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Gene Therapy Hope for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients

August 13, 2015

(Medical News Today) – Using gene therapy consisting of a single injection of a modified sexual development protein stopped the growth of chemotherapy-resistant tumors in mice with ovarian cancer. This was the result of a new study by Harvard Medical School (HMS) researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, who report their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New Mexico Appeals Court Rules Assisted Suicide ‘Is Not a Fundamental Liberty’

August 13, 2015

(The Daily Signal) – The New Mexico Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling on Tuesday that had created a right for doctors to help terminally ill patients die. Siding with the state’s attorney general, the appeals court ruled against physician-assisted suicide, and said, “[A]id in dying is not a fundamental liberty interest under the New Mexico Constitution.”

Doctors Often Reject Assisted-Death Requests, European Study Finds

August 13, 2015

(The Globe and Mail) – Even when physician-assisted suicide is legal, doctors often have reservations about helping patients die, two European studies suggest. In one study, researchers reviewed euthanasia requests made to the End-of-Life Clinic, established in the Netherlands in 2012 to provide the option of physician-assisted suicide to people who met legal requirements for this possibility but couldn’t convince their regular physicians to approve it.

A New Edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics is Available

August 13, 2015

Journal of Medical Ethics (vol. 41, no. 7, 2015) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Risk and regulation in research” by Julian Savulescu
  • “Opting out: Confidentiality and availability on an ‘alibi’ for potential living kidney donors in the USA” by Carrie Thiessen, et al.
  • “The ethics of molecular memory modification” by Katrina Hui and Carl E. Fischer

A New Edition of HEC Forum Is Available

August 13, 2015

HEC Forum (vol. 27, no. 2, 2015) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Introduction: Clinical ethics beyond the urban hospital” by Erica K. Salter and Joseph T. Norris
  • “Home-based care, technology, and the maintenance of selves” by Jennifer A. Parks
  • “The re-contextualization of the patient: What home health care can teach us about medical decision-making” by Erica K. Salter

A New Edition of the Journal of Genetic Counseling is Available

August 13, 2015

Journal of Genetic Counseling (vol. 24, no. 3, 2015) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Aligning policy to promote cascade genetic screening for prevention and early diagnosis of heritable diseases” by Ran George, Karen Kovak, and Summer L. Cox
  • “Applying public health screening criteria: How does universal newborn screening compare to universal tumor screening for Lynch syndrome in adults with colorectal cancer?” by Deborah Cragun, Rita D. DeBate, and Tuya Pal
  • “Ethical considerations in biobanks: How a public health ethics perspective sheds new light on old controversies” by Alice Hawkins Virani and Holly Longstaff

China’s Black Market for Organ Donation

August 12, 2015

(BBC) – But his chances of getting a transplant are slim – China suffers from a huge organ shortage. For years it harvested the organs of executed prisoners to help meet demand. Following international condemnation, Beijing says it ended the practice at the start of this year – although officials admit it will be tough to ensure compliance. Now the government says it will only rely on public donations.

Retrieving Eggs Earlier During IVF May Improve Success Rates for Older Women

August 12, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – IVF success rates for women aged 43 and above could improve by retrieving eggs from their ovaries at an earlier stage of fertility treatment, according to a new study published today in the Journal of Endocrinology. US-based researchers found that the function of cells which nurse and support the development of eggs declines rapidly after 43, causing the egg to be bombarded by hormones that are normally only released after ovulation. Retrieving eggs from smaller follicles at an earlier stage in the IVF process was found to minimise this risk, resulting in a higher quality number of embryos and better clinical pregnancy rates.

Nigerian Hospital Live Tweets Open Heart Surgery on 8-Year-Old Girl

August 12, 2015

(CNN) – Ever wondered how heart surgery works? Twitter can give you a lesson. A Nigerian hospital has live-tweeted an operation to repair a hole in the heart of an eight-year-old girl. Abuja’s National Hospital posted real-time updates of the girl’s surgical procedure, which lasted around three hours, on the micro-blogging site yesterday.

At Least 20,000 Infected in Southeast Congo Measles Outbreak: U.N.

August 12, 2015

(Reuters) – A measles outbreak in the copper-mining Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 315 people and infected at least 20,000, the United Nations said on Wednesday. Hundreds more deaths have likely not been documented due to difficulties accessing remote areas, The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a draft report on the province’s worst outbreak of the disease since 2010-11.

Surgeons Smash Records with Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplants

August 12, 2015

(MIT Technology Review) – With the financial aid of a biotechnology executive whose daughter may need a lung transplant, U.S. researchers have been shattering records in xenotransplantation, or between-species organ transplants. The researchers say they have kept a pig heart alive in a baboon for 945 days and also reported the longest-ever kidney swap between these species, lasting 136 days. The experiments used organs from pigs “humanized” with the addition of as many as five human genes, a strategy designed to stop organ rejection.

Whose End of Life Is It, Anyway?

August 12, 2015

(Medscape) – Caring for patients near the end of life is an integral part of oncology practice, and it’s not surprising that making healthcare decisions about appropriate or preferred care can be emotionally and psychologically distressing for patients with advanced cancer. Both oncologists and patients may delay or even avoid planning for end of life, even though current guidelines recommend that these discussions take place early in the disease trajectory.

Women in Combat Zones Can Have Trouble Getting Contraceptives

August 12, 2015

(NPR) – Next year, the military will officially lift restrictions on women in combat, the end of a process that, according to the Government Accountability Office, may open up as many as 245,000 jobs that have been off-limits to women. But those who deploy overseas may continue to face obstacles in another area that can have a critical impact on their military experience: contraception.

Facing Rising Dental Costs U.S. Seniors Travel to Mexico

August 12, 2015

(Digital Journal) – Each year, tens of thousands of people visit Los Algodones, Mexico — a tiny border town near Yuma, Arizona — that boasts to be the dental capital of Mexico. A trip to the dentist is not what many would consider as a vacation. Despite greater health care coverage, medical tourism to Mexico is still booming. American seniors are crossing the border in greater numbers for dental care.

In IVF, Success Rate for Frozen Donor Eggs Lags Behind Use of Fresh Eggs

August 11, 2015

(Los Angeles Times) – Hundreds of babies born in the U.S. got their start as eggs donated by women and then frozen until they could be thawed and joined with sperm in a fertility clinic. A new study offers evidence that frozen eggs work well for in vitro fertilization — though slightly less well than fresh donor eggs.

High Risk Medical Devices Backed by Few Studies

August 11, 2015

(Reuters) – Many high-risk therapeutic devices get Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval with only one study proving their safety and efficacy before going to market. Studies of how the devices work once they are on the market are also few and far between, according to a new study that looked at all 28 high-risk devices approved in 2010 and 2011 by the FDA Premarket Approval pathway.

The Ethics and Risks of Expecting Teen Siblings to Be Transplant Donors

August 11, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – A sibling may often be the best match for a patient who needs a stem cell transplant, but especially for adolescent donors, who are at a vulnerable age, factors such as the responsibility to donate versus a perception of free choice and the potential for anxiety and guilt in the face of complications or poor outcomes demand careful consideration. The benefits, burdens, and risks of adolescent sibling stem cell donation are discussed in an article in Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (JAYAO).

Africa: Polio-Free for a Year

August 11, 2015

(UPI) – For the first time, Africa has gone one year without a case of polio, a landmark step in declaring an eradication of the disease. The last report of an infection of polio, a disease attacking the nervous system and causing paralysis, occurred Aug. 11, 2015, in Somalia. Three years without polio qualifies Africa for a certification of being polio-free

Stem Cells Help Researchers Study the Effects of Pollution on Human Health

August 11, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – A recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences (JES) shows that embryonic stem cells could serve as a model to evaluate the physiological effects of environmental pollutants efficiently and cost-effectively. The use of stem cells has found another facade. In the world we live in today, people are constantly exposed to artificial substances created by various industrial processes.

Women Impregnated by IVF at Increased Risk for Reflux Disease

August 11, 2015

(UPI) – Women who had children through in vitro fertilization are three times more prone to long-term symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease, or GORD, than mothers who conceived naturally, according a new study of women in Turkey.

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