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Routine Pelvic Exam Should Be Discontinued, Physicians Group Says

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:51

(Los Angeles Times) – The routine pelvic exam endured by healthy women at their physician’s office is a yearly ritual that frequently produces pain, anxiety and embarrassment in return for no documented benefit, and it should be discontinued, an influential physicians group has concluded. In a new practice recommendation issued Monday, the American College of Physicians said the visual and manual examination of a woman’s reproductive organs is not an effective way to detect gynecological cancers, venereal or pelvic inflammatory disease or bacterial infections.

Childhood Vaccines Deemed Safe

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:48

(ABC News) – The latest analysis of childhood vaccines confirms they’re generally safe. The report should be reassuring to parents, the researchers say. For example, there still is no evidence the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism. Nor is there any proof vaccines cause childhood leukemia. The assessment mirrors and updates a 2011 report on vaccine safety by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. That report found vaccines can cause certain side effects but serious ones are very rare.

Protective Gene Stave Off Dementia

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:46

(Scientific American) – More than five million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists at Harvard Medical School and their colleagues have made a breakthrough that could lead to a treatment for this currently incurable disease. Much research on Alzheimer’s has been directed at understanding the abnormally folded and entangled proteins in the brain that are key symptoms of the illness. Until now, though, scientists have been stumped to explain why many people with these anomalies do not develop the disease. A study published in March in Nature finds that a protein called REST helps the aging brain respond to stress and protects against cell death.

Focus on Disability: Delivering Mobile Phones’ Promise

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:44

(Sci Dev Net) – Basic mobile phones — and now smartphones — side-step the notorious problems of establishing landlines and bring multiple benefits to hundreds of millions of people in Africa. These include access to services and life-saving information. If handled well, the rise of mobiles is a brilliant opportunity to accelerate inclusion into different aspects of life for millions of disabled people on the continent — just as it is anticipated to benefit enormous numbers of non-disabled people living in poverty.

With Transplanted Arms and Army Grit, a Quadruple Amputee Soldiers On

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:29

(Washington Post) – It has been 18 months since Marrocco, 27, of Staten Island, underwent a rare double arm transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He had lost both legs and parts of both arms to a makeshift bomb in Iraq on Easter 2009. At the time of his injury, he was the first service member from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive the loss of four limbs. He then became the first service member to receive a double arm transplant and still is one of only seven people in the United States who have successfully undergone the procedure.

Survey Finds That 15% of Returning Soldiers Use Opioids

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:26

(Medical News Today) – The results of a new survey, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, show that 44% of soldiers returning from deployment report chronic pain and more than 15% report recent use of opioids for pain relief. A quarter of people seeking primary health care are affected by chronic pain, for which opioids are a commonly prescribed medication. However, rates of opioid use and misuse are rising, which has led to significant numbers of hospitalizations and deaths caused by overdosing on these painkillers.

Men Should Be Allowed to Donate Sperm Up to the Age of 45

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:08

(Telegraph) – Men should be allowed to donate sperm up to the age of 45 because IVF success is not determined by the age of the donor, research has found. A study by Newcastle Fertility at the Centre for Life showed that it was the quality of the sperm that mattered in conception.  Currently men can only donate until the age of 40 because previous studies have shown that sperm quality declines with age.

Efficacy Doubts over Pre-IVF Hysteroscopy

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:06

(Medical Xpress) – A large multicentre trial seems finally to have resolved one of IVF’s long-running controversies – whether the outlook for women with a poor IVF record can be improved by routine hysteroscopy performed before further IVF treatment.(1) For the TROPHY study, whose results are reported today at the 30th Annual Meeting of ESHRE in Munich by Dr Tarek El-Toukhy from Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital, London, has now found no significant difference in IVF success rates between those who had outpatient hysteroscopy performed before their IVF and those who didn’t.

Researchers Extend Liver Preservation for Transplantation

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:05

(Medical Xpress) – Researchers have developed a new supercooling technique to increase the amount of time human organs could remain viable outside the body. This study was conducted in rats, and if it succeeds in humans, it would enable a world-wide allocation of donor organs, saving more lives.

Event: 2014 International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:03

International Neuroethics Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science Building
November 13 & 14, 2014
Washington, DC

See here for more information.

Researchers Seek to Tackle Transplant Tolerance Using Patients’ Own T Cells

Bioethics News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 16:58

(Medical Xpress) – A new Northwestern Medicine clinical trial aims to remove the need for organ transplant patients to take immunosuppressive drugs by increasing the number of their own regulatory T cells (T-regs). The first-in-human, Phase I clinical trial, known as TRACT (T-regs for adoptive cell transfer), recently enrolled its first three participants in late May at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was granted approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March, 2014. Northwestern Memorial is the only enrollment site for this trial.

Supreme Court Rejects Contraceptive Mandate for Some Corporations

Bioethics News - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 17:19

(New York Times) – The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. It was, the dissent said, “a decision of startling breadth.” The 5-to-4 ruling, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to challenges from other corporations over laws that they claim violate their religious liberty.

Bitter Pill to Swallow: Can the US Market Bear the Cost of Sovaldi?

Bioethics News - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 17:16

(Forbes) – Sovaldi, the new drug to treat and cure Hepatitis C has certainly caused quite an uproar in the US since its FDA approval in December of 2013.  At $1,000 per pill, the manufacturer, Gilead, has plenty of people and payers to answer to in order to justify this enormous cost, say industry experts and watchdogs. With roughly 3 million patients in the US suffering from hepatitis C, the only options in the past were Interferon and Ribavirin which led to many side effects along with unpredictable responses.

Bioethicist Says Vasectomy Has No Place in Plea Deal

Bioethics News - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 17:15

(NBC News) – Jesse Lee Herald was facing five years or more in prison after a crash in which police and prosecutors said his 3-year-old son was bloodied but not seriously hurt. But Herald cut a deal. Or more accurately, the state agreed to reduce his sentence if he would agree to be cut. Shenandoah County assistant prosecutor Ilona White said she offered Herald, 27, of Edinburg, Virginia, the opportunity to get a drastically reduced sentence if he would agree to a vasectomy. It may not be immediately clear what a vasectomy has to do with driving dangerously and recklessly. It shouldn’t be. There is no connection.

Faulty Gene Is a Major Cause of Repeated Miscarriages, Say Experts

Bioethics News - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 17:02

(The Telegraph) – At least four in ten couples who suffer repeated miscarriages may be carrying a faulty gene, research has found, which can be successfully treated with drugs. Fertility doctors have found that a faulty gene that can be carried by either parent can trigger miscarriages. It is the first time it has been discovered that a gene carried by the father can cause miscarriage in the mother.

Analysis of Patient Records Can Predict Future Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Bioethics News - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 17:01

(News-Medical) – Research published today in the American Journal of Managed Care demonstrates that analysis of patient records using state-of-the-art data analytics can predict future risk of metabolic syndrome. More than a third of the U.S. population has metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to chronic heart disease, stroke and diabetes. These conditions combine to account for almost 20 percent of overall health care costs in the U.S. The study was conducted by Aetna and GNS Healthcare Inc. (GNS), a leading provider of big data analytics products and services in health care.