Egg donors facing uncertain long-term risks; first human-pig chimeras created; cell-tracking agents get a boost; organs for cognitively impaired patients and more…
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THE BIOETHIC WEEKLY THE CENTER FOR BIOETHICS & HUMAN DIGNITY
RESOURCES & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Global Women's Health, Commodification, and the Abortion Debate
WOMEN'S GLOBAL HEALTH RESOURCE RELEASED
We must "examine the ways in which we may have allowed the cultural values of individualism and autonomy to seep into the church and distort our own views of human dignity," declares Michelle Kirtley, PhD in her article "Global Women's Health, Commodification, and the Abortion Debate". Originally published in the Summer 2013 edition of Dignitas, the article was recently released to the public.
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Academy of Fellows 2017: Bioethics & Being Human
BIOETHICS & BEING HUMAN EVENT
Join CBHD for a free, informative bioethics event tonight from 5:30 to 7:30pm in Hinkson Hall of the Rodine Building on the campus of Trinity International University. Dr. Dan Treier, Professor of Theology at Wheaton College will present “The Limits of Being Human: An Evangelical Account of Our Finitude.” And, Dr. Dennis Hollinger, Professor of Christian Ethics and President of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary will present “Biotechnologies and Human Nature: What We Should Not Change in Who We Are.” Coffee will be provided. 
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OTHER BIOETHICS EVENTS
SERIES ON BIOETHICAL ISSUES FROM A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
Trinity Graduate School
February 21 & March 21, 2017
Deerfield, IL
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CONFERENCE ON MEDICINE & RELIGION
Re-Enchanting Medicine
JW Marriott Galleria
March 24 – 26, 2017
Houston, TX
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NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
‘We Simply Don’t Know’: Egg Donors Face Uncertain Long-Term Risks
(STAT News) — When Catherine Fonseca volunteered as an egg donor, the intake form asked for her SAT scores. It did not ask if she understood the long-term health implications of stimulating her ovaries to produce a bumper crop of eggs to be extracted and turned over to an infertile couple. That wasn’t an oversight by the clinic. No one knows the long-term risks to egg donors — if, in fact, there are any. Anecdotally, some women — Fonseca among them — said they experienced an array of health problems after donations, including ovarian cysts and endometriosis, a painful inflammatory disease that can cause infertility …
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Consider Drug Efficacy Before First-in-Human Trials
(Nature) — On 17 January 2016, a healthy man was declared brain-dead after receiving an experimental drug in a first-in-human trial in France. Four of five other subjects receiving the same dose have serious, ongoing neurological complications. Investigations into the trial described many troubling safety practices, such as steep increases in dose levels delivered to sequential subjects without sufficient delays to check for safety. The year since has brought intense scrutiny about how the debacle could have been anticipated and prevented. However, another issue is still largely overlooked: the duty to evaluate whether an experimental treatment is promising enough to warrant testing on people …
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First Human-Pig Chimeras Created, Sparking Hopes for Transplantable Organs–and Debate
(STAT News) — Pig embryos that had been injected with human stem cells when they were only a few days old began to grow organs containing human cells, scientists reported on Thursday, an advance that promises — or threatens — to bring closer the routine production of creatures that are part human and part something else. These human-pig “chimeras” were not allowed to develop past the fetal stage, but the experiment suggests such creations could eventually be used to grow fully human organs for transplant, easing the fatal shortage of organs: 120,000 people in the United States are waiting for lifesaving transplants, but every day two dozen die before they get them …
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New Technology Is Forcing Us to Confront the Ethics of Bringing People Back from the Dead
(Quartz) — The possibility of digitally interacting with someone from beyond the grave is no longer the stuff of science fiction. The technology to create convincing digital surrogates of the dead is here, and it’s rapidly evolving, with researchers predicting its mainstream viability within a decade. But what about the ethics of bereavement—and the privacy of the deceased? Speaking with a loved one evokes a powerful emotional response. The ability to do so in the wake of their death will inevitably affect the human process of grieving in ways we’re only beginning to explore …
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Neuroscience: Big Brain, Big Data
(Scientific American) — But brain mapping and DNA sequencing are different beasts. A single neuroimaging data set can measure in the terabytes — two to three orders of magnitude larger than a complete mammalian genome. Whereas geneticists know when they’ve finished decoding a stretch of DNA, brain mappers lack clear stopping points and wrestle with much richer sets of imaging and electrophysiological data — all the while wrangling over the best ways to collect, share and interpret them. As scientists develop tools to share and analyze ever-expanding neuroscience data sets, however, they are coming to a shared realization: cracking the brain requires a concerted effort …
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Allocating Organs to Cognitively Impaired Patients
(NEJM) — Proponents of transplantation for such patients argue that cognitive function should not be a basis for allocating organs because it allows health care providers to decide that some lives are more valuable than others. Opponents believe that cognitive impairment is one of several legitimate criteria on which allocation decisions may be based. Because organs are scarce, a decision to transplant one into a patient with cognitive impairment will often mean that another patient with no (or milder) impairment will die for lack of a transplant. Furthermore, difficulties in following postoperative recovery programs and adhering to immunosuppressive regimens could limit the benefits of transplantation for cognitively impaired patients …
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Reached Via a Mind-Reading Device, Deeply Paralyzed Patients Say They Want to Live
(MIT Technology Review) — Bauby suffered from “locked-in syndrome,” in which patients are completely paralyzed except for some eye movement. Some patients eventually lose even the ability to blink, cutting off all contact with the world and raising questions of whether they are still fully conscious and, if so, whether they still wish to live. Now researchers in Europe say they’ve found out the answer after using a brain-computer interface to communicate with four people completely locked in after losing all voluntary movement due to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis …
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Cell-Tracking Agents Get a Boost
(Science Daily) — Rice University researchers have synthesized a new and greatly improved generation of contrast agents for tagging and real-time tracking of stem cells in the body. The agent combines ultrashort carbon nanotubes and bismuth clusters that show up on X-rays taken with computed tomography (CT) scanners. The stable compound performs more than eight times better than the first-generation material introduced in 2013, according to the researchers …
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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.
THE CENTER FOR BIOETHICS & HUMAN DIGNITY TRINITY INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
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