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Bioethics news.

Globalized Science in a Deglobalizing World
The arrest of Harvard chemist and nanobiologist Charles Lieber on charges of lying about his research funding from China encapsulates two phenomena currently in tension: the global nature of modern science and attempts to nationalize the fruits of science.
Edit Embryo Genome? Ethics Experts Weigh In
You voted, now see the results and expert discussion.
She Didn’t Want a Pelvic Exam. She Received One Anyway.
Medical schools and students are grappling with an unsettling practice: Performing pelvic exams on unconscious, non-consenting patients.
The coronavirus outbreak exposes the U.S.’s pharma supply chain vulnerability
In October 2019, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, testified before Congress that the United States “has become a world leader in drug discovery and development, but is no longer in the forefront of drug manufacturing.” The use of foreign-sourced materials “creates vulnerabilities in the U.S. supply chain,” Woodcock concluded.
When Your Ancestry Test Entangles Others
Today’s DNA kits can reveal secrets that affect not just your own family but strangers as well. Should one person’s right to know take precedence over another’s life narrative?
Packing ethics into medical students’ global health trips
Medical trainees want to help in less-resourced countries. But short-term programs can misread local needs, overburden hosts, and send students into situations they’re not prepared to handle. Here’s how leaders are ensuring ethical, effective experiences.
A lottery like no other offers up a cutting-edge medicine — with lives on the line
The lottery that began this week was not about money, or about choosing a school, or about obtaining a visa. It was about a child’s life. In this case, the children selected would receive a drug that otherwise was not available.
Deciding When Enough is Enough in Providing Intensive Care for a Child
Tinslee Lewis, a critically ill 1-year-old girl born with a rare heart defect and severe lung disease, has spent her entire life in the ICU and undergone multiple surgeries in attempts to save her life. Tinslee’s care team has determined that she has no chance for any meaningful survival and that ongoing intensive care is harmful and causing her...
Super-precise CRISPR tool enhanced by enzyme engineering
A super-precise version of the CRISPR genome-editing tool just got even better. Researchers have boosted the accuracy of a technique based on the popular but error-prone CRISPR–Cas9 system by engineering enzymes that can precisely target DNA without introducing as many unwanted mutations.
Love as a drug: can romance be medically prescribed?
Love drugs could soon be a reality and used alongside therapy to help heal broken relationships, claims a new book.
Critics Say China Has Suppressed And Censored Information In Coronavirus Outbreak
China’s state censors have clamped down this week on digital items related to the outbreak of a new coronavirus, removing local news reports that expose the dire circumstances in the city of Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak, and scrubbing social media platforms of posts from Wuhan residents who say they are ill and desperate for medical care and supplies.
Clearview AI hit with cease-and-desist from Google, Facebook over facial recognition collection
In an interview with CBS This Morning, Clearview AI’s founder says it’s his right to collect photos for the facial recognition app.
Huduma Namba: Kenya court halts biometric ID over data fears
Kenya’s High Court has halted a controversial biometric ID scheme until new data protection laws are enacted.
Too many tests, too little time: Doctors say they face ‘moral injury’ because of a business model that interferes with patient care
Many people frame physician burnout as a character weakness, but the term “moral injury” correctly identifies that the problem lies with the system, rather than the physician.
Clarifying the Language of Clinician Distress
A National Academy of Medicine report, released in October 2019, acknowledged, “The evidence for system interventions that significantly address clinician burnout is limited,” noting that “the study committee was not able to provide specific recommendations for system interventions.” In the wake of more than a decade of assessments and interventions focused on burnout, none of which has proven to systematically...
Crowdsourced Research: Vulnerability, Autonomy, and Exploitation
The use of crowd workers as research participants is fast becoming commonplace in social, behavioral, and educational research, and institutional review boards are encountering more and more research protocols concerning these workers. In what sense are crowd workers vulnerable as research participants, and what should ethics reviewers look out for in evaluating a crowdsourced research protocol?
Scientists Find Imperfections In ‘Minibrains’ That Raise Questions For Research
Brain organoids, often called “minibrains,” have changed the way scientists study human brain development and disorders like autism. But the cells in these organoids differ from those in an actual brain in some important ways, scientists reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.The finding suggests that scientists need to be cautious about extrapolating results found in organoids to people.
Should We Sequence the Genome of Every Newborn?
Yes, but only if we do it in targeted ways that are attentive to the needs of babies, families and health systems
U.S. Accuses Harvard Scientist of Concealing Chinese Funding
Prosecutors say Charles M. Lieber, the chair of Harvard’s chemistry department, lied about contacts with a Chinese state-run initiative that seeks to draw foreign-educated talent.
Is medically assisted dying a choice if persons with disabilities aren’t given the necessary supports to live?
Canadians love to boast about our publicly funded health care system that puts universal access above ability to pay — and we should be proud and safeguard it. But it often comes up short, particularly for persons with disabilities.
A woman who had embryos frozen before cancer treatment is barred from using them since she got divorced
An Arizona woman and her then-boyfriend had embryos frozen before the woman’s cancer treatment to improve their chances of having kids afterwards. The couple got married, and then divorced. The woman, Ruby Torres, now wants to use the embryos but her ex-husband, John Joseph Terrell, doesn’t want her to. After two different court rulings, a third judge ruled in Terrell’s favor,...
Hospitals Give Tech Giants Access to Detailed Medical Records
Deals with Microsoft, IBM and Google reveal the power medical providers have in deciding how patients’ sensitive health data is shared.
23andMe lays off 100 people as DNA test sales decline, CEO says she was ‘surprised’ to see market turn
23andMe is laying off 100 people, as consumer DNA tests are down. CEO Anne Wojcicki didn’t have a clear explanation for that, but cited a variety of factors, including both recession fears and privacy concerns. Wojcicki said she anticipated that DNA testing would explode when she co-founded the business in 2007, but is now looking ahead to a retracting...
Pharmaceutical Executive John Kapoor Sentenced To 66 Months In Prison In Opioid Trial
Former billionaire and pharmaceutical executive John Kapoor has been sentenced to five years and six months in prison. His sentencing is the culmination of a months-long criminal trial in Boston’s Moakley U.S. Courthouse that resulted in the first successful prosecution of pharmaceutical executives tied to the opioid epidemic.
An Incoherent Proposal to Revise the Uniform Determination of Death Act
It has been 50 years since the medical profession adopted the determination of death according to neurological criteria, known as “brain death.” This doctrine was codified in 1981 in the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA), which declares,  “An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of...
Pfizer’s big data exec on pharma’s ‘arms race’ to partner with companies like Fitbit, 23AndMe, and others
Pharmaceutical giants are hunting for ways to tap into the data from your smart watch, your sleep tracker, and your genetic tests.
Diagnosed With Dementia, She Documented Her Wishes. They Said No.
At age 57, Saran was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a progressive, fatal brain disease. She sold her home and moved to Kendal at Ithaca, a bucolic retirement community in rural New York whose website promised “comprehensive health care for life.” And now, she’s fighting with that community over her right to determine how she’ll die ― even though she has made...
Previously unseen mutations in stem cells of young donors can be passed to recipients, study finds
Doctors use stem cell transplants to treat patients with certain cancers or blood disorders. And donors, whose blood or bone marrow is used for the procedures, are typically young, for a variety of reasons. But a pilot study released Wednesday raised the possibility that such donors are also passing along mutations in stem cells that could lead to health problems for...
‘Donation after cardiac death’: New heart transplant method being tested for the first time in the U.S.
More than 250,000 people in the U.S. are currently at the end stages of heart failure, up to 15% of whom are in desperate need of a transplant. A new method of “reanimating” donor hearts from those who have died from cardiac failure is currently being tested in the U.S., and may soon ease that burden.
Research on embryo-like structures struggles to win US government funding
Scientists can now create clumps of cells that resemble human embryos, raising hopes that they could study the elusive first stages of human development while avoiding the ethical concerns that make it difficult to study actual human embryos. But US researchers say they are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain federal funding for such work.