(USA Today) – The Supreme Court’s defense of religious freedom may be on the decline. Still reeling from the death of its most devout justice, Antonin Scalia, the high court has put preventing discrimination above protecting religion in a series of cases over the past year, from same-sex marriage to abortion and contraception.
(STAT News) – Several teams of scientists are racing to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus. But what if a drug that already exists could stop an infection in its tracks? According to new research, it’s not a totally crazy idea. A group of researchers has identified two dozen Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs that have shown some ability to block Zika from infecting human cells in the lab, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. Some of these drugs — which treat infections, cancers, and even depression— also showed potential to prevent infection in certain cells tied to fetal defects in pregnant women.
(Managed Care Magazine) – Biopharmaceutical drugs, which are used in a wide range of therapies including vaccines and treatments for diabetes and cancer, are typically produced in large, centralized fermentation plants. This means they must be transported to the treatment site, which can be expensive, time-consuming, and challenging to execute in areas with poor supply chains. Now a portable production system, designed to manufacture a range of biopharmaceuticals on demand, has been developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Women Being Wrongly Pushed into IVF Treatment by Private Clinics, Says UK’s Leading Fertility Expert
(The Telegraph) – Britain’s leading fertility expert Robert Winston has said women remain fertile until they are 45 and are wrongly being pushed into having IVF too early by private clinics. Lord Winston, who is head of the Genesis Research Trust, dismissed NHS advice that a woman’s fertility starts to decline sharply from 35 and that those planning a family should take this into account. Lord Winston said women should be able to conceive until their mid-40s, and suggested fertility clinics that said otherwise were doing so for financial gain.
(New York Times) – Harnessing the immune system to fight cancer, long a medical dream, is becoming a reality. Remarkable stories of tumors melting away and terminal illnesses going into remissions that last years — backed by solid data — have led to an explosion of interest and billions of dollars of investments in the rapidly growing field of immunotherapy. Pharmaceutical companies, philanthropists and the federal government’s “cancer moonshot” program are pouring money into developing treatments. Medical conferences on the topic are packed.
Genetics in Medicine (vol. 18, no. 7, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “A Systematic Literature Review of Individual’s Perspectives on Broad Consent and Data Sharing in the United States” by Nanibaa’ A. Garrison, Nila A. Sathe, Armand H. Matheny Antommaria, Ingrid A. Holm, Saskia C. Sanderson, Maureen E. Smith, Melissa L. McPheeters, and Ellen W. Clayton
- “Institutional Review Board Perspectives on Obligations to Disclose Genetic Incidental Findings to Research Participants” by Catherine Gliwa, Ilana R. Yurkiewicz, Lisa Soleymani Lehmann, Sara Chandros Hull, Nathan Jones, and Benjamin E. Berkman
Developing World Bioethics (vol. 16, no. 2, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “The Challenges of Research Informed Consent in Socio-Economically Vulnerable Populations: A Viewpoint From the Democratic Republic of Congo” by Marion Kalabuanga, Raffaella Ravinetto, Vivi Maketa, Hypolite Muhindo Mavoko, Blaise Fungula, Raquel Inocêncio da Luz, Jean-Pierre Van Geertruyden, and Pascal Lutumba
- “Attitudes toward Post-Trial Access to Medical Interventions: A Review of Academic Literature, Legislation, and International Guidelines” by Kori Cook, Jeremy Snyder and John Calvert
- “Post-trial obligations in the Declaration of Helsinki 2013: classification, reconstruction and interpretation” by Ignacio Mastroleo
- “Uterine Transplantation: Ethical Considerations within Middle Eastern Perspectives” by Zaid Altawil and Thalia Arawi
- “African Bioethics vs. Healthcare Ethics in Africa: A Critique of Godfrey Tangwa” by Ademola K. Fayemi
- “Eugenics and Mandatory Informed Prenatal Genetic Testing: A Unique Perspective from China” by Di Zhang, Vincent H. Ng, Zhaochen Wang, Xiaomei Zhai and Reidar K. Lie
- “No ethical divide between China and the West in human embryo research” by Xiaomei Zhai, Vincent Ng and Reidar Lie
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry (vol. 13, no. 2, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Legal Standards for Brain Death and Undue Influence in Euthanasia Laws” by Thaddeus Mason Pope and Michaela E. Okninski
- “Structural Competency in the U.S. Healthcare Crisis: Putting Social and Policy Interventions Into Clinical Practice” by H. Hansen and J. Metzl
- “Power Day: Addressing the Use and Abuse of Power in Medical Training” by Nancy R. Angoff et al.
- “Treating Addictions: Harm Reduction in Clinical Care and Prevention” by Ernest Drucker et al.
- “The Ethical Imperative to Move to a Seven-Day Care Model” by Anthony Bell, Fiona McDonald, and Tania Hobson
- “Medical Students’ Opinions About the Commercialization of Healthcare: A Cross-Sectional Survey” by M. Murat Civaner, Harun Balcioglu, and Kevser Vatansever
- “Feeling Is Believing: Evaluative Conditioning and the Ethics of Pharmaceutical Advertising” by Paul Biegler and Patrick Vargas
- “What Do the Various Principles of Justice Mean Within the Concept of Benefit Sharing?” by Bege Dauda, Yvonne Denier, and Kris Dierickx
- “Do Spanish Hospital Professionals Educate Their Patients About Advance Directives?” by María Pérez et al.
- “The Extension of Belgium’s Euthanasia Law to Include Competent Minors” by Kasper Raus
- “Assaults by Mentally Disordered Offenders in Prison: Equity and Equivalence” by Heidi Hales, Amy Dixon, Zoe Newton, and Annie Bartlett
- “But You Would Be the Best Mother”: Unwomen, Counterstories, and the Motherhood Mandate” by Anna Gotlib
The American Journal of Bioethics (vol. 16, no. 8, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “The Curious Case of the De-ICD: Negotiating the Dynamics of Autonomy and Paternalism in Complex Clinical Relationships” by Daryl Pullman and Kathleen Hodgkinson
- “IRB and Research Regulatory Delays Within the Military Health System: Do They Really Matter? And If So, Why and for Whom?” by Michael C. Freed et al.
American Journal of Medical Quality (vol. 31, no. 4, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “The Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records and Health Care Utilization” by Lisa M. Kern, Alison Edwards, Rainu Kaushal, and HITEC Investigators
- “Addressing Disparities in Stroke Prevention for Atrial Fibrillation: Educational Opportunities” by Rachel Karcher et al.
- “The Association Between Dialysis Facility Quality and Facility Characteristics, Neighborhood Demographics, and Region” by Yue Zhang
(Medical News Today) – People with mental health problems have a higher risk of suicide than the general population. Some hospitals that offer psychiatric care lock their wards to try to reduce this risk, while others leave rooms open. Researchers in Germany have compared outcomes for locked and unlocked accommodation in a 15-year study of around 145,000 patients. The authors believe that an open door policy may be preferable, as it can promote a better therapeutic atmosphere and more positive health outcomes.
(NIH) – Accelerating clinical research studies benefits researchers, research participants, and all who stand to gain from research results. Today, the time it takes to go from a sound research idea to the launch of a new, multi-site clinical research study is too long. A major contributor to the delay is that too many institutional review boards (IRBs) are reviewing the protocol and consent documents for the same study, often with no added benefit in terms of the protections for research participants. To address this bottleneck, NIH has issued a new policy to streamline the review process for NIH-funded, multi-site clinical research studies in the United States.
(Reuters) – The risk of Zika virus infections at the Olympic Games is both low and manageable, the chief of the World Health Organization said on Friday, a week before the event kicks off in Rio de Janeiro. Nearly half a million people are expected to visit for the Games, many from the United States. Worries about security, the Zika virus and an economic crisis could deter travelers, with just under a third of event tickets as yet unsold.
(Medical Xpress) – The latest finding is that opioids may actually worsen pain. My colleagues and I have just published a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing that morphine can persistently exacerbate pain in rats. The medical community has recognized that opioids can cause abnormal pain sensitivity—termed opioid-induced hyperalgesia—but the sensitivity was only understood to occur while opioids were still present in the body. The surprising new twist is that morphine can increase pain for months after the opioid has left the body.
(Reuters) – The brain may show signs of concussion for months or years after the injury occurred, according to a Canadian study of college athletes. Using advanced MRI scans, researchers found evidence of brain shrinkage in the frontal lobes of athletes with a history of concussions compared to those who never had a concussion.
(The Atlantic) – Looking at the statistics of the District as a whole, the fact that many residents might have difficulty getting treatment might come as a surprise: D.C.’s health insurance rate is impressive, at 92 percent. That’s well above the national average of 83 percent. And according to 2014 data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, D.C. boasts 5.4 hospital beds for every 1,000 people, which is also above the average of many states.
(The Guardian) – Countries with the lowest take-up of contraception will need to increase spending on family planning to meet international targets. At the halfway point of Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), an ambitious initiative to increase access to modern contraception for 120 million more women and girls in 69 target countries, organisers said national governments need to allocate more money in their health budgets for contraceptives amid concerns that donor funding could begin to fall.
(The Telegraph) – Women struggling to conceive should not despair if fertility treatment does not work, after a new study suggested that one in three will still become mothers. Anecdotally, many couples claim to have become pregnant unexpectedly after abandoning the hope of ever having children. But until now there has never been any evidence to suggest that it is true.
(UPI) – The breakdown of muscle often accompanies chronic or long-term disease, making disease worse and sometimes hastening death, and doctors have no way to stop or slow it. Researchers at Washington State University devised a method of delivering gene therapy to stop muscle wasting without affecting other functions of the body, according to a newly published study, which may help improve the results of other disease treatment.
Christian Bioethics (vol. 22, no. 2, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “The Contribution of Natural Law Theory to Bioethics” by Christopher Tollefsen
- “The First Principles of the Natural Law and Bioethics” by E. Christian Brugger
- “The Wrongness of Third-Party Assisted Reproduction: A Natural Law Account” by Melissa Moschella
- “The Nonidentity Problem and Bioethics: A Natural Law Perspective” by James J. Delaney
- “From Pluralism to Consensus in Beginning-of-Life Debates: Does Contemporary Natural Law Theory Offer a Way Forward?” by Patrick Tully
- “Moral Epistemology and Bioethics: Is the New Natural Law the Solution to Otherwise Intractable Disputes?” by Ana S. Iltis
- “Good is to be Pursued and Evil Avoided: How a Natural Law Approach to Christian Bioethics can Miss Both” by Corinna Delkeskamp-Hayes
- “Natural Law: A Good Idea That Does Not Work Very Well (At Least Not in the Current Secular Society)” by James R. Thobaben
- “What Hope for Reason? A Critique of New Natural Law Theory” by George Khushf