Btn Rss Bioethics News.


Big pharma is gearing up to defend drug prices

Washington Post

The skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs has been noticeably absent from discussion in the presidential debates — even as bipartisan anger about price gouging has united Congress. But the trade group for the pharmaceutical industry, PhRMA, is gearing up to defend drug prices after the election, seeking an additional $100 million in annual dues from its members, according to a report from Politico.


How drugs intended for patients ended up in the hands of illegal users: ‘No one was doing their job’

Washington Post

For 10 years, the government waged a behind-the-scenes war against pharmaceutical companies that hardly anyone knows: wholesale distributors of prescription narcotics that ship drugs from manufacturers to consumers.


How Reliable Are Smartphones and Wearables for Monitoring Your Heart?


Digital gizmos can monitor your heart, whether it’s a wrist-worn fitness tracker or a smartphone app to help cardiologists analyze diagnostic tests. The question is whether they’re going to do your heart any good. The short answer: It depends.


Cardiac Patient Aided by Bystanders Who Were Alerted by App


If your heart is going to stop, right outside a hospital is not a bad place for it. And if 41 people within a 330-yard radius have a cellphone app alerting them to your distress, so much the better.


Can Ecstasy Help Relieve Social Anxiety Epidemic Among Autistic People?


For a long time, Daniel Au Valencia got the message that she was wrong, wrong, wrong. She stood wrong. She talked wrong. She looked at people wrong. “There’s a lot of shame around autism,” she says. “There’s a lot of being told you look weird.”


What Stem Cell Researchers Talk About When They Talk About Ethics


Prior to the development of iPSCs, stem cells were derived primarily from eggs fertilized in clinics in vitro that were donated for research purposes. To some, such as President George W. Bush, this was tantamount to abortion. In 2001 he banned federal funding for research on newly created human embryonic stem cell lines. (President Barack Obama lifted that ban in 2009.)


Eating plenty of fruit and veggies may not lessen risks tied to meat-heavy diets

Washington Post

The researchers analyzed data on 74,645 adults, most in their late 50s or early 60s when the study began. None had a history of cardiovascular disease or cancer. Over a 16-year period, 17,909 of the participants died. The more processed and unprocessed red meat people ate regularly, the more likely they were to have died — 21 percent more likely than those who ate the least meat overall. Early death from a cardiovascular cause was 29 percent more likely among those whose regular diets included the most red meat compared with those who ate the least. Those risks did not change, regardless of whether people regularly ate a low, medium or high amount of fruits and vegetables. The researchers reported finding “no interaction” between red meat and fruit and vegetable consumption.


Fighting For All: A Century Of Progress With Planned Parenthood

Huffington Post

Stephanie, a college student without health insurance, visited her local Planned Parenthood for a check-up she could afford. Imagine her surprise and fright when told her Pap test results were abnormal. With empathy and compassion Planned Parenthood staff guided Stephanie through a biopsy and a screening that proved her to be cancer-free.


The dangers of euthanasia-on-demand

Chicago Tribune

If the Dutch Cabinet gets what it wants, citizens who feel they have a “completed life” soon will be able to request public support for help in ending their lives. It is a frightening precedent that other nations ought not follow, and a policy the Dutch ought to reject.


Mouse eggs made from skin cells in a dish


In a tour de force of reproductive biology, scientists in Japan have transformed mouse skin cells into eggs in a dish, and used those eggs to birth fertile pups. The report marks the first creation of eggs entirely outside a mouse. If the process could be made to work for humans, researchers could produce artificial eggs without needing to implant immature cells into ovaries to complete their development.


The drug industry’s answer to opioid addiction: More pills

Washington Post

Cancer patients taking high doses of opioid painkillers are often afflicted by a new discomfort: constipation. Researcher Jonathan Moss thought he could help, but no drug company was interested in his ideas for relieving suffering among the dying.


DNA’s new ‘miracle’: How adoptees are using online registries to find their blood relatives

Washington Post

Last year, Bob Nore, a Vietnam War veteran in Huntsville, Ala., was working on a family tree and wanted to trace his ancestors’ history and origins. So he sent a vial of saliva and $89 to a DNA registry for analysis.


Comparison of Physician and Computer Diagnostic Accuracy


The Institute of Medicine recently highlighted that physician diagnostic error is common and information technology may be part of the solution.1 Given advancements in computer science, computers may be able to independently make accurate clinical diagnoses.2 While studies have compared computer vs physician performance for reading electrocardiograms,3 the diagnostic accuracy of computers vs physicians remains unknown. To fill this gap in knowledge, we compared the diagnostic accuracy of physicians with computer algorithms called symptom checkers.


Doctors Significantly Better Than Google, According To New Research

Huffington Post

Doctors are much better than symptom-checker programs at reaching a correct diagnosis, though the humans are not perfect and might benefit from using algorithms to supplement their skills, a small study suggests.


Major Investor Sues Theranos


One of Theranos Inc.’s biggest financial backers has sued the embattled startup and its founder for allegedly lying to attract its nearly $100 million investment, according to a fund document and people familiar with the matter.


Excuse Me, Why Are You Wearing Those Surgical Scrubs Outside The Hospital?


I work in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, one of the densest concentrations of hospitals in the country, and I often have this reaction when I’m out on the street among my work neighbors: “Dude. Ew.”


80% of China’s clinical trial data are fraudulent, investigation finds


Just over 80% of clinical trial data submitted to support new drug registrations in China have been revealed as fraudulent or substandard by the country’s drug regulator.  An investigation of data for 1622 new drugs submitted to China’s State Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) for registration said that 1308 of the applications should be withdrawn because they contained fabricated, flawed, or inadequate data from clinical trials.


This Scientist Is Trying To Unravel What Sugar Does To The Brain


Most of us have been tempted at one time or another by the lure of sugar. Think of all the cakes and cookies you consume between Thanksgiving and Christmastime!


This 8-year-old is free of cancer — for now — after a ‘breakthrough’ treatment

Washington Post

By the time 8-year-old Ava Christianson got to the National Institutes of Health this summer, she had lost several grueling rounds to leukemia and was bracing for the next one.


Doctors’ Political Views Affect How They Treat Patients

The Atlantic

How bad is that thrice-weekly pot habit? How dangerous is it to keep a gun in your home? A new study by Eitan D. Hersh and Matthew N. Goldenberg of Yale University suggests doctors’ responses to those and other hot-button issues could be colored by their political views.


How We Got Here: Treating Addiction In 28 Days


Louis Casanova is playing cards with a friend on the back deck of a recovery house in Philadelphia’s northern suburbs.


Are Swedish Designer Babies Coming Soon?


A Swedish medical researcher has taken another step toward eventually being able to engineer a custom-made human being. The experiment, first reported on NPR Thursday involves editing the genes of a developing human embryo.


Furor Over Drug Prices Puts Patient Advocacy Groups in Bind

NY Times

Public anger over the cost of drugs has burned hot for a year, coursing through social media, popping up on the presidential campaign, and erupting in a series of congressional hearings, including one last week over the rising price of the allergy treatment EpiPen.


Deal emerges to curb greenhouse-gas emissions from aviation


Governments will begin final negotiations this week on a plan to curb carbon emissions from international aircraft flights beginning in 2020.


Depression, daily stressors and inflammatory responses to high-fat meals: when stress overrides healthier food choices


Depression, stress and diet can all alter inflammation. This double-blind, randomized crossover study addressed the impact of daily stressors and a history of major depressive disorder (MDD) on inflammatory responses to high-fat meals. During two separate 9.5 h admissions, 58 healthy women (38 breast cancer survivors and 20 demographically similar controls), mean age 53.1 years, received either a high saturated fat meal or a high oleic sunflower oil meal. The Daily Inventory of Stressful Events assessed prior day stressors and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV evaluated MDD. As expected, for a woman with no prior day stressors, C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid A (SAA), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1) were higher following the saturated fat meal than the high oleic sunflower oil meal after controlling for pre-meal measures, age, trunk fat and physical activity. But if a woman had prior day stressors, these meal-related differences disappeared—because the stressors heightened CRP, SAA, sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 responses to the sunflower oil meal, making it look more like the responses to the saturated fat meal. In addition, women with an MDD history had higher post-meal blood pressure responses than those without a similar history. These data show how recent stressors and an MDD history can reverberate through metabolic alterations, promoting inflammatory and atherogenic responses.


World’s first baby born from new procedure using DNA of three people

The Guardian

The world’s first baby to be born from a new procedure that combines the DNA of three people appears to be healthy, according to doctors in the US who oversaw the treatment.


Why Do Obese Patients Get Worse Care? Many Doctors Don’t See Past the Fat

NY Times

You must lose weight, a doctor told Sarah Bramblette, advising a 1,200-calorie-a-day diet. But Ms. Bramblette had a basic question: How much do I weigh?


Too Poor for Proper Plumbing: A Reality in 500,000 U.S. Homes

NY Times

TYLER, Ala. — The hard clay soil in this rural Southern county has twice cursed Dorothy Rudolph. It is good for growing cotton and cucumbers, the crops she worked as a child and hated. And it is bad for burying things — in particular, septic tanks.


Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness

NY Times

The woman on the other end of the phone spoke lightheartedly of spring and of her 81st birthday the previous week. “Who did you celebrate with, Beryl?” asked Alison, whose job was to offer a kind ear. “No one, I…” And with that, Beryl’s cheer turned to despair.


Belgium minor first to be granted euthanasia

BBC News

A terminally ill 17-year-old has become the first minor to be helped to die in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia requests were removed two years ago, officials say.