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Author Archive: Craig Klugman

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.

03/03/2015

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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02/25/2015

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.

02/18/2015

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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02/09/2015

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.

02/03/2015

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.

01/28/2015

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.