Hot Topics: Technology
By Neil Skjoldal Many of us have witnessed the giving of bad news to a patient. It is never a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, some medical professionals are simply not skilled enough to share bad news in a way that is both compassionate and comprehensible. And even if they are, it is still bad news after …Full Article
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
An article has sent shockwaves through the bioethics and end-of-life care worlds: A 78-year-old man who was unable to breathe makes his way to the hospital where he is informed in the middle of the night via a telemedicine robot that “he would likely die within days.” The physician appeared on a tablet -like screen attached to a mobile unit and delivers the bad news.…Full Article
STUDENT VOICES By Elizabeth Andersen Originally named ‘medicine babies,’ savior babies have been a more recent discovery in the medical world, presenting families with a quick fix to dealing with terminally ill children. In 2015, the Journal of Medical Ethics wrote a piece on ‘Savior Siblings’ and the ethical implications that arise when considered as […]Full Article
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
Move over United States, China is the new research powerhouse. In the last few months, announcements out of China talk about the first live human births from genetically edited embryos; the birth of 5 cloned, genetically edited monkeys, and most recently, announced the development of an artificial intelligencethat is more accurate than human doctors at diagnosing diseases in children.…Full Article
by Olya Kudina and Lori Bruce
Online social spaces maintain an increasing presence in our lives. Yearly, people upload around 1.2 trillion photos on social media and share personal stories and milestones through their social networks.…Full Article
Written by Stephen Rainey If ‘neurotechnology’ isn’t a glamour area for researchers yet, it’s not far off. Technologies centred upon reading the brain are rapidly being developed. Among the claims made of such neurotechnologies are that some can provide special access to normally hidden representations of consciousness. Through recording, processing, and making operational brain signals we […]Full Article
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
I recently received an email from a community organization which asked the following question: “Are there any ethical issues with our community health plan selling its medical records to a private company?” This is not an example of a new occurrence.…Full Article
Politics Everything on Brett Kavanaugh and the F.B.I. Investigation “Around 2:30 a.m., the White House said in a statement it had received the F.B.I.’s investigation, which was “being transmitted to the Senate” as well. The statement expressed confidence the completed inquiry would not stand in the way of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. On Wednesday, Senator Mitch […]Full Article
Politics Trump Rated Worse Than Other Modern-Day Presidents on Ethics “The American public’s ratings of the ethical standards of Trump and his administration’s top officials are generally much worse than their ratings of his predecessors. Trump is viewed as having lower ethical standards than all presidents since Nixon, who resigned when faced with imminent impeachment.” […]Full Article
The DNA Test Results That Uncovered a Family Secret
Comparison of philosophical concerns between professionals and the public regarding two psychiatric treatments
Freezing fertility or freezing false hope? A content analysis of social egg freezing in U.S. print media
The Ethics of Smart Pills and Self-Acting Devices: Autonomy, Truth-Telling, and Trust at the Dawn of Digital Medicine
Ethical Considerations in the Manufacture, Sale, and Distribution of Genome Editing Technologies
“Natural” Talents and Dedication—Meanings and Values in Sport
From Frankenstein to Hawking: Which is the Real Face of Science?
An influential committee of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that it would be “irresponsible” to try to create babies from gene-edited human embryos. The panel called for an international registry to track all research into editing the human genome.Full Article
During his State of the State address last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom made a brief, if bold, promise.
“California’s consumers should be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data,” said Newsom, who went on to add that his team was working up a proposal for what he called a “data dividend.”
The term was simple, self-explanatory and puzzling.
A law that would compensate consumers for the use of their data by tech monoliths such as Google and Facebook, who make billions off this information, is so novel it would be a national and indeed global first.
But as appealing as a data dividend might sound, data privacy experts say it is far more easily announced than implemented.Full Article
One night in November 1999, a 26-year-old woman was raped in a parking lot in Grand Rapids, Mich. Police officers managed to get the perpetrator’s DNA from a semen sample, but it matched no one in their databases.
Detectives found no fingerprints at the scene and located no witnesses. The woman, who had been attacked from behind, could not offer a description. It looked like the rapist would never be found.
Five years later, there was a break in the case. A man serving time for another sexual offense submitted a DNA sample with his parole application. The sample matched DNA from the rape scene.
There was just one catch: The parolee had an identical twin, and standard DNA tests can’t distinguish between identical twins. Prosecutors had no additional evidence to rule out one or the other. Because they couldn’t press charges against either of the men, the case remains open nearly 20 years later.Full Article
OF ALL THE big, world-remaking bets on the genome-editing tool known as Crispr, perhaps none is more tantalizing than its potential to edit some of humanity’s worst diseases right out of the history books. Just this week, Crispr Therapeutics announcedit had begun treating patients with an inherited blood disorder called beta thalassemia, in the Western drug industry’s first test of the technology for genetic disease. But despite the progress, there remain a host of unknowns standing in the way of Crispr-based medicines going mainstream, chief among them safety.
That’s because the classic, most widely used version of Crisprworks by slicing open a strand of DNA in a specific spot in the genome and letting the cell stitch it back together. The major concern is that an army of DNA-breaking enzymes might sometimes wander astray and cause unintended mutations in places it shouldn’t.Full Article
If no one reads the terms and conditions, how can they continue to be the legal backbone of the internet?
The average person would have to spend 76 working days reading all of the digital privacy policies they agree to in the span of a year. Reading Amazon’s terms and conditions alone out loud takes approximately nine hours.Full Article
A preliminary investigation by Guangdong Province in China of He Jiankui, the scientist who created the world’s first gene-edited babies, found that “He had intentionally dodged supervision, raised funds and organized researchers on his own to carry out the human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction, which is explicitly banned by relevant regulations.”Full Article
Japan has approved a stem-cell treatment for spinal-cord injuries. The event marks the first such therapy for this kind of injury to receive government approval for sale to patients.
“This is an unprecedented revolution of science and medicine, which will open a new era of healthcare,” says oncologist Masanori Fukushima, head of the Translational Research Informatics Center, a Japanese government organization in Kobe that has been giving advice and support to the project for more than a decade.
But independent researchers warn that the approval is premature. Ten specialists in stem-cell science or spinal-cord injuries, who were approached for comment by Nature and were not involved in the work or its commercialization, say that evidence that the treatment works is insufficient. Many of them say that the approval for the therapy, which is injected intravenously, was based on a small, poorly designed clinical trial.Full Article
Vaginal mesh, used to repair and improve weakened pelvic tissues, is implanted in the vaginal wall. It was initially — in 1998 — thought to be a safe and easy solution for women suffering from stress urinary incontinence.
But over time, complications were reported, including chronic inflammation, and mesh that shrinks and becomes encased in scar tissue causing pain, infection and protrusion through the vaginal wall.Full Article
When the Food and Drug Administration approved magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners in 1984, the machines seemed incredible. They offered an inside view of the human body, making it easier to diagnose disease, injuries and physical abnormalities. Today, they’re part of a multibillion-dollar industry: In 2016, 118 out of every 1,000 Americans got an MRI. The use of CT scans was even higher: 245 per 1,000 people in 2016.
But was all of that testing actually necessary?
No way, say physicians from the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University. In a viewpoint article in JAMA, they argue that it’s time to put the brakes on unnecessary and wasted diagnostic imaging.
“There is virtually no evidence that screening of this kind improves overall population health,” write Ohad Oren, Electron Kebebew and John P.A. Ioannidis. But, they admit, it will take a lot to wean Americans off their addiction to medical imaging.Full Article
WASHINGTON — Pound for pound, the deadliest arms of all time are not nuclear but biological. A single gallon of anthrax, if suitably distributed, could end human life on Earth.
Even so, the Trump administration has given scant attention to North Korea’s pursuit of living weapons — a threat that analysts describe as more immediate than its nuclear arms, which Pyongyang and Washington have been discussing for more than six months.Full Article