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06/24/2016

First CRISPR Human Clinical Trial Gets a Green Light from the U.S.

Scientific American

CRISPR, the genome-editing technology that has taken biomedical science by storm, is finally nearing human trials.

06/23/2016

Birth Control via App Finds Footing Under Political Radar

New York Times

A quiet shift is taking place in how women obtain birth control. A growing assortment of new apps and websites now make it possible to get prescription contraceptives without going to the doctor.

06/22/2016

Colorado’s Teen Marijuana Usage Dips after Legalization

Scientific American

Marijuana consumption by Colorado high school students has dipped slightly since the state first permitted recreational cannabis use by adults, a new survey showed on Monday, contrary to concerns that legalization would increase pot use by teens.

06/21/2016

Even Cheap Meals Influence Doctors’ Drug Prescriptions, Study Suggests

Wall Street Journal

It doesn’t take much to get a doctor to prescribe a brand-name medication, a new study suggests. The study found that U.S. doctors who received a single free meal from a drug company were more likely to prescribe the drug the company was promoting than doctors who received no such meals. Meals paid for by drug companies cost less than $20 on average.

06/20/2016

Canada Legalizes Physician-Assisted Dying

NPR

After weeks of debate, Canadian lawmakers have passed legislation to legalize physician-assisted death. That makes Canada “one of the few nations where doctors can legally help sick people die,” as Reuters reports.

06/17/2016

Orlando Shooting Renews Debate Over Limits on Gay Men Donating Blood

New York Times

In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., 53 people were alive but wounded, many in desperate need of blood. Blood banks in the area put out a call for donors. Gay men were ready to volunteer. Rumors even went around that blood centers in Orlando had relaxed a ban on donations from sexually active gay men. But the rumors were false. The ban, imposed by the Food and Drug Administration, remains in place, infuriating some gay rights activists.

06/16/2016

Hints that antibiotics, C-sections may affect baby gut bugs

Washington Post

Two new studies are offering some of the clearest snapshots yet of how babies build up protective gut bacteria, adding to evidence that antibiotics and birth by C-section may disrupt that development.

06/15/2016

WHO sees ‘very low’ risk of further Zika spread due to Olympics

Reuters

There is a “very low risk” of further international spread of Zika virus as result of the Olympic Games to be held in Brazil, the heart of the current outbreak linked to birth defects, World Health Organization (WHO) experts said on Tuesday.

06/14/2016

White House, private sector act to reduce organ transplant waiting list

Washington Post

The White House and a group of universities, companies and nonprofits announced new steps Monday to reduce the wait time for an organ transplant, including a $160 million Pentagon program to develop ways to repair and replace cells and tissue.

06/13/2016

In effort to understand continuing racial disparities, NIH to test for bias in study sections

Science

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, has decided to find out whether its fabled grantsmaking process discriminates against African-American scientists.

06/10/2016

Who May Die? California Patients and Doctors Wrestle With Assisted Suicide

New York Times

Beginning Thursday, California will be the fourth state in the country to put in effect a law allowing assisted suicide for the terminally ill, what has come to be known as aid in dying. Lawmakers here approved the legislation last year, after Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old schoolteacher who had brain cancer, received international attention for her decision to move to Oregon, where terminally ill patients have been allowed to take drugs to die since 1997.

06/09/2016

White Male Doctors Are Paid Way More Than Blacks and Women

Time

Far too often, a person’s sex or skin color is connected to how much he or she earns—even in the reputationally well-paying field of medicine, finds a new study published in The BMJ. Men make more than women, and white male doctors typically earn about $60,000 more than black male doctors.

06/08/2016

This Is How Much Celebrities Get Paid To Endorse Soda And Unhealthy Food

NPR

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics describes the lucrative endorsement deals of 65 music celebrities — including Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Timberlake and other stars popular with teens and young adults. These celebrities promoted 57 different food and beverage brands (see chart), ranging from soda to energy drinks to pizza, Pop Tarts and candy.

06/07/2016

Most Violent Crimes Are Wrongly Linked to Mental Illness

Time

Despite the fact that most people with mental illness are never violent, news stories about violence often focus on whether a person’s mental health problem was responsible, according to a new report.

06/06/2016

Families Isolated By Rare Genetic Conditions Find New Ways To Reach Out

NPR

Shortly after Milo Lorentzen was born, nurses whisked him away to the neonatal intensive care unit for low blood sugar and jaundice. An exam then found a cluster of irregularities, including a cleft palate and a hole in his heart.

06/03/2016

Scientists Announce HGP-Write, Project to Synthesize the Human Genome

New York Times

Scientists on Thursday formally announced the start of a 10-year project aimed at vastly improving the ability to chemically manufacture DNA, with one of the goals being to synthetically create an entire human genome.

06/02/2016

We’re spending $107 billion on cancer drugs, but is it worth it?

Washington Post

A flood of innovative cancer treatments helped fuel an 11.5 percent surge in spending on oncology drugs over the past year — to $107 billion globally, according to a new report. But there’s a crucial question the study can’t quite answer: How much are patients benefiting from this expanding arsenal of high-priced drugs?

06/01/2016

Why taking morphine, oxycodone can sometimes make pain worse

Science

There’s an unfortunate irony for people who rely on morphine, oxycodone, and other opioid painkillers: The drug that’s supposed to offer you relief can actually make you more sensitive to pain over time.

05/31/2016

Infection Raises Specter of Superbugs Resistant to All Antibiotics

New York Times

American military researchers have identified the first patient in the United States to be infected with bacteria that are resistant to an antibiotic that was the last resort against drug-resistant germs.

05/27/2016

Cancer deaths rose during the recession. But why?

Washington Post

Wealthy countries experienced a small uptick in cancer deaths during the global economic crisis, according to a new study — an estimated 260,000 excess deaths between 2008 and 2010.

05/26/2016

Antimicrobial Mechanism Gone Rogue May Play Role in Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientific American

General consensus among Alzheimer’s researchers has it that the disease’s main culprit, a protein called amyloid beta, is an unfortunate waste product that is not known to play any useful role in the body—and one that can have devastating consequences. When not properly cleared from the brain it builds up into plaques that destroy synapses, the junctions between nerve cells, resulting in cognitive decline and memory loss. The protein has thus become a major drug target in the search for a cure to Alzheimer’s.

05/25/2016

Despite Pressing Need, Survey Finds Most Americans Unlikely to Enroll in Clinical Trials

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The lack of participation in clinical research may be the Achilles’ heel of today’s cancer community. According to a new survey of more than 1,500 consumers and nearly 600 physicians conducted on behalf of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), only 35 percent of Americans indicated that they were “likely” to enroll in a clinical trial. Other studies have shown that only 4 percent of cancer patients enroll in clinical trials nationally each year.

05/24/2016

Just 5% of Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients Fully Understand Prognosis, Study Finds

ABC News

Just a fraction of terminally-ill cancer patients fully understood their prognosis according to a new small study published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

05/23/2016

An ‘Added Sugar’ Label Is On The Way For Packaged Food

NPR

The new, redesigned “Nutrition Facts” label is coming. The Food and Drug Administration has announced that the new label will be required on most packaged food by July 2018.

05/20/2016

Nearly a third of women in academic medicine experience sexual harassment

Reuters

For women in U.S. medical research, sexual harassment is less common than 20 years ago, but it was still experienced by 30 percent of those responding to a new survey, compared to just 4 percent of men, researchers say.

05/19/2016

House GOP presses ahead with Zika measure

Washington Post

House Republicans on Wednesday pushed through a $622 million bill to battle the Zika virus, setting up challenging negotiations with the Senate and the White House.

05/18/2016

How Much Time Is Left? Doctors, Loved Ones Often Disagree

US News

Loved ones acting on behalf of critically ill patients are often more optimistic about outcomes than physicians. But not necessarily because they don’t grasp the gravity of the case, new research suggests.

05/17/2016

Should Your Doctor Ask If You Own Guns?

Time

Doctors routinely ask if you smoke, and counsel you to wear your seat belt when you’re in a car. Technically, either behavior isn’t any of their business, but they do fall under the umbrella of preventive care. Now Dr. Garen Wintemute, director of the violence prevention research program at the University of California Davis, and his colleagues want to add firearms to the office visit for similar reasons.

05/16/2016

Obamacare Rule Bans Discrimination Against Transgender Patients

Time

The Obama administration has finalized a new rule that bans discrimination against transgender people and all discrimination on the basis of sex within health programs that receive federal funding.

05/13/2016

WHEN DO YOU GIVE UP ON TREATING A CHILD WITH CANCER?

New York Times

Andrew Levy’s parents knew that the rare and deadly cancer in his blood could not be
beaten, so they began to prepare for the worst. Then something mysterious happened.