That’s dangerous. When the results of clinical trials aren’t made public, the consequences can be dangerous — and potentially deadly

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“There are limits to what parents can do to their kids,” he said. “Medically unnecessary irreversible surgery that carries a risk of lifelong harm should be one of those things.”

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On the 24th July 2017, the long-running, deeply tragic and emotionally fraught case of Charlie Gard reached its sad conclusion (Box 1). Following further medical assessment of the infant, Charlie’s parents and doctors finally reached agreement that continuing medical treatment was not in Charlie’s best interests. It is expected that life support will be withdrawn in the days ahead

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Grant Armstrong said Charlie’s parents had made the decision because an American doctor said it was too late to give him nucleoside therapy

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The widely accepted principle that mums-to-be are a ‘vulnerable’ group unfairly excludes them from taking part in clinical studies, and perpetuates the knowledge void around the impact of drugs taken during pregnancy, conclude researchers in the Journal of Medical Ethics. In a linked Commentary, Drs Carleigh Krubiner and Ruth Faden, of the Berman Institute, argue that the designation of pregnant women as ‘vulnerable’ “is inappropriate and disrespectful.”

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Few may realize that ill-advised screening tests come at a price, and not just a monetary one that adds many billions to the nation’s health care bill. Every screening test has a rate of false positive results – misleading indications of a possible cancer that requires additional, usually invasive, testing with its own rate of complications

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Pain in the Machine

July 17, 2017

Pain leads to empathy and self-preservation: should we make robots ‘feel’ it?

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There can’t be many people in the UK who haven’t heard of Charlie Gard. He’s a little boy with mitochondrial disease who is on life support. His parents want to send him to the US for experimental treatment; the UK courts have ruled on medical advice that the treatment does not show sufficient promise. Medics think Charlie can’t be helped. His desperate parents claim otherwise, citing the support of 7 international doctors and a 350,000 strong petition

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