Förster, formerly a leader in his field, was investigated by a Dutch national research integrity panel in 2014 and found to have manipulated data in a 2012 study about the effect of auditory and olfactory ‘priming’ on cognitive ability.
Förster’s resignation comes following another broader reaching investigation conducted by his former employer, the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The results of that investigation are yet to be published, but a UvA source says that the report is finished and that Förster has been informed of the findings.
Annegret Raunigk, a language teacher and mother of 13, travelled to a clinic in the Ukraine to receive IVF – German laws prohibited her from receiving the treatment in her own country. She was implanted with eggs and sperm from donors. Seemingly contrary to the doctor’s expectations, all four of the eggs developed into embryos. The chance of a natural quadruplet pregnancy is otherwise one in 13m.
Raunigk, now her fifth month of pregnancy, said she decided to have more children after her youngest daughter, Lelia, nine, asked her for a sibling.
Significant risks accompany pregnancies like Raunigk’s. The pregnant mother is susceptible to high blood pressure, pregnancy diabetes and pre-eclampsia, all of which impact on each other. Risks for the babies include cerebral bleeding, paralysis, and…
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The article by a team of neurologists and medical researchers from clinics and universities around the US catalogues conceptions of brain death in medical institutions around the world.
The authors found that institutional protocols were absent or poorly understood in a significant number of low-income countries. They also found that “substantial differences in perceptions and practices of brain death exist worldwide” and that “whether a harmonized, uniform standard for brain death worldwide can be achieved remains questionable.”
The study – the first to examine opinions in a broad range of countries – involved an electronic survey which was distributed globally to physicians with expertise in neurocritical care, neurology, or related disciplines who would encounter patients at risk of brain death. Physicians from 91 countries responded.
“The no jab, no pay” welfare plan, which has bipartisan support in the Australian federal parliament, will require of parents that they immunise their children against serious infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and polio.
Parents who refuse to immunise their children could lose up to A$2100 per child per year in welfare payments.
Social services minister Scott Morrison, who announced the plan, said that the medical community was united in its support for universal vaccination, and that “objections” were no long acceptable.
“The overwhelming advice of those in the health profession is it’s the smart thing and the right thing to do to immunise your children.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the disclosure of results from clinical trials for medical products, whatever the result. The move aims to ensure that decisions related to the safety and efficacy of vaccines, drugs and medical devices for use by populations are supported by the best available evidence.
“Our intention is to promote the sharing of scientific knowledge in order to advance public health,” said WHO official Marie-Paule Kieny. “It underpins the principal goal of medical research: to serve the betterment of humanity.”
According to WHO, there is increasing empirical evidence to suggest that the results of many clinical trials are suppressed from the public. One study that analysed the reporting from large clinical trials (more than 500 participants) registered on ClinicalTrials.gov and completed by 2009 found that 23% had not reported any results. These unreported trials included nearly 300,000 participants.
A series of cases in Tennessee suggests that women may be trading sterilization for reduced jail sentences in the US. According to a report by AP, Nashville prosecutors have done deals with women at least four times in the past five years.
In the latest case, a 36-year-old woman with a long history of mental illness, Jasmine Randers was charged with neglect after her 5-day-old baby mysteriously died during the night. Her lawyer alleges that the prosecution refused to discuss a plea bargain unless she agreed to be sterilized.
In conjunction with similar incidents in Virginia, West Virginia and California, lawyers think that many sterilizations may be organised out of view by the public and the courts. "It's always been more of 'If your client is willing to do this, then I might be inclined to talk about probation,'" one lawyer commented.
According to researchers at TwinsUK, a registry of identical and non-idential twins, genes are the best predictor of how people will vote. “Our choices at the polling booth may not be as free or rational as we would like to believe,” they conclude in The Conversation.
“We found that voting Conservative (or not) is strongly influenced by genetics. When it came to voting Tory, we found that 57% of the variability (differences or similarity) between people’s voting preferences were due to genetic effects,” writes Professor Tim Spector, of Kings College London. The percentages for UKIP were 51% and for both Labor and the Green Party 48%.
Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats could not be explained by genetics.
The father of modern criminology, the Italian sociologist Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) believed that criminality was genetically determined. A “born criminal” could be detected by the presence of a long list of “stigmata” such as an asymmetrical faces, sloping forehead, large ears or left-handedness. This idea has been largely discredited, but, it flowers as soon as water floods the desert sands.
However, the medical profession is far less confident. Adding to the chorus of researchers and clinicians is an article in The Lancet which calls for a more “ecumenical” and flexible approach to acceptable study designs.
David S Jones and Scott H Podolsky, both from Harvard Medical School, point out that randomized trials do not have a long history. The first one took place in 1948 and the first instance of describing them as the “gold standard” dates back to only 1982.
The Canadian Medical Association is digging in its heels to protect doctors’ right of conscientious objection to euthanasia and assisted suicide, which will soon become legal. In an interview with the National Post, CMA president Chris Simpson said recently, “we simply cannot accept a system that compels physicians to go against their conscience as individuals on something so profound as this.”
Don’t listen to him, warns one of Canada’s most prominent bioethicists. No doctor should have the right to conscientious objection, he says.
Professor Udo Schuklenk, of Queens University and editor-in-chief of the journal Bioethics, delivered a blistering attack on conscientious objection in medical practice in his blog:
The very idea that we ought to countenance conscientious objection in any profession is objectionable. Nobody forces anyone to become a professional. It is a voluntary choice. A conscientious objector in medicine is not dissimilar…
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