Terrible choices in the septic child

By David Wright and Joshua Parker. The Pharmacogenetics to Avoid Loss Of Hearing (PALOH) trial has created some interesting and important discussions. Questions regarding what should be considered “routine care”, whether parental choice should alter routine care and the fundamental question of whether consent for genetic testing should be considered differently to non-genetic testing. However […]

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Is it acceptable to pay nothing or little to challenge trial participants?

By Sandro Ambuehl, Axel Ockenfels and Alvin E Roth. Concerns with (high) incentives feature prominently among ethicists. In the broad public and amongst economists, by contrast, there is much agreement that workers providing a service should be compensated fairly, and that work involving more discomfort and risk should be compensated more generously. This intuition extends […]

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Frauds and misconduct in scientific research: a harsh lesson from the pandemic

By Erik Boetto and Davide Golinelli. Frauds and misconduct have been common in the history of science. A well-known example is that of former-doctor A.J. Wakefield, who published a study in 1998 reporting the association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and a syndrome of autism in children. Only in 2011 was it proven that […]

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Should unethical research be retracted?

By William Bülow It is no news that researchers sometimes make mistakes, or that some of us even commit fraudulent acts, such as data fabrication or falsification. Despite precautionary measures, such as careful editorial practices and peer-review, fraudulent or flawed research papers sometimes get published. When this happens, these papers should be retracted. This is […]

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Does consent make open label placebo research ethical?

By Laura Specker Sullivan Open label placebo studies hypothesize that placebos can be effective even when there is complete transparency about what participants are given. These studies are being run for conditions such as chronic pain, cancer-related fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome. Open label placebos have garnered significant interest in the popular imagination, perhaps due […]

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How much money would it take for you to be infected with COVID-19 for research?

By Olivia Grimwade and Julian Savulescu. Controlled Human Infection Model (CHIM) research involves infecting otherwise healthy people with a disease in order to improve our knowledge of the disease and/or to test vaccine candidates. In the hope of halting the deaths, infections and lockdowns caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, CHIMs have been identified as […]

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Must Clinical Ethics Committees involve patients or families in their meetings?

By Dominic Wilkinson @Neonatalethics and Michael Dunn @ethical_mikey Originally posted on PRACTICAL ETHICS In a high court case reported last week, a judge strongly criticised a London hospital’s clinical ethics committee (CEC). The case related to disputed treatment for a gravely ill nine-year old child. There had been a breakdown in the relationship between the […]

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Why “human challenge” vaccine trials for COVID-19 are morally permissible, but only if we lock down, test, and contact-trace properly

By Ben Bramble We urgently need a vaccine for COVID-19, in order to fully end our lockdowns. The trouble is such vaccines usually take years to develop and test for efficacy and safety. Recently, a number of bioethicists have proposed “human challenge” vaccine trials to speed up the testing process. These involve volunteers receiving a […]

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Finding a vaccine against the novel coronavirus: why challenge trials can be ethical even when a lot remains unknown

By Robert Steel, Lara Buchak, Nir Eyal Multiple authors believe that the development of coronavirus vaccines could be substantially accelerated through the use of challenge trials, in which participants are deliberately exposed to the virus. The tremendous loss of life and health and significant social and economic upheaval from ongoing worldwide pandemic make acceleration of […]

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AI in healthcare – why start a conversation with the general public?

By Elizabeth Ford Imagine the future. Imagine you are 76 years old. You visit your doctor to have her examine your knee, which hurts since you fell over yesterday, tripping on your front step. After tapping some information into her computer, your doctor turns to you and says, “Would you like to discuss any concerns […]

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