Friday, February 19, 2010

The Decline Of Health Journalism: Repurposing Press Releases

The Decline Of Health Journalism: Repurposing Press Releases

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, February 18, 2010

NIH stem cell guidelines should be modified, UCSF team reports

From UCSF (my former employer):

A UCSF team, led by bioethicist Bernard Lo, MD, recommends that the National Institutes of Health ethics guidelines for embryonic stem cell research be modified to better protect the rights of individuals donating egg or sperm to patients undergoing in vitro fertilization.

The recommendation is reported in the February 19, 2010 issue of Science.

Third parties frequently donate sperm and egg, or "gametes," for patients attempting to create embryos in the in vitro fertilization clinic.

Under current practice in the United States, gamete donors sign a form giving the IVF patient unrestricted legal authority to determine how to dispose of any embryos that may be leftover following fertility treatments. Donor banks and IVF clinics are not required to brief gamete donors about the various options for disposition, which include donating the embryos for stem cell research, thereby enabling scientists to derive new human embryonic stem cell lines; discarding the embryos, or donating them to other IVF patients.

While many state, national, and international scientific committees and agencies have recommended that third-party gamete donors give formal "informed consent" for stem cell research with embryos remaining after infertility treatment, the NIH did not stipulate this requirement in its guidelines issued in March 2009. As these guidelines determine which human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines may be studied under NIH research grants – which are expected to play a growing role in funding stem cell research – the ethical implications are significant, says Lo, chair of the UCSF Gamete, Embryonic Stem Cell Research Committee, members of which published the Science paper.

"We urge the NIH to revise its guidelines to require that gamete donors be advised that embryos containing their sperm or egg could be used for embryonic stem cell research, before they grant dispositional authority over embryos to the IVF patient," he says. "Because some gamete donors may not approve of embryonic stem cell research, we consider this the ethically appropriate position."

In their paper, the team recommends a process that is less complex than the detailed "informed consent" process carried out when IVF patients donate embryos for research. They suggest the disclosure to gamete donors may be made through oral discussion or brochures before donors sign a form authorizing the IVF patient to determine the disposition of embryos.

Importantly, says Lo, the gamete donors' instructions would not disrupt the IVF process. IVF patients would learn of a gamete donor's restrictions in advance of selecting embryos for IVF treatment, and could select other gamete donors if not satisfied with the donors' disposition restrictions.

The recommendation is consistent with that of the National Academy of Sciences and the International Society for Stem Cell Research says Lo, a member of the ethics committee of the ISSCR, and the co-chair of the Standards Working Group of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

"It would be highly desirable to have consistency among standards and regulations," he says. "If such harmonization were achieved, many university Institutional Review Boards and other research oversight bodies would likely allow NIH-eligible human embryonic stem cell lines to be used for any otherwise acceptable hESC research."

"It's critical that we consider all parties involved in the creation of embryos and honor their wishes," says co-author Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD, director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF.

"The field of human embryonic stem cell research offers enormous promise for patients suffering from devastating diseases. We want to build this field on an ethical foundation of which we can be proud."

Exceptions to the guideline could be justified for hESC lines already in existence if there were strong scientific reasons to use the cell lines and the third-party gamete donor had granted rights to the IVF patient to determine disposition of the embryos.



Other co-authors of the study were other members of the UCSF Gamete, Embryonic Stem Cell Research Committee: Lindsay Parham, an analyst in the Program in Bioethics; Marcelle Cedars, MD, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive health and director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology; Susan Fisher PhD, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and director of the UCSF Human Embryonic Stem Cell Center; Elena Gates MD, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, and director of the IVF Tissue Bank; Linda Giudice, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences; Dina Gould Halme, PhD, formerly of the UCSF School of Medicine Dean's Office; William Hershon JD, Disability Rights California; Radhika Rao JD, University of California, Hastings College of the Law; Clifford Roberts, DVM, interim associate vice-chancellor for research; and Richard Wagner MA, associate director, Human Research Protection Program.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Related links:

Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF


Posted via web from Doug's posterous

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baptist Pastors to Pray for Barack Obama's Death on Presidents Day.

I had thought the extremists had already sunken to the lowest possible point, but apparently I am wrong. Praying for anyone's death is a sin, as far as I am concerned.

(Newser) – While a handful of Americans might have taken a few minutes to reflect favorably on George Washington and Abe Lincoln on Presidents Day, some evangelical leaders devoted their time to praying for Barack Obama's death. The "Imprecatory Prayer" is a favorite of Arizona’s Baptist preacher Steven L. Anderson and Orange County's Wiley Drake, who told supporters in an email over the weekend that the supplication is "now your DUTY."

If "you have an evil leader above you, you pray that Satan will stand by his side and you ask God to make his children fatherless and his wife a widow and that his time in office be short," Drake told Daily Beast columnist John Avlon. Anderson has said he hopes Obama dies of brain cancer "today." To those offended by the sentiments, Wiley responds: "I’m praying the word of God. I didn’t write it. Don’t get mad at me.”

Posted via web from Doug's posterous

Reporter At 'The New York Times' Plagiarized From Competitors - The Two-Way - Breaking News, Analysis Blog : NPR

By David Gura

Editors at The New York Times have acknowledged that one of the newspaper's business reporters, Zachery Kouwe, plagiarized material from The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and other news sources, "without attribution or acknowledgment."

Yesterday, The Times ran an editor's note:

In a number of business articles in The Times over the past year, and in posts on the DealBook blog on, a Times reporter appears to have improperly appropriated wording and passages published by other news organizations.

The Times has not made a formal announcement about what will happen to Kouwe, if anything. But the tone and content of the editor's note indicates the newspaper isn't taking the ethical transgression lightly:

Copying language directly from other news organizations without providing attribution -- even if the facts are independently verified -- is a serious violation of Times policy and basic journalistic standards. It should not have occurred. The matter remains under investigation by The Times, which will take appropriate action consistent with our standards to protect the integrity of our journalism.

I just don't understand how someone who purports to be a journalist can even think about doing something as stupid as this. Another sad day for journalism. Another black eye for mainstream media.

Posted via web from Doug's posterous

SF Chronicle reports star chef exits Napa's innovative Ubuntu

Chef Jeremy Fox earned considerable fame in the culinary world over the past three years or so, as Ubuntu, in downtown Napa, emerged as one of the truly innovative restaurants in the nation. Although only vegetarian, this was no crunchy, earthy place. Each dish was an intricate combination of flavors fresh from the garden. In many cases, menu items had unusual mixes or included ingredients rarely served. On a recent visit, my guest and I had a salad that was seasoned with a tangy red powder. When we asked about it, we learned it was sundried beet pulp that had been taken from the juicer. None of nature's bounty went to waste in Ubuntu's kitchen. I am glad that I was able to experience Ubuntu, and I will wait anxiously for news of Fox's next venture -- and for what happens to Ubuntu in his absence. More from the Chronicle below.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 (SF Chronicle)

The Inside Scoop/Chef departure roils Ubuntu

  Inside Scoop alert: Sources tell The Inside Scoop that as of 3 a.m. chef
Jeremy Fox and most of the staff came to the agonizing decision to leave
Ubuntu, Napa's acclaimed vegetarian restaurant (1140 Main Street).
Apparently, pastry chef Deanie Fox left last month. It's unclear what has
prompted the exodus.
  Jeremy Fox has been lauded by The Chronicle, the New York Times and others
for his innovative and sophisticated approach to vegetarian cooking.
Although the restaurant, with its quirky yoga studio, had become a media
darling, the concept didn't seem to catch on with the general dining
public, as evidenced by an often empty dining room.
  Fox declined to comment, and owner Sandy Lawrence could not be reached. We
suspect that in the next day or so Scoop will get the full story, so tune
in tomorrow.

-- Stacy Finz ( and Amanda Gold (
Copyright 2010 SF Chronicle

Posted via email from Doug's posterous