2018

(The Phnom Penh Post) – Hundreds of rights organisations from 18 countries campaigned for “a global ban on women’s womb rental” on Monday during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. Exhorting heads of governments to implement a ban on surrogacy and to stop funding UN agencies that advocate its legalisation, they issued a statement which read: “Surrogacy is a serious violation of the rights and dignity of women and children. It is a form of women’s reproductive exploitation and it treats newborns as commodities.”

Uterus Transplantation–Ethically Just as Problematic as Altruistic Surrogacy

September 28, 2018

(Science Daily) – In 2014, the first child to have been gestated in a donated uterus was born. Although research into uterus transplantation is still in an early phase, many see the donations as a success. Researchers have now studied ethical aspects of uterus transplantation. The results show that uterus transplantation with living donors is ethically just as problematic as altruistic surrogacy.

‘A National Emergency’: Suicide Rate Spikes Among Young US Veterans

September 27, 2018

(The Guardian) – Suicide rates have jumped substantially among young military veterans, according to new data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans aged 18 to 34 have higher rates of suicide than any other age group, the VA says in its National Suicide Data Report. The rate for those young veterans increased to 45 suicide deaths per 100,000 population in 2016, up from 40.4 in 2015, even as the overall veteran suicide rate decreased slightly, according to a copy of the report reviewed by the Guardian.

On the Trail of a Deadly Disease That Cuts Down Farmworkers in Their Prime

September 27, 2018

(Bloomberg) – As its name indicates, the causes of [chronic kidney disease of unknown origin] are poorly understood. What’s not in question is that it’s deadly. Symptoms—including vomiting, exhaustion, and weight loss—often don’t appear until the disease is well advanced, by which time damage to the kidneys cannot be reversed. Without access to dialysis or a kidney transplant, there’s little hope of survival. CKDu first gained international recognition for its impact on sugar cane workers in Nicaragua, where it’s killed at least 20,000 young men in the past decade, according to experts who describe it as an epidemic.

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