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Special Topics : Ethics Last Updated: Nov 18, 2006 - 1:55:25 PM

Special Topics : Ethics
Waiting For Trial Results Sometimes Unethical
Waiting for the results of randomised trials of public health interventions can cost hundreds of lives, especially in poor countries. Researchers in this week�s BMJ argue that, if the science is good, we should act before the trials are done.

Oct 5, 2006 - 1:17:00 AM

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NHGRI Funds Assessment of Public Attitudes About Population-Based Studies on Genes and Environment
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced it has awarded $2 million to the Genetics and Public Policy Center of the Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University to conduct a public discussion about future potential large U.S. population-based studies examining the roles of genes and environment in human health.
Sep 29, 2006 - 7:56:00 PM

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Physicians More Likely To Disclose Medical Errors That Would Be Apparent To The Patient
While physicians in the United States and Canada generally support disclosing medical errors to patients, they vary widely in when and how they would tell patients an error had occurred, according to two articles in the August 14/28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Research has revealed that most patients want detailed information following a medical error, including an explicit statement that an error has occurred, an apology, information about why the error happened and an explanation of what will be done to prevent future errors. However, less than half of harmful errors may be disclosed to patients, according to background information in the articles. This may diminish trust in physicians and may also increase the risk that patients will file malpractice lawsuits.
Aug 15, 2006 - 1:26:00 PM

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Doctors inadvertently help terminally ill patients to die sooner
An Australian psychiatric study has found that doctors may be inadvertently contributing to the desire of many terminally ill patients to die sooner rather than later.
Jun 27, 2006 - 2:48:00 AM

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Intellectual property law and the protection of traditional knowledge
Growing biopiracy concerns have fueled urgent calls for a new system of legal protection for traditional knowledge. Detractors of the current patent systems say that the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities does not readily fit into the existing rules of the industrialized world and that these rules basically promote the interests of the industrialized world. However, Charles McManis, J.D., IP and technology law expert and the Thomas and Karole Green Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, argues that "at least in the short run, existing intellectual property regimes offer the most realistic avenue for securing effective legal protection for traditional knowledge holders."
Feb 19, 2006 - 5:25:00 PM

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Conscientious objection in medicine should not be tolerated
A doctor's conscience should not be allowed to interfere with medical care, argues an ethics expert in this week's BMJ. A doctors' conscience has little place in the delivery of modern medical care, writes Julian Savulescu at the University of Oxford. If people are not prepared to offer legally permitted, efficient, and beneficial care to a patient because it conflicts with their values, they should not be doctors.
Feb 5, 2006 - 12:39:00 AM

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Yale guidelines for physician interactions with pharmaceutical industry
To highlight the importance of impeccable financial relationships between the pharmaceutical industry and physicians, the faculty of Yale University School of Medicine has developed and approved some of the most stringent guidelines for the interactions of their faculty with the pharmaceutical industry.
Jan 28, 2006 - 12:54:00 PM

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Current interpretation of the data protection law is hampering epidemiological research
Overly strict interpretation of the data protection law is hampering epidemiological research (the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations), argue researchers in this week's BMJ.
Jan 20, 2006 - 3:22:00 PM

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Massachusetts state can pull plug on comatose 11-year-old girl
Not much remains of Haleigh Poutre's life: Once a chestnut-haired girl who took dancing classes, the 11-year-old has been in a coma since her adoptive mother and stepfather allegedly kicked and beat her nearly to death with a baseball bat.
Jan 19, 2006 - 3:23:00 PM

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Facial Transplants - Are they justified?
With news of the world�s first facial transplant hitting the headlines, experts in this week�s BMJ debate whether the benefit of this procedure to someone with severe facial deformity outweighs the risk of long term suppression of the immune system. One of the main areas of concern has been the risk to patients from the side effects of long term immunosuppression, say the authors. However, a patient having a facial transplant would probably require a similar level of immunosuppression to patient having a kidney transplant. Given that one of the main justifications for kidney transplantation is improvement in quality of life, the same argument should apply to facial transplant, they write.
Dec 12, 2005 - 4:08:00 PM

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Doctor-assisted suicide wouldn't undermine patient trust - Research
There is little evidence to support the argument that legalizing physician-assisted death would reduce patients' trust in their doctors, according to a researcher from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues.
Dec 5, 2005 - 4:08:00 AM

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God's bioethics: Bioethics and Public Policy
The Women's Bioethics Project, a non-partisan, public policy think tank, announced the release of a report detailing a concerted effort by conservative groups to dominate so-called "bioethical issues" surrounding emerging technologies. The report, titled "Bioethics and Public Policy: Conservative Dominance in the Current Landscape," analyzes the involvement of both progressive and conservative bioethics centers, including traditional think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, as well as religious groups such as James Dobson's Focus on the Family.

Nov 12, 2005 - 8:46:00 PM

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It is unethical for doctors to withhold information about expensive, unfunded drugs?
It is unethical and paternalistic for doctors to withhold information from patients about new drugs that are not yet publicly funded, say researchers in this week�s BMJ. New drugs may be more effective than existing treatments, but many are very expensive and may not be available through publicly funded health schemes. This raises several ethical dilemmas for doctors. Is it reasonable to ask a patient to finance the full cost of their treatment when it is not provided by government? Would it be unethical to raise the option of treatment with an unsubsidised drug?
Nov 10, 2005 - 6:50:00 PM

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Clinical Trials Stopped Early For Benefit Warrant Skepticism
A review article in the November 2 issue of JAMA suggests clinicians ought to view with skepticism the results of randomized clinical trials stopped early because of apparent benefit.
Nov 2, 2005 - 3:29:00 AM

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Experts widen debate on embryo screening risks
The public debate on embryo screening is in danger of becoming over-simplified and polarised, suggests research conducted by Dr Paula Boddington and Dr Alexandra Plows at Cardiff University.
Sep 14, 2005 - 2:06:00 AM

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Pharmaceutical industry's �cynical use� of drug studies
Patients who volunteer for studies that help drug companies to develop new products are often misled into taking part, say research ethicists in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal.
Sep 13, 2005 - 4:22:00 AM

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Catch Them Young! New Mantra of Drug Makers
Third-year medical students receive on average one gift or attend one activity sponsored by a pharmaceutical company per week, and most believe that sponsored educational events are likely to be biased, according to an article in the September 7 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical education.
Sep 9, 2005 - 3:41:00 PM

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Phase I cancer findings under-reported in Journals
Phase I cancer studies, trials that are conducted to determine the safety and maximum dose of a new agent, are under-reported in peer-reviewed journals - a trend that could ultimately delay scientific progress and negatively affect patient care, say researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in a new study out today (Mon., Aug, 22) online in Cancer.
Aug 22, 2005 - 9:44:00 PM

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Effect of media portrayals of removal of children�s tissue on UK tumour bank
Media reporting of the UK organ retention controversies was associated with a fall in donations for ethically approved scientific research, finds a study in this week�s BMJ.
Aug 15, 2005 - 7:21:00 PM

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