Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What We've Been Reading This Week...

You may have noticed that our blog has slowed down a little bit, due to the demands of the new school year -- but that won't stop us from bringing the most interesting and timely bioethics news! Here are a few of the articles that have caught our attention in the last week:

3D Images You Can Touch
(Which leads to the question 'can virtual intimacy be far behind?')
The first time you gazed at a high-definition display, you may have thought to yourself, “Wow, that image looks so real; I feel like I could reach out and touch it!” What if, one day, there was a display that let you turn that perception into reality?
Researchers at NTT Comware in Japan have developed a prototype of just such a system, called the Tangible-3D display...the glove provides a tactile sensation that makes you feel like you’re touching solid objects. [Full article here.]

Pfizer faces $8.5 billion suit over Nigeria drug trial
(Reuters) Nigeria alleges Pfizer deceived patients and caused the death of 11 children in 1996 when it performed clinical trials for a new drug. With the northern state of Kano, it is suing the company for $8.5 billion. [Full article here]

Connecticut Catholic Bishops Agree To Comply With Law Requiring Hospitals To Dispense EC To Rape Survivors -- Connecticut's Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday said that the state's four Catholic hospitals will comply with a law (SB 1343) that takes effect Monday and requires all hospitals in the state to dispense emergency contraception to rape survivors, the Hartford Courant reports...[Full article here]

The Pill, For Men: Two kinds of oral contraceptives and a sperm blocker are being developed - With condoms and vasectomies, men take responsibility for a third of contraception in the United States. But health officials would like to see that figure grow. [Full article here]

Americans Seek Common Ground on Abortion
(MSNBC/Newsweek) Long a black-and-white issue, abortion is now seen more as an argument to be fostered, not settled -- Although plenty of people are passionate about abortion, few of them would spend 16 years and $7 million of their own money making a movie about it, especially one that tries not to take sides. [Full article here]

Judge had no right to ban homeless couple from procreating, New York appeals court rules - A family court judge overstepped her authority by ordering a drug-addicted homeless couple to have no more children, a state appeals court ruled Friday in overturning the ban. [Full story here]

Exoneration Using DNA Brings Change in Legal System
lawmakers across the country are adopting broad changes to criminal justice procedures as a response to the exoneration of more than 200 convicts through the use of DNA evidence.
All but eight states now give inmates varying degrees of access to DNA evidence that might not have been available at the time of their convictions. Many states are also overhauling the way witnesses identify suspects, crime labs handle evidence and informants are used. [Full story here.]

Woman Suing IRS Over Sex-Change Tax Claims

(Washington Post) After years of painful soul searching, Rhiannon O'Donnabhain -- a former construction engineer from a devout Irish Catholic family in Boston -- decided to surgically change his sex to female in 2001. The struggle was equally tough financially -- hormone treatments and medical procedures set her back $25,000, a burden she felt could be partially offset by taking a $5,000 tax deduction for medical costs. [Full story here]

Has Artificial Beauty Become the New Feminism? [hat tip to James Hughes of IEET.org] This spring, Sideways star Virginia Madsen became a spokesperson for Allergan Inc., the maker of Botox." Quoted in People magazine, Madsen asserts that she's made "a lot of choices" to keep herself "youthful and strong": "I work out. I eat good foods. And I also get injectables." [Rest of the story here.]

The pill: new evidence shows it helps protect against cancer

The contraceptive pill actually protects women against cancer in later life, according to the largest study ever set up to evaluate the risks and benefits. [Full story here]

Stem cells make new heart valves

The scientists, at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, grew the valves from a type of stem cell that normally gives rise to the inner lining of blood vessels. They used a biodegradable scaffold to give the cells shape and a mix of proteins and growth factors to stimulate the cells to grow into the proper tissue type. [Full story here]

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