March 31, 2006

What we are reading today...

Today we introduce a new feature called "What we are reading today," in which we gather, uh, what we are reading today. Or really what Sean Philpott is reading, because Sean reads a lot. As best we can tell he tracks everything in bioethics, providing news for and receiving it from all sorts of others including a huge swarm of reporters, Alta Charo, Will Saletan, and at least a dozen bloggers from every political and scholarly persuasion.

The idea of getting that news onto the blog has a long and tedious history. Way way back in AJOB's Penn days, John Kwon produced a weekly news update for those who read AJOB or visited He built a place for the news on the site, which is now the most read piece of online AJOB - and which is even organized by category these days (and can be syndicated as an RSS channel - in fact you can feed bioethics in general or on any specific topic directly from to your own site).

Anyway thanks to Sean and to Dave Ross of Albany Med - the institution's Internet genius in residence - the news and the blog are coming together into a single all purpose information and commentary blog as we continue in our effort to take over the world one computer at a time!!! MMMHHHHHHAAAA HAA HAAA try to make sense of how all these technologies work and how best to integrate them with everything else until finally it is useless for the Earthlings to resist.

So here's what Sean is reading today:

  • A Question of Quality
    The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) announced in 2004 that data from clinical trials could only be considered for publication if a trial had been registered on An analysis of registrations between May 20 and Oct. 11, 2005 found that publication is a powerful incentive to fill out paperwork, with universities demonstrating the most dramatic surge in predeadline registration efforts.

  • When We Turn the Current On, the Patients Report the Emptiness Disappears
    Sufferers from depression who do not respond to existing treatments could soon benefit from a new procedure in which electrodes are inserted into the core of the brain and used to alter the patient's mood.

  • Preventable Disease Blinds Poor in Third World
    An estimated 70 million people are infected with trachoma, and two million are blind because of it.A million people in Ethiopia alone need the surgery to prevent blindness, yet last year only 60,000 got it, all paid for by nonprofit groups like the Carter Center, Orbis and Christian Blind Mission International.

  • Prescribing of Hyperactivity Drugs is Out of Control
    Leading researchers and doctors are calling for a review of the way ADHD is dealt with. Many prescriptions are being written by family doctors with little expertise in diagnosing ADHD, raising doubts about how many people on these stimulants really need them. Just as worrying, large numbers of children who do have ADHD are going undiagnosed.

  • Power of Prayer Flunks an Unusual Test
    In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.

  • Out-of-State Facility Demands California Stem Cell Royalties
    When voters approved California's novel $3-billion stem cell initiative, they counted on a ballot promise: as much as $1.1 billion in royalties from scientific discoveries. But the University of Wisconsin foundation that claims broad patent rights to all embryonic stem cell lines in the U.S. has vowed to demand payments from California.

  • Study Backs Equal Coverage for Mental Ills
    Providing insurance coverage for mental illness equal to that for physical illness does not drive up the cost of mental health care as many insurers feared, a new study of health benefits for federal employees says.

  • Dramatic Drop in HIV rates in Southern India
    A dramatic decline in HIV infections in southern India has been reported, adding to growing evidence that the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic has peaked and is now in decline. Researchers report that the reason for the decline is that more men, and female sex workers, are using condoms.

  • Doctor in India Jailed for Telling Sex of a Fetus
    An Indian doctor has been jailed for two years for disclosing the sex of a fetus to its parents. It was the first instance of a physician jailed under legislation intended to stop the abortion of unwanted girls.

  • DNA Tests You Do at Home
    A small, but fast-growing number of consumers are paying for a proliferation of partly self-administered genetic tests, hoping to determine everything from paternity to their propensity to develop certain diseases to their own ancestry.

  • My Black Skin Makes My White Coat Vanish
    A black doctor on her patient problems: "I no longer have much doubt that what baffles them is the color of my skin."

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