News from Bioethics.com

Critics Trying to Stop a Big Study of Sepsis Say the Research Puts Patients at Risk

3 months 2 weeks

(NPR) – A consumer advocacy organization is asking federal health officials Tuesday to halt a large medical study being conducted at major universities nationwide. Public Citizen says that the study, involving treatment for sepsis, puts patients at risk and will at best produce confusing results. The CLOVERS study seeks to answer a key question about sepsis, which is a common and life-threatening response to infection. Sepsis kills more than 250,000 Americans a year, often by triggering the failure of multiple organs. As patients’ blood vessels get leaky as a result of sepsis, it becomes difficult to maintain safe fluid balance and blood pressure.

Researchers Find a Way to Mimic Clinical Trials Using Genetics

3 months 2 weeks

(MIT Technology Review) – Now health researchers are wielding a new tool they hope will let them determine the true causes of chronic disease. And it comes through a surprise route: genetics. Researchers say that by employing innate genetic differences between people—an inborn susceptibility to alcohol, say, or to higher cholesterol levels in the arteries—they can now mimic, at much less effort and expense, the kinds of large trials that would be necessary to determine if an HDL-lowering medicine is really beneficial. The new technique, called Mendelian randomization, is already being used by drug companies to make billion-dollar decisions about which drugs to pursue.

As Teens Turn to Cosmetic Surgery, Study Outlines New Age-Appropriate Guidelines

3 months 2 weeks

(Good Morning America) – In an age of social media, when teens are frequently comparing themselves to others and receiving instant comment on their appearance, a greater number of teens than ever are seeking — and having — cosmetic surgery procedures. But, many of these procedures have not been tested on teens. The safety is uncertain and other questions about whether they are appropriate for teens remain.  In a new study published Tuesday in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the authors compiled data on the outcomes of most common cosmetic procedures performed on teenagers.

Pediatricians Put It Bluntly: Motherhood and Marijuana Don’t Mix

3 months 2 weeks

(ABC News) – More and more people consider smoking marijuana harmless or even beneficial, but mounting research suggests women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid it altogether. That’s according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which cites growing evidence of marijuana’s potential harm to children’s long-term development.

Should Fatal Opioid-Related Drug Overdoses Be Classified as Suicides?

3 months 2 weeks

(Scientific American) – Suicide rates have been steadily climbing, Rockett said, but their numbers are likely even higher. He said too often opioid-related drug overdoses aren’t classified as suicides, and he thinks they should be. These deaths are often deemed by medical examiners as “accidental injury deaths” unless a suicide note is found. This classification doesn’t take into account that suicide and drug overdoses both arise from “purposeful” behaviors.

Report: Nearly 3,000 Deaths in Puerto Rico Linked to Maria

3 months 2 weeks

(ABC News) – Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 people in Puerto Rico in the desperate, sweltering months after the storm — almost double the previous government estimate — with the elderly and impoverished most affected, according to an independent study ordered by the U.S. territory.

In US, Sexually Transmitted Infections Hit New Highs

3 months 2 weeks

(Medical Xpress) – Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis soared to new record highs in the United States last year, public health officials said Tuesday. The reasons for the rise were not immediately clear, but the CDC pointed to prior research that has shown factors like poverty, stigma, discrimination and drug use can boost STD rates. Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were diagnosed in the United States in 2017, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Australian Parents Flock to US Clinics to Choose Baby’s Gender

3 months 3 weeks

(The Sydney Morning Herald) – Hundreds of Australian parents are travelling overseas every year to secretly choose the gender of their baby. They are spending tens of thousands of dollars to undergo selective IVF, fulfilling their burning desire to “complete” their family with a child of a certain gender, though social stigma around the procedure means most don’t even tell their closest family and friends.

When Frozen Embryos Are Destroyed, the Losses–And Legal Repercussions–Prove Hard to Measure

3 months 3 weeks

(Chicago Tribune) – As the number of stored eggs and embryos rises in the United States, people desperate to become parents are bonding with potential future children at the earliest stages, when they are still just a few dozen cells. The freezer malfunction has highlighted that bond — and sparked a debate over what, exactly, was lost. That debate is taking place in dozens of lawsuits filed since the Ohio accident and a similar one at Pacific Fertility in California in March. The most explosive suit seeks to declare embryos people, potentially opening up the Cleveland center to charges of wrongful death.

John McCain Has Died. For Brain Cancers Like His, ‘Research Is Our Only Hope’

3 months 3 weeks

(STAT News) – About 14,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most common form of adult brain cancer, every year. It will kill all but 15 percent within five years. Barely half live 18 months. Of two dozen experimental drugs tested in clinical trials for newly diagnosed glioblastoma in the last decade, zero improved survival. The last drug to do so, by an average of about two months, was temozolomide, approved in 2005. The newest treatment, based on electrical fields, bought patients an average of five more months.

Heart Disease Risk Is Hidden in Your Genes. Scientists Are Getting Better at Finding It.

3 months 3 weeks

(Vox) – Last week, in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers at Harvard University and the Broad Institute published evidence that they can check out 6 million spots in a person’s genome to assess their risk for developing coronary artery disease, when the main blood vessel supplying the heart with oxygen gets clogged with plaque. It’s a precursor to a heart attack, when a clot cuts off blood flow to the heart, starving it of oxygen.

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