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09/25/2018

Veterans Struggling After Sexual Assault Increasingly Turn To Service Dogs

NPR

Service dog providers are seeing an influx of applications from veterans like Michel who have experienced sexual trauma while in the military. But the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides veterinary benefits for service dogs assigned to people with physical disabilities, does not currently recognize psychiatric service dogs as a proven therapy for mental illness.

09/24/2018

Cornell nutrition scientist resigns after retractions and research misconduct finding

Science

Brian Wansink, the Cornell University nutrition researcher known for probing the psychology behind human eating habits, has resigned after a university misconduct investigation, and following the retraction this week of six of his papers.

09/23/2018

UK doctors win battle with drug giants over cheaper eye medicine

Reuters

Drug giants Novartis, Bayer and Roche lost a bid to stop British doctors from recommending a cheaper drug option for people with an eye disease that causes blindness.

09/21/2018

Human genome could contain up to 20 percent fewer genes, researchers reveal

Science Daily
A new study reveals that up to 20 percent of genes classified as coding (those that produce the proteins that are the building blocks of all living things) may not be coding after all because they have characteristics that are typical of non-coding or pseudogenes (obsolete coding genes). The work once again highlights doubts about the number of real genes present in human cells 15 years after the sequencing the human genome.

09/20/2018

California Sues AbbVie Over Alleged Arthritis Drug Kickbacks

Bloomberg

California’s insurance regulator is suing AbbVie Inc., alleging that the pharmaceutical giant gave illegal kickbacks to health-care providers in order to keep patients on its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira.

09/20/2018

Here’s what we know about CRISPR safety – and reports of ‘genome vandalism’

The Washington Post

Using genome editing to treat human diseases is very tantalizing. Correcting inherited genetic defects that cause human disease — just as one edits a sentence — is the obvious application. This strategy has been successful in tests on animals. But a few recent scientific papers suggest that CRISPR is not without its problems. The research reveals that CRISPR can damage DNA located far from the target DNA we are trying to correct.

09/20/2018

Are We Being Misled About Precision Medicine?

The New York Times

Doctors and hospitals love to talk about the cancer patients they’ve saved, and reporters love to write about them. But deaths still vastly outnumber the rare successes.

09/19/2018

Nearly 30 percent of patients prescribed opioids had no recorded pain diagnoses

PBS News

Nearly 30 percent of U.S. patients prescribed opioids by doctors over the course of a decade had no recorded pain diagnosis, according to a new letter published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

09/19/2018

A plan to advance AI by exploring the minds of children

MIT Technology Review

The project brings computer scientists and engineers together with neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists to explore research that might lead to fundamental progress in artificial intelligence. Tenenbaum outlined the project, and his vision for advancing AI, at EmTech, a conference held at MIT this week by MIT Technology Review.

09/18/2018

AI may detect depression just from your voice

Axios

During a conversation, humans can grasp a friend’s mood or intent by relying on subtle vocal cues or word choice. Now, researchers at MIT say they have developed an algorithm that can detect if the friend is depressed, one of the most widely suffered — and often undiagnosed — conditions in the U.S.

09/17/2018

NIH gets $2 billion boost in final 2019 spending bill

Science

Congress has approved a $2 billion raise, to $39.1 billion, for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in a 2019 spending bill approved by House of Representatives and Senate negotiators last night. As expected, the 5% boost matches the Senate’s proposed spending level and surpasses a $1.25 billion increase in a draft bill passed by the House.

09/17/2018

Medicine’s Financial Contamination

The New York Times

The fall from grace last week of Dr. José Baselga, the former chief scientific officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, illuminated a longstanding problem of modern medicine: Potentially corrupting payments by drug and medical device makers to influential people at research hospitals are far more common than either side publicly acknowledges.

09/17/2018

‘Lots of lads I know wouldn’t give it a shot’: the men starting care careers

The Guardian

Wilding is one of the small – but slowly growing – number of male care workers in the UK; men make up just 18% of the social care workforce – an increase of two percentage points since 2015… A staggering 85% of men, and 76% of men aged 16-25, say they are unlikely to start a career in adult social care, while 35% of the public think working in a care home is a “woman’s career”.

09/14/2018

Drug executive: It’s a ‘moral requirement’ to charge patients the highest price

Los Angeles Times

In his interview with the Financial Times published Tuesday, Mulye defended Martin Shkreli, the former drug company CEO who became the face of the industry’s profiteering in 2015 when he jacked up the price of a generic anti-parasitic drug needed by HIV patients by more than 5,000%. “I agree with Martin Shkreli that when he raised the price of his drug he was within his rights because he had to reward his shareholders,” Mulye told the FT. (Shkreli is currently serving a prison term on fraud charges unrelated to the price hike.)

09/13/2018

A Deadly Virus Threatens Millions Of Pigs In China

NPR

In a little more than a month, some 897 pigs have died and nearly 20,000 have been culled to try and prevent the virus from spreading.

09/12/2018

Hospitals are fed up with drug companies, so they’re starting their own

The Washington Post

A group of major American hospitals, battered by price spikes on old drugs and long-lasting shortages of critical medicines, has launched a mission-driven, not-for-profit generic drug company, Civica Rx, to take some control over the drug supply.

09/11/2018

23andMe may offer costly premium DNA spit-test service

Mercury News

Mountain View spit-kit DNA testing firm 23andMe wants to know how deep you want to go into your genome, and how much you’re willing to pay. The company currently sells $100 ancestry tests and $200 tests that cover ancestry and health. But according to a new report, 23andMe has been market-testing a deeper dive into personal genetics.

09/10/2018

At $1,650 per month, the first digital pill will soon roll out to certain Medicaid patients with mental illness

STAT

The first digital pill will carry a price tag of $1,650 per month and soon be rolled out commercially to the first patients: people with mental illness covered by Medicaid, likely in regions including Florida and Virginia.

09/10/2018

Statement on Protecting the Integrity of U.S. Biomedical Research

NIH.gov

We have long understood, however, that the robustness of the biomedical research enterprise is under constant threat by risks to the security of intellectual property and the integrity of peer review.  This knowledge has shaped our existing policies and practices, but these risks are increasing.

09/07/2018

New gene-editing treatment might help treat a rare disorder, hints first human test

Science

The first test of a new gene-editing tool in people has yielded early clues that the strategy—an infusion that turns the liver into an enzyme factory—could help treat a rare, inherited metabolic disorder. Today, the biotech company Sangamo Therapeutics in Richmond, California, reported data suggesting that two patients with Hunter syndrome are now making small amounts of a crucial enzyme that their bodies previously could not produce. But the company is still a long way from providing evidence that the new method can improve Hunter patients’ health.

09/06/2018

Blood-Testing Firm Theranos to Dissolve

The Wall Street Journal

Theranos Inc., the blood-testing company accused of perpetrating Silicon Valley’s biggest fraud, will soon cease to exist.

09/06/2018

Insulin’s High Cost Leads To Lethal Rationing

NPR

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a terrible way to die. It’s what happens when you don’t have enough insulin. Your blood sugar gets so high that your blood becomes highly acidic, your cells dehydrate, and your body stops functioning. Diabetic ketoacidosis is how Nicole Smith-Holt lost her son. Three days before his payday. Because he couldn’t afford his insulin.

09/06/2018

Scientists Are Retooling Bacteria to Cure Disease

The New York Times

In a study carried out over the summer, a group of volunteers drank a white, peppermint-ish concoction laced with billions of bacteria. The microbes had been engineered to break down a naturally occurring toxin in the blood. The vast majority of us can do this without any help. But for those who cannot, these microbes may someday become a living medicine.

09/05/2018

CRISPR HALTED MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY IN DOGS. ARE HUMANS NEXT?

Wired

In a study published Thursday in Science, a team led by Eric Olson at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center used Crispr to successfully modify the DNA of four young dogs, reversing the molecular defect responsible for their muscle wasting disease. DMD isn’t an obvious candidate for Crispr’s find-and-replace function; the dystrophin gene is the largest in the human genome, and there are thousands of different mutations that can all result in the disease. But Olson found a way to target an error-prone hot spot on exon 51, which he figured could, with a single slice, benefit approximately 13 percent of DMD patients.

09/04/2018

China Has Withheld Samples of a Dangerous Flu Virus

The New York Times

Despite an international agreement, U.S. health authorities still have not received H7N9 avian flu specimens from their Chinese counterparts.

09/03/2018

John McCain did not ‘lose’ his battle with glioblastoma — because cancer is not a war

NBC News

A little more than one year has passed since John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that carries a grim prognosis. On Saturday, only one day after it was announced that the Arizona senator had decided to “discontinue medical treatment,” he passed away.

08/31/2018

Massive £30-million grant will be awarded to one cardiovascular research team

Nature

A lucky group of researchers will soon walk away with £30 million (US$39 million) to study the heart and circulatory system — one of the largest single grants for medical research in the world. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) launched the award on 25 August, and it is open to international applicants.

08/30/2018

Open Medical Records Can Spur Frank Talk Between Doctors And Patients

NPR

Theoretically, American patients have been able to see what doctors write about them for years. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, a 1996 law known as HIPAA, protects a patient’s right to see and get a copy of personal health records. In practice, though, formal records requests can take weeks to process and few patients take advantage of the option.A growing movement is using technology to try to change that. What started as an academic experiment has now become the norm at an increasing number of health care systems across the country: When doctors sign their notes, a copy is automatically visible to patients online.

08/29/2018

How 30 days with an in-home robot could help children with autism

Science

For many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), recognizing and responding to eye contact, body language, and tone of voice is a major challenge. Improving those social skills can take lots of work—putting a strain on caregivers with limited time, resources, and money for therapy. Now, a study shows that just 30 days with an in-home robot that provides social feedback can dramatically improve a child’s interactions with others.

08/28/2018

Officials remove special rules for gene therapy experiments

SF Gate

U.S. health officials are eliminating special regulations for gene therapy experiments, saying that what was once exotic science is quickly becoming an established form of medical care with no extraordinary risks. A special National Institutes of Health oversight panel will no longer review all gene therapy applications and will instead take on a broader advisory role…