Bioethics.com

Subscribe to Bioethics.com feed
Your global information source on bioethics news and issues
Updated: 4 hours 19 min ago

UN Says 80 Percent of Yemeni Children Need Humanitarian Aid

July 26, 2017

(UPI) – Three U.N agencies say nearly 80 percent of Yemeni children need immediate humanitarian assistance amid the collapse of the country’s health system in the face of the two-year-long civil war. The heads of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and World Food Program said in a joint statement on Wednesday that 2 million Yemeni children are malnourished, making them vulnerable to cholera.

Biologics: The Pricey Drugs Transforming Medicine

July 26, 2017

(The Conversation) – Scientists are growing cells in there. Those cells, in turn, are growing medicine. Every two weeks or so, the hot, soupy liquid inside gets strained and processed. The purified molecules that result will eventually be injected into patients with Stage IV cancer. Drugs that are made this way – inside living cells – are called biologics. And they’re taking medicine by storm. By 2016, biologics had surged to make up 25 percent of the total pharmaceutical market, bringing in US$232 billion, with few signs their upward trend will slow.

Three Ways the Charlie Gard Case Could Affect Future End-of-Life Cases Globally

July 26, 2017

(The Conversation) -The tragic case of Charlie Gard, the British infant whose parents have just ended their legal fight to send him to the US for experimental treatment, has captured global attention. The case is significant for a number of reasons, both in the huge amount of publicity it has attracted, its progression through several courts, and the number of influential commentators who became involved. Not only does the case highlight the challenges for parents, doctors and judges in making end-of-life decisions about critically impaired infants, it is unique in another respect. It highlights the changing role of the wider public in shaping how decisions about medical treatment are made.

Dozens of U.S. Clinics Sell Unproven Stem Cell Therapies for Heart Failure

July 26, 2017

(Reuters) – Stem cell therapy isn’t approved to treat heart failure in the U.S., but dozens of clinics nationwide advertise the treatments anyway, often charging thousands of dollars for procedures that may not be safe or effective, a new study suggests. Researchers found 61 centers offering stem cell therapies for heart failure as of last year in the U.S. alone, including five that claimed to have performed more than 100 procedures. Only nine centers required copies of patients’ medical records and just one facility said it had a board certified cardiologist on staff.

Zika Testing Recommendations Changed for Pregnant Women

July 26, 2017

(STAT News) – There’s never been anything easy about the Zika virus outbreak, and a new complication is now coming to light. Testing for Zika infection is becoming more difficult, making it harder for doctors to advise pregnant women about the chances their child might have a Zika-related birth defect, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in a health advisory issued Friday. The CDC is now suggesting that women thinking of getting pregnant, and who may be exposed to the Zika virus through travel or because of where they live, should consider having their blood tested for Zika antibodies before they get pregnant. Having a baseline reading would help to interpret Zika tests done during a later pregnancy.

DNA Fab Keeps Getting More Fab

July 26, 2017

(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – Our DNA skills are lopsided: We are much better at dissecting DNA structure and organization than we are at synthesizing DNA. But our DNA skills are starting to become more balanced, now that we are benefitting from exponential decreases in the cost of oligonucleotide synthesis, dramatic improvements in technology, and the incorporation of novel paradigms. These developments have already culminated in the generation of synthetic viral, bacterial, and eukaryotic chromosomes.

A New Edition of Health Education Research Is Now Available

July 26, 2017

Health Education Research (vol. 32, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Exposure to Fictional Medical Television and Health: A Systematic Review” by Beth L. Hoffman et al.

 

Pressure Mounts to Curtail Surgery on Intersex Children

July 25, 2017

(STAT News) – Children whose sexual characteristics don’t neatly align with the norm have for decades faced surgery to rearrange their anatomy to resemble that of more typical boys and girls — long before they were old enough to have a say in the decision. But now the practice is under assault, as never before. The American Medical Association is considering a proposal discouraging it. Three former U.S. surgeons general say it’s unjustified. And on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch and InterACT a group advocating for intersex youth — are releasing a detailed report assailing the practice and urging Congress to ban it.

‘Unprecedented’ Outbreak of Dengue Fever Plagues Sri Lanka

July 25, 2017

(CNN) – Sri Lanka is facing an “unprecedented” outbreak of deadly dengue fever, with 296 deaths recorded and over 100,000 cases reported in 2017 alone, according to the Red Cross. The international aid organization, formally known as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is increasing its emergency assistance across Sri Lanka to help contain the spread of the mosquito-borne disease, a press release says.

Human Trafficking Must Be Officially Recognized as a Medical Diagnosis

July 25, 2017

(STAT News) – Early this week, nearly 100 people were found trapped in a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas. Ten have died and others are in critical condition. Many were sent to local hospitals for treatment of severe dehydration and shock, medical conditions that are common in the emergency department. What may not be as obvious to emergency physicians is that these people are possibly victims of human trafficking. As physicians who have treated victims of human trafficking and research this scourge, we believe that this form of severe exploitation is under-recognized in health care settings and live are being lost because of that.

Sperm Count Falling Sharply in Developed World, Researchers Say

July 25, 2017

(Reuters) – Sperm counts in men from America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have dropped by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years, researchers said on Tuesday.  They also said the rate of decline is not slowing. Both findings — in a meta-analysis bringing together various studies — pointed to a potential decline in male health and fertility.

A Wisconsin Company Is Implanting Microchips in Its Employees’ Fingers

July 25, 2017

(Quartz) – Three Square Market is believed to be the first US company to offer embedded chips to employees. But over the last decade, the office has become a target market for all sorts of gadgets and software that some might call Orwellian technology. Companies make badges that collect anonymized data about how employees communicate, light bulbs that track office movements, and software that keeps tabs on who is likely to be looking for a job.

All but One of 111 Former Pro Football Players Had Brain Injury CTE in Study

July 25, 2017

(ABC News) – “Football is not a contact sport, it’s a collision sport.” These words, spoken by legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, have taken on new meaning in the last decade after several recent studies have revealed a link between the repeated collisions for which the game is known and a progressive brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Now, a new report from researchers at Boston University suggests that this often devastating neurological disease may be even more common to the sport than previously thought.

Jahi McMath’s Family Wins Backing for Argument that She’s Alive

July 25, 2017

(San Francisco Chronicle) – It’s been more than three years since 13-year-old Jahi McMath was declared dead after something went terribly wrong following throat surgery at Children’s Hospital Oakland. Her family has never accepted the declaration and has kept her on life support ever since — and in a new twist, a prominent neurologist says recent videos of the girl show she is alive, with a partially functioning brain.

What I Learned from Home DNA Testing

July 24, 2017

(The Guardian) – Which is all very well, but do these kits work and deliver the service they promise and what about the wider ethics and implications of home genetic testing? Is it always wise for generally under-informed, under-prepared consumers to meddle in the highly complex, nuanced arena of genetics, risking confusion, complacency or even outright panic and anxiety when confronted with ostensible “bad news” (which may not even be true)?

Charlie Gard Parents End Legal Fight for ‘Beautiful’ Baby

July 24, 2017

(BBC) – The parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard have ended their legal challenge to take him to the US for experimental treatment. A lawyer representing Chris Gard and Connie Yates told the High Court “time had run out” for the baby. Mr Gard said it meant his “sweet, gorgeous, innocent little boy” will not reach his first birthday on 4 August. “To let our beautiful little Charlie go” is “the hardest thing we’ll ever have to do”, his mother said. Charlie’s parents said they made the decision because a US doctor had told them it was now too late to give Charlie nucleoside therapy.

Judge Promises Reduced Jail Time if Tennessee Inmates Get Vasectomies

July 24, 2017

(NPR) – As general sessions judge for White County, Tenn., Sam Benningfield says the vast majority of cases he hears are drug-related offenses. The opioid epidemic has hit the state especially hard — resulting in more than 1,400 drug overdose deaths there in 2015 alone, according to the CDC — and he felt that an unusual solution would be necessary to drive home the dangers of illegal drugs for would-be parents. So in May, Benningfield issued a standing order: If inmates at the White County Jail undergo a form of long-term contraception for free — a vasectomy for men or a Nexplanon implant for women — they can shave 30 days off their sentences.

Victoria Euthanasia Laws: Report Outlines Path for Terminally Ill to End Own Lives

July 24, 2017

(The Guardian) – Terminally ill Victorians with 12 months left to live will be able to legally end their own lives under a proposed assisted dying framework, described as the “most conservative in the world”.  On Friday, an independent panel chaired by the former Australian Medical Association head Brian Owler handed down its recommendations to the Victorian government on how best to implement voluntary euthanasia legislation.

The Emerging Science of Computational Psychiatry

July 24, 2017

(MIT Technology Review) – Psychiatry, the study and prevention of mental disorders, is currently undergoing a quiet revolution. For decades, even centuries, this discipline has been based largely on subjective observation. Large-scale studies have been hampered by the difficulty of objectively assessing human behavior and comparing it with a well-established norm. Just as tricky, there are few well-founded models of neural circuitry or brain biochemistry, and it is difficult to link this science with real-world behavior. That has begun to change thanks to the emerging discipline of computational psychiatry, which uses powerful data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to tease apart the underlying factors behind extreme and unusual behaviors.

I Hacked My Body for a Future that Never Came

July 24, 2017

(The Verge) – The better wearable devices get, the less sense it makes to permanently modify your body. Things like exoskeletons, smart glasses, and external brain-computer interfaces are safer and much easier to upgrade than their implanted counterparts. Plus, you can take them off in inappropriate situations: you won’t get stuck trying to swim with a metal limb, for example, or wearing a permanent version of Google Glass to a laid-back dive bar.

Pages