(Reuters) – California lawmakers on Thursday revived a bill that would allow physician-assisted suicide in the most populous U.S. state, after a renewal of debate on end-of-life issues prompted by the death of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard last year. The bill, which is being fought by numerous religious and medical organizations, would allow adults suffering from incurable illnesses that their doctors say will kill them within six months to request medication to end their lives.
(The Baltimore Sun) – But even today, concerns arise periodically about the use of human subjects in clinical trials, especially as research institutions and pharmaceutical companies increasingly go abroad to test new drugs and vaccines in countries where oversight can be more lax. In India, for example, a rash of reports several years ago of people dying during clinical trials, or being enrolled without proper consent, led to an uproar and a government crackdown on what had become a booming industry for the fast-developing country. While some say Indian officials overreacted, the events reflect the continuing unease with human experimentation.
(The Telegraph) – Drone operators – the pilots who go to war by “remote control”, often experiencing combat thousands of miles away from their targets – might not conform to the traditional image of the battle-weary warrior, but they can suffer higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder than many conventional bomber crew members, according to the aviation expert Peter Gray.
(University of Alabama Birmingham) – A new report from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham demonstrates that clinical and genetic factors affecting dose requirements for warfarin vary by race. The study, published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology, proposes race-specific equations to help clinicians better calculate warfarin dosage.
(Jamaica Observer) – Colombian authorities have dismantled a trafficking ring involving illegal abortions and stolen babies, arresting five suspects, police said yesterday. A doctor and two nurses were among those called before authorities in the northern city of Cucuta, on the border with Venezuela. “They are suspected of belonging to a criminal network that trafficked newborn babies and performed illegal abortions,” police said in a statement.
(Tech Times) – There are one billion people around the world who live with some form of physical or developmental disability. Google has promised a massive $20 million in donations to nonprofits that are aimed at using emerging technology to help those people. The new initiative, called the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities program, is being launched with a call for other organizations to help and identify new ways to help the disabled.
(News-Medical) – A new study appearing today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, designed to test how stem cell injections affect primates with spinal cord injury (SCI), showed the treatments significantly improved the animals’ motor function recovery and promoted faster healing, too. The researchers call their findings a step forward toward the goal of improving outcomes for humans with chronic SCI.
(The Sydney Morning Herald) – Australian managers of the firm that sold thalidomide to pregnant women in the 1950s and ’60s actively covered up concerns it was causing birth defects, according to an explosive statement provided by a company insider. The affidavit by Hubert Woodhouse has never before been made public and reveals how the Sydney managers of British firm Distillers spent months sitting on damning evidence about thalidomide’s harmful effects while the drug was still being sold, leading to thousands of avoidable deaths and injuries in Australia and overseas.
(Huffington Post) – There’s a widely held belief that a doctor’s primary ethical obligation is to “do no harm.” The “no harm” principle, taught to all health care professionals, is important and meaningful, but it’s only part of a bigger ethical obligation we medical professionals have. That is, simply put, to take care of people. That duty of care is an important and useful guidepost in the increasingly complex world of medical ethics. Medical professionals have an ethical duty to relieve suffering, and to save and prolong lives.
(U.S.A. Today) – Imagine waking up after a serious accident to discover you’ve become an unwitting subject in a medical study without ever agreeing to participate. It’s a controversial reality of emergency research, and now concern is growing that dwindling research budgets are making it harder to alert the community about the studies so people can decide ahead of time whether to opt in or out.