» Politics Where the World Finds Bioethics Sun, 07 Feb 2016 14:10:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Breast cancer screening recommendations clarify science but muddy political waters Wed, 20 Jan 2016 23:29:47 +0000 0 Powerball Fever Is Born of Epic Inequality Tue, 12 Jan 2016 22:03:12 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Like many Americans and Canadians, I hold in my hand a ticket for a chance to win to the record $1.5 billion lottery. For a couple of bucks, you can dream: My spouse and I talked about being able to pay off student loans, buy a new house, maybe buy a vineyard in France. The media write articles on the long lines, the high hopes, and how this money will help fund schools and public programs.

My question is why is the idea of winning huge amounts money so attractive that it encourages people in droves to spend their money on a 1 in 292 million chance of winning big?…

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Base Gun Policy on Science, Not Rhetoric Thu, 07 Jan 2016 08:49:29 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This year, my university required all instructors to talk about “live shooter” plans in our classes. Although this institution does not permit guns anywhere on campus, we are supposed to be prepared because we live in a world where mass shootings occur in schools and where in more places people carry firearms.

This week, President Obama took executive action to address this public health epidemic. During the press conference, the President announced guidance for federal agencies that fell into three categories: asking Congress for more funds, expanding who is covered under the background check requirements, and greater enforcement of existing laws.…

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The Bell Tolls for Death by Neurologic Criteria: Aden Hailu Fri, 04 Dec 2015 06:42:54 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

A judge in Reno, Nevada this week denied a request by St. Mary’s Regional Hospital to conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine that a patient is dead. Aden Hailu was a 20-year-old student at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) when she was hospitalized April 1 with abdominal pain. During exploratory surgery, she had a heart attack that led to low blood pressure and lack of oxygen to the brain. Hailu never awoke. A ventilator is now maintaining her body, an IV introduces fluids and nutrients, and medications are maintaining blood pressure.…

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What Should Clinicians and Bioethicists Tolerate? Tue, 17 Nov 2015 17:18:40 +0000 by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby

Last week I attended a talk by German philosopher Rainer Forst on “Toleration and Democracy”. Professor Forst, a student of Habarmas, was named “the most important political philosopher of his generation” in 2012. Forst began by noting the tension between toleration and democracy. On the one hand, democracy demands something more than mere tolerance of others and their perspectives—something more along the lines of recognition and respect. In this way, and paradoxically, every tolerance is a form of intolerance.…

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“More Welders, Less Philosophers” Wed, 11 Nov 2015 08:14:12 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

I couldn’t believe it when GOP Presidential Candidate Marco Rubio said that “we need more welders and less philosophers” during the November 10 GOP Presidential Candidate debates. For the moment, I’ll put the incorrect grammar aside (it should be “fewer philosophers, not less”). As someone who is employed in an area of applied philosophy, I certainly found this offensive. As a bioethicist I work to help people think more and I hope that I have a positive influence on the world.…

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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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Michigan Catholic hospital failed to help woman with brain tumor: complaint Wed, 14 Oct 2015 21:42:44 +0000 0 The Democratic Debate on Health: Not Much Wed, 14 Oct 2015 06:48:44 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Unlike in last month’s GOP debate, in the Democratic Presidential Candidate debate last night, health care issues were not a central factor. If you recall, the GOP debaters went round in circles about whether children should be vaccinated. In the DNC debate, health care issues were raised in a brief mention of Obamacare (i.e. “Affordable Care Act (ACA)) and in greater depth in discussing insurance coverage of undocumented individuals.

When talking about Obamacare, Bernie Sanders stated that he preferred universal health care coverage over the ACA’s private insurance approach.

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Planned Parenthood revises reimbursement policy after video uproar Tue, 13 Oct 2015 21:54:38 +0000 0 State of the Armed Union Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:57:52 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D

In the first 274 days of 2015, there were 294 mass shootings (yes, that is more than 1 per day). As a nation, there were over 39,000 gun incidents leading to 10,104 deaths and 20,544 injuries so far in 2015.

For points of comparison

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Helming the bioethics ship of state Fri, 02 Oct 2015 17:51:23 +0000 by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

10/2/15   The President issued an executive order extending the term of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (PCSBI) through September, 2017

This is a very interesting announcement since the last day Barack Obama will be the President of the United States is January 20, 2017.   Astute observers will note that the Commission will be advising a new President for nine months, perhaps longer. While there has been a good deal of speculation about who that next President will be, there has, sadly, been far from adequate attention paid to who the next leaders of the commission would be under a new President.…

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Drug Price Hikes and the Misguided Profit Imperative Fri, 25 Sep 2015 18:55:13 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Headlines this past week were abuzz with news that Daraprim—a drug that has fought parasitic infections such as toxoplasmosis for 62 years—saw its price hiked by 5500%, nearly overnight. For decades Daraprim has been a front line drug available for $13.50 a table. When Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the company that makes the drug last month, the new owners raised the price to $750 per pill. Often used by HIV patients, the per year cost would be $634,500.…

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Clinton plan to cut health costs includes tax credits, more sick visits Wed, 23 Sep 2015 22:32:51 +0000 0 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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Science anyone? Thu, 17 Sep 2015 15:07:14 +0000

by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

Plenty of pundits are analyzing the Wednesday night GOP debate in terms of who won and who lost. They are missing the point. There was a huge loser in the back and forth among the contenders—the public health of the American people. Why?–the resurrection in the debate of the heinous canard that vaccination causes autism.

Donald Trump led the assault on the health of our children by proclaiming that “”We’ve had so many instances … a child went to have the vaccine, got very, very sick, and now is autistic.” Really?

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What’s next for Kim Davis? Judge says she can’t withhold marriage licenses Wed, 09 Sep 2015 20:12:40 +0000 0 What are you doing for black philosophy? Tue, 08 Sep 2015 19:44:09 +0000 by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

“What are you doing for black philosophy?” This was the only line in a Facebook message that I received a few days ago from someone I did not know. My immediate reaction was one of anger. I kept thinking how dare someone ask me what I’m doing for black philosophy. That anger grew as I clicked the sender’s name and a profile did not come up. I drew the conclusion that this person is likely just an internet troll who found the profile of a seemingly black person with some relation to philosophy, sent this message to aggravate me, and then deactivated or deleted his or her profile.…

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Ben Carson Conducted Research on Fetal Tissue — And Defends It Fri, 14 Aug 2015 17:53:23 +0000 0 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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Cancer survivors may face barriers to adoption Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:28:26 +0000 0 Doubts About Study of Gay Canvassers Rattle the Field Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:38:29 +0000 0 Peruvian women haunted by forced sterilization seek state apology Wed, 03 Jun 2015 19:07:54 +0000 0 U.S. Complicity and Japan’s Wartime Medical Atrocities: Time for a Response Mon, 01 Jun 2015 17:29:42 +0000 0 U.S. anti-legalization group urges more access to marijuana research Thu, 28 May 2015 15:15:44 +0000 0 U.S. says insurers must cover FDA-approved birth control methods Thu, 14 May 2015 19:39:37 +0000 0 Tension between gay, religious rights plays out at top U.S. court Tue, 28 Apr 2015 21:05:01 +0000 0 Decline in U.S. science spending threatens economy, security: MIT Mon, 27 Apr 2015 17:59:21 +0000 0 How Do Scientists’ Beliefs Differ from Those of Laypeople? Mon, 13 Apr 2015 12:51:03 +0000 Do you think it is safe to eat genetically modified foods? I do, because I believe that most foods we eat have been genetically modified. Cows wouldn’t be cows if humans hadn’t changed them genetically, through breeding practices. That also … Continue reading

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South Carolina Shooting Increases Calls for Police Body Cameras Wed, 08 Apr 2015 17:27:16 +0000 0 Abortion Wars: Arizona Mandates Unscientific “Truths” Wed, 01 Apr 2015 06:18:04 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Arizona legislature has apparently gone through medical school and graduated. They have passed a new law of the land. A person in Arizona is no longer permitted to buy health insurance on the health exchange if the plan provides coverage for abortion (except for the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger).

A second provision of the law is what has troubled most people. The law now requires that a physician tell his or her patient that a medically induced abortion can be reversed.…

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Happy Birthday Obamacare! Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:41:05 +0000 ]]> 0 Transgender people face discrimination in healthcare Fri, 13 Mar 2015 22:23:08 +0000 0 The Unique Challenge of Healthcare Reform in the US, and Why it Might All Fall Apart Fri, 13 Mar 2015 03:03:21 +0000 0 War Against Science 2.0: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Ban ‘Em Thu, 12 Mar 2015 22:47:27 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

That’s the good thing about science: It’s true whether or not you believe in it. That’s why it works-Neil deGrasse Tyson

The data of climate change is very strong: warmest average years on record, increasing extreme weather, higher carbon dioxide levels, changes in sea level, increasing droughts, decreasing snowpacks and sea ice, melting glaciers and permafrost, warmer oceans and increasing ocean acidity. With so much data in support of a changing climate, it is getting harder to be a climate denier.…

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Brazil passes femicide law to tackle rise in gender killings Tue, 10 Mar 2015 22:35:44 +0000 0 And the Ban Played On Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:59:29 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Have you taken the “Celibacy Challenge?” This satirical national campaign is in response to a proposal from the FDA that would amend the lifetime blood donation ban of men who have sex with men (MSM) to only a one-year ban. The hitch is that the men would have to refrain from sex with men for one year. They could have sex with women during that year, just not men.

This proposed one-year celibacy ban is in line with the rules of other nations.…

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How Medicine Has Fared Under ISIS Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:51:46 +0000 by Craig M. Klugman, Ph.D.

Like much of the world, I find myself reading daily news stories about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). This is a militant group that has conquered much of the territory of Syria and Iraq. They have created an Islamic state, or caliphate, run by sharia law. According to news reports, Western youth are heading to Syria to join ISIS attracted by the ideas, the adventure, belonging to a group, or generally feeling disillusioned.…

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Precision Medicine Has Imprecise Ethics Wed, 18 Feb 2015 06:59:03 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

How do physicians diagnose disease? First they go through a set of symptoms and then compile a list of differential diagnoses or what the underlying disease may be. Then the doctor performs tests to rule out some diagnoses and advance others. In essence, though, diseases are classified according to their affect on the body—their symptology. What if instead of by symptoms, diseases were classified by their molecular function? Instead of being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes one might be diagnosed by whether there is a death of beta cells (i.e.…

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Canadian Supreme Court: Legal Assisted Suicide In a Year Mon, 09 Feb 2015 18:12:31 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

A year from now, all Canadians may have the right to assisted suicide. In February 6, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled “that the prohibition on physician-assisted dying is void insofar as it deprives a competent adult of such assistance where (1) the person affected clearly consents to the termination of life; and (2) the person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.” In other words, a competent and capacitated person with a serious and unresolvable condition that creates suffering has a right to have assistance to end his or her life.…

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The Unbearable Rightness of Handwashing Wed, 04 Feb 2015 22:43:22 +0000 by Nanette Elster, JD, MPH and Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD

You may have seen at your doctor’s office a poster showing a climber scaling a sheer cliff. Purportedly a public service ad (PSA), the casual viewer would assume that the poster is warning against the dangers of climbing. In fact, the poster warns people about the danger of not using sunscreen. The ad cleverly upends our typical perception of risk (that climbing is dangerous) with a much more pedestrian but even greater risk (getting skin cancer from too much sun).…

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Don’t Weasel Out of the Measles Vaccine Tue, 03 Feb 2015 20:00:40 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

By now, you have most likely been inundated with news about the measles outbreak tied to Disneyland in California. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there have been 102 cases of the measles linked to Disneyland through either primary exposure (they were exposed directly) or secondary exposure (they were exposed to someone who had primary exposure) in 15 states. The state of Arizona alone is monitoring over 1,000 people at risk.

The latest turn in this continuing debate is parents of immune-comprised children begging their neighbors to immunize their children.…

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Ritual Male Infant Circumcision and Human Rights Sun, 01 Feb 2015 20:01:35 +0000 0 Dad Arrested for Giving Cannabis Oil to Daughter With Cancer Wed, 21 Jan 2015 00:29:14 +0000 0 (Golden) Global Change and LGBT Rights Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:05:35 +0000 ]]> 0 Worrying about patient satisfaction only harms the patient Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:00:52 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Anyone who has been in a hospital in the last 9 years has encountered a patient satisfaction survey. This national survey provides rankings of hospitals based on how satisfied patients are with their experience. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) “is a survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients perceptions for their hospital experience.” For anyone who works in a hospital, the results of this survey can mean raises, firings, and changes of position.…

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Physician, Torture Thyself Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:27:45 +0000 ]]> 0 Patients Abandoned—Who is to blame? Mon, 15 Dec 2014 03:12:43 +0000 0 The CIA Torture Report: Health, Medicine & Ethics Thu, 11 Dec 2014 08:02:12 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

On Tuesday, December 9, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on intelligence released its long awaited report on CIA interrogation and torture. This 500-page executive summary details the results of six years of investigations that covered over 6 million pages of records. What was discovered is that torture was more brutal and extensive than reported, that information was kept secret, that the programs were mismanaged and lacked oversight, and that most likely no information came out of it.…

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James and Lamar’s Excellent Adventure Thu, 04 Dec 2014 02:12:11 +0000 0