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White House to Shield Health Workers Who Refuse Services on Moral Grounds

Bioethics News - 1 hour 30 min ago

(Medical Xpress) – Any medical professional who feels his or her rights have been violated can file a complaint with the new conscience and religious freedom division of the office for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The New York Times reported Thursday. The move, which comes one day before the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., was a priority for anti-abortion groups, according to the Times.

A Cheap and Easy Blood Test Could Catch Cancer Early

Bioethics News - 1 hour 45 min ago

(MIT Technology Review) – A simple-to-take test that tells if you have a tumor lurking, and even where it is in your body, is a lot closer to reality—and may cost only $500.  The new test, developed at Johns Hopkins University, looks for signs of eight common types of cancer. It requires only a blood sample and may prove inexpensive enough for doctors to give during a routine physical.

Denial of Abortion Leads to Economic Hardship for Low-Income Women

Bioethics News - 1 hour 46 min ago

(Reuters) – Women who want an abortion but are denied one are more likely to spend years living in poverty than women who have abortions, a new study suggests. Carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term quadrupled the odds that a new mother and her child would live below the federal poverty line, researchers reported in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday, a few days before the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

Child Pregnancies Reignite Sexual Abuse Debate in Turkey

Bioethics News - 1 hour 49 min ago

(BBC) – News reports of a spate of underage pregnancies in Turkey have sparked anger online. One hundred and fifteen girls, including 39 from Syria, have been treated at a single hospital in Istanbul in less than five months. News website Hurriyet Daily reported 38 girls became pregnant before the age of 15, and 77 before turning 18. The age of consent is 18 in Turkey and all cases of pregnancy under the age of 15 are classified as child abuse.

Young Women’s ADHD Prescriptions Have Soared Since 2003, CDC Finds

Bioethics News - 1 hour 54 min ago

(The Guardian) – Prescriptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications have increased 700% among US women in their late 20s since 2003, according to new research by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers raised alarms about the increase because “little information is available about the safety of taking ADHD medication during pregnancy”.

Angered by High Prices and Shortages, Hospitals Will Form Their Own Generic Drug Maker

Bioethics News - 2 hours 5 min ago

(STAT News) – Angered by rising prices and persistent shortages of generic drugs, four of the nation’s largest hospital systems are forming a new, not-for-profit manufacturer. The new company plans to either directly make or subcontract manufacturing to combat “capricious and unfair pricing practices” that are damaging the generic drug market and hurting consumers, according to a statement from the four hospital groups — Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, SSM Health, and Trinity Health, which together run more than 300 hospitals.

Germany: Medical Experts Urge Top Court to Revisit State’s Right to Rule on Suicide Cases

Bioethics News - 2 hours 20 min ago

(Deutsche Welle) – A German court decision  relating to assisted suicide could prove to be unconstitutional. The 2017 ruling had ordered the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) to decide for itself when to hand out lethal medication to suicidal individuals. However, Udo di Fabio, a former judge on Germany’s Supreme Court and an attorney representing the BfArM, published a legal opinion on Tuesday casting doubt over the constitutionality of the 2017 ruling.

Walmart Offers Way to Turn Leftover Opioids into Useless Gel

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:41

(STAT News) – Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel. The retail giant announced Wednesday that it will provide the packets free with opioid prescriptions filled at its 4,700 U.S. pharmacies. The small packets, made by DisposeRX, contain a powder that is poured into prescription bottles. When mixed with warm water, the powder turns the pills into a biodegradable gel that can be thrown in the trash.

Physician Burnout Takes a Toll on U.S. Patients

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:37

(Reuters) – Nearly two-thirds of U.S. doctors feel burned out, depressed, or both – and those feelings affect how they relate to patients, according to a survey conducted by Medscape.  “One in three depressed doctors said they were more easily exasperated by patients; 32 percent said they were less engaged with their patients; and 29 percent acknowledged being less friendly,” Leslie Kane, Senior Director, Medscape Business of Medicine, said in an email to Reuters Health.

A Popular Algorithm Is No Better at Predicting Crimes than Random People

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 14:59

(The Atlantic) – He appealed the ruling on the grounds that the judge, in considering the outcome of an algorithm whose inner workings were secretive and could not be examined, violated due process. The appeal went up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, who ruled against Loomis, noting that the sentence would have been the same had COMPAS never been consulted. Their ruling, however, urged caution and skepticism in the algorithm’s use. Caution is indeed warranted, according to Julia Dressel and Hany Farid from Dartmouth College. In a new study, they have shown that COMPAS is no better at predicting an individual’s risk of recidivism than random volunteers recruited from the internet.

More Evidence Common Morning Sickness Drug May Not Work

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 14:53

(Reuters) – A pill millions of women have used for morning sickness may not actually help relieve nausea, according to a new study that some doctors say reinforces their decision to stop prescribing the drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug, pyridoxine-doxylamine (Diclegis, Diclectin), based on results from a clinical trial. But previously unpublished data from the trial show the drug worked no better than a placebo at reducing nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, researchers report in PLOS One.

The Complicated History of Surrogacy from ‘Baby M’ to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 14:43

(TIME) – They are the latest celebrity couple to raise awareness about this method of having a child, in which a third party carries the pregnancy on behalf of the parents. It’s an idea with extremely old origins — as TIME has noted previously, the Old Testament story of Abraham and Hagar conceiving a child with his wife Sarah’s blessing is essentially a story of surrogacy — but it has only become more widely known and debated in the United States in the last three decades, thanks in large part to a controversial and headline-grabbing case that got the nation talking about the subject.

FDA Moving to Enhance Drug Approval Transparency, Gottlieb Says

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 14:37

(Managed Care Magazine) – As part of its efforts to enhance transparency around drug approval decisions, the FDA is exploring ways it can continue to build on its obligation to share information, says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. The agency is especially focused on information that can improve patient care and better inform providers about the products they prescribe. One place where it is evaluating how it can release information that may better inform scientists, providers, and patients is clinical study reports (CSRs), Dr. Gottlieb wrote in a statement.

Stem-Cell-Based Treatment Aims to Reverse Type 1 Diabetes

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 14:32

(Vancouver Sun) – About 10 British Columbians with Type 1 diabetes will be surgically implanted with packets containing lab-grown cells that are coaxed into behaving like true insulin-producing pancreatic cells in hopes of reversing their disease. The first patient to receive the implants is keen to exchange his regime of daily pinprick blood tests and insulin injections for a “handful” of pills for immune suppression.

Parenteral Fluids in Cancer Patients at End of Life

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 14:28

(Medscape) – The study, which was conducted in cancer patients in their last week of life who were unable to maintain sufficient oral fluid intake, compared usual care to assisted hydration. Fluids were given either intravenously or by subcutaneous injection. For patients who received assisted hydration, the survival rate was 26% higher than for patients who did not receive assisted hydration. This extrapolated to an average of an additional day and a half of life.

How Far Off Are We from the Digital Clones of ‘Black Mirror’?

Bioethics News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 14:24

(Vice News) – The question of consciousness is at the heart of what he does just as it is at the heart of much science fiction. From the replicants of Blade Runner to the digital clones of Black Mirror, we watch characters who seem to be able to think and feel and comprehend, even though they are not human. The torture experienced by simulated characters in science fiction troubles us particularly when those characters seem conscious.

Rohingya Crisis: Bangladesh and Myanmar Agree Repatriation Timeframe

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:51

(BBC) – Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed a timeframe for repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who fled crackdowns from the military. Myanmar has agreed to accept 1,500 Rohingya each week, Bangladesh says, adding that it aims to return all of them to Myanmar within two years. More than 740,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh amid violence in Rakhine state in 2016 and 2017. Aid agencies have raised concerns about forcibly repatriating them.

A Minnesota Health Advocate’s Crusade Brings Harmful Skin Lightening Out of the Dark

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:42

(STAT News) – Some women use the creams in hopes of erasing dark spots, but many rub them over their entire bodies multiple times a day in hopes of whitening their brown skin. The practice pervades many cultures in Africa, Asia, the Middle East — and many immigrant communities in the U.S. — and Adawe has made it her mission to end it.

What Americans Think of Body-Modification Technologies

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:37

(Scientific American) – The study examined if and under what conditions it would be appropriate to apply human enhancement technologies along a continuum of use: therapeutic use to restore ability, prevention when there is a known risk or relevant family history, enhancement beyond the ability one would normally have, and enhancement greatly beyond normal. Perhaps not surprisingly, support for human enhancement depended somewhat on the type, and particularly the degree, of enhancement.

California Hospitals Face ‘War Zone’ of Flu Patients, and Are Setting Up Tents to Treat Them

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:20

(Medical Xpress) – The huge numbers of sick people are also straining hospital staff who are confronting what could become California’s worst flu season in a decade. Hospitals across the state are sending away ambulances, flying in nurses from out of state and not letting children visit their loved ones for fear they’ll spread the flu. Others are canceling surgeries and erecting tents in their parking lots so they can triage the hordes of flu patients.