Tag: health

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Autopsy Study Detects Neurodegenerative Disease Features in 99% of NFL Player Brains

A study of 202 deceased football players’ brains has found that 87% of participants demonstrated features of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease linked to repeated head trauma. 99% of the National Football League (NFL) players in the study demonstrated the same CTE features. The brains studied were donated for research following the football players’ development of mental symptoms prior to death.

According to Science magazine, the study found that “whether the men’s brain changes were mild or severe—all experienced mood, behavioral, or cognitive symptoms associated with CTE. These included impulsivity, depression, apathy, anxiety, explosive rages, episodic memory loss, and problems with attention and higher order thinking.” The findings may “ratchet up the pressure on leaders at all levels of football to protect their players,” Science contextualized. “Still, the authors and other experts caution against overinterpreting the results, because the brains all came from symptomatic former players and not from those who remained free of mental problems.”

Partly funded by a $30 million donation by the NFL to the National Institutes of Health from 2012, the study was spearheaded by Boston University neuropathologist Ann McKee. She stressed the skew of the results towards features expressed by symptomatic male college or professional football players, as opposed to asymptomatic individuals or those who played exclusively on less intense types of teams.

Though the applicability of its findings are still limited, the study is the largest of its kind to date. Signalling the depth of research necessary to elucidate the impact of head trauma in football players, the study foreshadows the NFL and public policy shifts that may become necessary following future research developments.

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.

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‘I Am Totally Burned Out’

Patients watch health care debate with dread. The war in Congress over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has brought anxiety to the people whose health insurance is at risk

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.

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Bridges and Roads As Important to Your Health As What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet

July 31, 2017

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Yet even as cracks in America’s health system and infrastructure expand, political divides between parties and within parties have stalled efforts to develop policies and implement solutions. Problematically, debates over health care reform and infrastructure projects remain separate.

As a professor of architecture who also studies health equity – the establishment of systems, laws and environments that promote fair access to health care – I believe we have reason to be concerned.

What if a solution to bridging both the political and sectoral divides between health care and infrastructure was, literally, a bridge? Sure, bridges are core elements of infrastructure, but what do bridges have to do with health care?

As it turns out, a lot.

… Read More

Image: By Bidgee – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4440135

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The Conversation

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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.

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Prime Health: Should Amazon Purchase a Hospital Chain?

Cross-posted from Medium. By Nicolas Terry The devotees of digital health and disruption recently lit up the Internet after reports that Amazon had deployed a secret health tech team codenamed 1492 (presumably a reference to healthcare visionary Columbus). The real surprise would … Continue reading

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.

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Harvard Grad Students: Applications Due Friday, August 4! Petrie-Flom Center Student Fellowship, 2017 – 2018

The Center and Student Fellowship The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics is an interdisciplinary research program at Harvard Law School dedicated to the scholarly research of important issues at the intersection of law and health policy, … Continue reading

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.

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Texas Senate Passes Bill Limiting When Clinicians May Write DNR Orders

Senator Perry

This week, the Texas Senate passed S.B. 11. This bill adds a new section 166.012 to the Health and Safety Code that specifies new procedures and requirements for do-not-resuscitate orders.

In short, the bill permits DNR orders to…

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.

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Texas Senate Passes Bill Limiting When Clinicians May Write DNR Orders

Senator Perry

This week, the Texas Senate passed S.B. 11. This bill adds a new section 166.012 to the Health and Safety Code that specifies new procedures and requirements for do-not-resuscitate orders.

In short, the bill permits DNR orders to…

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.

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The First US Team to Gene-Edit Human Embryos Revealed

July 28, 2017

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Since Chinese researchers announced the first gene editing of a human embryo 2 years ago, many expected that similar work in the United States was inevitable. Last night, the MIT Technology Review broke the news that such experiments have happened. The research, led by embryologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, also reportedly sidestepped problems of incomplete and off-target editing that plagued previous attempts, though details could not be confirmed since the work is not yet published and Mitalipov has so far declined to comment.

If a peer-reviewed paper bears out the news story, “It’s one more step on the path to potential clinical application,” says bioethicist Jeffrey Kahn of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, who served on a committee convened by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Medicine in Washington, D.C., to address gene editing. The panel’s report earlier this year concluded that a clinical trial involving embryo editing would be ethically allowable under narrow circumstances.

The first published human embryo–editing work, in 2015, used nonviable embryos and targeted a gene mutated in the heritable blood disorder beta thalassemia. But it revealed major shortcomings in applying the increasingly popular CRISPR gene-editing technology. The few embryos that took up the change made by CRISPR were a patchwork of edited and unchanged cells, and they bore unintended edits outside the targeted gene.

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Science Magazine

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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.

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The FDA Just Took a Radical Step to Cut Nicotine in Cigarettes So They’re Not Addictive

July 28, 2017

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The Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced a groundbreaking new plan to try to reduce the numbers of Americans killed by tobacco by lowering the nicotine in tobacco products like cigarettes so that they’re no longer addictive.

“Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement. “Envisioning a world where cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction, and where adults who still need or want nicotine could get it from alternative and less harmful sources, needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts — and we believe it’s vital that we pursue this common ground.”

Smoking has long been the leading cause of preventable premature death and illness in the US, and is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths a year. Experts have been arguing since 1994 that lowering nicotine levels could curb addiction to tobacco products and reduce the associated deaths. A 2013 article by Kenneth Warner, a professor of public health at the University of Michigan, argued for the need for “radical ‘endgame’ strategies” like nicotine reduction in cigarettes “to eliminate the toll of tobacco.”

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Vox

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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.

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About That “First Gene-Edited Human Embryos” Story…..

July 28, 2017

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By Henry T. Greely

BREAKING NEWS: The sky is not falling. Brave New World and GATTACA are not right around the corner. And the newest “designer baby” breakthrough is, at most, an interesting incremental step.

The last few days have seen enormous attention paid to an unpublished human embryo paper—one, quite possibly, as yet unread by anyone commenting on it. According to the MIT Technology Review, Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon Health Sciences University will soon publish a paper about his successful use of the hot DNA technology CRISPR—clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats—to modify viable human embryos.

“According to people familiar with the scientific results,” Mitalipov edited “a large number of one-cell embryos.” Mitalipov and colleagues “are said to have convincingly shown” that they could avoid two problems encountered in other CRISPR experiments in editing embryos: off target effects, where CRISPR changes the wrong bits of DNA, and mosaicism, where CRISPR changes some cells but not all. The embryos were destroyed after “a few days” and were never intended to be transferred into a woman’s uterus for possible implantation and birth. Sperm from men carrying disease mutations was used to make the embryos, though Technology Review “could not determine which disease genes had been chosen for editing.”  The story discusses legal bans on making babies using this method but ends with “Despite such barriers, the creation of a gene-edited person could be attempted at any moment, including by IVF clinics operating facilities in countries where there are no such legal restrictions.“

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.