Animals in US Laboratories: Who Counts, Who Matters?

Guest post by Alka Chandna How many animals are experimented on in laboratories? It’s a simple question, the answer to which provides a basic parameter to help us wrap our heads around the increasingly controversial and ethically harrowing practice of locking animals in cages and conducting harmful procedures on them that are often scary, painful, and […]

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Growing a Kidney Inside a Pig Using your own DNA: The Ethics of ‘Chimera Organs’

Guest post by David Shaw Imagine that you’re in dire need of a new kidney. You’re near the top of the waiting list, but time is running out and you might not be lucky enough to receive a new organ from a deceased or living donor. But another option is now available: scientists could take […]

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Saatchi Bill – Update

Damn. Damn, damn, damn. It turns out that the version of the Medical Innovation Bill about which I wrote this morning isn’t the most recent: the most recent version is available here.  Naïvely, I’d assumed that the government would make sure the latest version was the easiest to find.  Silly me. Here’s the updated version […]

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An Innovation Too Far?

NB – Update/ erratum here.  Ooops. One of the things I’ve been doing since I last posted here has involved me looking at the Medical Innovation Bill – the so-called “Saatchi Bill”, after its titular sponsor.  Partly, I got interested out of necessity – Radio 4 invited me to go on to the Sunday programme to talk […]

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Advance Directives, Critical Interests, and Dementia Research

Guest post by Tom Buller, Illinois State University In my paper, “Advance Directives, Critical Interests, and Dementia Research”, I investigate whether advance directives can be applied in the context of dementia research. Consider, for the sake of argument, the following fictional case. William, a 77-year-old man who has moderate to severe dementia. When he was first […]

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Consigned to the Index

There’re probably times when all of us have had a solution, and just had to find a problem for it.  It’s an easy trap; and it’s one into which I suspect Gretchen Goldman may have fallen in an article in Index on Censorship about scientific freedom and how it’s under threat from disputes about Federal funding in the […]

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The Definition of Mental Disorder: Evolving but Dysfunctional?

Guest post by Rachel Bingham In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the official classification of ‘mental disorders’.  This was the result of a successful public campaign and changing political views.  Yet, if homosexuality could be (wrongly) diagnosed as a mental disorder – using an official classification – what does this say about […]

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Identity and IVF

It’s good to see that Stephen Latham is blogging again after a short hiatus; and he’s come back with a really thought-provoking post on IVF and problems of identity. The background is this: apparently, there is evidence that children conceived by IVF are at an elevated risk of health problems compared to kids conceived naturally: […]

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The Value of Role Reversal

Guest Post by Rebecca Dresser, Washington University in St. Louis Not so long ago, medical researchers had a habit of using themselves as guinea pigs.  Many scientists saw self-experimentation as the most ethical way to try out their ideas.  By going first, researchers could test their hypotheses and see how novel interventions affected human beings. Today […]

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Is the NIMH Turning its Back on DSM-V?

Thanks to Brian Earp for bringing this release from the US’ National Institute of Mental Health to my attention; it concerns the Institute’s decision to move away from DSM as its diagnostic tool.  DSM has been enormously successful – in terms of having established itself at the centre of psychiatry – but it has been […]

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