Deadly U.S. Heroin Overdoses Quadrupled in Five Years; Some Doctors Backing Out of Assisted Death; Ethics Panel Blocks Proposed Zika Vaccine Research; Gene Therapy ‘Cures’ Boy of Blood Disease That Affects Millions and more…
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ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES ARTICLE
What are the methods employed for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)? And, what kind of health risks and implications do they hold? CBHD Executive Director, Paige Cunningham, uses the power of the story of Huxley's Brave New World as a springboard to explore these important topics in her article. Genetic & Reproductive Technologies will be the focus of CBHD's summer conference on June 22-24.
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Why One Nurse Comes to the CBHD Conference
NEW CBHD FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY
Thanks to the generous support of donors, we are pleased to announce The Robert D. Orr Endowed Fellowship. The fellowship is open to PhD students at Trinity Evangelical Divnity School who are committed to exploring the implications of biblical and theological perspectives for engaging medicine and technology.
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OTHER BIOETHICS EVENTS
BIOETHICS IN THE CHURCH TODAY
Trinity Graduate School
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
Gene Therapy ‘Cures’ Boy of Blood Disease That Affects Millions
(New Scientist) — A teenage boy with an inherited disease that affects millions worldwide seems to have been cured using gene therapy. The treatment appears to have stopped the painful symptoms of sickle cell disease, demonstrating the potential for gene therapy to treat common genetic diseases. The idea of gene therapy – using strands of DNA to compensate for a person’s malfunctioning genes – is almost three decades old. However, the approach has so far mostly been used to treat very rare diseases (see “Long road to success“). In contrast, sickle cell disease affects 100,000 people in the US alone. If the treatment proves successful in larger trials, it could bring gene therapy into widespread use …
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The Long History of Discrimination in Pain Medicine
(The Atlantic) — This idea of objectivity in assessing pain plays a major role in the debate over “railway spine,” a constellation of symptoms suffered by people in train collisions. (It’s sometimes likened to 19th-century whiplash.) Railroad companies were not keen to compensate victims for these vague symptoms. The emergence of objectivity influenced the stigma around patients who suffered from pain without visible injury—and this stigma ends up overlapping with stigma that already exist along race, gender, and class lines. The same issues reverberate today, in how doctors discount women’s pain or prescribe opioids to African Americans less frequently …
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Faulty Genomic Pathway Linked to Schizophrenia Developing in Utero, Study Finds
(Science Daily) — The skin cells of four adults with schizophrenia have provided an unprecedented “window” into how the disease began while they were still in the womb, according to a recent paper in Schizophrenia Research. The paper was published online in January by researchers at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo in collaboration with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. It provides what the authors call the first proof of concept for their hypothesis that a common genomic pathway lies at the root of schizophrenia …
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Ethics Panel Blocks Proposed Zika Vaccine Research
(STAT News) — A federally appointed ethics panel has rejected an application from a team of scientists to deliberately infect people with the Zika virus, a decision that threatens to further slow the search for an effective vaccine. The panel’s report, published without fanfare last week on the website of the National Institutes of Health, said it would not currently be ethical to conduct the study because of the risk to potential volunteers and their sexual partners and because there are other possible study approaches …
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‘Take My Name Off the List, I Can’t Do Any More’: Some Doctors Backing Out of Assisted Death
(National Post) — Some doctors who have helped the gravely ill end their lives are no longer willing to participate in assisted death because of emotional distress or fear of prosecution if their decisions are second-guessed, according to their colleagues. In Ontario, one of the few provinces to track the information, 24 doctors have permanently been removed from a voluntary referral list of physicians willing to help people die. Another 30 have put their names on temporary hold …
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Deadly U.S. Heroin Overdoses Quadrupled in Five Years
(Scientific American) — The number of deadly heroin overdoses in the United States more than quadrupled from 2010 to 2015, a federal agency said on Friday, as the price of the drug dropped and its potency increased. There were 12,989 overdose deaths involving heroin in 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, compared with 3,036 such fatalities five years earlier. In 2010, heroin was involved in 8 percent of U.S. drug overdose deaths, a study by the Atlanta-based center said. By 2015, that proportion had jumped to 25 percent …
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In a Lab Pushing the Boundaries of Biology, an Embedded Ethicist Keeps Scientists in Check
(STAT News) — Jeantine Lunshof insists she is not the “ethics police.” It says so on the door to her closet-sized office at Harvard. She doesn’t find reasons to reflexively shut down experiments. She doesn’t snoop around for deviations from ethical guidelines. But when scientists discuss their research in the twice-weekly lab meetings she attends, “I will say, hmm, that raises some good questions,” Lunshof said. There is no shortage of “good questions” for Lunshof, who for the last three years has been embedded in the synthetic biology lab of George Church, the visionary whose projects include trying to resurrect the wooly mammoth and to “write” a human genome from scratch …
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The Big Moral Dilemma Facing Self-Driving Cars
(The Washington Post) — How many people could self-driving cars kill before we would no longer tolerate them? This once-hypothetical question is now taking on greater urgency, particularly among policymakers in Washington. The promise of autonomous vehicles is that they will make our roads safer and more efficient, but no technology is without its shortcomings and unintended consequences — in this instance, potentially fatal consequences …
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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.
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