"A registered nurse from the Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association checks the blood sugar level of a patient" by Brian Finney is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

Jamaica’s healthcare system has a critical problem: there are not enough specialist nurses in the country. Jamaica produces plenty of specialist nurses. However, nurses trained in Jamaica are leaving the country to work in places in the developed world, like the United States or the United Kingdom. According to a recent NPR article, “the exodus has forced Jamaican hospitals to reschedule some complex surgeries because of a lack of nursing staff on their wards.” James Moss-Solomon, the chairman of the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, accused richer countries like the U.S. of “poaching” nurses from Jamaica. The use of the verb “to poach” —which can mean “to take something in an unfair way”—implies a moral condemnation of the practice.

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"Homeopathy" by Detco is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Pixabay)

Homeopathy, the medical philosophy that “like cures like,” is big business. According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control, $2.9 billion were spent in out-of-pocket costs by adults in the United States for homeopathic medicine in 2007. The medical philosophy of homeopathy, developed in Germany over 200 years ago, posits that any substance that produces certain symptoms in a healthy person can also be used to cure those symptoms in a sick person. Homeopathic cures introduce one of these substances to cure a person of their symptoms.

"Silhouette mother and child" by Wyncliffe is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Flickr)

It is doubtful that any individual ever grows up expecting to have a child with any type of physical or mental disability. No one plans their life thinking that one day they will have to care for a person with special needs. Parenting is a challenge as it is, but learning to parent a child with disabilities is infinitely more difficult because of this lack of preparedness.

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"Technology For Life (Cryonics)" by Hawaiian Sea via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Cryogenics, also known as cryonics, is a form of preservation involving the storing and preservation of a body at very low temperatures in hopes of one day reviving and repairing the body. Although to date no humans have been revived after freezing, some scientists think they are coming closer to making revivement though cryogenics a real possibility. Recent reports of a terminally ill British teen being frozen upon her death have brought cryogenics and the ethical debates surrounding the topic back into the news.

"Stethoscope" by WerbeFabrik is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Pixabay)

The 21st Century Cures Act represents the kind of bipartisan diligence and compromise from a bygone era. Passed with overwhelming consensus by the House on November 30th 392-27, this mammoth health spending bill has brought two parties together that have been polarized during the recent presidential campaign. This over 1,000-page bill combines the efforts of millions in lobbying spending, Republican values of deregulation and Democratic values of expanding health care spending and including individual patient advocacy in drug testing regimen. Who are the winners and losers of the 21st Century Cures Act, and are the controversial aspects of this monumental legislation?

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"An NHGRI researcher uses a pipette to remove DNA from a micro test tube" by Maggie Bartlett is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

This summer, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) decided to reverse an earlier moratorium on federal funding for research that uses human stem cells to create part-human, part-animal embryos. Research that creates these chimeras, as they are called, may soon be eligible for federal funding under certain carefully controlled conditions. The immediate public reaction to this move, as illustrated in the comments left on an August 4 post from Carrie D. Wolinetz, Ph.D., Associate Director for Science Policy at the NIH, show the move to be controversial.

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"Opened Oral Birth Control" by Bryancalabro is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Changes in mood, pain, depression, increased or decreased libido, and weight gain are all common side effects for women who choose hormonal birth control. Recently, news broke that a study of hormonal injections as birth control for men was stopped earlier than planned after men experienced various adverse side effects – all of which women have been experiencing for decades when using hormonal birth control. Due to these effects, the study was terminated earlier than planned.

"March for Life Rally" by Elvert Barnes is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (via Flickr)

This week, Community Health Options, Maine’s largest provider of health coverage on the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace announced that they no longer will offer coverage for elective abortions. The CEO, Kevin Lewis, cited economic considerations, as the co-op has suffered losses that it hopes to make up by cutting some coverage.

"Ark Encounter" by Jameywiki is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikipedia)

With 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV in 2015, and 2.1 million newly infected people last year, the search for a cure for human immunodeficiency virus and the syndrome that follows, AIDS, is dire. Traditionally, children who are born with HIV will die from AIDS before their second year if not treated. However, monkeys infected with the equivalent virus, SIV, will typically survive. To the scientific community’s surprise, scientists have found that a “monkey-like” gene found in some children may be a leap closer to a cure. This discussion of treatment for AIDS automatically assumes an evolutionist perspective on humans. Does finding the cure for HIV go against pivotal American values?