Use of Athletes as Science Experiments: Are We Next?

John Calipari, University of Kentucky basketball coach, is a renowned and often controversial figure. He is also one of the first coaches to implement the use of heart-rate monitors during team practices to push his players beyond their comfort zones into complete physical exhaustion. Not only do the heart-rate monitors measure players’ exertion rates, but they also keep track of caloric burn. While the original purpose of these devices was to measure player exhaustion and Continue Reading →

Medication Abortions: Is a state’s limitation of drug induced abortions only to FDA-approved practices constitutional? Courts disagree.

Last week, three courts, the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Western District of Texas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, issued rulings regarding the constitutionality of state abortion laws, specifically, whether a state’s limitation on medication abortions is constitutionally permissible. On Tuesday October 29th, the Oklahoma Supreme Court reaffirmed its earlier ruling that the state’s 2011 preventive abortion law, H.B. 1970, is unconstitutional. The proposed law limited how medications could be administered to patients to Continue Reading →

The Legal Implications of Individual Genome Sequencing

Many people are ancestry enthusiasts, inquiring into historical databases and family records to find out more about their ancestors and about themselves.  They might learn about hobbies they shared with previous generations, and gain information on traits or diseases that run in their families.  Some people take such research a step further, digging into their DNA to learn about their biological past. Gene sequencing used to be prohibitively expensive for individuals—the first whole genome sequencing Continue Reading →

Myriad: The Right Decision for the Wrong Reasons

Over half of women who carry mutations on their BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene will develop breast cancer before they are 70. Angelina Jolie recently had a double mastectomy after discovering she has a mutation in her BRCA1 gene. By doing so, she decreased her chance of developing breast cancer substantially. Now, especially for women who have a history of breast cancer in their families, knowing whether you have the gene that predisposes you to the Continue Reading →

Can Assistive Technology Eliminate Disabilities?

Assistive technologies that enable an amputee to not only walk, but run and dance, are obviously incredible.  New prosthetic limbs simulate natural gait.  Brain-Computer Interfaces allow people who are completely paralyzed, “locked in,” to communicate. Enable Talk Gloves (only $75!) translate sign language to spoken words.  The recent trend of technological advancements is so remarkable—and accessible—that it may even, as one prominent roboticist boldly claims, largely eliminate disabilities during the 21st century. However, whether his Continue Reading →

Good Egg, Bad Egg

When you buy eggs, how long do you stand in the aisle, reading the labels and trying to decide which carton to get? For many of us, the choice is straightforward- the cheapest dozen, or the brand you’ve always bought. But for others, stories of the benefits of the organic choice, the perils of antibiotic use in livestock, and animal cruelty, have prompted a closer look at the labels on egg cartons. However, labels such Continue Reading →

Balancing the Risk in Medical Products

The New York Times recently reported a dramatic increase in complaints regarding artificial hips, widely used in hip replacements. The culprit is the metal-on-metal hip implant, used in an estimated one-third of hip replacements. Serious injuries result from the deterioration of the artificial hip, which often causes fragments to break off while in the body.  The Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.), the agency receiving the complaints, is responsible for allowing the device to enter the Continue Reading →