Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Greetings from Bioethics Center Director Stephen Latham

This week our main event is Tuesday evening’s talk by bioethicist/psychologist Sidney Callahan in honor of our Center’s co-founder Margaret Farley. Sidney will speak on “Confronting Religious Experience: Where Theology and Psychology Meet.”  The talk is at 5pm in room A002 of the ISPS building, 77 Prospect St.

Congratulations to our Animal Ethics group convener Sue Kopp on having been selected as one of only 150 veterinarians nationwide to participate in “Can You Hear Me Now? The Conversation,” which is a national intra-professional conference on animal welfare issues. Sue will be attending this conference in Illinois on November 14-15.

Congratulations to Bioethics Center member and Human Investigations Committee Chair Sandy Alfano on the publication of her article, “Conducting Research with Human Subjects in International Settings: Ethical  Considerations” in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine!

Our sister organization, the Forum on Religion and Ecology, has several local events in the next two weeks, including two on-campus showings of the award-winning film Journey of the Universe. Both showings (at the Forestry and Environmental Studies School at 7:30pm on November 1 and at the Divinity School at 7:30pm on November 5) will be followed by discussion-sessions by its co-creators, Bioethics Scholars Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim. Details are here and below.


October 29, 2013

5 PM
77 Prospect Street
Room A002

Sidney Callahan, PhD

Distinguished Scholar
The Hastings Center

Confronting Religious Experience:
Where Theology and Psychology Meet

  Updates from the Summer Institute

Campus Events

Conferences & Off Campus Events

Grants, Fellowships & Jobs

Calls for Papers & Nominations



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Updates from the Summer Institute

From Associate Director Carol Pollard

James Fleming writes: “I published an ethics article this week in a major neurology journal and will send you a copy.  They sent me an honorarium for writing it.  That’s big time, I guess!”  (Congratulations on the publication and on your upcoming wedding this weekend!)

Christina Nelson is now a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) at Medicinal Moksha, LLC. (Congratulations Christina!)

Agata Bloswick will be at the Bioethics Center on November 18th.  Come visit with her if you are in the area.

Betsy Campbell writes: “Things are going pretty well!  Dissertation work is underway and other projects are chugging along…”  (Good Luck Betsy!)

Recommended: The Journal of the American Medical Association has scheduled an article (which presents the 2013 version of the Declaration of Helsinki addressing both clinical practice and research) for publication in a future issue of the Journal: “World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki.” Some interesting sections: Unproven Interventions in Clinical Practice; Informed Consent; and Placebos. 


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This Week on Campus

Monday, October 28

Climate & Energy Institute Seminar
Time: 2 PM
Location: 210 Whitney Ave, room 101
Speaker: Radley Horton, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute
Topic: New York City’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resilience: Strengths and Limitations of Climate Model-Based Approaches

Olympism4Humanity Lecture
Time: 4 PM
Location: 34 Hillhouse Ave, room 202
Speaker: Alexis Lyras, Georgetown Univeristy and Generations for Peace Fellow Special Advisor to the International Olympic Academy on Olympism, Peacebuilding And International Development
Topic: An Intersection Between Olympic Ideals, Conflict Resolution, Global Health and Development Theory and Praxis

Tuesday, October 29

Franke Science & Humanities Lecture I
Time: 4 PM
Location: 53 Wall St, Auditorium
Speaker: Paul E. Griffiths, Dept of Philosophy, University of Sydney and University of Exeter
Topic: Information in Living Systems

Order, Conflict & Violence Lecture
Time: 4 PM
Location: 115 Prospect St, room 005
Speaker: Sheena Chestnut, Harvard University
Topic: Coercive Institutions and State Violence under Authoritarianism

Environmental Law & Policy/Climate & Energy Institute Seminar
Time: 6 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, Burke Auditorium
Speaker: William Hohenstein, Director of the Climate Change Program Office for US Department of Agriculture

Himalaya Initiative Lecture
Time: 7 PM
Location: 34 Hillhouse Ave, room 203
Speaker: Carole McGranahan, University of Colorado-Boulder
Topic: Self-Immolation in Tibet: Protest, Offering, Communication

Wednesday, October 30

Science Diplomats Lecture
Time: 5 PM
Location: 266 Whitney Ave, room 305
Speaker: Robert Bazell, former NBC chief science & health correspondent
Topic: Communicating Science to the Public

Thursday, October 31

Environmental Law Seminar
Time: 12 PM
Location: 127 Wall St, room 121
Speakers: Professor Jingjing Liu of Vermont Law School
                Professor Deepa Badrinarayana of Chapman Law School

Topic: India and China and the Future of Environmental Governance

Franke Science & Humanities Lecture II
Time: 4 PM
Location: 53 Wall St, Auditorium
Speakers: Paul E. Griffiths & Gunter Wagner
Topic: Order in Living Systems

Friday, November 1

Zigler Center Lecture
Time: 11:30 AM
Location: 100 Wall St, room 119
Speaker: Kathryn Henderson, PhD, Director of School and Community Initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale
Topic: Nutrition, Lifestyle and Learning: Relationships Between Obesity and Education

Film Screening
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, Burke Auditorium
Film: Journey of the Universe
Conversation to follow with creators Mary Evelyn Tucker & John Grim of the Bioethics Center

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Conferences & Off Campus Events

The Curtis D. Robinson Mens Health Institute at Saint Francis' annual TOWN HALL MEETING on Health Disparities will be on Oct. 30 at 7 pm in the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.  This year we will address the topic "What does Obamacare mean to real people?" Please mark this free important event on your calendar - see the link below and click on TOWN HALL on left to register. http://www.saintfranciscare.com/menshealth.aspx

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Climate Action: A Moral Imperative for Connecticut Communities of Faith
Thursday, November 7 8:00am – 5:30pm
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford, CT
Our mission is to create awareness across Connecticut about religious communities’ unique responsibility to respond to climate change and empower these communities to act on this responsibility. The summit’s first aim is to help religious and lay leaders of all faith traditions grapple with a dimension of climate change that often gets remarkably little attention: its sobering moral implications. The summit’s second aim is to enable faith communities to work together, both spiritually and concretely, to confront this rapidly emerging threat. The summit will be an opportunity to learn about the physical, social, and moral implications of climate change as well as receive practical and spiritual tools to combat it. Climate change must take its place as a central concern of communities of faith, which have long played pivotal roles in addressing the moral challenges inherent in slavery, apartheid, chronic poverty, chronic violence, mass joblessness, epidemics, and natural disasters. Climate change and its causes must now be recognized as increasingly interwoven in — and often exacerbating — the series of fundamental ills that call people of faith to express moral vision and lead moral action. As people of faith, we have a responsibility to help society decisively confront this crisis. It is in this spirit that we are inviting you to participate in the Climate Stewardship Summit. Notable speakers, diverse panels, and breakout sessions will address climate change from a variety of perspectives. They will outline the science of climate change and its causes and effects, present spiritual responses to global warming, and explore the theological ground for this work. The summit also will provide practical information on topics such as energy efficiency, renewable technologies, green economies, policy initiatives, and socially responsible investing. Suggested donation: $30 (Sliding scale of $10 – $50 available as well.)  Includes breakfast, lunch, and materials. To register, please visit here.  (The keynote address will be given by the Bioethics Center’s own Mary Evelyn Tucker.)

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Personhood Beyond the Human
December 6-8, 2013
Yale University, New Haven, CT USA
Sponsors:  Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale Animal Ethics Group, Yale Technology and Ethics Working Group
Endorsed by the Nonhuman Rights Project

A growing body of research shows that many nonhuman animals, especially great apes, dolphins and whales, and elephants, have self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, symbolic communication, and the other characteristics of "personhood."  If at least some animals are psychological persons isn't it time to extend the legal protection of 'human rights' from our species to all beings with those characteristics? Pending advances in genetic engineering and computing will make the need for clear criteria for personhood, and what we owe persons, even more important in law and public policy. The Personhood Beyond the Human conference will tackle these questions and take a hard look at our evolving notions of personhood by analyzing them through the frameworks of history, neuroscience, philosophy, ethics, and law. Special consideration will be given to discussions of nonhuman animal personhood, both in terms of understanding the science and philosophy behind personhood, and ways to protect animal interests through the establishment of legal precedents and by increasing public awareness. Registration is Free for Yale University students and faculty.  For others: Until November 15, 2013: $150; After November 15, 2013: $200. http://nonhumanrights.net/tickets/ For more information, contact James J. Hughes Ph.D., Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, director@ieet.org, 860-297-2376.

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Grants, Fellowships, & Jobs

Indoor Air and Climate Change
URL: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2014/2014_star_indoor_air.html
Open Date: 10/23/2013  -  Close Date: 01/23/2004
Summary:  EPA announces an extramural funding  competition  designed to support research that improves understanding of how climate change affects human health through indoor air quality as adapted by building designs and uses. Proposals should explore the relationship linking health effects to combinations of building and climate characteristics. A priority is the evaluation of existing guidelines for building system design or for weatherization to adapt buildings to a changing climate, against empirical evidence of health effects related to ventilation, or at least against ventilation models and findings. In addition, applicants may choose to address one or both of the following optional research areas:
    -   Characterization of behavioral modifications and changes in population time-activity patterns in response to changing climate conditions that would result in altered exposures to existing or anticipated agents, in both indoor and outdoor environments. Changes in the use of buildings are especially of interest, such as patterns of use of natural (e.g. windows) vs. mechanical ventilation, or use of air conditioning.
   -    Extension of existing building ventilation models to consider multiple building types and newer, more energy efficient designs (e.g. LEED, Net Zero), or evaluation of existing models of building ventilation using independent data sets. In either case, it is crucial to understand how these models would perform when buildings operate under future climate scenarios that differ from their design tolerance.
It is important that proposed research in any of the above areas be developed with explicit consideration of populations at risk (vulnerable or susceptible).
This research is being conducted under EPA's Air, Climate, and Energy Research program (ACE). ACE work has contributed to major risk assessments, generated new and innovative technology as well as offered new solutions to continue to improve and protect air quality and the environment as a whole. The ACE program continues to work diligently to prevent disease and health problems directly linked to poor air quality and pollution, as well as studying and creating climate adaptation strategies.

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Calls for Papers & Nominations

TuftScope: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Health, Ethics, & Policy, a student journal at Tufts University is currently accepting submissions for our Fall 2013 issue from undergraduates, graduate students, and all other individuals who wish to submit work.  TuftScope accepts original articles on bioethics, healthcare policy, public/community health, medical education, biomedicine, and research in these fields. Please note that original research will not be published.  Detailed submissions guidelines and descriptions of the submission types may be found at www.tuftscopejournal.org under the “Guidelines” section. We welcome early submissions. All submissions should be uploaded to the submissions system on the website.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at Tuftscope@gmail.com.

Ethics and Social Welfare, Taylor and Francis
Call for papers for a special issue: ‘Fit for Purpose? Teaching ethics in health and social care’ for publication in 2015
GUEST EDITORS: Alison Higgs and Mary Twomey (Faculty of Health and Social Care, Open University)
Ethical dilemmas are an inescapable aspect of practice in health and social care, and debating and sharing experience of such dilemmas is one way in which practitioners address the problems which emerge. This themed edition of ESW will explore the extent to which it is possible to prepare students and future practitioners for such dilemmas, and, crucially, whether such teaching has an impact on practice. Papers will include examples from practice and the editors will encourage contributions from students, practitioners, those in receipt of services, and teachers/academics.
TOPICS: Ethics teaching and ethical practice (e.g. does teaching ethics improve practice?);  The place of theory in teaching ethics to health and social care students; The implications for students of relational approaches in ethics; Everyday practice and ethics: broadening the scope of what is perceived as the ethical domain; Student, practitioner and practice educator perspective; Ethical issues raised by students’ and practitioners’ use of new technologies; The contribution of the arts and humanities to ethics education.
Please notice that papers submitted for this Call must not have been published previously in academic journals or article collections. However, submissions may be new elaborations of ideas previously developed in such publications, as long as they represent new, original papers (philosophically, legally or ethically oriented).
SUBMISSION DETAILS: If you are interested in contributing to this special issue, please submit a 300 word proposal to Alison Higgs (alison.higgs@open.ac.uk) by email no later than 13 December 2013.
To submit a paper for this special issue, authors should go to the journal’s instructions for authors here. Papers must be submitted through the Scholar One manuscript processing system  http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/resw . Please see the guidance in the instructions for authors on the journal website if you are unfamiliar with this. For any further information please contact: Alison Higgs:  alison.higgs@open.ac.uk or Mary Twomey:  m.twomey@open.ac.uk

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Articles of Interest

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In the News

Featured Articles

Stolberg, Sheryl and Anne Barnard. In Syria, Doctors Risk Life and Juggle Ethics. The New York Times. 21 October 2013.
United Nations inspectors have taken the first steps to destroy Syria’s chemical stockpile. But while the Obama administration claims credit for pushing President Bashar al-Assad into giving up the arsenal, some experts say the real credit lies with the doctors who risked their lives — and confronted thorny questions of medical ethics — to bring to light the use of chemical weapons. Continue reading...

Eckholm, Erik. Case Explores Rights of Fetus Versus Mother. The New York Times. 23 October 2013.
Alicia Beltran cried with fear and disbelief when county sheriffs surrounded her home on July 18 and took her in handcuffs to a holding cell. She was 14 weeks pregnant and thought she had done the right thing when, at a prenatal checkup, she described a pill addiction the previous year and said she had ended it on her own — something later verified by a urine test. But now an apparently skeptical doctor and a social worker accused her of endangering her unborn child because she had refused to accept their order to start on an anti-addiction drug. Ms. Beltran, 28, was taken in shackles before a family court commissioner who, she says, brushed aside her pleas for a lawyer. To her astonishment, the court had already appointed a legal guardian for the fetus. Continue reading...


Neuman, William and Andrea Zarate. Corruption In Peru Aids Cutting of Rain Forest. The New York Times. 18 October 2013.
In recent years, Peru has passed laws to crack down on illegal logging, as required by a 2007 free trade agreement with the United States. But large quantities of timber, including increasingly rare types like mahogany, continue to flow out, much of it ultimately heading to the United States for products like hardwood flooring and decking sold by American retailers. The World Bank estimates that as much as 80 percent of Peru’s logging exports are harvested illegally, and officials say the wood typically gets shipped using doctored paperwork to make the trade appear legal. Continue reading...

Bradsher, Keith. China Tries To Clean Up Toxic Legacy Of Its Rare Earth Riches. The New York Times. 22 October 2013.
Communities scattered across China face heavy environmental damage that accumulated through two decades of nearly unregulated rare earth mining and refining. While the Chinese government has begun spending billions of dollars to clean up the damage, the environmental impact is becoming an international trade issue, with a World Trade Organization panel in Geneva expected to issue a crucial draft report on Wednesday. Continue reading...


Barclay, Eliza. Report: Meat Producers Ignore Pleas for Health, Environmental Reform. NPR. 24 October 2013.
Five years ago, a landmark report excoriated the animal agriculture industry's practices and laid out a road map for how it could do better. But in the years since, the problems are just as bad — and maybe even worse. That's the conclusion of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. This week, the center scolded the industry again with a review of how it has fared in the years since the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production released its original report. "From a regulatory, or legislative, standpoint, we have actually regressed on many of these issues in the last five years," says Bob Martin, who served as executive director of the original Pew commission, which included policymakers and scientists. Continue reading...

Health and Medicine

Knox, Richard. A Toddler Remains HIV-Free, Raising Hope For Babies Worldwide. NPR. 23 October 2013.
The news that a baby born HIV-positive in Mississippi stayed HIV-free even though her mother stopped giving her anti-retroviral drugs sparked skepticism earlier this year. But a new report says that the girl is still virus-free at age 3. This could jumpstart a global study on super-early treatment of HIV-positive newborns. Continue reading...

Medical Ethics

Aleccia, JoNel. A Kidney For $10,000? Paying Donors Actually Pays Off, New Study Finds. NBC News. 24 October 2013.
Paying living kidney donors $10,000 to give up their organs would save money over the current system based solely on altruism — even if it only boosts donations by a conservative 5 percent. That’s according to a new analysis by Canadian researchers that rekindles the ongoing debate about whether it’s practical — and ethical — to offer financial incentives for human body parts. Continue reading…


Rosenthal, Elisabeth. As Drug Costs Rise, Bending The Law Is One Remedy. The New York Times. 22 October 2013.
The high price of many prescription drugs in the United States has left millions of Americans telling white lies and committing fraud and other crimes to get their medicines. In response to a New York Times article about the costs, hundreds of readers shared their strategies, like having a physician prescribe twice the needed dose and cutting pills in half, or “borrowing” medicines from a friend or relative with better insurance coverage. But an increasingly popular — though generally illegal — route is buying the drugs from overseas. Continue reading...

Meier, Barry. F.D.A. Urging A Tighter Rein On Painkillers. The New York Times. 24 October 2013.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday recommended tighter controls on how doctors prescribe the most commonly used narcotic painkillers, changes that are expected to take place as early as next year. The move, which represents a major policy shift, follows a decade-long debate over whether the widely abused drugs, which contain the narcotic hydrocodone, should be controlled as tightly as more powerful painkillers like OxyContin. Continue reading...


Markoff, John. The Umbilical Link From Man To Robot. The New York Times. 21 October 2013.
Atlas doesn’t shrug. But he teeters, loses his grip, stutters and staggers. His task one afternoon is to clear a debris field. After many agonizing moments, in a set of abrupt and jerky movements, he crouches and with painstaking precision manages to grasp a two-by-four board and then drop it to his right. At the rate he is moving, completing the chore might take days. Atlas in this case is an imposing, six-foot-tall humanoid robot that evokes the bipedal “Star Wars” robot C-3PO. It stands in a cluttered robotics laboratory here at Worcester Polytechnic Institute where a team of students, engineers and software hackers are training the 330-pound bundle of sensors, computers, metal struts, joints and cables. Continue reading...

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In the Journals

Caplan, Arthur. Accepting a helping hand can be the right thing to do. Journal of Medical Ethics: Journal of the Institute of Medical Ethics. 2013.
Comments on an article by Ilina Singh (see record 2013-18270-002). Singh notes that critics of stimulant drug treatment worry that the use of drugs for the treatment of what might be labeled impairments of self-governance presents risks for living children who lack the inborn capacity to self-govern. This worry holds that in controlling behavior related to both performance in school or work and over-aggressiveness towards others, children receiving drugs will either be made into compliant zombies or amoral weaklings. Singh notes that her extensive systematic interviews with children receiving stimulant drug treatments provide a wonderful opportunity to determine how they see themselves on and off medication since they are on and off frequently for a variety of reasons. The reviewer asserts that Singh's study shows that stimulant drugs can assist in children forming and exhibiting self-determination leading to persons with more not less capacity for autonomy and choice. Continue reading…

Kolers, Avery. Am I My Profession’s Keeper? Bioethics. September 30.
Conscientious refusal is distinguished by its peculiar attitude towards the obligations that the objector refuses: the objector accepts the authority of the institution in general, but claims a right of conscience to refuse some particular directive. An adequate ethics of conscientious objection will, then, require an account of the institutional obligations that the objector claims a right to refuse. Yet such an account must avoid two extremes: 'anarchism,' where obligations apply only insofar as they match individual conscience; and 'totalitarianism,' where even immoral obligations bind us. The challenge is to explain institutional obligations in such a way that an agent can be obligated to act against conscience, yet can object if the institution's orders go too far. Standard accounts of institutional obligations rely on individual autonomy, expressed through consent. This paper rejects the Consent model; a better understanding of institutional obligations emerges from reflecting on the intersecting goods produced by institutions and the intersecting autonomy of numerous distinct agents rather than only one. The paper defends 'Professionalism' as a grounding of professional obligations. The professional context can justify acting against conscience but more often that context partly shapes the professional conscience. Yet Professionalism avoids totalitarianism by distinguishing between (mere) injustice and abuse. When institutions are - or we conscientiously believe them to be - merely unjust, their directives still obligate us; when they are abusive, however, they do not. Finally, the paper applies these results to the problem of conscientious refusal in general and specifically to controversial reproduction cases. Continue reading…

Shaw, Jacquelyn. Welcome to the Wild, Wild North: Conscientious Objection Policies Governing Canada's Medical, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Dental Professions. Bioethics. 2013.
In Canada, as in many developed countries, healthcare conscientious objection is growing in visibility, if not in incidence. Yet the country's health professional policies on conscientious objection are in disarray. The article reports the results of a comprehensive review of policies relevant to conscientious objection for four Canadian health professions: medicine, nursing, pharmacy and dentistry. Where relevant policies exist in many Canadian provinces, there is much controversy and potential for confusion, due to policy inconsistencies and terminological vagueness. Meanwhile, in Canada's three most northerly territories with significant Aboriginal populations, whose already precarious health is influenced by funding and practitioner shortages, there are major policy gaps applicable to conscientious objection. In many parts of the country, as a result of health professionals' conscientious refusals, access to some legal health services - including but not limited to reproductive health services such as abortion - has been seriously impeded. Although policy reform on conscientious conflicts may be difficult, and may generate strenuous opposition from some professional groups, for the sake of both patients and providers, such policy change must become an urgent priority. Continue reading…

Singh, Ilina. Victimology versus character: new perspectives on the use of stimulant drugs in children. Journal of Medical Ethics: Journal of the Institute of Medical Ethics. September 2013.
Reply by the current author to the comments made by Arthur Caplan (see record 2013-18270-003); Steven Edward Hyman (see record 2013-18270-004); and Steven Rose (see record 2013-18270-005) on the original article (see record 2013-18270-002). The VOICES study involved at least one radical move in the decades-old debates about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis and stimulant drug treatments: to systematically investigate young people's perspectives and experiences so that these could be included as evidence in social, ethical and policy deliberations about the benefits and risks of these interventions. The findings reported in this article were both surprising and unsurprising to us as researchers. The author identifies examples of responses typical of a tendency to victimology found in some social and ethical analyses of 'neurochildhoods'. The author expresses pleasure that all commentators discussed the sticky problem of niche norms around child development and behavior. As long as researchers' focus and energy are taken up with stimulant drugs, we avoid a higher level discussion about the values that ought to guide parents and professionals charged with the moral development of children. Continue reading…

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Ars Technica

Gitig, Diana. Meet the genomically recoded recoded organisms. October 18, 2013.
Yes, their creators call the Genomically Recoded Organisms they made “GRO”s. But they are not quite as menacing as they sound. Continue reading...

Gitig, Diana. Mapping the mutations of twelve major cancer types. October 19, 2013.
Despite the gazillions of hours (and possibly as many dollars) spent searching for a cure for cancer, none has emerged. This is primarily because every tumor has a different mutational profile and therefore responds differently to treatment. The Cancer Genome Atlas is a consortium that was founded to use DNA sequencing to identify the most common, most significant mutations in cancers. Continue reading...

Johnson, Scott K. Reversing climate change even more difficult than it might sound. October 23, 2013.
It’s often said that teenagers feel invincible. Even if they were to get hurt, a little medical treatment would quickly have them feeling right as rain. It only takes one significant injury to disabuse a person of that notion, one example that some part of their body will never quite be the same again. An injury can serve as a constant reminder that being a bit more careful would be prudent. Continue reading...

The Economist

Science & Technology. Trouble at the lab. October 19, 2013.
“I see a train wreck looming,” warned Daniel Kahneman, an eminent psychologist, in an open letter last year. The premonition concerned research on a phenomenon known as “priming”. Priming studies suggest that decisions can be influenced by apparently irrelevant actions or events that took place just before the cusp of choice. They have been a boom area in psychology over the past decade, and some of their insights have already made it out of the lab and into the toolkits of policy wonks keen on “nudging” the populace. Continue reading...

Los Angeles Times

Editorial. Preserving the Affordable Care Act. October 22, 2013.
Another week, another attack on the 2010 healthcare law. Days after opponents of Obamacare failed to derail it by shutting down the government, a federal court in Washington took up a lawsuit aimed at canceling the premium subsidies the law provides for many low- and moderate-income Americans. It's the first of two such challenges to reach the federal courts this month, and it illustrates — again — how some of the law's critics are trying to repeal it by inflicting the maximum possible damage on the public. The courts should reject the challenges. Continue reading...

Hansen, Gail. Antibiotics for people, not animals. October 23, 2013.
So far this year, more than 300 people have gotten sick from bacteria called Salmonella heidelberg. Almost three-quarters of them live in California. Continue reading...


Wapner, Jessica. What’s the Point of Finding Cancer Mutations? October 17, 2013.
Here’s an honest question: What is the point of knowing that a gene called KRAS is mutated in many colorectal cancers? Or knowing that p53 is mutated in several types of cancer? Or knowing any of the hundreds of genetic mutations that appear in tumor cells across the land? Unless you work in an academic or industry laboratory, what is the use of knowing the genetic mutation responsible for a cancer? For almost every known cancer mutation, there is no drug to match it with. Continue reading...

Levinovitz, Alan. Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine. October 22, 2013.
In case you missed it, Oct. 7–13 was designated Naturopathic Medicine Week, according to a Senate resolution sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski and passed by the Senate with unanimous consent. Among the reasons the Senate cited: Continue reading...

Washington Post

Editorial. A prescription for fixing Obamacare glitches. October 21, 2013.
The first step in dealing with a problem is to admit that you have one. By that standard, President Obama began Monday to resolve the embarrassing computer malfunctions that marred the opening phase of the Affordable Care Act. The administration has been tardy in dealing with a brewing crisis that could undermine confidence in the program. Continue reading...

Editorial. Genetically modified crops should be part of Africa’s food future. October 22, 2013.
A recent dispatch in The Post from a village in Tanzania foreshadowed stark choices facing Africa in the decades ahead. Journalist Sharon Schmickle, watching young children eagerly await scoops of corn and beans for lunch, described the conflict in Tanzania between those who suffer from food shortages caused by drought and pestilence and those who hold deep suspicions about the genetic engineering of crops, which might help grow more food. The doubters about genetic modifications seem to have the upper hand in Tanzania at the moment, and that is disturbing. Continue reading...

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