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July 25, 2005

Genetics in the Literature

This week's scholarly articles on genetics and human research includes a new journal and several on steroid use.

PLoS Genetics, a new open-access, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal published monthly by the Public Library of Science, has debuted. The inaugural issue includes an interview with Neil Risch.


A survey of the SWISS researchers on the impact of sibling privacy protections on pedigree recruitment.
Worrall BB, Chen DT, Brown RD, Brott TG, Meschia JF,
Neuroepidemiology. 2005; 25(1): 32-41

To understand the perceptions and attitudes about privacy safeguards in research and investigate the impact of letter-based proband-initiated contact on recruitment, we surveyed researchers in the Siblings With Ischemic Stroke Study (SWISS). Although 66% of researchers valued proband-initiated contact, only 23% said that probands viewed this strategy as important to protecting the privacy of siblings. A substantial minority of researchers (37%) said the strategy impeded enrollment, and 44% said it was overly burdensome to probands.

Tailoring access to high cost, genetically targeted drugs.
Hall WD, Ward R, Liauw WS, Lu CY, Brien JA
Med J Aust. 2005 Jun 20; 182(12): 607-8

Assessment of real cost effectiveness, with data linked to individual health outcomes while protecting patient privacy, is an essential challenge we need to meet.

Genomics: success or failure to deliver drug targets?

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2005 Jun 27;
Betz UA, Farquhar R, Ziegelbauer K

Although the combined effort of publicly funded projects and private investments resulted in rapid identification of essentially all genes of the human genome, harnessing this information to enable drug discovery has turned out to be more challenging and time consuming than initially anticipated.

Genomica-the perfect information-seeking research problem.

J Health Commun. 2005 Jun; 10(4): 323-9
Johnson JD, Case DO, Andrews JE, Allard SL

The technical possibilities for acquiring genomic information are increasing at an exponential pace, as are the scientific advances relating to it. The combination of individual salience, low health literacy, the consumer movement, and important policy problems, then makes genomics the perfect information seeking research problem.

The genetic bill of rights: advancing a rights platform in biotechnology.
Krimksy S, Shorett P
Genewatch. 2005 Jan-Feb ; 18(1): 12-4, 18

Enhancement technologies and human identity
Degrazia D
J Med Philos. 2005 Jun ; 30(3): 261-83

I investigate two identity-related challenges to biotechnological enhancements: (1) the charge of inauthenticity and (2) the charge of violating inviolable core characteristics. My thesis is that a lucid, plausible understanding of human identity largely neutralizes these charges, liberating our thinking from some seductive yet unsound objections to enhancement via biotechnology.

The other side of the human genome.
Manasse HR
Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2005 May 15; 62(10): 1080-6

What about the other side of genetic discovery—the implications for how we view ourselves and each other, not as patients or research subjects, but as fellow citizens? What revelations and repercussions will we have to contend with as clinicians, scientists, and professionals engaged in public dialogue?

Adverse effects of anabolic steroids in athletes: A constant threat.
Maravelias C, Dona A, Stefanidou M, Spiliopoulou C
Toxicol Lett. 2005 Jul 5;

More specifically, this article reviews the reproductive, hepatic, cardiovascular, hematological, cerebrovascular, musculoskeletal, endocrine, renal, immunologic and psychologic effects of AAS steroid use. Drug-prevention counseling to athletes is highlighted and the use of anabolic steroids is must be avoided, emphasizing that sports goals may be met within the framework of honest competition, free of doping substances.

DNA typing: an accessory evidence in doping control.
Sípoli Marques MA, Pinto Damasceno LM, Gualberto Pereira HM, Caldeira CM, Pereira Dias BF, de Giacomo Vargens D, Amoedo ND, Volkweis RO, Volkweis Viana RO, Rumjanek FD, Aquino Neto FR
J Forensic Sci. 2005 May ; 50(3): 587-92

DHEA access threatened?
James JS
AIDS Treat News. 2005 Mar 25; : 6-8

DHEA came close to being totally banned in the U.S. in January 2005, when a new law aimed at steroids in sports took effect. Even doctors would not have been able to prescribe DHEA, and medical research on its uses would have become far more difficult. A potentially important treatment could have been lost for a long time -- and could still be lost unless people are vigilant.

Misusing the Nazi Analogy

Science, Vol 309, Issue 5734, 535 , 22 July 2005

Art Caplan

What is important to keep in mind about these underlying themes that provided the underpinning for Nazi euthanasia and eugenic practices is that they have little to do with contemporary ethical debates about science, medicine, or technology.

rsp10 July 25, 2005 03:54 PM