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Author Archive: Craig Klugman


And the Ban Played On

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Have you taken the “Celibacy Challenge?” This satirical national campaign is in response to a proposal from the FDA that would amend the lifetime blood donation ban of men who have sex with men (MSM) to only a one-year ban. The hitch is that the men would have to refrain from sex with men for one year. They could have sex with women during that year, just not men.

This proposed one-year celibacy ban is in line with the rules of other nations. Both the U.K. and Australia have one-year bans on male-male sexual contact before donation.…

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How Medicine Has Fared Under ISIS

by Craig M. Klugman, Ph.D.

Like much of the world, I find myself reading daily news stories about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). This is a militant group that has conquered much of the territory of Syria and Iraq. They have created an Islamic state, or caliphate, run by sharia law. According to news reports, Western youth are heading to Syria to join ISIS attracted by the ideas, the adventure, belonging to a group, or generally feeling disillusioned. It’s not just young people, but also engineers and doctors.…

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This entry was posted in Cultural, Featured Posts, Health Care, Politics and tagged , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


Precision Medicine Has Imprecise Ethics

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

How do physicians diagnose disease? First they go through a set of symptoms and then compile a list of differential diagnoses or what the underlying disease may be. Then the doctor performs tests to rule out some diagnoses and advance others. In essence, though, diseases are classified according to their affect on the body—their symptology. What if instead of by symptoms, diseases were classified by their molecular function? Instead of being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes one might be diagnosed by whether there is a death of beta cells (i.e. production of insulin) or if the receptors do not work and cannot bind with insulin proteins (i.e.…

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Canadian Supreme Court: Legal Assisted Suicide In a Year

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

A year from now, all Canadians may have the right to assisted suicide. In February 6, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled “that the prohibition on physician-assisted dying is void insofar as it deprives a competent adult of such assistance where (1) the person affected clearly consents to the termination of life; and (2) the person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.” In other words, a competent and capacitated person with a serious and unresolvable condition that creates suffering has a right to have assistance to end his or her life.…

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This entry was posted in End of Life Care, Featured Posts, Health Regulation & Law, Politics and tagged , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


Don’t Weasel Out of the Measles Vaccine

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

By now, you have most likely been inundated with news about the measles outbreak tied to Disneyland in California. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there have been 102 cases of the measles linked to Disneyland through either primary exposure (they were exposed directly) or secondary exposure (they were exposed to someone who had primary exposure) in 15 states. The state of Arizona alone is monitoring over 1,000 people at risk.

The latest turn in this continuing debate is parents of immune-comprised children begging their neighbors to immunize their children. For valid medical reasons—whether a child is too young, the child has an allergy to components of the vaccine, or whether the child has an immunity issue—a percent of children are unable to take the measles (technically MMR-Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine.…

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This entry was posted in Cultural, Featured Posts, Health Care, Politics, Public Health and tagged , , , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


Still Alice: A Portrait of Familial Alzheimer’s Disease

by Craig M. Klugman, Ph.D.

This past weekend I spent a cold, snowy day in the theater watching the movie Still Alice. Julianne Moore plays Alice Howland, a renowned neurolinguistics professor at Columbia University who is diagnosed with familial, early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The film opens with Howland celebrating her 50th birthday where she has a momentary lapse in thought. We next see her giving a lecture at UCLA where she loses her place in giving a presentation. Then she is jogging through the campus where she has taught for decades and finds that she recognizes nothing.

The film shows Moore’s doctor visits as she seeks a diagnosis, her heartbreaking revealing of her disease to her family members, and how she and her life changes dramatically—and in a brief period of time—as she becomes someone else.…

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This entry was posted in End of Life Care, Featured Posts, Genetics and tagged , , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


ACA Report Card: One Year of Obamacare and the Individual Insurance Mandate

by Craig M. Klugman

The United States has passed a milestone, the first year of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate. This is the requirement that all U.S. residents have health insurance whether through an employer, an organization, or via the insurance marketplaces. Opponents of the ACA (also known as “Obamacare”) feared that this act would destroy the country by decimating the economy, creating a federal government takeover of healthcare, forcing employers to drop coverage, workers quitting who no longer need their employer-based health insurance, and companies cutting workers to stay below minimum thresholds.

The results of the first year are positive.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Health Policy & Insurance, Health Regulation & Law. Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


Worrying about patient satisfaction only harms the patient

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Anyone who has been in a hospital in the last 9 years has encountered a patient satisfaction survey. This national survey provides rankings of hospitals based on how satisfied patients are with their experience. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) “is a survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients perceptions for their hospital experience.” For anyone who works in a hospital, the results of this survey can mean raises, firings, and changes of position.

The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality developed this 27 question survey that has been administered to all hospital patients after discharge since 2006.…

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Cassandra C: Right to refuse treatment or protecting a minor*

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In Connecticut, a 17-year-old girl is being kept in a hospital room under court order. She is restrained to her treatment bed when she is given chemotherapy that neither she nor her mother want. Cassandra C. is a young woman who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September 2014. She underwent surgery to remove a lymph node and then chose not to receive further treatment. She left the hospital with her mother, Jackie Fortin, to allegedly seek a second opinion, out-of-state.

According to Fortin and her attorney, Cassandra believes that chemotherapy is toxic to the body and has long-term negative effects.…

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This entry was posted in Clinical Ethics, Featured Posts, Health Regulation & Law, Pediatrics and tagged , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


The Year in Bioethics That Was

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Happy New Year. As has become a tradition at the blogs, the ending of one year and beginning of another is a time for reflection, for reviewing that year that has passed and planning for the year to come.

In 2014, is pleased to have had 15 bloggers contribute to our 84 posts. A very big thank you to these insightful scholars: Maurice Bernstein, Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby, Arthur Caplan, Nanette Elster, Ellen Fox, Steven Miles, Kayhan Parsi, Thaddeus Pope, Keisha Ray, and guest bloggers Rachelle Barina, Bandy Lee, Barron Lerner, Nuriel Moghavem, Devan Stahl, and Eric Swirsky.…

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