When a person has a religious experience, what happens within the brain? What kind of changes take place? In one experiment, brain scans examine the parts of the brain that are activated during prayer. In another, mystical and religious experiences are simulated by using bursts of electrical impulses. These experiments have created no small amount of controversy. More
A new report from the Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on health policy, calls on the U.S. to do far more than is now being done to relieve the suffering of dying children and their families. Doctors and families face a dilemma in trying to choose between painful treatment that is unlikely to work and palliative care to make possible a so-called “good death.” More
Researches are hopeful that mapping the human genome will lead to a revolution in biomedicine, but scientists and ethicists worry about the moral questions the new knowledge could raise.
To keep up with the skyrocketing demand for life-saving organ donations, Pennsylvania officials are trying an innovative and controversial program to offer financial incentives to organ donors. But it has already raised several ethical concerns about what could happen once money is attached to something that’s always been an altruistic act. More
Many individuals are hoping to make places of worship more accessible to persons with disabilities. The issue goes beyond just being able to get up the steps or hear the sermon; it’s about changing attitudes toward the disabled. There is a large pool of disabled worshippers who want to be more than witnesses, who want to participate in or even lead religious services. More
The House is preparing to vote on a bill that could severely curb a doctor’s ability to prescribe lethal drugs for the purpose of suicide. That ability is at the heart of the Oregon law that went into effect last fall. At age 35, Brian Lovell was diagnosed with colon cancer and was given six months to live. Now, he is ready to use Oregon’s Death with Dignity law. More