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Bioethics

Churches Staunchly Oppose Scientists' Plan To Create Babies With Three Parents

BBC | Posted 02.03.2015 | Religion

Senior church figures have called on the UK government to block the creation of babies from three people. The Church of England and the Catholic Ch...

To NIPT or Not to NIPT? That Is the Question

Kecia Gaither, M.D., MPH, FACOG | Posted 03.16.2015 | Healthy Living
Kecia Gaither, M.D., MPH, FACOG

All parents want the best reassurance for their pregnancy and to protect their unborn to their greatest capability. What is imperative is that a woman understands her options concerning prenatal testing and the risks and benefits inherent in each.

The Ethical Dilemma of Forced Chemotherapy on a Teen

Ruth Macklin | Posted 03.15.2015 | Healthy Living
Ruth Macklin

The philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote that "whoever wills the end, wills the means." However, even those who initially support a plan to force treatment on a young patient are morally bound to question the means required to do so.

Informed Consent in Comparative Effectiveness Research

Ruth Macklin | Posted 02.27.2015 | Healthy Living
Ruth Macklin

"Standard of care" research (also known as "comparative effectiveness" research) is a design that compares two therapies in routine use to determine w...

CRISPR Opportunities ... For What? And for Whom?

Pete Shanks | Posted 02.09.2015 | Science
Pete Shanks

Money and deals are flowing into companies that promise to edit genes. Human, animal, plant, all kinds of DNA may be on the cutting board. And once the replacements are pasted in, the results could dramatically change our lives -- for better or for worse.

Needed: A True Diversity Map for America

Marian Wright Edelman | Posted 02.04.2015 | Politics
Marian Wright Edelman

Sometimes childhood experiences motivate a lifetime of extraordinary work. That is certainly true for Georgetown University Law School professor and bioethicist Patricia King, a brilliant scholar and one of the most effective leaders you may not know.

Medical Treatment by Brute Force

M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D. | Posted 01.31.2015 | Politics
M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D.

Force-feeding started at Guantanamo in response to fear that self-starving captives would stir anti-American ire. It would be ironic were this response itself to rouse worldwide outrage, making allies less likely to collaborate with us and stiffening our enemies' resolve.

Research Ethics and Ebola

Ruth Macklin | Posted 12.23.2014 | Science
Ruth Macklin

A letter published online in the Lancet on Oct. 10, by a distinguished group of scientists, ethicists and physicians from all over the world, makes an urgent plea for embarking on research for experimental Ebola treatments that would not randomize patients to a control arm that provides only conventional care or conventional care along with a placebo.

The Ethics Of The Ebola Outbreak: Who Should Receive Experimental Treatment?

Ruth Macklin | Posted 10.21.2014 | Healthy Living
Ruth Macklin

The need for these drugs is greatest in the countries where the epidemic is raging. Their residents come first. Because clinical trials for safety and efficacy can be carried out only in such countries, even the "compassionate use" of an unproven drug in severely limited supply should be granted first to inhabitants of the nations that have been most severely affected.

The West Africa Ebola Epidemic Arouses Global Response But Caution Needs an Ally and a Local Interpreter

Sharon Hrynkow PhD | Posted 10.15.2014 | Healthy Living
Sharon Hrynkow PhD

When Ebola drugs and vaccines become available, trust -- engendered best by knowledgeable local leaders - may be the vital ingredient in ensuring that drugs are distributed most quickly to those in need.

Tuskegee Today

Jessica Cussins | Posted 10.08.2014 | Science
Jessica Cussins

The notoriety of the Tuskegee syphilis study is unparalleled in the field of bioethics. Last week marked the 42nd anniversary of the horrific experiment's termination, and many people took the opportunity to recall Tuskegee and examine its relevance to the treatment of human research subjects today.

Research Without Consent in the Emergency Room

Ruth Macklin | Posted 08.20.2014 | Healthy Living
Ruth Macklin

A new study poses one of the most vexing ethical questions concerning research with human beings: When is it acceptable to conduct research without the consent of the research subject?

Is Execution by Lethal Injection Medical Research?

Ruth Macklin | Posted 07.07.2014 | Politics
Ruth Macklin

Given the stakes, it's time to lift the veil of secrecy. We need transparency, not a drawn curtain.

Vegetative States and PET Scans: Is More Information Better?

Ruth Macklin | Posted 06.18.2014 | Healthy Living
Ruth Macklin

One typically thinks of advances in medical science and technology as having unalloyed benefits. The ability to cure illness, the mitigation of pain a...

E-cigarettes: Is Liquid Nicotine Safe?

Ruth Macklin | Posted 06.04.2014 | Healthy Living
Ruth Macklin

The debate over e-cigarettes has been heating up. Are the smokeless, battery-powered, nicotine-dispensing devices a gateway to smoking for young people or a helpful way for smokers to quit? Public health experts can be found on both sides of the debate.

Is PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis) 'Playing God'?

Ruth Macklin | Posted 04.30.2014 | Politics
Ruth Macklin

PGD is by now a well-established procedure in reproductive medicine. Although its use may continue to give rise to some ethical controversy, the benefits to couples and the children they produce outweigh the potential negative consequences feared by some.

How Do Financial Incentives Influence Doctors' Judgments?

Dr. Paul Marantz | Posted 04.05.2014 | Healthy Living
Dr. Paul Marantz

We should also recognize that we, too, are human, and when our recommendations have financial implications, we should ask ourselves: How might this influence our decision-making?

Texas Fetal Rights Case: Delayed Justice

Ruth Macklin | Posted 03.30.2014 | Politics
Ruth Macklin

Although this case was resolved satisfactorily -- probably not soon enough for the distraught family -- a question remains about the ethics of the Texas law.

Death Has Become a Choice

Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D. | Posted 03.24.2014 | Religion
Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D.

The long-term tragedy is that we will continue to see cases like this. As medical technologies develop and advance, we will be able to do more to sustain life. It is imperative that we recognize what we are doing and why.

When Fetal Rights Trump Those of Patient and Family

Ruth Macklin | Posted 03.16.2014 | Politics
Ruth Macklin

The case of Marlise Munoz may ultimately be decided on legal grounds -- that is, whether the Texas statute is applicable to a dead body containing a living fetus. The ethical question, however, remains.

The Ethics Of Brain Death

USA Today | Liz Szabo | Posted 01.25.2014 | Religion

(RNS) The cases of two young women — a California teen and a pregnant Texas mother — have generated sympathy for their families, but also have lef...

Case Of Brain Dead Teen Could Set Precedent

The Huffington Post | Lydia O'Connor | Posted 01.23.2014 | Healthy Living

The tragic case of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl declared brain dead at Children’s Hospital Oakland following a tonsillectomy last month, may se...

Who Needs Braces? Socially-Necessary vs. Medically-Necessary Treatment

Marc Ackerman | Posted 02.19.2014 | Healthy Living
Marc Ackerman

Unlike treating a disease with a known cause and having the ability to select a therapy that cures that disease, orthodontics is limited to managing the irregularity of teeth. In simple terms, we orthodontists are able to straighten your teeth, but we really have little idea how or why they went crooked in the first place.

The FDA and 23andMe: Regulating Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests

Ruth Macklin | Posted 02.16.2014 | Healthy Living
Ruth Macklin

Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, the FDA's action and people's eagerness to obtain their genomic information indicate the need for public education. Except for specialists in human genetics, even many doctors lack sufficient training to interpret the results of genetic tests.

The Future of Testing Your Genetic Future

Robert Klitzman, M.D. | Posted 02.10.2014 | Healthy Living
Robert Klitzman, M.D.

This week, 23andMe, the Google-backed DTC genetic test company, stunned many observers by agreeing to stop sales of its $99 genetic test kit online, saying it will now release only ancestry information and raw data without interpretation.