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Genes Tell Only Part of the Story

February 17, 2015

(New York Times) – Skeptics point out that genetic medicine, for all its promise, has delivered relatively few clinical benefits. And straightforward analyses of lifestyle and environment effects on health may occasionally lead to clear-cut advice (don’t smoke), but more often sow confusion, as anyone curious about the best way to lose weight or the optimal quantity of dietary salt knows.

A New Edition of Journal of Medicine and Philosophy Is Now Available

February 17, 2015

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (Vol. 40 no. 1, February 2015) is now available by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “Medicine as a Profession: A Hypothetical Imperative in Clinical Ethics” by Laurence B. McCullough
  • “A Trifocal Perspective on Medicine as a Moral Enterprise: Towards an Authentic Philosophy of Medicine” by Gerald M. Ssebunnya
  • “Medical Bribery and the Ethics of Trust: The Romanian Case” by Teodora Manea
  • “Confronting Diminished Epistemic Privilege and Epistemic Injustice in Pregnancy by Challenging “Panoptics of the Womb

NHS Private Health Provider Accused of US Hospice Fraud

February 16, 2015

(The Guardian) – One of the private health firms awarded the chance to earn contracts worth up to £5bn to provide back-office services to NHS doctors is being pursued through the courts over allegations of a major fraud of the American hospice system. Optum, one of 12 organisations given the preferred status by NHS England, is accused by the US federal government of falsely claiming American taxpayers’ cash for looking after people in hospices who were not terminally ill.

Human Neural Stem Cells Restore Cognitive Functions Impaired by Chemotherapy

February 16, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – In preclinical studies using rodents, they found that stem cells transplanted one week after the completion of a series of chemotherapy sessions restored a range of cognitive functions, as measured one month later using a comprehensive platform of behavioral testing. In contrast, rats not treated with stem cells showed significant learning and memory impairment.

The Right to Die Battle: A Timeline

February 16, 2015

(Washington Post) – Public radio talk show host Diane Rehm’s entry into the right to die debate comes less than a year after her husband chose to not eat or drink when his Maryland doctor refused to help him end his life. The battle she’s entering has been a long one. Here below, some key moments.

Mary Portas: My Brother Is the ‘Father’ of My Son

February 16, 2015

(The Telegraph) – Mary Portas has disclosed how her own brother helped her become a mother for the third time, after becoming a donor for an IVF procedure. Portas, nicknamed the “Queen of Shops”, has told how her wife Melanie Rickey became pregnant with their son thanks to help from her younger brother Lawrence.

Twitter the Right Prescription for Sharing Health Research, Study Says

February 16, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – Using Twitter can help physicians be better prepared to answer questions from their patients, according to researchers from the University of British Columbia. The study, presented today at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), finds more and more health care professionals are embracing social media. This challenges common opinion that physicians are reluctant to jump on the social media bandwagon.

Should Medical Tourism Be Used to Supplement Gaps in Our Health Care System?

February 16, 2015

(The Montreal Gazette) – Could they be the white knights of Canada’s ailing, cash-strapped health care system who will come in, sweep up sickly patients and whisk them off to greener medical pastures? There’s no question that, for a growing number of Canadians, medical tourism spells relief. But experts say a lot more groundwork needs to be done before medical travel brokers should be considered the remedy for a resource-crippled system — or before medical tourism becomes a way to outsource care.

Artificial Proteins Could Bring the Next Biological Revolution – Starting with MRI

February 16, 2015

(The Conversation) – Synthetic biology, a more recent concept, focuses on the design of artificial devices or systems with biological or “bio-like” functions. This covers a wide range of applications – but perhaps the most fascinating biological “device” we could wish to emulate is the protein. Proteins are responsible for many of the key processes of life such as respiration and photosynthesis. They perform complex functions such as transferring electrons or breaking chemical bonds.

European Physicists: ‘Drug Testing OK’ and ‘Doc Knows Best’

February 16, 2015

(Medscape) – Physicians in Europe are much more likely to favor random drug testing for doctors, are less likely to report an impaired colleague, and are more comfortable with the attitude of “the doctor knows what’s best for the patient,” according to Medscape’s recent Physician Ethics Report 2014. Diverse cultures affect the roles of physicians and patients, and the different legal environments contribute to varied patient-care decisions, according to this fascinating look at the differences in medical ethics between US and European physicians.

New Recommendations for Pain Management among Active Military and Veterans

February 16, 2015

(Forbes) – The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this week delivered its recommendations for assisting military veterans with pain management. A working group from the center’s advisory council administered the report. The group’s findings were prepared after a series of five meetings. During these engagements, the council listened to presentations by experts in various backgrounds: pain research, study design, complementary and integrative approaches.

Stem Cells Offer Promising Key to New Malaria Drugs: U.S. Research

February 16, 2015

(Reuters) – Human stem cells engineered to produce renewable sources of mature, liver-like cells can be grown and infected with malaria to test potentially life-saving new drugs, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Heating Targeted Cancer Drugs Increases Uptake in Tumour Cells

February 16, 2015

(Nanotechnology Now) – Manchester scientists have found that gentle heating of targeted nano-sized drug parcels more effectively in deliver them to tumour cells – resulting in an improvement in survival rates. One of the clinically-established methods for the delivery of cancer chemotherapy drugs has been to package the drug inside nano-sized containers, known as liposomes. This allows the drug to more effectively localise into cancer tissue and reduces side-effects by limiting drug-infused liposome uptake in healthy cells.

Nanotechnology in Dentistry – Applications, Hazards, Benefits

February 16, 2015

(Nanowerk) – There appears to be many potential benefits to patient outcome from using nanotechnology in dentistry. The benefits include new materials for preventative health care using dentifrices that are either antimicrobial and/or have some restorative properties for the enamel and dentine. A new review paper in ACS Nano aims to detail the ultrafine structure, chemical composition, and reactivity of dental tissues in the context of interactions with ENMs, including the saliva, pellicle layer, and oral biofilm; then describes the applications of ENMs in dentistry in context with beneficial clinical outcomes versus potential risks.

Harvard, MIT Researchers Develop Rapid Diagnostic for Virus Detection

February 16, 2015

(Harvard Crimson) – Thanks to research by Lee Gehrke, a professor of health sciences and technology, and other researchers at Harvard and MIT, viruses like Ebola may be more rapidly detected and tracked than ever before. The rapid diagnostic, which can detect deadly pathogens in under 30 minutes, is part of an interdisciplinary project supported by the National Institutes of Health.

A New Edition of Bioethics is Available

February 16, 2015

Bioethics (Vol. 29, No. 2, February 2015) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Transitional Paternalism: How Shared Normative Powers Give Rise to the Asymmetry of Adolescent Consent and Refusal” by Neil C. Manson
  • “Acting to Let Someone Die” by Andrew McGee
  • “Moral Distress and Moral Conflict in Clinical Ethics” by Carina Fourie

A New Edition of Journal of Applied Philosophy is Available

February 13, 2015

Journal of Applied Philosophy (Volume 32, No. 1, February 2015) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Applying Virtue to Ethics” by Julia Annas
  • “Geographies of Meaningful Living” by Cheshire Calhoun
  • “Hate Crimes and Human Rights Violations” by Thomas Brudholm
  • “Why Should We Save Nature’s Hidden Gems?” by Glenn Parsons

Six-Day-Old Baby Has Youngest US Heart Transplant (Update)

February 13, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – A six-day old premature baby has become the youngest infant to receive a heart transplant at a US hospital, doctors and her proud parents said Thursday. Baby Oliver Crawford underwent the operation at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona after being born seven weeks ahead of schedule with a heart defect which meant her parents didn’t expect him to survive.

Red Cross Faces Attacks at Ebola Victims’ Funerals

February 13, 2015

(New York Times) – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported Thursday that since March, the organization’s burial teams in Guinea have been attacked verbally or physically 10 times a month on average. Most recently, on Sunday in Forécariah, two volunteers were beaten as they tried to carry out a safe burial.

S. Korea Cracks Down on Foreign-Focused Plastic Surgery Clinics

February 13, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – South Korea on Friday announced a crackdown on illegal brokers and unregistered clinics in a bid to protect medical tourists, especially those drawn by the country’s booming plastic surgery industry. The Health Ministry unveiled a raft of measures drafted in response to a growing number of complaints over botched jobs and exorbitant billing, many of them filed by Chinese women who travel specifically to South Korea for cosmetic procedures.

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