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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

Summer Reading for Bioethicists: End-of-the-World and Death Books

July 24, 2011

Tags: apocalypse, bioethics, The Taking, The Brief History of the Dead, GATTACA, Brave New World, Death With Interruptions, The Road, Swan Song, science fiction, The Children of Men, The Twilight Zone, The Methuselah Enzyme

Like Alvy Singer, Woody Allen’s character in Annie Hall, I’m obsessed with books about the end of humanity, which sometimes involves the end of the world, and sometimes just that of Homo sapiens. Midsummer is a good time to contemplate how bioethics would come into play in such unlikely scenarios, which raise issues of utilitarianism, justice, paternalism, death and dying, and misuse of technology. (more…)

"Dignity Therapy" Paper Ignores Hospice

July 10, 2011

Tags: dignity therapy, Harvey Max Chochinov, Sarah Palin, death panels, bioethics, hospice, Ricki Lewis, Glenn Nichols, Community Hospice, ALS, end-of-life care, palliative care, hospice volunteer, Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture, When Evening Comes, When Autumn Comes

”Dignity therapy" is a “novel psychotherapeutic approach” that gives patients with a 6-month life expectancy “an opportunity to reflect on things that matter most to them or that they would most want remembered.” In these days of medical experts such as Sarah Palin equating reimbursed end-of-life discussions to death panels killing granny, an outcomes evaluation of any such intervention is essential. (more…)

Taking a Chance on Chantix

July 4, 2011

Tags: Chantix, smoking, smoking cessation aid, txt2stop, texting, addiction, nucleus accumbens, Canadian Medical Association Journal, cardiovascular disease, nicotine, nicotinic receptor, dopamine, Ricki Lewis, Caroline Free, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Pfizer

After 60+ years of smoking, my mother-in-law’s lungs were surely a toxic wasteland, yet nothing would make her quit. By the time that studies from the 1950s finally led to warning messages on cigarette packages in the 1960s, too many nicotine molecules had bombarded neuron receptors in her brain’s nucleus accumbens, for far too long. She, like millions of others, was hooked. (more…)

instruction
Project to engage students in helping families with rare genetic diseases
Book Club Reader's Guide
Many challenging questions to stimulate thought and discussion.
Instructor's Guide
38 discussion questions to get students thinking and talking about gene therapy, including the science, ethical issues, and the drug approval process.
Narrative science
The Forever Fix is the uplifting true story of 8-year-old Corey Haas, who was cured of hereditary blindness just 4 days after gene therapy.
College Textbooks
A spectacularly-illustrated, clearly written human anatomy and physiology textbook, used in pre-health profession programs throughout the U.S.
A highly engaging, clearly written, beautifully illustrated introduction to the science of human genetics for the non-scientist. Now in its 10th edition.
Nonfiction
An ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, genomes, and the genetic ties that bind us all.

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