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A New Edition of Zygon Journal of Religion and Science Is Now Available

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:00

Zygon Journal of Religion and Science (vol. 52, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Furnishing The Skill Which Can Save The Child: Diphtheria, Germ Theory, and Theodicy” by Kristin Johnson
  • “Holistic Biology: What It Is And Why It Matters” by Fraser Watts and Michael J. Reiss
  • “The Christian’s Dilemma: Organicism or Mechanism?” by Michael Ruse
  • “Epigenetics, Representation, And Society” by Ilya Gadjev


A New Edition of International Journal for Quality in Health Care Is Now Available

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:00

International Journal for Quality in Health Care (Volume 29, No. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Examining the Nature of Interprofessional Interventions Designed to Promote Patient Safety: A Narrative Review” by Scott Reeves et al.
  • “Assessing Patient Safety Culture in Tunisian Operating Rooms: A Multicenter Study” by Manel Mallouli et al.
  • “Pay-for-Performance Reduces Healthcare Spending and Improves Quality of Care: Analysis of Target and Non-Target Obstetrics and Gynecology Surgeries” by Seung Ju Kim, Kyu-Tae Han, Sun Jung Kim, and  Eun-Cheol Park


Searching for a Fairer Way to Distribute Donor Livers

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 15:10

(NPR) – Under the current system, the nation is divided into 11 regions, and the sickest patient on the waiting list in each region gets the next compatible liver that becomes available in that region. In some regions, patients have to wait until they’re facing a 93 percent risk of dying within the next three months. In other regions, patients get transplants when their risk is only 13 percent, according to UNOS. One big reason for that is that more organs become available in some places than others. And that’s partly because of the way people die — there are more deaths in ways that leave the victims eligible to be organ donors, such as car accidents and strokes.

An Ethical Dilemma for Doctors: When Is It OK to Prescribe Opioids?

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 15:06

(STAT News) – As a bioethicist working on the ethical and policy issues regarding prescription opioids, I am grateful to the National Academy of Medicine for inviting me to serve on this publication’s authorship team, and for taking seriously the ethical component of the prescription opioid crisis. The opioid epidemic is shot through with ethical challenges. There are many discussions we could have, but I will here focus on just one of them: the issue of morally responsible prescribing. Should prescription opioids be used at all? And if so, how?

FDA Cracks Down on Illegal Online Prescription Drugs

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:53

(UPI) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently took action against more than 500 websites that illegally sell unapproved versions of prescription medications. The FDA partnered with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies as part of a global operation to target illegal prescription drugs sold online that are potentially dangerous, unapproved, counterfeit, contaminated or expired, including opioids, injectable epinephrine and antibiotics.

Potential Zika Vaccine Protects against Pregnancy Transmission and Testicular Damage

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:48

(Medical Xpress) – For the first time, a collaborative team led by The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has shown that a potential Zika vaccine quickly can protect fetuses against infection as well as protect males against testicular infection and injury. It also prevents a lowered sperm count after one vaccination. The findings are currently available in Nature Communications.

New STD Cases in U.S. Set Record High in 2016: CDC Report

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:38

(Reuters) – New U.S. cases of three common sexually transmitted diseases – chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis – reached more than 2 million in 2016, a new record, U.S. health officials said, prompting calls for more effective prevention efforts. Most of the new diagnoses were cases of chlamydia, which comprised 1.6 million cases. But there were also nearly a half million (470,000) new gonorrhea cases and nearly 28,000 new cases of syphilis, according to an annual report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.

New Synthetic Molecule Could Trigger Tissue Regeneration

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:24

(UPI) – A newly discovered DNA-targeting molecule could inspire the first tissue regeneration therapies. The synthetic molecule can cause stem cells to transform into heart muscle cells. The scientists responsible for the new molecule believe their breakthrough could be used to turn stem cells into a variety of cell types — paving the way for tissue regeneration. The scientists responsible for the new molecule believe their breakthrough could be used to turn stem cells into a variety of cell types — paving the way for tissue regeneration.

Your DNA Probably Didn’t Make You Do It

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:01

(Popular Science) – But tying a single gene to a particular behavior is complicated. MAOA’s criminal connection is controversial—it’s usually discussed carefully, with scientists clarifying that a gene alone is not going to make someone violent or amoral. Social and environmental factors also play a role; not everyone with a particular genetic mutation will commit a crime; and not every criminal has a particular gene mutation. But lawyers, looking for ways to defend clients, can use genetic research to claim that a defendant had a genetic predisposition for certain criminal acts, and shouldn’t be considered as responsible as the rest of the population would be.

After 15 Years in a Vegetative State, Nerve Stimulation Restores Consciousness

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:37

(Medical Xpress) – A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years after a car accident has shown signs of consciousness after neurosurgeons implanted a vagus nerve stimulator into his chest. The findings reported in Current Biology on September 25 show that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)—a treatment already in use for epilepsy and depression—can help to restore consciousness even after many years in a vegetative state. The outcome challenges the general belief that disorders of consciousness that persist for longer than 12 months are irreversible, the researchers say.

Should States Ban Abortions When Down Syndrome Diagnosed?

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:32

(ABC News) – Kuhns went to her home in rural central Ohio that day and cried for hours. But Oliver, her 2-year-old son with Down syndrome, ultimately has led “a pretty normal life.” That’s why Kuhns is fighting for an Ohio bill that would ban abortions in cases where a pregnant woman has had a positive test result or prenatal diagnosis indicating Down syndrome. Physicians convicted of performing an abortion under such circumstances could be charged with a fourth-degree felony, stripped of their medical license and held liable for legal damages. The pregnant woman would face no criminal liability. Several other states have considered similar measures, triggering emotional debate over women’s rights, parental love, and the trust between doctor and patient.

Mentioning What Is Hard to Mention in Chatbot for End-of-Life Preparation

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:24

(Tech Xplore) – Talking about the unthinkable for patients facing death is never easy. End-of-life planning is the phrase often used, softening the concept of death, but the task remains painful for the patient, family and friends. A chatbot has been designed to ease the task. Discussions can lead to less anxiety and help move on to tasks and decisions such as creating a will.

The Idea for Lab-Grown Meat Was Born in a Prisoner-of-War Camp

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:21

(Quartz) – [William van Eelen] entered medical school in 1948. As Ira van Eelen recounts it, one day during her dad’s first year, he came across a group of researchers in the laboratory using stem cell technology to grow cells in a tank, hoping to create new skin for burn victims. His first-hand experience with starvation sent his mind immediately to one question: Can this be used for food?

Is Costa Rica at the Epicenter of a Global Black Market in Human Organs?

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:07

(The Costa Rica Star) – Costa Rican doctors who have been charged with selling kidneys on the global black market appear to have received payments of up to $140,000 per procedure – some of which went to the doctors, some for hospital expenses, and some to Costa Rican “donors.” It appears the network used by Costa Rican doctors to sell kidneys for transplants may be linked to the Ukraine in addition to Israel, said judicial investigator, Diego Castillo Gómez, this week during the trial, and may form part of a sophisticated global organ trafficking operation involving many countries and individuals.

Longevity Gap Continues to Widen for Schizophrenia Patients

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 14:44

(Medscape) – Findings from a new systematic review point to a widening longevity gap between people with schizophrenia and the general population that began in the early 1970s. The results of the review suggest that although many people enjoy an extended life span, owing to improved healthcare, those with schizophrenia do not. Psychiatrists should look beyond psychotic symptoms and treat the mentally ill person as a whole, study author Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, told Medscape Medical News.

Abortion Should Not Be a Crime, Say Britain’s Childbirth Doctors

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 14:42

(The Guardian) – Britain’s childbirth doctors have urged ministers to scrap laws dating to Victorian times that could see a woman jailed for life for having an abortion. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) voted on Friday to support the growing demand for decriminalisation of abortion in Britain. Its ruling council agreed to change the college’s position from neutrality on the issue to one that urges the repeal of sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861.

Surrogate Mom Melissa Cook Reacts to ‘Horrifying’ Allegations about Birth Father of Her Triplets: ‘They’re Helpless’

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 14:36

(People) – Reproductive medicine experts insist that Cook’s case is an anomaly and the majority surrogacy arrangements proceed without any problems. Nevertheless, Cook and her attorney Cassidy have another case in federal court, arguing that California’s surrogate law [one of at least 22 states with similar contractual surrogacy arrangements] violates due-process and equal-protection rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

The Invention of AI ‘Gaydar’ Could Be the Start of Something Much Worse

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 14:22

(The Verge) – With statements like these, some worry we’re reviving an old belief with a bad history: that you can intuit character from appearance. This pseudoscience, physiognomy, was fuel for the scientific racism of the 19th and 20th centuries, and gave moral cover to some of humanity’s worst impulses: to demonize, condemn, and exterminate fellow humans. Critics of Kosinski’s work accuse him of replacing the calipers of the 19th century with the neural networks of the 21st, while the professor himself says he is horrified by his findings, and happy to be proved wrong. “It’s a controversial and upsetting subject, and it’s also upsetting to us,” he tells The Verge.

Scientists Grow Bullish on Pig-to-Human Transplants

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 14:18

(Science Magazine) – Add your name to a waitlist for a kidney transplant in the United States today, and you’ll join around 100,000 people, many of whom have already been waiting years. The scarcity of life-saving organs for transplants has raised hopes for substitute organs from pigs, which have a similar anatomy to humans. But decades of scientific setbacks have kept clinical trials of that approach, called xenotransplantation, on the horizon.

When Will the Economy Start Caring about Home-Care Work?

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 12:13

(The Atlantic) – Home-health and personal-care work is one of the country’s fastest-growing occupational sectors. But it is one marked by low pay and meager benefits, a problem that might become more urgent as the U.S.’s population continues to age. On top of that, care workers face high rates of wage theft, tax and benefits misclassification, and employer fraud, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a think tank and advocacy organization.