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Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Greetings from Stephen Latham, Bioethics Center Director


Finally, this week, we're back to having a nicely-configured Articles section at the end of the newsletter, thanks to newly-acquired Articles Editor (and Graduate Fellow in Applied Ethics) Matthew Leisinger. Matt, a philosophy graduate student, will be helping with the articles section at least until the end of this term--and with a few other things around the Bioethics Center, too. Welcome, Matt!

For your calendar: Our technology and ethics group will be hosting Susan Schneider (Philosophy, UCONN) on Wednesday, February 17, speaking on "The Mind Isn't the Software of the Brain (Even if the Brain is Computational)." Susan's talk will begin at 4:30 in Rosenkranz 005.

On Friday, February 12 and Saturday the 13th, Nourish New Haven will host a conference on "Local Food Justice and Sustainability." Come to the Sterling Divinity School Quadrangel to listen, learn and collaborate with local non-profits, churches and government organizations. Event details and free registration information are here.

The new exhibit “Deaf: Cultures and Communication, 1600 to the Present” is currently on display in Yale’s Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library Rotunda (333 Cedar Street. The exhibit runs through April 1, and visitors can see it any time during library hours.

This weekend we mark the departure of Yale/Hastings visiting research scholar Marcin Michalak (Legal History, Gdansk) and the arrival of Steve and Nikki Coleman (Military Ethics,UNSW Canberra at ADFA)--all three (as it happens) repeat visitors to the center. Our visiting scholars add a great deal to the intellectual life of the center, and we are grateful to have them! Come again, often! 


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Updates from the Summer Institute

From Summer Institute Director Carol Pollard

Chuck Close on Creativity, Work Ethics, and Problem-Solving vs. Problem-Creating: “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

Emily Shepp writes: “The information at this link comes from Celia Fisher, who is leading the American Public Health Association (APHA) Ethics Code Task Force in re-writing the APHA Code of Ethics and is the Director & Principal Investigator of this project. I've been working with her on the APHA Ethics Code Task Force for the past few months, and she asked our group to pass along this opportunity. Please let me know if you have any questions! I thought Yale Bioethics Summer Institute alumni may be interested. (Thank you Emily! By the way, Celia Fisher was a Bioethicist-in-Residence here at the Bioethics Center a few years back!)

Prya Murad, currently a Public Defender in Florida, sent this article for the Friday Newsletter.  (Thank you Prya!) “Hey, Buddy, can you spare a hipbone? A prison inmate lost his to DOC,” Pat Beall, Florida Department of Corrections, Prisons and jails, The Insider, February 2, 2016

Shari Esquenazi, Andrea Meloff, and James Ninia wanted us to see this article.  “It’s an old article but interesting nonetheless.” (Thanks!) “Ordering the Vegetarian Meal?  Here’s More Animal Blood On Your Hands,” The Conversation, December 15, 2011

James Ninia sent this article to us: “UK Scientists Gain License to Edit Genes in Human Embryos,” Ewen Callaway, Nature, February 1, 2016. (Thanks James!)

Andrea Meloff sent an article to us: “Hospitals Find a New Way to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ “ Laura Landro, The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2016. (Thanks Andrea!)

Anna Elizabeth Price writes: “Working lots - almost half way through my paediatric training now!  Have just come back from a trip to the Swiss Alps.” (Good Luck Anna!)

Robert Nowell writes: “If you come across any interesting bioethical topics/literature relevant to diabetes care and research, please forward along to me. I look forward to keeping in touch!” (OK Robert! I hope others respond!)

Adam Klimmek writes: “I'm doing well! In Philadelphia now with Jack Gardner doing the University of Pennsylvania MBE.  I'll finish up in August, and then I plan on applying to law school.  Hope you've found another great group of people for the summer program!”  (Thank you Adam and Good Luck!)

Rocio Segovia Moreno writes: “I’m really happy Carol! I’m enjoying medical school, especially the hospital rotations and also the adventures that student life allows!  Many of the things learned in our 2014 Summer Institute keep rising in the hospital daily life, and it always brings up good memories! (Good Luck with all that you are doing Rocio!)

Tulio Rubio-Rodgriguez writes: "I wanted to share with you that my doctoral defense took place last week, and I obtained a "sobresaliente cum laude por unanimidad", which is the equivalent to the American "summa cum laude"... so, after so many years, finally I am a Doctor! (and with the highest honors!!! yeahhh!!!). Actually, some questions of the jurors were about bioethical issues, so I was very pleased to answer them! (Congratulations Tulio! Looking forward to your coming back to us this summer as an Instructor! We need to CELEBRATE!)

Paulina Knobloch is in Zurich doing PhD studies in microbiology. (Good Luck Paulina!)

Antonia Reitter writes: “I'm currently in Beijing, working for a project on Rule of Law in China for three months, and I love it here. Work is super-interesting, and the city is great and so exciting!   So big hugs from the other side of the globe!” (You will have to tell us more about your work when you come to teach this summer! Yes….super-interesting!)

Zahreen Ghaznavi writes: “Life is good – still in New York City  working at a law firm in general litigation.” (Good to hear from you Zahreen!  Good Luck!)

Christina Zorzano writes: “This last year I finished medical school, and now I'm in the last week of my preparation for the medical internship exam, which it’s an exam we have to take before specialist training. So I'm reaaaaaally nervous.  We have the test on Saturday, February 6 -- hahaha. After that I'll promise you a better and longer update!” (Good Luck on the exam!)

Elise Roumeas writes: “I'm about to finish my dissertation! I'll defend my PhD in June.  I'm applying for postdoctoral positions including some in the US; one possibility is at Berkeley.” (Good Luck Elise!)

Grant Douglas writes: “I recently found out that my partner Peter lives in the same building as Helen McGregor, so we all hung out last night in Norwalk. I'm entering my ninth month teaching science and special education in DC public schools. I would like to move up to Connecticut if possible and have applied to Yale School of Public Health.” (Good Luck Grant!)

James Fleming writes: “Carol, I’m one of three stroke neurologists at the Erlanger Medical Center. They are sending me to Calgary, Canada, next month to represent them at an international conference. It’s in PRINT…..largest stroke center in the world, highest success rate…at first glance everyone would think the Tennessee hospital is Vanderbilt….not Chattanooga. Below is an article about Erlanger.” (Congratulations James!) “The Erlanger Story: How a Tennessee Hospital Became a World Leader in Stroke”, MD Magazine, January 29, 2016.

If you have not seen the e-journal put out by the Center for Humans & Nature, please take a look at it – really wonderful articles!  

From JAMA: The US Preventive Services Task Force has publicized a positive recommendation to screen adults for depression. Ron Banner writes: “It is ironic, sad and despicable that while the USPSTF highly recommends screening for depression, our disease-care system does not reimburse mental conditions as it does physical conditions…While others have pointed this out, and while I am sure that much activity is underway to reform this outdated body-mind split, may I suggest that a future issue of JAMA be devoted to this topic, much like it has devoted previous issues to the important area of death and dying.”

And now to add some beauty to your lives:  Here is a cello version of Adele’s “Hello.”

Look for your articles section here!

Carol

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Articles of Interest

In the News

Zika virus

Sabrina Tavernise. “Zika Virus a Global Health Emergency, W.H.O. Says.” The New York Times. February 1, 2016.
The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus and its suspected link to birth defects an international public health emergency on Monday, a rare move that signals the seriousness of the outbreak and gives countries powerful new tools to fight it. Continue reading, take a look at the official W.H.O statement, or read the W.H.O. Director-General’s summary.

Carolyn Kormann. “How Zika Virus Can Spread.” The New Yorker. January 29, 2016.
The author discusses the history and spread of the Zika virus. Continue reading…

Salim Al-Gailani. “From Rubella to Zika: pregnancy, disability, abortion and the spectre of an epidemic.” The Guardian. January 29, 2016.
The author chronicles how the Zika virus has reignited debate in Latin America about access to safe, legal abortion, comparing current events with the outbreak of Rubella seventy years ago. Continue reading…

Biotechnology

Haroon Siddique. “British researchers get green light to genetically modify human embryos.” The Guardian. February 1, 2016.
A researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in Britain has received approval from The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to perform genome editing on human embryos. The work, using embryos donated by couples with a surplus after IVF treatment, will look at the fertilised egg’s development from a single cell to about 250 cells. The basic research could help scientists understand why some women lose their babies before term and provide better clinical treatments for infertility, using conventional medical methods. Continue reading…

Emily Mullin. “CRISPR Used To Repair Blindness-Causing Gene Defect.” Forbes. January 29, 2016.
Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center and the University of Iowa used CRISPR to repair a genetic mutation responsible for retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye condition that causes the retina to deteriorate, leading to a slow loss of vision and resulting in blindness in at least 1.5 million cases worldwide. Continue reading, or look at the study published in Scientific Reports. The Guardian

Biomedical ethics

Sheri Fink. “Drug Shortages Forcing Hard Decisions on Rationing Treatments.” The New York Times. January 29, 2016.
The author discusses recent attempts by doctors and policy-makers to ration medical resources in response to shortages. Continue reading…

Ecology

Adam Hart. “Are humans driving evolution in animals?” BBC. February 2, 2016.
Not all human selection pressures are as intentional as those imposed by plant and animal breeders. Recent research is revealing that many of our activities exert significant unintentional selection on organisms. Such "unnatural selection", as it has been termed, is causing evolution in those populations as the inevitable logic of Darwinian selection kicks in. Continue reading…

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In the Journals

David Cyranoski. “Monkeys genetically modified to show autism symptoms.” Nature. January 25, 2016.
Researchers have demonstrated a link between certain autism-related genes in genetically engineered monkeys and autism-like symptoms. They hope that their research will open up new ways to test treatments and investigate the biology of autism. Read the original article or read David Cyranoski’s summary for Nature.

Sharona Hoffman. “The Promise and Perils of Open Medical Data.” The Hastings Center Report. January 20, 2016.
The author discusses the costs and benefits of the Personal Genome Project’s website, which provides public access to individuals’ names and health information. The data is of clear value to researchers, but the author highlights the risk of privacy-infringement and discrimination. Continue reading…

Howard Koh. “Communicating the Health Effects of Climate Change.” The Journal of the American Medical Association 315(3): 239-240. January 19, 2016.
The author argues that “Clinicians have a powerful and unique opportunity to engage the nation by framing the crisis [of climate change] as a health imperative.” Continue reading…

Mary C. Politi, Adam Sonfield, and Tessa Madden. “Addressing Challenges to Implementation of the Contraceptive Coverage Guarantee of the Affordable Care Act.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. February 1, 2016.
The contraceptive coverage guarantee of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that privately insured women receive insurance coverage for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling without any out-of-pocket costs. Despite the benefits of this provision, challenges to implementation exist for physicians and other clinicians, patients, and payers that may result in patients continuing to pay for all or part of covered contraceptive services.  Continue reading…

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Opinion

The Guardian

Celine Gounder. “The Zika virus is a public health emergency. Here's what we must do now.” The Guardian. February 1, 2016.
The author argues that, instead of waiting for a vaccine or drugs to deal with the outbreak of Zika virus, governments need to adopt more aggressive, more immediate measures, such as employing genetically modified male mosquitos, to address the emergency. Continue reading…

Johnjoe McFadden. “Genetic editing is like playing God – and what’s wrong with that?” The Guardian. February 2, 2016.
“The announcement that scientists are to be allowed to edit the DNA of human embryos will no doubt provoke an avalanche of warnings from opponents of genetic modification (GM) technology, who will warn that we are “playing God” with our genes. The opponents are right. We are indeed playing God with our genes. But it is a good thing because God, nature or whatever we want to call the agencies that have made us, often get it wrong and it’s up to us to correct those mistakes.” Continue reading…

The New York Times

Andrew Revkin. “As W.H.O. Declares Zika a Global Health Emergency, a Look at the World’s Failed Mosquito Policies.” The New York Times. February 1, 2016.
Behind the Zika headlines, there are underlying drivers of disease risk that are not getting sufficient attention. But most important is the simple fact that, after a burst of effective mosquito eradication decades ago, a host of countries (Brazil in particular) relaxed such efforts, and did so just as humanity’s boom in urbanization and global mobility got into high gear. In essence, the tropics are not facing a Zika emergency nearly as much as they are facing an Aedes aegypti emergency. Continue reading…

Scientific American

Seth Berkley. “Preventing the Next Ebola Epidemic.” Scientific American. January 21, 2016.
The author argues that preventing the next Ebola epidemic won’t be simple but will require ingenuity in developing, manufacturing, and stockpiling vaccine. Continue reading…

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