Diabetes Linked To Risk Of Mental Health Hospitalization In Young Adults: Study
Researchers at the Health Care Cost Institute found that young people with diabetes were four times as likely to be hospitalized with a mental health concern than those without diabetes. Additionally, it appears that the trend is increasing over time, with more hospitalizations in 2014 than in 2012. The researchers have suggested the new health law allowing children to stay on parents' insurance until 26 as a possible contributor.
A 57-year old man in Leed's, who lost both hands in a metal pressing machine accident, was the first person to successfully receive a double hand transplant. The first successful single hand transplant occurred in 2012.
Florida officials are investigating two cases of Zika in the state that may not be traceable to travel to Zika infected areas. In addition to investigating these cases, the Florida Department of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to catch and test mosquitos in the area the cases occurred.
HIV cases rise in 74 countries in last decade
A study presented at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa reported that global rates of AIDS went down between 2005 and 2015, but they rose in certain areas. The largest rises occurred in Pakistan, Panama, Qatar, and Afghanistan. More than 75% of new infections in 2015 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.
By: Suanu Bakor
Editor's note: This is the fourth of a short series of posts by students in the CSHH course Human Health, Bioethics, and Disability Studies. Students in this course analyzed current events that were related to the fields of bioethics and disability studies. Some of those assignments were modified to be presented here over the next few weeks as Destination HealthEU posts.
An article published last fall on Seeker.com on technology claims that the technological advancement and development of top-of-the-line prosthetic limbs will “bring hope to amputees.” This article summarizes the process of the creation of a highly sensitive prosthetic arm for a man who had been paralyzed for over a decade due to a spinal cord injury. The research is backed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which states that technologies like this could lead to a future in which people living with paralyzed or missing limbs will be able to manipulate objects with such prosthetics. But the onset of such technology brings up an interesting set of questions for those developing them. Could these devices become a threat to the disability identity and those within its community? This essay will analyze the implications of such technology and others like it on the disabled community by discussing both the bioethical and disability rights perspectives.
Bioethicists would argue that, based on core bioethical principles, good was done to this man by allowing him to sense touch where he has not for over a decade. This argument would assert that researchers were acting with benevolence in their efforts to help people and, since they are not forcing the prosthetic on any individual, personal autonomy is also respected. The people involved with this project are doing work that could one day help many people who were born with, or acquired, a disability. Because the disabled community has historically seen a lack of care, research meant to directly improve their lives is, thus, a moral imperative. Scholars do not conduct such research with the intent of disrupting disability culture or identity. However, it is not up to the bioethical community to determine whether or not a life is improved. Only the individual using or considering the technology can determine that. We can look to the case of cochlear implants among the deaf community and how the creation of such technology posed a threat to Deaf culture as a way to explore how this technology may impact its users' disability identity.
The Deaf community is a thriving sector of the disabled community. But the rise of devices called cochlear implants, which are surgically implanted to restore hearing and speech understanding, has been considered by some within that community to be a threat to the way in which they live their lives. They argue that the development of the device and its subsequent promotion is an attempt to provide a cure to something they do not believe needs to be cured. For this community, it is like trying to prescribe a treatment for a disease that a patient does not have. Members of Deaf culture are told both directly and indirectly that they are not normal due to their deafness. The fact that there are not more widespread and better-developed methods and tools to facilitate non-verbal communication within a mostly hearing society demonstrates this point. Not only does society not recognize these individuals as being within its definition of normal, but it now wishes to force a purported cure onto their way of life.
What this means for procedures like the prosthetic arm is that neither the government, bioethicists, DARPA, nor other healthcare professionals can guarantee the effect that such technology would have on the disabled community, that it will be welcome, or that the resources necessary for the technology would be equally distributed to those that desire and need it. Wealthier nations with wealthier citizens would get this technology first and others who cannot afford such a procedure would be left without much societal support to help them live with their disability – which is exactly the type of situation that disability advocates fight to avoid. Also, devices like the prosthetic arm require maintenance. One report on the technology noted that because the electrode array is implanted onto the brain, scarring can occur which dulls the signal that the brain is sending out and receiving from the arm. This means that further surgery and maintenance on the arm itself is necessary to maintain practical use of the prosthetic. These added costs could make the procedure all but impossible for many individuals.
In conclusion, the development of greater technologies that can improve the wellbeing of its intended audience can be a very powerful advancement for the individuals that need such advances. Making efforts to improve the lives of others is a virtuous endeavor and most people with disabilities would not take a stance against helping members of their own community, even if it meant potentially “losing” that member. However, the disability perspective will always argue that the implementation of such technologies needs to be analyzed for what it could mean on a larger scale for an entire community like people who are Deaf. Increased use of such technology may lead to societal pressures towards those who live with such a disability, leading to potential discrimination based on non-use of a technology. Advocates for the rights of disabled people seek to avoid this pressure because of the disability rights mantra is that a disabled life is a life worth living. They would argue that the researchers and bioethicists working on this prosthetic arm, cochlear implants, or other projects that involve creating a device meant to reverse or ameliorate a bodily condition need to consider the larger and, often unintended, consequences that such technologies can have on the very same people they are trying to help.
1. Vaughn, L. (2013). Bioethics: Principles, issues, and cases. New York: Oxford University Press.
2. Bonnie, P. T. (1998). Deaf culture, cochlear implants, and elective disability. The Hastings Center Report, 28(4), 6-14.
3. Sparrow, R. (2005). Defending Deaf Culture: The Case of Cochlear Implants. Journal of Political Philosophy, 13, 135–152. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9760.2005.00217.x
A summary of important health news from the past week.
HIV therapy for breastfeeding mothers can virtually eliminate transmission to babies
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