A Spate of Deadly Disasters for the Elderly; California Combats Deadly Hepatitis A Outbreak; FDA Approves a Game-Changer Treatment for Blood Cancer; Puerto Rico Investigates Post-Hurricane Disease Outbreak; Why We Need a Registry for the Long-Term Risks of Egg Donors and More …
October 27, 2017 Donate to CBHD
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Call for Proposals: Bioethics & Being Human
The deadline to submit paper and poster proposals for the upcoming CBHD summer conference, Bioethics & Being Human, is this Wednesday, November 1. All serious proposals relevant to the study of bioethics are welcome.
Is Always On Always Good?
Have you recently upgraded your phone and wondered about the ethical and social issues raised by new technologies? In this piece from the Dignitas archives, CBHD Fellow Dónal O'Mathúna examines social networking and the pervasive use of technology in our everyday lives, discussing the illusion of friendship and intimacy and loss of privacy.
‘What Could Help Me Die?’ Doctors Clash over Euthanasia
(STAT News) — Thienpont’s approach to managing euthanasia requests has raised concerns even among doctors who support the procedure for psychological suffering. According to copies of letters obtained by The Associated Press, those worries have led to a clash between Thienpont and Dr. Wim Distelmans, chairman of Belgium’s euthanasia review commission, that has not been publicly disclosed. The documents do not include accusations that patients were killed who shouldn’t have been, but they suggest doctors may have failed to meet certain legal requirements in some cases. And they highlight how difficult it can be to judge whose pain should end in death. …
Why Opioids Are Such an American Problem
(BBC) — When it comes to taking opioids, the United States has the dubious honour of leading the world. For every one million Americans, almost 50,000 doses of opioids are taken every day. That’s four times the rate in the UK. There are often good reasons for taking opioids. Cancer patients use them for pain relief, as do patients recovering from surgery (codeine and morphine are opioids, for example). But take too many and you have a problem. And America certainly has a problem.In two years, the town of Kermit in West Virginia received almost nine million opioid pills, according to a congressional committee. Just 400 people live in Kermit. …
A Baby with a Disease Gene or No Baby at All: Genetic Testing of Embryos Creates an Ethical Morass
(STAT News) — Jessie and Samantha’s story speaks to an emerging ethical morass in the field of reproductive medicine: what to do when patients seeking to get pregnant select embryos with DNA that could lead to a disease or disability. Should clinicians’ desire to help their patients have children override concerns about possibly doing harm to those children? And what about cases in which patients — like Samantha and Jessie — end up with only one viable embryo through in vitro fertilization? …
Anti-Aging Stem Cell Treatment Proves Successful in Early Human Trials
(New Atlas) — Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a particular type of adult stem cell generating a great deal of interest in the world of science. MSCs are currently being trailed as treatment for no less than a dozen different types of pathological conditions from cancer to heart disease. This new MSC treatment is targeted at reducing the effects of frailty on senior citizens. This is the first anti-aging stem cell treatment directed specifically at the problem of age-associated frailty to move close to a final FDA approval stage. …
Out of the Syrian Crisis, a Data Revolution Takes Shape
(Nature) — Whenever war, hurricanes or other disasters ravage part of the globe, one of the biggest problems for aid organizations is a lack of reliable data. People die because front-line responders don’t have the information they need to act efficiently. Doctors and epidemiologists plod along with paper surveys and rigid databases in crisis situations, watching with envy as tech companies expertly mine big data for comparatively mundane purposes. Three years ago, one frustrated first-responder decided to do something about it. The result is an innovative piece of software called the Dharma Platform, which almost anyone can use to rapidly collect information and share, analyse and visualize it so that they can act quickly. …
Womb with a View: Surgeons Remove Uterus from Mother in Groundbreaking Operation on Spina Bifida Foetus
(The Telegraph) — It might look like a glowing egg from an alien world, but this red ovoid is actually human womb containing a baby, removed from its mother before birth, in a groundbreaking operation. Doctors in the US have been pioneering an astonishing new treatment for spina bifida in which the baby is operated on before birth. …
‘No One Is Coming:’ Investigation Reveals Hospices Abandon Patients at Death’s Door
(TIME) — The investigation analyzed 20,000 government inspection records, revealing that missed visits and neglect are common for patients dying at home. Families or caregivers have filed over 3,200 complaints with state officials in the past five years. Those complaints led government inspectors to find problems in 759 hospices, with more than half cited for missing visits or other services they had promised to provide at the end of life. …
The ‘Uber for Birth Control’ Expands in Conservative States, Opening a New Front in War over Contraception
(STAT News) — It’s a telemedicine app that seems rather innocuous — enter your info, have it reviewed by a physician, and get a prescription. The California-based company behind it has raised millions to support its mission of expanding access to the pill, ring, or morning-after pill with minimal hurdles. But that last option is now starting to attract pushback from anti-abortion activists, who consider the morning-after pill equivalent to abortion — and who say lax telemedicine laws are enabling access to this drug with insufficient oversight. …
Note: News stories and events do not necessarily represent the Center's views. For additional commentary on many of the issues they raise, please see the CBHD web site at www.cbhd.org. Please visit www.bioethics.com for daily posts on bioethics news and issues.
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