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  • BioEdge: the latest news and articles about bioethics
    tags euthanasia mercy killing murder Spain A security guard in Girona Spain has been sentenced to 127 years and 6 months in prison for the murder of 11 elderly residents in the nursing home where he worked Search BioEdge Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed Recent Posts Dutch psychiatric patients may get euthanasia too easily says US study 14 Feb 2016 A Dutch report applies the brakes

    Original URL path: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/tag/murder (2016-02-18)
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  • BioEdge: Roberto Abadie: the world of the professional guinea pig
    much more in an attempt to recruit volunteers but the long term risks for volunteers who have done 80 100 or even more trials over many years We don t know which drugs they have tested how they might interact with each other and with other medication they might take or with other chemical pollutants in the environment We need to do research on this topic to better protect them BioEdge Until the 1970s most clinical trials were conducted on prisoners What sort of people volunteer nowadays Rich or even middle class folks unless they are students particularly medical students don t do trials for money What you find is a lot of struggling poor guys students in search of tuition money struggling artists independent workers such as painters construction workers bike messengers and so on But you will also find unemployed in search of quick easy money Some are unemployable the disabled and the homeless and other very vulnerable groups There have been recent reports that poor mostly African American homeless some with alcohol or drug related issues had been hired as trial subjects at a site in the Midwest and that undocumented Latinos were hired in Miami BioEdge Do you regard recruiting professional guinea pigs as ethical After all drugs have to be tested on someone Of course drugs have to be tested in human beings after being tested first in animals There is no way around it If you ban Phase I trials and go from animal tests to drug efficacy trials you only transfer the risks of testing drug safety to a population of sick patients that might enter the trial out of desperation hoping for a medical miracle and taking big and unnecessary risks in the process It would be unethical for example to test an experimental cancer drug in mice and rats and then in cancer patients without testing it first in healthy volunteers So is there something wrong with paying healthy subjects to test drug safety Maybe not in theory but in practice yes Money is deliberately used to recruit and retain volunteers Although subjects can formally decide to leave a trial at any time they lose a lot of money if they do And this situation is clearly coercive The fact that most professional guinea pigs are poor places them in a very vulnerable position Besides subjects are not treated for any ADR that the industry perceives as not being related to the trial If something happens to a subject during the trial and it s related to the trial he she might get medical treatment at the industry s expense But if it s unrelated then they are on their own This is serious because most don t have paid health insurance And if something really bad happens during the trial they or their relatives if they die can and have sued But most subjects do not have ready access to a lawyer and won t consult unless it s a

    Original URL path: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/the_professional_guinea_pig/9204 (2016-02-18)
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  • BioEdge: Dissecting the Society for Mutual Autopsy
    related to personal characteristics It was no backwater project and attracted significant thinkers and scientists Most notably Paul Broca dissected brains for the society and had his brain dissected by them despite apparently never joining officially Part of the motivation for the society was that at the time most autopsies were carried out on poor people often grave robbed and criminals often executed The intellectual elite not without a touch of snobbery didn t think this was a good basis on which to understand human nature Also these bodies usually turned up at the dead of night no questions asked and no one knew much about the person or their personality In response to this the Society of Mutual Autopsy functioned as a respectable source of body parts and also requested that members write an essay describing their life character and preferences so that it could all be related to the shape and size of their brain when autopsied by the other members There was also another motive they were atheists in early secular France and they wanted to demonstrate that they could use their remains for science without consideration of religious dogma As with most revolutionary societies it seems to have fallen apart for the usual reasons petty disagreements One person took exception to a slightly less than flattering analysis of his father s brain and character traits Another starting flirting with religion causing a leading member to storm off in a huff In a sense though the society lives on You can donate your body to science in many ways after death To medical schools to teach students To forensic science labs to help improve body identification To brain banks to help cure neurological disorders But it s no longer a revolutionary act Your dead body will no

    Original URL path: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/dissecting_the_society_for_mutual_autopsy/10884 (2016-02-18)
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  • BioEdge: the latest news and articles about bioethics
    advance neuroscience by examining dead members brains and to promote atheism by breaking sacred taboos Search BioEdge Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed Recent Posts Dutch psychiatric patients may get euthanasia too easily says US study 14 Feb 2016 A Dutch report applies the brakes on completed life euthanasia 13 Feb 2016 Celebrating 15 years of Dutch euthanasia 13 Feb 2016 Canada s euthanasia courts 13 Feb

    Original URL path: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/tag/autopsy (2016-02-18)
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  • BioEdge: the latest news and articles about bioethics
    impact on research into human memory alteration US bioethics commission calls for ethics education in neuroscience Michael Cook 16 May 2014 Comments tags neuroethics neuroscience Calling for the integration of ethics into neuroscience the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues this week released the first of two volumes on the ethics of brain research Transhumanism reaches Hollywood in new high budget film Xavier Symons 04 April 2014 Comments tags films Hollywood neuroscience transhumanism Transhumanism has reached hollywood in a new high budget film called Transcendence Dissecting the Society for Mutual Autopsy Vaughan Bell 13 March 2014 Comments tags autopsy neuroscience respect for dead The Society of Mutual Autopsy was an organisation formed in the late 1800s to advance neuroscience by examining dead members brains and to promote atheism by breaking sacred taboos Patricia Churchland on Brains R Us Michael Cook 30 November 2013 Comments tags neuroethics neuroscience Strict materialism is hardly a new idea but there are few scientists who are more daring about taking it to its logical conclusions than Patricia Churchland Judges should enrol in Neuroscience 101 says US bioethicist Xavier Symons 16 November 2013 Comments tags law neuroethics neuroscience The debate over neuroscience in the courtroom continues The latest word the discussion comes from Nita Farahany a member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues Further evidence that vegetative patients can engage with the outside world Xavier Symons 09 November 2013 Comments tags disorders of consciousness neuroscience permanent vegetative state New research from Cambridge University has confirmed that some patients in a vegetative state are aware of the external world Neuroscience in crisis Michael Cook 26 October 2013 Comments tags neuroethics neuroscience The majority perhaps the vast majority of neuroscience findings are as spurious as brain waves in a dead fish The

    Original URL path: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/tag/neuroscience (2016-02-18)
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  • BioEdge: the latest news and articles about bioethics
    Cook 24 July 2010 Comments tags anatomy cadavers informed consent Nazi respect for dead Is a global debate on ethical use of cadavers needed Nigerian hospital in corpse disposal blunder Michael Cook 09 July 2010 Comments tags Nigeria respect for dead Contractor tries to dump dead babies in woods Cadaver scandals rock US Michael Cook 12 March 2004 Comments tags cadavers respect for dead Search BioEdge Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter

    Original URL path: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/tag/respect+for+dead (2016-02-18)
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  • BioEdge: Carmel Shalev: the global trade in reproduction
    kids The demand of prospective parents is related to changing social norms about family combined with innovations in assisted reproductive technology ART Gay couples want to have families and single women want to become mothers but often need egg donations in addition to sperm to get pregnant The desire of individuals and couples who want children and can t have them without medical assistance translates into a right to parenthood But the demand for access to ART also reflects a consumerist culture Legal restrictions in countries of demand are one incentive to seek medical care abroad Global economic disparities mean that services provided in lower income countries are far less costly and that too is an incentive Finally the market is driven by sometimes unscrupulous medical entrepreneurs and intermediary agents who capitalize for personal profit on consumer desire and on the ignorance and vulnerability of all those involved India and Thailand used to be the main destinations for people looking for surrogate mothers Now that they have more or less shut the doors to foreigners how will the market adjust Hopefully the market will shrink but it might well go underground which would increase the risks And it appears that new markets might be opening in Central and South America The global ART market is similar in some ways to the global arena of organ transplantation although the latter is relatively well regulated under international law and convention Illicit organ transplantation practices are called trafficking and are punishable Nonetheless organ trafficking continues and intermediaries are ingenuous in shifting locations to circumvent legal changes This is evident too in inter country surrogacy For example women who become pregnant in a surrogacy collaboration can be transferred across borders to give birth if surrogacy is no longer allowed in their countries of residence So long as medical practices are unregulated the birth of a child is the most concrete evidence All the stages that precede birth throughout the process of conception impregnation gestation can go undetected That is why we know far less about inter country egg donation that we do about surrogacy What are a few of the helpful and harmful practices to be canvassed in the conference Lessons learned from experience with local surrogacy can inform a model for inter country reproductive collaborations based on an ethic of care and responsibility and values of respect reciprocity and integrity Unfortunately in some extreme cases the current situation has incurred grave violations of the human dignity and rights of women and children Abuses include the fraudulent use of surrogacy to create and sell babies In other cases new born infants have been rendered parentless and stateless As for the women double standards of care for invasive medical interventions have carried health harms including collateral infertility Medical procedures often involve violations of bodily integrity and patient autonomy eg in relation to multiple embryo implantations pregnancy terminations and C section deliveries In some cases intermediaries advertise the possibility of parallel pregnancies This means that if

    Original URL path: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/interview_the_global_trade_in_reproduction/11148 (2016-02-18)
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  • BioEdge: CRISPR technology brings precise genetic editing – and raises ethical questions
    technologies called zinc finger nucleases and TALEN transcription activator like effector nuclease are available to achieve the same result However the CRISPR technology is much easier to generate and manipulate This means that most biological research laboratories can carry out the CRISPR experiments As a result CRISPR technology has been quickly adopted by scientists all over the world and put it into various tests It has been demonstrated to be effective in genome editing of most experimental organisms including cells derived from insects plants fish mice monkeys and humans Such broad successes in a short period of time imply we ve arrived at a new genome editing era promising fast paced development in biomedical research that will bring about new therapeutic treatments for various human diseases The CRISPR technology offers a novel tool for scientists to address some of the most fundamental questions that were difficult if not impossible to address before For instance the whole human genomic DNA sequence had been deciphered many years ago but the majority of information embedded on the DNA fragments are largely unknown Now the CRISPR technology is enabling scientists to study those gene functions By eliminating or replacing specific DNA fragments and observing the consequences in the resulting cells we can now link particular DNA fragments to their biological functions Recently cells and even whole animals with desired genome alterations have successfully been generated using the CRISPR technology This has proven highly valuable in various biomedical research studies such as understanding the cause and effect relationship between specific DNA changes and human diseases Studying DNA in this way also sheds light on the mechanisms underlying how diseases develop and provides insights for developing new drugs that eliminate specific disease symptoms With such profound implications in medical sciences many biotech and pharmaceutical companies have now licensed the CRISPR technology to develop commercial products For example a biotech company Editas Medicine was founded in 2013 with the specific goal of creating treatments for hereditary human diseases employing the CRISPR technology However products derived from the use of CRISPR technology are yet to hit the market with FDA approval Call for ethical guidelines With the CRISPR technology scientists can now alter the genome composition of whole organisms including humans through manipulating reproductive cells and fertilized eggs or embryos Those particular genetic traits are then passed down through generations This brings hope to cure genetic defects that cause various hereditary human diseases such as cystic fibrosis haemophilia sickle cell anemia Down syndrome and so on Unlike the current approaches of gene therapy which temporarily fix defective cells or organs through the introduction of corrected or functional genes the CRISPR technology promises to correct the defect in the reproductive cells producing progenies that are free of the defective gene In other words it can eliminate the root causes of hereditary human diseases In theory then hereditary features that people consider advantageous such as higher intelligence better body appearance and longevity can be introduced into an individual s genome

    Original URL path: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/crispr-technology-brings-precise-genetic-editing-and-raises-ethical-questio/11387 (2016-02-18)
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