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Bioethics

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An Introduction with Readings

Vaccination has long been a familiar, highly effective form of medicine and a triumph of public health. Because vaccination is both an individual medical intervention and a central component of public health efforts, it raises a distinct set of legal and ethical issues—from debates over their risks and benefits to the use of government vaccination requirements—and makes vaccine policymaking uniquely challenging. This volume examines the full range of ethical and policy issues related to the development and use of vaccines in the United States and around the world.

The cannabis plant has been used for recreational and medicinal purposes for more than 4,000 years, but the scientific investigation into its effects has only recently yielded useful results. In this book, Linda Parker offers a review of the scientific evidence on the effects of cannabinoids on brain and behavioral functioning, with an emphasis on potential therapeutic uses.

Responses to the Crisis in Mental Health Research

Psychiatry and mental health research is in crisis, with tensions between psychiatry’s clinical and research aims and controversies over diagnosis, treatment, and scientific constructs for studying mental disorders. At the center of these controversies is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which—especially after the publication of DSM-5—many have found seriously flawed as a guide for research.

Public Health and Medicine in the Twenty-First Century

The 2013–2015 outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was a public health disaster: 28,575 infections and 11,313 deaths (as of October 2015), devastating the countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone; a slow and mismanaged international response; and sensationalistic media coverage, seized upon by politicians to justify wrongheaded policy.

Protecting Health on a Warming Planet

Climate change affects not just the planet but the people who live on it. In this book, physician Alan Lockwood describes how global warming will be bad for our health. Drawing on peer-reviewed scientific and medical research, Lockwood meticulously details the symptoms of climate change and their medical side effects.

Pain, although very common, is little understood. Worse still, according to Valerie Gray Hardcastle, both professional and lay definitions of pain are wrongheaded—with consequences for how pain and pain patients are treated, how psychological disorders are understood, and how clinicians define the mind/body relationship.

Economics, Ecology, Ethics

Valuing the Earth collects more than twenty classic and recent essays that broaden economic thinking by setting the economy in its proper ecological and ethical context. They vividly demonstrate that, contrary to current macroeconomic preoccupations, continued growth on a planet of finite resources cannot be physically or economically sustained and is morally undesirable.

The Limits of Moral Enhancement

Throughout history, humanity has been seen as being in need of improvement, most pressingly in need of moral improvement. Today, in what has been called the beginnings of “the golden age of neuroscience,” laboratory findings claim to offer insights into how the brain “does” morality, even suggesting that it is possible to make people more moral by manipulating their biology. Can “moral bioenhancement”—using technological or pharmaceutical means to boost the morally desirable and remove the morally problematic—bring about a morally improved humanity?

The United States has one of the highest rates of premature birth of any industrialized nation: 11.5%, nearly twice the rate of many European countries. In this book, John Lantos and Diane Lauderdale examine why the rate of preterm birth in the United States remains high—even though more women have access to prenatal care now than three decades ago. They also analyze a puzzling paradox: why, even as the rate of preterm birth rose through the 1990s and early 2000s, the rate of infant mortality steadily decreased.

Toward a New Ethical Framework for the Art of Dying Well
Edited by Lydia Dugdale

Most of us are generally ill-equipped for dying. Today, we neither see death nor prepare for it. But this has not always been the case. In the early fifteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church published the Ars moriendi texts, which established prayers and practices for an art of dying. In the twenty-first century, physicians rely on procedures and protocols for the efficient management of hospitalized patients. How can we recapture an art of dying that can facilitate our dying well?

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