What is a Moral Epigenetic Responsibility?

Guest Post by Charles Dupras & Vardit Ravitsky Re: The ambiguous nature of epigenetic responsibility Epigenetics is a recent yet promising field of scientific research. It explores the influence of the biochemical environment (food, toxic pollutants) and the social environment (stress, child abuse, socio-economic status) on the expression of genes, i.e. on whether and how they […]

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In Praise of Ambivalence: “Young” Feminism, Gender Identity, and Free Speech

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp) * Note: this article was first published online at Quillette magazine. Introduction Alice Dreger, the historian of science, sex researcher, activist, and author of a much-discussed book of last year, has recently called attention to the loss of ambivalence as an acceptable attitude in contemporary politics and beyond. “Once upon a time,” she writes, “we […]

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Special “Editor’s Choice” Issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics Now Online

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp) On behalf of the Journal of Medical Ethics, I am excited to announce the publication of a special “Editor’s Choice” issue, now online at the journal website. In a rare turn for the journal, the entire issue made up of “Editor’s Choice” papers, with invited (peer-reviewed) papers from both up-and-coming and established […]

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Special Obligations: What Can Physicians Learn from Parenting?

Guest post by Jon Tilburt and Baruch Brody Editor’s note: this post introduces a recent paper by the authors now in press at the Journal of Medical Ethics: “Doubly distributing special obligations: what professional practice can learn from parenting“ Gaps between our ideals and our behavior are common. Sometimes what we say we believe and what we actually practice […]

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Patient Views about Consent, Confidentiality & Information-Sharing in Genetic Medicine.

Guest post by Sandi Dheensa, Angela Fenwick and Anneke Lucassen Imagine you’re a clinician in genetic medicine.  For a while, you’ve been seeing Joe Bloggs, a patient with a mutation in a gene that’s caused a hereditary form of colon cancer.  As is your standard practice, you help Joe identify who in his family is also […]

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Circumcision and Sexual Function: Bad Science Reporting Misleads Parents

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp) Introduction Another day, another round of uncritical media coverage of an empirical study about circumcision and sexual function. That’s including from the New York Times, whose Nicholas Bakalar has more or less recycled the content of a university press release without incorporating any skeptical analysis from other scientists. That’s par for […]

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Should Doctors Perform “Minor” Forms of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a Compromise to Respect Culture?

by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp), with a separate guest post by Robert Darby A small surgical “nick” to a girl’s clitoris or other purportedly minimalist procedures on the vulvae of young women and girls should be legally permitted, argue two gynecologists this week in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Their proposal is offered as a “compromise” […]

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The Unbearable Asymmetry of Bullshit

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp) * Note: this article was first published online at Quillette magazine. The official version is forthcoming in the HealthWatch Newsletter; see http://www.healthwatch-uk.org/. Introduction Science and medicine have done a lot for the world. Diseases have been eradicated, rockets have been sent to the moon, and convincing, causal explanations have been given for a whole range […]

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Should Doctors Strike?

  Should doctors strike? Is it ethical for doctors to go on strike, potentially putting their patients at risk of getting inadequate treatment? As the BBC reports, ministers and junior doctors are currently “locked in a dispute.” One possible outcome of this disagreement is a physicians’ strike, which raises a number of tricky ethical questions. […]

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