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Ethics and Research Methods

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Media Advisory: Hopkins Bioethicist Defends Treatment of American Ebola Patients

Public health ethics expert Nancy Kass defends the unique treatment given to the two Americans who contracted the Ebola virus and cautions against rapid, widespread dissemination of experimental treatments.

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Scarcity of Elements in Products Like Smartphones Needs Addressing, Say Scientists

Many of today’s technological innovations from the iPhone to electric motors for hybrid cars require the use of materials — elements — that are scarce or difficult to obtain. As demand for these devices grows, the problem of dwindling critical element supplies must be addressed. That’s the conclusion of a white paper written by eminent scientists. The product of the 5th Chemical Sciences and Society Summit (CS3), the white paper recommends focusing research on finding alternative materials and new approaches to technology development in order to prevent these elements from disappearing.

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Life

Law and Public Policy

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CHORUS Looks Forward to Working with the Department of Energy to Advance Access to Research

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will be collaborating with the Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States (CHORUS) as a component of its model for providing public access to peer-reviewed articles that report on DOE-funded research. CHORUS is a collaborative service developed by the not-for-profit organization CHOR, Inc. to provide easy public access to scholarly works.

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Animal Testing Methods for Some Chemicals Should Change

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Challenging risk assessment methods used for decades by toxicologists, a new review of the literature suggests that oral gavage, the most widely accepted method of dosing lab animals to test chemical toxicity, does not accurately mimic how humans are exposed to chemicals in everyday life.

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Is FDA’s Crackdown on Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing a Violation of the First Amendment?

In November 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the company 23andMe to stop offering its direct-to-consumer DNA testing service, which provided individuals with $99 assessments of their genetic risk for almost 200 disorders. A thought-stimulating opinion piece published in Clinical Chemistry, the journal of AACC, now examines whether this move by FDA is a violation of the First Amendment, or a necessary step to protect consumers.

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To Boldly Go? Experts Issue Ethics Guidelines for Health Standards on NASA’s Next Generation of Risky Missions

An Institute of Medicine committee has issued a report with ethics principles and guidelines to aid NASA in decision-making for longer, higher risk human spaceflights

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Life

Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Brain Scans Link Concern for Justice with Reason, Not Emotion

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People who care about justice are swayed more by reason than emotion, according to new brain scan research from the University of Chicago Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience.

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An End to Animal Testing for Drug Discovery?

As some countries and companies roll out new rules to limit animal testing in pharmaceutical products designed for people, scientists are stepping in with a new way to test therapeutic drug candidates and determine drug safety and drug interactions — without using animals. The development of “chemosynthetic livers,” which could dramatically alter how drugs are made, was presented at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

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Ethical Need for Better Health Care Regulatory Oversight

Writing in JAMA, ethicists and health policy experts from Johns Hopkins, Harvard and the Center for Democracy and Technology issue a call and recommendations for better regulation and guidance of crucial quality improvement health care research.

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Shale Could Be Long-Term Home for Problematic Nuclear Waste

Shale, the source of the United States’ current natural gas boom, could help solve another energy problem: what to do with radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. The unique properties of the sedimentary rock and related clay-rich rocks make it ideal for storing the potentially dangerous spent fuel for millennia, according to a geologist studying possible storage sites. He presented his research today at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

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