Genetic testing: a conceptual exploration.
This paper attempts to explore a number of conceptual issues surrounding genetic testing. It looks at the meaning of the terms, genetic information and genetic testing in relation to the definition set out by the Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing in the UK, and by the Task Force on Genetic Testing in the USA. It argues that the special arrangements that may be required for the regulation of genetic tests should not be determined by reference to the nature or technology of the test, but by considering those morally relevant features that justify regulation. Failure to do so will lead to the regulation of genetic tests that need not be regulated, and would fail to cover other tests which should be regulated. The paper also argues that there is little in the nature of the properties of gene tests, using DNA or chromosomes, that in itself justifies a special approach. (+info)
Research, ethics and conflicts of interest.
In this paper, I have tried to develop a critique of committee procedures and conflict of interest within research advisory committees and ethical review committees (ERCs). There are specific features of conflict of interest in medical research. Scientists, communities and the subjects of research all have legitimate stakeholdings. The interests of medical scientists are particularly complex, since they are justified by the moral and physical welfare of their research subjects, while the reputations and incomes of scientists depend on the success of their science. Tensions of this kind must at times produce conflict of interest. It is important to recognise that conflicts of interest may unwittingly lead to manipulation of research subjects and their lay representatives on research committees. It is equally important to recognise distinctions between the legal and moral aspects of conflict of interest. Some practical suggestions are made which may go some way towards resolving these difficulties. They indicate what might be needed to ensure the validity of ethical discourse, and to reduce the risks associated with conflict of interest. (+info)
Withholding/withdrawing treatment from neonates: legislation and official guidelines across Europe.
Representatives from eight European countries compared the legal, ethical and professional settings within which decision making for neonates takes place. When it comes to limiting treatment there is general agreement across all countries that overly aggressive treatment is to be discouraged. Nevertheless, strong emphasis has been placed on the need for compassionate care even where cure is not possible. Where a child will die irrespective of medical intervention, there is widespread acceptance of the practice of limiting aggressive treatment or alleviating suffering even if death may be hastened as a result. Where the infant could be saved but the future outlook is bleak there is more debate, but only two countries have tested the courts with such cases. When it comes to the active intentional ending of life, the legal position is standard across Europe; it is prohibited. However, recognising those intractable situations where death may be lingering and unpleasant, Dutch paediatricians have reported that they do sometimes assist babies to die with parental consent. Two cases have been tried through the courts and recent official recommendations have set out standards by which such actions may be assessed. (+info)
Commercial predictive testing: the desirability of one overseeing body.
In Europe a process of harmonisation of standards and regulations on genetic testing has started. Public discussion and consultation are recommended, but it is not clear in every European country how the decision making process as regards the further introduction of genetic testing services should be formed. In this paper the usefulness and importance of an overseeing body for genetic screening and testing is founded on four lines of reasoning: (1) analysis of the role of value judgments in the use of the concept of (genetic) abnormality; (2) a balancing of potential benefits for all parties involved; (3) a balancing of potential disadvantages, and (4) the greater availability of commercial genetic tests in the future. It is further argued that such an overseeing body has advantages for all the interested parties. (+info)
Danish ethics council rejects brain death as the criterion of death -- commentary 2: return to Elsinore.
No discussion of when an individual is dead is meaningful in the absence of a definition of death. If human death is defined as the irreversible loss of the capacity for consciousness combined with the irreversible loss of the capacity to breathe spontaneously (and hence to maintain a spontaneous heart beat) the death of the brainstem will be seen to be the necessary and sufficient condition for the death of the individual. Such a definition of death is not something radically new. It is merely the reformulation -- in the language of the neurophysiologist -- of much older concepts such as the 'departure of the (conscious) soul from the body' and the 'loss of the breath of life'. All death -- in this perspective -- is, and always has been, brainstem death.... (+info)
Danish ethics council rejects brain death as the criterion of death -- commentary 1: wanting it both ways.
In this commentary on the recommendations of the Danish Council of Ethics (DCE) concerning criteria for death it is argued that whilst the DCE is correct in stressing the cultural aspects of death, its adoption of cardiac-oriented criteria raises several problems. There are problems with its notion of a 'death process', which purportedly begins with brain death and ends with cessation of cardiac function, and there are serious problems regarding its commitment to a cardiac-oriented definition whilst permitting transplantation when the heart is still beating. (+info)
The Council of Europe's first Symposium on Bioethics: Strasbourg, Dec 5-7 1989.
This symposium discussed bioethics teaching, research and documentation and also research ethics committees. An international convention for the protection of the integrity of the human body was called for, as was a new European Committee on Ethics. 'The genetic impact' was a major preoccupation of the symposium. (+info)