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The $3-Million Research Breakdown

April 26, 2018

(The Chronicle of Higher Education) – But as Pavuluri’s reputation grew, she put some of these particularly vulnerable children at serious risk in one of her clinical trials. She violated research rules by testing the powerful drug lithium on children younger than 13 although she was told not to, failed to properly alert parents of the study’s risks, and falsified data to cover up the misconduct, records show. In December the university quietly paid a severe penalty for Pavuluri’s misconduct and its own lax oversight, after the National Institute of Mental Health demanded weeks earlier that the public institution — which has struggled with declining state funding — repay all $3.1 million it had received for Pavuluri’s study.

Advancing the Ethics of Paleogenomics

April 26, 2018

(Science) – Recent scientific developments have drawn renewed attention to the complex relationships among Indigenous peoples, the scientific community, settler colonial governments, and ancient human remains. Increasingly, DNA testing of ancestral remains uncovered in the America s is being used in disputes over these remains. However, articulations of ethical principles and practices in paleogenomics have not kept pace, even as results of these studies can have negative consequences, undermining or complicating community claims in treaty, repatriation, territorial, or other legal cases. Paleogenomic narratives may also misconstrue or contradict community histories, potentially harming community or individual identities.

Common Antibiotic Significantly Reduces Child Deaths Across Africa

April 26, 2018

(CNN) – Giving the antibiotic azithromycin twice a year to young children in sub-Saharan Africa reduced childhood deaths by 13.5%, a new study has shown.  Large-scale distribution of the drug could save millions of lives in a region where one in nine children dies before age 5, according the United States Agency for International Development. The study, published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 1,355 randomly assigned communities in three countries spanning the continent: Malawi, Niger and Tanzania.

What Happens When Geneticists Talk Sloppily About Race

April 26, 2018

(The Atlantic) – Race is a concept defined by society, not by genes. It’s true that people around the world differ genetically due to their ancestry, and that people’s racial identity may be statistically correlated with their ancestry, albeit unreliably. But “race” does not mean “ancestry,” and it’s a loaded term for scientific outreach: Biological races are not a current scientific concept and often reinforce historical biases.

Alfie Evans: Dad Wants to Build Alder Hey Hospital Relationship

April 26, 2018

(BBC) – The father of seriously ill toddler Alfie Evans says he wants to “build his relationship” with the hospital he has been locked in a legal battle with. Tom Evans, who has been fighting to take his 23-month-old son out of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, said he now wanted to be “left alone” to do so. He praised the “professionalism” and “dignity” of staff at the Liverpool hospital where Alfie is being treated. He also thanked supporters Alfie’s Army but asked them “to go home”.

Call to Shut Real Bodies Exhibition Over Fears It Used Executed Prisoners

April 26, 2018

(The Guardian) – A group of lawyers, academics and human rights campaigners has called on the federal government to shut down a controversial Sydney exhibition, amid claims the show could be displaying the bodies of executed Chinese political prisoners. Protesters in Sydney have been urging a boycott of Real Bodies: The Exhibition, which showcases bodies and anatomical specimens that have been preserved through plasticisation.

With €1.5 Billion for Artificial Intelligence Research, Europe Pins Hopes on Ethics

April 26, 2018

(Science) – Europe’s plan to catch up to the United States and China in an artificial intelligence (AI) arms race is coming into focus. The European Commission today announced that it would devote €1.5 billion to AI research funding until 2020. It also said it would present ethical guidelines on AI development by the end of the year, suggesting that Europe could become a precautionary counterweight to its global rivals in a field that has raised fears about a lack of fairness and transparency even as it has made great advances.

New Group May Vie to Run Organ Transplant Network That Richmond-Based UNOS Has Held the Contract for 32 Years

April 25, 2018

(Richmond Times-Dispatch) – For 32 years, the nonprofit United Network for Organ Sharing has held the federal contract to run the complex U.S. transplant system, a round-the-clock operation that matches donated organs with the sick people who need them. Richmond-based UNOS has grown substantially and become more entrenched as transplantation has expanded. It collected nearly $58 million in revenue in 2015, according to federal tax records. But it has not faced competition from any other bidder since before 2005.

The Ethics of Experimenting with Human Brain Tissue

April 25, 2018

(Nature) – If researchers could create brain tissue in the laboratory that might appear to have conscious experiences or subjective phenomenal states, would that tissue deserve any of the protections routinely given to human or animal research subjects?  This question might seem outlandish. Certainly, today’s experimental models are far from having such capabilities. But various models are now being developed to better understand the human brain, including miniaturized, simplified versions of brain tissue grown in a dish from stem cells — brain organoids. And advances keep being made.

‘Death Is Not a Failure’: Medical Schools Adapt End-of-Life Lessons

April 25, 2018

(Boston Herald) – Local medical schools are in the process of a curricula revamp that will train students to focus more on end-of-life care, making Massachusetts the first in the nation to reach a statewide commitment to quality of life.

Scientists Use Haploid Stem Cells to Create an Atlas of the Human Genome

April 25, 2018

(News Medical) – The study, which was conducted by scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, provides a tool for mapping the role of all human genes. Senior author Nissim Benvenisty and colleagues were able to analyse almost all genes in the human genome by generating more than 180,000 mutations. To generate such a vast amount of mutations, the team combined the CRISPR-Cas9 screening technique with a new form of embryonic cell they had recently isolated.

Attacks on Healthcare in Syria Are Likely Undercounted

April 25, 2018

(Eurekalert) – Attacks on health facilities and health workers in Syria are likely more common than previously reported, and local data collectors can help researchers more accurately measure the extent and frequency of these attacks, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine. Violent attacks on hospitals, ambulances, health workers, and patients in conflict areas are grave violations of international humanitarian law and can cripple health systems during the time they are needed most.

Fake Drugs Are One Reason Malaria Still Kills So Many

April 25, 2018

(The Conversation) – Our research on the pharmaceutical industry has revealed that one reason for malaria’s continued virulence in the developing world is ineffective medicine. In fact, in some poor African countries, many malaria drugs are actually expired, substandard or fake. Globally, some 200,000 preventable deaths occur each year due to anti-malarial drugs that do not work. Substandard and counterfeit medicines may be responsible for up to 116,000 malaria deaths annually in sub-Saharan Africa alone, according to recent World Health Organization estimates.

Life Support Has Been Withdrawn from Alfie Evans, Says Father

April 25, 2018

(The Guardian) – Life support has been withdrawn from a 23-month-old boy who has been at the centre of a protracted legal battle, his parents said on Monday evening, shortly after their last-ditch appeal to the high court was turned down. Alfie Evans’ father said his son was still supporting his own life more than an hour after treatment was stopped, but that he was in need of oxygen. Earlier in the evening, Mr Justice Hayden said doctors at Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool could stop providing life support.

Researchers Are Keeping Pig Brains Alive Outside the Body

April 25, 2018

(MIT Technology Review) – In a step that could change the definition of death, researchers have restored circulation to the brains of decapitated pigs and kept the reanimated organs alive for as long as 36 hours. The feat offers scientists a new way to study intact brains in the lab in stunning detail. But it also inaugurates a bizarre new possibility in life extension, should human brains ever be kept on life support outside the body.

FDA Launches Criminal Investigation into Unauthorized Herpes Vaccine Research

April 25, 2018

(Kaiser Health News) – The FDA rarely prosecutes research violations, usually choosing to administratively sanction or ban researchers or companies from future clinical trials, legal experts said. Even so, the agency is empowered to pursue as a crime the unauthorized development of vaccines and drugs — and sometimes goes after such cases to send a message. In this case, human-subject violations would be deemed especially serious given Halford was not a medical doctor and had injected people with his experimental vaccine without any routine oversight, experts said.

Oregon Doctors Warned That a Killer and Rapist Would Likely Attack Again. Then the State Released Him.

April 25, 2018

(ProPublica) – Longjaw and Montwheeler were free because the state board itself is handcuffed by laws that haven’t been modified despite such high-profile cases. Like most states, Oregon does not imprison people who commit crimes while in a diminished mental state. A court can send someone for mental health treatment rather than prison if he or she could not understand or follow the law because of a mental illness.

A New Edition of Information Technology for Development Is Now Available

April 25, 2018

Information Technology for Development (vol. 24, no. 2, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Healthcare Information Technology for Development: Improvements in People’s Lives Through Innovations in the Uses of Technologies” by Solomon Negash, Philip Musa, Doug Vogel, and Sundeep Sahay
  • “mHealth Outcomes for Pregnant Mothers in Malawi: A Capability Perspective” by Mphatso Nyemba-Mudenda and Wallace Chigona
  • “Doctor–Patient Relationship Strength’s Impact in an Online Healthcare Community” by Shanshan Guo, Xitong Guo, Xiaofei Zhang, and Doug Vogel
  • “Proposing a Decision Support System for Automated Mobile Asthma Monitoring in remote areas” by Chinazunwa Uwaoma and Gunjan Mansingh
  • “Mind the Gap: Assessing Alignment between Hospital Quality and its Information Systems” by João Barata, Paulo Rupino da Cunha, and Ana Paula Melo Santos
  • “Countering the “Dam Effect”: The Case for Architecture and Governance in Developing Country Health Information Systems” by Mikael Gebre-Mariam and Elisabeth Fruijtier
  • “Mobile IT in Health – The Case of Short Messaging Service in an HIV Awareness Program” by Tridib Bandyopadhyay, Peter Meso, and Solomon Negash

 

New Articles from BMC Medical Ethics Are Now Available

April 25, 2018

BMC Medical Ethics has new articles  available online.

Articles include:

  • “Women’s Perspectives on the Ethical Implications of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing: A Qualitative Analysis to Inform Health Policy Decisions” by Meredith Vanstone, Alexandra Cernat, Jeff Nisker, and Lisa Schwartz

 

Redesigning Maternal Care: OB-GYNs Are Urged to See New Mothers Sooner and More Often

April 24, 2018

(ProPublica) – Doctors would see new mothers sooner and more frequently, and insurers would cover the increased visits, under sweeping new recommendations from the organization that sets standards of care for obstetrician-gynecologists in the U.S. The 11-page “committee opinion” on “Optimizing Postpartum Care,” released today by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, represents a fundamental reimagining of how providers, insurers and patients can work together to improve care for women after giving birth.

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