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‘A Cruel Harvest of the Poor’: Israeli Allegedly Behind Human Organ Black Market Arrested in Cyprus

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:00

(Washington Post) – Despite the investigation, the main players behind the Medicus operation have continued to slip from justice — until last week. On Friday, authorities in Pristina announced Moshe Harel, an Israeli national, had been arrested in Cyprus, Reuters reported. Accused of being the fixer who found donors, Harel has been wanted by Interpol since 2010 on charges of human trafficking and intentional infliction of grave injuries. He is also wanted on a warrant for the same crimes in Russia.

How Does Assisting with Suicide Affect Physicians?

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 14:56

(The Conversation) – As a son and family member who has witnessed the difficult final days of parents and loved ones, I can understand why support for MAID/PAS is growing among the general public. But as a physician and medical ethicist, I believe that MAID/PAS flies in the face of a 2,000-year imperative of Hippocratic medicine: “Do no harm to the patient.” Studies point out that even many doctors who actually participate in MAID/PAS remain uneasy or “conflicted” about it. In this piece, I explore their ambivalence.

A New Edition of Global Bioethics Is Now Available

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 09:00

Global Bioethics (vol. 29, no. 1, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Reflections on the Ethics of Participatory Visual Methods to Engage Communities in Global Health Research” by Gillian F. Black, Alun Davies, Dalia Iskander, and Mary Chambers


A New Edition of The Journal of Ethics Is Now Available

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 09:00

The Journal of Ethics (vol. 21, no. 4, 2018) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Incorporating Ethics into Artificial Intelligence” by Amitai Etzioni and Oren Etzioni


A New Edition of Journal of Medical Ethics Is Now Available

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 09:00

Journal of Medical Ethics (vol. 43, no. 11, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “What Sort of Death Matters?” by Rebecca Roache
  • “The Deadly Business of an Unregulated Global Stem Cell Industry” by Tamra Lysaght et al.
  • “Do the ‘Brain Dead’ Merely Appear to be Alive?” by Michael Nair-Collins and Franklin G Miller
  • “Complexity of Defining Death: Organismal Death Does Not Mean the Cessation of All Biological Life” by Melissa Moschella
  • “Opting Out: A Single-Centre Pilot Study Assessing the Reasons for and the Psychosocial Impact of Withdrawing from Living Kidney Donor Evaluation” by Carrie Thiessen et al.
  • “Should Gratitude Be a Requirement for Access to Live Organ Donation?” by Monica Escher, Monique Lamuela-Naulin, Catherine Bollondi, Paola Flores Menendez, and Samia A Hurst
  • “A Medical Curriculum in Transition: Audit and Student Perspective of Undergraduate Teaching of Ethics and Professionalism” by Toni C Saad, Stephen Riley, and Richard Hain
  • “Process Factors Facilitating and Inhibiting Medical Ethics Teaching in Small Groups” by Miriam Ethel Bentwich and Ya’arit Bokek-Cohen
  • “The Opinions and Experiences of Irish Obstetric and Gynaecology Trainee Doctors in Relation to Abortion Services in Ireland” by Kara Aitken, Paul Patek, and Mark E Murphy
  • “Cursed Lamp: The Problem of Spontaneous Abortion” by William Simkulet
  • “The Case Against Libertarian Arguments for Compulsory Vaccination” by Justin Bernstein
  • “A Quiet Revolution in Organ Transplant Ethics” by Arthur Caplan and Duncan Purves

New Articles for BMC Medical Ethics Are Now Available

Bioethics News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 09:00

BMC Medical Ethics has new articles  available online.

Articles include:

  • “Transplant Eligibility for Patients with Affective and Psychotic Disorders: A Review of Practices and a Call for Justice” by Katherine L. Cahn-Fuller and Brendan Parent
  • Must We Remain Blind to Undergraduate Medical Ethics Education in Africa? A Cross-Sectional Study of Nigerian Medical Students” by Onochie Okoye, Daniel Nwachukwu, and Ferdinand C. Maduka-Okafor
  • “Attitudes Towards Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Among Care-Dependent Older Adults (50+) in Austria: The Role of Socio-Demographics, Religiosity, Physical Illness, Psychological Distress, and Social Isolation” by Erwin Stolz, Hannes Mayerl, Peter Gasser-Steiner, and Wolfgang Freidl
  • “Patient-Targeted Googling and Social Media: A Cross-Sectional Study of Senior Medical Students” by Aaron N. Chester et al.


This Was Not the Good Death We Were Promised

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 14:53

(New York Times) – Many of the more than 4,000 Medicare-certified hospice agencies in the United States exist within larger health care or corporate systems, which are often under pressure to keep profit margins up. Kaiser Health News discovered there had been 3,200 complaints against hospice agencies across the country in the past five years. Few led to any recourse. In a Medicare-sponsored survey, fewer than 80 percent of people reported “getting timely care” from hospice providers, and only 75 percent reported “getting help for symptoms.”

Accused Colorado Abortion Clinic Gunman Can Be Forcibly Medicated

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 13:54

(Reuters) – A man accused of fatally shooting three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015, who was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, can be forcibly medicated in an effort to restore him to competency, an appeals court ruled on Thursday. The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that the state can administer anti-psychotic drugs to Robert Lewis Dear, 59, over his lawyer’s objections.

CRISPR Hits a Snag: Our Immune Systems May Attack the Treatment

Bioethics News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 13:39

(STAT News) – A new paper points to a previously unknown hurdle for scientists racing to develop therapies using the revolutionary genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9: the human immune system. In a study posted Friday on the preprint site bioRxiv, researchers reported that many people have existing immune proteins and cells primed to target the Cas9 proteins included in CRISPR complexes. That means those patients might be immune to CRISPR-based therapies or vulnerable to dangerous side effects — the latter being especially concerning as CRISPR treatments move closer to clinical trials.

At Life’s End, an Unconventional Therapy Puts a Woman at Ease

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:47

(STAT News) – Despite its cartoonish reputation, hypnotherapy has helped numerous patients in clinical trials control their response to pain, anxiety, and even digestive disorders. Handel was fortunate to cross paths with some of the researchers involved in those trials, and they shared some of what they knew. Handel believed then, as he does now, that with the right mindset, even people who are dying can feel —and, indeed, be — more in control of their bodies.

Obscure Vomiting Illness Linked to Long-Term Pot Use

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:36

(Scientific American) – Doctors say it’s difficult to treat the condition. There is no cure other than to quit using marijuana, and many patients are skeptical that cannabis is making them sick, so they keep using it and their vomiting episodes continue. Doctors can do little to relieve the symptoms, since traditional anti-nausea medications often don’t work and there are no pills to prevent the onset of an episode. Patients may need intravenous hydration and hospital stays until the symptoms subside.

Chinese Mother Struggling to Pay Medical Bills for Surrogate Baby with Brain Condition

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:22

(South China Morning Post) – Although medical institutions and staff in China have been banned from carrying out “any form of surrogacy” since 2001, the business operates in a legal grey area. Lin said she realised something was wrong with her son after she brought him back to China. She told Kanfa News that when she contacted the agency about her son’s condition, it offered to arrange another surrogate birth for her. “After the baby was diagnosed with cerebral atrophy, we contacted the agency and they replied that if there is a problem with the baby … the agency will arrange a new surrogacy with no charge,” Lin was quoted as saying. “This baby was three months old [at the time]. He is a person – a life. For [the agency] he is just a business deal.”

Stem Cell Transplant Shows Promise for Immune Disorder Scleroderma

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:17

(U.S. News & World Report) – Stem cell transplants could offer new hope for people with a severe form of scleroderma — a debilitating and deadly condition that affects the immune system, a new study suggests. “Scleroderma hardens the skin and connective tissues and, in its severe form, leads to fatal organ failure, most often the lungs,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Keith Sullivan. He is a professor of medicine and cellular therapy at Duke University Medical Center.

How Alcohol Damages Stem Cells and Increases Cancer Risk–New Research

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:06

(The Conversation) – After cigarettes, alcohol is perhaps the most common carcinogen that humans voluntarily expose themselves to. How this simple substance promotes cancer, though, has not been clear. But our latest study, using genetically modified mice, sheds some light on the possible mechanism. Our previous research revealed the principle mechanism that protects us from alcohol-induced DNA damage. The first level of this protection consists of an enzyme that converts acetaldehyde – a toxic byproduct created in the body when alcohol is metabolised – into a harmless substance.

Brazilian Women Break Taboo to Talk about Illegal Abortions

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:02

(ABC News) – As in many countries, abortion is a subject of taboo in Brazil, a socially conservative nation with the world’s largest Roman Catholic population as well as a growing evangelical Christian community. Abortion is illegal here except when a woman’s life is at risk, when she has been raped or when the fetus has a usually fatal brain abnormality called anencephaly. But amid a rising tide of conservatism in Brazil and concerns that abortion will become further restricted, women are coming out of the shadows to tell their stories in the hopes of galvanizing support for expanded access to abortion.

Pakistani Database to Help Deal with Genetic Disorders

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:53

(Sci Dev Net) -Pakistan, a country with a high rate of marriages among close relatives, has taken a step towards dealing with inherited disorders by establishing a genetic mutation database, or mutome, that the developers say will help provide genetic counselling and screening, and aid in personalised healthcare.  The Pakistan Genetic Mutation Database (PGMD), which already covers 1,000 mutations implicated in 120 types of syndromic and non-syndromic disorders, was built using the PubMed database of references and abstracts as well as consultations with the country’s leading genetic scientists.

Biohacking – Genetic Engineering from Your Garage

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:51

(Deutsche Welle) – “Hacking” means to release something from its original context and to give it new form. Biohackers aren’t interested in cracking computer networks or sucking information out of foreign computers. They’re amateur scientists, biologists, technicians, physicists, artists – or simply interested people who want to deal creatively and in an interdisciplinary manner with biology. They also want to conduct research independent of big companies or politics.

NHS Must Offer Transgender Men Egg Storage So They Can Be Parents, Says British Fertility Society Guidance

Bioethics News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:46

(The Telegraph) – Women transitioning to men must be offered egg storage on the NHS, because they have the right to become parents too, the British Fertility Society said as it published new guidance today. Gender reassignment surgery has been available on the NHS since 1999 and the numbers of people choosing to change sex has grown considerably in the last decade, with some London clinics now handling nearly 2,000 referrals a year.

‘Twice as Many Die’ in Africa after Surgery

Bioethics News - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 14:48

(BBC) – Patients undergoing surgery in Africa are more than twice as likely to die following an operation than the global average, researchers say. But they say the most worrying revelation was just how few Africans have access to elective surgery – surgery that is scheduled in advance. The number of these operations is 20 times lower than the demand, the study in the Lancet medical journal says. They call the deficit a “silent killer”.

Maternal Death Are Increasing in Texas, But Probably Not as Much as We Thought

Bioethics News - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 14:30

(ProPublica) – A startling spike in recent years in the number of Texas women dying as a consequence of pregnancy or childbirth has spurred a furious debate over whether deep funding cuts to reproductive health services are to blame. A peer-reviewed study published today in the quarterly journal Birth could add a new dimension to the argument. It attributes part, though not all, of the increase in Texas’ maternal mortality rate — which is among the highest of any state — to a statistical mirage caused by misreporting on death certificates.