Euthanasia doctor exonerated after death in Orthodox Jewish nursing home

A Vancouver doctor who snuck into an Orthodox Jewish nursing home which forbids assisted death and euthanised a patient has been cleared of wrongdoing.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) declared that Dr Ellen Wiebe did not break the regulator’s rules when she helped 83-year-old Barry Hyman die inside the Louis Brier Home and Hospital on June 29, 2017.

“The committee determined that it was not critical of Dr. Wiebe’s provision of MAiD [Medical Aid in Dying] to the patient at Louis Brier, noting that the patient had consented and that Dr. Wiebe had met… MORE

‘Contraceptive revolution’ needed to curb population growth

A leading fertility researcher has called for “a new contraceptive revolution” in the New England Journal of Medicine. Deborah J. Anderson, of Boston University School of Medicine argues that the world has too many people and that new methods are needed to curb population growth.

Although the food scarcity that Paul Ehrlich predicted no longer seems to be a problem, she says that the planet’s carrying capacity is only 1.5 to 5 billion people. Since world population has already reached about 7 billion and will continue to rise to 10 or 11 billion by the end of the century,… MORE

California stem cell institute inflated voters’ hopes, says scientist

Supporters of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine are gearing up for a campaign to persuade voters to approve US$5.5 billion in funding, plus interest, to keep it running. Details are still sketchy but a leading stem cell scientist has spoken out in Nature in support of the initiative.

Jeanne F. Loring,  director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, says that “stem-cell researchers in California have been the envy of the world” because of the CIRM. It has been the source of almost all of her funding.

However, she recognises… MORE

Ohio family devastated by IVF error

Joseph Cartellone addresses the media 

Rebecca Cartellone received the worst Christmas gift of her life last year – a DNA testing kit from To her dismay, it revealed that the man she thought was her father for 24 years, Joseph Cartellone, was not.

It appears that another man’s sperm was used to conceive her in an Ohio fertility lab in 1994 – but no one knows who he is.

Joseph Cartellone and his wife Jennifer are suing the Institute for Reproductive Health, Ovation Fertility Cincinnati and The Christ Hospital Health Network, asking for financial compensation and… MORE

‘The Lancet’ makes firm commitment to gender balance

The leading medical journal The Lancet is fulfilling its commitment to diversity and inclusion by refusing to participate in panels where there are no women and by enforcing gender quotas in all of its events.

Its new “No All-Male Panel Policy” acknowledges that males have normally dominated at scientific events and that this has excluded women’s expertise and opinions. Its goal is to have at least 50% women panellists at all events it organises.

The journal group has also committed all of its 18 journals to have at least 50% women on the editorial board by the end of… MORE

China vows research oversight after gene-editing scandal

China says it plans to establish a national committee to advise policy makers on research ethics regulations, in a move that comes in the midst of ongoing criticism of the country’s lax scientific research ethics standards. 

China’s most powerful policymaking body, the Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, gave its approval to the plan to form a committee late last month. According to Chinese media, the committee will strengthen the coordination and implementation of a comprehensive and consistent system of ethics governance for science and technology.


Academics call for freedom for fearless discussion of gender issues

Twelve leading philosophers, including bioethicist Peter Singer, have published an open letter calling for academic freedom when discussing topics of sex and gender. The letter makes recommendations on how academic discussions should be carried out in light of differing political and intellectual views on sex, gender, and transgender.

The letter specifically calls for a rejection of de-platforming and censuring of philosophical arguments in the academic domain, including political views that argue for sex-based rights. It also urges that discussions on sex and gender be carried out in a collegial and mutually respectful manner and affirm the right of transgender… MORE

UPDATES: Jeffrey Epstein. NSW abortion bill. Victoria euthanasia death

Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein (BioEdge, Aug 3) has committed suicide in his New York jail cell. This will inevitably spark unverifiable conspiracy theories about his sex trafficking and his contacts. However, Harvard stem cell biologist George Church, one of the scientists who knew Epstein socially, has apologised for not being more prudent. According to a report in STAT, he said: “There should have been more conversations about, should we be doing this, should we be helping this guy? There was just a lot of nerd tunnel vision.”

* * * * * * *


Spanish and US scientists go to China to create human-monkey chimeras

LATE FLASH! In a stunning example of evading ethical controversy by exporting it, Spanish and American researchers have created monkey-human chimeras in China. The hybrid embryos will be destroyed after they develop a central nervous system and will not be brought to term.

The experiment is ethically risky. What if the human stem cells develop in the monkey brain and become conscious? What if they become sperm or egg cells? Although the researchers, from The Salk Institute, in California, and Murcia Catholic University (UCAM), brush off these fears, they are legitimate and widely-shared.

“We are… MORE

Japanese scientist to use human-animal hybrids to create organs  

A Japanese stem cell scientist has obtained permission to create human-animal chimeras and transplant them into surrogate animals. Hiromitsu Nakauchi, a researcher at the University of Tokyo and at Stanford University, plans to insert induced pluripotent human cells into mouse embryos. His ultimate aim is to grow human organs in animals.

This kind of procedure was banned in Japan until March, when the government issued new guidelines permitting scientists to create human-animal embryos which can be brought to term. The creation of chimeras in the laboratory is permitted in other countries, like the United States, but the human-animal hybrids… MORE

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