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Author Archive: Craig Klugman

04/23/2015

Designer Embryos: The Future is Now

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Oh, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in ’t! (Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 5, Scene 1.

Nature News on Wednesday reported a group of Chinese researchers have successful genetically engineered a human embryo.

Researchers used “non-viable” embryos from fertility clinics. These embryos had an extra set of chromosome, having been fertilized by two sperm and containing three nuclei. Such embryos were chosen because of the impossibility of them gestating into a human being. The team then used the enzyme CRISPR/Cas9 which permit scientists to snip out genes and insert new ones.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Research Ethics, Science and tagged , , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

04/21/2015

Figure 1: Global Medical Education and Collaboration in Real Time

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

When I was teaching in medical schools I recall a case where a student was reprimanded for breaking patient confidentiality by uploading a picture of surgery to his Facebook profile. This incident led to educational interventions about the appropriate use of social media in medicine. The short guideline was, “Never upload photos of patients onto the internet.” Now, physicians are encouraged to upload patient pictures through a service called Figure1, which has been described as “Instagram for doctors.”

Figure 1 is part of Medicine 2.0, using online technology to enable collaboration and interaction. Rather than simply reading about a medical condition, a user is able to comment, participate and offer advise.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Media, Privacy and tagged , , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

04/15/2015

Are religious research subjects a vulnerable population?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

A recent study in the journal Psychology Science found that when people are thinking about God, they are more likely to state a willingness to participate in nonmoral,° risky behaviors such as skydiving, substance abuse, and speeding. To reach their conclusion, the researchers asked online participants to undertake a short writing task. Half of the participants were asked to incorporate words that reminded them of God and half did not.

The participants then took one of several scenario tests where they were asked their willingness to participate in risky behaviors. Those who had seen God-words were more likely to list willingness to participate in risky recreational behaviors.…

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This entry was posted in Clinical Trials & Studies, Featured Posts, Research Ethics and tagged . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

04/08/2015

Is a gift of ribs “slightly unethical” in the physician-patient relationship?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In an editorial in the Chicago Tribune, a physician tells the story of an underserved patient who owned a rib joint. The patient would bring ribs whenever he had an appointment. And once a year, the patient would come to the hospital just to bring a smoked Thanksgiving turkey to the physician.

The patient lacks insurance and thus is not able to get a badly needed hip replacement. As the story continues, the physician contacts an orthopedic surgeon in another health system in hopes of getting treatment for the rib-producing patient. After 4 years, a spot for a pro bono surgery opens and the “orthopedic colleague” sees the patient, who is now in intense pain and desperate need of a new hip.…

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This entry was posted in Conflict of Interest, Featured Posts and tagged , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

04/01/2015

Abortion Wars: Arizona Mandates Unscientific “Truths”

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Arizona legislature has apparently gone through medical school and graduated. They have passed a new law of the land. A person in Arizona is no longer permitted to buy health insurance on the health exchange if the plan provides coverage for abortion (except for the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger).

A second provision of the law is what has troubled most people. The law now requires that a physician tell his or her patient that a medically induced abortion can be reversed. When having a medicated abortion, a woman takes mifepristone (RU-486) and several days later, a dose of misprostol.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Politics, Reproductive Medicine and tagged . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.

03/31/2015

Terri Schiavo: Ten Years Later

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Today acknowledges the tenth anniversary since the final death of Terri Schiavo. Her feeding tube was removed on March 18 and her body took its last breath on March 31, 2005.

This case was one of the most divisive in bioethics history. The issues in this case of removing feeding tubes and deciding who was the appropriate decision-maker had been largely settled by previous cases and experiences. What made this case unique was that a private family matter was thrust onto the international stage by political and money interests who saw an opportunity to further their own agendas at the cost of a family’s privacy and dignity.…

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

03/26/2015

Research 2.0: Rise of the Citizen-Scientist and the Death of Privacy

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

On Monday I attended a symposium on inter-professional education. During a session on new technologies in medicine (telemedicine, wearables, and mobile devices) I brought up the question of preserving privacy. The foundation sponsoring the event replied to me, “There is no such thing as privacy. It’s dead.” For someone who works in bioethics, serves on an IRB, and was formerly a journalist, this notion is scary. Perhaps, I have simply been in denial. After all, I use a mobile phone that tracks my position, synchs with the cloud, and provides much convenience. In exchange, my information is collected, analyzed, sorted, and used for marketing and more.…

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03/25/2015

A Pill for Compassion or Misunderstood Science?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

For at least a decade, studies have shown that empathy and compassion decline in medical students. The response is often more curricula dedicated to ethics, humanities, communication skills, and patient contact. But what if the answer was simply medicating the students.

An article in Time magazine reported that a study from researchers at the University of California Berkeley and University of California San Francisco have found “that by manipulating a brain chemical, people can become more compassionate and act in prosocial ways to equalize differences.”

Compassion is “a sympathetic consciousness of other’s distress with a desire to alleviate it.” According to the article, the study of 35 subjects found that when taking a drug a person’s desire to alleviate inequity increased.…

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03/16/2015

Ethics of Penile Transplants

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This weekend, doctors in South Africa announced a new first—a successful penis transplant. The 9-hour operation took place in December 2014. After three months of recovery, the recipient is able to urinate, achieve an erection and a sexual response. As of yet, the recipient does not have full sensation in the organ.

The recipient was 18 years old when he underwent a ritual circumcision that went wrong and left him with 1cm of the original penis. Estimates are that dozens to hundreds of men are maimed each year as a result of these rituals.

This was not the first attempted transplant.…

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03/12/2015

War Against Science 2.0: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Ban ‘Em

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

That’s the good thing about science: It’s true whether or not you believe in it. That’s why it works-Neil deGrasse Tyson

The data of climate change is very strong: warmest average years on record, increasing extreme weather, higher carbon dioxide levels, changes in sea level, increasing droughts, decreasing snowpacks and sea ice, melting glaciers and permafrost, warmer oceans and increasing ocean acidity. With so much data in support of a changing climate, it is getting harder to be a climate denier.

What does one do when the facts disagree with your beliefs: You ban talking about the ideas.…

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