Tag: aggression

Bioethics Blogs

Book Forum–Elizabeth A. Wilson’s Gut Feminism by Alexandra Sarkozy

Elizabeth Wilson’s Gut Feminism revisits feminism’s traditionally antagonistic engagement with biology with a call to reposition the body in feminist thought. As Wilson critically explores relationships between guts and melancholia, pharmacokinetics and bile, psyche and soma, she generates tools and insights for a new feminist reading of biology, and articulates the role of aggression as a necessary condition for feminist politics. These commentaries tease apart and extend aspects of Wilson’s arguments, each one metabolizing the pill to produce transformed understandings. We hope you enjoy!

 

Comment on Gut Feminism
Des Fitzgerald
Cardiff University

Incisive Gutting – and Tolerating a Capacity for Harm
Megan Warin
University of Adelaide

A Strange Kind of Sad
Harris Solomon
Duke University

Stomachaches
Amber Benezra
New York University

A reply
Elizabeth A. Wilson
Emory University

 

Download pdf of book forum

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Should We Cure Genetic Diseases?

June 07, 2017

by Professor Bonnie Steinbock

Should We Cure Genetic Diseases?

In “Trying to Embrace a ‘Cure’,” (New York Times, June 4, 2017), Sheila Black notes that in the near future there may be a treatment that could amount to a cure for the genetic illness she and two of her children have — X-linked hypophosphatemia or XLH. Although XLH is not life threatening, it has significant disadvantages, including very short stature (short enough to qualify as a type of dwarfism), crooked legs, poor teeth, difficulty in walking, and pain. A cure would seem to be cause for celebration.

But Ms. Black is ambivalent about the prospect. Although she acknowledges the potential benefits both to individuals and to society, the issue is, for her, complex.

Having a serious disability may enable the development of certain virtues. She writes, “… to be human often entails finding ways to make what appears a disadvantage a point of strength or pride.” Or, as Nietzsche put it,  “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

It’s very likely that having polio made Franklin Roosevelt emotionally more mature and strengthened his character, but would that be a reason to oppose the development of the Salk vaccine? Comedians often credit their talent from having been bullied as children; novelists and playwrights find inspiration in their awful childhoods. Admiring their ability to overcome adversity does not mean being ambivalent about ending bullying and child abuse.

Another reason is that disabilities have created communities that are a source of support and identity.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Report: Health Workers Attacked In 23 Countries Last Year

Our Leonard Rubenstein. a lawyer who also directs a program on human rights, health and conflict at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. says there were a staggering number of assaults on health care facilities in 2016. Rubenstein is the editor of a new report called “Impunity Must End” about aggression against health facilities and health workers globally last year

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Serotonin produced from neurons obtained with iPS and embryonic stem cells

Serotonin is implicated in functions as important as humour, sadness, feelings of aggression, anxiety and sleep disturbances, among others. A deficiency in serotonin release has been related with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, chronic pain and eating disorders. All of this supports how important it is for the central nervous system to function well. Now, to facilitate “in-vitro” studies of the neurons that produce this substance, a technique has been developed that enables them to be obtained from human pluripotent cells, both embryonic and human iPS cells (Nature Biotechnology 34; 89-94, 2016). The use of human embryonic stem cells has objective ethical difficulties, but not so human iPS cells, so their use opens up a scientific and ethical avenue for the production this substance from neurons, and to take another step forward in the treatment of conditions linked to serotonin imbalance.

La entrada Serotonin produced from neurons obtained with iPS and embryonic stem cells aparece primero en Bioethics Observatory.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Pedophilia: Prevention or Paternalism?

by Mike Reaves

“There is no cure, so the focus is on protecting children.”[i]

Harvard Medical Health Letter, July 2010

Pedophilia, or the sexual attraction to children who have yet to reach puberty, continues to perplex clinicians and researchers in the 21st century. There is often much confusion surrounding this term, as society commonly groups pedophiles alongside child molesters. However, not all persons with these sexual interests actually act on them. Many individuals who have these sexual preferences stay celibate their entire lives. While there may be no cure for pedophilia, there are new treatment options that may be available to the public in 2018.

Researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden are attempting to fund a full-scale scientific drug trial that may provide hope for those seeking treatment. Dr. Christoffer Ramm is the principal investigator of this research study; his background includes research on the neuropsychological aspects of psychosis. His team refers to their work with the acronym PRIOTAB, or “Pedophilia at Risk – Investigations of Treatment and Biomarkers,” a collective that seeks to make society safer – both for children and those who suffer from these complex disorders. In their study proposal, Priotab notes that in Sweden 10% of boys and 5% of girls are sexually assaulted; and individuals with pedophilic disorder commit 50% of these assaults.[ii] The Priotab team claims that they can repurpose the pharmaceutical drug Degarelix, which has typically been used to treat prostate cancer. The team believes an effective treatment will reduce the social stigma associated with seeking treatment for pedophilia and also protect those who cannot protect themselves.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Triage and the Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Case of Medical Tourism

by Sarah Kiskadden-Bechtel

Medical tourism widens the sphere of available medical care beyond a single country’s borders. Patients who voluntarily leave their home country to seek treatment in other countries typically do so out of perceived medical necessity; these procedureswhich are often poorly covered by insurancerange from mandatory heart surgery, to kidney or other organ transplants. In conflict-laden countries like Israel, organ donation rates “are among the lowest in the developed world, about one-third the rate in Western Europe,”[1] giving rise to advertisements for transplants due to inherent shortage.[2] Although rabbis offer different opinions about whether organ transplantation should be permissible under Jewish law, Israeli citizens have been known to venture as far as South Africa to undergo illegal kidney transplants.[3] Clearly, there is palpable incentive for Israeli citizens to receive organ transplants; questions remain, however, regarding whether and how these organs are being obtained, and what should be done as a result.

There is some evidence that Israeli soldiers have harvested organs from captured Palestinians. In November of 2015, the Palestinian Representative to the UN Dr. Riyad Mansour wrote an open letter to the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon claiming that, under Israeli occupation in East Jerusalem, Palestinians killed and seized by Israeli soldiers were being returned with “missing corneas and other organs.”[4] As a counterpoint, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon dismissed these claims ascribing them to “anti-Semitic motives.”[5] If there is any truth to Mansour’s claims, there is little clarity about which organs were missing, or whether the individuals in question were peaceful citizens or more militant aggressors.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Sarah Richardson’s Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome by Paula Martin

Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome

Sarah Richardson

University of Chicago Press, 2013, 320 pages

 

In Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome (2013), Sarah Richardson takes gender criticism to a new level — the genomic one. Following the work of noted scholars such as Evelyn Fox Keller (1995), Anne Fausto-Sterling (2000) and Sarah Martin (1991), Richardson’s text explores the interplay between biological notions of sex and cultural conceptions of gender. With close historical attention, Sex Itself takes as its analytic object the sometimes bewildering practices making up the “search” for sex, from the discovery of distinct X and Y chromosomes to the attempt to enumerate the genetic differences between males and females. Richardson compellingly argues that gender is central to our understandings of chromosomal sex, and advocates for the acknowledgement of the interplay between sex and gender so that we may recognize how gender acts not only as a source of bias, but as a productive force driving genetic research.

Richardson troubles the etiological explanation of sex often assumed in both scientific and popular discourse; where genetic factors are taken as necessarily prior to other biological components and socio-cultural notions of gender are overlaid upon individual bodies and biologies (Chapter 1). Instead, she draws out themes of dynamism and exchange, noting how scientists have historically overlooked inherent ambiguities in the relationships between X and Y chromosomes in favor of promoting findings which support gendered ideas about biological sex differences. Though Richardson’s critical analysis centers on the ways in which socially contingent meanings of ‘male’ and ‘female’ have fundamentally shaped scientific practice, she does not shy away from technical and historical detail.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Serotonin produced from neurons obtained with iPS and embrionic stem cells

Serotonin is implicated in functions as important as humour, sadness, feelings of aggression, anxiety and sleep disturbances, among others. A deficiency in serotonin release has been related with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, chronic pain and eating disorders. All of this supports how important it is for the central nervous system to function well. Now, to facilitate “in-vitro” studies of the neurons that produce this substance, a technique has been developed that enables them to be obtained from human pluripotent cells, both embryonic and human iPS cells (Nature Biotechnology 34; 89-94, 2016). The use of human embryonic stem cells has objective ethical difficulties, but not so human iPS cells, so their use opens up a scientific and ethical avenue for the production this substance from neurons, and to take another step forward in the treatment of conditions linked to serotonin imbalance.

La entrada Serotonin produced from neurons obtained with iPS and embrionic stem cells aparece primero en Observatorio de Bioética, UCV.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals — March 2016, Part I by Anna Zogas

Here is the first installment of articles published in March. There is a special issue of East Asian Science, Technology and Society on “Body and Enhancement Technology,” and I also want to note that there are reviews of several recently published books about disability collected in this month’s Sociology of Health & Illness.

BioSocieties

DSM over time: From legitimisation of authority to hegemony
Katia Romelli, Alessandra Frigerio and Monica Colombo

The proposed revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), has reignited a protracted debate in psychiatry and clinical psychology regarding the criteria used to diagnose and classify mental disorders. Drawing on the concepts of legitimisation and hegemony, the aim of this study is to deconstruct how the authoritativeness of the DSM was discursively constructed, legitimised and consolidated over time. To fulfil this purpose, we combine a critical psychology perspective with critical discourse analysis and adopt a multi-level model of analysis that embraces the notions of genre and repertoire in scientific discourse. The materials were approached considering the following interrelated dimensions: (a) semantic macro-areas; (b) discursive strategies; and (c) linguistic means. The data set is constituted by the Forewords and Introductions of different editions of the DSM, from the DSM-I through to the DSM-5. The analysis highlights the discursive strategies that play an important role in self-legitimisation and the construction of a dominant hegemonic discourse.

Ferreting things out: Biosecurity, pandemic flu and the transformation of experimental systems
Natalie Hannah Porter

At the end of 2011, microbiologists created a scientific and media frenzy by genetically engineering mutant avian flu viruses that transmitted through the air between ferrets, the animal most widely used to model human flu.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Study shows that marijuana has a significant role in relieving PTSD symptoms in combat veterans, more research on the way

STUDENT VOICES

By: Kyle Pritz

The scantiness of marijuana research in the United States of America shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The lack of research is tremendous. However, with new decriminalizing laws budding up, the role of marijuana usage in the symptomatic relief of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic disorders is receiving uncustomary attention in the United States.

In a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs in 2014, two American psychologists based at SUNY Albany, Jamie Bolles and Mitchell Earleywine, investigated the relationship between marijuana, expectancies, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Using an online questionnaire and maintaining anonymity to enhance the response rate, Earleywine & Bolles surveyed more than 650 combat-exposed, male veterans who used marijuana at least once per week.

The participants reported expectations that marijuana usage would bring relief, minimizing “PTSD symptoms, especially those related to intrusions and arousal,” which are thought to be an ignition for the complex and debilitating, symptomatic feedback cycle of anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure) and restlessness. Of course, PTSD, depression and the like aren’t so easily defined.

For each of the disorders, the clusters of symptoms are dynamic, involving cognitive (negative cognitive alterations—i.e. the belief that “it’s my fault”), behavioral (bursts of aggression, recklessness, avoidance), and biological components (genetics, neuroanatomical alterations, neural chemistry, etc.). The symptoms emerge idiosyncratically, varying from a complicated combination of circumstance and personality. Nonetheless, these experiences are very challenging for anyone who endures them.

The researchers found something potentially noteworthy: a significant correlation between the participants’ expectancy for symptomatic relief and marijuana consumption.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.