This week’s Research Ethics Roundup highlights specimen donors’ wishes, beverage companies’ funding practices, a symposium on the White House Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, and what researchers discovered about Zika moving to the brain.
"Biorights" Rise: Donors Demand Control of their Samples: In this Boston Globe article, reporters Beth Daley and Ellen Cranley highlight the “biorights movement” in which patients are increasingly asking to be compensated for their specimens. They also report that patients are less willing to assist researchers employed by for-profit entities.
Coke and Pepsi Give Millions to Public Health, Then Lobby Against It: In this New York Times article, reporter Anahad O’Connor writes about the beverage industry’s practice of donating to public health organizations while simultaneously lobbying against public health initiatives, such as a tax on soda. A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that beverage companies have made donations to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association, all while spending millions of dollars to lobby against a proposed federal soda tax.
Symposium Explores Legacy of 1995 Report on Human Radiation Experiments: HUB reports on the Johns Hopkins University Berman Institute of Bioethics’ symposium to examine the historical impact of the White House Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE). Twenty years ago, ACHRE released a report on the federal government’s radiation experiments conducted on subjects without their consent or knowledge; the subjects unknowingly exposed to radiation ranged from young children who were wards of the state to a study involving more than 200,000 military personnel. The report’s findings led to the establishment of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission.
Zika Infects Adult Monkeys’ Brains: Kerry Grens of The Scientist reports that researchers have discovered that adult monkeys infected with Zika “harbor the virus” in their brains. One scientist who reviewed the Nature Medicine study said “It’s interesting to realize that during an infection the virus could be getting into the brains of adults who are otherwise healthy.”