Why Were There Fewer Microcephaly Cases from Zika Last Year?; Should a Human-Pig Chimera Be Treated as a Person?; This Paralyzed Man Is Using a Neuroprosthetic to Move His Arm for the First Time in Years; With Patients Demanding Experimental Drugs, ‘Right to Try’ Is Becoming the Law of the Land …
March 31, 2017 Donate to CBHD
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Zika Timeline
ZIKA TIMELINE RESOURCE
At Bioethics.com we have kept up with the spread of Zika and the related bioethical questions that this disease brings.

Visit our timeline of articles highlighting the spread of the Zika virus and the ensuing bioethical issues that have emerged.

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In conjunction with the conference, CBHD will also be offering preconference workshops and several courses for credit.

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NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
After 40-Year Odyssey, First Drug for Aggressive MS Wins FDA Approval
(STAT News) — On Tuesday night — after decades of false starts, struggles to persuade disbelieving colleagues, and a tortuous path through the maze of drug discovery — Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG announced that the Food and Drug Administration had approved its new drug for MS based on Hauser’s research. Researchers say the medication is a significant improvement over other treatments for the debilitating disease, which afflicts more than 400,000 Americans and by some estimates more than 2 million more patients worldwide …
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This Paralyzed Man Is Using a Neuroprosthetic to Move His Arm for the First Time in Years
(MIT Technology Review) — William Kochevar of Cleveland can slowly move his right arm and hand. No big deal—except that the 56-year-old had been paralyzed from the shoulders down since a bicycling accident ten years ago. The setup that is allowing Kochevar to move his arm again is a “neuroprosthetic” involving two tiny recording chips implanted in his motor cortex and another 36 electrodes embedded in his right arm. Now, during visits he makes to an Ohio lab each week, signals collected in his brain are being captured and sent to his arm so he can make some simple voluntary movements …
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Scientists Turn Mammalian Cells into Complex Biocomputers
(Science) — Computer hardware is getting a softer side. A research team has come up with a way of genetically engineering the DNA of mammalian cells to carry out complex computations, in effect turning the cells into biocomputers. The group hasn’t put those modified cells to work in useful ways yet, but down the road researchers hope the new programming techniques will help improve everything from cancer therapy to on-demand tissues that can replace worn-out body parts …
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Should a Human-Pig Chimera Be Treated as a Person?
(Quartz) — How should we respond to chimeras when we are uncertain of their moral status? At present, chimeras created in laboratories are destroyed as embryos. But in order to harvest organs, full gestation would be needed. When that happens, do the human-animal chimeras have a moral right to continued existence? If there is any doubt about the cognitive abilities of this new life form, we should check the chimera for its functionality. We should not assume it has the cognitive function of a normal pig. We should rear it humanely with social contact, and assess its function and abilities as it develops …
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Researchers Just Uncovered a Simple Way to Help Combat the Opioid Epidemic
(Vox) — There’s another type of prescription drugs, besides opioid painkillers, that’s involved in thousands of drug overdose deaths in the US every year. The drugs are benzodiazepines, which are widely known by their brand names Xanax and Valium and commonly prescribed to help treat anxiety. These drugs were involved in nearly 9,000 overdose deaths in 2015, according to federal data. But there’s a catch: Such overdoses seem to be very closely tied to the opioid epidemic, with the majority of benzodiazepine overdose deaths involving both benzodiazepines and opioids …
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Why Were There Fewer Microcephaly Cases from Zika Last Year?
(Stat News) — Of the many mysteries that remain about the Zika virus and its attack on the Americas, perhaps the most puzzling one relates to the bizarre distribution of babies born with Zika-induced microcephaly. After so many such births were recorded in Northeastern Brazil in the last quarter of 2015, the country — and other places where the virus fanned out to from Brazil — braced themselves for a similar tsunami in 2016. But it didn’t materialize — at least not to the same degree …
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Tests Show 3D Bioprinted Human Cartilage Cells Can Be Safely Implanted
(UPI) — Scientists in Sweden successfully implanted 3D bioprinted human cartilage cells in an animal model. Researchers hope the breakthrough paves the way for the technology’s use in human patients. “This is the first time anyone has printed human-derived cartilage cells, implanted them in an animal model and induced them to grow,” Paul Gatenholm, professor of biopolymer technology at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, said in a news release …
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With Patients Demanding Experimental Drugs, ‘Right to Try’ Is Becoming the Law of the Land
(STAT News) — Some physicians, ethicists, and regulatory officials say the laws could harm more patients than they help — but many are reluctant to publicly oppose the laws for fear of being seen as opposing any one patient’s quest to save his or her life. Lawmakers, critics say, can stand on high moral ground as champions of the dying, while opponents struggle to demonstrate potential harms to faceless patients …
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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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