News from Bioethics.com

California Is Using Prison Labor to Fight Its Record Wildfires

2 months 1 week

(Vox) – California is suffering record-breaking wildfires as the Mendocino Complex, Carr, and Ferguson fires continue. But to combat the flames, the state is turning to a controversial practice: prison labor. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) recently boasted about the use of prison labor for firefighting on Twitter: “Today, more than 2,000 volunteer inmate firefighters, including 58 youth offenders, are battling wildfire flames throughout CA. Inmate firefighters serve a vital role, clearing thick brush down to bare soil to stop the fire’s spread.”

Argentina’s Senate Rejects Bill Legalizing Abortion During the First 14 Weeks of a Pregnancy

2 months 1 week

(The Washington Post) – Argentina’s upper house on Thursday rejected a landmark bill that would have more broadly legalized abortion, dealing a setback to proponents of more liberal laws governing the procedure across the region.  The vote, following a marathon session that ended early Thursday morning, came at a time when countries in the heavily Catholic region are reexamining the issue and considering expanding access to abortion. In Argentina, the vote in the upper house was the culmination of a months-long debate in a nation deeply divided over the practice.

Study: 1 in 7 Children of Zika-Infected Moms Have Problems

2 months 1 week

(Associated Press) – One out of every seven babies born to U.S. mothers who were infected with Zika during pregnancy developed some kind of health problem, according to the first long-term look at those children. Tuesday’s study focused on the children of women in Puerto Rico and other territories, where most of the U.S. cases were seen when the disease swept across the Americas more than two years ago. Most people infected with Zika don’t get sick. In others, it can cause a mild illness, with fever, rash and joint pain. But infection during pregnancy can lead to severe brain-related birth defects.

Breathing ‘A Chore’: California Wildfires Threaten the Health of Young and Old

2 months 1 week

(Kaiser Health News) – NASA satellite photos show towers of smoke in California billowing into the atmosphere. Up and down the state, air quality officials have marked huge swaths as red with spots of purple — places where air is unhealthy or very unhealthy to breathe. Smoke and ash can travel dozens or even hundreds of miles. Children, older people and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD are particularly at risk of smoke-related health problems. But otherwise-healthy people also may experience short-term breathing problems, eye irritation and coughing.

Saudi MDs Get Brief Grace Period to Remain in Canada

2 months 1 week

(ABC News) – Canadian health authorities said Wednesday that hundreds of Saudi doctors and residents who make up the largest segment of foreign medical trainees in the country will remain in Canada until the end of the month, giving hospitals a few weeks to cope with the sudden staffing loss caused by a diplomatic spat. The 800 medical trainees are among more than 15,000 Saudis whose government has ordered them to suddenly leave the country due to Canada’s criticism of the ultraconservative kingdom’s arrest of women’s right activists.

Ebola Vaccinations Begin in Congo’s Latest Deadly Outbreak

2 months 1 week

(STAT News) – Ebola vaccinations began Wednesday in Congo’s latest outbreak of the deadly virus that has already claimed at least nine lives. Health officials have warned that containing the outbreak in North Kivu province is complicated by the presence of multiple armed groups vying for mineral-rich land in the northeastern region that borders Uganda and Rwanda.

Those CRISPR’d Human Embryos? We Got It Right, Scientists Insist, Rejecting Criticism

2 months 1 week

(STAT News) – The ethical debate about designer babies will probably last longer than the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but the scientific brawl about the study’s claims has been mostly resolved. In new papers published Wednesday, two groups of scientists detail why they think the researchers who created the CRISPR’d embryos goofed. But in a reply, Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University and his colleagues reject the criticism, reporting that they re-tested the embryos — and got the same results.

Bedrest is Bunk

2 months 1 week

(The Atlantic) – The practice continues despite a growing body of medical evidence showing that bed rest offers little to no benefit to pregnant mothers or their fetuses. The treatment has not proved effective in treating preeclampsia, preterm birth, low infant birth weight, high blood pressure or a shortened cervix. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a nonprofit organization of women’s health-care physicians, now advises that bed rest “does not appear to improve the rate of preterm birth, and should not be routinely recommended.” The risks, however, have been well documented: Women prescribed bed rest may suffer from bone loss, muscle atrophy, and a wide range of postpartum psychological disorders at higher rates compared to pregnant women who do not go on bed rest.

Women More Likely to Survive Heart Attack if Treated by Female Doctor–Study

2 months 1 week

(The Guardian) – Female heart attack patients treated by male doctors have a worse chance of survival than those treated by female doctors, a study suggests. Previous studies based on data from Australia and Sweden have revealed that men and women experience different care if they have a heart attack, while UK research has shown women are more likely to be misdiagnosed. Now researchers say the gender of the doctor might affect female patients’ chances of survival.

Hospital Admissions for Teenage Girls Who Self-Harm Nearly Double

2 months 1 week

(The Guardian) – The number of girls under the age of 18 being treated in hospital in England after self-harming has nearly doubled compared with 20 years ago, according to NHS figures. The figure reached 13,463 last year against 7,327 in 1997. In comparison, the figure for admissions of boys who self-harmed rose from 2,236 in 1997 to 2,332 in 2017. The number of girls treated for attempting a substance overdose has risen more than tenfold to 2,736 last year from 249 in 1997, while the number of boys treated increased over the past 21 years from 152 to 839 last year.

How Can You Treat Someone Who Doesn’t Accept They Are Ill?

2 months 1 week

(Mosaic) – Unlike in denial, when an individual knows there’s something wrong but insists they’re fine, Babinski believed that his patients weren’t fibbing or confused; they genuinely had no concept that half their body was paralysed. Something in their brains – he couldn’t say what – was damaged. For the next eight decades, anosognosia featured exclusively in the neurology literature, associated with physical conditions. Not until the mid-1990s did a few psychiatrists begin to try and apply the word to their patients, too. The pushback came almost immediately.

There’s a Surprisingly Rich Debate About How to Define Death

2 months 1 week

(Vox) – What is death, really?  Turns out there’s no true consensus among doctors, bioethicists, and philosophers. The way death is determined can even change as you cross state lines.  Is it when our brains completely shut down? Is it when parts of our brains stop working? Is it when our hearts or lungs stop working? Is it when we lose the ability to think? The line can be blurry, especially now that we have technology to keep organs functioning. Because of these artificial ways of sustaining life, differentiating death from life sometimes falls outside of the boundaries of science, according to Robert Veatch, professor emeritus of medical ethics at Georgetown University and the senior research scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

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

2 months 1 week

(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

2 months 1 week

(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

2 months 1 week

(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

2 months 1 week

(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

2 months 1 week

(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

2 months 1 week

(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

2 months 1 week

(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

2 months 1 week

(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

2 months 1 week

(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

2 months 2 weeks

(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

2 months 2 weeks

(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

2 months 2 weeks

(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

2 months 2 weeks

(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.

Pages

Creative Commons License