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Doctor’s Failing Leads to Incredible IVF Blunder

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 12:30

(Daily Mail) – An IVF baby was born with cystic fibrosis after a doctor failed to properly read the results of its parents’ screening tests. The first-known ‘grade A’ incident, which is the most severe, took place after a doctor did not sign or input the results into the patients’ medical records, resulting in them not being identified as carriers of the condition, according to a Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) report. Other ‘areas for concern’ include the number of adverse events as a result of IVF increasing from 497 in 2015 to 540 last year, the report found.

Promise of World’s First Head Transplant Is Truly Fake News

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 12:18

(Chicago Tribune) – Canavero has told the media that a recent operation at China’s Harbin Medical University has demonstrated that it is possible to successfully reconnect the spine, nerves and blood vessels of a severed head. A similar operation on a live human will take place “imminently,” he proclaimed. So what could be wrong with offering a procedure that could give hope to those with horrible disabled injuries that leave their bodies immobile or to those dying of terrible diseases who might live on with a healthy donor body? Well, everything about Canavero’s activity is ethically wrong.

Italy OKs Living Wills Amid Long-Running Euthanasia Debate

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 12:14

(ABC News) – Italy’s Senate gave final approval Thursday to a law allowing Italians to write living wills and refuse artificial nutrition and hydration, the latest step in the Roman Catholic nation’s long-running and agonizing debate over euthanasia and end-of-life issues. As soon as the 180-71 vote was tabulated, cheers erupted outside parliament among a small group of right-to-die activists who saw the bill as a victory after several high-profile euthanasia cases prompted criminal prosecutions.

India’s Laws on Organ Transplants Do Little to Protect Rights of Organ Donors

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 12:10

(Scroll.in) – Thakur’s case is an example of how India’s organ transplant laws do little to protect organ donors, who are often from poor socioeconomic backgrounds and sometimes coerced into making the donation. At a recent meeting of doctors, legal experts, activists and a government representative, on possible changes to the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, most people agreed that donors often agree to transplant procedures due to coercion or a dire need of money, and need to be protected as victims and not seen as perpetrators of the crime.

A New Edition of Journal of Moral Theology Is Now Available

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 09:00

Journal of Moral Theology (vol. 6, special issue 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “On ‘And Vulnerable’: Catholic Social Thought and the Social Challenges of Cognitive Disability” by Matthew Gaudet
  • “The Goodness and Beauty of Out Fragile Flesh: Moral Theologians and Our Engagement with ‘Disability'” by Miguel J. Romero
  • “The Slow Journey towards Beatitude: Disability in L’Arche, and Staying Human in High-Speed Society” by Jason Reimer Greig
  • “Disability, the Healing of Infirmity, and the Theological Virtue of Hope: A Thomistic Approach” by Paul Gondeau
  • “Seventeenth-Century Casuistry Regarding Persons with Disabilties: Antonino Diana’s Tract On the Mute, Deaf, and Blind” by Julia A. Fleming
  • “From Universal Precautions to Universal Design: Disclosure of Concealable Disability in the Case of HIV” by Mary M. Doyle Roche
  • “Becoming Friends: Ethics in Friendship and Doing Theology” by Lorraine Cuddeback
  • “God Bends Over Backwards to Accommodate Humankind. . . While the Civil Rights Acts and the Americans with Disabilities Act Require [Only] Minimum Effort” by Mary Jo Iozzio


A New Edition of Social Science & Medicine Is Now Available

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 09:00

Social Science & Medicine (vol. 190, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The New Frontier of Strategic Alliances in Health Care: New Partnerships Under Accountable Care Organizations” by Valerie A. Lewis, Katherine I. Tierney, Carrie H. Colla, and Stephen M. Shortell
  • ” The Islamification of Antiretroviral Therapy: Reconciling HIV Treatment and Religion in NNigeria” by Jack Ume Tocco
  • ” Interest in and Reactions to Genetic Risk Information: The Role of Implicit Theories and Self-Affirmation” by Jennifer M. Taber et al.
  • ” ‘“The Land of the Sick and the Land of the Healthy’: Disability, Bureaucracy, and Stigma Among People Living with Poverty and Chronic Illness in the United States” by Henry J. Whittle et al.


A New Edition of Bioethics is Now Available

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 09:00

Bioethics (vol. 31, no. 8, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “IAB Presidential Address: ‘Searching for Justice'” by Angela Ballantyne
  • “Public Health Agencies’ Obligations and the Case of Zika” by Florencia Luna
  • “Fertility, Immigration, and the Fight Against Climate Change” by Jake Earl, Colin Hickey, and Travis N. Rieder
  • “Ethical Issues Raised by Thyroid Cancer Overdiagnosis: A Matter for Public Health?” by Wendy A. Rogers, Wendy L. Craig, and Vikki A. Entwistle
  • “Family Interests and Medical Decisions for Children” by Paul Baines
  • “The Limits of the Treatment-Enhancement Distinction as a Guide to Public Policy” by Alexandre Erler
  • “Merging Arts and Bioethics: An Interdisciplinary Experiment in Cultural and Scientific Mediation” by Vincent Couture, Jean-Christophe Bélisle-Pipon, Marianne Cloutier, and Catherine Barnabé
  • “Balancing Bioethics by Sensing the Aesthetic” by Paul Macneill


Former Philippine President Defends Controversial Dengue Program

Bioethics News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:38

(Reuters) – Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino defended on Thursday his decision to implement a controversial immunization program using a new dengue vaccine in 2016, saying it was justified with millions of people at risk of being infected by the virus.

6,700 Rohingya Killed in First Months of Myanmar Crackdown, MSF Reports

Bioethics News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:31

(CNN) – At least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in attacks during the first month of a military crackdown in Myanmar in late August, Médecins Sans Frontières estimates. The aid group interviewed several thousand Rohingya refugees in four camps in Bangladesh in late October and early November, asking how many members of their families had died and how, both before and after the violence began. The survey showed that a minimum of 6,700 Rohingya — including 730 children — were killed by shooting and other violence between August 25 and September 24, and that at least 2,700 others died from disease and malnutrition, according to MSF.

When Death Is Imminent, End-of-Life Care Decisions Sometimes Go Out the Window

Bioethics News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:29

(STAT News) – Hospice care aims to provide compassionate care for people near the ends of their lives. This type of team-oriented medical care focuses on controlling pain and other symptoms and meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their family members. Although some hospice care is provided in special centers, most is provided in patients’ homes. Hospice workers visit daily to help their patients die with dignity and free from pain. That should have been what happened with Mrs. M (not her real name). But her son called 911 and now she is in the emergency department. I ask the medics for any hospice-related paperwork. They raise empty hands. There’s no advanced directive or POLST form, either, meaning no documentation telling me what kind of end-of-life care Mrs. M wanted — or didn’t want.

As Zika Babies Become Toddlers, Some Can’t See, Walk or Talk

Bioethics News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:11

(New York Times) – As the first babies born with brain damage from the Zika epidemic become 2-year-olds, the most severely affected are falling further behind in their development and will require a lifetime of care, according to a study published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, the first to comprehensively assess some of the oldest Zika babies in Brazil, focused on 15 of the most disabled children born with abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly. At about 22 months old, these children had the cognitive and physical development of babies younger than 6 months. They could not sit up or chew, and they had virtually no language.

Couples Win Lawsuit over Donated Eggs with Genetic Defect

Bioethics News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:03

(ABC News) – Two couples that gave birth to children with a genetic defect later traced to donated eggs have won a lawsuit against a New York fertility doctor and his clinic. The two children have Fragile X, which causes intellectual impairments. The egg donors were supposed to be screened for genetic conditions.

Could This Zoo of Mutant Mosquitoes Lead the Way to Eradicating Zika?

Bioethics News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 14:57

(STAT News) – Akbari loves them unabashedly; he feeds them fish flakes, mouse blood, and sugar water and calls some of them “beautiful.” But they’re not pets: Akbari’s lab here at the University of California, Riverside, is at the leading edge of a revolutionary technology — gene drive — that could one day deploy mosquito mutants to rid the world of scourges like malaria, dengue, and Zika. The technology is moving faster than anyone dreamed. Just three years ago, the idea of disabling or destroying entire populations of disease-causing mosquitoes using gene drives seemed a distant theoretical possibility. But advances in gene-editing have shoved the field into overdrive. And that vision is now very much in reach.

40 Years Later, Some Survivors of the First Ebola Outbreak Are Still Immune

Bioethics News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 14:55

(The Atlantic) – Previously, another team found that Ebola patients retain some immunity against the virus after 14 years, but Rimoin’s team have shown that this protection extends for decades more. All of the 14 people they studied still carry antibodies that recognize at least one of the Ebola virus’s proteins, and four had antibodies that could completely neutralize the virus. “Those are the kinds of responses you’d like to see in a vaccine—long-lasting and robust,” says Rimoin, “which means that these antibodies are of great value to science.”

Down Syndrome Families Divided over Abortion Ban

Bioethics News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 14:46

(NPR) – When a pregnant woman finds out that she’s likely to give birth to a baby with Down syndrome, she’s often given the option to terminate the pregnancy. But families affected by the genetic disorder, which causes developmental delays, are conflicted over whether such abortions should be legal. Ohio could soon become the latest state to restrict abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis. A bill that would make it a felony for doctors to perform abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis is moving through the state legislature and could be ready for Gov. John Kasich’s signature as soon as this week.

China Is Collecting DNA Under the Guise of Providing Free Health Care

Bioethics News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:57

(Quartz) – A free health-care program in an impoverished part of the world sounds like a welcome development. But the “Physicals for All” project in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is not what it seems, according to a Human Rights Watch report published today. Starting in 2016 and running annually from July through November, the project, though operated by health departments, is actually used by police to collect citizens’ DNA samples and blood types. This year, the program gathered such data on over 18 million residents in the region.

Half of World’s People Can’t Get Basic Health Services: WHO

Bioethics News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:55

(Reuters) – At least half the world’s population is unable to access essential health services and many others are forced into extreme poverty by having to pay for healthcare they cannot afford, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. Some 800 million people worldwide spend at least 10 percent of their household income on healthcare for themselves or a sick child, and as many as 100 million of those are left with less than $1.90 a day to live on as a result, the WHO said.

ADHD Drug Use in Pregnancy Increases Risk of Heart Defects, Study Finds

Bioethics News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:47

(CNN) – The attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drug methylphenidate is associated with an increased risk of heart defects in infants whose mothers take the medication during pregnancy, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Specifically, the researchers found a 28% increased prevalence of cardiac malformations after first-trimester exposure to the stimulant, which is the active ingredient in Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin and other ADHD medications.

Will Artificial Ovaries Mean No More Menopause?

Bioethics News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:37

(MIT Technology Review) – During menopause a woman’s ovaries stop working—leading to hot flashes, sleep problems, weight gain, and worse, bone deterioration. Now scientists are exploring whether transplanting lab-made ovaries might stop those symptoms. In one of the first efforts to explore the potential of such a technique, researchers say they used tissue engineering to construct artificial rat ovaries able to supply female hormones like estrogen and progesterone.

Early Embryos Kept in Check

Bioethics News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:27

(Nature) – During embryonic development, cells differentiate into particular lineages according to information about their position in the embryo. This adoption of a particular cellular identity often triggers changes in the organization of the embryo, which, in turn, results in new positional information. These cycles of differentiation and morphogenesis are key to normal development — but how do embryos coordinate them? One way is to implement checkpoints, similar to those in place during the cell cycle, to block progression until specific criteria are met. In a paper online in Nature, Shahbazi et al. report just such a checkpoint during early development in mammals.