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In The News: Political Doctors, Antibiotic Resistance, And Stem Cell Research

Medical organizations are donating heavily to doctors running for the U.S. House. Dentists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, surgeons, neurologists and ENTs have contributed heavily. The goal is to get doctors onto committees where they can have the most impact. So far, the candidates have trended heavily Republican and have, in at least one campaign, vowed to overturn healthcare reform. The stakes are high if opposing legislators succeed, because they could underfund or block portions of reform to the point that it works poorly or not at all. (Politico, New England Journal of Medicine)

Spurred by antibiotic resistance seen in almost every drug class, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, FACP, is turning the agency’s attention toward animal feed. With little to no development of new antibiotics in the pipeline, the agency is discussing regulations for animal feed and guidelines for human use. (Wall Street Journal)

Scientists should be able to use stem cells for biomedical research, according to a recent Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll. Almost three quarters of adults surveyed are in favor of using embryonic stem cells left over from in-vitro fertilization. These poll results remain consistent with a similar survey released in 2005.

The poll was conducted online Sept. 28-30 and included 2,113 adults. Among its other findings:

–73% (versus 72% in 2005) believe that stem cell research should be allowed “as long as the parents of the embryo give their permission, and the embryo would otherwise be destroyed.”

–58% of Republicans think stem cell research is acceptable (versus 24% opposed), as do 69% of Catholics and 58% of born-again Christians. 16% of Catholics and 22% of born-again Christians oppose it.

–Two-thirds of the respondents agreed that, “If most scientists believe that stem cell research will greatly increase our ability to prevent or treat serious diseases we should trust them and let them do it.”

Complete data are available online. (HealthDay)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*


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