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A New Article fromPhilosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine Is Now Available

June 7, 2017

Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine has new articles available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “A four-part working bibliography of neuroethics: Part 4 – Ethical issues in clinical and social applications of neuroscience” by Kira Becker, John R. Shook, Martina Darragh, and James Giordano


Faculty Position Opening – Tenure Track Faculty Member: Global Bioethics

June 6, 2017

Institution: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health & Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University

Title: Assistant or Associate Professor (tenure-track)

Program: Department of International Health and Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University

Field: Global Health Ethics

Rationale: The field of global health ethics is rapidly expanding to address critical ethical issues in both global health research and global health practice and policy. Increased attention is focused, for example, on ethical issues in health systems research, implementation science, learning healthcare systems, and research on genetics and genomics as well as in global health and social justice, health, ethics, and human rights, equitable health insurance schemes, and ethics issues in specific areas of global public health work such as food distribution, disease prevention, m-health, or reduction of injuries. As the field of global health ethics continues to broaden its scope and disciplinary range, the Department of International Health and the Berman Institute are partnering to create a tenure-track faculty position focusing on the ethical aspects of research, policy, and/or practice in global and international health.

Qualifications: Applicants must hold a PhD, JD, MD, or equivalent. Applicants should: (1) have a solid background in bioethics; (2) have strong background in and commitments to global health; (3) exhibit potential for a distinguished record of scholarship in global bioethics; (4) show promise for excellence in teaching and advising of doctoral and masters students; (5) show promise for ability to secure external funding; (6) show track record or strong potential for collaborative and interdisciplinary work. Scholars from varied disciplines are eligible to apply; applicants with strong training in empirical (quantitative and/or qualitative) research are encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will be mentored to develop an increasingly independent portfolio of scholarship and funding in global bioethics.

The successful candidate will join thriving communities of scholars both within the Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and within the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is the #1 ranked school of public health, according to U.S. News and World Report, and is the largest school of public health in the country; the Department of International Health is the oldest such department in the country and seeks to understand health problems and develop means of disease reduction and health protection in underserved populations around the world. The Department has over 150 full-time faculty working in over 90 countries and runs masters and doctoral programs through each of its four programs. The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics is one of the premier bioethics programs in the world as well as one of largest. It aims to identify and address key ethical issues in science, clinical care, and public health, locally and globally. The Berman Institute includes an interdisciplinary body of 40 faculty with appointments in the JHU schools of public health, medicine, nursing, arts and sciences and advanced international studies; the Berman Institute runs a Masters in Bioethics program and participates in doctoral training in bioethics and public health.

The Johns Hopkins University is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other occupationally irrelevant criteria. The University promotes affirmative action for minorities, women, disabled persons and veterans.

Applicants should send a statement of interest, curriculum vitae and names of three references to:

Applications submitted by September 15, 2017 will be assured of the most careful consideration. Recruitment will continue until the position is filled.

Links of interest for this position: ;


When Insurers Require Patients to Stop Treatment

June 6, 2017

(CNN) – From 35,000 to 50,000 people in the U.S. are estimated to be dependent on medications to treat primary immunodeficiency diseases — about 300 rare conditions in which the immune system doesn’t function properly, or at all. The medication, known as immunoglobulin replacement therapy, replaces antibodies that the body doesn’t make. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars each year. In recent years, patients with these diseases have faced increasing difficulty getting their insurers to approve treatments, according to clinicians and patient advocates.

Death Toll in Yemen Cholera Outbreak Hits Nearly 700: WHO

June 6, 2017

(Reuters) – A cholera epidemic in Yemen has killed at least 681 people and the outbreak has yet to peak, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures showing an increase in the death toll of nearly 50 percent since its last update on May 27.

Six Decades of Struggle over the Pill

June 6, 2017

(Nature) – Sixty years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a treatment for menstrual disturbance. Data showed that it prevented pregnancy too, but that use was taboo. Three years passed before doctors could prescribe it as a contraceptive. And another decade went by until many women could get it before marriage. By then, the drug was considered a miracle and was already famous enough to be known simply as the pill.

New Science Data-Sharing Rules Are Two Scoops of Disappointment

June 6, 2017

(STAT News) – In an editorial this week, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) — which counts among its members the editors of such hard-hitting publications as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the BMJ — said that, starting in July 2018, members must require a data-sharing statement in all submitted manuscripts. But the committee stops short of requiring such sharing, saying only that editors “may” take into account authors’ plans for data sharing when they’re deciding whether to publish a paper.

Drug Deaths on the Rise in Europe for the Third Year: Report

June 6, 2017

(Reuters) – Drug overdose deaths in Europe rose six percent to 8,441 in 2015, rising for the third consecutive year, driven by increasing use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, Europe’s Lisbon-based drug monitoring agency said on Tuesday. The growing use of opioids has grabbed attention in recent years as deaths from such drugs, both illicit and prescription, in the United States have reached what many experts call epidemic levels.

Scientists Are Finding More Genes Linked to IQ. This Doesn’t Mean We Can Predict Intelligence.

June 6, 2017

(Vox) – But there’s also a deep uneasiness at the heart of this research — it is easily misused by people who want to make claims about racial superiority and differences between groups. Such concerns prompted Nature to run an editorial stressing that the new science of genetics and intelligence comes to no such conclusions. “Environment is crucial, too,” Nature emphasized. “The existence of genes ‘for’ intelligence would not imply that education is wasted on people without those genes. Geneticists burned down that straw man long ago.”

Study Demonstrates that Current CDC Reports on National U.S. IVF Clinic Outcomes Are Misleading

June 6, 2017

(Digital Journal) – Due to a loophole in the reporting rules, some IVF centers’ IVF outcomes reported to CDC are highly inflated, misleading the public and commercially benefiting a small group of IVF centers. National in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic outcomes, annually reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) under congressional mandate, are misleading to the public, as some IVF clinics increasingly use “embryo banking” in many IVF cycles, a study in the medical journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online reports.

A First: All Respond to Gene Therapy in a Blood Cancer Study

June 6, 2017

(ABC News) – Doctors are reporting unprecedented success from a new cell and gene therapy for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that’s on the rise. Although it’s early and the study is small — 35 people — every patient responded and all but two were in some level of remission within two months. In a second study of nearly two dozen patients, everyone above a certain dose responded. Experts at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago, where the results were announced Monday, say it’s a first for multiple myeloma and rare for any cancer treatment to have such success.

How Asia’s Surrogate Mothers Became a Cross-Border Business

June 5, 2017

(South China Morning Post) – In October, there was what Savouen viewed as a breakthrough: the health ministry followed other countries in the region by deciding to ban foreigners from seeking commercial surrogacy within its borders. That decision may have been welcomed by people like Savouen, but it’s had a host of unintended, and unpleasant consequences, not least among them the chaos it has caused for surrogates and intended parents whose embryos were implanted before the decision was made. The ensuing chaos forced Phnom Penh in recent weeks to announce an “exit strategy” for such children, though dozens of intended parents are still reporting problems in taking custody of their newborns.

The ‘Living Dead’: Prisoners Executed for Their Organs then Sold to Foreigners for Transplants

June 5, 2017

( – Researchers say China is home to the most rampant illegal organ trade in the world and is the number one destination for ‘transplant tourism’. The practice sees desperate people — from countries where waiting lists are longer than their life expectancy or costs are exorbitant — travel overseas to buy an organ and have lifesaving surgery. But there’s a major catch: Researchers say the donor organs are often sourced illegally from prisoners executed for their religious, political or cultural beliefs, who have not consented to any of it. Many of China’s prisoners have testified to having been subjected to medical testing consistent with organ transplant screening but without explanation while behind bars.

What U.S. Hospitals Can Still Learn from India’s Private Heart Hospitals

June 5, 2017

(NEJM Catalyst) – Our lessons from India still resonate. Given ongoing cost struggles in the United States, it is more important than ever to understand why U.S. hospitals have failed to provide high quality care at affordable prices. We highlight three key differences that signal changes that U.S. business and policymakers must address to match the benefits achieved abroad.

Zika Grabs Neural Stem Cell Protein to Cause Damage

June 5, 2017

(The Scientist) – When the Zika virus enters neural stem cells, a protein called Musashi-1 (MSI1) latches on to the virus’s RNA genome, somehow promoting viral replication. Blocking the cells’ ability to produce MSI1 significantly inhibits Zika’s ability to reproduce, according to an in vitro study published today in Science. The interaction between the virus and the human protein appears to make the neural stem cells more vulnerable to cell death. Moreover, by binding to the Zika genome, MSI1 was less likely to bind its natural targets within the neural stem cells to properly direct brain development, as evidenced by differences in the cells’ gene expression.

Group: 504 Sought Life-Ending Drugs under New California Law

June 5, 2017

(ABC News) – At least 504 terminally ill Californians have requested a prescription for life-ending drugs since a state law allowing doctor-assisted deaths went into effect in June 2016, marking the first publicly released data on how the practice is playing out in the nation’s most populous state. The number released Thursday represents only those who have contacted Compassion & Choices, an advocacy group that provides information on the process. The organization believes the overall figure to be much higher. State officials have not released data yet.

Researchers Use Artificial Intelligence to Predict Patient’s Lifespan

June 5, 2017

(News Medical) – A computer’s ability to predict a patient’s lifespan simply by looking at images of their organs is a step closer to becoming a reality, thanks to new research led by the University of Adelaide. The research, now published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, has implications for the early diagnosis of serious illness, and medical intervention. Researchers from the University’s School of Public Health and School of Computer Science, along with Australian and international collaborators, used artificial intelligence to analyze the medical imaging of 48 patients’ chests. This computer-based analysis was able to predict which patients would die within five years, with 69% accuracy – comparable to ‘manual’ predictions by clinicians.

Uninsured and Minority Patients Are Unfairly Overcharged in Emergency Rooms

June 2, 2017

(Vox) – Imagine you’re rushed into an emergency room with a heart problem. The doctor says you need an electrocardiogram to check your heartbeat. You ask about the price — and no one can give it to you. Turns out you might end up paying anywhere between $18 and $317 for the test, depending on the hospital and your insurance. And if you happen to be uninsured or a minority patient, you’re more likely to end up getting dinged with a higher hospital bill.

Surrogacy–the Impossible Dream of a Fair Trade Baby

June 2, 2017

(Medical Xpress) – One of Førde’s findings is precisely this: When you are privileged, you also have the privilege to define the world according to your own standpoint. With support from the way in which surrogacy has been organised in India, it is perfectly possible to see the exchange as a pure win-win situation. Another of Førde’s findings is, on the other hand, that it is impossible to defend surrogacy in India as an arrangement between equals. It gives highly unequal results for the involved parties. The western parents can bring a baby home with them. The Indian woman who has given birth to their baby, earn a sum of money that isn’t sufficient to get her out of poverty. The women are often left with a sense of loss: they have given someone a huge gift, but aren’t even close to be receiving the equivalent in return.

Dutch Family Win Right to Test DNA of Sperm Bank Doctor

June 2, 2017

(BBC) – A Dutch court has approved a request by families seeking DNA tests on the belongings of a late fertility clinic doctor accused of using his own sperm in dozens of cases. Jan Karbaat is suspected of fathering about 60 children at the centre he ran in Bijdorp, near Rotterdam. Tests will now be conducted on items seized from his home after his death in April, at the age of 89. A lawyer for his family said there was no evidence to support the claims.

Botched Anti-Measles Campaign Kill 15 Children in South Sudan

June 2, 2017

(Reuters) – At least 15 children died in South Sudan in early May after health workers vaccinating them against measles used the same syringe without sterilizing it, the health minister said on Friday. About 300 children were vaccinated on May 2-5 in Nacholdokopele village in Eastern Equatoria state, another 32 of whom have recovered after falling ill with symptoms including fever, vomiting and diarrhea, Health Minister Riek Gai Kok said.