Friday, May 10, 2013

Bioethics topics- radiolab podcasts

Bioethics Podcasts
Henrietta’s Tumor –
This podcast tells the story of how researchers came to find a way to grow human cells in culture in perpetuity. These cells, HeLa Cells, have been used to develop many therapies/cures ranging from the polio vaccine to the drugs now used to treat HIV.  These cells came from a cervical tumor removed from Henrietta Lacks. Neither Henrietta nor her family knew researchers were growing her cells. Henrietta never knew, and her family didn’t find out for years.  This story brings up the issue of informed consent.
Weighing Good Intentions –
This podcast takes on the question of what a species is worth? It tells the story of efforts to protect the Kirtland’s warbler and what it cost one community.
 Be Careful What You Plan For –
The precursors to a lot of neurological research today and the way in which neurological research is being supported and used by the military and intelligence community were psychological studies much like the one described in this podcast. It involves a Harvard researcher, Alfred Murray, whose Cold War experiments exploited young college students, one of whom went on to become the Unabomber.
Diary of an Egg Donor
Egg donation is a relatively new field where young women take treatments of hormones which stimulate their ovaries into producing a larger than normal number of eggs during each cycle. The idea is that the eggs would allow couples who cannot have their own children – gay couples, infertile couples –to have biological children. Some single women do this with the idea of saving their own, supposedly more viable eggs for themselves later in life to increase their own chances of having children when they may feel more ready. This podcast follows the story of a reporter considering donating eggs as she interviews a frequent egg donor.

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