Pedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse Are Two Different Things — Confusing Them is Harmful to Children

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp) Note: this post appeared first at the Practical Ethics blog and is being re-posted. Pedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse Are Two Different Things — Confusing Them is Harmful to Children Republican politician Roy Moore has been accused of initiating sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his early […]

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Machine Learning and Medical Education: Impending Conflicts in Robotic Surgery

  Guest Post by Nathan Hodson Research in robotics promises to revolutionize surgery. The Da Vinci system has already brought the first fruits of the revolution into the operating theater through remote controlled laparoscopic (or “keyhole”) surgery. New developments are going further, augmenting the human surgeon and moving toward a future with fully autonomous robotic […]

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Organ Donation: Presumed Consent and Focusing on What Matters

Guest Post by Rebecca Brown Recent newspaper reports covered the story of Jemima Layzell, a 13 year old who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm in 2012. According to reports, shortly before Jemima died, the subject of organ donation had come up in discussions with her family, prompted by the death of a family friend […]

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Does Female Genital Mutilation Have Health Benefits? The Problem with Medicalizing Morality

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp) * Please note: this piece was originally published in Quillette Magazine.     Four members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam living in Detroit, Michigan have recently been indicted on charges of female genital mutilation (FGM). This is the first time the US government has prosecuted an “FGM” case since a federal law was passed in […]

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Pain After Cancer: A New Model for Pain Psychology?

Guest Post by Lauren Heathcote What if every headache, every slight twinge in your back, was potentially life threatening? What if you couldn’t tell a brain tumour from coffee-withdrawal? These can be constant, niggling worries for many people who have survived cancer, and we think their experiences can tell us something important about pain. If […]

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Can We Trust Research in Science and Medicine?

By Brian D. Earp  (@briandavidearp) Readers of the JME Blog might be interested in this series of short videos in which I discuss some of the major ongoing problems with research ethics and publication integrity in science and medicine. How much of the published literature is trustworthy? Why is peer review such a poor quality control mechanism? How can we judge […]

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Re: Nudges in a Post-truth World 

Guest Post: Nathan Hodson  In a recent article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Neil Levy has developed a concept of “nudges to reason,” offering a new tool for those trying to reconcile medical ethics with the application of behavioural psychological research – a practice known as nudging. Very roughly, nudging means adjusting the way choices […]

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Not Just About Consent: The Ethical Dimensions of Research Methodology Knowledge in IRBs

Guest Post: 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. While […]

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How Different are Female, Male and Intersex Genital Cutting?

By Brian D. Earp  (@briandavidearp), with Rebecca Steinfeld, Goldsmiths, University of London  Three members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam were recently indicted on charges of “female genital mutilation” (FGM) in the US state of Michigan. In Norway, meanwhile, one of the major political parties has backed a measure to ban childhood male circumcision. Fearing that objections to […]

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Treatment of Premature Ejaculation: Alleviating Sexual Dysfunction, Disease Mongering, or Both?

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp) An interesting new paper, “Distress, Disease, Desire: Perspectives on the Medicalization of Premature Ejaculation,” has just been published online at the Journal of Medical Ethics. According to the authors, Ylva Söderfeldt, Adam Droppe, and Tim Ohnhäuser, their aim is to “question the very concept of premature ejaculation and ask whether it […]

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