Eating Disorders and the Internet

In America, it is clear that being thin is an ideal. The concept of ‘thin as beautiful’ is something that is omnipresent on television, in advertisements, in magazines, and on the internet. The message of ‘being thin’ is connected to the ongoing fight against obesity, which is currently one of the most prevalent health issues […]

Tracking Health: Is CVS Pharmacy Demanding Too Much?

CVS Pharmacies recently announced a change to their employee health insurance policy [i]. All employees will have until May 1, 2014 to make an appointment with a physician for a physical, in order to collect health data including weight, body fat, blood glucose, and blood pressure. This data will then be sent to a third […]

The Bioethics of Professional Sports

Professional sports are a vast cultural phenomenon, a weekend pursuit, and a fun pastime for much of America. But behind the scenes, they can contain many unexpected ethical challenges that the fan may never consider. Medical teams for professional franchises have a much-envied position. However the professional and emotional pressures are often understated when one […]

Saving the Therapeutic Orphan: A Discussion about Pediatric Clinical Research Ethics

Performing medical research on any person requires careful ethical deliberation, but children are a particularly vulnerable group that requires additional attention and protection. Past cases of unethical research practices on children reveal the potential for tragedy. The Hepatitis experiments performed in the 1950’s at Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, NY are one example. In […]

End of Life Decisions and Young Adults

Compassionate care for a young adult at the end of life may present many difficult ethical issues. Consider for example Sarah, a 19-year old young woman, admitted for what her team believes may be her final stay at the hospital that has treated her throughout a 5-year struggle with lymphoma. Sarah literally has grown from […]

Middle School Science

Palo Alto was buzzing last month over the unfortunate case of 11 year old Colman Chadam [i]. Colman was settling in and making friends at a new middle school, until school administrators determined that the bantam-weight fifth grader posed a threat to other students and should be transferred across town. Authorities deemed Colman threatening because […]

Genetic Kits for Consumers and the Role of the FDA

The other day I landed on the website of 23andMe. To my surprise, I learned that if I wanted to send the company a sample of my DNA, I’d have to swear under penalty of law neither to collect my sample in nor to mail it from New York State. That’s because New York State […]

Making the Cut: Are Court-Ordered Cesarean Sections Ethical?

A condensed version of this post was originally published on Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s The Doctor’s Tablet blog. According to the CDC’s most recent National Vital Statistics Report, in 2009, Cesarean section rates reached an all-time high of 32.3 percent of all births in the U.S. A Cesarean section is a major surgical procedure […]

Swapping Mitochondrial DNA: Ethically Sound or Excessive?

Headlines about “three-parent designer babies” have been inciting controversy since initial research on pronuclear transfer (PNT) was published two years ago. This treatment is aimed at stopping the maternal transmission of mutated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The disorders caused by mutated mtDNA range in severity, but can be devastating and are incurable. One of the most […]