Bioethics @ TIU

Public discussions on human gene editing

Posted August 25th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

On August 3, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine posted online the slides and talks from its July 12 meeting to discuss public implications of the Human Gene-Editing Initiative.  A total of four meetings plus a related workshop were held: an introductory discussion in December 2015, followed by three more substantial meetings plus the related workshop in February, April, and now July of… // Read More »

How can we make the “brave new world” a campaign issue?

Posted August 18th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

Wesley Smith, who, based on his writing, I consider a kindred soul in bioethics, has published an essay in First Things dated August 5, 2016, and entitled, “Brave New World Should be an Election Issue.”  In it, he quickly runs down the revolutionary changes in the very nature of humanity that appear in the offing based on biotechnological developments since the publication of Aldous Huxley’s… // Read More »

The need for believers to base moral decision on biblical concepts

Posted August 17th, 2016 by Steve Phillips

The article “I’m a Christian with Stage IV Cancer. I Want Death with Dignity.” by Corinne Johns-Treat on time.com that Neil Skjoldal discussed in his post on Monday illustrates a problem within the church that I have become very concerned about. I have written about this concern before in the context of what I hear from students at the Christian university where I teach, but… // Read More »

Christians and Physician Assisted Suicide

Posted August 15th, 2016 by Neil Skjoldal

In my experience working with terminally ill patients over the past seven years, I have often seen people of the Christian faith go all out in the ICU, wanting “everything done” for a terminally ill loved one. In these circumstances, when I speak with family members of the patient, they tell me they will continue to pray for a miracle to happen. As a person… // Read More »

A novel strategy for suicide prevention

Posted August 13th, 2016 by Joe Gibes

In the Netherlands, a doctor will not be prosecuted for assisting a patient to die either through euthanasia or assisted suicide (EAS) if certain conditions are met, among which are the following: The patient’s request for aid-in-dying must be voluntary and well-informed, without coercion from others, and uninfluenced by psychological illness or drugs; their suffering should be unbearable and hopeless, with no prospect for improvement… // Read More »

In Search of a Safe Speed for Gene Driving

Posted August 11th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have been pioneers in editing genes with the so-called “CRISPR-Cas9” system to “drive” a genetic trait through an entire population of an organism.  Recently, the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) and UCSD released a report with recommendations about how to regulate the testing of this technology so it doesn’t get out of hand.  Briefly, gene drive… // Read More »

Vouchers for Kidneys

Posted August 6th, 2016 by Mark McQuain

An innovative voucher program has begun at the UCLA Medical Center to increase the number of live kidney donations. The program allows for an individual to donate his or her kidney in exchange for a voucher that allows the donor’s specified voucher recipient to receive a kidney in the future. See HERE for the details. Presently the number of people needing a kidney donation far… // Read More »

The surprisingly small benefit of some very (expensive) Big Ideas

Posted August 5th, 2016 by Joe Gibes

Last week, JAMA published online a Viewpoint provocatively titled, “What Happens When Underperforming Big Ideas in Research Become Entrenched?” The overarching Big Idea to which the article refers is the “narrative positing that a combination of ever-deeper knowledge of subcellular biology, especially genetics, coupled with information technology will lead to transformative improvements in health care and human health.” The article highlights three technologies that are… // Read More »

Toward human-animal hybrids

Posted August 4th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

To be published tomorrow in the Federal Register, the massive, Byzantine thousands-upon-thousands of pages repository for all of the rules and regulations that constitute so much of de facto law in the contemporary United States: a Request for Public Comment on the Proposed Changes to the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research and the Proposed Scope of an NIH Steering Committee’s Consideration of Certain… // Read More »

A problem with functional MRI studies

Posted August 3rd, 2016 by Steve Phillips

One of the problems with any type research is the tendency to find what we are looking for. Over the past few years thousands of studies have been done looking at how functional MRI can identify areas of increased metabolic activity in the brain associated with the performance of specific mental functions. This information has then been used at times to try to reinforce the… // Read More »