Biotechnology, Brain and Nervous System, Ethics

Several companies are testing brain implants – why is there so much attention swirling around Neuralink? Two professors unpack the ethical issues

Putting a computer inside someone’s brain used to feel like the edge of science fiction. Today, it’s a reality. Academic and commercial groups are testing “brain-computer interface” devices to enable people with disabilities to function more independently. Two two scholars at the University of Washington School of Medicine – Nancy Jecker, a bioethicst, and Andrew Ko, a neurosurgeon who implants brain chip devices – discuss the ethics of this new horizon in neuroscience.

Picture of a white rat in a researcher's gloved hand.
Ethics, Research

What is ethical animal research? A scientist and veterinarian explain

Federal research agencies follow guiding principles in evaluating the use and care of animals in research.These principles are summarized by the “3 R’s” of animal research: reduction, refinement and replacement. The 3 R’s encourage scientists to develop new techniques that allow them to replace animals with appropriate alternatives.

Abortion, Ethics, Law, Women's Health

Abortion decision cherry-picks history – when the US Constitution was ratified, women had much more autonomy over abortion decisions than during 19th century

As a medical procedure, abortion was widespread in Colonial and 18th-century America. By using more or less safe techniques, midwives and medical practitioners performed many types of operations on their patients. The woman could easily die, of course; but when she sought an abortion, no social, legal or religious force would have blocked her.

Ethics, Politics, Sexual Health, Sexuality

The Fractious Evolution of Pediatric Transgender Medicine

Pediatric transgender medicine is a new field with a lot of questions yet to be answered by science. What is the long-term impact of blocking puberty on a young person’s health? Can practitioners correctly determine which youngsters will still identify as trans when they are adults? Do the psychological assessments contribute to children’s suffering by delaying access to puberty blockers and hormones? Why has the number of teens coming forward to receive transgender medical care, particularly those assigned female at birth, risen so dramatically in recent years?

Ethics, Kidney, Transplantation

Can an equation be racist?

Medical algorithms that correct for gender, age, comorbidities, and race span specialties from nephrology to cardiology to pediatrics to obstetrics. Such calculators help guide practitioners in daily decisions about everything from drug dosages to surgery to organ transplants. But race modifiers especially raise problems, since race is often an imprecise proxy for actual ancestry.