Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bioethics in the News

Wooden Sculpture of Science Genetics
U.S. measles cases in 2013 may be most in 17 years
The CDC says this year may be the worst for measles in more than a decade. Health officials blame people who refuse to vaccinate their children. (CNN)

Selling the Fantasy of Fertility 
Two former fertility patients tackle the hype related to IVF advertising. The success rates still aren't all that great, even after years of finessing process. (Op-ed, New York TImes

Childhood death rates down by 50% since 1990
Still, a staggering 6.6 million children under the age of 5 still died last year, according to UNICEF. A report said nearly half of these were in five countries: Nigeria, Congo, India, Pakistan and China. (Associated Press)

Sex-selection abortions cause of missing girls in India
The U.S. created sex-selection abortions as a population-control strategy, and the result is millions of missing girls in India, China and elsewhere, says a Congressional human rights panel. (Business Standard)

Most doctors oppose physician-assisted suicide, poll finds
New England Journal of Medicine poll questioned readers about a hypothetical case of physician-assisted suicide and received more than 2,000 valid responses. Roughly two-thirds worldwide, —including 67 percent of replies from the U.S., —said they disapprove of physician-assisted suicide. (Medical Xpress)

Faulty stem cell regulation may contribute to cognitive deficits associated with Down syndrome
The learning and physical disabilities that affect people with Down syndrome may be due at least in part to defective stem cell regulation
throughout the body, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  (Medical Xpress)

Stem cells: Living adult tissue transformed back into embryo state
The living tissue inside an animal has been regressed back into an embryonic state for the first time, Spanish researchers say. But the journal Nature showed the technique led to tumors in mice. (BBC)

Physicians push off-label ketamine as rapid depression treatment, part 1
Ketamine, the anesthetic and illegal club drug, is now being repurposed as the first rapid-acting antidepressant drug and has been lauded as possibly the biggest advance in the treatment of depression in 50 years. (Scientific American)

Stem-cell bank reach for fountain of youth
Got $63,000 to spare? Maybe you want to freeze a backup of your adult self for potential use decades later. (Vancouver Sun)

Nanotechnology solutions to combat superbugs
The emergence of superbugs has made it imperative to search for novel methods, which can combat the microbial resistance. Thus, application of nanotechnology in pharmaceuticals and microbiology is gaining importance to prevent the catastrophic consequences of antibiotic resistance.  (Nanowerk)

The next step for end-of-life care
The hourly revenue generated by a physician discussing plans for care is $87. That same physician, when conducting a procedure such as a colonoscopy or a cataract extraction, will make more than $300 per hour. Renewed support for a bill that would better compensate U.S. doctors for providing end-of-life counseling highlights the value of these conversations; for patients, physicians, and the healthcare system. (The Atlantic)

Researchers uncover genetic cause of childhood leukemia
A genetic link specific to risk of childhood leukemia has now been identified, according to a team at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other institutions. The discovery was reported online today in the journal Nature Genetics. (Medical Xpress)

Abortion: A decision that doesn’t serve the public interest 
A decision not to prosecute two abortion doctors who offered gender-specific terminations raises a host of questions about sexism. (The Telegraph)

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