News from Bioethics.com

Huge Fall in Prevalence in FGM/Genital Cutting Among Girls Across Africa

1 month 1 week

(Science Daily) – The prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting among girls up to the age of 14 has fallen sharply in most regions of Africa over the past three decades, reveals the first analysis of its kind, published in the online journal BMJ Global Health. But the rates of decline vary widely by country, and the practice is still pervasive in Western Asia-Iraq and Yemen-the findings indicate. What’s more, the conditions in many of the countries where a decline has occurred are ripe for a reversal of the downwards trend, warn the study authors.

UN Vows to Tackle Congo Rebels, Contain Ebola

1 month 1 week

(ABC News) – The head of United Nations peacekeeping operations vowed Wednesday to do more with Congo’s government to help improve security in the country’s east, where frequent attacks by rebels are undermining efforts to contain an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 150 people.

Facebook Enabled Human Rights Abuses in Myanmar, But Promises to Do Better Next Time

1 month 1 week

(Quartz) – The Rohingya crisis, called a modern-day genocide and ethnic cleansing, has led to more than 700,000 Rohingya muslims fleeing the country—one of the largest cases of forced migration in recent history. While the 62-page report commissioned by Facebook is a major move by the company in admitting complicity in the conflict, some have also criticized that the investigation was announced right before the US midterm elections, which is sure to dominate news cycles.

Can Artificial Intelligence Detect Depression in a Person’s Voice?

1 month 1 week

(Smithsonian) – So, the notion that artificial intelligence could help predict if a person is suffering from depression is potentially a big step forward—albeit one that brings with it questions about how it might be used. What makes that possible, says Tuka Alhanai, a researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), is the ability of a machine learning model to identify speech and language patterns associated with depression. More importantly, the model she and fellow MIT scientist Mohammad Ghassemi developed was able to recognize depression with a relatively high degree of accuracy through analyzing how people speak, rather than their specific responses to a clinician’s questions.

Adoptions Fall by 62% as IVF Success Rises

1 month 1 week

(BBC) – The boss of a body that represents children in care has said the success of IVF has contributed to a drop in the number of children being adopted. In the last 40 years since the first “test-tube baby” was born, adoptions in England and Wales have fallen by 62%.  Meanwhile, IVF success rates for women under 35 have nearly tripled.

23andMe’s Genetic Test for How You’ll React to Medication Is Ahead of Its Time

1 month 1 week

(The Verge) – On Wednesday, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first consumer DNA test that promises to tell buyers which drugs might work best for them according to their genetic profile. The manufacturer, 23andMe, won FDA approval by being very careful not to overpromise what its test can do— so careful that the approval highlights the limited usefulness of the test and how much we still don’t know about this field of medicine.

Reporting on the Layers of Potential Harm for Children in Psychiatric Hospitals

1 month 2 weeks

(ProPublica) – The Department of Children and Family Services, the state’s child welfare agency, has investigated 16 allegations of abuse or neglect at the hospital since January. The allegations, detailed in confidential documents obtained by ProPublica Illinois, are disturbing on their own. But some of those children who reported being sexually abused or assaulted shouldn’t have even been at the hospital; they had already been cleared for discharge when the alleged abuse occurred.

Uganda Begins Ebola Vaccinations Amid Congo Transmission Fears

1 month 2 weeks

(Reuters) – Uganda says it will start to vaccinate some of its health workers against Ebola on Monday, amid fears that the viral haemorrhagic fever could spread from Democratic Republic of Congo which is battling an outbreak. The East African country has suffered regular outbreaks of Ebola and Marburg over the years, both high-fatality viral haemorrhagic fevers.

Researchers Identify Active Stem Cells in “Resting Zone” of Cartilage

1 month 2 weeks

(News Medical) – Skeletal stem cells are of interest to researchers because they are thought to be able to heal bone injuries. However, they are difficult to locate because scientists are unsure what they look like or where they reside. As reported in the journal Nature, Noriaki Ono and colleagues have found skeletal cells that meet the criteria for stem cells in the “resting zone” of a cartilaginous tissue called the epiphyseal growth plate. Ono says that finding these cells in the resting zone supports the widely shared belief that stem cells remain inactive until they are needed.

3 Years after Flint, Lead Is Still a Public Health Crisis

1 month 2 weeks

(ABC News) – Three years after local doctors in Flint, Michigan, warned of dangerously high lead levels in children, at least 4 million U.S. households still are exposed to high levels of lead as about half a million kids have tested positive for lead in their blood, the Centers for Disease Control said. A significant number of children with lead poisoning are showing up in cities around the country, including in Syracuse, New York, where 11 percent of kids tested last year had elevated levels in their blood, according to the local health department.

Pricey Precision Medicine Often Financially Toxic for Cancer Patients

1 month 2 weeks

(STAT News) – The high cost of cutting-edge tests and treatments is threatening to keep precision medicine — one of the most celebrated areas in cancer research — out of reach for many patients. Patients who pay for these new treatments on their own “could be in debt for decades,” said Dr. Scott Ramsey, director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research in Seattle. Already cancer care is hugely expensive. A recent study in the American Journal of Medicine found that 42 percent of patients depleted 100 percent of their assets — an average loss of $92,000 — within two years of diagnosis.

UCL Stem Cell Death ‘Cover-Up’ as Two Young Women Die After Experimental Treatment

1 month 2 weeks

(iNews) – UCL researchers have been accused of covering up the deaths of two women who died during experimental treatment in a bid to obtain funding. Professors obtained millions of pounds to lead three multi-million pound trials that looked into trialling tissue-engineered trachea and larynx transplants, reported The Telegraph. Keziah Shorten, 20, and Shauna Davison, 15, died after they underwent surgery to be given stem cell-engineered larynxes. Ms Shorten was left fighting for her life in intensive care for six months after she underwent an operation to fix her failing windpipe in 2010.

Years After Promise of Stem Cells Seemed to Be Fading, Clinical Trials Underway

1 month 2 weeks

(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) – In January 2007, nine years after James Thomson’s discovery, a gloom about human embryonic stem cells had begun to set in, epitomized by a New York Times headline: “Concerns of Dashed Hopes From Promised Miracles.” Today, a little more than a decade later, the gloom appears to be lifting. Mature cells developed from the embryonic lines Thomson grew as an assistant scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been implanted in humans — the first real wave of clinical trials. Thomson now works as director of regenerative biology at the Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison.

French Ain Babies: Missing Limb Births Prompt National Inquiry

1 month 2 weeks

(BBC) – France has launched a national investigation into the number of babies being born with missing arms or hands – weeks after an initial inquiry closed. The first investigation began after it emerged more than a dozen children had been born with the condition in clusters in three French regions. It ended after health authorities failed to identify a common cause. But now another 11 cases have emerged in the eastern region of Ain, prompting officials to open a fresh inquiry.

Rubella Is Eliminated in Australia as the Disease Prompts a Travel Warning for Japan

1 month 2 weeks

(CNN) – Australia has eliminated rubella, a disease also known as German measles that’s already been eliminated in the Americas and across much of Europe, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. The announcement, which Australia’s health minister called a “highly significant public health accomplishment,” comes just days after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned travelers — especially pregnant women — about an outbreak of the disease in Japan.

Web Service Makes Big Data Available to Neuroscientists

1 month 2 weeks

(Nature) – Vogelstein worked with Burns to build a system that would make those data — 20 trillion voxels’ worth — available to the larger neuroscience community. The team has now generalized the software to support different classes of imaging data and describes the system this week (J. T. Vogelstein et al. Nature Meth. 15, 846-847; 2018). NeuroData is a free, cloud-based collection of web services that supports large-scale neuroimaging data, from electron microscopy to magnetic resonance imaging and fluorescence photomicrographs.

CDC Confirms 10 New Cases of Rare Polio-Like Neurological Condition

1 month 2 weeks

(Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday it has confirmed 10 more cases of an extremely rare, polio-like condition, across 24 states.  The CDC had earlier this month confirmed about 62 cases of acute flaccid myelitis that causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. Most of the cases reported so far are people under 18 years of age. The agency said in a health advisory on its website that it recently received increased reports of patients with symptoms of the disease over the last three months.

In California, Some Doctors Sell ‘Medical Exemptions for Kids’ Vaccinations

1 month 2 weeks

(U.S. News & World Report) – A handful of California doctors are making hay off anti-vaccine parents, charging hundreds of dollars to issue medical exemptions for required childhood vaccinations, a new study claims. In 2015, California passed a law eliminating personal belief exemptions for vaccinations that kids must receive before they can attend public school. In the years since, there’s been a major increase in the number of medical exemptions issued by doctors for these required immunizations, researchers found.

Same-Sex Couple Carries Same Baby, Calls Experience ‘Priceless’

1 month 2 weeks

(ABC News) – A North Texas couple is believed to have made medical history as the first couple to deliver a baby they both carried.  Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter, of Mountain Springs, are now happy mothers to a healthy 5-month-old baby boy named Stetson, all thanks to a procedure called Reciprocal effortless In Vitro Fertilization or Reciprocal effortless IVF.

What a Massive Database of Retracted Papers Reveals about Science Publishing’s ‘Death Penalty’

1 month 2 weeks

(Science) – Nearly a decade ago, headlines highlighted a disturbing trend in science: The number of articles retracted by journals had increased 10-fold during the previous 10 years. Fraud accounted for some 60% of those retractions; one offender, anesthesiologist Joachim Boldt, had racked up almost 90 retractions after investigators concluded he had fabricated data and committed other ethical violations. Boldt may have even harmed patients by encouraging the adoption of an unproven surgical treatment. Science, it seemed, faced a mushrooming crisis.

“We Will Keep On Fighting for Him.”

1 month 3 weeks

(Pro Publica) – That’s when we heard from Aline. Her daughter Page had read our investigation while working in a university research lab and remembered her brother was one of Pavuluri’s subjects. (There is confusion about which studies Wilson was enrolled in.) Aline had documented her son’s experience as a research subject on CaringBridge, a private online journaling platform that people use to provide updates on a loved one’s health. The journal, which covers late 2010 and early 2011, records the family’s journey through a desperate attempt to help their 10-year-old son, laying bare the heartbreak, loneliness and stress of raising a child with mental illness.

Companies Tout Psychiatric Pharmacogenomic Testing, But Is It Ready for a Store Near You?

1 month 3 weeks

(JAMA) – Eggs, bread, toothpaste—and don’t forget genetic testing. As of this spring, customers can ring up any of these items at select supermarket pharmacies in the Albertsons family of stores. In May, the grocery behemoth launched a pilot program with personalized medicine company Genomind. Through the partnership, pharmacists in 28 stores in Idaho, Illinois, and Pennsylvania can counsel patients about Genomind’s psychiatric pharmacogenomic test and administer it on-site.

AP Investigation: Congo Hospitals Openly Imprison Patiens

1 month 3 weeks

(ABC News) – Perhaps the most surprising thing about the fact that hospitals in Congo detain patients who cannot pay their bills is that it’s no secret: Administrators, doctors and nurses openly discuss it, and the patients are held in plain sight. An Associated Press investigation found that only one of more than 20 hospitals visited in the copper-mining metropolis of Lubumbashi did not routinely imprison patients.

New Vaccine and Drug Combo Offer Hope Against World’s Biggest Infectious Killer

1 month 3 weeks

(CNN) – It’s been around for centuries and has been curable for decades, but the bacteria behind tuberculosis are still the biggest infectious killers across the planet — killing more people annually than HIV. Last year, an estimated 10 million people developed tuberculosis, with 1.6 million dying from it, according to the World Health Organization, despite an effective treatment. Access to diagnosis and treatment is challenging, particularly in more deprived communities, and over the years, incomplete treatment courses have fueled the rise of resistance.

The Hidden Side of Dementia: Families Fight over Care, End-of-Life Decisions, Finances, Estates

1 month 3 weeks

(USA Today) – The high-profile legal battles around celebrities incapacitated by dementia are drawing attention to a phenomenon dividing many more families across the country. When ailing adults can no longer manage their own affairs, responsibility shifts to family members often unprepared for the job – and unable to agree on medical care, finances and other sensitive areas. While families of the rich and famous fight over multi-million-dollar estates, disputes among the rest of us – amid the pain of losing a loved one – can be equally bruising.

Pages

Creative Commons License