Philosophy & Ethics

Children's exposure to alcohol advertising during early adolescence appears to influence both beer drinking and their intentions to drink a year later, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

The study of children in the sixth and seventh grades found that those exposed to alcohol advertising at high levels – from television, magazines, in-store displays and promotional items like T-shirts and posters – were 50 percent more likely to drink and 36 percent more likely to intend to drink than children whose exposure to alcohol advertising was very low.

Fairness of kidney allocation is essential for public trust.

While the field of transplantation is quite young, substantial advancements and success have led to the current imbalance between the supply of organs and the demand for them. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) coordinates the nation's transplant system through a point system based primarily on wait time, sensitization and HLA matching.

Just because someone decides not to participate in a research project doesn't necessarily mean that they fundamentally object to taking part, a study published online in BMC Health Services Research suggests. Misunderstandings about the nature and process of a study often contribute to expressions of non-consent, a factor that should be incorporated in the design of future studies.

Genomic research has the potential to improve global health by elucidating basic mechanisms of disease, susceptibility, and resistance, thereby guiding the development of preventive interventions [1]. Recently developed methods for exploring how human genetic variation affects resistance are likely to provide strategic clues about vaccine development for researchers working on malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, and other diseases of the developing world [2].

Scientists using one of the nation's newest and most capable research aircraft are launching a far-reaching field project this month to study plumes of airborne dust and pollutants that originate in Asia and journey to North America. The plumes are among the largest such events on Earth, so great in scope that scientists believe they might affect clouds and weather across thousands of miles while interacting with the sun's radiation and playing a role in global climate.

Most basic science is performed using animal models on the assumption that we can learn something about humans by studying how other animals work. Obviously, the ethical issues surrounding human experimentation necessitates the use of animals models. It wasn't always this way though, and the history of science is littered with examples of human experimentation.

A new climate modeling study forecasts the complete disappearance of several existing climates in tropical highlands and regions near the poles, while large swaths of the tropics and subtropics may develop new climates unlike any seen today.

In general, the models show that existing climate zones will shift toward higher latitudes and higher elevations, squeezing out the climates at the extremes--tropical mountaintops and the poles--and leaving room for unfamiliar climes and new ecological niches around the equator.

Laws in two states requiring disclosure of pharmaceutical company payments to physicians do not provide the public with easy access to payment information and are of limited quality when accessed, according to a study in the March 21 issue of JAMA.

Interactions between the pharmaceutical industry and health care professionals often involve payments, including cash, gift certificates, meals, textbooks or conference fees. In contrast to many other professions, medicine allows payments from a company to an individual who decides whether and how often to use products produced by the company.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita focused the international spotlight on the vulnerability of the U.S. coastline. Fears that a "super-hurricane" could make a direct hit on a major city and cause even more staggering losses of life, land and economy triggered an outpouring of studies directed at every facet of this ferocious weather phenomenon. Now, an LSU professor takes us one step closer to predicting the future by drilling holes into the past.

Kam-biu Liu, George William Barineau III Professor in LSU's Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, is the pioneer of a relatively new field of study called paleotempestology, or the study of prehistoric hurricanes.

A federal law requiring publicly traded firms to disclose whether they have adopted codes of ethics for their senior financial officers may be useful, but a Penn State researcher says its impact is often limited.

A firm's board of directors needs to be the driving force behind creating and implementing the program in most cases for it to truly be successful.

"According to my research, firms with ethics programs overseen by their boards of directors disclose more credible financial information—as perceived by financial analysts—than do firms having ethics programs not overseen by their boards, and firms not having ethics programs," said Andrew Felo, assistant professor of accounting at Penn State Great Valley graduate school in suburban Philadelphia.