“Merely disclosing conflicts of interest is insufficient and possibly even counterproductive”

When a scientist or doctor has a financial conflict of interest, open disclosure in scientific publications might actually backfire and make bias worse, warn the editors of PLoS Medicine in an editorial out yesterday April 24. Furthermore, disclosure policies in general do nothing to confront the issues of the conflicts of interest themselves, they write.

via Dangers of Disclosure | The Scientist.

Live stream of today’s bioethics symposium at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Live stream available here at 1 p.m. CST: http://live.videos.med.wisc.edu/

The theme of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s Fourth Annual Bioethics Symposium is “Doctors, Politics and Conscience.”

The event will feature discussion and presentations for students, faculty, health care providers and the community.

via Events, Fourth Annual Bioethics Symposium, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

“Military’s interest in neuroscience advancements generates tension in relationship with science”

A future of brain-controlled tanks, automated attack drones and mind-reading interrogation techniques may arrive sooner than later, but advances in neuroscience that will usher in a new era of combat come with tough ethical implications for both the military and scientists responsible for the technology, according to one of the country’s leading bioethicists.

“Everybody agrees that conflict will be changed as new technologies are coming on,” says Jonathan Moreno, author of Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century. “But nobody knows where that technology is going.”

Moreno warns in an essay published in the science journal PLoS Biology Tuesday that the military’s interest in neuroscience advancements “generates a tension in its relationship with science.”

via Scientists Warn of Ethical Battle Concerning Military Mind Control – chicagotribune.com.

Biobank ethics: What you should know about your genes

We know that our DNA is uniquely ours, but do we really own our own genetic information? In biobanks across the country, researchers store millions of genetic samples taken from patients – sometimes without their knowledge – and there are no clear guidelines on how to deal with the tissues and findings.

What obligation do these researchers have to return samples – and any unexpected findings from the samples – to patients and their families?Susan Wolf, McKnight presidential professor of law, medicine and public policy at the University of Minnesota, has a report discussing 10 suggestions for biobanks and individual research findings. The paper will appear in Genetics in Medicine.

“The work we’re doing now focuses on whether researchers have any responsibility to offer back to research participants genetic findings that may have immediate, health affecting results,” she said. “It’s a terribly important issue – really it’s the biggest controversy in genetic research today.”

via Biobank ethics: What you should know about your genes | Minnesota Public Radio News.

Mildred Solomon, Hastings Center president-elect, to moderate keynote

We are pleased to announce that Mildred Solomon, president-elect of The Hastings Center, will join the Bioethics Bootcamp as moderator of the keynote session, Why Bioethics Matters. Read more about Dr. Solomon here.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear three Hastings Center presidents speak. Register now if you have not done so yet. We regret that we are unable to accept walk-in registrants.

UPDATE: Bioethics at the Bedside panel

We are pleased to announce speakers and moderator for the panel, Bioethics at the Bedside: Genetic Testing, Personalized Medicine, Organ Transplantation and More:

Alan Fleischman, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Robert Klitzman, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Director, Master’s of Bioethics Program, Columbia University

Moderator: Emily Laber-Warren, Director of the Health & Science Reporting Program, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

The Trial of “Death by Medicine”: An Interview with Lisa Krieger

Last week we shared a link to a story by Lisa Krieger, science and medicine reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, on the long and protracted death of her father and the high cost of end-of-life care. She spoke with Daniel Callahan, co-founder of the Hastings Institute, about his views on the cost of end-of-life care, and today Dr. Callahan posted an interview he conducted with Ms. Krieger:

While her father had made clear prior to his dementia that he wanted to die a “natural death,” what he got what he got was an unnatural “death by medicine,” as someone once put it. The total cost for the hospital stay alone was $323,000. Again and again Krieger had to make a decision about going on, as one crisis after another surfaced. With each new crisis, the doctors offered hope. There was, they said, “a decent chance we could turn it around.” They could not, and he finally died. But as the days moved along from one crisis after another, Krieger kept asking herself, Was it all worth it? “Should we have quit?” she wrote. And when?

I have come to think that the decisions about stopping life-sustaining treatments may have become harder, not easier, since the 1960s, when the reform movement was gaining momentum. Medicine has become increasingly skilled technologically in keeping the dying alive. Her father, Krieger noted, “thanks to modern medicine . . . lived decades longer than his father.” That same medicine gave him a miserable death. That is a dilemma of modern medicine we have yet to resolve.

via Bioethics Forum blog – The Trial of “Death by Medicine”: An Interview with Lisa Krieger.