University 'ethics boards' as a way to evade scientific controversy

University 'ethics boards' as a way to evade scientific controversy

Evaluations of research ethics do not benefit from a tick-box approach. Image sourced from

Australia’s social science research, like that in most developed countries since the infamous Milgram experiments took place at my alma mater in 1961, occurs under the watchful eye of ethics boards.

Conservationists need to keep up with nature

Conservationists need to keep up with nature

Nature is on the move. As the impacts of climate change reveal themselves, species and ecosystems are moving in response. This poses a fundamental challenge to conservation organizations--how do you conserve something that won't stay still?

A new paper authored by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, professor suggests that in order to cope, conservation organizations need to adapt like the organisms they seek to protect.

The more friends you drink with, the more you drink

A new study shows that alcohol consumption of individuals appears to increase with the number of friends in their drinking group.

Why Are Girls More Likely to Die in Pediatric Intensive Care Units?

In a study of 2,609 patients from a pediatric intensive care unit in a children's hospital in Spain, investigators found that more boys than girls were admitted (57.5% vs. 42.5%) but death rates were higher in girls (4.9% vs. 3.3%).

Girls died from a broader range of causes while boys died most often from respiratory and polytraumatic injuries, which could reflect an increased likelihood to engage in risky activities or behave more carelessly, the authors conclude.

The O.J. Simpson Effect and forensic science reform

Forensic science expert John Collins has published a commentary at Science 2.0 in which he cites the 1995 murder trial of O.J. Simpson as "kick-starting" legal and political activism against forensic science in the United States.

In Keeping the Gate - A Science & Justice Blog, Collins, president and founder of the Forensic Foundations Group, said that the activism has distorted perceptions about science in the courtroom.

Did climate change help spark the Syrian war?

A new study says a record drought that ravaged Syria in 2006-2010 was likely stoked by ongoing manmade climate change, and that the drought may have helped propel the 2011 Syrian uprising. Researchers say the drought, the worst ever recorded in the region, destroyed agriculture in the breadbasket region of northern Syria, driving dispossessed farmers to cities, where poverty, government mismanagement and other factors created unrest that exploded in spring 2011. The conflict has since evolved into a complex multinational war that has killed at least 200,000 people and displaced millions.

You can't take your genes with you: Strategies to share genetic information after death

Does the child of a person with a heritable form of cancer have the right to access their parent's genetic information after death? What if no consent was ever established? In the March 2 issue of Trends in Molecular Medicine, biomedical ethicists review current arguments about how to disclose genetic information of the deceased and offer suggestions that may help clinicians and officials develop their own policies.

Licorice manufacturers encouraged to state daily limit of consumption

A 10-year-old boy was admitted to hospital in Bologna, Italy after suffering a 2 minute tonic-clonic seizure. Dr Davide Tassinari and colleagues from the University of Bologna, Italy reported that a cluster of another three generalized seizures occurred in the next few hours. The boy also complained of a bad headache and had high blood pressure. Investigations were conducted using cranial computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to investigate the possibility of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES).

New systemic adjuvant therapy in gastrointestinal tumors increasing

A new study finds that the use of adjuvant systemic therapy for localized gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs ) has significantly increased over time and that patients treated with the therapy have better survival than those treated with surgery alone. The study, which appears early online in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology, also finds that older patients and minorities are less likely to receive adjuvant therapy for GISTs.

Study identifies teens at-risk for synthetic marijuana use

Synthetic cannabinoids ("synthetic marijuana"), with names like Spice, K2, Scooby Doo and hundreds of others, are often sold as a "legal" alternative to marijuana. Often perceived as a safe legal alternative to illicit drug use, synthetic marijuana use was associated with 11,561 reports of poisonings in the United States between January 2009 and April 2012.

Popular among teens, in 2011, synthetic marijuana was used by more than one out of ten (11.4%) high school seniors in the US, making it the most commonly used drug after real marijuana.