Tag: nutrition

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Stakes of Life: Science, states, policies, publics and ‘the first thousand days’ by Fiona C. Ross

Welcome back to the “First Thousand Days of LifeSomatosphere series. Here we continue to explore the ways that a global health initiative driven by new findings in epigenetics and neuroscience and by a reframing of theories about health and disease in terms of developmental origins shape ideas about (global) health and population futures, invigorate campaigns, and take form and settle in localized contexts. Understanding the links between science, biomedicine, policy, population, well-being and relationship as simultaneously both meshed and contingent, our series posits questions about what affordances and limitations lie in new modalities of understanding human illness and well-being. It examines how policy is made and with what effects for its recipients, how states are implicated in health and its others, what forms of the everyday materialize under the lens of new findings in epigenetics and epidemiology, what modalities of knowing emerge and how they settle with older forms, and how ethnography might contribute.

Describing the research programme driven by the Thousand Days research group at the University of Cape Town, I noted that,

The emergent field both synergises a range of disciplines in the bio- and social sciences and develops new sites of humanitarian intervention, reframing current debates about population, well-being and ‘the best interests of the child’ in newly biological ways. As these findings are taken up in policy and practice, we are witnessing the making of a social object with material effects’ (www.thousanddays.uct.ac.za).

Our project has explored that making, its prior conditions and its effects.  As Michelle Pentecost noted in her opening to the Somatosphere series, the framing ‘offers fertile ground for careful thought about contemporary concepts of life, life-giving and care, offering spaces for critically assessing not only how states and people understand and enable health and well-being but also how life is conceptualized by different disciplines.’ 

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 Challenge of our Lifetime

Our Claire Davis and Jessica Fanzo discuss how to ensure nutrition for everyone under climate change

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 Very Early Embryo & Its Moral Signifiance

by Andrew J. Prunty

As technology and biological research continue to develop in the twenty-first century, it is necessary to address and further define the ethical considerations of embryonic research and the appropriate rights that may limit the extent of human research on zygotes, blastocysts, and fetal scientific advancement. Because the area of harvesting embryonic stem cells remains significantly undefined, both legally and morally, there are vastly different opinions between researchers and bioethicists, mainly because of ethical limitations, on the rights that should be granted to cells with the potential to develop into human beings and the consequences of neglecting significant scientific research or advancement.

Current laws in the United States differ at the federal and state level, but there is no consistency in recognizing human embryos as humans, or affording them the same legal rights granted to a child; in fact, legal precedent actually detracts certain rights from developing embryos, favoring a human’s ability to destroy a potential human being (i.e. Roe v. Wade[i]) or the categorization of embryos as property (i.e. Davis v. Davis[ii], A.Z. v. B.Z.[iii], Marriage of Dahl[iv], or Reber v. Reiss[v]). These case law samples suggest the courts’ inability to reach a conclusion as to what is the status of an embryo.

The debate is not only circumscribed to matters of research, but to fundamental controversial and intertwined issues of bioethics such as: when life begins, embryonic stem cells, fetal rights, abortion, et cetera. All these topics are contentious and when one topic arises, they begin to comingle.

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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Ethical Guidance for the Supermarket

Ethical Certification Workshop

March 2017

The US Dept. of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia

 

Brief Summary

 

If free-range eggs once occupied a little part of the shelf, now the situation is completely reversed, with a dizzying array of options trumpeting eggs that are organic, or Omega-3 enriched, from hens that are cage-free, local, vegetarian fed, cage-free, or merely enjoying “outdoor access.” As it becomes increasingly complex for consumers to navigate supermarket shelves, the need for ethical guidance and information for consumers grows.

 

Last year, the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Bloomberg School of Public Health embarked on a project to address this need. A key step involved bringing together a broad range of academic and industry experts to grapple with the myriad debates that emerge around trying to find ethical consensus. To ensure a lively and informed debate, we drew upon the expertise of purchasers, retailers, farmers, water conservation experts, food safety specialists, nutritionists, and academics focused on animal welfare, labor and human rights, crops and agriculture, the environment, and the evaluation of standards.

 

In preparation for the workshop seven academic members of the team wrote white papers to cover the core subject areas of the project: crop production; animal welfare; water utilization and impact; public health and nutrition; food safety; environmental impact; and labor and community issues. These papers provided on overview of the topic and highlighted moral issues to consider for ethical certification. In addition to providing background information on the subject matter, the white papers were also used to inform the statements of ethical concern formulated as Candidate Criteria.

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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40th Annual Health Law Professors Conference

If you teach health law, come to the 40th Annual Health Law Professors Conference, June 8-10, 2017, at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta.  Here is the schedule:


Thursday, June 8, 2017
8:00-12:00 AM Tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Separate registration is required. Participants meet in the lobby of Georgia State Law to take a shuttle to the CDC.)


9:45 – 11:15 AM Tour of Grady Health System (Separate registration is required. Participants meet in the lobby of Georgia State Law and will walk over to Grady as a group.)


2:00 – 5:00 PM Conference Registration – Henson Atrium, Georgia State Law


3:00 – 5:00 PM Jay Healey Teaching Session – Knowles Conference Center, Georgia State Law
Experiential Teaching and Learning in Health Law
The format for this session is World Café roundtables, with plenty of opportunity for the collegial exchange of teaching ideas and insights among your colleagues. Come prepared for a lively, interactive workshop.
World Café Hosts:
Dayna Matthew, University of Colorado Law School
Charity Scott, Georgia State University College of Law
Sidney Watson, Saint Louis University School of Law
Invited Discussants and Participants:
Rodney Adams, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Health Administration
Christina Juris Bennett, University of Oklahoma College of Law
Amy Campbell, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
Michael Campbell, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
Erin Fuse Brown, Georgia State University College of Law
Cynthia Ho, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law
Danielle Pelfrey Duryea, University of Buffalo School of Law, State University of New York
Jennifer Mantel, University of Houston Law Center
Elizabeth McCuskey, University of Toledo College of Law
Laura McNally-Levine, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Jennifer Oliva, West Virginia University College of Law and School of Public Health
Thaddeus Pope, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Lauren Roth, St.

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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Food Security & Nutrition in Timor-Leste

Q&A with Becky McLaren

 

Can you briefly describe the Timor-Leste project and your recent visit to the country?

 

The project is a strategic review of the food security and nutrition situation in Timor-Leste. We’re working with the World Food Programme, which has done similar work in other countries. We’re evaluating what’s been done in the past and what’s currently going on in order to make recommendations for future work. Our review is framed around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 2 which aims to end hunger worldwide by 2030.

 

Our recent trip was an opportunity to develop relationships with our different collaborators, including our main partner in the review, CEPAD; build an outline for the project’s next steps; and meet other stakeholders – government, international and local NGOs, and civil society organizations.

 

Can you tell us about some of the unique nutrition and food security challenges facing Timor-Leste?

 

Timor-Leste is a post-conflict country which is still in the window of peacebuilding and becoming more stable. The country was colonized by Portugal until 1975 and then occupied by Indonesia until the UN helped it achieve independence in 2002. There was a reemergence of conflict in 2006, and UN peacekeepers maintained a presence in Timor-Leste until 2012. At the present, the country has a unique opportunity to move beyond creating a stable government and into building food and nutrition security. The government has the chance to restructure the agriculture and food systems.

 

Timor-Leste also has serious nutrition challenges, with one of the highest stunting rates in the world.

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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Response to ‘A matter of life and death: controversy at the interface between clinical and legal decision-making in prolonged disorders of consciousness’

Guest Post: Julian Sheather, British Medical Association

Response to: A matter of life and death: controversy at the interface between clinical and legal decision-making in prolonged disorders of consciousness (also available as a blog summary)

The law has to work in generalities. The prohibitions it imposes and the liberties it describes are set for all of us, or for large classes of us. But we live – like we sicken and die – as individuals. Lynne Turner-Stokes gives a vivid account of an area of clinical practice where these truisms come into conflict. Practice Direction 9E (PD9E) doesn’t sound like much, a piece of dry-as-dust procedure for the Court of Protection, but it governs an area of keen moral concern: for our purposes, decisions relating to the withdrawing or withholding of clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) from patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) or a minimally conscious state (MCS). According to PD9E, all such decisions should be bought before the Court of Protection.

On the face of it, given the seriousness of the decisions involved, court involvement looks like an important safeguard – these are, inevitably, life or death decisions on behalf of people who cannot determine their own interests. That its origins lie with Anthony Bland and one of the most important judgments in recent medico-legal history seems to confirm it. But there are some crucial distinctions. Anthony Bland was young. His brain damage was sudden onset – the result of asphyxiation. Unless CANH were withdrawn, he could live for many years.

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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Why Are There Still Famines?

February 21, 2017

(BBC) – UN agencies say 100,000 people are facing starvation in South Sudan and a further 1 million there are classified as being on the brink of famine. This is the most acute of the present food emergencies. It is also the most widespread nationally. Overall, says the UN, 4.9 million people – or 40% of South Sudan’s population – are “in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance”. “Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive,” says the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization representative in South Sudan, Serge Tissot. The basic cause of the famine is conflict.

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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CPR and Ventricular Assist Devices: The Challenge of Prolonging Life Without Guaranteeing Health

by David Magnus and Danton Char

The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms
 (Alfred, Lord Tennyson “Tithonus” lines 1–6)

It’s fitting that the ethical challenges raised in this, our Valentine’s Day issue, resonate in a mythic love story. Eos, titan of the dawn, fell in love with a mortal man, Tithonus. Because she could not bear to lose him, she pleaded with Zeus to grant him immortal life but forgot to ask for immortal youth, so he withered, unable to die but too fragile to live. Like Eos, our two target articles suggest that the current application of two heroic cardiac interventions, the widespread use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the implantation of ventricular assist devices (VAD) in patients with end-stage heart failure, may reflect a medical ethos too enamored of preserving life without giving enough mindfulness to the burden on patients and families of survivorship in a debilitated or devastated state. How do we appropriately prolong life and health, while guarding against making Eos’ mistake?

By many accounts the widespread introduction of CPR is a public health success story. In the 110 years since George Crile first successfully used closed chest compressions on a patient in surgery and demonstrated their efficacy in dogs, CPR has been standardized, has been taught to millions of health care providers and regular citizens, and systems have been put in place to track CPR outcomes and initiate data-recommended improvements.

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.