Biotechnology Meets Primetime TV

It is no secret that bioethical content has been the fodder for both film and television for quite some time. The mainstay of science fiction films for years has ranged from cyborgs (Bicentennial Man) and artificial intelligence (AI, I Robot) to bizarre human experimentation and research (The X-Files: I Want to Believe), such as genetic enhancement (GATTACA), organ farming (The Island), and cloning (The 6th Day) just to name a few more. Even the occasional drama has featured key bioethical dilemmas such as euthanasia (Million Dollar Baby) and just access to healthcare services (John Q) to the recent film depiction of savior siblings (My Sister’s Keeper).[1] The silver screen has accessed these issues for years. Similar ventures in primetime television have met varied success. Medical dramas have highlighted key issues raised in clinical medicine. Pick your show of choice: ER, Grey’s Anatomy, House, Private Practice,[2] or any of the numerous other medical dramas that have reigned in primetime television for years. The success of the medical drama is demonstrated through the proliferation of spinoffs and the creation of the genre of medical comedies as epitomized in Scrubs. Amidst the daytime plotlines of hypersexuality and human frailty, primetime viewers are exposed to such issues as informed consent, medical error, and the nature of the Hippocratic Oath. Not surprisingly these connections have been noted by savvy educators who use culture as one of the means by which they teach bioethics.

Podcast Episode: 
136

The Future of the Human Species (Part 2)

Podcast Episode: 
135

The Future of the Human Species (Part 1)

Podcast Episode: 
134

Egg Cryopreservation: An Update on an Emerging Reproductive Technology

Egg cryopreservation or freezing is a technique that was first demonstrated to be a success in the mid-1980s with the first report of a live birth from frozen and thawed human eggs. This technique, however, was abandoned as a routine clinical option after initial concerns that egg cryopreservation led to an increase in chromosomal abnormalities[1] and as the transfer of cryopreserved embryos became more commonplace. Interest in this technique has been recently renewed as a means of preserving the eggs of women about to undergo chemotherapy and for patients who object to embryo cryopreservation on religious or moral grounds. In particular, this procedure is being investigated as an alternative to embryo cryopreservation by countries that do not permit the freezing of embryos, such as Italy and Germany, in addition to fertility centers in the U.S., which recognize both a need and the financial incentive for offering this technique. It has been calculated that 936 children worldwide have been born from cryopreserved eggs as of April 2009.[2]

Podcast Episode: 
133

Health Research for Developing Countries: Reason and Emotion in Bioethics

2009 Parallel Paper Presentation, Global Bioethics: Emerging Challenges Facing Human Dignity.

Podcast Episode: 
131

Facebook and the Fusiform Gyrus : A Neurologic Perspective on Social Online Networking for the Cultivation of Global Bioethics

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2009 Parallel Paper Presentation, Global Bioethics: Emerging Challenges Facing Human Dignity.

Podcast Episode: 
130

Cord Blood Stem Cells: An Overview

Discerning Palliative Sedation from Euthanasia: What’s at Stake for Human Dignity

2009 Parallel Paper Presentation, Global Bioethics: Emerging Challenges Facing Human Dignity

Podcast Episode: 
129

Revitalizing Medicine: Empowering Natality vs. Fearing Mortality

One of the great accomplishments of modern medicine is arguably the gains that have been made in extending longevity. Throughout the twentieth century, average life expectancy increased dramatically across the globe, a trend being continued in the twenty-first century with the notable exceptions of sub-Saharan Africa and Russia. For the first time in history it now seems “normal” that a person should live a long, healthy, and active life. Although the trend line is still moving up, it has started to plateau.

Podcast Episode: 
127

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