Bioethics and genetics
Scientists discussed issues of bioethics and genetics at a forum in Moscow
Bioethics and genetics have become one of the challenges of the new age today. Thanks to revolutionary discoveries, doctors today are subject to previously incurable diseases, some even before birth. But the paradox is that even the most fantastic methods do not work without an ethical code. Scientists discussed subtle issues of medicine at a conference in Moscow.
The main medical ethical principle "do no harm" has not changed since the time of Hippocrates. But some others that have appeared over the next 2.5 thousand years are subject to discussion, for example, what is the "dignity of the patient" and "medical duty".
"It seems to me that the third principle could be the principle of respect for the dignity of the patient. And as for the fourth principle, if you do the fourth, and maybe do the fifth, this is exactly what you can discuss: compliance with duty, taking into account our Soviet tradition," says Elena Grebenshchikova, associate professor of Bioethics at the Pirogov Russian National Research University.
At the conference "Bioethics and Genetics", representatives of relevant authorities, the scientific community and practitioners discuss, among other things, how in the era of technological breakthroughs in medicine to make the patient not hurt, not scared and not lonely.
"This medical event is strictly highly specialized. Some discussions and round tables are closed to the public and the press. But the main topic here is bioethics. That is, the attitude of the doctor and the patient. This means that what is being discussed here is important for everyone," says our correspondent Maxim Prikhod.
And it is genetics that is the sphere in which questions of moral choice arise most often before the doctor. For example, what to do if a patient refuses therapy under a far-fetched pretext, and whether it is worth informing future parents about their child's diagnosis, which will manifest itself only decades later.
"When examining one family member, we identified a variant of the gene that leads to hereditary cancer – it may also be in his blood relatives. And this preventive surgery will save their lives. But the person says "no". According to the law, you must follow medical secrecy. And according to the law, I do not want to disclose this information," says Vera Izhevskaya, deputy director for Scientific Work of the Academician N.P. Bochkov Medical and Genetic Research Center, chairman of the Society of Medical Geneticists.
Recent years have been breakthrough years for genetic research. Now specialists can diagnose serious diseases not only at an early stage, but at the embryonic stage.
"Science goes by leaps and bounds, and we do not always have time to even comprehend what we have come to, and what we can theoretically apply, and practically apply. Probably, the principle of "do no harm" remains an important fundamental principle after all. It underlies any healing, any doctor," says Maria Vorontsova, Candidate of Medical Sciences, leading researcher at the National Medical Research Center of Endocrinology of the Ministry of Health of Russia (NMIC of Endocrinology), member of the Presidium of the Russian Association for the Promotion of Science of the Russian Federation.
"Those conditions that we previously considered, for example, a random event or caused by some processes, say, epilepsy. It was assumed that there was always a focus: either it was a tumor, or it was injuries, or something else like that. Over the past 10 years, more than five hundred genes have been discovered that lead to epileptic conditions," said Sergey Kutsev, Director of the Academician Bochkov Medical and Genetic Research Center, Chief specialist in medical genetics of the Ministry of Health of Russia, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
And although the more a person learns about how his genome is arranged, the more moral questions arise before him, this does not negate the main thing: genetics is the science of how life is born and according to what laws life develops, can help prolong this very life and improve, as doctors say, its quality.
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