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British right-to-die campaigner starves herself to death

Sanctity of Life News - 10 hours 25 min ago
She was afraid that the other alternative, a drug overdose, would not work and she wanted to die at home, not in Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal. Read more...

Drug tests in East Germany get “conceded pass”

Sanctity of Life News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 23:56
Informed consent was not completely ignored in the 1980s, researchers find. Read more...

Is conflict of interest a real problem for doctors?

Sanctity of Life News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 21:19
In this YouTube video Aaron E. Carroll, a paediatrician at Indiana University School of Medicine and a blogger at The Incidental Economist, summarises recent research about conflicts of interest. Read more...

Bioethics consultancies: the way of the future?

Sanctity of Life News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 20:07
ethicists in the US are creating independent ‘ethics consulting’ services for healthcare professionals and scientists. Read more...

Should all Ebola volunteers be quarantined?

Sanctity of Life News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 19:08
Hundreds of foreign healthcare workers have been shuttling in and out of Ebola-affected countries in West Africa. Read more...

Radical measures to prevent the spread of Ebola in hospitals

Sanctity of Life News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 19:07
At least three US hospital systems are currently considering whether they withhold certain treatments from Ebola patients. Read more...

The Ebola Outbreak: Hopeful News from the Front Lines

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 14:15

(Scientific American) – What we found was surprising. While a great deal of work remains to be done, the inertia and disbelief that characterized the early reaction to the outbreak has largely disappeared. Sierra Leoneans, with the help of a wide range of international partners, are banding together. If their efforts gain momentum, the stage is set to contain the outbreak and prevent even more suffering and death.

Cloning Whistleblower: Little Changed in S. Korea

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 14:14

(Associated Press) – The whistleblower who exposed breakthrough cloning research as a devastating fake says South Korea is still dominated by the values that allowed science fraudster Hwang Woo-suk to become an almost untouchable national hero. In an interview with The Associated Press after almost a decade of silence, Ryu Young-joon, one of Hwang’s former researchers, said the cost of telling the truth still weighs on him but he doesn’t regret his decision to out Hwang as a false prophet.

Officials Tracing New York Ebola Patient’s Movements, While Reassuring a Wary City

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 14:11

(New York Times) – Disease investigators are looking for anyone who came into contact with New York City’s first Ebola patient since Tuesday morning, health officials said Friday, adding they were acting out of an abundance of caution to ensure that they find anyone who might have been at risk of infection. Three people who had contact with the patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, have been quarantined, and investigators have compiled a detailed accounting of his movements in the days before he was placed in isolation at Bellevue Hospital on Thursday.

WHO Is Sending Expert Team to Mali after First Ebola Diagnosis in the West African Country

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 14:04

(Washington Post) – The World Health Organization is preparing to send a team of experts to Mali after the country announced that it had its first Ebola case, a WHO spokesperson said Friday. Mali’s health minister said Thursday night that a 2-year-old girl who recently traveled from Guinea with her grandmother was admitted to a hospital in Kayes this week and tested positive for Ebola.

Surgeons in Australia Perform Heart Tranplant with ‘Dead Heart’

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 14:02

(UPI) – Usually, heart transplant surgery requires a heart that’s still beating — one taken from a still-breathing but brain dead patient. But for the first time ever, surgeons in Australia performed the surgery using a “dead heart” — one that had stopped beating. To perform the operation, doctors relied on a medical device called a “heart-in-a-box.” The dead heart, once excised from the deceased, is placed in the box where it is warmed and revived with a sterile circuit replenished with fluids that mitigate damage to the muscle. Once brought back to life, the heart is then installed in the new patient. Surgeons say the heart had stopped beating for nearly 20 minutes before it was resuscitated.

For $100,000, You Can Clone Your Dog

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:55

(Bloomberg Businessweek) – Originally the procedure had been scheduled for Sooam’s headquarters in Seoul, where Hwang, 61, runs the only facility on earth that clones dogs for customers willing to pay $100,000. He led the team that cloned the first dog in 2005, and he’s produced more than 550 cloned puppies since, increasing the efficiency of a complicated process to a point where he can guarantee an exact genetic copy of a client’s dog, provided he has healthy tissue to work with. Today’s delivery, however, is a special case, and at the last minute, Chinese officials asked Hwang to relocate the operation to Weihai, in Shandong province.

Precise and Programmable Biological Circuits

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:53

(Phys.org) – A team led by ETH professor Yaakov Benenson has developed several new components for biological circuits. These components are key building blocks for constructing precisely functioning and programmable bio-computers. Bio-engineers are working on the development of biological computers with the aim of designing small circuits made from biological material that can be integrated into cells to change their functions. In the future, such developments could enable cancer cells to be reprogrammed, thereby preventing them from dividing at an uncontrollable rate. Stem cells could likewise be reprogrammed into differentiated organ cells.

The Ethics of Treating Ebola

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:51

(Discovery) – As the Ebola crisis unfolds, questions swirl around how to treat the disease ethically. Medical ethicists are pondering everything from whether CPR should be performed on patients when their hearts stop beating to whether placebos should be used in trials for Ebola vaccines. In many instances, ethicists are divided, making compelling cases on both sides. But with the disease spreading so rapidly, the discussion is being crunched in favor of urgent decision-making.

A Conversation with a Cancer Patient about Palliative Care

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:50

(Standford Medicine) – The doctor and patient sat in comfortable leather armchairs, facing each other onstage in the School of Medicine’s Berg Hall. Timothy Quill, MD, a palliative care specialist, leaned forward, hands clasped on his knees, head tilted to one side. For about an hour, he asked short, pointed questions of Paul Kalanithi, MD, a 37-year-old Stanford neurosurgeon with advanced-stage lung cancer, encouraging him to talk about his illness.

Genetics Underpin Bullying Victimisation Influence on Paranoi

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:41

(News-Medical) – Bullying victimisation in childhood may indicate genetic risk for later psychosis, rather than being an environmental trigger, say UK researchers. The team’s study of 4826 twin pairs revealed that bullying victimisation was most strongly, although only modestly, associated with paranoia in adolescence, but that this association was “explained almost in its entirety by shared genetic influences.”

Researchers Create Designer ‘Barrel’ Proteins

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:40

(Phys.org) – Despite the wide variety of tasks that natural proteins perform, they appear to use only a limited number of structural types, perhaps just a few thousand or so. These are used over and over again, being altered and embellished through evolution to generate many different functions. This raises the question: are more protein structures possible than those used and presented to us by nature? A team from Bristol’s School of Chemistry and School of Biochemistry, headed by Professor Dek Woolfson, have addressed this by designing manmade protein molecules from scratch.

Fertility Treatments Aren’t Significantly Linked to Birth Defects

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:38

(U.S. News & World Report) – The ART-conceived children had slightly higher rates of cardiac and non-cardiac birth defects than children who were conceived naturally. But, overall rates of birth defects among ART-conceived children were low, the researchers said. Rates of cardiac birth defects were 0.82 percent among ART-conceived children and 0.52 percent among naturally conceived children, the study showed. Rates of non-cardiac birth defects were 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, according to the researchers.

A New Edition of The Journal of Medical Ethics is Available

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 09:20

The Journal for Medical Ethics (Vol. 40, No. 10, October 2014) is now available online by subscription only. Articles include:

  • “Why philosophy is important to medical ethics” by Julian Savulescu
  • “Anaesthesia, amnesia and harm” by Walter Glannon
  • “Fiddling with memory” by Andrew Davidson
  • “Minimizing harm via psychological intervention: response to Glannon” by Joshua Shepherd
  • “Intraoperative awareness: consciousness, memory and law” by Walter Glannon

A New Edition of Nursing Philosophy is Available

Bioethics News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 08:40

Nursing Philosophy (Volume 15, Issue 4, October 2014) is now available online by subscription only. Articles Include:

  • “Implications for 21st century science for nursing care: interpretations and care” by Michael T. Yeo
  • “Cognition and the compassion deficit: the social psychology of helping behaviour in nursing” by John Paley
  • “The compassion deficit and what to do about it: a response to Paley” by Gary Rolfe and Lyn D. Gardner