Greetings from Stephen Latham, Director

I’d like to alert you to a few upcoming events. First, for  your calendars: we have our annual Robert Levine and Margaret Farley lectures coming up in October. This year’s Levine lecturer with be Jonathan Moreno (Bioethics, UPenn), who will speak on October 22 on “Mind Wars: Brain Science and Military in the 21st Century.” Our Farley lecturer on October 29 will be psychologist and bioethicist Sidney Callahan, who will speak on religious experience and the emotions. Details forthcoming in upcoming issues!

In the closer term—this Thursday at 12:30!—our Animal Ethics group is co-hosting a talk by Paul Thompson (Philosophy, Michigan State University) on “Food Nanotechnology as Emerging Technology: Framing the Ethical Issues.” The talk will be held in the conference room of our co-host, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Details here and in the listing below.

And don’t miss this event on the Affordable Care Act, co-hosted by ISPS and the office of Senator Chris Murphy, a week from today at Kroon Hall. Details in the link and below.

In your free time you might want to peruse this developing education page at the website of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. There are terrific materials here on informed consent, community engagement in research, research ethics, and more.

If you have events or news you’d like to see listed in this newsletter, contact me at, and put the word “Frimail” in your subject line.


Thursday, Sept. 26 12:30 PM
Animal Ethics group
Location: 309 Edwards St, conference room
Speaker: Paul B. Thompson, Ph.D, 
W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural Food and Community Ethics, Michigan State University
Topic: Food Nanotechnology as Emerging Technology: Framing the Ethical Issues

  Campus Events

Conferences & Off Campus Events

Grants, Fellowships & Jobs

Calls for Papers & Nominations

Other Items



Click here to sign up for the Bioethics Newsletter


This Week on Campus

Tuesday, September 24

Climate & Energy Institute Talk
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: 21 Sachem St, Room 110
Speaker: Joseph Messina, Professor of Geography; Acting Director of the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, Michigan State University
Topic: Cascading complexity: models, tsetse, climate change and agriculture

Environmental Law & Policy Talk
Time: 6 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, Burke Auditorium
Speaker: Fran Ulmer, chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission
Topic: What Happens in the Arctic Doesn't Stay in the Arctic (or Why You Should Be Paying Attention to the Arctic)

Wednesday, September 25

School of Forestry Seminar
Time: 12 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, Burke Auditorium
Speaker: Nikhil Anand; Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Haverford College
Topic:  ScareCities: The Infrapolitics of Water in Mumbai

Rudd Center Seminar
Time: 12:30 PM
Location: 309 Edwards St, conf room
Speaker: Katie S. Martin, PhD, Assistant Professor, Director of Public Health Program Department of Nutrition & Public Health University of Saint Joseph
Topic: The Role of Food Pantries in the Fight against Obesity

Thursday, September 26

CIRA AIDS Colloquium
Time: 12 PM
Location: 135 College St, LL15
Speaker: Elizabeth King, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist, Yale School of Public Health
Topic: HIV Prevention and Treatment for Sex Workers in Eastern Europe

Human Rights Workshop
Time: 4:15 PM
Location: 127 Wall St, Faculty Lounge
Speaker: Darryl Li, YLS '09, Post-doctoral Research Scholar, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University
Topic: Short-Circuiting Democracy? 'Third Country' Workers and Prisoners on U.S. Military Bases

Friday, September 27

Biospheric Studies Seminar
Time: 12 PM
Location: 21 Sachem St, room 110
Speaker: Maria Diuk-Wasser, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases), Yale School of Public Health
Topic: Eco-Epidemiological Determinants of Tick-Borne Diseases

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Conferences & Off Campus Events

The Yale Institution for Social & Policy Studies invites you to a special event, “Ready to Launch: The Affordable Care Act and U.S. Health Policy” next Friday, September 27th in the Burke Auditorium of Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect Street, on the Yale campus. This event will bring together leading policy makers, academic experts, and the medical community to engage in a discussion about how the Affordable Care Act will impact Connecticut residents and businesses.  This event is being co-hosted by ISPS Health at Yale, a new initiative promoting interdisciplinary research in health policy at Yale University, and the Office of Senator Chris Murphy. For more information about schedule and our distinguished group of panelists, please visit our conference website. This event is free and open to the public but registration is required.  To reserve seating and lunch, please register here by Tuesday, September 24th.

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Join NCER for the monthly Cumulative Risk Webinar series presenting the latest research findings in cumulative risk assessment and impacts on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. EDT.  To register click here.
3:00 PM: Legal Authority for EPA to Use Cumulative Risk Assessments in Environmental Decision-making
3:30 PM: Questions and Answers
Speakers: Sarah Alves, Manager at ICF International with more than five years of experience in the areas of regulatory law, administrative process, and public policy.
Joan Tilghman, J.D. is a Senior Technical Specialist at ICF International, with more than 33 years of experience as an attorney and consultant in providing regulatory support, developing rule implementation outreach documents, and conducting adult learning programs.
What will you learn?
1.  The question of whether EPA may survive a legal challenge to its discretion to make decisions based on data derived from cumulative risk assessment (CRA) rests on two questions:
       i.  Does the language of the enabling statute under which the decision was made (e.g., Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, etc.) allow EPA to interpret its directive as providing authority to use this methodology?
       ii. Are the CRA methodology, the results derived from that analysis, and EPA's use of those results reasonable?
2.  Whether a particular CRA is an appropriate basis for Agency policy or regulatory decision-making is a fact-driven inquiry that would involve case-by-case judicial examination.
3.  Environmental statutes directing EPA to take action necessary to "protect the public health" likely provide authority for EPA to use CRA in various types of decision-making, even if the Agency has not considered such analyses in the past implementation of the statute. However, EPA's CRA methodology and the Agency's use of the results must be scientifically reasonable.

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Grants, Fellowships, & Jobs

The Centre for Health Law, Ethics and Technology, Jindal Global Law School, India Seeks Research Fellows (1 to 12 months)
 Research Fellow/Visiting Researcher will work closely with the Executive Director on research projects on cross-cutting issues within health and sexuality from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Immediate availability preferred. Basic accommodation, food, and a stipend of $200 per month will be provided. Shared office space and access to Library facilities will be provided. The job will include research and writing assistance on ongoing projects; actively engaging in seminars and workshops organized by the Centre; making recommendations and collaborating on team projects; managing project timelines; managing the Centre website; supporting the Program Director as needed.  Qualified applicants will have: a degree in Law or Master in Public Health, Human Rights, and Public Policy; a demonstrated interest in public law, public interest, health law, human rights, and sexuality studies; excellent research and writing skills; the ability to work in fast-paced, team-oriented environment with changing priorities; a detailed orientation. Applicants must send resume and cover letter to Dipika Jain at No phone calls please.

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Assistant or Associate Professor of Medical Ethics, NYU Abu Dhabi
New York University Abu Dhabi, a part of New York University's global network, invites applications for a position in medical ethics at the rank of assistant or associate professor (tenure track). Applicants must have a PhD or a JD. Successful applicants will be expected to demonstrate a strong scholarly career track in a sub-field of medical ethics/bioethics. We seek outstanding teachers in medical ethics and bio ethics who have research interests in neuroethics, reproductive technologies and ethics, public health ethics, research ethics, research integrity and mental health ethics. Interdisciplinary interests are encouraged, and some background in science, medicine, or health policy is desirable. Applications are due by December 1, 2013; however, applications received later will be reviewed until the positions are filled. Candidates should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae and three letters of reference in PDF format to be considered. Please visit our website at for instructions and other information on how to apply. If you have any questions, please e-mail

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Faculty Fellowships at the Center for Law, Health, & Society at the Georgia State College of Law
Georgia State University College of Law and its Center for Law, Health & Society are leading an initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a faculty fellowship program to promote public health law education. Ten faculty members from law schools or schools/programs of public health will be selected to participate in a yearlong fellowship program designed to foster innovations in educational programming (including clinical, externship, and other experiential learning) and to build a strong learning community among faculty who teach in the public health law field. All fellows, with their deans' support, will design and implement a project for curricular change in public health law education at their home institutions. Each fellow will be paired with a faculty mentor in public health law. The fellows will begin their fellowship year by attending an intensive 10-day educational Summer Institute on July 16-26, 2014 in Park City, Utah. Over the course of the academic 2014-2015 fellowship year, the fellows and their mentors will regularly share ideas, experiences and models for public health law teaching, providing opportunities for professional growth and leadership development. Applicants must have a J.D. degree and be employed in a full-time faculty position at a law school or school/program of public health, or be a full-time faculty member affiliated with a law school or school/program of public health, with a tenure-track, tenured, clinical-track, joint, or comparable faculty appointment; Applicants must have at least three years of full-time teaching experience at a graduate- or professional-school level by July 2014; previous background in health care law, public health law, or related subjects is preferred; A dean's transmittal letter of support for the proposal is required, as well as two letters of reference.  The application period opens Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. The deadline for applications is Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. Letters of reference are due Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. For instructions on how to apply and complete information about the program, download the full Call for Applications at Questions? Contact Stacie Kershner, associate director for the Center for Law, Health & Society, at or 404-413-9088.

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Penn Fellowship in Advanced Biomedical Ethics
Deadline: January 2, 2014
The Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine invites applications for the postdoctoral Fellowship in Advanced Biomedical Ethics.  The mission of this 2-year Fellowship is to train scholars and future leaders in academic biomedical ethics.  Appointments will commence in August 2014. Fellows will participate fully in the life of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, which is among the world's leading bioethics departments.  They will have full access to the intellectual resources of the larger Penn community.  Fellows will receive a generous annual stipend, benefits, full tuition for a master's degree in bioethics, and funds for academic books and travel. The core fellowship experience will consist of:
1. Mentored research:  Working with one or more faculty mentors, Fellows will be expected to conduct original research that will lead to the publication of a minimum of 2 manuscripts in top-tier peer-reviewed journals.
2. Master's degree in bioethics:   Depending on fellows' interests and career plans, they will undertake a program of study leading to either a Master of Science in Medical Ethics (MSME) or a Master of Bioethics (MBE) degree. 
3. Department seminars:  Fellows will participate in and lead regular department seminars, including sessions devoted to works-in-progress, presentations by department and affiliated faculty as well as by invited scholars, and journal clubs devoted to critical analysis of conceptual and empirical articles in bioethics.
4. Ethics committee, consultation and institutional review board experience:  Consistent with their interests, Fellows will gain ethics committee, ethics consultation, and/or institutional review board (IRB) experience at a Penn-affiliated hospital.
Applications are invited from scholars with doctoral degrees in hand (MDs, PhDs or equivalent, JDs), or who will receive such degrees by May 2014.  Doctorates may be in any relevant field, including but not limited to philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, economics or anthropology.  Prior experience in bioethics is not required. For information on How to Apply, please visit the website.  For additional information, contact: Katherine Buckley, Administrative Coordinator, Penn Fellowship in Advanced Biomedical Ethics,

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Post-doc/Instructor Positions in Medical Ethics at NYULMC
The Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU Langone medical Center seeks to recruit two persons either as post-docs or instructors. Applicants must: Have an excellent record of quality scholarship and teaching; Hold a PhD, JD, or MD; Demonstrate a strong scholarly career track in a sub-field of medical ethics/bioethics. The Division is especially interested in persons with research interests in neuroethics, reproductive technologies and ethics, public health ethics, transplantation ethics and mental health ethics.  The appointment will be for two years. The appointment will be in the Division, which is housed in the Department of Population Health at NYULMC. The post-docs will report directly to the Director of the Division. Successful applicants will have significant protected time to pursue research. They will be expected to teach one class at the graduate level per year, to participate in mentoring students doing projects in medical ethics and to assist in teaching medical ethics to undergraduate medical students and residents. Stipends will be negotiated. Health care and other benefits will be provided. NYULMC encompasses the NYU School of Medicine, three hospitals (Tisch, Rusk, and the Hospital for Joint Diseases) and a number of affiliates including Bellevue and the Manhattan VA Medical Center. The Division maintains close ties to the Center for Bioethics located on the Washington Square campus. Send a cover letter, CV and three letters of reference electronically to Jessica Oyola at with Search Division Post-Doc in the heading. Applications will be accepted until October 1, 2013.

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The Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) is now accepting applications from MD students for a fellowship that uses the conduct of medical professionals in Nazi Germany as a launching point for an intensive two-week summer program about contemporary medical ethics. Fellowships include an all-expense paid trip from New York to Berlin, Krakow, and Oświęcim (Auschwitz) where students will work with leading faculty to explore both history and the ethical issues facing their profession today. All program costs, including international and European travel, lodging, and food, are covered. The 2014 FASPE Medical program will run from June 15 to June 26. Completed applications must be received by January 6, 2014. Candidates of all religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply. To apply or to learn more about FASPE, please visit:

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FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics) is now accepting applications for a fellowship that uses the conduct of lawyers and judges in Nazi Germany as a launching point for an intensive two-week early summer program about contemporary legal ethics. Applications from all law students, regardless of what field of law they are interested in, are sought. Fellowships include an all-expense paid trip from New York to Berlin, Krakow, and Oświęcim (Auschwitz) where students will work with leading faculty to explore both legal history and the ethical issues facing lawyers today. All program costs, including international and European travel, lodging, and food, are covered. The 2014 program for FASPE Law will run from May 25 to June 5. Completed applications must be received by January 6, 2014. Candidates of all religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply. To apply or to learn more about FASPE, please visit:

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Calls for Papers & Nominations

The organizers of the 19th South West English Symposium, an interdisciplinary conference, express interest in hosting a panel on Transhumanism, and I am asking for brief proposals of 500 words or fewer on any Transhumanist subject appropriate for an interdisciplinary audience. Topics might include any area of ethics or science, as well as Transhumanism's appearance in the history of ideas, the arts, and in specific schools of thought. I ask those interested to send proposals to by Nov 1 2013. The conference will be held at Arizona State University Feb 28-March 1 2014. Please email if you have questions.

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Healthcare Compliance Certification Program Scholarships
Seton Hall University School of Law Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & Policy 
This award recognizes promising health law students with an aptitude for and commitment to a career in health law with a focus on the legal and compliance issues facing bio/pharmaceutical and/or medical technology industries. Each nominee must qualify under the following criteria:
1. The nominee shall be a second or part-time third year law student currently enrolled in an accredited North American law school* on a full or part-time basis who through his/her law school academic and clinical work and other related activities demonstrates his/her aptitude for and commitment to a legal career in health care law within the bio/pharmaceutical and/or medical technology industries.  
2. The nominee must be available to attend the June Healthcare Compliance Certification Program.  
3. Multiple nominations per law school may be made.  
4. The following materials must be submitted by the nominee (the submission of additional material is discouraged):  
a. A signed letter from the Dean, clinical program director, or law school professor teaching in a related area nominating the candidate and setting forth the basis for the nomination, including a description of the purposes and content of the class or clinical program in which the student is enrolled (PDF copy acceptable).  
b. The nominee's current resume including most recent GPA (electronic copy required).  
c. A brief personal statement (maximum two (2) typewritten pages) highlighting the nominee's background, experience, and other relevant information that qualifies him/her for the scholarship (electronic copy required).
All applications will be judged by members of the Seton Hall Law School Faculty. All decisions are final.  Applications will be judged on the strength of the eligibility criteria, letter of nomination and personal statement. No scholarship will be awarded if the faculty members determine that no application meets the scholarship standards. A maximum of two full scholarships shall be awarded each year. Scholarship recipients will attend the June Healthcare Compliance Certification Program. The scholarship covers program tuition, educational materials, meals during the program, and parking. Please note that transportation and hotel costs are not included. SUBMISSION DEADLINE:  February 8, 2013. Entries must be submitted: Via email to Sara Simon at; or  By regular mail to: Sara Simon, Director, Healthcare Compliance Certification Program, Room #207, Seton Hall Law School, One Newark Center, Newark, NJ 07102. For more information on the scholarships, please visit the website or contact

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Call for Papers: "Applied Feminism and Health" at the University of Baltimore School of Law 
The University of Baltimore School of Law's Center on Applied Feminism seeks submissions for its Seventh Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  This year's theme is "Applied Feminism and Health."  The conference will be held on March 6 and 7, 2014.  For more information about the conference, please visit With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) and renewed attacks on reproductive health in the United States, the time is right to consider the relationship between feminism and health across multiple dimensions.  This conference seeks to explore the intersections between feminist legal theory and physical, mental, public, and community health in the United States and abroad.  Papers might explore the following questions:  What impact has feminist legal theory had on women's health policy and practice? How might feminist legal theory respond to the health challenges facing communities and individuals, as well as increase access to health care?  What sort of support should society and law provide to ensure good health?  How do law and feminist legal theory conceptualize the role of the state in relation to health rights and reproductive justice?  What are the links between health, feminist legal theory, and sports?  Are there rights to good health and what are their foundations?  How do health needs and conceptions of rights vary across cultural, economic, religious, and other identities?  What are the areas where health justice is needed and how might feminist legal theory help? This conference will attempt to address these and other questions from the perspectives of activists, practitioners, and academics.  The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and audience members to exchange ideas about the current state of feminist legal theories.  We hope to deepen our understandings of how feminist legal theory relates to health and to move new insights into practice.  In addition, the conference is designed to provide presenters with the opportunity to gain feedback on their papers. The conference will begin the afternoon of Thursday, March 6, 2014, with a workshop for conference participants.   This workshop will continue the annual tradition of involving all attendees as participants in an interactive discussion and reflection.   On Friday, March 7, 2014, the conference will continue with a day of presentations by legal academics, practitioners and activists regarding current scholarship and/or legal work that explores the application of feminist legal theory to issues involving health.   The conference will be open to the public and will feature a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers have included Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn, and Senators Barbara Mikulski and Amy Klobuchar. To submit a paper proposal, please submit an abstract by Friday, 5 p.m. on November 1, 2013, to  It is essential that your abstract contain your full contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address where you can be reached.  In the "Re" line, please state:  CAF Conference 2014.  Abstracts should be no longer than one page.  We will notify presenters of selected papers in mid-November.  We anticipate being able to have twelve paper presenters during the conference on Friday, March 7, 2014. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review.  Thus, please indicate at the bottom of your abstract whether you are submitting (1) solely to present or (2) to present and publish in the symposium volume.  Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication.  Regardless of whether or not you are publishing in the symposium volume, all working drafts of papers will be due no later than February, 14, 2014.   Abstracts will be posted on the Center on Applied Feminism's conference website to be shared with other participants and attendees. We look forward to your submissions.  If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Michele Gilman at

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Other Items of Interest

This September, ISPS Health at Yale is delighted to host an Affordable Care Act infographic contest.

 On October 1st, a number of the insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act will kick into effect.  On that date, millions of Americans, particularly those who are uninsured, will be able to get insurance coverage through the State-based health exchanges created by the ACA. Unfortunately, there’s still a great deal of confusion about the Affordable Care Act.  Indeed, according to recent polling, 40% of the public reports not knowing whether the ACA is indeed law or if it’s been overturned (Kaiser Family Foundation Monthly Tracking Poll: August 2013). Whatever your views on the ACA, we need informed citizens. And with this in mind, we are introducing an infographic contest for Yale students and asking them to produce infographics that can help inform the general public about the law.  

The infographics should be focused on summarizing the impact of the ACA on one of the following three topics/questions:

  • How the health insurance exchanges will work for individuals buying insurance in the individual market in CT or the US more generally;
  • Understanding the impact of the ACA on children and young people in Connecticut or the US more generally;
  • Summarizing the impact of the ACA on health promotion and wellness in CT or the US more generally.

This is more than a contest! The winning infographics will inform the general public about this major change in American domestic policy

  • The contest is open to all full-time undergraduate, graduate students, and professional school students currently enrolled at Yale University.
  • Individuals or teams of up to four full-time students can submit infographics (it's open to college students and graduate students from across the university, including the professional schools).
  • Submissions are due by 11:59:59 am (Eastern Standard Time) on Monday, September 23rd, 2013.
  • The Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS) will award a $400 Amazon gift certificate for the first place winner, a $150 gift certificate for second place and a $50 for third.
  • In addition, Senator Chris Murphy (CT) will present the prizes to the winning teams at the Ready to Launch Affordable Care Act Conference on September 27th, 2013 at Kroon Hall (he may even tweet the winning infographics!).

For ACA Infographics Contest rules and regulations, FAQ, and further information, click here. For questions, please email Laurie Hurshman (  

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Articles of Interest

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Some sites may require free registration; others may require that you or your organization have a paid subscription.

In the News

Featured Article

Goldsmith, Belinda. British Cosmologist Stephen Hawking Backs Right To Assisted Suicide. Reuters. 17 September 2013.
British cosmologist Stephen Hawking has backed the right for people who are terminally ill to choose to end their lives and to receive help to do so as long as safeguards are in place. The wheelchair-bound Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease aged 21 and told he had two to three years to live. Now 71, he is one of the world's leading scientists, known especially for his work on black holes and as author of the international bestseller "A Brief History of Time". Continue reading…


Jolly, David. Hong Kong Drops Shark Fin From Official Menus. The New York Times. 13 September 2013.
Hong Kong bowed Friday to years of pressure from environmental groups, saying it would no longer allow shark fin to be served at official functions. The authorities are “determined to take the lead and set a good example on this front,” a government statement said. The initiative goes “beyond the minimum expectation laid down” in the United Nations treaty that governs trade in threatened species, the statement said, and it also applies to bluefin tuna and black moss, a type of algae popular in Asian cuisine. Continue reading…

Foderaro, Lisa. As Adriondack Reserve Grows, Asking How Wild It Should Stay. The New York Times. 18 September 2013.
A 250-foot waterfall, one of the tallest in the Northeast, tumbles over giant slabs of marble. A chain of 13 crystalline lakes and ponds teems with bass and lake trout. A 10-mile stretch of the Hudson River gorge winds through dense stands of hemlock, white pine and red maple. These natural features make up the more than 21,000 acres of the Adirondacks that were recently purchased by New York State from the Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit organization. But while outdoor lovers have embraced the pristine wilderness, they now find themselves in a tug of war over how the land should be enjoyed. Continue reading…

Health and Medicine

Neighmond, Patti. Calling Obesity A Disease May Make It Easier To Get Help. NPR. 15 September 2013.
Under the Affordable Care Act, more insurance plans are expected to start covering the cost of obesity treatments, including counseling on diet and exercise as well as medications and surgery. These are treatments that most insurance companies don't cover now. The move is a response to the increasing number of health advocates and medical groups that say obesity should be classified as a disease. Continue reading…

Neuman, Scott. Report: Cases Of Elderly Dementia To Nearly Triple By 2050. NPR. 19 September 2013.
By the middle of the century, the number of older people suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia will nearly triple, severely straining caregiving resources, the charity Alzheimer's Disease International says in a new study released Thursday. Currently, some 100 million people globally suffer from the potentially fatal disease. That number is expected to increase to 277 million by 2050, as the graying population increases, The World Alzheimer's Report 2013 says. Today, 80 percent of the elderly in nursing homes have some degree of dementia, it says. Continue reading…

Law and Bioethics

Crary, David. Despite Pressure, Ban On Gay Blood Donors Endures. The Associated Press. 15 September 2013.
The U.S. gay-rights movement has achieved many victories in recent years - on marriage, military service and other fronts. Yet one vestige of an earlier, more wary era remains firmly in place: the 30-year-old nationwide ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men. Dating from the first years of the AIDS epidemic, the ban is a source of frustration to many gay activists, and also to many leading players in the nation's health and blood-supply community who have joined in calling for change. Continue reading…

Dwyer, Jim. The Day When Neurons Go On Trial. The New York Times. 17 September 2013.
Here are law students on a Tuesday morning in 2013, hearing that researchers hope over the next decade or so to map the wiring of the human brain, seeing how individual cells link to bigger circuits. A decade is a sprint, less time than since 9/11, to use one benchmark. The scientists want to lift the hood and get a look at the human mind. The students, in a seminar at Fordham University School of Law taught by Prof. Deborah W. Denno, wonder what that will mean for the law. Continue reading…

Mental Health

Tierney, John. The Rational Choices of Crack Addicts. The New York Times. 16 September 2013.
Long before he brought people into his laboratory at Columbia University to smoke crack cocaine, Carl Hart saw its effects firsthand. Growing up in poverty, he watched relatives become crack addicts, living in squalor and stealing from their mothers. Childhood friends ended up in prisons and morgues. Those addicts seemed enslaved by crack, like the laboratory rats that couldn’t stop pressing the lever for cocaine even as they were starving to death. The cocaine was providing such powerful dopamine stimulation to the brain’s reward center that the addicts couldn’t resist taking another hit. Continue reading…

Walton, Alice. On the Global Recession-Suicide Link, Experts Call for Sensitivity. Forbes. 18 September 2013.
Because of the intimate links between the economy and our health – particularly mental health – organizations like the WHO have called for increased attention and intervention during times of economic crisis, especially since past recessions have been strongly linked to sharp rises in suicide. The International Labour Organization projected that 212 million people were unemployed in 2009, an increase of 34 million from 2007, so it was pretty well thought that a decline in mental health, and presumably suicide, would follow. Indeed a new study out in BMJ this week, tracking suicide rates across the globe since 2009, when the world was feeling the greatest effects of the 2008 economic downturn, found exactly this. Continue reading…

Research Ethics

Charles, Dan. Golden Rice Study Violated Ethical Rules, Tufts Says. NPR. 17 September 2013.
Tufts University announced Tuesday that one of its researchers broke ethical rules while carrying out a study of genetically modified "golden rice" in China. According to the Tufts report, the scientific conclusions of the study remain valid. The researchers had found that a single bowl of this rice can supply more than half of a child's daily vitamin A requirement — the most convincing evidence so far that golden rice can, in fact, be a useful tool in fighting malnutrition. But when the study was published last year, anti-biotech campaigners at Greenpeace China immediately called it a scandal, accusing the research team, led by Tufts' Guangwen Tang, of feeding children a "potentially dangerous product" without informing their parents of exactly what the children were eating. Continue reading…


Joyce, Christopher. After Disasters, DNA Science Is Helpful, But Often Too Pricey. NPR. 13 September 2013.
Human DNA is the ultimate fingerprint. A single hair can contain enough information to determine someone's identity — a feature that's been invaluable for identifying the unnamed casualties of natural disasters and war. But forensic scientists who use DNA say the technology isn't always available where it's most needed, like in poor countries, or in war zones like Syria. Continue reading…

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In the Journals

Denier, Yvonne. Realizing good care within a context of cross-cultural diversity: An ethical guideline for healthcare organizations in Flanders, Belgium. Social Science and Medicine. September 2013.
In our globalizing world, health care professionals and organizations increasingly experience cross-cultural challenges in care relationships, which give rise to ethical questions regarding "the right thing to do" in such situations. For the time being, the international literature lacks examples of elaborated ethical guidelines for cross-cultural healthcare on the organizational level. As such, the ethical responsibility of healthcare organizations in realizing cross-cultural care remains underexposed. This paper aims to fill this gap by offering a case-study that illustrates the bioethical practice on a large-scale organizational level by presenting the ethical guideline developed in the period 2007-2011 by the Ethics Committee of Zorgnet Vlaanderen, a Christian-inspired umbrella organization for over 500 social profit healthcare organizations in Flanders, Belgium. The guideline offers an ethical framework within which fundamental ethical values are being analyzed within the context of cross-cultural care. The case study concludes with implications for healthcare practice on four different levels: (1) the level of the healthcare organization, (2) staff, (3) care receivers, and (4) the level of care supply. The study combines content-based ethics with process-based benchmarks. Continue reading…

Brody, Gene, H. Using genetically informed, randomized prevention trials to test etiological hypotheses about child and adolescent drug use and psychopathology. American Journal of Public Health. October 2013.
In this essay, we describe a new era of public health research in which prevention science principles are combined with genomic science to produce gene × intervention (G×I) research. We note the roles of behavioral and molecular genetics in risk and protective mechanisms for drug use and psychopathology among children and adolescents, and the results of first-generation genetically informed prevention trials are reviewed. We also consider the need for second-generation research that focuses on G×I effects on mediators or intermediate processes. This research can be used to further understanding of etiological processes, to identify individual differences in children's and adolescents' responses to risk, and to increase the precision of prevention programs. We note the caveats about using genetic data to select intervention participants. Continue reading…

Freedman, Lori R. Conflicts in Care for Obstetric Complications in Catholic Hospitals. American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research. October 2013.
Background: A recent national survey revealed that over half of obstetrician-gynecologists working in Catholic hospitals have conflicts with religious policies, but the survey did not elucidate the nature of the conflicts. Our qualitative study examines the nature of physician conflicts with religious policies governing obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) care. Results related to restrictions on the management of obstetric complications are reported here.
Methods: In-depth interviews lasting about one hour were conducted with obstetrician-gynecologists throughout the United States. Questions focused on physicians’ general satisfaction with their hospital work settings and specific experiences with religious doctrine-based ob-gyn policies in the various hospitals where they have worked.
Results: Conflicts reported here include cases in which Catholic hospital religious policy (Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services) impacted physicians’ abilities to offer treatment to women experiencing certain obstetric emergencies, such as pregnancy-related health problems, molar pregnancy, miscarriage, or previable premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), because hospital authorities perceived treatment as equivalent to a prohibited abortion. Physicians were contractually obligated to follow doctrine-based policies while practicing in these Catholic hospitals.
Conclusions: For some physicians, their hospital's prohibition on abortion initially seemed congruent with their own principles, but when applied to cases in which patients were already losing a desired pregnancy and/or the patient's health was at risk, some physicians found the institutional restrictions on care to be unacceptable. Continue reading…

Marsh, Vicki. Managing misaligned paternity findings in research including sickle cell disease screening in Kenya: ‘Consulting communities’ to inform policy. Social Science and Medicine. November 2013.
The management of misaligned paternity findings raises important controversy worldwide. It has mainly, however, been discussed in the context of high-income countries. Genetic and genomics research, with the potential to show misaligned paternity, are becoming increasingly common in Africa. During a genomics study in Kenya, a dilemma arose over testing and sharing information on paternal sickle cell disease status. This dilemma may be paradigmatic of challenges in sharing misaligned paternity findings in many research and health care settings. Using a deliberative approach to community consultation to inform research practice, we explored residents' views on paternal testing and sharing misaligned paternity information. Between December 2009 and November 2010, 63 residents in Kilifi County were engaged in informed deliberative small group discussions, structured to support normative reflection within the groups, with purposive selection to explore diversity. Analysis was based on a modified framework analysis approach, drawing on relevant social science and bioethics literature. The methods generated in-depth individual and group reflection on morally important issues and uncovered wide diversity in views and values. Fundamental and conflicting values emerged around the importance of family interests and openness, underpinned by disagreement on the moral implications of marital infidelity and withholding truth. Wider consideration of ethical issues emerging in these debates supports locally-held reasoning that paternal sickle cell testing should not be undertaken in this context, in contrast to views that testing should be done with or without the disclosure of misaligned paternity information. The findings highlight the importance of facilitating wider testing of family members of affected children, contingent on the development and implementation of national policies for the management of this inherited disorder. Their richness also illustrates the potential for the approach adopted in this study to strengthen community consultation. Continue reading…

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Ars Technica

Bisette, Andrew. Graphene made from DNA could shape electronics. September 14, 2013.
Graphene, a material made of a single layer of carbon atoms, is being touted as the material that could change how electronics are made. But it’s difficult to make graphene in forms needed for electronics. Now, researchers from Stanford University have found a new method of making graphene by chemically converting DNA templates into flat sheets of carbon, potentially overcoming that limitation. Continue reading…

Amadeo, Ron. Google Launches Calico, an anti-aging company led by an Appel executive. Sseptember 18, 2013.
Google is taking another moonshot and getting into healthcare research, and they're doing it with the help of an extremely high-ranking Apple employee. Continue reading…

The Economist

Special Report. All Creatures Great and Small. September 14th, 2013.
If the events of a single night can be said to have shaped the fate of life on Earth, it could be those that took place in Paragominas on November 23rd 2008. Paragominas is a municipality in the Brazilian Amazon two-thirds the size of Belgium. Its population of 100,000 is made up largely of migrants from the south of the country who were encouraged by the government to colonise the area and chop down the forest. The small town that is its capital has an air of the wild west about it. Men wear cowboy hats in the streets. Five years ago it was a rough place, its air full of sawdust and rumours that slave labour was used in the charcoal business fuelled by Amazonian timber. Continue reading…

New Scientist

Coghlan, Andy. Girl who feels no pain could Inspire new painkillers. September 16, 2013.
A girl who does not feel physical pain has helped researchers identify a gene mutation that disrupts pain perception. The discovery may spur the development of new painkillers that will block pain signals in the same way. Continue reading…

Coghlan, Andy. CDC warns of future catastrophic antibiotic resistance. September 17, 2013.
A report this week from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that bacteria resistant to antibiotics kill 23,000 Americans each year and infect 2 million. "If we don't act now, our medicine cabinet will be empty and we won't have the antibiotics we need to save lives," warns Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. Continue reading…

New York Times

Editorial. A Step to Curb Painkiller Abuses. September 13, 2013.
Consumers will be less apt to overdose on prescription painkillers — but still less safe than they should be — under new labeling rules announced by the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday for a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics. Continue reading…

Editorial. E-Smoking Among Teenagers. September 15, 2013.
The case for regulating electronic cigarettes grew even stronger this month when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a notable increase in their use by high school and middle school students. A national survey found that the percentage of high school students who had ever smoked e-cigarettes jumped to 10 percent in 2012 from 4.7 percent in 2011; for middle school students (grades six to eight), the figure rose to 2.7 percent from 1.4 percent. Continue reading…

Editorial. The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis. September 17, 2013.
The overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture has long been known to foster the emergence of germs that are resistant to drugs. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the first solid numbers on the extent of the problem. It said that at least two million Americans fall ill from antibiotic-resistant infections each year, of whom at least 23,000 die from the infections, a very conservative estimate. Continue reading…

Plotkin, Stanley A. Bring Back the Lyme Vaccine. September 18, 2013.
PHILADELPHIA — IN August 2005 my son Alec, then 39 years old, collapsed into unconsciousness while walking his dog in the suburbs of Philadelphia. By the time he arrived at the hospital, his heart rate had slowed to 30 beats per minute. Fortunately, an experienced physician recognized that Alec was having a cardiac complication of Lyme infection. Installation of a pacemaker and an infusion of antibiotics saved his life. Continue reading…

Editorial. Blocking Health Care Reform in Florida. September 19, 2013.
Florida’s destructive efforts to sabotage health care reform has drawn a much-needed response from the Obama administration. Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, has been visiting the state to encourage private groups to help residents understand what insurance policies and federal subsidies will be available to them when the enrollment period opens Oct. 1. Continue reading…


Saletan, William. Fetal Fact Check.  September 18, 2013.
In much of this country, over the last three years, pro-lifers have banned abortions 20 weeks after fertilization. They’ve justified these bans by asserting — contrary to the most authoritative studies — that fetuses at this stage of development can feel pain. Their assertions, in turn, are based on research by several doctors. But the doctors don’t buy the pro-lifers’ conclusions. They say their research doesn’t support the bans.  Continue reading…

Stern, Mark Joseph. How Circumcision Broke the Internet. September 19, 2013.
There are facts about circumcision—but you won’t find them easily on the Internet. Parents looking for straightforward evidence about benefits and risks are less likely to stumble across the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention than Intact America, which confronts viewers with a screaming, bloodied infant and demands that hospitals “stop experimenting on baby boys.” Just a quick Google search away lies the Circumcision Complex, a website that speculates that circumcision leads toOedipus and castration complexes, to say nothing of the practice’s alleged brutal physiological harms. If you do locate the rare rational and informed circumcision article, you’ll be assaulted by a vitriolic mob of commenters accusing the author of encouraging “genital mutilation.” Continue reading…

Washington Post

Editorial. Virginia’s next governor will determine whether most abortion clinics close. September 16, 2013.
Virginia attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) was instrumental in ensuring that new regulations will result in the closure of many of the state’s abortion clinics. Two of the busiest, in Northern Virginia and Norfolk, already have closed. If Mr. Cuccinelli is elected governor in November, most of the remaining 18 clinics are likely to shut their doors within months. Continue reading…

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