A Surge in Infants Born in the U.S. with Withdrawal Symptoms from Their Mothers’ Opioid Use Has Outpaced Science on How Best to Treat Them
(Associated Press) – Once the umbilical cord is cut, babies born to opioid users are at risk for developing withdrawal symptoms. By some estimates, one infant is born with the condition in the U.S. every 25 minutes. The numbers have tripled since 2008 at a rate that has solid medical research comparing treatments and outcomes struggling to keep pace.
(Vox) – There’s a common misconception that athletes dope to move faster or become stronger. “Sure, there’s some of that,” said Herman Pontzer, an associate professor at Hunter College who studies energetics. “But what athletes really go for, and what they usually get banned for, are drugs that fool their bodies to keep them from shutting down in the face of over-training.” After a certain amount of exertion, our brains send our tired arms and legs signals that cause them to exert less or switch off.
(ABC News) – The first blood test to help doctors diagnose traumatic brain injuries has won U.S. government approval. The move means Banyan Biomarkers can commercialize its test, giving the company an early lead in the biotech industry’s race to find a way to diagnose concussions. The test doesn’t detect concussions and the approval won’t immediately change how patients with suspected concussions or other brain trauma are treated.
(BBC) – Ukraine, one of Europe’s poorest nations, is fast becoming the place to go for people desperate to find a surrogate to have their baby. The money on offer is drawing in many young women, but there are fears they could be exploited. Ana* was 18 years old when she found out about surrogacy from a television news report. She had just finished secondary school and had plans to work in a hotel in her small western Ukrainian town, where tourists come to see a medieval castle. That job pays $200 a month, but for carrying someone else’s baby, she learned, she could earn up to $20,000 (£14,000).
(STAT News) – For more than a decade, the strongest AIDS drugs could not fully control Matt Chappell’s HIV infection. Now his body controls it by itself, and researchers are trying to perfect the gene editing that made this possible. Scientists removed some of his blood cells, disabled a gene to help them resist HIV, and returned these “edited” cells to him in 2014. So far, it has given the San Francisco man the next best thing to a cure.
(Swiss Info) – Last year, some 10,078 new members joined the euthanasia organisation Exit, the group announced on Tuesday. The number of actual assisted suicides went down slightly, whilst the average age of Exit members rose. At the end of December 2017, the organisation had 110,391 members in German-speaking Switzerland and in Ticino, according to the figures in the press release. Last year, 734 people ended their lives using Exit’s services, compared with 723 the previous year.
(Fox News) – Some former Dallas Cowboy greats say they’re dealing with pain and injuries from the brutality of pro-football careers with stem cell treatment. The treatment they receive is not fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration so part of it is done in Mexico, where medical regulations are not as strict. Stem cells have been called “cure-alls” and “miracle treatments.” Some celebrity athletes have bought into it, getting treatment they say is life changing. Among those athletes are big-time former Dallas Cowboys players, lending their names to the treatment.
(The Epoch Times) – Japanese lawmakers expressed their commitment to passing comprehensive legislation prohibiting organ transplant tourism during a recent meeting at the National Diet. On Jan. 23, a panel on “medical genocide” was held at the National Diet building with Canadian lawyer David Matas; former Canadian secretary of state for Asia-Pacific, David Kilgour; and president of the Israel Society of Transplantation, Dr. Jacob Lavee.
(STAT News) – A new study makes a strong case for the importance of government support for basic research: Federally funded studies contributed to the science that underlies every one of the 210 new drugs approved between 2010 and 2016. Researchers at Bentley University scoured millions of research papers for mentions of those 210 new molecular entities, or NMEs, as well as studies on their molecular targets. Then, they looked to see which of those studies had received any funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Science and Engineering Ethics (vol. 23, no. 6, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Promoting Virtue or Punishing Fraud: Mapping Contrasts in the Language of ‘Scientific Integrity’” by S. P. J. M. Horbach and W. Halffman
- “Ethics, Nanobiosensors and Elite Sport: The Need for a New Governance Framework” by Robert Evans, Michael McNamee, and Owen Guy
- “The Slippery Slope Argument in the Ethical Debate on Genetic Engineering of Humans” by Douglas Walton
- “Experience and Attitudes Toward Informed Consent in Pharmacy Practice Research: Do Pharmacists Care?” by Dušanka M. Krajnovi? and Dragana D. Joci?
- “Synthetic Biology, Genome Editing, and the Risk of Bioterrorism” by Marko Ahteensuu
- “Public Perceptions of Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in Malaysia” by Angelina P. Olesen, Siti Nurani Mohd Nor, Latifah Amin, and Anisah Che Ngah
Journal of Medical Ethics (vol. 43, no. 12, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Everything in Moderation, Even Hype: Learning from Vaccine Controversies to Strike a Balance with CRISPR” by Shawna Benston
- “Undue Inducement: A Case Study in CAPRISA 008” by Kathryn T Mngadi, Jerome A Singh, Leila E Mansoor, and Douglas R Wassenaar
- “Settling for Second Best: When Should Doctors Agree to Parental Demands for Suboptimal Medical Treatment?” by Tara Nair
- “Professional and Conscience-Based Refusals: The Case of the Psychiatrist’s Harmful Prescription” by Morten Magelssen
- “Allocation of Antiretroviral Drugs to HIV-Infected Patients in Togo: Perspectives of People Living with HIV and Healthcare Providers” by Lonzozou Kpanake, Paul Clay Sorum, and Etienne Mullet
- “Ethical Issues in Alzheimer’s Disease Research Involving Human Subjects” by Dena S Davis
- “Meeting the Goal of Concurrent Adolescent and Adult Licensure of HIV Prevention and Treatment Strategies” by Michelle Hume, Linda L Lewis, and Robert M Nelson
- “Distributive Justice and the Harm to Medical Professionals Fighting Epidemics” by Andreas Albertsen, Jens Damgaard Thaysen, and Andreas Albertsen
Hastings Center Report (vol. 47, Supplement S3, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “The Future of Reproductive Autonomy” by Josephine Johnston and Rachel L. Zacharias
- “Reproductive Rights without Resources or Recourse” by Kimberly Mutcherson
- “How the Criminalization of Pregnancy Robs Women of Reproductive Autonomy” by Michele Goodwin
- “Parenting in the Age of Preimplantation Gene Editing” by Sigal Klipstein
- “The Shifting Landscape of Prenatal Testing: Between Reproductive Autonomy and Public Health” by Vardit Ravitsky
- “Freezing Eggs and Creating Patients: Moral Risks of Commercialized Fertility” by Elizabeth Reis and Samuel Reis-Dennis
- “A Call for Empirical Research on Uterine Transplantation and Reproductive Autonomy” by Cristie Cole Horsburgh
- “Should Clinicians Set Limits on Reproductive Autonomy?” by Louise P. King
- “Reproductive Autonomy and Regulation—Coexistence in Action” by Ruth Deech
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics (vol. 38, no. 6, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “What Does the Character of Medicine as a Social Practice Imply for Professional Conscientious Objection?” by Thomas S. Huddle
- “Gender by Dasein? A Heideggerian Critique of Suzanne Kessler and the Medical Management of Infants Born with Disorders of Sexual Development” by Lauren L. Baker
- “Philosophy of Medicine 2017: Reviewing the Situation” by Patrick Daly
Ethics and Behavior (vol. 21, no. 1, 2018) is available online by subscription only.
- “Ethical and Legal Issues Addressing the Use of Mobile Health (mHealth) as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy” by Nicole R. Karcher and Nan R. Presser
- “Teaching Bioethics to a Large Number of Biology and Pharma Students: Lessons Learned” by Sabrina Engel-Glatter, Laura Y. Cabrera, Yousri Marzouki, and Bernice S. Elger
(BBC) – Pakistani police have arrested four people accused of stealing spinal fluid from women. The suspects told women they had to provide blood samples to qualify for financial assistance from the Punjab government, police told BBC Urdu. However, they extracted spinal fluid instead, and attempted to sell it on the black market, police added. The gang is thought to have stolen spinal fluid from over 12 women, including a teenager.
(The Atlantic) – Doctors face particular challenges when they become patients—challenges that they are rarely prepared for. It is hard to relinquish control and allow others to dictate the treatments that you yourself are used to doling out. It is crushing to know your own prognosis in the starkest terms—a 65 percent chance of surviving for 10 years, in O’Riordan’s case. It is awkward to see your own former patients while you’re being treated: To strike up a chat would break confidentiality.
(ABC News) – Dutch senators have approved a new law that makes everybody a potential organ donor unless they decide to opt out of the system. The new system narrowly passed a vote in the upper house of the Dutch parliament Tuesday. The lower house last year passed the legislation with a one-vote majority.
(UPI) – Chemotherapy drugs activated by light to treat cancer can minimize side effects by targeting strictly non-healthy cells, according to new research in Britain and Australia. The Monash Warwick Alliance, an intercontinental collaboration between the University of Warwick in Britain and Monash University in Australia, examined how a platinum-based chemotherapy drug candidate kills cancer cells in targeted areas after being activated by light — but can be directed away from healthy tissue.
(Reuters) – Physicians at some of the nation’s most elite medical schools don’t receive three months of paid parental leave that doctors recommend for the health of mothers and babies, a U.S. study has found. “Despite the strong evidence base supporting the beneficial effects of at least 12 weeks of paid childbearing leave for the physical and mental health of mother and child, we are surprised that the average paid leave across schools was only about 8 weeks,” said senior study author Dr. Christina Mangurian of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.
(San Francisco Chronicle) – California, which has poured billions of public dollars into studying stem cells over the past decade, recently received its first royalty check for the investment — a development that will feed into a debate over whether to spend more taxpayer funds on such research in the coming years. The City of Hope medical research center has sent more than $190,000 to the State Treasurer’s Office related to research funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, which has been tasked with issuing $2.75 billion in grants for stem cell studies.