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Should I Help My Patients Die?

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 15:46

(New York Times) – I practice both critical and palliative care medicine at a public hospital in Oakland. In June 2016, our state became the fourth in the nation to allow medical aid in dying for patients suffering from terminal illness. Oregon was the pioneer 20 years ago. Washington and Vermont followed suit more recently. (Colorado voters passed a similar law in November.) Now, five months after the law took effect here in California, I was facing my first request for assistance to shorten the life of a patient.

Proportion of Drivers Killed While Under Influence of Opioids Shows Huge Spike

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 15:06

(USA Today) – In one of the latest examples of the growing opioid epidemic, researchers found a seven-fold increase in the proportion of drivers killed while under the influence of prescription opioids since 1995. Researchers at Columbia University examined drug testing results for 36,729 drivers in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia who died within an hour of being in a car crash.

11 Organizations Urge Caution, Not Ban, on CRISPR Germline Genome Editing

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 14:37

(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – One day after publication of a landmark study detailing the first-in-the-U.S. use of CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) to repair a germline mutation in human embryos created through in vitro fertilization, 11 genetics-focused professional organizations are calling for researchers to use caution in applying the technology. The 11 organizations have issued a policy statement stopping short of calling for a ban on human germline genome editing.

Bishop Says Embryos Used in Landmark Study ‘Gave No Consent’

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 14:29

(Irish Times) – The Catholic Church in Ireland has voiced its total opposition to the use of embryos in research following a breakthrough study by scientists who “edited” human genomes to remove mutations linked to heart failure. Scientists believe such “editing” could also work for other conditions caused by single gene mutations such as cystic fibrosis and some breast cancers. None of the research so far has involved the birth of babies from the modified embryos. However, Bishop Kevin Doran, chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Consultative Group on Bioethics and Life Questions, said – as part of the research – human embryos were “being deliberately generated under laboratory conditions with a higher than average risk of congenital heart disease”.

Doctor Told to Stop Marketing 3-Person Baby Technique

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 14:17

(Yahoo! News) – U.S. regulators on Friday warned a New York fertility doctor to stop marketing an experimental procedure that uses DNA from three people — a mother, a father and an egg donor — to avoid certain genetic diseases. The doctor, John Zhang, used the technique to help a Jordanian couple have a baby boy last year. According to the Food and Drug Administration, Zhang said his companies wouldn’t use the technology in the U.S. again without permission, yet they continue to promote it.

A New Edition of Journal of Medical Ethics Is Now Available

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 09:00

Journal of Medical Ethics (vol. 43, no. 5, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Withholding Treatment: What, Whom and Why?” by Jonathan Pugh
  • “Ethics of a Relaxed Antidoping Rule Accompanied by Harm-Reduction Measures” by Bengt Kayser and Jan Tolleneer
  • “Second Thoughts About Who Is First: The Medical Triage of Violent Perpetrators and Their Victims” by Azgad Gold and Rael D Strous
  • “Ethics and High-Value Care” by Matthew DeCamp and Jon C Tilburt
  • “Autonomy, Age and Sterilisation Requests” by  Paddy McQueen
  • “Should Healthcare Professionals Sometimes Allow Harm? The Case of Self-Injury” by Patrick J Sullivan
  • “The Role of Law in Decisions to Withhold and Withdraw Life-Sustaining Treatment from Adults Who Lack Capacity: A Cross-Sectional Study” by Benjamin P White et al.
  • “‘Hey Everybody, Don’t Get Pregnant’: Zika, WHO and an Ethical Framework for Advising” by Katie Byron and Dana Howard
  • “Highlights in Bioethics Through 40?years: A Quantitative Analysis of Top-Cited Journal Articles” by Pingyue Jin and Mark Hakkarinen


A New Edition of Res Publica Is Now Available

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 09:00

Res Publica (vol. 23, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Neuroethics and Brain Privacy: Setting the Stage” by Jesper Ryberg
  • “Privacy, Neuroscience, and Neuro-Surveillance” by Adam D. Moore
  • “Brain Privacy and the Case of Cannibal Cop” by Mark Tunick
  • “Neuroscience, Mind Reading and Mental Privacy” by Jesper Ryberg
  • “Brain Privacy, Intimacy, and Authenticity: Why a Complete Lack of the Former Might Undermine Neither of the Latter!” by Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen


The Global Crackdown on Parents Who Refuse to Vaccines for Their Kids

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 16:41

(Vox) – There’s a school of thought that refusing vaccines on behalf of your children amounts to child abuse, and that parents should be punished for their decision. We know vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and effective at preventing the spread of disease. And yet failing to immunize children can put them (and vulnerable people around them) at tremendous risk of illness or even death when outbreaks get rolling. Now it seems Australia and a number of countries in Europe are fed up enough with vaccine-refusing parents that they’re experimenting with punitive measures.

Chronic Diseases Spike in Middle East as Conflicts Rage

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 16:14

(Nature) – Across the Middle East, deaths resulting from violence grew by 850% between 1990 and 2015, according to a series of reports published on 3 August in the International Journal of Public Health. The increase accelerated after 2010, corresponding with the beginning of the Arab Spring movement and wars in Syria and Iraq. At the same time, the authors found, the incidence of many chronic diseases has also risen dramatically; the death rate from diabetes, for instance, grew 216% over the study period. Taken together, the analyses describe a disturbing deterioration in health across a broadly defined Middle Eastern region, which includes 22 countries — including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates — that are home to more than 580 million people.

Shkreli Is Convicted of Fraud. Can Pharma Finally Slam the Door on Him?

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 16:02

(STAT News) – Martin Skhreli was found guilty on Friday of three counts of fraud after a five-week trial in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. He faces a prison sentence that could stretch years. “This was a witch hunt of epic proportions,” Shkreli said outside court after the verdict, the Washington Post reported. “They may have found some broomsticks.” The big question now: Can the pharma industry finally slam the door on Shkreli, after complaining for nearly two years that his price-hiking antics tainted the reputation of the entire field?

The Rise of Unproven Stem Cell Therapies Turned this Obscure Scientist into an Industry Watchdog

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:45

(Science) – Knoepfler, though housed in the Shriners Hospitals for Children here, isn’t a physician. And his University of California (UC), Davis, lab doesn’t study arthritis or eye disease, nor does he have any experience developing a stem cell therapy. He mostly uses stem cells to study cancer-causing gene mutations. But thanks to The Niche, a blog he has run since 2010, Knoepfler has become an unlikely authority—and a dogged voice of caution—on the clinical use of stem cells.

Potential Stem Cell Treatment Developed for Lung Disorders

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:43

(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – A team of investigators from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine (UNCSM) and North Carolina State University (NCSU) have just released details from a promising study that could potentially offer new stem cell treatment options to patients afflicted with lung conditions such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis (CF). Due to the success of this new research, the investigators have been in discussions with the FDA and are preparing an application for an initial clinical trial in patients with IPF.

Chile’s Congress Eases Strict Abortion Ban, Court Battle Awaits

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:39

(Reuters) – Chile’s Congress approved late on Wednesday night a bill that legalizes abortion in certain cases, though it will still need to win the approval of the nation’s courts to go into effect. After a complex and fractious process, the nation’s Chamber of Deputies voted 70 to 45 to allow abortion when a woman’s life is in danger, when a fetus in unviable, or when a pregnancy results from rape.

Euthanasia Used for 4.5 Percent of Deaths in the Netherlands

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:31

(ABC News) – Euthanasia has become “common practice” in the Netherlands, accounting for 4.5 percent of deaths, according to researchers who say requests are increasing from people who aren’t terminally ill. In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country in the world that made it legal for doctors to help people die. Both euthanasia, where doctors actively kill patients, and assisted suicide, where physicians prescribe patients a lethal dose of drugs, are allowed. People must be “suffering unbearably” with no hope of relief — but their condition does not have to be fatal.

A New Edition of Studies in Christian Ethics Is Now Available

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 09:00

Studies in Christian Ethics (vol. 30, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Ethics, Human Oocytes and the Teleology of the Body: An Appreciation of Gilbert Meilaender’s Work” by Paul Lauritzen
  • “Gilbert Meilaender and the Tragedy of Biological Individualism” by David H. Smith
  • “Finitude, Freedom and Biomedicine: An Engagement with Gilbert Meilaender’s Bioethics” by Gerald McKenny
  • “The Pain in the Gift and the Gift in the Pain” by Jennifer A. Herdt
  • “Political Life under God: Some Questions for Gilbert Meilaender” by William Werpehowski
  • Friendly Rejoinders” by Gilbert Meilaender


A New Edition of Bioethics Update Is Now Available

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 09:00

Bioethics Update (vol. 3, no. 1, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • ” In Defense of the Vulnerable in Medicine and the Life Sciences” by John M. Hass
  • ” A Proposal for a Shared Care Plan at the End of Life: The Natural Death Protocol” by Vittoradolfo Tambone and Laura Leondina Campanozzi
  • ” Bioethical Perspective of Ontologically-Based Personalism” by Francesca Giglio


A New Edition of Human Reproduction Is Now Available

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 09:00

Human Reproduction (vol. 32, no. 5, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Safety and Efficacy of Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation for Fertility Preservation in Women with Early Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review” by Rachael J. Rodgers et al.
  • “Family Building Using Embryo Adoption: Relationships and Contact Arrangements Between Provider and Recipient Families—A Mixed-Methods Study” by Lucy Frith, Eric Blyth, and Steve Lui


A New Edition of Medicine, Science and the Law Is Now Available

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 09:00

Medicine, Science and the Law (vol. 57, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “The Use of Human Samples Obtained During Medicolegal Autopsies in Research: An Introduction to Current Conditions and Initiatives in Japan” by Takako Tsujimura-Ito, Yusuke Inoue, Kaori Muto, and Ken-ichi Yoshida


A New Edition of Bioethics Is Now Available

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 09:00

Bioethics (vol. 31, no. 4, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Methodological Reflections on the Contribution of Qualitative Research to the Evaluation of Clinical Ethics Support Services” by Sebastian Wäscher et al.
  • “What Outcomes do Dutch Healthcare Professionals Perceive as Important Before Participation in Moral Case Deliberation?” by Janine de Snoo-Trimp, Guy Widdershoven, Mia Svantesson, Riekie de Vet, and Bert Molewijk
  • “Evaluating Clinical Ethics Support: A Participatory Approach” by Suzanne Metselaar, Guy Widdershoven, Rouven Porz and Bert Molewijk
  • “Discovering What Matters: Interrogating Clinician Responses to Ethics Consultation” by Stuart G. Finder and Virginia L. Bartlett
  • “Evaluating the Quality of the Deliberation in Moral Case Deliberations: A Coding Scheme” by Hylke Jellema, Swanny Kremer, Anne-Ruth Mackor, and Bert Molewijk
  • “Moral Hard-Wiring and Moral Enhancement” by Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu
  • “When is a Choice not a Choice? ‘Sham Offers’ and the Asymmetry of Adolescent Consent and Refusal” by Neil C. Manson
  • “The Substance View: A Critique (Part 3)” by Rob Lovering
  • “Is There a Right to the Death of the Foetus?” by Eric Mathison and Jeremy Davis