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Quandary

Quandary column

Déjà Vu All Over Again

By Michael Cook

In vitro eugenics could soon make Huxley’s Brave New World a reality.

Michael Cook is editor of the bioethics newsletter BioEdge.

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Genetic Ancestry

By Michael Cook

The thriving business of DNA ancestry testing is hawking dreams, not science.

Michael Cook is editor of the online bioethics newsletter BioEdge.

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Care in Ancient Societies

By Michael Cook

Archaeologists are documenting evidence that ancient humans cared for disabled members of their community.

Michael Cook is editor of the bioethics newsletter BioEdge.

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No Joy for Addicts

By Michael Cook

Neurosurgeons in China are treating drug addicts by destroying a part of the brain responsible for feeling pleasure.

Chinese neurosurgeons are treating heroin addicts by destroying a region of the brain which feels pleasure. Time magazine reports that this “risks permanently ending the entire spectrum of natural longings and emotions, including the ability to feel joy.”

Even in China, zapping bits of the brain is controversial. The Ministry of Health banned it in 2004 – but left a loophole for researchers. Apparently one surgeon drove a truck through this loophole and by 2007 he had done 1000 of these operations to treat severe depression, epilepsy and schizophrenia.

The New Eugenics

By Michael Cook

In the last century eugenics involved sterilisation or murder. This century it is more likely to involve genetic enhancement.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge, an online bioethics newsletter.

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Stem Cell Researchers Win Nobel Prize

By Michael Cook

The development of induced pluripotent stem cells overturned conventional thinking and removed the ethical issues associated with the destruction of embryos.

Michael Cook is editor of the online bioethics newsletter BioEdge.

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Boosting Performance at the Paralympics

By Michael Cook

Up to one-third of Paralympians in London may have harmed themselves to boost blood flow.

Michael Cook is editor of the on-line bioethics newsletter BioEdge.

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The Canary in the Medical Coal Mine

By Michael Cook

A steroid is being used off-label early in pregnancy to “normalise” the gender of the foetus.

Michael Cook is editor of the bioethics newsletter BioEdge.

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Fertility on Ice

By Michael Cook

Cryopreservation and eventual transplantation of ovarian tissue may delay menopause, but what are the consequences?

Michael Cook is editor of the online bioethics newsletter BioEdge.

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Should Olympic athletes be allowed to use performance-enhancing drugs?

By Michael Cook

Some bioethicists are arguing that athletes should be allowed to take performance-enhancing drugs.

The London Olympics have arrived and with them come familiar controversies over drug cheats. IOC President Jacques Rogge said yesterday that tests had identified more than 100 cheats in the lead-up to the Games. Years of tough restrictions appear to be bearing fruit, with fewer scandals every time the Olympics are held. In Athens in 2004 26 athletes were caught; in Beijing in 2008, only 14 athletes and 6 horses.