Blog RSS Blog.

Author Archive: Jon Holmlund

About Jon Holmlund

06/08/2018

More on physician-assisted suicide

Recently, Dr. Arthur Caplan of NYU, on the Medscape service (subscription required), took on the question of whether physician-assisted suicide (PAS) should be allowed for old folks just because they are old, or because they want to die together.  There have been reports of just that.  While he supports PAS for terminal illness but objects that PAS for “suffering” in general is just too fuzzy,... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

05/25/2018

Coming home to roost

Hoo boy. Scientists who want to study human embryonic development have heretofore been self-limited by a 14-day rule:  embryos can only be experimented on up to 14 days of age, when they start to develop a nervous system.  This is an attempt to avoid censure for unethical experimentation on human subjects, and is seen as something of a concession, since it does not accept that... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

05/18/2018

A pause for doctor-assisted suicide in California

Readers of this blog probably saw this week’s news that a California judge blocked the state’s End of Life Options Act, the one that legalized doctor-assisted suicide in California.  The law passed after apparent failure in a regular California Legislature session, when its sponsors brought it up again in a special session that was supposed to be about Medicaid funding.  The judge said that inserting... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

05/04/2018

More on genetic medicine

The third and final installment from The Code, a series of 3 short documentaries on the internet about the origins of genetic medicine, is entitled “Selling the Code.”  This is about genetic testing to try to predict risks of diseases, among other things.  Doctors use some of this testing in clinical care and a burgeoning amount of research.  A number of companies, such as 23andMe,... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care and tagged , , , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

04/25/2018

Raiding the CRISPR

The second installment from The Code, a series of 3 short documentaries on the internet about the origins of genetic medicine, addresses gene editing.  The current approach to this exploits “CRISPR,” or “Clustered Regularly Interspersed Short Palindromic Repeats,” DNA sequences initially discovered as a sort of bacterial immune system but very efficient at editing out undesirable genetic features, such as disease susceptibility mutations in plants... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

04/05/2018

New short videos on genetic topics

This week, an email from the Hastings Center promoted The Code, a series of 3 short documentaries on the internet about the origins of genetic medicine.  The three are being released one week at a time.  The first, released this week, briefly (12 minutes) reviews the determination, or sequencing, of the entire human genome, a project conducted in the 1990’s, and completed in 2000, by... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

03/29/2018

Toward true public engagement about gene editing

The March 22, 2018 edition of Nature includes two thoughtful, helpful commentaries about improving the public dialogue around “bleeding edge” biotechnologies.  In this case, the example is gene editing, of which one commentator, Simon Burall from the U.K., says, “Like artificial intelligence, gene editing could radically alter almost every domain of life.”  Burall’s piece, “Don’t wait for an outcry about gene editing,” can be found... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care and tagged , , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

03/23/2018

Resources regarding ethics of gene editing

Recently, two resources have become available regarding gene editing and the issues raised by it. First, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have made available an archive of its February 22 webinar about human gene editing.  The home page for the Academies’ human gene-editing initiative is here.  A link to the archived webinar is here.  The slides can also just be viewed here.... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Genetics, Health Care and tagged , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

03/09/2018

Doctor-assisted death: resisting the slippery slope

The New England Journal of Medicine has two new “op-ed”-style pieces raising concerns about extending physician-assisted suicide (PAS) from people with end-stage terminal illness to people who may express a desire to die because of (non-terminal) mental illness.  (Regrettably, both require subscription access.)  PAS in these cases is being exercised in Belgium and the Netherlands, and is being considered in Canada In one article, the... // Read More »

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

02/23/2018

Reviewing the ethics of paying human research subjects

Sometimes it is both necessary and proper to pay a person to participate in a clinical trial, of a drug or some other medical intervention, or a data-collection study, or something else that involves people.  An article in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine reviews many of the relevant ethical issues. A link to the article is here.  Correction to initial post:  subscription or... // Read More »

Full Article