Autism, Mental Illness, Euthanasia and the WaPo

There was a piece in the Washington Post the other day with a striking headline: Where the Prescription for Autism can be Death. Normally, if we’re saying that the prescription for x is y, we mean to say that y is being suggested as a treatment for x.  Painkillers are the prescription for a bad back, a steroid cream the prescription […]

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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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Oh, and while we’re talking about media hype…

… there’s this, from last week’s Independent: Thousands of unborn foetuses incinerated to heat UK hospitals The bodies of more than 15,000 unborn foetuses have been incinerated in the UK, an investigation has found, with some treated as “clinical waste” and others burned to heat hospitals. The practice was carried out by 27 NHS trusts, […]

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Even by the Mail’s Standards, this is Low

The Liverpool Care Pathway provides a rubric for managing the care of the terminally ill as they approach death.  A helpful pamphlet explaining what it is and what it does is available here.  Ideally, I’d quote the lot; but for the sake of efficiency, I’ll make do with an edited quotation: What is the Liverpool […]

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A Very Small Amount of Relevance

Some very strange papers have just appeared in Bioethics regarding homeopathy.  Not so long ago, the journal published a paper by Kevin Smith that advanced the claim that homeopathy is not only ineffective, but ethically problematic.  The position taken was that homeopathy “ought to be actively rejected by healthcare professionals”, and that it is in fact ethically […]

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Smoking in Cars and the BMA: The Counterwheeze

You can tell libertarians from the sound they make: it’s the faint rattle of a tiny intellect untethered in an otherwise empty mind.  Cheap and all-too-easy insults aside, though, I’d been wondering how long it’d be, in the wake of the BMA’s recommendation that smoking be banned from cars, before we got a response from […]

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Reiki Research: Not Quite the Maddest thing on the Net.

Right now, physicists are pondering the fallout from the collision of high-energy particles.  (Probably.)  And I, for my part, am pondering the fallout from the collision of high-energy nonsense. Having had this brought to my attention, I’m led fairly quickly to this, then this, and, finally, this Mail on Sunday piece.  All the links refer to […]

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Hyperexpensive royal weddings – the opportunity costs in terms of health

James Wilson (UCL) and I recently wrote a briefing paper for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics on the ethical issues surrounding hyper-expensive treatments – that is treatments which exceed NICEs usual cut off point of £30000 per quality adjusted life year (qualy). One factor that we kept coming back to was the need to consider […]

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