(Wired) – At the SynDaver factory in Tampa, Florida, mad scientists are bringing bodies to life. Not Frankensteining the dead, but using a library of polymers to craft synthetic cadavers that twitch and bleed like real suffering humans. Hospitals and med schools use the fakes to teach anatomy and train surgeons, and the most lifelike model is the $95,000 SynDaver Patient. This exquisite corpse can be controlled wirelessly so practitioners can rehearse elaborate medical scenarios in which the patient goes into shock and even “dies.”
(STAT News) – Doctors were just guessing a decade ago when they gave Alison Cairnes’s husband a new drug they hoped would shrink his lung tumors. Now she takes it too, but the choice was no guesswork. Sophisticated gene tests suggested it would fight her gastric cancer, and they were right. Cancer patients increasingly are having their care guided by gene tumor boards, a new version of the hospital panels that traditionally decided whether surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy would be best. These experts study the patient’s cancer genes and match treatments to mutations that seem to drive the disease.
(STAT News) – A once-a-month shot to treat opioid addiction was as effective in maintaining short-term abstinence from heroin and similar drugs as a more commonly prescribed daily treatment, according to a Norwegian study released Wednesday. The study is believed to be the first to directly compare Vivitrol — administered as a monthly shot — with a combination drug treatment sold under the brand name Suboxone. In the U.S. and many other countries, Suboxone or methadone have been the standard medical treatment for people with an opioid use disorder.
(Reuters) – The prices of injectable cancer drugs – even older medicines around since the 1990s – are increasing at a rate far higher than inflation, researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study, led by Dr. Daniel Goldstein of Emory University in Atlanta, looked at 24 injectable cancer drugs approved since 1996 and found the average increase was 25 percent over eight years. After inflation, the average increase was 18 percent.
(Salon) – Humans have long dreamed of living forever, and as life expectancy has increased throughout the past century, it seemed as if immortality— or at least, unprecedented longevity — were within grasp. Yet a new study has, yet again, dashed collective hopes for eternal life. Scientists from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands used statistical methods to analyze the Dutch population over a period of 30 years to answer three main questions about life expectancy. The first one was whether there was an unbreakable wall of age, or if you can always get one year older. If there is such a limit, can it change over time? And most importantly, how old can we get?
(MIT News) – How, then, can unnecessary surgeries be eliminated while still maintaining the important role of mammography in cancer detection? Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School believe that the answer is to turn to artificial intelligence (AI). As a first project to apply AI to improving detection and diagnosis, the teams collaborated to develop an AI system that uses machine learning to predict if a high-risk lesion identified on needle biopsy after a mammogram will upgrade to cancer at surgery.
(CNN) – Recent wildfires in California and hurricanes in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico have put a spotlight on vulnerable seniors — including a number of deaths that authorities have said were preventable. “The bulk of them are in their 70s and 80s, so there is that commonality,” Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said of the first wildfire victims to be identified during a press conference Thursday. The majority were found in their homes, reduced to “ashes and bones,” Giordano said. Several were identified using medical implants, such as a hip replacement, with unique serial numbers.
(STAT News) – en who received a blood transfusion from a woman who had ever been pregnant had a higher risk of dying prematurely than men who got blood from a man or a never-pregnant woman, scientists reported on Tuesday. Bizarre as this seems, researchers have seen hints of a “mother effect” on blood transfusions before. Half a dozen studies have found that recipients were more likely to die after receiving blood from a woman than from a man — though the biggest and most recent did not.
(UPI) – Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine were shocked to find that nearly half of all medical care in the United States is delivered at hospital emergency departments. In recent years, the percentage of care given at ERs has grown significantly, with a new study revealing a nearly 44 percent increase in visits over a 14-year period.
(BBC) – A drug-based therapy appears to restore breathing in rats paralysed from the neck down by a spinal injury, according to scientists. They hope their “exciting but early” findings could ultimately help free patients from ventilators. The pioneering work, in Cell Reports, suggests the brain may not be needed for respiration if a nerve pathway in the spine can be awakened.
(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) on Tuesday won the reversal of a $72 million verdict in favor of the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer they claimed stemmed from her use of the company’s talc-based products like Johnson’s Baby Powder. The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District said that given a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that limited where injury lawsuits could be filed, the case over Alabama resident Jacqueline Fox’s death should not have been tried in St. Louis.
(STAT News) – This view of post-human medicine may seem repulsive to those who see medicine as uniquely human. Some of that view is grounded in arrogance — surely nothing could ever do what we do as well as us. But as medicine confronts its limitations, modern providers are faced with a paradox: We want the precision and specificity of the machine yet we want to believe that we can still do it all with our hands and eyes and ears. We probably can’t. So we need to start redefining what the human doctor of the 21st century will do.
(New York Times) – Having conquered world markets and challenged American political and military leadership, China has set its sights on becoming a global powerhouse in a different field: scientific research. It now has more laboratory scientists than any other country, outspends the entire European Union on research and development, and produces more scientific articles than any other nation except the United States. But in its rush to dominance, China has stood out in another, less boastful way. Since 2012, the country has retracted more scientific papers because of faked peer reviews than all other countries and territories put together, according to Retraction Watch, a blog that tracks and seeks to publicize retractions of research papers.
JAMA (vol. 317, no. 22, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Building a Broader Consensus for Health Reform” by James C. Capretta
- “Value-Based Payment Models for Community Health Centers: Time to (Cautiously) Take the Plunge?” by Jay Bhatia, Rachel Tobey, and Michael Hochman
- “Permanent GME Funding for Teaching Health Centers” by Shayla N. M. Durfey, Paul George, and Eli Y. Adashi
Indian Journal of Medical Ethics (vol. 2, no. 3, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Sensitising Intern Doctors to Ethical Issues in a Doctor–Patient Relationship” by Nilima D Shah, Ritambhara Y Mehta, and Kamlesh R Dave
- “Harnessing the Medical Humanities for Experiential Learning” by Satendra Singh, Purnima Barua, Upreet Dhaliwal, and Navjeevan Singh
- “The Unfair Trade: Why Organ Sale is Indefensible” by Siby K. George
- “Authorship Criteria and Reporting of Ethical Compliance in Indian Biomedical Journals” by Pravin Bolshete
- “Ethical Issues in Death, Dying and Palliation: The IJME Sixth National Bioethics Conference” by Rakhi Ghoshal, Deepa V, and Sunita Simon Kurpad
The New Bioethics (vol. 23, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Sperm Donation and the Right to Privacy” by Oliver Hallich
- “Kinship Identities in the Context of UK Maternal Spindle Transfer and
Pronuclear Transfer Legislation” by Calum MacKellar
- ” A Gift or a Waste? Quintavalle, Surplus Embryos and the Abortion Act
1967″ by Lisa Cherkassky
- “Ethical Application of Precision Medicine to Schizophrenia Management” by Steven Daws
- “Beyond a Western Bioethics in Asia and Its Implication on Autonomy” by Mark Tan Kiak Min
- “Transhumanism: How Far Is Too Far?” by Joel Thompson
New Genetics and Society (vol. 36, no. 3, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Regulatory Controls for Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests: A Case Study on How the FDA Exercised its Authority” by Margaret Curnutte
- “Testing the NHS: The Tensions Between Personalized and Collective Medicine Produced by Personal Genomics in the UK” by Teresa Finlay
- “Valley of the Unicorns: Consumer Genomics, Venture Capital and Digital Disruption” by Stuart Hogarth
- “Reading the Fine Print when Buying Your Genetic Self Online: Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing Terms and Conditions” by Andelka M. Phillips
- “Shifting Metaphors in Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: From Genes as Information to Genes as Big Data” by Paula Saukko
Nursing Philosophy (vol. 18, no. 3, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Reconciling Concepts of Space and Person-Centred Care of the Older Person with Cognitive Impairment in the Acute Care Setting” by Carole Rushton and David Edvardsson
- “Against Compassion: In Defence of a “Hybrid” Concept of Empathy” by Alastair Morgan
- “Contract Theories and Partnership in Health Care. A Philosophical Inquiry to the Philosophy of John Rawls and Seyla Benhabib” by Sylvia Määttä, Kim Lützén, and Stina Öresland
(InSerbia News) – It looks like the ghoulish practice of abducting children and smuggling them across the Albanian-Kosovo border for subsequent use as organ donors has never ceased. Former Albanian President and Prime Minister Sali Berisha posted on his Facebook page a message from an unnamed police officer who claimed that children are being smuggled from Kosovo into Albania by criminals who use them as organ donors which they subsequently sell to the highest bidder.
(Los Angeles Times) – In fact, Iran offers people a legal way to sell their kidneys — and is the only country in the world to do so. A government foundation registers buyers and sellers, matches them up and sets a fixed price of $4,600 per organ. Since 1993, doctors in Iran have performed more than 30,000 kidney transplants this way. But the system hasn’t always worked as it’s been billed. Sellers have learned that they can cut side deals to earn up to thousands more from well-off Iranians eager to bypass the roughly yearlong wait for a transplant under the government system, or foreigners barred from the national program. In recent years, doctors have been caught attempting to perform transplants for Saudis who obtained forged Iranian IDs.