Friday, January 30, 2009

Bioethical Issues on Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Here is a link to a site that has three short and interesting videos featuring scientists Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, PhD and Rick Cohen, PhD, discussing a few of the bioethical issues underlying human embryonic stem cell research. All three short videos are worthy to watch. They bring to light that the ethical concerns surrounding this controversial research are not soley based on religious ideologies, but also touch upon basic human rights issues.

Human Rights_ Human Experimentation Without Your Consent

WHOOOOOO HORSEY! If you do not find it a comforting thought to be forced into human experimental research like a lab rat while still alive, you had better run to your attorney and change your advanced directive pronto! And you better state it directly and clearly.

A Virginia Senate Bill could force incapacitated or dying persons to be subjected to human experimentation without their consent. This Virginia bill implies that an advanced directive may be interpreted as giving legal power to a surrogate-care giver in deciding to place YOU into a human experimentation clinical trial, even when it is known that the trial “ offers no prospect of direct benefit to the patient.”

More horrifying is that the Virginia advance directive form has language permitting experimentation as a default, unless otherwise denoted.

Per Bioethicist, Wesley J. Smith, “This provision explicitly violates the Nuremberg Code that requires subjects of human experimentation be capable of consenting to--and have complete understanding of--the experiment in which they participate.” From the Code:
The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice,...and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonable to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment.

One after another our human rights regarding life and dignity are being stripped from us. Those who wish to donate their bodies for human experimentation while alive should be allowed to do so by providing their knowing consent. But this Virginia law contains a slippery slope that propels one directly over the ledge to a violation of human rights.

I bet the biomedical research community just loves it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Click to see this inauguration picture to see an amazing digital technology which testifies to the fact that there is NO PLACE TO HIDE.

Use the menu buttons on the upper left of the picture to click and zoom in to anywhere on the picture. Try to find President Bush’s and VP Chaney’s scowl on their faces. Find President (senior) Bush’s Fargo hat. Find Yo-Yo Ma taking a picture with his iPHONe. Are you having fun yet?

I am not certain what this digital technology is called but it is believed to be taken with a robotic camera. Does anyone know what this technology is called?

Friday, January 23, 2009


Human embryonic stem cell researchers in New York want to legalize the prostitution of human egg donation. These practices are not in alignment with protecting the health and safety of women and specifically will target exploitation of lower income women. For more information see letter written to New York Stem Cell Research Program Ethics Board…

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Power, influence and conflicts of interest can corrupt our public health and safety process within the federal government in allowing companies to push technologies forward without mandating appropriate safety trials.

Nine FDA front-line scientists decided to do something about it.

Too much of this “I’ll pat your back if you pat mine” is going on amongst top federal and state agencies and private companies with no concern to protect public health and safety or to follow the law. We should all applaud these scientists for having the courage to stand up for what is right and in protecting the public health and safety.
See story…

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kawaskai Disease, Infection and Children

Kawasaki disease is an unusual and serious illness of young children that causes high fever, rash, red eyes and lips, swollen glands, and swollen hands and feet with peeling skin. The disease also causes damage of the coronary arteries in a quarter of untreated children and may increase the risk of atherosclerosis in early adulthood. The cause of Kawasaki disease is unknown, but it seems to be due to an infection in susceptible children. There is no diagnostic test for Kawasaki disease, and current treatment fails to prevent coronary damage in at least one in 10-20 children and death in one in 1,000 children. See story...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Drug Companies and Corruption

The Center for Genetics and Society points to another great link:

Drug Companies and Corruption.

More on this later.

Top Bioethics_Genetics Stories



How can unregulated genetically engineering research lead to dangerous public health repercussions?

A recent study found that common viral parasites can act as secret conduits to transfer toxic and disease-causing genes from one bacteria species to an unrelated bacteria species. One serious public health concern from this discovery is the possibility that new emerging disease could develop through this viral method of DNA exchange between bacterial species. It also raises a red flag regarding public health and safety in genetic engineering (GE) research where all kinds of toxic and disease genes are cloned into bacteria used in plant and animal research. These GE genes could then possibly be transferred to other bacteria via a natural virus causing new emerging disease to humans and animals.

In the study noted above, scientists found that Staph aureus, a bacteria which is often associated with community and hospital acquired methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) transferred its toxic shock genes to an unrelated bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes via a common virus called a bacteriophage. Listeria, itself, can cause a potentially deadly form of food poisoning while Staph can cause life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, osteomyelitis, endocarditis, toxic shock syndrome and septicemia. The relatively high DNA transfer efficiency from Staph to Listeria suggests that other cases may very well exist in nature. This can have a major impact on human pathogenicity and new emerging disease. It also carries implications to tighten safety regulations upon the genetic engineering industry.

As mysterious chronic illness rises in our population, scientists and private industry remain to be unregulated in performing dangerous genetically engineered research. This unregulated research carries serious public health consequences and can create new emerging disease. The public should become better informed about this dangerous research, the unsafe work practices, and the lack of rights to scientists to file safety complaints.