(National Post) – Some doctors who have helped the gravely ill end their lives are no longer willing to participate in assisted death because of emotional distress or fear of prosecution if their decisions are second-guessed, according to their colleagues. In Ontario, one of the few provinces to track the information, 24 doctors have permanently been removed from a voluntary referral list of physicians willing to help people die. Another 30 have put their names on temporary hold.
(The Washington Post) – When Anthony Tran took over the District’s public health lab late last year, he had a feeling something was wrong with its testing for the Zika virus. He had just come from the public health lab in New York City, where technicians had been finding markers for Zika in the blood of arriving travelers almost every day. In the smaller, but still international, city of Washington, the same test was negative — every time.
(The Times of India) – Private banking of umbilical cord blood is a big business running parallel to childbirth in big hospitals, but is it worth the cost? While companies offering the facility for a few thousand rupees claim it can be used to treat conditions ranging from cerebral palsy to diabetes, health experts and doctors disagree. They say stem cell transplantation for treatment is limited to hereditary or genetic conditions, specifically blood disorders.
(New York Times) – The very idea fills many parents and doctors with trepidation, and with good reason, said Aaron Kelly, a physiologist and specialist in pediatric obesity at the University of Minnesota. “We’re at a point in this field where surgery is the only thing that works for these kids but we don’t know the long term outcomes.” The best data are from two recently published small studies that so far have outcomes for just five years. Scientists say there’s an urgent need for more ambitious research.
(Managed Care Magazine) – In a letter to the European Haemophilia Consortium, Roche has confirmed that one patient died in a phase 3 study of the bispecific antibody emicizumab. The death was considered to be unrelated to emicizumab, but, with the event following similar serious adverse reactions (SAEs) with other agents, it has added to questions about the safety of the experimental treatment.
(Scientific American) – One thing is clear: the way in which we organize the economy and society will change fundamentally. We are experiencing the largest transformation since the end of the Second World War; after the automation of production and the creation of self-driving cars the automation of society is next. With this, society is at a crossroads, which promises great opportunities, but also considerable risks. If we take the wrong decisions it could threaten our greatest historical achievements.
(Yahoo! News) – At least nine hearts and two livers could not reach needy patients in time last year in different parts of the country, even as lakhs of people wait at top hospitals for life-saving transplants amid acute shortage of donors. Experts point to the lack of a robust system to transport organs to super-speciality hospitals in quick time. The National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), the country’s apex organ donation agency, is now framing a proposal to airlift cadaver organs and will send a report to the Union health ministry.
(Reuters) – The woman, who was trafficked from West Bengal to Pune – a journey stretching across the breadth of India – delivered a son this month who she then gave up for adoption. Counselors who work with trafficking and rape victims say that an unwanted pregnancy followed by adoption was a traumatic double punch for women who have already endured a sex crime. “A 16-year-old told me she was offered no help when she wanted to terminate the pregnancy, but now she was being asked to give up the child for adoption,” said Leena Jadhav, a counselor.
(News-Medical) – Sanford Research scientists recently published a review article in an issue of Stem Cells Translational Medicine focused on the study of and utility of adult-derived stem cells. Earlier this month, Sanford began enrolling participants in the Safety and Efficacy of Adult Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Injections into Partial Thickness Rotator Cuff Tears clinical trial. The trial uses stromal vascular fraction, a mixture of cells and nutrients isolated from a patient’s own body that contain adipose-derived stem cells, as a potential therapy for partial-thickness rotator cuff tears. Sanford scientists and clinicians are exploring the application of this type of stem cells for other conditions.
(Science) – Unexpectedly, at 21 days post-infection, the testes of the ZIKV-infected mice were significantly smaller compared to those of mock-infected mice, indicating progressive testicular atrophy. ZIKV infection caused a reduction in serum testosterone, suggesting that male fertility can be affected. Our findings have important implications for nonvector-borne vertical transmission, as well as long-term potential reproductive deficiencies, in ZIKV-infected males.
Social Science & Medicine (vol. 176, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Trade Liberalization and Social Determinants of Health: A State of the Literature Review” by Courtney McNamara
- “Assessment of Acculturation in Minority Health Research” by Molly Fox, Zaneta Thayer, and Pathik D. Wadhwa
- “Hour-Glass Ceilings: Work-Hour Thresholds, Gendered Health Inequities” by Huong Dinh, Lyndall Strazdins, and Jennifer Welsh
- “The Productive Techniques and Constitutive Effects of ‘Evidence-Based Policy’ and ‘Consumer Participation’ Discourses in Health Policy Processes” by K. Lancaster et al.
- ““Too Much Medicine”: Insights and Explanations from Economic Theory and Research” by Martin Hensher, John Tisdell, and Craig Zimitat
- “Community-Based Participatory Research in a Heavily Researched Inner City Neighbourhood: Perspectives of People Who Use Drugs on Their Experiences as Peer Researchers” by Will Damon et al.
- “Income, Financial Barriers to Health Care and Public Health Expenditure: A Multilevel Analysis of 28 Countries” by Tae Jun Kim et al.
- “Socioeconomic Disparities in Adolescent Substance Use: Role of Enjoyable Alternative Substance-Free Activities” by Nafeesa Andrabi, Rubin Khoddam, and Adam M. Leventhal
HEC Forum (vol. 29, no. 1, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Virtue in Medical Practice: An Exploratory Study” by Ben Kotzee, Agnieszka Ignatowicz, and Hywel Thomas
- “Does Moral Case Deliberation Help Professionals in Care for the Homeless in Dealing with Their Dilemmas? A Mixed-Methods Responsive Study” by R. P. Spijkerboer
- “The Ethics of Vaccination Nudges in Pediatric Practice” by Mark C. Navin
- “The Role of Ethics in Reducing and Improving the Quality of Coercion in Mental Health Care” by Reidun Norvoll, Marit Helene Hem, and Reidar Pedersen
- “Pediatric Ethics and Communication Excellence (PEACE) Rounds: Decreasing Moral Distress and Patient Length of Stay in the PICU” by Lucia Wocial et al.
The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 376, no. 7, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Addressing the Fentanyl Threat to Public Health” by R.G. Frank and H.A. Pollack
- “New Vaccines against Epidemic Infectious Diseases” by J.-A. Røttingen et al.
- “The Common Rule, Updated” by J. Menikoff, J. Kaneshiro, and I. Pritchard
International Journal of Computer-Human Interaction (Latest Articles) is available online by subscription only.
- “Exploring Patients’ Use Intention of Personal Health Record Systems: Implications for Design” by A. Ant Ozok, Huijuan Wu, and Ayse P. Gurses
- “Nurses’ Perceptions of a Novel Health Information Technology: A Qualitative Study in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit” by Onur Asan et al.
(The Atlantic) – Medicine, in World War I, made major advances in several directions. The war is better known as the first mass killing of the 20th century—with an estimated 10 million military deaths alone—but for the injured, doctors learned enough to vastly improve a soldier’s chances of survival. They went from amputation as the only solution, to being able to transport soldiers to hospital, to disinfect their wounds and to operate on them to repair the damage wrought by artillery. Ambulances, antiseptic, and anesthesia, three elements of medicine taken entirely for granted today, emerged from the depths of suffering in the First World War.
(Reuters) – Aid agencies must get food to close to 3 million people by July to avert a famine in Africa’s Lake Chad region caused by drought, chronic poverty and Islamist insurgents Boko Haram, the United Nations said on Friday as it launched a funding appeal. International donors at a conference in Oslo pledged $672 million for the next three years in new money, $457 million of which was for 2017, Norway’s foreign minister said.
(Scientific American) – The number of deadly heroin overdoses in the United States more than quadrupled from 2010 to 2015, a federal agency said on Friday, as the price of the drug dropped and its potency increased. There were 12,989 overdose deaths involving heroin in 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, compared with 3,036 such fatalities five years earlier. In 2010, heroin was involved in 8 percent of U.S. drug overdose deaths, a study by the Atlanta-based center said. By 2015, that proportion had jumped to 25 percent.
(MSN) – A girl of eight whose rare brain disorder is likely to lead to her death when she is in her teens is taking part in pioneering stem cell research in a bid to save others with same condition. Lily Harriss’s skin cells will first be turned into stem cells and then into brain cells by researchers at University College London as they seek treatments or a cure. About 100 to 200 cases of BPAN — beta-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration — are known worldwide, although this is believed to be an underestimate.
(STAT News) – Jeantine Lunshof insists she is not the “ethics police.” It says so on the door to her closet-sized office at Harvard. She doesn’t find reasons to reflexively shut down experiments. She doesn’t snoop around for deviations from ethical guidelines. But when scientists discuss their research in the twice-weekly lab meetings she attends, “I will say, hmm, that raises some good questions,” Lunshof said. There is no shortage of “good questions” for Lunshof, who for the last three years has been embedded in the synthetic biology lab of George Church, the visionary whose projects include trying to resurrect the wooly mammoth and to “write” a human genome from scratch.
(Medical Xpress) – A Dutch “abortion ship” was Thursday due to arrive in a Guatemalan port to provide free help to women to end unwanted pregnancies, aiming to circumvent the country’s strict laws. Abortion is only allowed in Guatemala in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, the non-profit organisation Women on Waves said, adding there are some 65,000 illegal and unsafe abortions in the Central American country every year. The ship will visit the harbour of the Puerto San Jose, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Guatemala City and will stay for five days, the organisation said in a statement.