We cannot let the anecdote rule over us.   We don’t make sound policy if we are swayed by isolated emotional vignettes.  Of course, a vignette describes a living, breathing human being, but we must consider the greater good, the overall context and the risk of letting our hearts triumph over our heads when making general policy.  Consider these examples. If an expensive drug treatment program keeps five addicts clean for six ...

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A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that too few women with recently diagnosed breast cancer and at high risk of a BRCA genetic mutation received appropriate genetic counseling. And that testing for the mutation is a missed opportunity not only to improve treatment for these patients but also to prevent some breast,
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We are truly living in a remarkable era of biotechnological progress. Emerging nanotechnologies and immunotherapies offer the possibility of the targeted destruction of cancerous cells. 3-D printing of living cells is on the horizon, engendering the hope of a future with fully printed organs. And simultaneous advances in neuroscience and bioengineering have given rise to promising research and development of “electrocueticals” (neuromodulatory devices that may alleviate the symptoms ...

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The month of September has been Women In Medicine Month (according to the AMA) since 1989. Statistics are always telling:

  • Currently 65 percent of practicing physicians are men, and 35 percent women.

The College of American Pathologists shares the story of a Lisa Aaronson, and role of genetic testing in her pregnancy.

In February 2015, the British Parliament approved the creation of a human embryo from the DNA of three people: mother, father and a donor mother. The modified in-vitro fertilization (IVF) technique, called mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT), would help some mothers with known rare mitochondrial mutations avoid passing on unhealthy defects. These defects can cause severe or deadly diseases, which are often incurable, such as muscular dystrophy, heart and kidney disease, liver ...

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In my first quarter of medical school, I learned about prenatal screening for cystic fibrosis (CF), a progressive multisystem disease caused by an autosomal recessive mutation in the CF transmembrane regulator gene. We also learned about bronchiectasis, a common pathology of CF that consists of the irreversible enlargement of airways, promoting continuous low-grade bacterial infection and causing deadly respiratory failure. But despite my hours of studying and memorization, these clinical facts ...

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Although we are all very similar, there are genetic differences between us that can affect our health. In different populations, people share different frequencies of certain genes. These gene variants can explain differences in medication responses, incidence of disease, and protection from illness. For example, warfarin is a widely prescribed medication that is used to prevent clotting and ischemic stroke. The dosing of this medication was previously generic and does not ...

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shutterstock_146497481 Genomics and its impact on clinical medicine appear to be the topics du jour. The science is rapidly advancing, but our ability to understand and apply that science may not be keeping pace. The question is whether expectations will meet the promise, and are we wise enough to navigate the maelstrom and bring true benefit to our patients and consumers in general? Three ...

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In my work as a bioethicist, I have very rarely taken an “absolutist” position regarding the use of a biomedical technology. But when I read an article titled “Chinese Scientists Edit Genes of Human Embryos, Raising Concerns,” my reaction was that this should not be done. I am not alone. The technique mentioned enables genes to be altered in every cell ...

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