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Researchers: Link Between Repeated Antibiotic Use in Early Childhood and Obesity

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 12:04

(Washington Post) – In a study published online Monday by JAMA Pediatrics, researchers reviewed records from about 65,000 children from 2001 to 2013 and found that almost 70 percent received antibiotics before age two. On average, each child received 2.3 courses. Those who received only a few courses of less powerful antibiotics did not appear to have a higher risk of obesity than those who received none. But those who were treated with repeated courses – four or more – during that period were 11 percent more likely to become obese.

Obama Administration to Unveil Doctor Payments That May Point to Conflicts of Interest

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:58

(Associated Press) – Striving to shine a light on potential ethical conflicts in medicine, the Obama administration is releasing data on drug company payments to tens of thousands of individual doctors. As conceived, the so-called Open Payments program was intended to allow patients to easily look up their own doctors online. That functionality won’t be ready yet. And although preliminary data to be released Tuesday will be incomplete, it’s expected to be useful for professional researchers.

Medical Devices Lack Safety Evidence, Study Finds

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:55

(The Wall Street Journal) – The majority of moderate- to high-risk medical devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lack publicly available scientific evidence to verify their safety and effectiveness despite requirements in the law, according to a study released Monday. Researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine that 42 of 50 selected medical devices cleared by the FDA over five years lacked such data, despite a 1990 law calling for sufficient detail to justify their FDA clearance. The law calls for public data about studies, which may include clinical studies, involving human patients.

Loved Ones of Ebola Patients in Liberia Face Desperate Wait, Lack of Information as Cases Grow

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:50

(Associated Press) – As the death toll from Ebola soars, crowded clinics are turning over beds as quickly as patients are dying. This leaves social workers and psychologists struggling to keep pace and notify families, who must wait outside for fear of contagion. Also, under a government decree, all Ebola victims must be cremated, leaving families in unbearable pain with no chance for goodbye, no body to bury.

More Groups Join Project on the Brain

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:46

(The New York Times) – The Obama administration plans to announce Tuesday that it has recruited new federal agencies and a number of universities, foundations and businesses to help pursue the goals of the Brain Initiative, which the president started in 2013. Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation, in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said that private institutions were joining by “aligning” $270 million of their neuroscience research with the goals and plans of the initiative.

Fast Genetic Sequencing Saves Newborn Lives

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:44

(Nature) – The boy is one of 44 sick infants whose genomes Kingsmore’s group has sequenced using a process that can provide a diagnosis in as little as 24 hours. In 28 of these cases, the researchers have been able to diagnose the baby’s condition. And in about half of these, they have been able to recommend changes in treatment, Kingsmore reported on 19 September at the Genomics of Common Diseases meeting in Potomac, Maryland. On 6 October, his group will kick off a larger project to sequence hundreds of babies’ genomes. It will be the first of four newborn-sequencing studies that each received multimillion-dollar grants from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in September 2013. The studies will address both the feasibility and the ethics of a process that could soon become standard for inexplicably ill newborns.

Digital Medical Records Become Common, But Sharing Remains Challenging

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:37

(New York Times) – Regardless of who is at fault, doctors and hospital executives across the country say they are distressed that the pricey electronic health record systems they installed in the hopes of reducing costs and improving the coordination of patient care — a major goal of the Affordable Care Act — simply do not share information with competing systems.The issue is especially critical now as many hospitals and physicians scramble to install the latest versions of their digital record systems to demonstrate to regulators starting Oct. 1 that they can share some patient data.

Brain Tumour Survival Harmed by Popularity of Other Cancer Charities

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:35

(The Telegraph) – Brain tumour survival rates are not improving because so much funding is going to other cancers, experts have warned.  Bodies like Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Research Institute have been accused of ignoring brain tumours even though they claim the lives of more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer. Health experts at Imperial College, Queen Mary, University of London and Plymouth and Portsmouth universities warn that treatments are lagging behind the huge advances seen in breast, lung and prostate cancers.

Cancer-Abortion Link Quashed

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:32

(The Medical Journal of Australia) – NEW Australian research has again ruled out any link between abortion and breast cancer, after experts were prompted to review local data in response to suggestions in the media that such a link may exist. In a research letter published by the MJA, Victorian cancer researchers detailed a prospective cohort study in which they found no association between abortion in the first trimester and breast cancer.

Seattle Genetics and Takeda’s Cancer Drug Meets Main Trial Goal

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:30

(Reuters) – Seattle Genetics Inc and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd said their approved cancer drug was successfully used as a consolidation therapy in a late-stage trial for patients with a type of lymphatic cancer. Consolidation therapy kills any cancer cells that may be left in the body after initial therapy. Patients who received the drug, Adcetris, immediately after a stem cell transplant, lived significantly longer without the disease progressing than those who were given a placebo, the companies said in a joint statement.

Musculoskeletal Pain Relief with Stem Cell Injections

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:21

(Medscape) – For the large portion of patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain who fall into the chasm of not responding to noninvasive therapies but decline or are not candidates for joint or spine surgery, some clinicians are turning to autologous mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy — and seeing benefits. The evidence on the therapy’s efficacy is inconclusive, and the patient-reported levels of improvement typically fall short of a slam-dunk, but their reports of pain relief of at least 50% are relatively consistent — and in the challenging realm of chronic pain treatment, that’s getting somewhere, said Harry Adelson, ND, medical director of Docere Clinics in Park City, Utah.

Why Palliative Care Should Come Sooner Than End-of-Life

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:17

(The Globe and Mail) – I often hear from the families of patients who are fighting an illness, such as cancer, wondering when the right time for palliative care is. Most people think of it later than is ideal, in fact, raising it only as a measure to be addressed towards the end of life. In contrast, there is now a movement towards what has been called “early palliative care” – getting help when it is needed, rather than waiting until all other treatments have been stopped.

Prisoners with No Prospect of Release Should Be Given Option of Euthanasia, Philip Nitschke Says

Bioethics News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:16

(ABC.net) – Euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke has called for Australian prisoners jailed with no prospect of release to be given the option of euthanasia. The calls came after a court in Belgium granted killer Frank van den Bleeken the right to die with the help of prison doctors.

Doctor Treats Ebola with HIV Drug in Liberia — Seemingly Succesfully

Bioethics News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 17:11

(CNN) – A doctor in rural Liberia inundated with Ebola patients says he’s had good results with a treatment he tried out of sheer desperation: an HIV drug. Dr. Gobee Logan has given the drug, lamivudine, to 15 Ebola patients, and all but two survived. That’s about a 13% mortality rate. Across West Africa, the virus has killed 70% of its victims. Outside Logan’s Ebola center in Tubmanburg, four of his recovering patients walk the grounds, always staying inside the fence that separates the Ebola patients from everyone else.

No Airlifts for Sickened African Ebola Docs

Bioethics News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 17:08

(Scientific American) – Many foreign aid workers in the ongoing Ebola epidemic have a safeguard that their West African counterparts are denied: emergency air evacuation should they become dangerously ill. Since June, air ambulances have rescued at least 10 foreign health workers who came into contact with the Ebola virus. Those cases include a Doctors Without Borders staffer sent home to France, a British man sent to the U.K., two Dutch doctors airlifted to the Netherlands and four infected Americans flown to U.S. hospitals to receive experimental serums, according to the Associated Press.

CVS, MedStar Agree to Integrate Patient Records

Bioethics News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 17:03

(Washington Post) – Neglected to pick up your prescription? Now there’s a good chance your doctor will be aware of that and do something about it, thanks to a slew of new partnerships between CVS Health and various health systems. One of these arrangements, slated to begin by early next year, will integrate the electronic medical records from MedStar Health’s 10 hospitals and 4,000 doctors in the District and Maryland with CVS pharmacies and the chain’s 900 Minute Clinics across the country.

The Doctor Is Always In: On Your Cellphone, Tablet or Computer

Bioethics News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 16:59

(Washington Post) – Some patients looking for convenient medical appointments can now see UCLA Health System doctors via cellphone, computer or tablet. It’s part of an effort by the health system and other organizations to extend alternatives to the in-person doctor visit to people who might not be able to get to a doctor’s office.The doctors are available through LiveHealth Online, a service designed for business travelers and parents who don’t have time for an office visit.

Can Transfusions of Young Blood Help Cure Alzheimer’s in Older People?

Bioethics News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 16:57

(Washington Post) – It sounds like the dark plot of a vampire movie. Next month, people with Alzheimer’s disease will be given the blood of young people in the hope that it will reverse some of the damage caused by the condition. The scientists behind the experiment have evidence on their side. Work in animals has shown that a transfusion of young mouse blood can improve cognition and the health of several organs in older mice. It may even make those animals look younger. The ramifications for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries could be huge if the same thing happens in people.

CDC Investigates Limb Paralysis in Children after Enterovirus 68 Outbreak

Bioethics News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 16:55

(ABC News) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating whether limb weakness and paralysis in nine children could be connected to the far-reaching outbreak of the respiratory disease Enterovirus 68. The CDC released a statement today saying nine children in Denver had reported a neurologic illness that led to some limb weakness or paralyzation. All of the children had reported having a kind of respiratory virus before showing symptoms of limb weakness.

Pediatricians Group Recommends IUDs, Implants as Best Birth Control for Teen Girls

Bioethics News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 16:52

(Washington Post) – The majority of teenagers use condoms as their primary method of birth control, but long-acting contraceptives such as intrauterine devices should be the “first-line” of contraceptives in preventing teen pregnancy, according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.