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Bioethics news.

FDA Approving Drugs at Breakneck Speed, Raising Alarm
The U.S. is approving new drugs so fast that companies are now preparing for a green light months in advance of the scheduled decision date, a pace that’s helping patients with rare or untreatable diseases but raising alarm among consumer advocates.
Expensive treatments for genetic disorders are arriving. But who should foot the bill?
The majority of people with sickle-cell disease are live in the world’s poorest communities and cannot afford the eye-watering costs of treatments.
The American Health Care Industry Is Killing People
Yes, transitioning to a more equitable system might eliminate some jobs. But the status quo is morally untenable.
Surgeons Transplant a Testicle From One Brother to His Twin
The rare operation has implications for wounded soldiers, accident victims, cancer patients and those undergoing sex reassignment.
China’s CRISPR babies: Read exclusive excerpts from the unseen original research
He Jiankui’s manuscript shows how he ignored ethical and scientific norms in creating the gene-edited twins Lulu and Nana.
China’s Genetic Research on Ethnic Minorities Sets Off Science Backlash
Scientists are raising questions about the ethics of studies backed by Chinese surveillance agencies. Prestigious journals are taking action.
Combatting bias and creating more inclusive AI is unlikely to succeed unless developers include those people who have been historically excluded or ignored.
Mayo Clinic taps Boston health tech leader to guide data strategy
On the heels of forming a new partnership with Google (GOOGL), Mayo Clinic announced it has hired Dr. John Halamka — a Harvard professor and hospital IT veteran — to guide its efforts to apply artificial intelligence to vast stores of data from patients and devices.
Rosemary Gibson on Shortages of Lifesaving Drugs in U.S. Hospitals
Rosemary Gibson, author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, discussed the shortage of essential lifesaving drugs in U.S. hospitals.
University of Virginia doctors decry aggressive billing practices by their own hospital
Prominent doctors at the University of Virginia Health System are expressing public outrage at their employer’s practices to collect unpaid medical debt from its patients. A Kaiser Health News report in September showed that U-Va. sued 36,000 patients over six years for more than $100 million, seizing wages and savings and even pushing families into bankruptcy.
A ‘Rare Case Where Racial Biases’ Protected African-Americans
Fewer opioid prescriptions meant fewer deaths (possibly 14,000), but the episode also reveals how prevalent and harmful stereotypes can be, even if implicit.
All children to receive whole genome sequencing at birth, under ambitions laid out by Matt Hancock
All children will be able to receive whole genome sequencing at birth, under ambitions laid out by the Health Secretary. Matt Hancock said that in future, the tests would be routinely offered, alongside standard checks on newborns, in order to map out the risk of genetic diseases, and offer “predictive, personalised” care.
Chinese ministry investigates duplications in papers by university president
The Chinese education ministry is investigating scientific articles authored by high-profile immunologist and university president Cao Xuetao, following suggestions that dozens of papers contain potentially problematic images.
What to Consider Before Trading Your Health Data for Cash
Don’t trade away your health data without considering the potential issues first.
Age No Excuse Not to Treat Lung Cancer, Even in ‘Oldest Old’
Many patients aged 90 years or older who have non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are not offered any treatment at all, even though treatment improves survival odds substantially, especially surgery for earlier-stage disease, say researchers reporting a nationwide retrospective analysis.
Effect of revealing authors’ conflicts of interests in peer review: randomized controlled trial
Researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial of whether COI disclosures affect perceived research quality in real manuscripts in a real world editorial process, as assessed by critical gatekeepers in the dissemination of science: peer reviewers.
Louisiana tried to help prisoners fight opioid addiction. Here’s why doctors objected
A California company seeking to expand its role in battling opioid addiction has come under fire for an aborted plan to recruit prisoners with drug and alcohol problems to be human guinea pigs for its novel addiction recovery program.
Trump is blocking vital biomedical research
The use of a unique set of cells — human fetal tissue cells — has led to immense medical breakthroughs, but President Donald Trump, to the delight of many anti-abortion groups, has thwarted any such future scientific advances by placing an additional layer of scrutiny on National Institutes of Health (NIH) research proposals that would use these cells.
When waiting feels immoral: Fairness in the emergency department calls for empathy from all of us
The specialty of emergency medicine is firmly grounded in social justice and providing access to expert care to everyone who comes in. That means treating anyone, with any condition, at any time. And yet, embedded into emergency department operations is a system that might be perceived as unjust: the concept of triage.
How Novel Genetic Technologies Challenge Parental Responsibility
Josephine Johnston, Director of Research at The Hastings Center delivered the keynote lecture for the Washington and Lee Mudd Center’s 2019-2020 series, “The Ethics of Technology.” Johnston’s talk is titled “The Good Parent in an Age of Gene Editing: How Novel Genetic Technologies Challenge Parental Responsibility.”
Google almost made 100,000 chest X-rays public — until it realized personal data could be exposed
Two days before Google was set to publicly post more than 100,000 images of human chest X-rays, the tech giant got a call from the National Institutes of Health, which had provided the images: Some of them still contained details that could be used to identify the patients, a potential privacy and legal violation.
A Cancer Care Approach Tailored To The Elderly May Have Better Results
Geriatric assessment is an approach that clinicians use to evaluate their elderly patients’ overall health status and to help them choose treatment appropriate to their age and condition. The tool can play an important role in cancer care, according to clinicians who work with the elderly.
Your diagnosis was wrong. Could doctor bias have been a factor?
Doctors, like the rest of us, make mistakes. Every year, upward of 12 million Americans see a physician and come away with a wrong diagnosis. The top cause? Bad judgment, says David Newman-Toker, director of the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality’s Center for Diagnostic Excellence.
Biogen’s top scientist nearly dares FDA not to approve Alzheimer’s drug
Biogen’s top scientist offered unflinching support Thursday for the efficacy of the company’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug called aducanumab, shrugging off outside skepticism and almost daring regulators not to approve it.
A new treatment promises to make little people taller. Is it an insult to ‘dwarf pride’?
Scientists have come up with a drug, injected once a day, that appears to make children’s bones grow. To many, it’s a wondrous invention that could improve the lives of thousands of people with dwarfism. To others, it’s a profit-driven solution in search of a problem, one that could unravel decades of hard-won respect for an entire community.
The Ventilator: Life, Death And The Choices We Make At The End
This is the story of the Rinka family and what happened when tragedy befell them. It’s a story that explores how the choices we prefer when we’re healthy may no longer make sense to us when we’re actually confronting death.
How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results
The internet giant uses blacklists, algorithm tweaks and an army of contractors to shape what you see
Big study casts doubt on need for many heart procedures
People with severe but stable heart disease from clogged arteries may have less chest pain if they get a procedure to improve blood flow rather than just giving medicines a chance to help, but it won’t cut their risk of having a heart attack or dying over the following few years, a big federally funded study found.
Molecular Scissors Could Help Keep Some Viral Illnesses At Bay
It’s not easy to treat viral infections. Just ask anyone with a bad cold or a case of the flu. But scientists in Massachusetts think they may have a new way to stop viruses from making people sick by using what amounts to a pair of molecular scissors, known as CRISPR.
In France, it’s illegal for consumers to order a DNA spit kit. Activists are fighting over lifting the ban
The French ban on direct-to-consumer genetic testing is part of the country’s bioethics laws, which legislators are supposed to revise every seven years. When those discussions got under way earlier this year, some geneticists expected the National Assembly to relax the rules about commercial DNA analysis. It didn’t.