Forum Posts by
    Susan Gilbert

    • Fresh Territory for Bioethics: Silicon Valley

      Posted on October 28, 2015

      Biomedical researchers are increasingly looking to Silicon Valley for access to human subjects, and Silicon Valley is looking to biomedical researchers for new ventures. These relationships could be a boon to medicine, but they also raise questions about how well-informed the consent process is and how securely the privacy of the subjects’ identity and data… Read more

    • Why College Students Use Cognitive Enhancers: It’s Not Only about Grades

      Posted on June 3, 2015

      As the school year winds down, it’s safe to assume that many college students used stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall to get through finals. While the students may have been motivated to improve their odds of getting good grades, a new study suggests that students’ reasons for taking stimulants aren’t so blatantly opportunistic. The students in the study… Read more

    • Federal Recommendations on Use of Cognitive Enhancers

      Posted on April 20, 2015

      The idea that we can get better grades at school and advance our careers by taking drugs that improve concentration and other brain functions is at once controversial and tempting. Is this cheating, or is it in the same realm as drinking coffee to increase alertness? Bioethicists, medical professionals, and the general public are divided… Read more

    • Responding to Ebola: Selected Commentaries on Key Ethical Questions

      Posted on August 22, 2014

      The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest and deadliest on record, and the crisis is evolving rapidly. More than 2,200 people have been infected in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria, and more than half have died. The response to the epidemic has raised ethical questions about the fair allocation of scarce resources, the appropriate… Read more

    • More French Paradoxes

      Posted on August 8, 2014

      Death is hard to deal with anywhere, but France has some contradictory ways of providing end-of-life care, as two recent articles discuss. On the lighter side, Agence France-Presse reports on a novel service that one French hospital will launch next month to improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients: a wine bar in the… Read more

    • New Bioethics Education Resources: Read about Them Here; Find Them When the Government Shutdown Is Over

      Posted on October 2, 2013

      The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues recently announced its release of new, free materials for bioethics education. The educational materials were available for download on the commission’s website,, until 12:01 AM on October 1, when the government shut down and went dark. But you don’t have to wait until the government… Read more

    • Support for Returning Results of Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarker Research

      Posted on August 28, 2013

      This used to be a purely academic question: If you could know, years before you had symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, that you were likely to develop it–and there was no treatment or cure–would you want this information? Now it is a real dilemma because there are brain scans and other biomarker tests to detect very… Read more

    • What if the Patient is Your Mother?

      Posted on April 1, 2013

      The problems with end-of-life care are clear enough. Patients and their families/significant others still have trouble talking with one another and their doctors about how they would and would not want to spend their final days. All too often, for many reasons, patients’ wishes are not honored. Overtreatment persists, with incentives in the health care… Read more

    • Why Hospitals Should Go Greener

      Posted on December 5, 2012

      Conventional wisdom: Making environmentally friendly changes is a luxury that most hospitals can’t afford. Evidence: Making environmentally friendly changes can save hospitals a lot of money – and save the U.S. health care system billions of dollars. That is the finding of a study published by the Commonwealth Fund last month, “Can Sustainable Hospitals Help Bend the… Read more

    • When Cutting Mental Health Spending Means Passing the Buck

      Posted on November 14, 2012

      It’s no secret that community-based mental health and substance use treatment services are underfunded, but less widely known is the extent of the problem. Since 2009, the height of the Great Recession, state funding for these services has fallen by $4.35 billion. And yet the prevalence of behavioral health disorders has remained fairly constant. What… Read more

    • Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants: A Family Issue

      Posted on October 12, 2012

      In a presidential campaign riven with disagreement about nearly everything to do with health care, there is a notable area of bipartisan accord: both parties support improving children’s health and access to health care. But the reality is more complex, particularly when it concerns the American-born children of undocumented immigrants.  A commentary just posted on the Center’s… Read more

    • Take Our Poll: The Facebook Effect on Organ Donation

      Posted on September 20, 2012

      Blair and Alfred Sadler reported here a few weeks ago on the effect of Facebook’s feature, introduced last spring, that enables users to link to their local organ donation registries and share their donor status. The Sadlers, who helped write the federal law on donation, were interested in the potential of social media to help reduce the shortage… Read more

    • TEDMED 2012: Great Expectations

      Posted on April 17, 2012

      TEDMED, which took place in Washington last week, was a beehive of doctors, nurses, medical students, leaders of medical institutions and government health agencies, entrepreneurs, engineers, patients, patient advocates, athletes, musicians, artists, poets, and, yes, bioethicists — a diverse lot united by our interest in and passion for the future of health and medicine. Expectations… Read more

    • Good News for Chimpanzees in U.S. Labs

      Posted on December 15, 2011

      Two announcements today have changed the conversation about the use of chimpanzees in research. The first announcement came from an Institute of Medicine committee and its much-anticipated report on the necessity of chimpanzees in biomedical and behavioral research. The report concluded that most of this research is unnecessary. Though it did not call for a ban on the research,… Read more

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