Greetings from Stephen Latham, Director


With Yale College spring break only 7 days away, we’re winding down our activities schedule for a few weeks. I’ll give some previews of late-March and April events (geoengineering, food and public health, Alzheimer’s and advance directives) in next week’s pre-break newsletter.

For this week, I have only one event to flag: a “book party” for Barry Schaller’s new book, Veterans on Trial: The Coming Court Battles over PTSD. We’ll gather for wine and cheese at my home, 299 Lawrence St., New Haven, at 5:30 on Thursday, March 7. Barry will be on hand to describe the book—and to sell and sign a few of them, too.

Barry is a retired Connecticut Supreme Court justice who continues to serve on the Connecticut Appellate Court. He is a graduate of, and a clinical visiting lecturer at, Yale Law School. A longtime friend of the Bioethics Center, Barry previously authored a 2007 book on bioethics. His new book, which describes the difficulties facing our returning troops with PTSD, and prescribes some legal and policy remedies for some of those difficulties, had its origins in Barry’s work on a Bioethics Center PTSD working group funded by the Donaghue Foundation. If you’d like to join us in our celebration of Barry’s book, please RSVP to me at Stephen.Latham@yale.edu

As always, if you’d like to see something announced in this Friday Newsletter, email me at Stephen.Latham@Yale.edu with the word “Frimail” in your subject line.

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Updates from the Summer Institute

From Associate Director Carol Pollard

*Donna Hanrahan writes “Shamess plug…the organization I work for is teaming up with a pharma company to run a big international innovation competition for ideas (from technology to concepts) to improve diabetes management, including enhancing prevention, early diagnosis, and management of the condition. The competition will award $75,000 in seed money to winners, plus offer participants valuable networking opportunities with healthcare and technology leaders worldwide. Entries must be received by March 31, 2013. I know you all are smart and creative (and probably have smart and creative friends to pass this along to!) so spread the word and maybe win some cash, because hey, degrees are expensive. Thanks guys :)”
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HealthcareInnovationWorldCup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hciwc
Website: http://healthcareinnovationworldcup.com/index.php

*John Loike, director of Columbia University’s Annual Summer Cross-Cultural Educational Program wanted me to pass on this information to you. This year’s Program will be held in Thailand from July 31 – August 18 under the sponsorship of Columbia University’s Center for Bioethics and Mahidol University International College.  If students have questions, John asked that you contact him directly: (212) 305-1510.

*Csaba Bardosy writes: “I've been preparing to write this e-mail for a long time.   I’m expanding the presentation on biotech patent issues that I gave at the end of the Summer Institute (comparing US and EU patent legal systems), translating it, and handing in my thesis in December 2013.   I've been nominated to be "the president" of a well-known student association [speakeasy.hu- English version is coming soon:)], which I was glad to accept, so during the last 6 months I was extremely busy doing it and also studying for double semester credits.  I have passed my exams, so I will be allowed to study in Cologne, Germany, for 4 months starting in April.  And I’m presently working for PriceWaterhouseCooper's Legal Department, where I've met many kind American employees, and I will enjoy the special legal atmosphere for 4-5 more weeks. It is obvious to me that the Bioethics Summer Institute was an outstanding, lifelong experience, and since we last spoke I'm trying to finance a return to do some research at the Yale’s Bioethics Center.   My plan is to be in New Haven in October and November 2013.  I'm also trying to keep in touch with many of the Summer Institute participants, who became really great friends.  And medical school is still not forgotten, but first I must finish law school; I'm still very engaged to bioethics and its medical- legal aspects. I so enjoyed being at Yale and being surrounded by others who are also curious about very important issues.  I felt it was a great example of the global connections and goals of the Summer Institute.” (Congratulations Csaba!  I’m glad we will see you here soon again!)

*Prya Murad is now a legal intern at the Health Justice Project at Loyola University/Chicago. (Congratulations Prya!)

*Wei Ouyang writes: “I am pleased to share good news with you that, having gone through two-rounds of interviews last month and a following administrative review from the National Science Council of Taiwan, I have been offered a post-doctoral fellowship to work on a project titled "Comparative Historical Analysis in China and Taiwan's Health System Reform" at the Department of Public Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University.  I will be working hard to find the appropriate balance between family life with our new baby and my new position. Thank you so much for your continued support!  (Congratulations Wei!)

*Marcin Michalak writes: “I haven't written for so long, but I have to say that the unique atmosphere of Yale (especially people who I met there) still remains vivid in my memory.  I work now at the University of Gdansk in the Department of political and legal doctrines.  I don't have many opportunities to deal with bioethics, but I'm still very interested in this issue, so from time to time I read some texts concerning bioethical problems. Currently I prepare my PhD thesis on the social-democratic doctrine in Europe.  Fortunately this topic is connected with development of human rights, so undoubtedly bioethical issues will still remain in the circle of my interest :) During the preparation of one of my papers I found a short, compelling movie - I think that somehow it could be interesting also for you.  Here is a link to this film: http://vimeo.com/60002414 (Good Luck with all that you are doing Marcin!  I’m highly recommending this film to all the students!  It’s short and worth the time to view it!)

*Carol Duh will be getting married on May 18th in New York City.  (By the time she gets married, it will be “Carol Duh, MD”!  Congratulations on both events!)

*Adrien Donneaud writes, “Here's a documentary about speciesism that might change your lives forever. I have rarely seen something as strong and as moving as this film.  As Ethicists, it is vital that you watch this.  Big Kudos go to Ana Morron (fellow summer student) who was always inciting us to take a look at these kinds of issues and to talk about speciesism.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiqBhmeOSH4

*Jesse DeWeese is now at Loyola University Law School working on her law degree with a Health Law certificate.  “I’m loving school and have become friends with my fellow Summer Program alum Prya Murad who was at Yale a summer or two before me.”  (Congratulations Jesse!)

*Tsion Tesfaye posted this message: “The National Undergraduate Bioethics Research Conference is at Georgetown this year! I'm volunteering to help organize the event and was asked if I knew any other bioethics peeps in D.C. If you're in the area and would like to help out for a few hours one day, contact the Georgetown Bioethics Society!”
http://kennedyinstitute.georgetown.edu/undergrad/nubc2013.cfm

Carol

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This Week on Campus

Monday, March 4

Leitner Political Economy Seminar
Time: 12 PM
Location: 34 Hillhouse Ave, room 203
Speaker: Aila M. Matanock, UC Berkeley
Topic: Bullets for Ballots: Examining the Effect of Electoral Participation on Conflict Recurrence

Tuesday, March 5

Rudd Center Seminar
Time: 12:30 PM
Location: 309 Edwards St, conf room
Speaker: Mike Daube, Professor of Health Policy and Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia; President, Australian Council on Smoking and Health
Topic: Winning the War: What Can Obesity Learn from the Long-Term Tobacco Campaign? 

MacMillan Center Lecture
Time: 3 PM
Location: 34 Hillhouse Ave, Luce Auditorium
Speakers: Gen (Ret.) Stan McChrystal and Dr. Kristina Talbert-Slagle
Topic: The Health of Nations

Program for the Study of Antisemitism Seminar
Time: 5 PM
Location: 53 Wall St, room 208
Speaker: Marc Saperstein, Yale University and George Washington University
Topic: Christian Doctrine and the Nazi Death Camps: The Ambiguities of Influence

Wednesday, March 6

Politics, Markets & Environment Workshop
Time: 1:15 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, room 321
Speaker: Matthew Barnes, Princeton
Topic: Policy-making in a New York Town: The Case of Hydraulic Fracturing

Thursday, March 7

Human Rights Workshop
Time: 4:15 PM
Location: 127 Wall St, Faculty Lounge
Speaker: Daniel Wilkinson, YLS '00, Managing Director, Americas Division, Human Rights Watch and Robina Foundation Senior Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School
Topic: The Art of Effective Human Rights Advocacy: The Case of Colombia

Humanities in Medicine's Dobihal Lecture
Time: 5 PM
Location: 300 Cedar St, Anlyan Auditorium
Speaker: Wendy Cage, PhD, Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University
Topic: Paging God: Religion in the halls of medicine

Initial Meeting of Violence and Health Interest Group
Time: 6 PM
Location: 60 College St, room 101

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Conferences & Off Campus Events

National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference (NUBC) -2013 Georgetown University April 5-7, 2013; Bioethics: Intersections in Global Health and Environmental Ethics Policy
Interested in Global Health, the Environment, and Bioethics?  Do you work with students interested in those topics? The Georgetown Undergraduate Bioethics Society (UBS) is excited to be hosting the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference (NUBC) 2013 at Georgetown University, Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 7. NUBC 2013 will bring together undergraduate students from across the nation at Georgetown for one weekend to delve into this year’s conference theme, “Bioethics: Intersections of Global Health and Environmental Policy.” Specific aims and objectives for the Conference are to introduce participants to the philosophical underpinnings of bioethics and current scientific and policy issues related to issues in global health and environmental policy; to cultivate rich conversation in ethics; to connect undergraduates to each other and experts; and to promote undergraduate leadership, scholarship, and research.  A special feature of the Georgetown conference is a series of sessions designed to equip students for developing policy briefs around topics in global health and environmental policy. By the end of the conference, participants should be able to produce a framework of actionable steps to address a specific issue informed by ethical reasoning and working in close collaboration with peers from other universities. In addition, unique features of the Georgetown conference include a student poster presentation session and a career luncheon. The Conference will also include the annual Bioethics Bowl debate competition.  We would welcome student poster presentations on global health, environmental ethics, general issues in bioethics, and/or bioethics and public policy.  We hope you will join us for this opportunity to learn more about bioethics and to make connections with other students from universities across the country. Registration is now open and will run through March 15th. You can register on the conference website at http://nubc2013.org. If you have additional questions or are interested in volunteering at the conference, please email bioethicssociety@georgetown.edu. Thank you!

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Grants, Fellowships, & Jobs

Registration is open for the Tenth Annual Byron Fellowship, May 19-24, 2013 at Turkey Run State Park in Parke County, Indiana. Byron Fellowship is an interdisciplinary course in leadership and sustainable community development that uniquely engages participants through place-based learning. During the five and a half day program, participants will learn with a collection of academic teachers and active practitioners. Fellows and mentors represent a wide spectrum of disciplines including the arts, natural and social science, engineering and design, business, and theology. Teaching methods include tutorial mentoring, collaborative discussion, reflection, and team building.  The Byron Fellowship is available to 20 upper class undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates from throughout the world by application. Strong attention is paid toward crafting every Fellowship with diversity capable of supporting a holistic exploration of sustainability. The student cost of the program is limited to a subsidized rate of $250, which includes food and lodging for the event. Need based scholarships are available.  Visit our website for more information and to apply: http://www.byronfellowship.org

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2013 YCEI Research Grant Competition: Each year Yale Climate & Energy Institute solicits proposals from the Yale community for Interdisciplinary Research Grants in climate and energy. YCEI grants are intended to act as seed funds to establish new areas of research and, ideally, to lead to or leverage larger grants from established agencies. Projects involving collaborations that transcend traditional boundaries are preferred, although all creative proposals will receive strong consideration. Proposals must come from Yale faculty, but Yale staff and students are encouraged to work with faculty on proposals. Proposals can include external collaborations. Preference will be given to faculty who have not previously received YCEI support. Research Grants are awarded for a maximum of two years and cover basic expenses, such as salary for postdoctoral researchers or fellows, stipends or wages for student research assistants, equipment, sample and data purchasing and analysis, and travel for PIs and collaborators. Grants cannot be used for faculty salary, including summer salary. The total budget should not exceed $100,000. YCEI encourages applications for research projects below this maximum level. We seek diversity in duration, size, scope, research focus, and collaborative intensity. There are no indirect costs associated with these grants, which means that the full award can be devoted to the project. Collaborations among different units within Yale University will be given the highest priority. YCEI anticipates funding as many as three new interdisciplinary grants each year. This year the deadline for proposals is May 1. Selections will be announced by June 15.  For further details, including requirements for proposals, please click here.

Science for Sustainable and Healthy Tribes
http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2013/2013_star_tribal.html

Open Date: 02/25/2013  -  Close Date: 06/25/2013
Summary:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications proposing research on science for sustainable and healthy tribes. This solicitation is focused on research to develop sustainable solutions to environmental problems that affect tribes. The objectives of the awards to be made under this solicitation are to improve understanding of: 1) the health impacts of climate change on tribal populations; and 2) the health impacts of indoor air pollution exposures that derive from or are directly affecting traditional tribal life-ways and cultural practices. In both cases, projects should focus on impacts to vulnerable sub-populations of the Tribal communities. Proposals should also consider sustainable, culturally appropriate and acceptable pollution prevention, and adaptation/mitigation strategies. Eligible applicants, including Minority Academic Institutions (MAIs) as defined in Section I.A of this solicitation, are strongly encouraged to apply for funding under this competition.

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Calls for Papers & Nominations

The International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics is pleased to invite proposals for panels and papers for presentation at the 2014 World Congress in Mexico City, 22-24 June 2014. The Congress theme is Health Care Ethics: Local, Global, Universal. While FAB encourages submissions on this team, submissions on any topic in feminist bioethics are welcome. Paper abstracts should be 300 words, prepared for anonymous review, and accompanied by both a descriptive title for the paper proposed and 2-3 keywords. Proposed panels should also be prepared for anonymous review and consist of a 300-word description of the overall topic and objectives of the panel, as well as a panel title and the titles of all the papers to be included in the panel. All submissions should include the names, e-mail addresses, and full affiliations of all authors. In cases of panels and co-authored papers, please identify a corresponding author. One or two submitted papers may be selected for plenary presentations. If you wish your paper to be considered for a plenary, please submit the full paper and indicate that you seek review for a plenary. The conference organizers welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines, including philosophy, the social sciences, critical cultural studies (gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, race studies, etc.), law, public health, and others. We particularly encourage submissions from early career researchers. Submissions (in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format) should be e-mailed to fab.mexico.2014@gmail.com by 1 September 2013. This e-mail address should only be used for communications concerning submissions, and not for general conference or FAB inquiries. For more information about FAB, visit www.fabnet.org.

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The Journal of Community Positive Practices is a Social Research Review with appearance in both printed and electronic versions which proposes topics of public interest published in accordance with the rules described within the section instructions for authors. Submissions in English for our next release are received until the 20th of March 2013 (for JCPP 1 / 2013). For this issue, we will be accepting email submission (office@jppc.ro). Topics could include:Community best practices (social interventions), Best practices in social projects implementation, Preventing and combating of social exclusion, Interventions at the level of the vulnerable groups, Equal access to education, Improving the situation of Minorities, Immigrants, Vulnerable People, Rehabilitation of persons who committed penal deeds, Community Justice Administration - Community Policing, Probation, Prison, Modern Administration of Urban/Rural Areas, Gender Equality, Social Research, Assessment of socio-economic projects, Families challenges in modern societies, Child protection, Social economy, Social and/or rural entrepreneurship.

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Other Items of Interest

Department of Social Science, Medicine & Health, King's College London. Applications are invited for those wishing to pursue a Full-Time Masters Programme in the Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine starting from September 2013.  Each award will provide £2000 toward home/EU tuition fees. There is one award for one student on each of the following Masters programmes: MSc Medicine, Science & Society, MA in Bioethics & Society and MSc in Global Health & Social Justice. Two awards in total are available for students on the following Masters programmes: MSc Gerontology, MA/MSc Ageing & Society or MA Public Policy & Ageing.Health & Illness are more than medical matters; illness is a human experience, in which biological processes are shaped by social, political and economic conditions, by cultural beliefs and values, and by systems of language and meaning. The Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine is unique interdisciplinary social science department working in collaboration with biomedical researchers and clinicians. We focus on the social, political, economic, legal and ethical factors shaping developments in biomedicine, disease and healthcare and their implications. It is also home to the Institute of Gerontology, a leading multi-disciplinary centre for research and teaching into the study of ageing.  More information about the Department (and the Institute) and its strands of research can be found here and here. All students applying for any of our Full-Time programmes to begin in September 2013 are eligible for these bursaries, including UK, EU and Overseas students.  The bursaries will be awarded on academic merit. There is no separate application procedure. All fully completed applications received by midnight on the 31st July will be considered for the bursaries. A fully completed application means a complete online application form together with all supporting documents including personal statements, transcripts, references and IELTS certificates (where appropriate). These must have been uploaded to or received by the Postgraduate Admissions Portal by the due time and date. The successful candidate will be notified no later than 14th August.  Payments will be made in October and January. Full details of all our Masters programmes are available here.

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Articles of Interest

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In the News

Featured Article

Tucker, Abigail. Are Babies Born Good? Smithsonian Magazine. January 2013.
The study of babies and young toddlers is a perplexing business. Even the most perceptive observers can be tempted to see what isn’t there. But tiny children are also some of psychology’s most powerful muses. Because they have barely been exposed to the world, with its convoluted cultures and social norms, they represent the raw materials of humanity: who we are when we’re born, rather than who we become. Continue reading…

Drugs & Pharmaceuticals

Rovner, Julie. Morning-After Pills Don’t Cause Abortion, Studies Say. NPR. 21 February 2013.
The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion. Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion? Continue reading…

Environment 

Talmadge, Eric. US Gov't to Air-Drop Toxic Mice on Guam Snakes. ABC News. 22 February 2013.
Dead mice laced with painkillers are about to rain down on Guam's jungle canopy. They are scientists' prescription for a headache that has caused the tiny U.S. territory misery for more than 60 years: the brown tree snake. Continue reading…

Health Care 

Mezrich, Joshua. On Purposely Getting Arrested to Get Life-Saving Surgery. The Atlantic. 26 February 2013.
A 41-year-old man who had been incarcerated came to see me recently.  He hadn't broken anything, but the scan did surreptitiously show two aneurysms. Fortunately for him (or so he thought) he was released from prison one week later. When he returned for his pre-op visit, though, he was told that since he'd been released from prison, he no longer had insurance to cover the operation. Continue reading…

Law and Bioethics 

Payne, Ed and Ashley Fantz. Parents of transgender first-grader file discrimination complaint. CNN. 27 February 2013.
A transgender rights group announced Wednesday that it has filed a discrimination complaint in Colorado on behalf of a first-grader who was born a boy but identifies as a girl. The filing stems from a decision announced last December by officials at Fountain-Fort Carson School District that Coy Mathis could no longer use the girls' bathroom at Eagleside Elementary. Continue reading…

Andrews, Michelle. Long-term-care insurance plans call for some women to pay more than men. Washington Post. 25 February 2013.
Starting next year, the Affordable Care Act will largely prohibit insurers who sell individual and small-group health policies from charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage. Long-term-care insurance, however, isn’t bound by that law, and the country’s largest provider of such coverage has announced it will begin setting its prices based on sex this spring. Continue reading…

Kevles, Daniel J. Can They Patent Your Genes? New York Review of Books. 7 March 2013.
Can genes be patented? This spring, the Supreme Court will hear a case that may well decide the question, and the consequences for American biomedicine could be huge.1 Over three years ago, in May 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Public Patent Foundation (PPF) filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking to overturn the patents on DNA isolated from two human genes. Continue reading…

Medical Ethics

Shute, Nancy. Anesthesia Care and Web-Surfing May Not Mix, Nurses Say. NPR. 26 February 2013.The next time you're being wheeled into the operating room, you might want to ask the medical professionals there to lay off the eBay and Twitter apps on their phones. That's the word from the nation's nurse anesthetists, who just came out with a new policy urging OR staff to use their smartphones for the practice of medicine, not Facebooking. The policy is a bit vague, in part because no one's really studied whether it's risky for healthcare workers to use smartphones for "non-essential" web time at work. Continue reading…

Sack, Kevin. ‘Bloodless’ Lung Transplants Offer Hint at Surgery’s Future. New York Times. 24 February 2013.
Last April, after being told that only a transplant could save her from a fatal lung condition, Rebecca S. Tomczak began calling some of the top-ranked hospitals in the country. Given the complexities of lung transplantation, in which transfusions are routine, some doctors felt the procedure posed unacceptable dangers. Others could not get past the ethics of it all. With more than 1,600 desperately ill people waiting for a donated lung, was it appropriate to give one to a woman who might needlessly sacrifice her life and the organ along with it? Continue reading…

Research Ethics

Markoff, John. Connecting the Neural Dots. New York Times. 25 February 2013.
The Obama administration is hoping to announce as soon as next month its intention to assemble the pieces — and, even more challenging, the financing — for a decade-long research project that will have the goal of building a comprehensive map of the brain’s activity. At present, scientists are a long way from doing so. Before they can even begin the process, they have to develop the tools to examine the brain. And before they develop tools that will work on humans, they must succeed in doing so in a number of simpler species — assuming that what they learn can even be applied to humans. Continue reading…

Technology 

Johnson, Brian David. The Future of Lying. Slate. 26 February 2013.
Here’s something I bet we all believe: Lying is bad. But there’s something else none of us can argue: We are all liars. According to a 2011 survey of Americans, we humans lie about 1.65 times a day. (Men lie a little more than woman, 1.93 lies to 1.39 lies a day.) Can society survive if computers can tell fact from fib? Continue reading…

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In the Journals

Friedman, Lawrence. A Holist’s Anxiety of Influence: Commentary on Kirshner. American Psychoanalytic Association. November 2012.
Throughout the history of philosophy, nobody has been able to bridge the gap between “is” and “ought.” Most efforts are really answers to other questions, such as “What is the nature of Man?” Lofty and philosophical as these speculations are, they are factual, not ethical. They may abstract from what “is,” but they do not obligate it. There is also a common, practical realm of casuistry that confronts a person’s different moral judgments with each other. That is the ordinary function of ethics in our social world, as for instance in medical ethics. The limits to this are amusingly evident in psychological experiments that show people judging actions on varying principles (“I shouldn’t push the person off the bus to save the others, but I shouldn’t avoid driving into him if that would endanger the others.” “I may kill him but I shouldn’t torture him”). In no case is the overarching rule itself subject to logical debate. Continue reading…

Macer, Darryl. Ethical Consequences of the Positive Views of Enhancement in Asia. Health Care Analysis. December 2012.
There are positive views towards use of science and technology in all Asian countries, and positive views towards use of enhancement in China, India and Thailand. After considering of the widespread use of cosmetic surgery and other body enhancements in Asian countries, and the generally positive views towards letting individuals make choices about improvement of themselves, the paper concludes that we can expect other enhancements to also be adopted rapidly in Asia. There will be future ethical dilemmas emerging from this with concepts of preservation of nature, flow with nature, and definitions of human-ness, along with concepts of harmony and social justice. Japan is less willing to engage in genetic enhancement compared to China, India and Thailand, despite widespread cosmetic surgery across Asia. Continue reading…

Nisbet, Matthew C. Bioethics in popular science: evaluating the impact of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on the biobank debate. BMC Medical Ethics. February 2013.
Background: The global expansion of biobanks has led to a range of bioethical concerns related to consent, privacy, control, ownership, and disclosure. As an opportunity to engage broader audiences on these concerns, bioethicists have welcomed the commercial success of Rebecca Skloot's 2010 bestselling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. To assess the impact of the book on discussion within the media and popular culture more generally, we systematically analyzed the ethics-related themes emphasized in reviews and articles about the book, and in interviews and profiles of Skloot.
Methods: We conducted a content analysis of a population of relevant English-language articles and transcripts (n = 125) produced by news organizations and publications in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain/Ireland, and Australia/New Zealand. We scored each article for the emphasis and appearance of 9 ethics-related themes. These were informed consent, welfare of the vulnerable, compensation, scientific progress, control/access, accountability/oversight, privacy, public education, and advocacy.
Results: The informed consent theme dominated media discussion, with almost 39.2 percent of articles/transcripts featuring the theme as a major focus and 44.8 percent emphasizing the theme as a minor focus. Other prominent themes and frames of reference focused on the welfare of the vulnerable (18.4 percent major emphasis; 36.0 percent minor emphasis), and donor compensation (19.2 percent major; 52.8 percent minor). Ethical themes that comprised a second tier of prominence included those of scientific progress, control/access, and accountability/oversight. The least prominent themes were privacy, public education, and advocacy.
Conclusions: The book has been praised as an opportunity to elevate public discussion of bioethics, but such claims should be re-considered. The relatively narrow focus on informed consent in the media discussion generated by Skloot's book may limit the ability of ethicists and advocates to elevate attention to donor control, compensation, patenting, privacy, and other ethical issues. Still, ethicists should view the book and a pending major TV film translation as opportunities to highlight through media outreach, consultation exercises and public forums a broader range of bioethical concerns that would otherwise be under-emphasized in news coverage. Such efforts, however, need to be carefully planned and evaluated. Continue reading…

Ren, Xiaoping. The Next Frontier in Composite Tissue Allotransplantation. CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics. November 2012.
Solid organ transplantations became a clinical option in the 1950s. The hand allograft was the pioneer of composite tissue allotransplantation (CTA), successfully started near the end of the last century despite arguments over the practicality and methods. Since then, CTA such as hand and face has continued to progress from the theoretical to clinical reality. The treatment principles, drug combinations, and mechanisms of the immunosuppression medications on which contemporary transplant surgeries have been based continue to develop as researchers and physicians gain more experience in the CTA field. It could be argued that the ethical issues associated with CTA have prevented evolution of the field rather than surgical or technical skill. This is particularly true for allo-head and body reconstruction (AHBR). How can leaders in the field of CTA develop a model that would satisfy ethical concerns? Bolstered by recent successes in the field, is it time to traverse the next frontier? Can AHBR ever be a feasible option in the clinical setting? The reader will be provided with a brief history of CTA from theory to research to clinical practice. A concise description of AHBR as it pertains to the critical procedure (i.e., surgery design) will also be discussed. Continue reading…

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Opinion

Ars Technica

Timmer, John. Sequestration to kill 1,000 NSF grants. February 27, 2013.
The impending cuts to federal spending, triggered by the sequestration deal, have led to a variety of speculation about how noticeable the impact will be on the average citizen. For US-based scientists however, the US government is the single largest source of funding. Researchers were pretty certain that sequestration would hit them very noticeably. Initial estimates suggested that budgets would be slashed by more than eight percent. With the cuts about to kick in, the news has gotten somewhat better—but only somewhat. Continue reading…

Timmer, John. Smokers need not apply for jobs at Penn medical system. February 26, 2013.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System, a large teaching hospital system, has announced a new policy under which it will refuse to hire anyone who smokes. Set to go into effect on July 1, the plan will involve asking every new hire whether he or she smokes as part of the interview process. Those caught lying after being hired would face disciplinary action that could include termination. Continue reading…

Chicago Tribune

Editorial. Health care headache. February 26, 2013.
Come year's end, many Americans will be funneled into new insurance exchanges to buy health care coverage. That's the law, courtesy of Obamacare. Continue reading…

Los Angeles Times

Editorial. Antibiotics, animals and us. February 28, 2013.
Describing the routine use of antibiotics in meat and poultry production as a "serious threat to public health," the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 called on livestock operations to voluntarily reduce their reliance on the medications. But an FDA report this month indicates that, so far, the results are unimpressive: Antibiotic sales to livestock operations rose in 2011, rather than falling. Continue reading…

Editorial. Critiquing the stem cell board. February 27, 2013.
After years of resisting all criticisms of its operations, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is finally listening — a little. It spent $700,000 for an outside, high-level review that complimented the stem cell agency for funding an excellent portfolio of research projects, but also raised serious objections to the agency's structure, which the review said was likely to lead to financial conflicts of interest. Continue reading…

Editorial. The right way to regulate pot. February 28, 2013.
Political movements like the tea party may come and go, but the pot party seems to get stronger with every national election, putting the federal government in an increasingly untenable position. Continue reading…

New York Times

Editorial. DNA and the constitution. Februrary 24, 2013.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear argument about whether it is constitutional for a state to collect DNA from people charged with violent crimes but not yet convicted. Last April, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that a state law authorizing such collection violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. Continue reading…

Editorial. The next frontier is inside your brain. February 23, 2013.
The Obama administration is planning a multiyear research effort to produce an “activity map” that would show in unprecedented detail the workings of the human brain, the most complex organ in the body. It is a breathtaking goal at a time when Washington, hobbled by partisan gridlock and deficit worries, seems unable to launch any major new programs. Continue reading…

Editorial. Making some painkillers hard to get. February 21, 2013.
Painkillers like Vicodin that contain hydrocodone are the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States — and the most widely abused because they are relatively easy to obtain. The Food and Drug Administration has an opportunity to help tighten restrictions on drugs whose use has spiraled out of control over the past two decades. Continue reading…

Slate

Sanghavi, Darshak. Why do so many people think they need gluten-free foods? February 26, 2013.
Gluten is the spongy complex of proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye that allows dough to rise. As yeast ferments sugar and releases carbon dioxide, gluten inflates like a hot air balloon, giving breads and cakes their delectable texture. Continue reading…

Washington Post

Editorial. A prize for life. February 24, 2013.
Last week a group of technology titans announced the establishment of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, a $3 million award for each scientist honored, more than twice the sum of the Nobel Prize. The award comes at a time when the life sciences are in the middle of a scientific revolution no less awe-inspiring than the splitting of the atom. Continue reading…

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