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A New Edition of The New England Journal of Medicine Is Now Available

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 09:00

The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 377, no. 12, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Tuberculosis Elimination in the United States — The Need for Renewed Action” by R. Bayer and K.G. Castro
  • “The Fate of FDA Postapproval Studies” by S. Woloshin, L.M. Schwartz, B. White, and T.J. Moore


A New Edition of Birth: Issues in Prenatal Care Is Now Available

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 09:00

Birth (vol. 44, no. 3, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Informed Consent and Refusal in Obstetrics: A Practical Ethical Guide” by Andrew Kotaska


A New Edition of Journal of Value Inquiry Is Now Available

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 09:00

Journal of Value Inquiry (vol. 51, no. 3, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Ethics of Patenting the BRCA Genes for Breast Cancer Research” by John Jung Park
  • “Focusing Respect on Creatures” by Elizabeth Foreman


A New Edition of Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy Is Now Available

Bioethics News - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 09:00

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (vol. 20, no. 1, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Bioenhancement of Morality” by Bert Gordijn and Henk ten Have
  • “Compulsory Administration of Oxytocin Does Not Result in Genuine Moral Enhancement” by Vojin Raki?
  • “‘Unnatural’ Thoughts? On Moral Enhancement of the Human Animal” by Norman K. Swazo
  • “Inspectors’ Ethical Challenges in Health Care Regulation: A Pilot Study” by W. Seekles et al.
  • “Tragedy in Moral Case Deliberation” by Benita Spronk, Margreet Stolper, and Guy Widdershoven
  • “Do We Have a Moral Responsibility to Compensate for Vulnerable Groups? A Discussion on the Right to Health for LGBT People” by Perihan Elif Ekmekci
  • “Personal Factors Affecting Ethical Performance in Healthcare Workers During Disasters and Mass Casualty Incidents in Iran: A Qualitative Study” by Mehrzad Kiani
  • “Withdrawal of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in Neonatal Intensive Care: Parents’ and Healthcare Practitioners’ Views” by Véronique Fournier et al.
  • “Blurring Nature at Its Boundaries. Vague Phenomena in Current Stem Cell Debate” by Martin Hähnel
  • “Caregiver Burden and the Medical Ethos” by Karsten Witt, Johanne Stümpel, and Christiane Woopen
  • “Suffering and Dying Well: On the Proper Aim of Palliative Care” by Govert den Hartogh
  • “Is Decision-Making Capacity an “Essentially Contested” Concept in Pediatrics?” by Eva De Clercq
  • “Zika, Public Health, and the Distraction of Abortion” by Thana Christina de Campos
  • “Abortion for Fetal Defects: Two Current Arguments” by Susana Nuccetelli


The Mysterious Return of Scarlet Fever

Bioethics News - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 15:39

(Vox) – Scarlet fever, a leading killer of children in the 19th and early 20th centuries, is suddenly making a comeback in many parts of the world, and no one knows why. The bacterial infection brings on a red, sandpapery rash all over the body, a high fever, and sore throat, and can cause serious health complications, including heart and kidney damage. The advent of antibiotics in the mid-20th century made the disease less deadly.

Come for a New Hip, Stay for Sea World? San Diego Bets on Medical Tourism

Bioethics News - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 15:22

(STAT News) – It’s got sun, sand, top-flight biomedical research, and highly rated hospitals. But can San Diego really become a hub for medical tourism? City leaders sure hope so. They recently launched a marketing initiative — funded mostly by a local philanthropist — that aims to attract patients from across the country and around the world. The pitch: Get your hip replaced or your cancer treated by top specialists — and then take your family to Legoland or SeaWorld.

Scientists Train Bacteria to Build Unnatural Proteins

Bioethics News - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 15:20

(NPR) – Scientists say they have created a partly man-made bacterium that can produce proteins not found in nature. This new life form, the latest development in a field called “synthetic biology,” could eventually be used to produce novel drugs. The Scripps Research Institute’s Floyd Romesberg and colleagues have been pushing toward this goal for well over a decade. Three years ago, they announced that they had added two more letters to the genetic alphabet of a bacterium: To DNA’s familiar A, T, C, and G, they added X and Y.

Australian State Allows Voluntary Euthanasia in 2019

Bioethics News - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 15:06

(ABC News) – An Australian state parliament on Wednesday legalized voluntary euthanasia 20 years after the country repealed the world’s first mercy-killing law for the terminally ill. The final vote in the Victorian parliament means that doctor-assisted suicide will be allowed in Australia’s second-most populous state from mid-2019. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who became a euthanasia advocate after his father died of cancer last year, said the reform showed compassion.

Gene Therapy Shows Promise for a Growing List of Diseases

Bioethics News - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 15:04

(NPR) – So far, gene therapy has only been tested on a relatively small number of patients who have been followed for relatively short periods of time. Many more patients will have to be studied for longer periods before anyone really knows how well the therapies work, how long the benefits last, and whether the therapies are safe. But doctors and families of those helped so far are elated at the progress.

Cancer Stem Cells Destroyed by Drug-Filled Nanoparticles

Bioethics News - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 14:52

(Medical News Today) – A team of scientists has developed drug-carrying nanoparticles that can find and kill cancer stem cells, a tiny group of rare cells that can hide in tissue and cause cancer to return years after tumors have been treated. In a paper published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explain how they developed nanoparticles that can seek and latch on to a protein called CD44, which is found only on the surface of cancer stem cells.

The Most Promising Cancer Treatments in a Century Have Arrived But Not for Everyone

Bioethics News - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 14:40

(Wired) – Though he didn’t have the molecular tools to understand why it worked, Coley’s forced infections put the body’s immune system into overdrive, allowing it to take out cancer cells along the way. While the FDA doesn’t have a formal definition for more modern immunotherapies, in the last few years it has approved at least eight drugs that fit the bill, unleashing a flood of money to finance new clinical trials. (Patients had better come with floods of money too—prices can now routinely top six figures.) But while the drugs are dramatically improving the odds of survival for some patients, much of the basic science is still poorly understood. And a growing number of researchers worry that the sprint to the clinic offers cancer patients more hype than hope.

University Was Tipped Off to Possible Unauthorized Trials of Herpes Vaccine

Bioethics News - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 13:03

(Kaiser Health News) – The university that employed a controversial herpes vaccine researcher has told the federal government it learned last summer of the possibility of his illegal experimentation on human subjects. But Southern Illinois University did not publicly disclose the tip or its findings about researcher William Halford’s misconduct for months, according to a memo obtained by Kaiser Health News. Last week, Kaiser Health News reported that Halford conducted an experiment in which he vaccinated patients in U.S. hotel rooms in 2013 without any safety oversight and in violation of U.S. laws, according to patients and emails they provided to KHN to support their allegations.

How a Missouri Doctor Exposed the Atrocities at Willowbrook in New York

Bioethics News - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:59

(Fox News) – In 1972, America was finally getting out of Vietnam. Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit China, and a news story stunned the nation. Inside the idyllic looking Willowbrook School on New York’s Staten Island, conditions were shocking. Willowbrook was a state-run human warehouse. More than 5,000 mentally ill and physically disabled children and adults lived in dirt and filth. Often left naked due to lack of caretakers, the helpless children and adults were locked inside building after building, sleeping on cots and given no education.

A New Algorithm Identifies Candidates for Palliative Care by Predicting When Patients Will Die

Bioethics News - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:46

(MIT Technology Review) – End-of-life care can be stressful for patients and their loved ones, but a new algorithm could help provide better care to people during their final months. A paper published in arXiv by researchers from Stanford describes a deep neural network that can look at a patient’s records and estimate the chance of mortality in the next three to 12 months. The team found that this serves as a good way to identify patients who could benefit from palliative care. Importantly, the algorithm also creates reports to explain its predictions to doctors.

Surrogacy and IVF Cases Put the Courts under Pressure, Says Senior Judge

Bioethics News - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:39

(Telegraph) – IVF and surrogacy cases are putting the courts under pressure, a High Court judge has said, as he urged an update to legislation. Speaking at a conference of the Association of Lawyers for Children, family court judge Mr Justice MacDonald said judges were dealing with more of the cases as family situations became more complex. He also highlighted the growth in disputes between doctors and parents of children who suffer from terminal illnesses, following the high-profile Charlie Gard case earlier this year.

Reimagining Autonomy in Reproductive Medicine

Bioethics News - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:30

(Medical Xpress) – Do the reproductive choices of prospective parents truly align with their values and priorities? How do doctors, reproductive technologies, and the law influence those choices? And why should certain women receive medical assistance to establish a pregnancy, while others are put in jail when they miscarry? A new Hastings Center special report, Just Reproduction: Reimagining Autonomy in Reproductive Medicine, considers these and related questions. It is a supplement to the Hastings Center Report, November-December 2017.

Aussie Doctor Philip Nitschke’s ‘Suicide Machine’ Harnesses 3D Printing Technology

Bioethics News - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:26

(News.com.au) – A HI-TECH ‘suicide machine’ is being touted by a euthanasia advocacy group. It’s called the Sarco capsule, and it has a single, simple purpose: to help you commit suicide, painlessly and efficiently. “Sarco does not use any restricted drugs, or require any special expertise such as the insertion of an intravenous needle,” says Dr. Philip Nitschke, the controversial founder and director of Exit International, whose mission is “to inform members and support them in their end of life decision-making.”

About 11 Percent of Drugs in Poor Countries Are Fake, U.N. Says

Bioethics News - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 15:00

(STAT News) – About 11 percent of medicines in developing countries are counterfeit and likely responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of children from diseases like malaria and pneumonia every year, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. It’s the first attempt by the U.N. health agency to assess the problem. Experts reviewed 100 studies involving more than 48,000 medicines. Drugs for treating malaria and bacterial infections accounted for nearly 65 percent of fake medicines.

Scientist Concedes His Controversial MS Therapy, Once a Source of Great Hope, Is ‘Largely Ineffective’

Bioethics News - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 14:50

(STAT News) – What many hope will be the final chapter in an unfortunate saga in multiple sclerosis research appears to have been written by the scientist who started the affair in the first place. Italian physician Paolo Zamboni has publicly acknowledged that a therapy he developed and dubbed “the liberation treatment” does not cure or mitigate the symptoms of MS. A randomized controlled trial — the gold standard of medical research — he and other Italian researchers conducted concluded the procedure is a “largely ineffective technique” that should not be recommended for MS patients.