June 4, 2012 7:35 am
When it comes to advocating against her 8-year-old son’s serious illness, Gelse Tkalec is on a much lonelier path than those strewn with pink ribbons and yellow bracelets. There are only 25 to 30 children worldwide known to have giant axonal neuropathy, or GAN, the disease that afflicts her son, Ethan. With so few afflicted with the disease, pharmaceutical and biotech companies have little financial incentive to study it. So parents such as Tkalec and others have taken it upon themselves to recruit scientists, underwrite clinical trials and raise money and awareness.
May 18, 2012 12:45 am
The Obama administration is asking a presidential commission to help decide an ethical quandary: Should the anthrax vaccine and other treatments being stockpiled in case of a bioterror attack be tested in children? ”We can’t just assume that what we have for adults works for children,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the panel Thursday.
May 14, 2012 11:07 am
Researchers at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine have found that patients see both benefits and risks from direct-to-consumer genetic tests. Dr. Katherine Wasson, a specialist on the ethics of direct-to-consumer genetic tests, and colleagues conducted the experiment. The study, published in the American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research, showed that the patients were concerned about the end game of the genetic test results.
April 24, 2012 12:31 pm
One of the courses I teach regularly at my university is “Ethics in Science,” a course that explores (among other things) what’s involved in being a good scientist in one’s interactions with the phenomena about which one is building knowledge, in one’s interactions with other scientists, and in one’s interactions with the rest of the world.
April 23, 2012 5:51 pm
Over the past two decades, the popular press has been in love with the idea of a genetic revolution. But the mood has changed. Headlines such as “A.M.A. Heralds a Genetics Revolution” (The New York Times, 1993) and “Genetics: The Future Is Now” (Time Magazine, 1994) have been replaced with banners that drip disappointment, such as “The Failure of the Genome” (The Guardian, 2011), “Did They Oversell the Genomic Revolution?” (Globe and Mail, 2011) and from a recent New York Times article: “Study Says DNA’s Power to Predict Illness Is Limited.”
April 18, 2012 2:44 pm
In an opinion article published in this week’s theme edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association focusing on comparative effectiveness research, a team of Johns Hopkins University bioethicists argues forcefully for streamlining federal restrictions on at least some low-risk clinical comparative effectiveness research, instead of easing them – as is now proposed – solely for low-risk social and behavior research involving surveys, interviews and focus groups.
April 16, 2012 3:39 pm
Are you losing sleep over America’s competition with China for global dominance? Not to worry. The People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, has a pill that will keep you feeling well, alert and comfortable for 72 hours. So at least while you’re not sleeping you can be productive.
April 15, 2012 11:30 am
Scores of animal scientists employed by public universities have helped pharmaceutical companies persuade farmers and ranchers to use antibiotics, hormones, and drugs like Zilmax to make their cattle grow bigger ever faster. But at what cost?
April 10, 2012 11:07 pm
A core concept of the Enlightenment was that the more that reasoning is based on experimentation the more we can learn about the world. Manipulation of variables, recommended in the 17th century by Francis Bacon, proved to be a turning point in the history of science. By uncovering previously invisible truths and giving human beings novel and effective ways to manage their environment scientific method gave the idea of progress a whole new meaning. Until then it wasn’t at all clear that civilization wasn’t in some kind of steady state, or even that we weren’t in decline from some “golden age.” But it turned out that the golden age was still ahead of us, if we were smart enough to invest in it and wise enough not to misuse the knowledge being gained.
April 2, 2012 11:39 am
A readout of all of your DNA? You’ll get it soon. Many wealthy people have theirs already, but within years because of ever-accelerating technology it will be cheap enough for all, including every baby at birth. So what will this “genetic blueprint” tell us of our future health? Not much. #bioethics #genetics