» Media Where the World Finds Bioethics Sat, 28 Nov 2015 14:27:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Live Long & Prosper is the New “Good” Mon, 23 Nov 2015 21:49:48 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

One of my family’s Thanksgiving traditions is one common to many, that we go around the table and name something for which we are thankful. This week my list includes several things relevant to bioethics:

For most Americans though, they are often thankful for things that make them happy such as their family and their health.…

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Is There An Ethics Consultant In The House? Striving For Verisimilitude In Chicago Med Thu, 19 Nov 2015 16:44:23 +0000 by Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD and Nanette Elster, JD, MPH

The new NBC medical drama Chicago Med premiered this week. A spin off of other established NBC dramas (Chicago Fire and Chicago PD), Chicago Med focuses on the working lives of health care professionals in a busy emergency department in the city of Chicago. Sound familiar? It should, because that was the premise of the hugely successful NBC series ER that premiered over 20 years ago in 1994 and launched the careers of several successful actors.…

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A Bioethicist on Mars Mon, 02 Nov 2015 07:18:08 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The film, The Martian, is an exciting Robinson Crusoe space adventure. Based on the book of the same name by Andrew Weir, the film stays fairly close to the original source. Astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars when he is impaled by a metal rod in the middle of a sudden and violent storm. Thought dead due to a malfunction of his suit, his fellow astronauts leave him and make an emergency evacuation to return to Earth.…

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Hello Barbie: Considering Potential Unforeseen Problems with A.I. Dolls and What Children Tell Them Mon, 28 Sep 2015 12:00:00 +0000 by Amanda Zink, J.D., M.A.

Hello Barbie, a doll with artificial intelligence (AI) that enables it to “talk” with children, is slated for release this November, just in time for the holiday season.

When a child activates a microphone inside Hello Barbie’s necklace, her words will be recorded and transmitted to computer servers. Speech recognition software will convert the audio message to analyzable text, enabling the “correct” response to be chosen out of thousands of pre-scripted lines.

Given recent articles on this toy in the popular press, I pose the question: Has Mattel taken enough time to think through the problems that could ensue from giving thousands of children a talking friend and uploading their conversations to the Cloud – for the manufacturers, the children’s parents, and maybe even the NSA to hear?…

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Is Bioethics Too Powerful? Thu, 17 Sep 2015 22:21:32 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In an August 2015 Boston Globe opinion piece, Steven Pinker—professor of psychology at Harvard—wrote that bioethics should “Get out of the way” of medical research and technological advancement. He states that bioethics “bog[s] down research in red tape, moratoria, or threats of prosecution base on nebulous but sweeping principles such as ‘dignity,’ ‘sacredness,’ or ‘social justice’.” He goes on to say that bioethics “thwarts” research by “sowing panic about speculative harms” such as making analogies to Nazi medical experiments or referring to science fiction.…

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The Private as Public: What it Means for Bioethics Sat, 22 Aug 2015 05:54:36 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Today I was sitting in an outdoor coffee house and listened to the sounds around me. I heard the jackhammer from the street construction and the beep of a truck backing up. There was the gentleman working on his computer at the next table, playing music from his cell phone, out loud for everyone to hear. There were two women behind me (one actually moved so that she was next to me) speaking in very loud voices while one was convincing the other to use her as a web designer (and complaining about their boyfriends).…

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The Last Public Intellectual: the Legacy of Jon Stewart Tue, 04 Aug 2015 21:54:33 +0000 by Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD

A dozen years ago, polymath and federal appellate judge Richard Posner wrote a book called Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline. Posner took to task the group of public intellectuals he surveyed in his book (e.g. scholars, artists, public officials, etc.) for the low level quality of their work. As David Brooks (another person targeted in his book) observed: “We stink. Our logic is flawed. Our use of evidence is shoddy. Our ratiocination is crude.” Posner’s analysis focused on the likes of Allan Bloom, Amitai Etzioni, Toni Morrison, and even Bill Moyers.  …

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Investigating Two Claims Against Planned Parenthood: Center of Medical Progress’s Secret Videos Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:00:39 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Before you being reading, I have a disclaimer: Growing up, my mother worked for Planned Parenthood. As a nurse, she practiced in their clinics offering well women services, counseling, and contraception. After many years, she went on to direct their clinic’s in vitro fertilization program. I also heard the word “Planned Parenthood” stated with a quick northeastern accent. Said that way, as a child, I thought the place was called “Plant Parenthood” and wondered what plants had to do with women’s health.…

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Is Donald Trump entertaining? Sat, 18 Jul 2015 23:06:20 +0000 by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

Is Donald Trump entertaining? Many in the media seem to think so. Coverage of Trump is intense. The Huffington Post, trying to marginalize him and his candidacy, has decided to confine coverage of his Presidential campaign to their entertainment section. But Trump is no joke. Treating him as such is inexcusable.

Promoting racism should never get a pass. Bioethicists familiar with the ways in which racism has fueled totalitarian politics and prejudice in medicine know this all too well.…

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AJOB Announces Two New Editors Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:02:57 +0000 The American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB) is delighted to announce two new additions to its esteemed Editorial Team.

John Lantos, Associate Editor

John Lantos, MD, is Director of the Children’s Mercy Hospital Bioethics Center in Kansas City.  Prior to moving to Kansas City, he was a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago, where he was also Chief of General Pediatrics and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

Dr. Lantos has held many leadership positions in bioethics and pediatrics. …

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Figure 1: Global Medical Education and Collaboration in Real Time Tue, 21 Apr 2015 23:26:34 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

When I was teaching in medical schools I recall a case where a student was reprimanded for breaking patient confidentiality by uploading a picture of surgery to his Facebook profile. This incident led to educational interventions about the appropriate use of social media in medicine. The short guideline was, “Never upload photos of patients onto the internet.” Now, physicians are encouraged to upload patient pictures through a service called Figure1, which has been described as “Instagram for doctors.”

Figure 1 is part of Medicine 2.0, using online technology to enable collaboration and interaction.…

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A Pill for Compassion or Misunderstood Science? Wed, 25 Mar 2015 06:36:37 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

For at least a decade, studies have shown that empathy and compassion decline in medical students. The response is often more curricula dedicated to ethics, humanities, communication skills, and patient contact. But what if the answer was simply medicating the students.

An article in Time magazine reported that a study from researchers at the University of California Berkeley and University of California San Francisco have found “that by manipulating a brain chemical, people can become more compassionate and act in prosocial ways to equalize differences.”

Compassion is “a sympathetic consciousness of other’s distress with a desire to alleviate it.” According to the article, the study of 35 subjects found that when taking a drug a person’s desire to alleviate inequity increased.…

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Comedy and medicine: Why we mock parents who don’t vaccinate their children Fri, 06 Mar 2015 07:15:19 +0000 By Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

In a recent episode of his late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel, father and comedian, included a segment in which real physicians mock parents who do not vaccinate their children in a mock public service announcement. Because Kimmel said it best, here is a long quote from his opening segment:

“If you are one of these anti-vaccine people you probably aren’t going  to take medical advice from a talk show host…and I don’t expect you to. But I would expect you to take medical advice from almost every doctor in the world…See the thing about doctors is they didn’t learn about the human body from their friends’ Facebook page.…

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Lying, Bullshitting, and Atul Gawande Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:00:44 +0000 by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D.

Atul Gawande: “I came on board after she got diagnosed with that second cancer. And in my mind I was thinking ‘I wouldn’t offer this surgery because the lung cancer is going to take her life.’ And yet I didn’t feel I could say that to you. I think we started talking about the experimental therapy that you all were hoping to get on with the trial for the lung caner. And remember saying something I sort of regret, which was that ‘maybe that sort of experimental therapy will work for the thyroid cancer too.’ [laughs and shakes head] I said that.

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The Oscars: Hollywood’s Biggest Night and Why it Matters to Medicine and Public Health Mon, 16 Feb 2015 01:53:28 +0000 by Macey Henderson and Jennifer Chevinsky

The Oscars, or the glamorous Academy Awards, are known as the biggest night for Hollywood’s actors and for its big ratings for the mass media. For days following this gala, the media reports on the outfits worn, Oscars won, and perhaps most passionately, they begin to critique the process and decisions of the prestigious American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (i.e. “The Academy”).  But why should the medical and public health community care about the Academy, the big name nominees, or the ultimate winners?…

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(Golden) Global Change and LGBT Rights Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:05:35 +0000 ]]> 0 Striking the Balance Between Population Guidelines and Patient Primacy Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:34:06 +0000 ]]> 0 Dr. Fauci or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate the Media’s Coverage of Ebola Wed, 29 Oct 2014 01:30:46 +0000 by Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD

Although the Ebola virus is not ubiquitous, media coverage of it certainly is. A quick Google search of Ebola results in 37,700,000 hits. By comparison, Googling Obama results in 34,200,000 hits (although googling Obama and Ebola together results in 91,800,000 hits). Media coverage of Ebola has displaced many other news stories over the last few weeks. WNYC’s On the Media has tried to temper the over-the-top media coverage. They even posted a Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook.…

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Fear and Loathing in Liberia Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:31:43 +0000 ]]> 0 Fever Pitch Thu, 09 Oct 2014 11:42:35 +0000 ]]> 0 Can Social Media Save Us from the “Spiral of Silence?” Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:37:06 +0000 ]]> 0 Taking the Icy Plunge (Or Not) Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:16:06 +0000 ]]> 0 Big Bad Ebola Tue, 12 Aug 2014 19:15:13 +0000 ]]> 0 Lessons from France: Decision-Making At the End-of-Life Tue, 12 Aug 2014 08:27:06 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In the United States, the notion of autonomy is held in high regard. Since the development of patient’s rights in the early 1970s, the notion that an individual has the capacity of self-governance is a cornerstone of medical ethics and a standard of medical care. But that idea has not always been held. In the early and middle parts of the 20th Century, patients were often not told about terminal diagnoses. The joke about doctors curing through the words, “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” derives from the practice that patients were not only not told about their conditions, but were also given treatments without any discussion of what the drugs would do (or not do).…

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Media Sensationalism and Medical Practice: Doctors Are Examining Your Genitals for a Good Reason Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:03:45 +0000 ]]> 0 Do OkCupid and Facebook experiment on vulnerable populations? Mon, 04 Aug 2014 18:25:10 +0000 by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

A few months ago Facebook announced that some Facebook users were a part of a 2012 experiment. In the experiment Facebook altered the number of negative and positive posts and photos that appeared in users’ newsfeed. In a paper documenting the results of the study, authors noted that by changing what users saw in their feed, Facebook was able to alter moods, emotions, and the kind of posts that people posted. The study was meant to be an experiment in online social interactions and emotional connections.…

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Day or Night: Ethics Depends on Time Fri, 01 Aug 2014 07:19:28 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Is that shirt the cashier forget to ring up a bonus or do you point out the oversight? Do you report your peer for being an impaired physician or just look the other way when she drinks? Cut your $20 million pay as a CEO or “layoff” 10,000 workers?

When dealing with ethical issues like these your first step may be to watch the clock. A study published last year found that people are more moral in the afternoon than in the mornings.…

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AIN’T JUST THE MEAT IT IS ALSO THE MOTION: CONSENT MATTERS! Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:18:43 +0000 “But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur. “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.'”

                           –Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Any apologia for Facebook’s recent behavioral study has to address one issue head on: that of informed consent. Informed consent is the bedrock upon which the ethics of all biomedical and behavioral research on humans rests.…

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Scientist’s Experiment in Fundraising Mon, 10 Feb 2014 23:39:30 +0000 0 Bioethics Expertise In The Media of Public Opinion Mon, 27 Jan 2014 09:16:13 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Over the last few months the bioethics wires have been ablaze with conversations about the McMath and Munoz cases. Much of the internal (to bioethics) furor has been over the lack of understanding of death by the public and the media. A thread of debate has been whether those in bioethics reached out enough to journalists and the media to help them to be more accurate in reporting and to educate the public. Bioethics has always had a complicated relationship with the media—those in the field are often sought out for commentary on current events, and those who do are often criticized for reducing complex issues into sound bites.…

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Distinguishing Science from Nonsense Tue, 31 Dec 2013 21:18:46 +0000 by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

As Americans enter 2014 there is grave concern among our political leaders that we are lagging behind other nations in terms of our children’s’ scientific literacy.  This past December an international survey confirmed—too many American kids don’t understand science and they continue to fall behind children from other nations, many much poorer than we are in science and math skills.

Students in the United States slipped deeper in the last international science literacy rankings amid fast-growing competition abroad. …

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“Time To Die” Means Time to Talk Wed, 13 Nov 2013 07:35:50 +0000 by Craig M. Klugman, Ph.D.

Media images of dying surround us everyday. In an average hour of dramatic television, bodies fly across the screen as they are shot, knifed, bled, disintegrated, run over, and even decapitated. Heroes in these shows regularly kill the bad guys and in one case, the hero is the bad guy as serial murderer. And that’s before the news comes on.

While we are surrounded by death in our entertainment, these depictions have been blamed for numbing us to mortality and make us less likely to stare death in the face.…

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Media Meld: Science, Credit and Peer-Review Wed, 04 Sep 2013 15:43:42 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Last week, a research team at the University of Washington announced what they jokingly refered to as a “Vulcan mind meld.” For those of you who are not Star Trek aficionados, that fictional process is where a Vulcan can reach into the mind of another Vulcan or human to understand and read that other mind. In this real experiment, a subject wearing an electrode-filled cap thinks about moving a finger and across the lab, another student wearing a similar cap involuntarily moves a finger to press a button on a keyboard.…

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A new spin on identity theft Thu, 01 Aug 2013 20:16:32 +0000 Andrea Kalfoglou, Ph.D.

A few years ago (2011), Facebook suggested that I “friend” a member of the bioethics community.  After all, 42 of my other Facebook “friends” were also linked to Dr. Daniel Sulmasy.  I had worked for Dan on a study over a decade ago, and we kept up at the annual ASBH conferences.

In retrospect, there were a number of oddities about his Facebook page.  He had amassed 724 “friends,” and was married to someone named Deborah.  As a Franciscan Friar, I knew he had taken a vow of celibacy, but it had been a while since we had talked, and I thought, well, things change. …

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100th Issue Anniversary Editorial Mon, 14 Jan 2013 23:16:20 +0000 16 Spending on food advertising to kids fell in ’09 Fri, 21 Dec 2012 20:55:38 +0000 0 Robin Roberts’ illness raises questions about extent of coverage Wed, 26 Sep 2012 01:42:24 +0000 0 Professionalism: Social media mishaps Wed, 11 Jul 2012 23:50:11 +0000 0 “The Descendants”: The Bioethics Movie That Wasn’t Wed, 13 Jun 2012 13:26:37 +0000 Okay, I am probably one of the last people in the United States (no, probably the world) to watch the movie “The Descendants”. I had heard a lot about it, not only just from Clooney devotees or at Oscar time, but from scores of people who dubbed it a “bioethics movie.” So finally I decided to sit down for 2 hours with Mr. Clooney and give “The Descendants” a try.

At the end of the film (and actually throughout the entire film) all I kept asking myself was one simple question: “What would have happened if Matt King’s (played by G.…

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Disney bans junk food, Mickey Mouse brands health. Hmmm… Thu, 07 Jun 2012 17:34:03 +0000 0 Zombies are not a health problem (for us). Should they be a solution? Thu, 07 Jun 2012 17:29:00 +0000 0 Patients want to use social media tools to manage health care Mon, 30 Apr 2012 19:57:01 +0000 0 Can the Innovator Class Save Healthcare? Mon, 16 Apr 2012 21:20:28 +0000 0 Jon Stewart ‘our greatest public intellectual’? Fri, 09 Mar 2012 20:55:39 +0000 0 Bioethicist Calls Jon Stewart ‘Our Greatest Public Intellectual’ Tue, 06 Mar 2012 16:31:43 +0000 0 The Unreal World: OR secrets in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Mon, 23 Jan 2012 06:00:00 +0000 0 Skin I Live In’ peels the layers of sex, obsession and revenge Thu, 01 Dec 2011 06:00:00 +0000 0 Health officials, speak up Tue, 02 Aug 2011 05:00:00 +0000 0 The Problem of Celebrity Medical Activism Mon, 27 Jun 2011 14:03:49 +0000 In one sense, I will grant that celebrities, just as much as any other person on the planet, have a right to speak out in regard to whatever research or clinical issue they feel passionate about. Arguably many of them have done a tremendous service to conditions like juvenile diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, spinal cord injuries and ALS.

However, in most of these cases described above, the celebrity-cum-advocate has been effected by the condition themselves, have spent a significant amount of time dealing with the condition, and as a result are knowledgeable about the current state of scientific and medical research.…

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Captain America: The Next Great Research Ethics Movie? Mon, 13 Jun 2011 16:19:22 +0000 With Captain America: The First Avenger not due to release in theaters for more than 6 weeks, the hype is pretty astonishing. And as predictable as Marvel’s pre-movie hyping and merchandising frenzy is the fact that a summer blockbuster and comic book movie would raise some ethical quandaries (although some have argued that X-Men: First Class has already claimed the distinction). But really could this movie inspire serious debate about post-war research ethics, relativism, and more? Is Captain America the bioethics movie of 2011?…

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