Greetings from Stephen Latham, Director

With the Program for Biomedical Ethics at the Medical School, we will be co-sponsoring a session on legal research in bioethics, to be taught by Jason Eiseman, the head of information technology at the law library. This session will introduce non-lawyers to principles of legal research with a focus on researching bioethics issues. Participants will learn how to use legal resources available to the wider Yale (non-law school) community and on the Yale network, as well as other free and low-cost options for research. Topics covered will include basics of legal research in cases, statutes and regulations; research with secondary sources, focusing on bioethics; and case-finding using Yale and non-Yale databases.

Right now we are trying to determine the level of interest. If you are interested contact We’ll work out the details and timing with those who respond. Many thanks to Jason Eiseman and to Bonnie Kaplan for this wonderful idea.

Have a look below for details on this Wednesday’s Technology and Ethics talk on the Snowden affair. And don’t forget that we have Jonathan Moreno (Bioethics, UPenn) giving our Robert Levine Lecture on October 22, and Sidney Callahan (psychology & bioethics, Hastings Center) giving our Margaret Farley lecture on the 29th!

Finally, you should all be aware of a special October 7 evening symposium on end of life care. Our colleagues at The Hastings Center have recently published a second edition of their influential Guidelines for Decisions on Life-sustaining Treatment and Care Near the End of Life. The Medical School’s Program for Biomedical Ethics is hosting a discussion of the new guidelines, featuring speakers from the Hastings Center who were involved in their creation. Details appear here and below. A complimentary buffet dinner will be provided, so it’s necessary to RSVP to

Send me news for this newsletter at, with the word “Frimail” in your subject-line.

  Wednesday, October 2
4:15 PM

Technology & Ethics Group
Location: 77 Prospect St, room A002
Speaker: George Lucas, Distinguished Chair in Ethics (ret.), Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, U.S. Naval Academy
Topic: Privacy, Anonymity, and Cyber Security in the Aftermath of Edward Snowden's Revelations

  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

*Ramona Fernandez has accepted the position of Clinical Ethics Fellow at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London Ontario, Canada.  (Congratulations Ramona!)

*Melissa Kurtz will be a presenter at a symposium being held by Yale School of Medicine’s Program for Biomedical Ethics on October 7th titled “A Discussion of the New Hastings Center Guidelines for Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment and Care Near the End of Life.”  The program is taking place at the Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center.  Melissa has been listed as an “Expert Reviewer on Hastings Center Guidelines.”  (Congratulations Melissa!)

*Rebecca Linfield writes: “I am continuing to work for the Boston Consulting Group in Los Angeles and am applying to medical school.”  (Good Luck Rebecca!)

*Sophie House writes: “Seems like the 2013 students were spoiled for choice, and you must have had some really interesting folks attending as students as well.  It's so great to see that the program continues to inspire people to tackle new challenges in bioethics and approach the world through a thoughtful, compassionate, and humanistic lens. Things are great with me.  Exams wrapped up at the beginning of the summer.  Since then I have been working on my thesis (at Oxford University) as well some research assistance in the law faculty here. I've been able to do some traveling this summer, which has been terrific, most recently spending time in Tbilisi, Georgia, with a friend from Oxford.  I caught up with both Alma (Massaro) and Elise (Roumeas) this summer (how amazing that Elise is back at Yale!).” (Hope to see you, too, back at Yale, Sophie!)

*Tyler Ryan writes: “I wanted to give you a long overdue thank you for everything you did for Seo (Choi) and me by accepting us into one of the most educationally and culturally rich environments we could possibly ask for.  I just recently moved into Boston University and am taking a writing course in public health ethics this semester.  Already I've been able to use so much of what I learned from you, the students, and all of the lecturers in the program.  I'm so privileged to have been able to interact with such a broad spectrum of ideas and backgrounds.”  (Good Luck to you both!)

*Alex Rowan writes: “I'm still in touch with people from my program, and I think we all still wish we could go back!  As for me, I finished up an AmeriCorps service term in June, and then I worked at Camp Krem over the summer, which is a summer camp for people with special needs.  It brought to mind many of the issues I learned about in the disability seminar last summer, and it was an amazing experience to work so closely with people with a wide array of developmental disabilities.  After that I moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where I am beginning another AmeriCorps service term with the Pittsburgh Health Corps.  I am serving with the Mercy Behavioral Family Health Center, which is a patient centered medical home that provides and coordinates care for patients with mental illness, special needs, and the homeless.  It will be a great experience to work with the medically undeserved here in Pittsburgh.  If I make it out to New Haven, I will be sure to drop by!”  (Good Luck Alex, and I hope to see you in New Haven soon!)

*Juan Carmona writes: “I am going to the Bioethics Center’s Technology & Ethics seminar on Wednesday and am excited to be reliving the summer all over again!”  (It’s great that you live and work in the area and can now participate in events during the academic year!)

*Vamshi Merugumala writes: “I'm finally relaxing at home this summer, but I literally just got back from India last week! It was brilliant, I love going to see family, enjoyed the culture and took advantage of the exotic fruits in season! As you know I just passed 4th year of med school (Keele, UK), so I should just have one more year left.  But I'm taking an optional extra year to study an intercalated degree of my choice - I applied to study a MSc in Global Health starting next month!  I got a place to study this course at Brighton University down at the south coast of England, which I'm pretty excited about.  Also hope you go to Australia/ New Zealand after graduation; I have been considering working there for some time!”  (Good Luck Vamshi!)

*Alexandra Houle-Dupont writes: “I am about to end my first few weeks at Andover Preparatory School (Massachusetts), and I have just found out that it has strong ties with Yale as a feeder school (the reason why the school colors are the same)!”    (Good Luck Alexandra!)

*Claire Dennis writes: “The summer has been very busy following the US Nationals in Santa Cruz (California).  From Santa Cruz I went north to Cascade Locks, OR, for the PCCs, and then to Long Beach, CA, for training.  From Long Beach, CA, it was back up to San Francisco for more training before flying to Dublin, Ireland, for the Radial Women European Championships. Regatta results from the European Championships can be found here.  Regatta results from the Pacific Coast Championships can be found here. I am back in San Francisco now after spending a few days at Yale and in New York City visiting the Yale sailing team, professors, and other friends on my way back from the Europeans. I will be in San Francisco until September 23rd when I leave for the World Championships in Rizhao, China. To read more detailed blog posts from all of the above regattas and training blocks please visit my website by going to! I look forward to keeping you updated on the World Championships!” (Good Luck Claire!   Sorry to have missed your trip to New Haven.) 

*Dawne Southworth has just accepted a full-time position at Penbay Medical Center on their Med-Surg floor.  (Congratulations Dawne!)

*Seminar Lecturer Sally Satel has an article titled “We have the Tools to prevent Another Shooting Spree” in the Bloomberg News. (Congratulations Sally!)

*If you want to experience being in Yale classes again, please take a look at some of the Open Yale Courses!  You can find them through the Yale website:


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This Week on Campus

Monday, September 30

Climate & Energy Institute Lecture
Time: 2 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, Burke Auditorium
Speaker: Julian Marshall, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Minnesota
Topic: Air Pollution Kills! So What? Air Quality Engineering to Improve Public Health

Public Health Lecture
Time: 4 PM
Location: 60 College St, room 101
Speaker: Donald I. Abrams, MD, Professor of Clinical Medicine, UCSF
Topic: AIDS, Cannabis and Integrative Cancer Care: A Career on the Edge

Tuesday, October 1

Interdisciplinary Health Seminar
Time: 12 PM
Location: 77 Prospect St, room A001
Speaker: David Meltzer, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago
Topic: Redesign of Care for Patients at High Risk of Hospitalization in a Reforming U.S. Healthcare System: Rationale for a CMMI Innovation Challenge Project

Child Study Center Schwartz Rounds
Time: 1 PM
Location: 230 South Frontage Rd, Cohen Auditorium
Speakers: Alan Anticevic, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry
Michael Bloch, MD, MS, Assistant Professor, Child Study Center
Justyna Piasecka, MD, Clinical Fellow, Child Study Center
Topic: From Bench to Bedside: Translational Clinical Science and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Dwight H. Terry Lecture
Time: 4 PM
Location: 53 Wall St, auditorium
Speaker: Professor Ian Hacking, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto and Collège de France
Topic: What is Biotechnology Doing to the Ways We Think about Our Minds and Bodies?

Wednesday, October 2

Environmental Law & Policy Webinar
Time: 11 AM
Location: online
Speaker: Maria Trumpler, director, Yale Office of LGBTQ Resources
Topic: Gender and Feminism in Food and Agriculture

School of Forestry Seminar
Time: 12 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, Burke Auditorium
Speaker: John Tschirhart, Professor of Economics, University of Wyoming
Topic: Economic/Ecological Analysis of Externalities Associated with Natural Gas Development

Rudd Center Seminar
Time: 2:30 PM
Location: 309 Edwards St, conf rm
Speakers: Kathleen L. Keller, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences and Department of Food Science, Pennsylvania State University
Katharine L. Loeb, PhD,  Associate Professor, School of Psychology; Director, PhD Program in Clinical Psychology,  Fairleigh Dickinson University
Topic: Optimal Defaults and Associative Conditioning: Two Strategies to Change Children's Eating Behavior in the Prevention of Childhood Obesity

Thursday, October 3

Human Rights Workshop
Time: 4:15 PM
Location: 127 Wall St, Faculty lounge
Speaker: Yair LorbebaumProfessor of Law and Philosophy, Bar-Ilan University Law School, and Robina Foundation Senior Visiting Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School
Diminishing the Divine Image -- Capital Punishment in Talmudic Literature

Sustainable Food Project Talk
Time: 1 PM
Location: 345 Edwards St (Yale Farm)
Speaker: Daphne Miller, MD,author of The Jungle Effect and Farmacology
Topic: Connecting Modern Medicine to the Natural World

Program for Humanities in Medicine's Spiro Lecture
Time: 5 PM
Location: 300 Cedar St, Anlyan Auditorium
Speaker: Joshua Prager, Author, Journalist
Topic: In Search of the Man Who Broke My Neck

Friday, October 4

Zucker Fellowship Lecture
Time: 2 PM
Location: 63 High St, room 102
Speaker: William K. Reilly, former director of the EPA, Fall 2013 B. Benjmain and Barbara Zucker Fellow
Topic: Resiliency in a Warming World

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Conferences & Off Campus Events

The Program for Biomedical Ethics invites you to A Discussion of the New Hastings Center Guidelines for Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment and Care Near the End of Life, a very special symposium on end of life care to be held at Yale School of Medicine on October 7, 2013, from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm, at the Cohen Auditorium in the Child Study Center at 230 South Frontage Road. As many of you are aware, the Hastings Center has recently published a second edition of their Guidelines for Decisions on Life-sustaining Treatment and Care Near the End of Life. This publication will be essential reading for anyone involved in the care of critically ill or terminally ill adult or pediatric patients.  The Program for Biomedical Ethics at Yale School of Medicine is very pleased to host a symposium to discuss these guidelines, featuring speakers from the Hastings Center who were involved in their creation: Bruce Jennings, Nancy Berlinger, and Melissa Kurtz. There will be short lectures followed by extensive audience discussion, and a break with a complimentary buffet dinner provided.

4:30 PM Welcome and Introduction
Mark Mercurio, MD, MA,
Director, Program for Biomedical Ethics, Professor of Pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine
4:45 PM Bruce Jennings, MA, Director of Bioethics, Center for Humans and Nature, Fellow,The Hastings Center, Co-author of the first edition of the Guidelines in 1987.
5:15 PM Nancy Berlinger, PhD, Research Scholar, The Hastings Center, Instructor, Yale School of Nursing, Director, Hastings Center project that produced the 2013 Guidelines.
5:45 PM Break with Buffet Dinner
6:15 PM Melissa Kurtz, MSN, MA, Expert Reviewer, Hastings Center Guidelines
6:45 PM Audience Questions & Panel Discussion
Moderator: Mark Mercurio, MD, MA
Panel: Robert A. Burt, Esq., Alexander M. Bickel Professor of Law, Yale University
Nancy Berlinger, PhD,
Bruce Jennings, MA
Melissa Kurtz, MSN, MA
7:30 PM Adjourn

RSVP by October 1: 203.737.5943 or
ACCREDITATION: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the sponsorship of The John D. Thompson Hospice Institute for Education, Training and Research, Inc. The John D. Thompson Hospice Institute for Education, Training and Research, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The John D. Thompson Hospice Institute for Education, Training and Research, Inc. designates this educational activity for a maximum of 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. DISCLOSURE: The speakers and the members of the Planning Committee do not have any commercial or financial interest which would bias the presentation.

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Unite for Sight presents the Social Entrepreneurship Institute on Friday, December 6, 2013, at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut.  The Social Entrepreneurship Institute provides mentoring, guidance, and successful strategies for participants to apply to their work in global health, social entrepreneurship, and international development.  In addition to unique interactive sessions by leaders in global health and social entrepreneurship, the Institute also includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner networking receptions with the speakers. Space is limited, and early registration is encouraged. A very reduced early bird registration rate is also offered through the end of September. Complete details and the Institute schedule can be seen at

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Grants, Fellowships, & Jobs

Health Law Position: Southern Illinois University School of Law
Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of Law
Southern Illinois University School of Law seeks to fill up to four full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty positions to begin in the 2014-2015 academic year. With a range of curricular needs, the School of Law welcomes applications from candidates with a wide variety of interests including Health Law, as well as Contracts, Torts, Legislative and Administrative Process, Family Law and other courses. Rank & Title: For Associate or Full Professor rank: significant teaching experience and demonstrated achievements in scholarship consistent with the tenure and promotion standards of the Southern Illinois University School of Law. Duties &Responsibilities: Classroom instruction, scholarship, and service.  To Apply or Nominate a Candidate: A complete application will require a letter of application detailing your interest, qualifications and relevant experience, along with a vitae or resume and three references with names. Address or email applications to: Patty Lynn, Assistant to the Dean, Mail Code 6804, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1150 Douglas Drive, Carbondale, Illinois 62901. Email:
. Deadline for application: October 1, 2013 or until position is filled.

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Calls for Papers & Nominations

The Journal of Community Positive Practices invites original paper submissions for the issue 3/2013 (volume XIII) on "Social Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups". The Journal of Community Positive Practices is a Social Research Review with appearance in both printed and electronic versions which proposes themes published in accordance with the rules described within the section instructions for authors. Submissions in English for our next release are received until the September 25, 2013 (for JCPP 3 / 2013). The submissions can be made through Open Journals Systems. We are also accepting email submission at

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Articles of Interest

To read the full text of an article, click on its link and it will open in a new window.  

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

In the News

Featured Article

Broad, William and David Sanger. Chemical Disarmament Won’t Be Easy. The New York Times. 23 September 2013.
The United States has been working to dispose of its chemical weapons for decades, a process complicated by concerns about public health and the environment. Almost everything about the American effort to rid itself of chemical weapons manufactured from Woodrow Wilson’s presidency to Ronald Reagan’s has been more complex, more time-consuming, more costly and more environmentally fraught than anyone imagined. Continue reading...


Madigan, Nick. In the Shadow of ‘Old Smokey,’ a Toxic Legacy. The New York Times. 22 September 2013.
Old Smokey, a trash incinerator in the West Grove neighborhood, was shut down in 1970 after 45 years of belching ash, but its legacy might be more ominous than mere memories of soiled laundry. Residents of the neighborhood, established by Bahamian immigrants in the 1880s, have become alarmed by recent revelations that soil samples there show contamination from carcinogens like arsenic and heavy metals, including lead, cadmium and barium. Ash from the old incinerator is being blamed, and residents are asking why none of this came to light sooner. Continue reading...

Health and Medicine

Hamilton, Jon. How A Pregnant Woman’s Choices Could Shape a Child’s Health. NPR. 23 September 2013.
Pregnant women hear a lot about things they should avoid: alcohol, tobacco, chemical exposures, stress. All of those have the potential to affect a developing fetus. And now scientists are beginning to understand why. One important factor, they say, is something called epigenetics, which involves the mechanisms that turn individual genes on and off in a cell. There's growing evidence that epigenetics is critical in determining a child's risk of developing problems ranging from autism to diabetes, says Dani Fallin, who studies the genetics of mental disorders at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Continue reading...

Li, Shan. FDA Should Regulate E-Cigarettes, 40 State Attorneys General Say. Los Angeles Times. 24 September 2013.
Forty state attorneys general sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking the agency to regulate electronic cigarettes to address their marketing, ingredients and sale to minors. The FDA has set a deadline of Oct. 31 to issue proposals to regulate the devices, known as e-cigarettes. But the agency has delayed action in the past. The letter urges the FDA to rein in marketing of e-cigarettes, which has grown as the demand for such smokeless products have climbed. Some advertising containing cartoons targets children, a marketing method that has been banned for makers of traditional cigarettes, the letter said. Continue reading...

Pear, Robert. Lower Health Insurance Premiums to Come at Cost of Fewer Choices. The New York Times. 22 September 2013.
Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama’s health care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers. From California to Illinois to New Hampshire, and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans. Continue reading...

Armour, Stephanie. Doctors Brace for Health Care’s Surge of Ailing Patients. Bloomberg. 23 September 2013.
Holy Cross Hospital’s health center in Aspen Hill, Maryland, is bracing for more business. The center treats the uninsured, and has been busy since it opened in 2012 with a waiting list of more than 400 people at its clinic. Now, as a result of the U.S. Affordable Care Act, it’s mulling adding staff and hours in anticipation of next year’s rush of newly-insured patients, many with chronic medical conditions that have gone untreated for years. Continue reading...

Law and Bioethics

Wheatstone, Richard. Dozens of Men Forced to Give DNA Samples for Historic ‘Crimes’ Under Anti-Gay Laws. Manchester Evening News. 24 September 2013.
Police demanded DNA samples from more than 30 homosexual men convicted under historic “anti-gay laws” in a sweep targeting rapists and child sex abusers. The samples, taken under Operation Nutmeg, have now been destroyed by Greater Manchester Police after a review was triggered by the M.E.N in January. Records, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, show how 36 men convicted for consensual sex acts, which are no longer illegal, were ordered to give samples. Continue reading...

Medical Ethics

Allen, Marshall. How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals? NPR. 20 September 2013.
It seems that every time researchers estimate how often a medical mistake contributes to a hospital patient's death, the numbers come out worse. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published the famous "To Err Is Human" report, which dropped a bombshell on the medical community by reporting that up to 98,000 people a year die because of mistakes in hospitals. The number was initially disputed, but is now widely accepted by doctors and hospital officials — and quoted ubiquitously in the media. Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death. That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second. Continue reading...

Bartolone, Pauline. California Seeks Answers On Questionable Prison Sterilizations. NPR. 20 September 2013.
A media investigation revealed this summer that scores of female inmates received prohibited sterilization procedures in California prisons between 1997 and 2010. State lawmakers are now demanding an audit into the legally questionable tubal ligations, to find out if coercion was involved. Continue reading...

Bakalar, Nicholas. Scans More Likely If Doctors Have Financial Stake. The New York Times. 23 September 2013.
A new study has found that patients are more likely to have magnetic resonance imaging scans that indicate nothing is wrong if they are referred by a doctor who owns the machine. The scientists conclude that doctors with a financial interest in the machines may be more likely to order M.R.I.s even when clinical findings suggest they are unnecessary. Continue reading...

Mental Health

Lyman, Rick. Once Suicidal and Shipped Off, Now Battling Nevada Over Care. The New York Times. 21 September 2013.
A lawsuit on behalf of a group of homeless and mentally ill people claims they were bused out of Nevada and left on the streets of San Francisco with little or no medication. An estimated 1,500 people who were bused all over the country in recent years from the state-operated Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Center in Las Vegas and other Nevada institutions, 500 of them to California. Continue reading...


Pfeiffer, Eric. Popular Science Ends Reader Comments, Say Practice is Bad for Science. Yahoo News. 24 September 2013.
The scientific method relies on rigorous observation and peer-based feedback as critical components in testing a hypothesis. But one of the world's leading science publications now says there is a major difference when it comes to reading news articles about science. In a surprising move, the website for Popular Science announced it is no longer allowing reader comments on its articles. And in a potentially even more controversial move, the site’s online content director boldly explains the decision was reached because of the publication's belief that reader comments are actually bad for science. Continue reading...

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In the Journals

Brasch, Joanne. Medical Textiles That Suit the User: Predicting Health Care Workers' Preference for Disposable Versus Reusable Surgical Gowns. Health Marketing Quarterly. May 2013.
Administrators need to balance a variety of factors when purchasing products for a health care facility, including user preference. The objectives of this study were to determine which variables were significantly related to gown preference and then to create a multivariate model to determine the best set of variables for predicting user preference for reusable versus disposable gowns. When “no preference” was included in the multivariate analysis, both occupational group and years employed at the hospital where they currently worked were significant. When no preference data were removed, years employed at the current hospital became the only significant predictor of preference. Continue reading…

Bretonnière, Sandrine. From laboratories to chambers of parliament and beyond: Producing bioethics in France and Romania. Social Science and Medicine. September 2013.
In a European context marked by heterogeneous Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) practices, this article will elucidate and compare the norm elaboration processes pertaining to ART in France and Romania. Using an experimental five-phase model encompassing experimentation, excesses, social mobilization, legislation and contestation, I will examine the processes linking micro (everyday medical practices), meso (institutional regulation) and macro (legislation) levels of ART bioethics in the two countries since the 1980s. ART has developed in France and Romania on different time frames, and Romania's management of ART is decisively influenced by Ceau┼čescu's pro-natalist policy. However, I will show how the two countries share similar trajectories along the proposed model's first three phases of norm elaboration, and, in recent years, how both have witnessed the emergence of social actors' claims for a more liberal and state-sponsored access to ART, requiring a redefinition of bioethics in line with reproductive social justice at national levels. This is fed by contemporary medical practices and social values, and an increasing transnational interconnectedness between social actors. Continue reading…

Saidun, Salilah. Photographing human subjects in biomedical disciplines: an Islamic perspective. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2013.
Visual recording of human subjects is commonly used in biomedical disciplines for clinical, research, legal, academic and even personal purposes. Guidelines on practice standards of biomedical recording have been issued by certain health authorities, associations and journals, but none of the literature discusses this from an Islamic perspective. This article begins with a discussion on the general rules associated with visual recording in Islam, followed by modesty issues in biomedical recording and issues of informed consent and confidentiality. In order to be deemed ethical from the Islamic perspective, all the aforementioned criteria must conform to, or not contradict, Islamic teaching. Continue reading…

Svoboda, Steven J. Out of step: fatal flaws in the latest AAP policy report on neonatal circumcision. Journal of Medical Ethics. March 2013.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a policy statement and technical report on circumcision, in both of which the organisation suggests that the health benefits conferred by the surgical removal of the foreskin in infancy definitively outweigh the risks and complications associated with the procedure. While these new documents do not positively recommend neonatal circumcision, they do paradoxically conclude that its purported benefits ‘justify access to this procedure for families who choose it,’ claiming that whenever and for whatever reason it is performed, it should be covered by government health insurance. The policy statement and technical report suffer from several troubling deficiencies, ultimately undermining their credibility. These deficiencies include the exclusion of important topics and discussions, an incomplete and apparently partisan excursion through the medical literature, improper analysis of the available information, poorly documented and often inaccurate presentation of relevant findings, and conclusions that are not supported by the evidence given.
Continue reading…

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Ars Technica

Willkinson, Allie. Cows cleared of charges in salmonella epidemic; new suspects named. September 21, 2013.
Scotland’s cows are no longer the primary suspects in the decades-old epidemic of multi-drug resistant Salmonella. While livestock have been assumed to be a main source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a new study in the journal Science suggests that imported foods and foreign travel are likely to blame instead. Continue reading…

Chicago Tribune

Editorial. What will Illinois pay? September 16, 2013.
Two weeks from today, the online health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act are supposed to open for business, offering policies that will take effect starting Jan. 1. Illinois residents still have no clue what that insurance will cost, which companies will offer benefits, which doctors and hospitals will be included in the networks. Continue reading…

Harris, Melissa. Tullman, Keywell take aim at health care. September 15, 2013.
Two of Chicago's most prominent entrepreneurs, Brad Keywell and Glen Tullman, are going into business together. The company will be called Zest Health. It will be a joint venture of their respective investment firms, Lightbank and 7wire Ventures. Continue reading…

Byrne, Dennis. New book details dangers of abortion. September 23, 2013.
How often have you heard that abortion is safer than childbirth? It's one of the many assertions endlessly repeated by the abortion industry in order to normalize the procedure in the public eye. If it is no more uncomfortable or dangerous than having your teeth cleaned, then what's the big deal, right? Except that it's not true. Continue reading…

Los Angeles Times

Braunstein, Glenn D. Hospital stays: When less medicine is more. September 18, 2013.
This year, 36.6 million people will be admitted to U.S. hospitals. Each patient will stay an average of 4.8 days, and the cost for all those hospitalizations will reach into the billions. Is all that time spent in hospitals good for patients? Continue reading…

Moon, Marilyn. Obamacare as political theatre. September 26, 2013.
Each week seems to bring new claims that the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) — which begins enrollment for coverage on health insurance exchanges on Oct. 1 — will bring calamity. In many ways, this furor is reminiscent of Medicare's beginnings in 1966. That law, passed in 1965, had just a year before it went live. There were plenty of naysayers and fears of potentially calamitous roadblocks. Continue reading…

New Scientist

Botelho, Alyssa. Warning sounded over three-parent IVF safety. September 19, 2013.
Put the brakes on new IVF techniques to prevent mitochondrial disease being inherited. That's the message from a group of researchers who are concerned that some of the work on mitochondrial replacement therapy – a technique that prevents a mother from passing on faulty mitochondrial DNA to her child – suggests that it isn't ready for the clinic. Continue reading…

Geddes, Linda. Herpes virus cleared from blood for first time. September 23, 2013.
A common virus that can reduce lifespan and cause blindness has been cleared from human blood for the first time. Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a type of herpes virus, is carried by about 70 per cent of people and, although it usually doesn't cause illness, shaves 3.7 years off life expectancy. Continue reading…

Mackenzie, Debora. First vaccine for H7N9 may be too little, too late. September 25, 2013.
A vaccine for the new strain of bird flu may be too little, too late. The US has launched the first human trials of a vaccine against H7N9, the bird flu virus that emerged in China in February. The virus is lethal, killing 44 people out of 135 known cases. Fortunately, it does not transmit easily between people, which stops it triggering a pandemic. Continue reading…

New York Times

Editorial. The Quest for a Lyme Vaccine. September 21, 2013.
People who spend time outdoors in wooded or grassy areas where black-legged ticks are abundant would welcome a vaccine to protect them from Lyme disease and other dangerous pathogens that the same ticks can transmit simultaneously. Past efforts to develop and market a Lyme vaccine ended in failure, but now there are glimmers of hope that newer, more broadly effective vaccines can be developed. Continue reading…

Grabell, Michael. The Simple Test That Saved My Baby. September 21, 2013.
On July 10, my wife gave birth to a seemingly healthy baby boy with slate-blue eyes and peach-fuzz hair. The pregnancy was without complications. The delivery itself lasted all of 12 minutes. After a couple of days at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut, we were packing up when a pediatric cardiologist came into the room. Continue reading…

Klinkenborg, Verlyn. Silencing Scientists. September 21, 2013.
Over the last few years, the government of Canada — led by Stephen Harper — has made it harder and harder for publicly financed scientists to communicate with the public and with other scientists. Continue reading…

Letter. Addressing Antibiotics. September 23, 2013.
Thank you for raising the urgent need to address antibiotic-resistant infections (“The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis,” editorial, Sept. 18). With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that more than two million Americans are sickened each year with antibiotic-resistant infections, resulting in at least 23,000 deaths a year, we cannot afford inaction. In addition to the tremendous costs to human life, the C.D.C. says the total cost of antibiotic resistance to the United States economy is estimated to be as high as $20 billion, with additional costs to society for lost productivity as high as $35 billion a year. Continue reading…


Ofri, Danielle. My Leap of Faith in Medicine. September 22, 2013.
When my son was 18 months old, his doctor recommended that he get tympanostomy tubes in his ears because of recurrent ear infections. He might not be hearing clearly during this critical stage of language development. Being a physician myself, I researched this thoroughly. It turns out the evidence supporting the procedure is slight—it may help with hearing and language, but all kids seem to catch up whether or not they had the tubes. Continue reading…

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