LIFEalerts – Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics

China – Tests the theory of male pregnancy

Recently, a team of scientists in China at the Naval Medical University in Shanghai tried to create a model to test the hypothesis that you could get a male rat to deliver babies. They took a male and a female rat and literally joined their blood circulation to get female hormones into the male bloodstream. Then they transplanted the uterus of the female rat into the male rat. Embryos were transferred from the female that they had created in vitro and the male gave birth to 10 rat cubs, and they seemed normal. It’s obvious that this model will not be used in humans since you would have all kinds of immunologic and other problems. Medscape, Study.

UK – WHO declares human genome editing as safe

The World Health Organization (WHO) is offering a pathway to establish human genome editing as a safe, effective and ethical tool for public health. WHO Director-General explained that “Human genome editing has the potential to advance our ability to treat and cure disease, but the full impact will only be realized if we deploy it for the benefit of all people, instead of fuelling more health inequity between and within countries,”. Doctors For Life’s (DFL) official stance on genome editing is that we see no issue in genome editing as a therapeutic intervention however, when it comes to using this tool for enhancing humans ability to exceed normal human capabilities, DFL disagrees at this point. More

UK – Devices that help people control electronics with their mind becomes reality

Researchers from Imperial College London have reviewed commercial brain-computer interface (BCI) devices in the journal APL Bioengineering. The most promising is electroencephalography (EEG), a method for monitoring the brain noninvasively through its electrical activity. However, these devices raise social, ethical, and legal concerns. These devices allow a person to control electronics, which is useful for medical patients who need help controlling wheelchairs, but it may also change the way the brain functions. “For some of these patients, these devices become such an integrated part of themselves that they refuse to have them removed at the end of the clinical trial,” said one of the authors. “It has become increasingly evident that neurotechnologies have the potential to profoundly shape our own human experience and sense of self.” Other concerns are what if companies own the neural data? Since it is considered to be the most intimate and private information that could be associated with any given user it is worrisome said another author. More