The Complications Facing Precision Medicine

Earlier this year, President Obama announced the $215 million Precision Medicine Initiative which will “provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients” [1]. Taking into account individual genetic, environmental, and lifestyle differences, precision medicine aims to create personalized solutions to diseases afflicting patients in the 21st century. The initiative funds …

Is Rare Expensive?

Accepting what Kenneth Arrow once said that “there seems to be little room for the unequal distribution of a vital commodity such as health care in a just society”, few would argue that our current system is ethical. On the contrary, it seems to be a system in which the poor have a significantly narrowed access to medical care in …

The Three Parent Baby Phenomenon

Is it an innovative method that will prevent diseases caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or a threat to humanity? Scientists have thoroughly debated the three-parent-baby phenomenon, especially since the United Kingdom became the first country to legalize mtDNA transfer in February 2015 [1]. The term “three-parent-babies” refers to infants born through an in-vitro fertilization where the mitochondria are …

Ethical Issues Rooted in the Business Models of Today’s Pharmaceutical Companies

Although there are many reasons for starting a business, the underlying goal of all entrepreneurs is profit. Today’s pharmaceutical companies are built on the same foundation, gearing all of their production efforts towards boosting revenue. However, because of this profit-first mentality, pharmaceutical companies focus on producing drugs that are either on patent-periods or treat only the common medical conditions for …

Rooted in Misconceptions: Hesitance towards Organ Donation

One of the most polarizing scientific advancements of the 20th and 21st centuries has been organ transplantation.  The words “organ donation” often conjure up gory images of surgery and possible death. Currently, there are 120 million donors in the United States, about 37% of the country’s population, yet an average of 18 people die each day due to the shortage of …

Cortical Manipulation of Appetite

The impetus to eat is crucial to an animal’s survivability. However in today’s fast paced society, we do not think twice about our meals and even less about our appetite, the primary stimulus for eating. The science behind appetite has been profound in providing us with various mechanisms and pathways through which we may modulate desire to eat. Having the …