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US Withdrawing Most Troops Fighting Ebola in West Africa

February 11, 2015

(ABC News) – With the Ebola outbreak sharply reduced, the United States is preparing to withdraw nearly all of its troops fighting the disease in West Africa and President Barack Obama is planning for the next steps planned by the administration. At an event Wednesday, Obama was to give details of the withdrawal and future plans after private morning meetings to discuss the successful Ebola response.

Are Your Medications Safe?

February 11, 2015

(Slate) – That misconduct happens isn’t shocking. What is: When the FDA finds scientific fraud or misconduct, the agency doesn’t notify the public, the medical establishment, or even the scientific community that the results of a medical experiment are not to be trusted. On the contrary. For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses.

New Way to Control Genes with Light Enables Better Targeting

February 11, 2015

(Tech Times) – Genes in the human body could soon be controlled by light, allowing the structures to be easily activated. So far, this effect has only been noted under laboratory conditions, but the process could, potentially, be used one day in the human body. Light could be used to greatly accelerate healing, grow tissues, and study functions within genes.

Engineers Put the “Squeeze” on Human Stem Cells

February 11, 2015

(R & D Magazine) – After using optical tweezers to squeeze a tiny bead attached to the outside of a human stem cell, researchers now know how mechanical forces can trigger a key signaling pathway in the cells. The squeeze helps to release calcium ions stored inside the cells and opens up channels in the cell membrane that allow the ions to flow into the cells, according to the study led by Univ. of California, San Diego bioengineer Yingxiao Wang.

RIKEN Announces Penalties Related to Stem Cell Fiasco

February 11, 2015

(Science) – RIKEN, the network of nationally supported Japanese labs, today handed out disciplinary measures for those involved in the STAP stem cell scandal who remain under its authority. The actions result from nearly a year’s worth of investigations centered on an article and a letter published online in Nature on 29 January 2014 that described a new and extremely simple way of generating stem cells called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP. Nature retracted the papers last July.

Stem Cell Pioneer Joins Forces with Stem Cell Fraudster

February 11, 2015

(Science) – The scientist who once fraudulently claimed to have created embryonic stem cells matched to human patients and the one who really did it plan to conduct joint research, a Korean newspaper reported this morning. A Chinese regenerative medicine company will provide financial support, according to the account.

Quest Diagnostics, Myriad Genetics Reach Agreement to End BRAC Gene-Patent Litigation

February 11, 2015

(News-Medical) – Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, today announced that it and Myriad Genetics Inc. have reached an agreement that ends their BRCA gene-patent litigation. Under the agreement, Quest Diagnostics and Myriad Genetics and its co-parties in the litigation, the University of Utah Research Foundation, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, HSC Research and Development Limited Partnership, and Endorecherche, Inc. (collectively, “Myriad”) dismiss their lawsuits, claims, counterclaims and disputes related to Myriad’s patent claims on BRCA1 and BRCA2 in the litigation.

IUDs Can Be Practical for Teenagers, But Pediatricians May Lack Training in Their use

February 11, 2015

(Washington Post) – Yet some pediatricians and other doctors worry they aren’t properly prepared to make this form of birth control available, because their training did not cover insertion of the devices. Experts say this has to change, starting during medical residencies, especially among pediatricians who will treat teenagers.

A New Edition of Bone Marrow Transplantation is Available

February 10, 2015

Bone Marrow Transplantation (vol. 50, no. 1, January 2015) is now available by subscription only. Articles include:

  • “Is ‘informed consent’ an ‘understood consent’ in hematopoietic cell transplantation?” by A. D’Souza, M. Pasquini and R. Spellency

Evidence-Based Medicine Is Only a Restrictive Interpretation of Clinical Medicine

February 10, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – In their analysis, the Authors highlight that the gap between clinical guidelines developed by evidence-based medicine (EBM) and the clinical setting has been widely recognized. Indeed, there is currently little evidence that EBM has actually improved patient care. This may be due to the fact that results of randomized clinical trials may show comparative efficacy of treatments for the average patient but not for those whose characteristics, such as severity of symptoms, comorbidity and other clinical features, depart from standard presentations.

Doctors Turning Away Unvaccinated Children

February 10, 2015

(Los Angeles Times) – Amid the current measles outbreak, Goodman and a growing number of other pediatricians nationwide are turning away parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Of the more than 100 people who have contracted the virus so far, the majority were unvaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

‘Positive’ Results for Ebola Drug Upsets Plans for Trials

February 10, 2015

(Science) – Even the researchers whose trial of a potential drug for Ebola made headlines last week worked hard to downplay the glimmer of efficacy it showed. “It is a weak signal in a nonrandomized trial,” Yves Levy, director of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris told Science about the data, which INSERM has not released. Weak or not, the report in The New York Times that favipiravir, a Japanese flu drug, had halved mortality in one group of Ebola patients in Guinea was one more piece of good news that is complicating prospects for trials of other Ebola drugs.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is a Physical Disorder, Not a Psychological Illness, Panel Says

February 10, 2015

(Washington Post) – Chronic fatigue syndrome is a “serious, debilitating” condition with a cluster of clear physical symptoms — not a psychological illness — a panel of experts reported Tuesday as it called for more research into a disease that may affect as many as 2.5 million Americans.

Google Wants to Relieve Your Health Search Panic with Fact-Checked Search Results

February 10, 2015

(Wired) – Now, the search engine is trying to bring some much-needed validity to the world of health-related searches with a new database of 400 commonly searched medical conditions that have been extensively fact-checked by doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Google announced the news in a blog post Tuesday, saying that it will now surface these pre-vetted facts at the top of its search results, in hopes of getting people to the right information faster.

Why Is Organ Donation Taboo for Many Africans?

February 10, 2015

(BBC) – Mr Ngure wa Mwachofi, an expert in social behaviour and communication, says religious and cultural beliefs are to blame for the negative attitude towards organ donation. “Culture is what people have been conditioned to do from the time they were born and if they are told that certain things are not okay then they believe so,” he tells me.

New Screening Tool Could Speed Development of Ovarian Cancer Drugs

February 10, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – University of Chicago Medicine researchers have built a model system that uses multiple cell types from patients to rapidly test compounds that could block the early steps in ovarian cancer metastasis. Their three-dimensional cell-culture system, adapted for high-throughput screening, has enabled them to identify small molecules that can inhibit adhesion and invasion, preventing ovarian cancers from spreading to nearby tissues.

The Birth of the Pill Review – One Giant Leap for Womankind

February 10, 2015

(The Guardian) – Pincus, Rock, and two remarkable women – the birth control pioneers Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick – are at the heart of this brilliant book by American journalist Jonathan Eig. It opens with a meeting in New York between Sanger and Pincus in 1950, when they discussed developing an oral contraceptive. Pincus was 47 and looked like “a cross between Albert Einstein and Groucho Marx”; Sanger was 71, worn out after spending most of her life campaigning for women’s rights, and convinced that the lack of reliable contraception was the biggest obstacle to equality.

Could ‘Superdonors’ Make Replacement Organs That Work in Anyone?

February 10, 2015

(Forbes) – Now a small biotech company, Madison, Wis.-based Cellular Dynamics International, is reporting today that it has obtained and begun manufacturing cells from two such “superdonors.” These two cell lines are believed to be genetically compatible with up to 19 percent of the U.S. population. The company says it has manufactured the two cell lines with a plan to hopefully develop them into simple, cost-effective replacement cell therapies.

Buying Time: How Egg Freezing Has Moved into the Mainstream

February 9, 2015

(The Globe and Mail) – Instead of waiting for the right time to put their careers on hold, or wondering whether a great partner and potential father might come into their lives, women are seeing egg freezing as a way to buy time. But there are questions about what exactly women are buying: Are there any long-term side effects from the punishing regimen of hormones and medication needed to mature and harvest eggs? Does delaying motherhood simply defer the complicated issues of careers and child care to a later date? And, when all is said and done, will those eggs ever result in the birth of a real, live baby?

‘Three-Parent IVF Babies Should Be Offered to Infertile Older Women’

February 9, 2015

(The Telegraph) – Older women struggling to have children could soon be offered the controversial “three-parent” IVF technique recently backed by MPs, a pioneering doctor hopes. One of the doctors who developed the technique has asked American regulators for permission to conduct trials of the procedure as a treatment for age-related infertility.

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