(Newsmax) – Informed consent holds that patients must, by law, have the risks and benefits of a surgery or other medical procedure explained to them in advance so they are able to act knowledgeably in granting or denying permission to proceed. “Informed consent is at the heart of shared decision making — a recommended approach to medical treatment decision in which patients actively participate with their doctors,” the American Medical Association’s AMA Journal of Ethics reports.
(New York Times) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating four Defense Department labs for mishandling deadly germs used in bioterrorism research, a spokesman said Friday. The mistakes involve anthrax, plague and viruses that cause encephalitis, which are studied by the military to defend against their potential use as biological weapons. There is no evidence that anyone has been harmed by the errors or that there is any risk to the public, officials say.
NanoEthics (vol. 9, no. 2, 2015) is available online by subscription only.
- “Anticipatory Ethics and Governance (AEG): Towards a Future Care Orientation Around Nanotechnology” by Karena Hester, et al.
- “Communitarian and Subsidiarity Perspectives on Responsible Innovation at a Global Level” by Ineke Malsch
- “Regulating Emerging and Future Technologies in the Present” by Karinne Ludlow, et al.
- “Reactions to the Future: The Chronopolitics of Prevention and Preemption” by Mario Kaiser
- “Different Understandings of Life as an Opportunity to Enrich the Debate about Synthetic Biology” by Anna Deplazes-Zemp, et al.
Research Ethics (vol. 11, no. 3, 2015) is available online by subscription only.
- “Information for Consent: Too Long and Too Hard to Read” by John S.G. Biggs and August Marchesi
- “Research Ethics Committees: The Ineligibles” by Stephen Humphreys
- “Revisiting Consent for Health Information Databanks” by Stephan Millett and Peter O’Leary
(Scientific American) – Ask a physician what the hormone vasopressin is good for, and she will explain that it regulates the volume of water in your body and also affects blood pressure. But since the 1990s, vasopressin has been a hot topic in a very different field: social behavior. And recently it has emerged as a possible target for treating autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which are characterized by social, behavioral and communication impairments. The research is still in early stages, however, and has yielded more questions than answers.
(NPR) – Around the U.S., a worsening heroin epidemic has more and more cities turning to the anti-overdose drug naloxone to reduce deaths from abuse. Also known as Narcan, the medication blocks the effects of opioids and reverses the respiratory depression that occurs during an overdose. Baltimore recently stepped up its naloxone training, focusing on drug users, and their families and friends. So far this year, city health workers have taught nearly 4,400 people how to use naloxone. That’s more than quadruple the number trained in 2014.
(Propublica) – To the best of his knowledge, Jim Smith never saw or handled Agent Orange on the Navy ship he served on during the Vietnam War. “I never sprayed the stuff, never touched the stuff,” said Smith, 65, who lives in Virginia Beach. “I knew later, vets started getting sick from it, but I didn’t think it had any impact on me.” It turns out, he might have been drinking it.
(News.com.au) – MORE Australians than ever before are turning to IVF treatment to ensure genetic diseases and chromosomal disorders that run in their family are not being passed onto their children. The latest report into IVF in Australia, released today, has shown the rate of genetic-based testing in In-Vitro Fertilisation treatments has risen by 20 per cent on the previous reporting period.
(Medscape) – Two recently passed laws, however, will allow women to skip the annual exam, if they wish, and still access birth control. Oregon and California passed legislation that will enable women to obtain hormonal birth control directly from pharmacies, without first undergoing a physical examination or consulting with a healthcare provider. Advocates of the laws applaud the move; increasing access to birth control by removing unnecessary and time-consuming barriers, they say, may increase contraceptive use and, ultimately, decrease the number of unintended pregnancies.
(Boston Globe) – Federal officials need to do more to prevent for-profit stem cell clinics from exploiting and potentially injuring patients, an article in a leading medical journal says. The New England Journal of Medicine commentary follows a May article by the Associated Press that identified 170 US clinics that charge between $5,000 and $50,000 for stem cell procedures that purport to treat dozens of diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, and hair loss.
(The Guardian) – As MPs and peers we write further to the views expressed by Tanni-Grey Thompson, who argues that the assisted dying bill is unsafe (We must reject this intentional killing bill, 9 September). As the debate on assisted suicide intensifies, there is a real risk that the voice of the most vulnerable in our society is being drowned out. Evidence from around the world shows that many who chose assisted suicide cited feeling a burden on those around them as a reason for proceeding.
(The Daily Telegraph) – One year ago he was at the heart of an international surrogacy scandal; Baby Gammy, a Down syndrome boy with chronic health conditions, was abandoned in Thailand by his Australian biological parents, while his healthy twin sister was taken home by the couple. One Tuesday, the Australian charity providing care for the toddler said his transformation in 12 months was “nothing short of remarkable.”
(Nanotechnology Now) – A new Ebola test that uses magnetic nanoparticles could help curb the spread of the disease in western Africa. Research published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics shows that the new test is 100 times more sensitive than the current test, and easier to use. Because of this, the new test makes it easier and cheaper to diagnose cases, enabling healthcare workers to isolate patients and prevent the spread of Ebola.
Nursing Ethics (vol. 22, no. 5, 2015) is available online by subscription only.
- “Information-sharing Ethical Dilemmas and Decision-making for Public Health Nurses in Japan” by Chisato Suzuki, et al.
- “Some Ethical Conflicts in Emergency Care” by Maria F. Jiménez-Herrera and Christer Axelsson
- “Relational Interactions Preserving Dignity Experience: Perceptions of Persons Living with Dementia” by Oscar Tranvåg, et al.
(Science) – Notch another victory for synthetic biology. Researchers report today that they’ve engineered a common laboratory plant to produce the starting material for a potent chemotherapy drug originally harvested from an endangered Himalayan plant. The new work could ensure an abundant supply of the anticancer drug and make it easier for chemists to tweak the compound to come up with safer and more effective versions.
(Times of India) – Chinese and Italian transplant specialists are planning to conduct the world’s first human head transplant surgery on a Russian computer scientist that they claim would change the course of human history by curing incurable medical conditions. Italian Sergio Canavero will partner with Chinese surgeon Ren Xiaoping at a hospital affiliated to Harbin Medical University to carry out the operation.
(Medical Xpress) – Using “mini-brains” built with induced pluripotent stem cells derived from patients with a rare, but devastating, neurological disorder, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say they have identified a drug candidate that appears to “rescue” dysfunctional cells by suppressing a critical genetic alteration. Their findings are published in the September 8 online issue of Molecular Psychiatry.
(U.S. News & World Report) – The state Assembly approved legislation Wednesday that would allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives after an emotional and deeply personal debate, sending the proposal to the Senate that is expected to endorse it. It was the second effort by California lawmakers this year to allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication following the highly publicized case of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally take her life.
(Time) – Scientists have long known that while our eyes do most of the heavy lifting of sight—taking in particles of light, bending and refracting them, turning them into electrical impulses—we actually “see” with our brains. Between the eye and the mind, however, a lot can go wrong, and until recently, if someone’s vision started to go or was never there to begin with, there wasn’t much doctors could do about it. Now, thanks to an explosion of new research, scientists at a stage in biology where they “know a heck of a lot about the causes of vision problems,” says Dr. Paul A. Sieving, director of the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of the Health.
(Yahoo!) – They are among a growing number of Canadian women who are willing to offer their wombs to those who cannot conceive or carry their own children but who wish a genetic link. “There are more women joining… but there still isn’t enough to meet the need,” says Sally Rhoads-Heinrich, owner of Surrogacy in Canada Online, a website dedicated to connecting would-be surrogates to parents seeking their help. She has seen her client load at least double from a few years ago but there’s a big gap between the level of interest in a Canadian surrogate and the number of people who actually proceed, she says.