Scientists sound alarm over DNA editing of human embryos

Scientists sound alarm over DNA editing of human embryos
Exper ts call for halt in research to work out safety and ethics issues.
12 March 2015

Amid rumours that precision gene-editing techniques have been used to modify the DNA of human embryos, researchers have called for a moratorium on the use of the technology in reproductive cells.

NPR version:

[BOOK] What Doctors Feel

What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine
February 22, 2014

Danielle Ofri argues in her newest book “What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine,” that the idea that doctors don’t have feelings, or that they can ignore those feelings, negatively affects patient care.


“writer and doctor”


Who Gets First Dibs On Transplanted Liver?

Who Gets First Dibs On Transplanted Liver? Rules May Change
August 14, 2014

“Either it’s a jackpot and you have very, very easy access to a lifesaving liver — if you lived in Indiana or if you lived in Louisiana or Florida,” says Dr. David Mulligan, a transplant surgeon at Yale University. “But if you live in California or New York or New England the chances are significantly worse.”

That’s because the country is divided into 11 regions and some regions have more livers for transplant than others.

“So in the Southeast, for example, or in parts of the Midwest, where there’s a higher death rate,” Mulligan says, “there are more donor organs.”

UNOS is holding a public hearing in Chicago on Sept. 16 to discuss how best to distribute the limited supply of livers for transplantation.

We had no idea they were trying so hard

Heart Of The Matter: Treating The Disease Instead Of The Person
by Leana Wen, MD
June 25, 2014

… As soon as they get home, they file a complaint with hospital about their terrible experience.

All told, it took only 22 minutes from the time the man entered the hospital for the cardiology team to clear the blockage. The cardiology team is proud that they beat the national average for what they call door-to-balloon time by 42 minutes. The faster a blockage can be cleared, the better the odds are for a full recovery.
The patient gets well without complications. Two weeks later, he’s back at work and exercising again. The ER and cardiology teams consider the man’s case a resounding success.

Why then are there such different views of the same ER visit? Who’s right?
The doctors who believe they delivered exemplary care, or the patient and his wife who feel he was treated badly?

The two viewpoints of this ER visit end with one thing in common.
Just as the providers were surprised by the patient’s complaint, the patient and his wife were taken aback when the team that I was part of presented them with their doctors’ point of view.

“We had no idea they were trying so hard,” the man said. “It’s too bad we didn’t know that at the time.”

Wen is an attending physician and director of patient-centered care research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University.
She is the author of “When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Care,” and founder of Who’s My Doctor, a project to encourage transparency in medicine.

The Good Doctor (BOOK)

‘Good Doctor’ Puts Past Medical Practices Under An Ethical Microscope
May 13, 2014

In Lerner’s new book, The Good Doctor, he compares his father’s approach to medicine with the bioethics that are applied today.
Lerner is a bioethicist, historian of medicine and internist at NYU’s School of Medicine.
He’s the author of several books and has contributed to The New York Times column Well, The Atlantic and The Huffington Post.

EU launched its Human Brain Project (HBP)

BRAIN gain
A mixture of focus and innovation is the way forward for big neuroscience.
30 September 2014

European neuroscientists revolt against the E.U.’s Human Brain Project
Science. 11 July 2014
Peter Dayan, a computational neuroscientist at University College London who has been critical of HBP from the start : “The notion that we know enough about the brain to know what we should simulate is crazy, quite frankly,”

On MegaBrain Projects
01 February 2014; volume 15, issue 2

Last October, the EU launched its Human Brain Project (HBP) with an estimated budget of €1.2 billion.
It is one of the two winners of the “grand challenge” competition awarded under the EU’s flagship Future and Emerging Technologies programme (the other is on the potential of graphene).
The Project’s goal is “to build a completely new information computing technology infrastructure for neuroscience and for brain‐related research in medicine and computing, catalysing a global collaborative effort to understand the human brain and its diseases and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities”.

The HBP website claims that the Project has been formulated after consultation with three hundred experts in neuroscience and computing, but, judging by the coverage in the scientific press, many neuroscientists are sceptical. I don’t think it is a matter of sour grapes for those outside the network of collaborating labs, but something more fundamental. Is the time ripe – do we know enough – to begin to build an entire human brain in silico?


US brain project puts focus on ethics
Unsettling research advances bring neuroethics to the fore.
14 August 2013

Human Genes May Not Be Patented

Supreme Court: Human Genes May Not Be Patented
by Nina Totenberg
June 14, 2013

Supreme Court Gene Ruling Splits Hairs Over What’s ‘Natural’
by Nina Totenberg
June 13, 2013

Justices Appear Skeptical Of Patenting Human Genes
by Nina Totenberg
April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013
by Nina Totenberg