Greetings from Stephen Latham, Director

The Bioethics Center is sponsoring an "Empathy and End-of-Life" event at Yale University Art Gallery on Thursday, Oct 10th, 6-8 pm. We’ll be examining some of the gallery’s death-related art objects. A $20 suggested donation will benefit the CT Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care, which is co-sponsoring the event. The initial gallery discussion will be followed by wine and cheese and further conversation moderated by me. There are only a few slots left for this innovative event, so contact if you would like to attend.

Thanks for your expressions of interest in our proposed program to hold some sessions on legal research for bioethicists. The sessions will be taught by law librarian Jason Eiseman, and will cover access to and use of a broad range of bioethics-related legal materials. We’re working on logistics and date-setting now, but there’s still time to sign up. Send an email to if you’re interested.

Take special note of the upcoming Oct. 7 session at the Program for Biomedical Ethics on the Hastings Center’s new guidelines on end of life care. Details below.

And finally, don’t forget our upcoming October 22 Robert Levine lecture with Jonathan Moreno (UPenn, Bioethics) speaking on “Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century” and our Oct 29 Margaret Farley lecture with Sidney Callahan (Hastings Center, Psychology and Bioethics) speaking on "Confronting Religious Experience: Where Theology and Psychology Meet."  Details in the listings below!  


Jonathan Moreno, PhD
David and Lyn Silfen University Professor of Ethics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century

October 22, 2013, 5 PM
77 Prospect Street, A002


Sidney Callahan, PhD
Distinguished Scholar
The Hastings Center

Confronting Religious Experience: Where Theology and Psychology Meet

October 29, 2013, 5 PM
77 Prospect Street, A002

  Updates from the Summer Institute

Campus Events

Conferences & Off Campus Events

Grants, Fellowships & Jobs

Calls for Papers & Nominations



Click here to sign up for the Bioethics Newsletter


Updates from the Summer Institute

From Associate Director Carol Pollard

Sue Porter writes: “I was accepted as a visiting scholar to The Hastings Center!  My time as a resident there will be January 21-February 4.”  (Congratulations Sue!)

Sally Satel, morning lecturer, just published another article in the latest Atlantic.  (Congratulations Sally!)  The title is “The Science of Choice in Addiction.”   

Alexis Kaiser is now Blogger at redOrbit.  (Congratulations Alexis!)

Bryan Evans writes: “It's been almost two years since our last communication.  I hope everything is going well at the Bioethics Center. I've really missed my time in New Haven. I am currently in my third and final year at Notre Dame Law School.  I accepted an associate position in the Cleveland office of a law firm called Bricker & Eckler.  I'll be focusing my practice mostly on health care law, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  I'm also very happy to report that I got engaged this last summer!  My fiancee, Jenny Kittrick, and I will be getting married in Cleveland next August. Jenny and I are both hoping to make a trip to New Haven next summer. Hopefully we will see you then!”  (Congratulations Bryan, and I do hope to see you both in New Haven next summer!)

Ruth Retassie writes: “I wanted to update you on my newest projects.  This year, I am working towards obtaining my national AASECT certification as a sexuality educator.  I am doing this partially through the Minneapolis’ Neighborhood Involvement Program, where I will be developing their adult curriculum regarding sexual abuse.  I will also be teaching students ranging in age (from 8-15) about sexual abuse and how to identify it, what to do about it, etc…  So far the program has been incredibly inspiring to me.  I’m in good company!  By the way, this year I  received a Master’s with Merit in the History & Philosophy of Science & Medicine from Durham University (UK) as well!”  (Congratulations Ruth!)

Jennifer Chevinsky writes: “It's amazing that it has been a number of years and I still find myself thinking about the bioethics summer program!  In fact, I am fortunate to be on a bioethics leadership committee with another student, Tuua (Ruutiainen), who also attended the Summer Institute in 2009.  We both serve on the American Medical Association's Committee for Bioethics and Humanities, where we represent the voice of bioethics on behalf of all U.S. medical students. I was also able to see Lauren (Lefebvre - from 2009 as well) at the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference this past year, where I was presenting on behalf of the ASBH.  The networking that occurs through the summer institute truly does form connections that continue into the professional domain - I really enjoy running into and working with the other alum! I was also wondering if you could share two opportunities with the bioethics listserv: First, I am working on a project affiliated with the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH). The ASBH is interested in expanding services for student members.  We are spearheading a new initiative to connect with bioethics and medical humanities interest groups, societies, and organizations at undergraduate and graduate institutions.  We are looking to start a task-force to grow and better-facilitate this project.  We are in search of task-force members who have had past involvement with students, particularly as an advisor of a student bioethics club or interest group. Spots are also available for young professionals and recent graduates with a passion for student mentorship.  Necessary qualities include exemplary leadership and communication skills as well as shown dedication to the fields of bioethics and/or medical humanities.  For more information, contact Second, Bioethics Career Connection (BCC) is an organization that was started by two passionate undergraduate students at Georgetown University with the hope of helping students explore exciting careers in the field of bioethics. BCC connects students from across the U.S. with various interdisciplinary bioethics opportunities throughout the year, whether short or long-term. On the website, there is information regarding how bioethics professionals can join to become facilitators as well as an application for students interested mentorship, internships, or other forms of involvement.  For more information about BCC: I hope to see you and others at the upcoming ASBH conference!  I am also looking forward to hearing more details about the Summer 2014 institute with the new symposium for past students!” (Congratulations Jennifer!)

Shawna Benston writes: "On Monday, November 18th, 2013, Cardozo Law School's Journal of Conflict Resolution will present its Annual Symposium, "Bioethics, Healthcare Policy, and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Age of Obamacare."  The conference will examine the possibilities for conversation, negotiation, and dispute resolution within the healthcare arena, including how such conversation and alternative dispute resolution opportunities will evolve as provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act ("Obamacare") continue to be implemented.  We will bring together prominent experts, scholars, and practitioners in the intersecting realms of bioethics and conflict resolution.  The event is free and open to the public. To view a full schedule of events and register, please click here. To learn more about the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, please visit our web site:  Our Symposium participants will include: Adrienne Asch, Edward Bergman, Nancy Berlinger, Arthur Caplan, Nancy Dubler, Autumn Fiester, Debra Gerardi, Mindy Hatton, Michael Kosnitzky, Carol Liebman, Joe Miller, Thaddeus Pope, Charity Scott, Michelle Skipper, and Ellen Waldman.  CLE accreditation is pending.  This event has previously been approved.  An updated announcement will be sent out as soon as accreditation has been granted. Questions?  Contact Shawna Benston, Editor-in-Chief of the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, at"

Conversations on Health Care Now Available Nationwide on Sirius/XM.  Community Health Center, Inc.’s, nationally recognized radio show about the opportunities for reform and innovation in the health care system is now available on Sirius/XM station ReachMD, Channel 245 throughout the week.  Please google Sirius/XM for the exact times and days.  Or contact for further information.

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues is introducing new materials for bioethics education.  They just highlighted The Hastings Center Report essay on this release of information.  Please contact to find out about their offerings!


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This Week on Campus

Monday, October 7

Program on Biomedical Ethics Symposium
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: 230 South Frontage Rd, Cohen Auditorium
Speakers:Nancy Berlinger, PhD, Research Scholar at The Hastings Center
Bruce Jennings, MA, Director of Bioethics at the Center for Humans and Nature
Melissa Kurtz, MSN, MA, PhD student The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
Topic: A Discussion of the New Hastings Center Guidelines for Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment and Care near the End of Life

Global Justice Colloquium
Time: 6 PM
Location: 230 Prospect St, 1st floor seminar room
Speaker: Shmulik Nili, Political Science PhD candidate
Topic: Global Integrity and Global Complicity

Tuesday, October 8

Child Study Center Grand Rounds
Time: 1 PM
Location: 230 South Frontage Rd, Cohen Auditorium
Speakers: Melissa Fowler, MA, MEd, Education Outreach Coordinator; and Stuart Green, DMH, LCSW, Associate Director, Family Medicine Training Program, Overlook Medical Center, New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome
Topic: Tourette Syndrome Youth Advocates: A Patient-Centered Educational Model in Action

Poynter Journalism/Franke Science and Humanities Lecture
Time: 4 PM
Location: 53 Wall St, room 208
Speaker: David Dobbs, The New York Times, National Geographic
Topic: What Makes Us Who We Are? The Promise (and Perils) of Behavioral Genetics

Wednesday, October 9

Rudd Center Seminar
Time: 12:30 PM
Location: 309 Edwards St, conf rm
Speaker: Dianne Ward, EdD, Professor of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Topic: Going to Scale: Strategies for Disseminating the NAP SACC Program

Environmental Economics Seminar
Time: 4 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, room 321
Speaker: Laura Bakkensen, FES
Topic: Adaptation to Natural Disasters: Evidence from Global Tropical Cyclone Damages and Fatalities

Schell Center Lecture
Time: 6:15 PM
Location: 127 Wall St, Room 128
Speaker: Jared Genser, Managing Director, Perseus Strategies
Topic: The Responsibility to Protect: The Promise of Stopping Mass Atrocities in Our Time

Thursday, October 10

Forest Forum Lunch
Time: 12 PM
Location: 360 Prospect St, Marsh Rotunda
Speaker: Janet Dalziell, Director of Global Development, Greenpeace International
Topic: Adjustments in midflight: updating Greenpeace for the coming decades

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Conferences & Off Campus Events

Arts for Healing Festival 
October 2-6, 2013
An Exploration of Art, Illness, and Resilience 
The Festival will showcase the creative works of hospitalized young people, healthcare providers and Aaron Jafferis' new hip hop play, How to Break.   Jafferis draws from his nine years as writer-in-residence at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital to tell the stories of two young patients living with illness and ask bigger questions of the community, especially its youth. How can we be strong enough to survive trauma, but not hardened? Vulnerable enough to love but not break? How to Break, showing Oct 3-6, is most appropriate for audiences, age 14 and above.  The Arts for Healing Festival pairs professional theater with Bridging the Gap, a one act musical play written by young adults with sickle cell disease and performed by medical students and community youth on Oct. 5th at 6:30 pm. Join us in exploring art’s impact on physical and emotional health and healing, its implications for our own personal practice and that of patient-centered, compassionate healthcare.  Experience the creative process first hand through interactive events and workshops.  Bear witness to the experiences of our patients as told through their art, writing, music video and theater.   Celebrate 10 years of Arts for Healing!  A complete schedule is attached and available on Watch our trailer at Tickets for How to Break may be purchased at or at the door. We would like to thank CT Humanities, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Yale-New Haven  Hospital and Yale Humanities in Medicine Program for their support.

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Academics, NGO leaders, and policy makers from around the world will gather at Yale October 18-20 for the conference Human Rights and Economic Justice: Essential Elements of the Post-MDG Agenda. Speakers and conference participants will discuss policy solutions to urgent problems in international development, including global health disparities and illicit financial flows and will investigate new ways for academics to contribute to the fight against global poverty. We invite you to vist our conference website and register. You can download a printable version of this call for registration here. This event is the fifth in a series of annual conferences at Yale on financial transparency, all co-hosted by the Yale Global Justice Program and Global Financial Integrity. This year Academics Stand Against Poverty has come on board as a co- organizer. The event will take place in Luce Hall Auditorium, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, in the heart of Yale’s campus. The conference is free and open to the public, and complimentary coffee and light lunch will be served. Luce Hall Auditorium is conveniently located near New Haven’s central business district and a 10-minute walk from spacious parking facilities. Registration is free but necessary. Visit the conference website for more information.

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Yale Food Systems Symposium
October 18–19
Featuring Julie Guthman, Jahi Chappell, Selvin Chambers, Saru Jayaraman
Urbanization and Food System Transformation brings scholars and practitioners together for action-oriented sessions addressing the impact of complex ecological and socio-economic processes of food production, consumption, climate change, and rapid urbanization. Co-sponsored by the Fink Foundation, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and the Coalition on Agriculture, Food Systems, and the Environment at Yale. Details at

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Registration is now open for exhibit space at the Twenty-third Annual Meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics taking place February 27 to March 2, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville, Riverfront Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida. You can find more information about the Association and download the Registration Form on our website. The reservation deadline for exhibitors is January 10, 2014 or as soon as all exhibition space is sold. The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics was founded in 1991 to encourage interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching of high quality in practical and professional ethics by educators and practitioners who appreciate the practical-theoretical aspects of their subjects. Each year at our Annual Meeting, attendees use the Book Resource Room to find materials to use in the classroom, for research and for personal use. The Book Resource Room at the Annual Meeting is typically a display only exhibit with no representatives. Displays are set-up and managed by Association staff. Annual Meeting participants purchase materials directly from the publisher using ordering information and price lists supplied by the publisher. This helps to keep costs low for the Association and publishers.  Charges for exhibiting are as follows: 1-10 titles $125.00; 11-25 titles $150.00; 26-50 titles $175.00. For information tables with no items for sale, the charge is $100/table. Registration Fees can be paid through our website. You can also follow the instructions on the website to pay by check or electronic transfer. All registration fees include a one page advertisement in an electronic presentation in the Book Resource Room. When you register, please e-mail a one page electronic .jpg file to be included to You can use this service to highlight a new book, discounted meeting prices or service offered by your organization. This electronic presentation will be highly visible to everyone browsing the Book Exhibit and another way to promote your services and materials.  Registration charges assume that exhibit copies of materials will be donated to the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. If publishers choose to have exhibit copies returned, arrangements must be made in advance and will include a $150 service fee, plus shipping costs. If publishers send a representative to manage their exhibit where sales are separate and display materials are not donated to the Association, the charge is $500. For exhibits using audio-visual equipment, there will be an additional charge. Please contact Mary Ulmet at for more information. The Book Exhibit Room set-up will be Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 6:00pm. Materials should be sent the end of February and arrive at the hotel prior to set-up. Detailed instructions for shipping exhibit titles can be found on our website. For even more visibility at the Annual Meeting, advertising space is available in the Annual Meeting Program at the cost of $125 for a full page (6.5w x 9.5h). All copy must be sent camera ready. Advertisements will also be included in an electronic presentation in the Book Exhibit Room. Ad space only in the electronic presentation (and not in the Annual Meeting Program) is available for $50. The advertising deadline is January 10, 2014. We invite you to consider sponsoring an event or service at the Annual Meeting. Sponsorship opportunities of particular interest to publishers include: The Author Reception and Book Signing, The Book Resource Room, Book Resource Room Coffee Station, Book Resource Room Technology Center, Conference Bags, Giveaways for the Awards Ceremony and Banquet. Being a sponsor is an effective way for others to learn about your organization and publications. The Association's Annual Meeting links you with hundreds of institutions and individual across the United States and in 15 foreign countries around the world. Special recognition will be given to each lead and supporting sponsor at the specific program, event and locations during the Annual Meeting. Your sponsorship will be acknowledged at the Annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet. In addition, all sponsors will be listed in the Annual Meeting Official Program and on the Association's website. Please contact the Association's Executive Director, Stuart Yoak, for more information:

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Grants, Fellowships, & Jobs

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues Seeks Interns for Spring 2014
Deadline for application: October 11, 2013, 5:00pm
The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues advises the President on bioethical issues that emerge from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology. The Bioethics Commission works with the goal of identifying and promoting policies and practices that ensure scientific research, health care delivery, and technological innovation are conducted in an ethically responsible manner. The Bioethics Commission staff performs original, archival and literature-based research, as well as policy analysis to inform the deliberations of the Bioethics Commission. To fulfill our mission, we are seeking candidates for an internship for Spring 2014. We encourage applicants at various stages of their education, including undergraduates, graduate students in the biological, health, social sciences, or humanities, as well as those in professional schools or training programs including medicine, law, or public health. Candidates must have a demonstrated interest in bioethics, health, ethics, or public policy issues. Anticipated work will include research, writing, meeting preparation, and other projects as needed. Applications will be accepted through close of business Friday, October 11, and applicants will be notified soon thereafter. Spring interns must commit to at least 10 weeks in the DC office and a stipend is available.

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The Donaghue Foundation has launched a 2nd round of the R3 Making Research Relevant & Ready 2014 grant opportunity. The R3 program is only open to current and past Donaghue grantees.  However, we want to share with everyone connected to Donaghue that the 2013 inaugural R3 awardees are highlighted on our website. Learn about their projects by clicking here. To view the full grant announcement, and all other materials for the R3 grant program click here.  Letters of Intent are due October 17, 2013. R3 was developed to help promote knowledge created from research so that it will improve health.  In creating this program, we recognize that expertise from disciplines outside those traditionally eligible for research funding is needed for scaling, dissemination, and sustainability of evidence-based programs and practices.  It is our goal to provide researchers with financial support to access those experts, thus better positioning the health interventions to grow and be sustained following the completion of the research phase. The R3 program is only open to current and past Donaghue grantees.  In order to receive the R3 award, the applicant must demonstrate how previous Donaghue funding has directly led to the intervention or evidence-based practice or program for which the grant  monies will be used.  R3 grantees may use this award to augment funding for a project already funded by another grant. For questions or further information, please contact the Donaghue Foundation at (860) 521-9011 or email us at

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Calls for Papers & Nominations

The Penn Bioethics Journal (PBJ) invites submissions of papers on any aspect of bioethics written by undergraduate students. Papers can be reports of empirical research or novel syntheses of previous work in science, philosophy, public policy, or any other discipline addressing an issue in bioethics. We also accept shorter works such as news briefs and editorials. Please visit our website for more information:  There you will find information on the different types of pieces you can write and logistics of the review process. Submitting a paper earlier allows an author to get feedback and resubmit if needed. First deadline: October 14, 2013. Second deadline: November 4, 2013. Third deadline: November 18, 2013. Fourth deadline: December 3, 2013. Please send submissions and any questions to

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Articles of Interest

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In the News

Featured Article

Rich, Motoko. Creationists On Texas Panel For Biology Textbooks. The New York Times. 28 September 2013.
One is a nutritionist who believes “creation science” based on biblical principles should be taught in the classroom. Another is a chemical engineer who is listed as a “Darwin Skeptic” on the Web site of the Creation Science Hall of Fame. A third is a trained biologist who also happens to be a fellow of the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based center of the intelligent-design movement and a vice president at an evangelical ministry in Plano, Tex. As Texas gears up to select biology textbooks for use by high school students over the next decade, the panel responsible for reviewing submissions from publishers has stirred controversy because a number of its members do not accept evolution and climate change as scientific truth. Continue reading...


Eller, Donnelle. ISU Prof: Action Can Be Taken On Climate. Des Moines Register. 1 October 2013.
Humans are “extremely likely” causing the earth to warm, and an Iowa State University professor who contributed to the landmark international report wants people to take action — sensible action. “We’re clearly on a track toward causing climate to change, and I want people to react, but I don’t want them to overreact,” said Bill Gutowski, an ISU professor on synoptic meteorology and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group charged with scientifically evaluating global climate change. Continue reading...

Jacquot, Jeremey. Ocean warming and acidification deliver double blow to coral reefs. Ars Technica. September 30, 2013.
The dual threats of ocean acidification and anthropogenic warming have the potential to wreak havoc on marine life over the coming decades. Corals require acid-sensitive calcium carbonate for structure and heat-sensitive symbionts for sustenance, so they seem to have the most to lose from a warmer, more acidic ocean. Indeed, numerous studies have already indicated that calcifying organisms, including corals, would be among the worst to suffer. Continue reading...…

Prengaman, Kate. In Antarctic lake, extreme conditions lead to extreme genetics. Ars Technica. October 1, 2013.
Despite temperatures well below freezing, Antarctica's Deep Lake remains unfrozen thanks to its extremely high salt content. The lake was isolated from the oceans about 3,500 years ago, when the continent lifted up around it. As inhospitable territory goes, this is pretty high on the list, a lake both colder and more saline than most living things can survive. Continue reading...…


Neighmond, Patti. Kombucha: Magical Health Elixir Or Just Funky Tea? NPR. 30 September 2013.
Many folks are banking on the potential health benefits of kombucha tea, including disease prevention, energy improvement and perhaps even turning back the clock and inhibiting aging. "I've seen claims that kombucha might help kill cancer, is a powerful detoxifier, even a fountain of youth," says Monica Reinagel, a nutritionist and creator of the podcast Nutrition Diva. Sound fantastical? Well, it probably is. The bottom line is that we know very little about kombucha and how it may affect health. Continue reading...

Health and Medicine

Healy, Michelle. Vaccine Refusal Linked to California Pertussis Outbreak. USA Today. 30 September 2013.
The 2010 California outbreak of the extremely contagious respiratory disease pertussis (also known as whooping cough) was the largest in more than 60 years. New evidence suggests that clusters of people who refused the whooping vaccine may have been one of the factors that contributed to the whooping cough outbreak. Continue reading...

Kelland, Kate. Oncologists Call For Industry-Led Global Fund To Fight Cancer. Reuters. 30 September 2013.
The world faces a rapidly growing burden of cancer which will overwhelm governments unless the medical and pharma industry takes the lead on a multi-billion dollar private-public fund, oncologists said on Monday. In a report on how rates of cancer diagnosis and death are rising across the world while access to diagnosis and treatment is extremely patchy, experts described the economics of the problem as daunting and current financing models as broken. Continue reading...

Dansby, Donisha. Puberty Is Coming Earlier But That Doesn’t Mean Sex Ed Is. NPR. 1 October 2013.
More and more kids are already well into puberty by the time sex education begins in school. Researchers are debating the possible links to environmental chemicals, stress and obesity. But while scientists try to find what's causing early puberty, schools are left to deal with what looks like a new normal. And in the meantime, kids are left wondering if they are normal. Continue reading...

Health Care Coverage

NPR Staff. The Religious Alternative To Obamacare’s Individual Mandate. NPR. 28 September 2013.
The Affordable Care Act requires nearly every American to have health insurance or pay a penalty, beginning Jan. 1. The so-called "individual mandate" has been controversial ever since the law was passed. But for people who fall into a few select categories, the mandate doesn't apply. Like Native Americans who get health coverage through the Indian Health Service, or people who are incarcerated. Another exception is for members of "health care sharing ministries," a way for individuals with a "common set of ethical or religious beliefs" to share medical bills. Continue reading...

Thomas, Katie and Reed Abelson. On The Threshold of Obamacare, Warily. The New York Times. 28 September 2013.
The insurance marketplaces that form the centerpiece of President Obama’s health care law are scheduled to open on Tuesday, a watershed moment for the Obama administration, but also a crucial turning point for millions of Americans who will finally get the chance to square the law’s lofty ambitions with their own personal needs. While some people desperate for coverage will need no persuading to sign up, for others the decision will amount to a series of complicated calculations that would challenge an accounting whiz, let alone an ordinary human: Are the new plans less expensive or more generous than existing ones? How do premiums and out-of-pocket costs compare? Are the networks of doctors and hospitals the most desirable? Who qualifies for how much of a subsidy, and what is the tax penalty for a miscalculation? How millions of people answer these questions over the next six months will be vital to determining whether the Affordable Care Act lives up to its name and its ambitious goal of helping more people buy the coverage they need. Continue reading...

Law and Bioethics

Eckholm, Erik. Rights Groups and Clinics Sue Texas Over Provisions In Its New Abortion Law. The New York Times. 27 September 2013.
National women’s rights groups and Texas abortion clinics filed suit on Friday in federal court in Texas, seeking to block provisions of a new state law that they said would have “dramatic and draconian effects” on women’s access to the procedure. The suit targets two provisions of a sweeping anti-abortion law that Texas adopted in July. The rules are scheduled to take effect on Oct. 29. Continue reading...

Medical Ethics

White, Ed. Detroit-Area Cancer Doctor Accused of Fraud, Mistreating Patients Stays in Jail Until Trial. Associated Press. 2 October 2013.
A Detroit-area cancer doctor accused of intentionally misdiagnosing patients and ordering unnecessary treatments will remain in jail until trial, a judge said Wednesday after prosecutors insisted he might flee to the Middle East. Dr. Farid Fata, a naturalized U.S. citizen whose native country is Lebanon, is charged with committing fraud to enrich himself through health insurance programs. The government says some patients were repeatedly exposed to powerful drugs despite having no cancer. Continue reading...

Research Ethics

Achenbach, Joel. NIH Trials Turn Away New Patients As Shutdown Cuts Zap Scientists, Researchers.
Much of the government’s sprawling scientific and technological machinery has been turned off, and researchers and engineers fear that a prolonged shutdown could imperil their projects and create lasting harm to U.S. innovation. Sick people hoping to join clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health are being turned away. Nearly three-fourths of NIH employees have been furloughed. Patients already enrolled in NIH clinical trials will continue to receive care. If the shutdown continues, it could affect about 200 people per week who, under normal circumstances, would be admitted to new trials, said John T. Burklow, an NIH spokesman. Continue reading...


Singh, Maanvi. Why Brain Surgeons Want Help From A Maggot-Like Robot. NPR. 27 September 2013. Brain surgery is a dicey business. Even the most experienced surgeons can damage healthy tissue while trying to root out tumors deep inside the brain. Researchers from the University of Maryland are working on a solution, and it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. They're developing a tiny, maggot-like robot that can crawl into brains and zap tumors from within. Continue reading...

Cohem, Noam. Editing Wikipedia Pages For Med School Credit. The New York Times. 29 September 2013.
Medical students at the University of California, San Francisco, will be able to get course credit for editing Wikipedia articles about diseases, part of an effort to improve the quality of medical articles in the online encyclopedia and help distribute the articles globally via cellphones. While professors often incorporate Wikipedia work into classes, hoping that student research can live on online, the university and others say this is the first time a medical school will give credit for such work. Continue reading...

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In the Journals

Hyman, Steven E. Addiction and Responsibility. Neuroethics in Practice. May 2013.
This chapter defines and examines the coined concept of “cognitive control,” the underlying processes that would comprise our conscious exertion of will or reason to regulate our actions-a common but simplistic top-down understanding of the brain-and the failure of that control in the face of addiction. It also discusses the relative importance and distinction of neuroethics, as demarcated from bioethics, by explaining neuroscience’s direct relation with questions of rationality and, by extension, ethical principles. To combine these threads, the chapter notes that control is fundamentally connected to responsibility. An individual, then, who has lost the ability for cognitive regulation over the course of an addiction, for reasons of genetic or environmental vulnerability, poses a difficult ethical case. There remains much to learn about the pathophysiology of addiction, but the literature review here goes a long way toward covering the complex relation of addictive susbstances, the brain, behavior, and crime. Continue reading…

Landa, Amy Snow. From Community to Commodity: The Ethics of Pharma-Funded Social Networking Sites for Physicians. Journal of Medical Ethics. September 2013.
A growing number of doctors in the United States are joining online professional networks that cater exclusively to licensed physicians. The most popular are Sermo, with more than 135,000 members, and Doximity, with more than 100,000. Both companies claim to offer a valuable service by enabling doctors to "connect" in a secure online environment. But their business models raise ethical concerns. The sites generate revenue by selling access to their large networks of physician-users to clients that include global pharmaceutical companies, market research and consulting firms, and hedge funds and other investors. In exchange for a fee, these clients are offered a variety of tools to monitor, analyze, and solicit physicians' opinions. In Sermo's case, clients are also offered opportunities to conduct "awareness campaigns" on the site that are aimed at influencing physician sentiment about specific drugs and medical devices. In effect, these online networks have created an even more efficient means for the pharmaceutical industry to track physician sentiment, disseminate messages, and cultivate key opinion leaders. This paper argues that the dual nature of these sites (a) undermines their integrity and transparency as forums for the exchange of medical opinion and (b) presents an ethical conflict for the doctors who use them. Continue reading…

Miller, Jennifer. From Bad Pharma to Good Pharma: Aligning Market Forces with Good and Trustworthy Practices through Accreditation, Certification, and Rating. Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. July 2013
This article explores whether the bioethical performance and trustworthiness of pharmaceutical companies can be improved by harnessing market forces through the use of accreditation, certification, or rating. Other industries have used such systems to define best practices, set standards, and assess and signal the quality of services, processes, and products. These systems have also informed decisions in other industries about where to invest, what to buy, where to work, and when to regulate. Similarly, accreditation, certification, and rating programs can help drug companies address stakeholder concerns in four areas: clinical trial design and management, dissemination of clinical trial results, marketing practices, and the accessibility of medicines. To illuminate processes - such as conflicts of interests and revolving-door policies - that can jeopardize the integrity of accreditation, certification, and ratings systems, the article concludes with a consideration of recent failures of credit-rating agencies and a review of the regulatory capture literature. Continue reading…

Petrini, Carlo. Clinical trials with subjects unable to give consent: some ethical-legal paradoxes. Medico-Legal Journal. 2013.
The Italian Data Protection Authority recently authorised a US pharmaceutical company and an Italian hospital to use the personal data of people without capacity to make their own decisions, including those with no legal representation, within the framework of a specific clinical trial although this is not legal under current Italian legislation. This action effectively acknowledged the validity of consent given by persons with family ties to patients, or those in hospitals caring for patients, in contrast with Italian legislation which regards as valid only consent that is given by a legally appointed guardian. This article considers the present state of the regulations governing trials involving incapacitated adults, the paradoxes generated by the discrepancy between the authorisation granted by the Authority and current legislation, and (possible) future developments. Continue reading…

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Ars Technica

Timmer, John. Biologist lets new Curiosity rover papers escape from paywall. September 27, 2013.
Yesterday's edition of Science included four papers that describe some of the most detailed results yet available on the rock and soil analyses performed by the Curiosity Mars rover. Each of the papers was produced by a large team, in all but one case including international researchers. But all five of the papers had the same last author: the MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) Science Team, a group of people organized by NASA. Immediately after the papers' release, a scientist and open access advocate used NASA's involvement to justify posting all three papers on his personal website. Continue reading…

Timmer, John. A climate skeptic states his case. October 2, 2013.
The Institute for Advanced Study, which has played host to such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Kurt Gödel, is holding a series of talks to celebrate the birthday of another one of its famous faculty: Freeman Dyson. Dyson made important contributions to a huge variety of fields and gave us the concept of the Dyson Sphere. The talks in his honor covered many of the fields that Dyson influenced. Here, we'll describe the talk by physicist William Happer. Continue reading…

Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Obamacare still a mystery in Illinois. September 25, 2013.
Illinois and federal officials have worked overtime this week to assure people that Obamacare health coverage — coming Oct. 1 to a website near you! — will be a terrific deal. State officials visited the Tribune editorial board Tuesday, equipped with charts and graphics and website mock-ups. They spelled out how people will get information. They offered some favorable price comparisons to other states and some highs and lows for insurance plans. Continue reading…

Editorial: Federal government shuts down as Obamacare starts up. October 3, 2013.
Americans awoke Tuesday to the fact that nearly half the federal government has shut down, and to a certainty that one-sixth of the U.S. economy will be profoundly altered via Obamacare. Continue reading…

Editorial: Neonatal programs get generous boosts. October 3, 2013.
Scenes from a neonatal intensive care unit: Doll-size patients, premature or critically ill or both, are surrounded by an intimidating array of tubes, monitors and machines, attended by a constantly rotating army in medical scrubs. Continue reading…

Thomas, Cal. A republican response to Obamacare. October 3, 2013.
If Republicans were smart (I know, but stay with me) their focus during the Obamacare debate should have been less on blocking its implementation and more on a page they might have taken from the Democrat's playbook, which is to rally the country to its side by use of sentimentality and the threat of impending doom. The good news for Republicans is that there's still time. Continue reading…

The Economist

The Economist explains. How was the AIDS epidemic reversed? September 26, 2013.
If ever there was a demonstration of the power of science, it is the course of the fight billed “Mankind v AIDS”. Until 1981 the disease (though already established in parts of Africa) was unknown to science. Within a decade it passed from being seen as primarily a threat to gay men, and then to promiscuous heterosexuals, to being a plague that might do to some parts of Africa what the Black Death did to medieval Europe. But now, though 1.6m people a year still die of it, that number is on a downward trajectory´┐Ż, and AIDS rarely makes the headlines any more. How was this achieved? Continue reading...

J.P. It’s still our fault. September 27, 2013.
It has been a long time coming. But then the fifth assessment of the state of the global climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body, was a behemoth of an undertaking. It runs to thousands of pages, involved hundreds of scientists and was exhaustively checked and triple-checked by hundredds of other boffins and government officials to whom they report—and whose policies are often based on what they read. The first tranche of the multi-volume report—an executive summary of the physical science—was released in Stockholm on September 27th. And it is categorical in its conclusion: climate change has not stopped and man is the main cause. Continue reading…

Climate science. Clouds of (slightly less) unknowing. October 5, 2013.
Clouds and aerosols have long been two of the more mysterious forces in the climate. They sometimes warm and sometimes cool the Earth. The net effect, it was thought, was that they offset part of the overall warming trend, which would have been greater had it not been for their influence. But the details were obscure. Continue reading…

Climate science. Stubborn things. October 5, 2013.
In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body of scientists, said the glaciers of the Himalayas could melt by 2035. This was complete fiction. It also said global surface temperatures would go on rising by about 0.2°C a decade for the next 20 years. They have been more or less flat since 1998. The IPCC has now issued its sextennial check-up on the health of the global climate. Why would anyone believe what they say? Continue reading…

Los Angeles Times

Editorial. Who wants to fix Obamacare? October 2, 2013.
House Republicans have tried more than three dozen times in the last three years to repeal all or part of the 201 healthcare law, so it's hard to take them seriously now when they say they're trying to "improve" it. Continue reading…

Editorial. The haze around e-cigarettes. October 3, 2013.
Americans are becoming more familiar with e-cigarettes, which are beginning to appear in restaurants, bars and coffeehouses where regular cigarettes have long been banned. An e-cigarette is, in effect, a battery-operated nicotine delivery system that works by heating a mixture of water, nicotine and other chemicals. The user inhales and exhales the resulting vapor rather than smoke. Continue reading…

Healey, Jon. The real story behind all those Obamacare waivers. October 3, 2013.
Readers have been asking why The Times' editorial board has been so critical of House Republicans for trying to defund or delay key provisions of the 2010 healthcare law without faulting President Obama for supposedly granting Congress and hundreds of big businesses and politically connected unions waivers and exemptions from the law. Continue reading…

Morrison, Patt. Abortion and GOP political spouses. October 1, 2013.
If Nancy Reagan ever dropped in on Texas, she would make a foursome: four past and present Republican First Ladies, all married to anti-abortion politicians, and yet who themselves, to varying degrees, support a right to abortion. Continue reading…

New York Times

Loeak, Christopher J. Climate Change Has Reached Our Shores. September 25, 2013.
Majuro, Marshall Islands — As the world barrels toward a climate crisis of its own making, my country stands at the precipice. In the Marshall Islands, like elsewhere in the Pacific, climate change is no longer a distant threat, nor at the doorstep. Climate change is here. Continue reading…

Room for Debate. Is Obamacare Working? September 26, 2013.
The Obama administration this week provided the first detailed look at premiums to be charged to consumers in federally run health insurance markets, established under the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading…

Editorial. Dawn of a Revolution in Health Care. September 28, 2013.
The United States is embarking on a truly historic journey toward near-universal health care coverage this week. Starting Tuesday, the federal government will make it possible for millions of uninsured Americans who can’t get health insurance, or can’t afford it, to obtain coverage with the aid of government subsidies. It is a striking example of what government can do to help people in trouble. Continue reading…

Washington Post

Editorial. Medical-device tax repeal is an idea full of holes. October 2, 2013.
If the Capitol Hill impasse ever ends, it will probably be through a compromise under which House Republicans abandon their demands to delay or defund Obamacare — in return for a concession Senate Democrats can tolerate. One scenario involves Republican support for a spending bill in return for repealing one source of funding for the health-care law: a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices. Continue reading…

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