(IMTJ) – India’s government has passed a bill to ban all commercial surrogacy in the country, allowing only close family relatives to become surrogate mothers. The proposed measure is a blow to the thriving but unregulated rent-a-womb industry that many activists say is exploiting poor women. The Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2016 proposes a radical change from imposing a blanket ban on commercial surrogacy to allowing only couples who have been married for 5 years or more to seek such services, and from a close relative only.
(Wired) – Theranos was once among the most exciting startups in Silicon Valley. It got that way by telling everyone a story: Its technology was an alternative to the price tags, big needles, and gate-keeping doctors of traditional blood testing. Today, nearly a year after Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou published the first of many investigative articles into the company’s struggles and lies, Theranos is changing its story.
(U.S. News & World Report) – With its affordable fertility treatments, high medical services and liberal laws, Argentina could become the next mecca of reproductive tourism. Keen to be a global leader in reproductive justice, in 2013 the pope’s homeland overwhelmingly passed a law subsidizing in vitro fertilization (IVF) for all, regardless of sexual orientation, marital status or economic background. The country now joins Spain, India and other top destinations for so-called “fertility tourists.”
(Kaiser Health News) – Men hoping to avoid some side effects of prostate cancer treatment are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for a procedure whose long-term effects are unknown and insurers, including Medicare, won’t pay for. Proponents say high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) can have fewer negative side effects than surgery or radiation, while giving some patients another option between actively watching their cancer and those more aggressive steps. Critics, however, say the procedure is being oversold, leading some patients to get a treatment they don’t need.
The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy (vol. 41, no. 5, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Bioethics and Moral Agency: On Autonomy and Moral Responsibility” by John Skalko and Mark J. Cherry
- “Autonomy and the Moral Authority of Advance Directives” by Eric Vogelstein
- “The Misfortunes of Moral Enhancement” by Marco Antonio Azevedo
- “Personal Responsibility and Lifestyle Diseases” by Martin Marchman Andersen and Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen
- “Substantial Life Extension and the Fair Distribution of Healthspans by Christopher S. Wareham
- “Are Indirect Benefits Relevant to Health Care Allocation Decisions?” by Jessica Du Toit and Joseph Millum
- “Are Indirect Benefits Relevant to Health Care Allocation Decisions? by Jessica Du Toit and Joseph Millum
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry (vol. 13, no. 3, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Donor Conception Disclosure: Directive or Non-Directive Counselling?” by Inez Raes, An Ravelingien & Guido Pennings
- “Getting the Balance Right: Conceptual Considerations Concerning Legal Capacity and Supported Decision-Making” by Malcolm Parker
- “The Ethics of Medical Practitioner Migration From Low-Resourced Countries to the Developed World: A Call for Action by Health Systems and Individual Doctors” by Charles Mpofu, Tarun Sen Gupta, and Richard Hays
- “Relative Values: Perspectives on a Neuroimaging Technology From Above and Within the Ethical Landscape” by Gabrielle Samuel, Alan Cribb, John Owens, and Clare Williams
- “Religious Scholars’ Attitudes and Views on Ethical Issues Pertaining to Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in Malaysia” by A. Olesen, S. N. Nor and L. Amin
(UPI) – A team of doctors in Dallas is “cautiously optimistic” of success in what would be the first living-donor uterine transplant in the United States. Doctors at Baylor University Medical Center said Wednesday that they performed four of the transplants in September, but only one has proven successful.
(Nature) – An analysis of global demographic data published in Nature suggests that humans have a fixed shelf life, and that the odds of someone beating Calment’s record are low — although some scientists question this interpretation. They say that the data used in the analysis is not unequivocal, and that the paper doesn’t account for future advances in medicine. Human life expectancy has steadily increased since the nineteenth century. Reports of supercentenarians — people such as Calment who live to older than 110 — together with observations of model animals whose lifespans can be extended through genetic or dietary modifications, have prompted some to suggest that there is no upper limit on human lifespan. Others say that the steady increase in life expectancy and maximum human lifespan seen during the last century will eventually stop.
(Reuters) – Physicians shouldn’t have the legal right to act as conscientious objectors and refuse to provide services like abortion or assisted suicide even when these things conflict with their personal values, some doctors argue. That’s because access to care should take priority, and conscientious objectors may make it more difficult for patients to get treatment they need, Dr. Julian Savulescu of the University of Oxford in the U.K. and Udo Schuklenk of Queens University in Ontario, Canada, argue in an article in the journal Bioethics.
(Science Daily) – An international collaboration of government, university, and industry resources showed the promise of using RNA as a safe way to both make and modify induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) from patient cells for clinical applications in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and personalized medicine.
(Wired) – More than a decade ago, Magnus was diagnosed with a tumour and had his right arm amputated. Following a novel prosthetics surgery in 2013 that integrated electrodes to his own nerves and muscle, and anchored the new arm directly to his bone, the Swede can operate machinery in his day job as a truck driver, tie his children’s shoelaces, unpack eggs and now compete for Sweden in the first “cyborg Olympics”.
(The Washington Post) – Legislation that would allow doctors to help terminally ill District residents end their lives will face a crucial Wednesday vote before the D.C. Council. Advocates for physician-assisted suicide are hopeful that the nation’s capital will be the next jurisdiction where patients facing agonizing deaths will have the option to legally end their lives, and the first since California’s governor signed similar legislation exactly one year ago.
(The Washington Post) – Politicians in the nation’s capital will vote this week on a physician-assisted death bill, a measure that cuts to the core of human nature, dignity and civilization. If it passes, the bill would allow a competent adult patient who has been diagnosed with an illness that will be fatal within six months (who is not under readily identifiable coercion and is not clinically depressed) to request and receive a prescription from a licensed D.C. physician and D.C. pharmacist to end the patient’s life.
Clinical Ethics (vol. 11, no. 2-3, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Initiating and Maintaining Clinical Ethics Support in Psychiatry. Ten Tasks and Challenges – And How to Meet Them” by Stella Reiter-Theil
- “Working Towards Implementing Moral Case Deliberation in Mental Healthcare: Ongoing Dialogue and Shared Ownership as Strategy” by Froukje Weidema, Hans van Dartel, and Bert Molewijk
- “Context-Adjusted Clinical Ethics Support in Psychiatry: Accompanying a Team Through a Sensitive Period” by Dagmar Meyer and Stella Reiter-Theil
- “Clinical Ethics Committees – Also for Mental Health Care? The Norwegian Experience” by Irene Syse, Reidun Førde, and Reidar Pedersen
Palliative Medicine (vol. 30, no. 9, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “End-of-Life Care Preferences of Nursing Home Residents: Results of a Cross-Sectional Study” by Charis Wei Ling Ng, SK Cheong, A Govinda Raj, WSK Teo, and IYO Leong
The Linacre Quarterly (vol. 83, no. 3, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Non-Faith-Based Arguments Against Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia” by Daniel P. Sulmasy, John M. Travaline, Louise A. Mitchell, and E. Wesley
- ” Brain Death and True Patient Care” by Doyen Nguyen
- ““Validity” and “Liceity” in Conjugal Acts: A Reply to Stephen Napier” on the HIV-Condom Debate” by Joseph Arias
Nursing Ethics (vol. 23, no. 6, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Ethical Aspects of Caregivers’ Experience with Persons with Dementia at Mealtimes” by Lena Marmstål Hammar, Anna Swall, and Martina Summer Meranius
- “Ethical Challenges: Trust and Leadership in Dementia Care” by Rita Jakobsen and Venke Sørlie
- “Ethical Problems in Nursing Management: The Views of Nurse Managers” by Elina Aitamaa, Helena Leino-Kilpi, Silja Iltanen, and Riitta Suhonen
- “Ethical Concerns and Dilemmas of Finnish and Dutch Health Professionals” by Hanna Hopia, Ilsa Lottes, and Mariël Kanne
- “Enhancing Students’ Moral Competence in Practice: Challenges Experienced by Malawian Nurse Teachers” by Eva Merethe Solum, Veronica Mary Maluwa, Bodil Tveit, and Elisabeth Severinsson
The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 375, no. 10, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Flipping the Script — A Patient-Centered Approach to Fixing Acute Care” by K.E. Kocher and J.Z. Ayanian
- “The Changing Face of Clinical Trials: The Primary Outcome Is Positive — Is That Good Enough?” by S.J. Pocock and G.W. Stone
(Voices in Bioethics) – Tom Beauchamp, PhD, has been a principle pioneer in the field of bioethics. As a young philosophy professor at Georgetown, he created the first applied ethics program in the United States. In 1975, he was recruited by the newly formed National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, where he wrote the bulk of The Belmont Report, the first federal document outlining the ethical principles and guidelines for research on human subjects.
(Undark Magazine) – Journalists and scientists are both in the business of telling stories, though the tools of the trade are different: Journalists are more likely to rely on apt anecdotes, while scientists prefer to use an accumulation of data. But on a fundamental level, both fields interpret evidence in an effort to make sense of the world. Ideally, that means journalists and scientists are both striving toward the same goal: the truth. But as the controversy over Henry Molaison’s legacy illustrates, weighing competing narratives is not always straightforward.