News from Bioethics.com

Genetic Testing Before Embryo Transfer Makes No Difference to Live Birth Rates

1 week 7 hours

(News-Medical) – The genetic screening of fertilized eggs for embryo selection in assisted reproduction makes no difference to live birth rates, according to results from the largest published study of its kind. Results from this multi center randomized controlled trial are reported today in the journal Human Reproduction and, say the authors, confirm the “widely accepted” view that preimplantation genetic testing for chromosome abnormality (PGT-A) will not increase live birth rates in IVF.

Parkinson’s Drugs Aimed at Rare Gene Mutation Show Promise for Other Sufferers, Too

1 week 7 hours

(Scientific American) – Now drug developers have turned to inhibiting overactive kinases in neurodegenerative and infectious diseases. The target patient population originally consisted of people with PD who also carried mutated LRRK2. In recent years, however, the Parkinson’s research community has explored whether the LRRK2 protein, which helps break down large molecules in the cell, might also play a role in nongenetic forms of the disease. A study published July 25 in Science Translational Medicine suggests LRRK2 might indeed be a culprit in a much broader population of PD patients.

Some Families Are Paying Thousands of Dollars to Choose Their Baby’s Sex

1 week 1 day

(CNBC) – Fertility clinics are popping up across the country that advertise gender selection, and are charging up to $20,000. CNBC visited one of these clinics, the Fertility Institutes in Encino, California, to meet with well-known IVF specialist Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg. About 85 percent of Steinberg’s patients come to him so they can choose the sex of their baby, he said.

An Appalachian Odyssey: Hunting for ALS Genes Along a Sprawling Family Tree

1 week 1 day

(STAT News) – Dr. Edward Kasarskis admitted him to the University of Kentucky’s clinic for testing that same day in 1984. What had seemed clear when the patient first arrived only became clearer: No matter what they called it in Ewing, this was ALS. The man went home, and within a few months he, too, was dead. But Ewing stuck in the neurologist’s mind.

Doctors Reckon with High Rate of Suicide in Their Ranks

1 week 4 days

(Kaiser Health News) – The medical profession is built on the myth that its workers are all highly conditioned athletes — clocking long hours while somehow staying immune to fatigue and the emotional toll of their jobs. But there’s a dark side to the profession that has been largely veiled — even from doctors themselves: They are far more likely than the general population to take their own lives.

The Radical History of Acupuncture in Heroin Addiction

1 week 4 days

(The Atlantic) – Some people swear by acupuncture, but recovery facilities’ use of it, along with other non-proven strategies for managing addiction, has grown more controversial as America’s opioid epidemic has raged on. Medications like buprenorphine or methadone are considered the gold standard in treating opioid addiction, which still kills more than 100 people each day. The medications dramatically reduce the likelihood of death from overdose, but they are shockingly underused: Only 3 percent of addiction treatment facilities offer all three forms of addiction-recovery medication.

‘Glaring Gap’ Seen in DNA Privacy Pledges by 23andMe, Ancestry

1 week 4 days

(Bloomberg) – Genetic-testing companies that have decoded the DNA of millions just introduced new guidelines to protect data privacy. But those best practices failed to address a major concern: what happens to customers’ data that is shared for research with pharmaceutical giants, academics and others, often for a profit. Just how lucrative the business of genetic testing is came into light last week when British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to buy a $300 million stake in 23andMe Inc., gaining access to anonymized data with the hope of identifying new targets for drugs.

How to Edit a Human

1 week 5 days

(The Economist) – Jennifer Doudna, one of those scientists, was not the first to edit genes or genetically modify an organism. But the tool that her team discovered made a previously painstaking and expensive process simpler and usable by almost anyone. Entire PhDs were once spent changing a single gene to make one mutant mouse for research.

Sperm Donor Secrets Emerge as Australia Law Erases Anonymity

1 week 5 days

(ABC News) – VARTA is at the epicenter of Victoria state’s donor identity law, a piece of legislation dissected and debated for years before finally taking effect in 2017. The agency maintains a register of donors, offspring and their parents, and counsels them through the intricate dynamics involved. Behind it all was a quest for the truth by people whose lives began in a lab in an era where the sperm and egg donation industry was swathed in secrecy.

Report: Tokyo Med School Altered Test Results to Fail Women

1 week 5 days

(ABC News) – A Japanese medical university has systematically discriminated against female applicants because women tend to quit as doctors after starting families, causing hospital staffing shortages, media reports said Thursday. The Yomiuri newspaper said Tokyo Medical University has manipulated the entrance exam results of women since about 2011 to keep the female student population low. Quoting unidentified sources, it said the manipulation started after the share of successful female applicants reached 38 percent of the total in 2010.

Did a Blockbuster Drug Make Hundreds Gamble Compulsively? A Legal Fight May Decide What Science Can’t Confirm

1 week 5 days

(STAT News) – Hundreds more people have since sued the companies, claiming that the drug caused them to gamble, eat, or have sex compulsively. And the Food and Drug Administration signaled its own concern in a 2016 safety warning, saying that uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex had been reported with use of the antipsychotic.

How Legal Cannabis Actually Made Things Worse for Sick People in Oregon

1 week 5 days

(The Guardian) – Ironically, Oregon’s medical marijuana market has been on a downward spiral since the state legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2014. The option of making big money inspired many medical businesses to go recreational, dramatically shifting the focus away from patients to consumers. In 2015, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) took over the recreational industry. Between 2016 and 2018, nine bills were passed that expanded consumer access to marijuana while changing regulatory procedures on growing, processing and packaging. In the shuffle, recreational marijuana turned into a million-dollar industry in Oregon, while the personalized patient-grower network of the medical program quietly dried up.

Plastic Surgeons’ Group Issues New Warning over Brazilian Butt Lift Procedure

1 week 5 days

(ABC News) – The Brazilian butt lift, which has been increasingly in high demand, carries an “unusually high mortality rate,” that is “greater than any other cosmetic surgery,” according to a new warning to surgeons performing the procedure from a task force backed by international board-certified plastic surgeon societies, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. As many as one in 3,000 people who undergo the Brazilian butt lift die, according to the warning.

How Rival Opioid Makers Sought to Cash in on Alarm over OxyContin’s Dangers

1 week 5 days

(STAT News) – As Purdue Pharma faced mounting criticism over deaths linked to OxyContin, rival drug makers saw a chance to boost sales by stepping up marketing of similarly dangerous painkillers, such as fentanyl, morphine and methadone, Purdue internal documents reveal. Purdue’s 1996-2002 marketing plans for OxyContin, which Kaiser Health News made public this year for the first time, offer an unprecedented look at how that company spent millions of dollars to push opioids for growing legions of pain sufferers.

Researchers Are Still Counting the Dead from Hurricane Maria

1 week 5 days

(The Atlantic) – The one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria is next month. The island is still rebuilding, still preparing for a new hurricane season, still putting its power grid back together, and still dealing with the massive demographic, environmental, and political changes that have taken place as a result of last year’s disaster. And it’s still trying to figure out just who was lost in the catastrophe—the official death toll still sits at 64, a number we know to be at least an order of magnitude lower than the real count.

WHO Warns There May Be No Vaccine Option for New Ebola Outbreak

1 week 5 days

(Reuters) – It may be impossible to use a vaccine to tackle Democratic Republic of Congo’s new Ebola outbreak, which has spread over 10s of kilometers and may have begun in May, a senior World Health Organization official said on Thursday.

New Ebola Outbreak Declared in DRC a Week After Earlier One Declared Over

1 week 6 days

(STAT News) – A week after the most recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was declared over, the country has confirmed it has found more cases of the disease. The new cases are in a province at the opposite end of the country from the earlier outbreak, making it unclear if this is a new epidemic or a continuation of the previous one. But a statement from the ministry of health on Wednesday said the distance of more than 1,500 miles suggests these cases are not linked to the outbreak in Bikoro.

Dengue Fever Outbreak Stopped by Special Mosquitoes

1 week 6 days

(BBC) – Australian researchers say for the first time an entire city has been protected from viral disease dengue. Captive-bred mosquitoes with a naturally occurring bacteria were released in the city of Townsville, where they mated with local mosquitoes. By spreading the bacteria Wolbachia, which hinders dengue transmission, the city has been dengue-free since 2014. Researchers from Monash University also believe their work could stop mosquito-borne diseases Zika and malaria.

Series of Ethical Stumbles Tests NIH’s Reliance on Private Sector for Research Funding

1 week 6 days

(STAT News) – The National Institutes of Health received $7.5 billion in funding in 1990 — an amount that was seen as so paltry that Congress decided the country’s biomedical researchers needed help. So lawmakers found a way to aid the NIH in a delicate ethical dance: They created a nonprofit that could turn to pharmaceutical manufacturers and soda companies to fund research into their fields, all while attempting to prevent the science from being compromised by the big-money interests picking up the tab.

1 in 8 Children in India Has Neurodevelopmental Disability, Report Estimates

2 weeks 6 hours

(CNN) – Experts say the main reason for India’s high rate of neurodevelopmental disorders in children is a lack of facilities and care at birth. In many cases, “these disorders could have been prevented if birth asphyxia had been prevented and if there was a sufficient supply of oxygen,” Arora said. “Prenatal and neonatal care are crucial in curbing the rise of neurodevelopmental complications in children.”

Missed Visits, Uncontrolled Pain and Fraud: Report Says Hospice Lacks Oversight

2 weeks 6 hours

(Kaiser Health News) – Elderly patients spent over two weeks in uncontrolled pain or respiratory distress. Acute care was rare on weekends. And recruiters went door to door pitching fraudulent schemes, luring healthy patients to sign up for hospice in exchange for free housecleaning and medicine. These details appear in a report on hospice released Monday by a government watchdog agency calling on federal regulators to ramp up oversight of a booming industry that served 1.4 million Americans in 2016.

Nigeria Recalls 2.4 Million Bottles of Codeine Cough Syrup

2 weeks 6 hours

(Reuters) – Nigeria has recalled 2.4 million bottles of cough syrup containing codeine after national outrage earlier this year over endemic use of opioids.  Nigeria imposed a ban on the production and import of codeine cough syrup earlier this year, though it did not affect products already available in the country.

First-of-Its-Kind Clinical Trial Will Use Reprogrammed Adult Stem Cells to Treat Parkinson’s

2 weeks 7 hours

(Science) – Researchers in Japan today announced the launch of a clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease with neurological material derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, mature cells chemically manipulated to return to an early stage of development from which they can theoretically differentiate into any of the body’s specialized cells.

Triple Stabbing at Chile Abortion Rights Rally Sparks Outcry

2 weeks 7 hours

(The Guardian) – Human rights activists in Chile have expressed shock and concern after masked attackers stabbed three women at a protest in favour of free and legal abortion. One of the women was wounded in the stomach and two others in the legs during a march in the country’s capital, Santiago, on Wednesday. Their injuries were not described as life-threatening. A policeman was also hurt in the incident. No suspects have been arrested, but participants in the march argue that anti-abortion radicals are responsible.

Supreme Court Backs Agreed End-of-Life Decisions

2 weeks 1 day

(BBC) – Legal permission will no longer be needed to withdraw treatment from patients in permanent vegetative state, the Supreme Court has ruled. It will now be easier to withdraw food and liquid to allow such patients to die across the UK. When families and doctors are in agreement, medical staff will be able to remove feeding tubes without applying to the Court of Protection. Lady Black ruled there was no violation under the Human Rights Convention.

Pages

Creative Commons License