Zika vaccine research: guidance for including pregnant women

Wellcome Trust, 29 June 2017
Source: Wellcome
“Zika infection in pregnancy can have devastating effects on normal fetal development. But pregnant women are often automatically excluded from vaccine trials over safety concerns. New guidance for including pregnant woman and their babies in Zika vaccine research has been published today. The guidelines argue that those most at risk from the virus – pregnant women and their babies – should be at the centre of Zika vaccine development.”
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111 People Ended Their Lives in 6 Months Under California’s New Right-to-Die Law

Fortune, 28 June 2017
Author: Sy Mukherjee
“In 2016, California became the sixth state to enact a “right-to-die” or physician-assisted suicide law (Washington, D.C. also has one in place). Health officials from the Golden State now report that 111 terminally ill patients used the law to legally end their lives in its first six months. 59 people who requested life-ending medication didn’t wind up taking it by the end of 2016 (21 others died without taking the drugs in the first place).”
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Guam abortion reporting requirements may conflict with federal privacy laws

PacificDailyNews, 27 June 2017
Author: Haidee V Eugenio
“A law passed late last year toughens mandatory reporting requirements for abortions on Guam, but the Department of Public Health and Social Services has not verified whether the requirements are being followed, citing a possible conflict with federal medical privacy laws. The federal law includes a privacy provision that limits the disclosure of patient information without the patient’s approval.”
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Euthanasia survey hints at support from doctors, nurses and division

SMH, 24 June 2017
Author: James Robertson
“Most NSW doctors and nurses support a controversial medical euthanasia bill headed for Parliament, according to research that could prompt new debate about the medical fraternity’s willingness to accept changes to assisted suicide laws. A bill, to allow patients to apply for medically assisted euthanasia in specific circumstances when older than 25, will be introduced to the NSW upper house in August for a conscience vote. About 60 per cent of doctors support the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill and fewer than 30 per cent oppose it.”
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Scotland to introduce soft opt-out system for organ donation

The Guardian, 28 June 2017
Author: Severin Carrell
“Scottish ministers are to introduce a new system of organ donations based on presumed consent in an effort to increase life-saving organ transplants. The change of policy follows the introduction in Wales of a presumed consent system in December 2015, which led to a rise in organ donations and an increase in the number of families agreeing to donations. Last year there were 39 organs transplanted in Wales using its deemed consent system out of 160 organ transplants. Only 6% of people opted out of the system. The Scottish government’s decision to follow suit will increase pressure on ministers in London and possibly in Northern Ireland to introduce similar reforms. ”
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Court rules hospital can withdraw life support for sick baby

KFOR, 27 June 2017
Author: Nadia Judith Enchassi
“The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday a hospital can discontinue life support to a baby suffering from a rare genetic disease. Born in August, Charlie Gard has a rare genetic disorder caused by a genetic mutation that leads to weakened muscles and organ dysfunction, among other symptoms, with a poor prognosis for most patients. Charlie is on life support and has been in the intensive care unit at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London since October. His doctors wish to take him off life support, but his parents disagreed.”
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Secondhand smoke exposure before birth may affect lungs into adulthood

Medical News Today, 29 June 2017
Author: Catharine Paddock
“Secondhand smoke is that produced by the burning of tobacco products such as cigars, cigarettes, and pipes that can be inhaled by people nearby. Breathing in secondhand smoke is also known as passive smoking. Smoke that is exhaled by someone who is smoking is also classed as secondhand smoke. Hundreds of the 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are toxic – that is, they cause some degree of harm to the body. These include 70 that can cause cancer. Adult susceptibility to lung diseases may depend on prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke.”
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A quarter of kidney donors are living: what you need to know to be a donor

The Conversation, 19 June 2017
Author: Holly Hutton
“At any one time, more than 1,400 Australians are on an organ transplant waiting list. The most common organs in demand are kidneys, followed by the liver and lung. While the number of deceased organ donors in Australia has doubled since 2009, rates of live donor transplantation – where a person donates one kidney or, rarely, a portion of their liver – are relatively static. The Australian government gives A$4.1 million to run the Supporting Living Organ Donors program. This scheme includes reimbursing employers for sick leave for those who donate an organ, as well as other initiatives that aim to remove financial barriers to organ donation.”
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Not Just About Consent: The Ethical Dimensions of Research Methodology Knowledge in IRBs

JME Blog, 15 June 2017
Author: Sarah Wieten
“The recent article, “Some Social Scientists Are Tired of Asking for Permission” in the New York Times inspired a great deal of debate about the role of institutional research ethics board (IRB) oversight in social science, which some argue is in most cases unlikely to involve significant harm to participants.”
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Development of a consensus operational definition of child assent for research

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:41
Authors: Alan R Tait, Michael E Geisser
“While research participation for most children requires the permission of parent(s)/guardian(s), the bioethical principle of “respect for persons” requires that children also provide their assent to participate to the degree that they are deemed “capable of providing it,” taking into account the child’s “age, maturity, and psychological state”. While this regulatory framework is designed to allow children to express their burgeoning autonomy, foster moral growth, and develop decision-making skills, it provides absolutely no practical guidance with respect to what actually constitutes assent and which children are capable of providing it.”
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