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Indian Kidney Traders Smuggle Donors to Egypt to Beat Strict Donation Rules

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 14:55

(Reuters) – Indian police are investigating a major organ trade racket after they arrested two men, including an alleged kingpin, at Mumbai airport for trafficking poor people for their kidneys to Egypt, officials said on Monday. The men – identified as Nizamuddin and Suresh Prajapati – were arrested last week and have been charged with human trafficking, police said.

Fellowship Opportunity – Post-doctoral/Post-baccalaureate Bioethics Fellowship at the NIH

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 16:50

Position Type: Post-doctoral/Post-baccalaureate Bioethics Fellowship at the NIH



Position Description:

The Department of Bioethics is pleased to offer a limited number of two-year post-doctoral and post-baccalaureate fellowships. Fellows participate in the activities and the intellectual life of our interdisciplinary department and study ethical issues related to biomedical research, clinical practice, genetics, biotechnology, public health, and health policy. They conduct mentored theoretical and empirical research on a range of bioethical fields of interest. For a typical fellow, this research yields multiple first-authored publications in premier academic journals. In addition to research and writing, fellows participate in weekly bioethics seminars, case conferences, ethics consultations, and IRB deliberations, and have access to multiple educational opportunities at NIH. No prior bioethics experience is required or expected.


Fellowships begin in September 2018. Stipends are commensurate with NIH Intramural Research Training Award guidelines.


Applicants for post-baccalaureate fellowships must have earned their degree no more than 3 years prior to the start date of the fellowship. Students planning to pursue MD, JD, PhD or other graduate degrees are encouraged to apply for post-baccalaureate fellowships. Only U.S. citizens are eligible.


Applicants for the post-doctoral fellowship must have earned their degree no more than 5 years prior to the start date of the fellowship. U.S. and non-U.S. citizens are eligible for post-doctoral fellowships.


Applications comprise: resume/CV, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of interest, and one or two writing samples. Writing samples should total fewer than 30 double-spaced pages and should demonstrate analytical or critical thinking ability. They need not be on a bioethics topic. Most successful applicants submit samples that defend a position or analyze an argument. The statement of interest should be up to 1000 words and explain how the fellowship fits into your career goals and what potential bioethics topics you would like to investigate. You may also choose to discuss how you can lend a unique perspective to the department or contribute to the department’s diversity. The NIH is dedicated to building a diverse community in its training and employment programs.


Apply on-line at .

For further information see  or contact , or call 301-496-2429.

Employer Name: Clinical Center Department of Bioethics

Position Location:
Department of Bioethics
National Institutes of Health
10 Center Drive, Room 1C118
Bethesda, MD 20892-1156

Application Deadline Date:
Post-doc Application Deadline: Midnight December 31, 2017
Post-bac Application Deadline: Midnight January 15, 2018

New Gene Therapy Treatments Will Carry Whopping Price Tags

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 14:59

(New York Times) – With gene therapy, scientists seek to treat or prevent disease by modifying cellular DNA. Many such treatments are in the wings: There are 34 in the final stages of testing necessary for F.D.A. approval, and another 470 in initial clinical trials, according to the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, an advocacy group. The therapies are aimed at extremely rare diseases with few patients; most are meant to cure with a single injection or procedure. But the costs, like that of Kymriah, are expected to be astronomical, alarming medical researchers and economists.

Doctors Spend Half of Workday in the Electronic Health Record

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 14:38

(Medical Xpress) – Primary care physicians spend more than one-half of their workday interacting with the electronic health record during and after clinic hours. Based on data from EHR event logs (an automated tracking feature) and confirmed by direct observation data, researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the American Medical Association found that physicians spent 355 minutes (5.9 hours) of an 11.4 hour workday in the EHR, including 269 minutes (4.5 hours) during clinic hours and 86 minutes (1.4 hours) after hours.

People with Developmental Disabilities Face Healthcare Disparities

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 14:22

(UPI) – Research shows individuals with developmental disabilities experience significant disparities in healthcare quality, access, status and unmet needs. Researchers at The Ohio State University conducted a telephone survey of 42,876 adults and 10,122 proxy interviews for children under 18 with developmental disabilities and found that 14 percent of children had problems getting needed care compared to 2 percent in the general population.

Texas Calls in U.S. Air Force to Counter Post-Storm Surge in Mosquitoes

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 14:19

(Reuters) – Texas has launched aerial attacks on mosquitoes swarming coastal regions of the state and threatening to spread disease and hinder disaster recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes began spraying insecticides over three eastern Texas counties over the weekend and will expand to other areas over the next two weeks, officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said. About 1.85 million acres have been treated as of Tuesday, according to the department.

Debt Drives Kidney Harvesting in Pakistan’s Citrus Orchards

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 14:14

(Reuters) – Punjab is Pakistan’s most prosperous region, but alongside thriving sectors from farming to textiles, another business is booming — the illegal trade in human organs, say police, activists and victims. Fueled by a cycle of poverty and debt, this black market has flourished for years with traffickers preying on the poorest – many of them laborers who have helped the region prosper but have been paid a pittance in return.

Science Debate: Should We Embrace an Enhanced Future?

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 15:10

(BBC) – The rather more futuristic-sounding concept of transhumanism – the idea that every human should have the right to enhance themselves beyond the so-called “norm” through science and technology – was the subject under scrutiny at a debate this week at the British Science Association Festival in Brighton. The big question being posed: do we all have the right to enhance our bodies as technology and pharmaceuticals will allow, or is that immoral? As the probably over-used term has it, would that be “playing God”? And who gets to decide?

Illnesses Thought to Be Linked to 9/11 WTC Attacks on the Rise

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 14:52

(The Wall Street Journal) – In the 16 years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Sal Turturici has watched as friends he worked with at the World Trade Center site fell ill. Now Mr. Turturici is sick too, battling stage 4 Neuroendocrine Cancer doctors believe could be linked to his service on a medical team at the site. Though researchers say it could take decades to prove a clear link between time spent at ground zero and illnesses, they say it appears that toxins at the site heightened the occurrence of certain diseases.

“We Started It”: Atul Gawande on Doctors’ Role in the Opioid Epidemic

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 14:46

(Vox) – I asked Gawande to weigh in on a question I hadn’t seen him discuss elsewhere: What role did doctors and professional medicine play in the proliferation of opioids?  “We started it,” Gawande told me flatly. He argued that health providers are at the root of the country’s staggering opioid epidemic. He didn’t blame the pharmaceutical companies — although there is good evidence that they played a large role — but instead focused on how views of pain began to shift in the 1990s, with doctors urged to take their patients’ suffering more seriously.

‘Designer Babies’ Won’t Be a Fad. It’s Too Hard to Create Them.

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 14:34

(USA Today) – The recent news that scientists have successfully edited a human embryo to fix a potentially lethal heart defect is an exciting medical and biotechnological advance. However, the cases for and against human embryo editing are both full of hype. To work their healing magic, scientists utilized an incredible genetic engineering tool called CRISPR to modify the “broken” gene in human embryos. The ease of use and versatility of CRISPR truly represent a revolution in molecular biology.

Assisted Dying Laws Pose a Grave Risk to the Vulnerable

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 14:29

(Sydney Morning Herald) – In a study of states with euthanasia law, published in Current Oncology, Dr J. Pereira writes that “laws and safeguards are regularly ignored and transgressed in all the jurisdictions and that transgressions are not prosecuted. For example, about 900 people annually are administered lethal substances without having given explicit consent, and in one jurisdiction, almost 50 per cent of cases of euthanasia are not reported.”

Iranian Journalist Loses Eye ‘After Cancer Was Left Untreated in Jail’

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 14:20

(The Guardian) – A prominent Iranian journalist has lost an eye and part of his face due to a sinus cancer that activists say was left untreated while he was kept in jail. Alireza Rajaee, a former political editor of a number of banned Iranian reformist newspapers, spent four years in prison after being convicted of “acting against the national security” and “propaganda against the state” – vague charges used against dozens of journalists in recent years.

South Korean Researchers Lobby Government to Lift Human-Embryo Restrictions

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 14:13

(Nature) – More than a decade after a fraud scandal in stem-cell science rocked South Korea, scientists in the field are ramping up pressure on the government to relax the country’s strict regulations on human-embryo research — which many researchers label a ban. On 30 August, the nation’s bioethics committee held a public forum with the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Seoul, inviting 11 researchers and scholars to discuss possible changes to the country’s bioethics policies on research.

23andMe’s Second Act Sits Squarely in Drug Research and Development

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 14:04

(Tech Crunch) – 23andMe is best known for its $199 at-home spit-tube DNA test, but the consumer genetics company has been making strides in the last few years to get into drug development and research. The company first began making moves early in 2015, forging a partnership with Pfizer to conduct a bit of drug research using 23andMe’s genetic data. The pact was formed in the midst of orders from the Food and Drug Administration that 23andMe cease sales of its consumer health report product, which drove a major portion of both 23andMe’s revenue and brand awareness at the time.

A New Edition of Journal of Genetic Counseling Is Now Available

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 09:00

Journal of Genetic Counseling (vol. 26, no. 1, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Standards for the Reporting of Genetic Counseling Interventions in Research and Other Studies (GCIRS): an NSGC Task Force Report” by Gillian W. Hooker, D Babu, MF Myers, H Zierhut, and M McAllister
  • “A Rapid Systematic Review of Outcomes Studies in Genetic Counseling” by Lisa Madlensky et al.
  • “Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) and Preferences for Risk Information among High School Students in Sweden” by Susanne Georgsson et al.
  • “‘I Don’t Want to Be an Ostrich’: Managing Mothers’ Uncertainty during BRCA1/2 Genetic Counseling” by Carla L. Fisher et al.
  • “What Do Parents of Children with Down Syndrome Think about Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)?” by Rachèl V. van Schendel et al.
  • “The Dynamics of a Genetic Counseling Peer Supervision Group” by Katie L. Lewis et al.
  • “Parents’ Understanding of Genetics and Heritability” by Brittany Harding, Rylan Egan, Peter Kannu, Jennifer J. MacKenzie
  • “Genetic Counseling for Couples Seeking Noninvasive Prenatal Testing in Japan: Experiences of Pregnant Women and their Partners” by Motoko Watanabe et al.


A New Edition of JAMA Neurology Is Now Available

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 09:00

JAMA Neurology (vol. 74, no. 5, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Catch-22 of Neuroimaging, Disorders of Consciousness, and End-of-Life Decisions” by Emanuel Cabral and Judy Illes


New Articles for Science as Culture Are Now Available

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 09:00

Science as Culture (online first, 2017) has new articles available online by subscription only.

Articles Include:

  • “Research Misconduct in the Age of Open Science: The Case of STAP Stem Cells” by Mianna Meskus, Luca Marelli, and Giuseppe D’Agostino

It Not Just One Suspect Herpes Vaccine Trial: Most Experimental Drugs Are Tested Offshore–Raising Concerns about Data

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 11:38

(STAT News) – But in some respects, the herpes vaccine trial isn’t all that unusual. Nearly all drug makers seeking U.S. approval today rely in part on overseas locations and populations to test their drugs, the result of a decades-long push by industry to try to cut costs and speed recruitment of patients. In fact, a STAT analysis found that 90 percent of new drugs approved this year were tested at least in part outside the U.S. and Canada.

How Good Is a Doctor at the End of a 28-Hour Shift?

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 11:32

(STAT News) – It isn’t terribly reassuring to know that doctors who might need to make life or death decisions about your health could be doing so after having been awake for so long. Would they be on top of their game at hour 16? What about hour 22? In medicine, the devil can be in the details — what if the doctor was too tired to notice something small that might not actually be that small? But according to the organization that sets the rules on how long resident physicians like me are allowed to work, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), this is OK. And just so we are clear, as you read this, thousands of young resident physicians are working in hospitals for shifts lasting up to 28 hours every few days and providing care to thousands of Americans.