Human genome editing report strikes the right balance between risks and benefits

The Conversation, 16 February 2017
Author: Merlin Crossley
“If you recognise the words “CRISPR-mediated gene editing”, then you’ll know that our ability to alter DNA has recently become much more efficient, faster and cheaper. This has inevitably led to serious discussions about gene therapy, which is the direct modification of someone’s DNA to rectify a genetic disorder, such as sickle cell anaemia or haemophilia. And you may also have heard of deliberate genetic enhancement, to realise a healthy person’s dreams of improving their genome.”
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Human Gene Editing Receives Science Panel’s Support

NYT Health, 14 February 2017
Author: Amy Harmon
“An influential science advisory group formed by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine on Tuesday lent its support to a once-unthinkable proposition: the modification of human embryos to create genetic traits that can be passed down to future generations. This type of human gene editing has long been seen as an ethical minefield. Researchers fear that the techniques used to prevent genetic diseases might also be used to enhance intelligence, for example, or to create people physically suited to particular tasks, like serving as soldiers.”
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Making headway against low value services

MJA Insight, 13 February 2017
Author: Nicole Mackee
“The push to address the use of low value, or potentially harmful, medical services is continuing to gain pace in Australia, say experts, after the Lancet published an article describing the overuse of medical services worldwide. Professor Adam Elshaug, professor of Health Policy at the University of Sydney, codirector of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy and a coleader of a Lancet series, Right Care, said Australia’s clinical community had pulled together to drive initiatives aimed at tackling inappropriate care.”
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The campaign to eradicate Zika has trampled over women’s rights

The Conversation, 9 February 2017
Author: Pia Riggirozzi
“The delivery of health care programmes in Latin America should be anchored in an understanding of the inequalities, discrimination and power relations that prevent many people from accessing them. Governments should remember that they have legal and ethical obligations under international law to ensure the best possible provision of services for all.”
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Is There a Right to the Death of the Foetus?

Bioethics. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12331
Authors: Eric Mathison, Jeremy Davis
“At some point in the future – perhaps within the next few decades – it will be possible for foetuses to develop completely outside the womb. Ectogenesis, as this technology is called, raises substantial issues for the abortion debate. One such issue is that it will become possible for a woman to have an abortion, in the sense of having the foetus removed from her body, but for the foetus to be kept alive. We argue that while there is a right to an abortion, there are reasons to doubt that there is a right to the death of the foetus. Our strategy in this essay is to consider and reject three arguments in favour of this latter right.”
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Human rights violations in organ procurement practice in China

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:11
Authors: Norbert W. Paul, Arthur Caplan, Michael E. Shapiro, Charl Els, Kirk C. Allison, Huige Li
“Over 90% of the organs transplanted in China before 2010 were procured from prisoners. Although Chinese officials announced in December 2014 that the country would completely cease using organs harvested from prisoners, no regulatory adjustments or changes in China’s organ donation laws followed. As a result, the use of prisoner organs remains legal in China if consent is obtained.”
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The doctor’s dilemma: is it ever good to do harm?

The Guardian, 9 February 2017
Author: Gwen Adhsead
“Medical knowledge changes swiftly, and technological changes make new and expensive investigations and treatments possible that were only theoretical a few years ago. Life has been extended in length, but not in quality, and the debates about end?of?life decisions show us how much the notion of a “good life” is bound up with the absence of disease, illness and suffering.”
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Clinical ethics issues in HIV care in Canada: an institutional ethnographic study

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:9
Authors: Chris Kaposy, Nicole R. Greenspan, Zack Marshall, Jill Allison, Shelley Marshall, Cynthia Kitson
“We found that health care providers and clinic clients have developed work processes for managing ethical issues of various types: conflicts between client-autonomy and public health priorities (“treatment as prevention”), difficulties associated with the criminalization of nondisclosure of HIV positive status, challenges with non-adherence to HIV treatment, the protection of confidentiality, barriers to treatment access, and negative social determinants of health and well-being.”
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