Department of Ophthalmology, University of Siena, Policlinico Le Scotte, Siena, Italy.
According to the western medical establishment, homeopathy is both "unscientific" and "implausible". A short overview of its history and the methods it uses, however, easily reveals that homeopathy is a true science, fully grounded on the scientific method and on principles, such as, among others, the Arndt-Schultz law, hormesis, and epitaxy, whose plausibility has been clearly and definitely demonstrated in a number of scientific publications and reports. Through a review of the scientific literature, an explanation of the basic principles of homeopathy is proposed based on arguments and evidence of mainstream science to demonstrate that, in spite of the claims of conventional medicine, homeopathy is both scientific and plausible and that there is no reasonable justification for its rejection by the western medical establishment. Hopefully, this hurdle will be overcome by opening academic institutions to homeopathy to enlarge the horizons of medical practice, recover the value of the human relationship with the patient, and through all this, offer the sick a real alternative and the concrete perspective of an improved quality of life.
Dipartimento di Patologia, Università di Verona, Strada Le Grazie, 37134, Verona, Italy.
Department of Morphological Biomedical Sciences, University of Verona, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org
The first part of this paper reviews the effects of homeopathic remedies on several models of anxiety-like behaviours developed and described in rodents. The existing literature in this field comprises some fifteen exploratory studies, often published in non-indexed and non-peer-reviewed journals. Only a few results have been confirmed by multiple laboratories, and concern Ignatia, Gelsemium, Chamomilla (in homeopathic dilutions/potencies). Nevertheless, there are some interesting results pointing to the possible efficacy of other remedies, and confirming a statistically significant effect of high dilutions of neurotrophic molecules and antibodies. In the second part of this paper we report some recent results obtained in our laboratory, testing Aconitum, Nux vomica, Belladonna, Argentum nitricum, Tabacum (all 5CH potency) and Gelsemium (5, 7, 9 and 30CH potencies) on mice using ethological models of behaviour. The test was performed using coded drugs and controls in double blind (operations and calculations). After an initial screening that showed all the tested remedies (except for Belladonna) to have some effects on the behavioural parameters (light-dark test and open-field test), but with high experimental variability, we focused our study on Gelsemium, and carried out two complete series of experiments. The results showed that Gelsemium had several effects on the exploratory behaviour of mice, which in some models were highly statistically significant (p < 0.001), in all the dilutions/dynamizations used, but with complex differences according to the experimental conditions and test performed. Finally, some methodological issues of animal research in this field of homeopathy are discussed. The "Gelsemium model"- encompassing experimental studies in vitro and in vivo from different laboratories and with different methods, including significant effects of its major active principle gelsemine - may play a pivotal rule for investigations on other homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathic Doses of Gelsemium sempervirens Improve the Behavior of Mice in Response to Novel Environments.
Department of Morphological Biomedical Sciences (Chemistry and Microscopy Section), University of Verona, Verona 37134, Italy.
Gelsemium sempervirens is used in homeopathy for treating patients with anxiety related symptoms, however there have been few experimental studies evaluating its pharmacological activity. We have investigated the effects of homeopathic doses of G. sempervirens on mice, using validated behavioral models. Centesimal (CH) dilutions/dynamizations of G. sempervirens, the reference drug diazepam (1 mg/kg body weight) or a placebo (solvent vehicle) were intraperitoneally delivered to groups of mice of CD1 strain during 8 days, then the effects were assessed by the Light-Dark (LD) choice test and by the Open-Field (OF) exploration test, in a fully blind manner. In the LD test, the mean time spent in the illuminated area by control and placebo-treated animals was 15.98%, for mice treated with diazepam it increased to 19.91%(P =.047), while with G. sempervirens 5 CH it was 18.11%(P =.341, non-significant). The number of transitions between the two compartments increased with diazepam from 6.19 to 9.64 (P <.001) but not with G. Sempervirens. In the OF test, G. sempervirens 5 CH significantly increased the time spent and the distance traveled in the central zone (P =.009 and P =.003, resp.), while diazepam had no effect on these OF test parameters. In a subsequent series of experiments, G. sempervirens 7 and 30 CH also significantly improved the behavioral responses of mice in the OF test (P <.01 for all tested variables). Neither dilutions of G. sempervirens affected the total distance traveled, indicating that the behavioral effect was not due to unspecific changes in locomotor activity. In conclusion, homeopathic doses of G. sempervirens influence the emotional responses of mice to novel environments, suggesting an improvement in exploratory behavior and a diminution of thigmotaxis or neophobia.
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Eur J Ophthalmol. 2012 Apr 11;: 22505049
Sonia De Francesco, Paolo Galluzzi, Alessandra Del Longo, Elena Piozzi, Alessandra Renieri, Cristina Menicacci, Francesca Mari, Francis Munier, Theodora Hadjistilianou, Domenico Mastrangelo
Retinoblastoma Referral Center, University of Siena, Siena - Italy.
Purpose. To report the case of identical dichorionic diamniotic female twins with unilateral retinoblastoma in 13q deletion syndrome. Methods. Clinical and ophthalmoscopic evaluation, combination of multiple ligation-dependent probe amplification, array-comparative genomic hybridization analyses, and magnetic resonance imaging were performed. Results. Peculiar facial features, marked hypotonia, gastroesophageal reflux, interatrial septal defect with left to right shunt and light dilatation of right chambers, 5th finger hypoplasia, 3rd-5th toes clinodactyly, 2nd toe overlapped to 3rd toe, and cutis marmorata were found. Ophthalmoscopic evaluation revealed unilateral retinoblastoma in both girls. Magnetic resonance imaging detected corpus callosum hypoplasia in both twins. A 34.4-Mb deletion involving bands 13q13.2-q21.33 and including the RB1 gene was identified in both twins. The deletion was not present in the DNA of their parents and older brother. Conclusions. Dysmorphic features in children must be always suspicious of 13q deletion syndrome and a short ophthalmoscopic follow-up is necessary to detect the presence of a retinoblastoma.
Adrenaline inhibits the immunological activation of human basophils at pharmacological and ultra-low doses.
Department of Preclinical and Clinical Pharmacology Mario Aiazzi - Mancini, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.
J Neurooncol. 2010 Feb ;96 (3):443-8 19669095
Alfonso Cerase, Sonia De Francesco, Alberto Citterio, Theodora Hadjistilianou, Alex Malandrini, Domenico Mastrangelo, Paolo Toti, Carlo Venturi
Unit of Neuroimaging and Neurointervention, Department of Neurosciences and the Interdepartmental Center of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese, Santa Maria alle Scotte General Hospital, Viale Mario Bracci, 16, 53100, Siena, Italy. email@example.com
The purpose of this study was to describe the growth pattern of congenital malignant teratoid medulloepithelioma of the ciliary body by reporting clinical and imaging findings with pathological correlation. An 11-month-old little girl presented with a whitish-pink iris mass in the right eye resulting from a small ciliary body mass consistent with medulloepithelioma at both clinical and computed tomography (CT) findings. At CT, the lesion showed heterogeneous attenuation, without intraocular calcifications. Eleven months later, clinical and ultrabiomicroscopy showed a clear enlargement of the mass, which invaded the pupil. At magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the lesion showed T1-weighted hyperintensity and T2-weighted slight hypointensity when compared to the vitreous and a notch in the anterolateral aspect of the ipsilateral lens. After intravenous gadolinium administration, the lesion showed intense homogeneous enhancement, and there was leakage of gadolinium in the anterior chamber, resulting from impairment of blood-aqueous barrier. Biopsy revealed a malignant teratoid medulloepithelioma. The eye was then enucleated, and histology confirmed the diagnosis. Systemic chemotherapy and radiotherapy were not performed, since there was no extraocular extension. The 57-month clinical and MRI follow-up did not show disease relapse. This uncommon case displays the natural history of congenital malignant teratoid medulloepithelioma of the ciliary body. While the tumour might have been successfully treated by local excision at diagnosis, the delay in surgical treatment led to tumour overgrowth with consequent need for enucleation. The most important prognostic feature is extraocular extension, which carries a risk of local recurrence, eventually resulting in intracranial extension and/or lymphatic spread.
Department of Ophthalmology (Ocular Oncology Unit), University of Siena, Siena, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND Retinoblastoma (Rb) is the most common primary malignant intraocular tumour in childhood. The "two hit" theory, formulated by Knudson in 1971 to explain the variegated clinical expression of the disease, led to the discovery of the so called tumour suppressor genes and the identification of the Rb1 as the prototype of such genes. Mutations of the Rb1 gene are now commonly believed to be the "cause" retinoblastoma, although epidemiological, clinical, and biological evidences argue against it. MATERIAL/METHODS The Authors have performed a systematic review of available data concerning clinical and diagnostic aspects of retinoblastoma, including molecular genetics. Meta analysis of literature data has been performed in order to validate some of the predictions made by the two hit theory. RESULTS The following theses are discussed in detail: 1) there is no difference in the age at diagnosis between unilateral and bilateral retinoblastoma; 2) the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying familial, hereditary, and sporadic retinoblastoma are different; 3) bilateral retinoblastoma is not necessarily hereditary; 4) The real incidence of the unilateral phenotype within the familial group is disproportionately higher than that predicted by the "two hit"; 5) retinoblastoma is most probably "caused" by the combination of epigenetic factors and aneuploidy. CONCLUSIONS Epidemiological, clinical, and more recent biological and genetic evidences, show that the "two hit" theory represents a rather simplistic, outdated, and unreliable model to explain tumour development and clinical evolution of retinoblastoma.
Cell Oncol. 2008 ;30 (6):509-10 18936530
Department of Ophthalmology, Ocular Oncology Unit, University of Siena, Italy. email@example.com
Retinoblastoma (Rb) is the most common intraocular malignant tumour in childhood, with an incidence of 1 in 15,000 live births. Complete information on this rare tumour can be easily accessed through the internet, although many aspect concerning the aetiology and pathogenesis of the disease, are still controversial. The "two hit" theory, formulated in 1971 to explain the variegated clinical expression of the disease, is based on the idea that single gene mutation may determine the development of cancer. However, this view does not take into account the most recent evidences showing the role of aneuploidy and chromosome instability in cancer. Also, a number of other genes and epigenetic mechanisms are involved in the genesis of retinoblastoma. More importantly, the "two hit" theory makes predictions, concerning the age distribution of the tumour, its mode of "transmission"(hereditary retinoblastoma), and its pathogenesis, which are not fulfilled by the clinical reality. Overall, the "two hit" theory represents a rather simplistic and outdated model to explain tumour development and clinical evolution of retinoblastoma.
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Siena, Italy.
Throughout its over 200-year history, homeopathy has been proven effective in treating diseases for which conventional medicine has little to offer. However, given its low cost, homeopathy has always represented a serious challenge and a constant threat to the profits of drug companies. Moreover, since drug companies represent the most relevant source of funding for biomedical research worldwide, they are in a privileged position to finance detractive campaigns against homeopathy by manipulating the media as well as academic institutions and the medical establishment. The basic argument against homeopathy is that in some controlled clinical trials (CCTs), comparison with conventional treatments shows that its effects are not superior to those of placebo. Against this thesis we argue that a) CCT methodology cannot be applied to homeopathy, b) misconduct and fraud are common in CCTs, c) adverse drug reactions and side effects show that CCT methodology is deeply flawed, d) an accurate testing of homeopathic remedies requires more sophisticated techniques, e) the placebo effect is no more "plausible" than homeopathy, and its real nature is still unexplained, and f) the placebo effect is nevertheless a "cure" and, as such, worthy of further investigation and analysis. It is concluded that no arguments presently exist against homeopathy and that the recurrent campaigns against it represent the specific interests of the pharmaceutical industry which, in this way, strives to protect its profits from the "threat" of a safer, more effective, and much less expensive treatment modality.
Hisayuki Shigematsu, Makoto Suzuki, Takao Takahashi, Kuniharu Miyajima, Shinichi Toyooka, Narayan Shivapurkar, Gail E Tomlinson, Domenico Mastrangelo, Harvey I Pass, Elisabeth Brambilla, Ubaradka G Sathyanarayana, Bogdan Czerniak, Takehiko Fujisawa, Nobuyoshi Shimizu, Adi F Gazdar
Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 6000 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390-8593, USA.
HIN-1 (high in normal-1) is a putative cytokine with growth inhibitory activities and is downregulated by aberrant methylation in breast cancers. We studied HIN-1 methylation status in many types of adult and pediatric malignancies and cell lines. We examined the expression of HIN-1 mRNA in 52 cell lines and the promoter methylation status in the cell lines and in over 800 primary tumors representing 17 tumor types using methylation specific PCR. Promoter methylation was observed in 73% of breast cancer, 67% of nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC), 30% of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and 57% of malignant mesothelioma (MM) cell lines, and methylation was completely correlated with loss of expression. Expression negative cell lines restored HIN-1 expression after treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. Promoter methylation of HIN-1 was found in 90% of retinoblastomas, 73% of Wilms' tumors, 61% of rhabdomyosarcomas, 57% of breast cancers, 52% of prostate cancers, 40% of MMs, 28% of NSCLCs and 27% of lymphomas. Methylation frequencies in colorectal cancers, cervical cancers, bronchial carcinoids, SCLCs, neuroblastomas, osteosarcomas, leukemia, medulloblastomas and bladder cancers were lower (4-21%), while hepatoblastomas lacked methylation. HIN-1 methylation was rarely detected in nonmalignant tissues (8 of 165, 5%). Aberrant methylation of HIN-1 with loss of expression is a common event and may contribute to the pathogenesis of many types of human malignancies.
Asha Rathi, Arvind K Virmani, Kenichi Harada, Charles F Timmons, Kuniharu Miyajima, Robert J Hay, Domenico Mastrangelo, Anirban Maitra, Gail E Tomlinson, Adi F Gazdar
Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA.
PURPOSE To determine the role of methylation of HIC1, a candidate tumor suppressor gene on 17p13.3, in various types of pediatric tumors. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN We examined the methylation status of the HIC1 promoter by methylation specific PCR in 157 pediatric tumors and 27 nonmalignant tissues. We correlated methylation with mRNA expression by reverse transcription-PCR in eight tumor-derived cell lines. RESULTS HIC1 methylation was frequent in medulloblastomas (80%, 12 of 15), retinoblastomas (67%, 6 of 9), rhabdomyosarcomas (59%, 13 of 22), germ cell tumors (55%, 6 of 11), and neurouroblastic tumors (36%, 14 of 39); neuroblastomas (43%, 12 of 28); ganglioneuromas (17%, 1 of 6); and ganglioneuroblastomas (20%, 1 of 5). In contrast, a low incidence of methylation was observed in osteosarcomas (17%, 2 of 12), Ewing's tumors (9%, 1 of 11), Wilms' tumors (3%, 1 of 31), and hepatoblastomas (0%, 0 of 7). HIC1 methylation was more frequent in the aggressive alveolar subtype of rhabdomyosarcomas (100%, 8 of 8) than the embryonal subtype (33%, 4 of 12; P < 0.005) and was rare in the nonmalignant tissues examined. Methylation was also demonstrated by sequencing in nine randomly selected tumor samples. Seven of eight pediatric tumor cell lines examined were methylated and showed loss or reduced HIC1 mRNA. Expression was strongly induced in all cell lines by treatment with the demethylating agent 5-aza 2'deoxycytidine. CONCLUSIONS Our data suggest that aberrant methylation of HIC1 may play a role in the pathogenesis of specific pediatric tumors.
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, Aard 10, 4813 NN, Breda, The Netherlands, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homeopathy is controversial and hotly debated. The conclusions of systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials of homeopathy vary from 'comparable to conventional medicine' to 'no evidence of effects beyond placebo'. It is claimed that homeopathy conflicts with scientific laws and that homoeopaths reject the naturalistic outlook, but no evidence has been cited. We are homeopathic physicians and researchers who do not reject the scientific outlook; we believe that examination of the prior beliefs underlying this enduring stand-off can advance the debate. We show that interpretations of the same set of evidence-for homeopathy and for conventional medicine-can diverge. Prior disbelief in homeopathy is rooted in the perceived implausibility of any conceivable mechanism of action. Using the 'crossword analogy', we demonstrate that plausibility bias impedes assessment of the clinical evidence. Sweeping statements about the scientific impossibility of homeopathy are themselves unscientific: scientific statements must be precise and testable. There is growing evidence that homeopathic preparations can exert biological effects; due consideration of such research would reduce the influence of prior beliefs on the assessment of systematic review evidence.
Bioethics. 2012 Apr 17;: 22506719
Abertay University, Dundee.
In opposition to the premises of Against Homeopathy - a Utilitarian Perspective, all four respondents base their objections on the central claims that homeopathy is in fact scientifically plausible and is supported by empirical evidence. Despite ethical aspects forming the main thrust of Against Homeopathy, the respondents' focus on scientific aspects represents sound strategy, since the ethical case against homeopathy would be weakened concomitant with the extent to which any plausibility for homeopathy could be demonstrated. The trouble here is that the respondents are attempting to perpetuate a sterile debate. The notion that homeopathic preparations could have any biological effects represents a fringe viewpoint, one not entertained by serious scientists nor supported by reason and evidence. In the present article, I shall endeavour to explain why the respondents do not have a valid case. I will deal firstly with their general approach to scientific plausibility and evidence, and then consider some of the specific claims they have made. Finally, I will answer the philosophical arguments some of the respondents have raised.
Abstract Background: There is disturbing evidence of escalating chronic disease among children - a phenomenon which is extracting a heavy toll from individuals, families, and health care systems. Methods: This review was prepared by assessing available medical and scientific literature from Medline, as well as by reviewing numerous books, conference proceedings, and government publications. Results: Knowledge translation in medical science, the process whereby new research is incorporated into clinical practice, remains lethargic. Nutritional and environmental factors have recently been recognized as common determinants of modern illness, and various diagnostic techniques in molecular medicine are now available to facilitate diagnosis of disease etiology. Conclusions: A re-evaluation of the current pediatric clinical paradigm is required in light of emerging research from fields such as epigenetics, molecular medicine and environmental health. Education about these branches of medical science should be integrated into pediatric medical education, as well as public health care and clinical practice relating to children.
Gesnerus. 2008 ;65 (3-4):157-75 19378865
Università di Torino, Dipartimento di Storia, Via Sant'Ottavio 20, I-10124 Torino. email@example.com
The essay sets out to explain the general orientation of the studies, the problems, the perspectives and the research that were done by Joseph Daquin (1732-1815), a physician born in Chambéry (Savoy, Kingdom of Sardinia). He had a secular education at the Faculty of Medicine of Turin, where he earned his degree under Ignazio Somis and Vitaliano Donati. The aim of this essay is to give a critical contribution to cultural history and examine the origins of thermalism with particular emphasis on therapy, physics experiments, and its relation to political and social structure. Daquin was a witness of the advancement of science beyond the boundaries of scientific Enlightenment. His overriding intellectual concern was with the meaning and impact of chemistry theories on medical practices. The author has published an interesting Analyse des eaux thermales d'Aix en Savoie (1773), a natural experimental history of mineral waters in Aix-les-Bains.
Uisahak. 2006 Jun ;15 (1):77-105 17214426
[The academic trend of Oriental medicine during the Japanese colonial period as observed through the publication of medical books].
Department of Medical History, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University.
This thesis examines the academical trend of Oriental Medicine in the Japanese colonial period observed through medical books published during the Japanese colonial period. This is a period in which Western Medicine was introduced, and due to the lean-to-one-side policy by the Japanese, Western Medicine became the mainstream medical science while Oriental Medicine was pushed to the outskirts. Even after all this, the academic activity was flourishing during this period compared to any other periods. This article is divided into various chapters each with its own theme in order to understand the academic trend of Oriental Medicine during the Japanese colonial period. Focusing on the publication of medical books, this article is divided and observed according to various themes such as the study of Dong-Eui-Bo-Gam (see text), the study of Bang-Yak-Hap-Pyeun (see text), the study of Sang-Han-Ron (see text), the study of Sa-sang (see text) constitutional medicine, the study of Eui-Hak-Ip-Mun (see text), the study about Bu-Yang-Ron (see text), On-Bo-Ron (see text), and pediatrics, compromise between Western and Oriental Medicine, the study of experience medicine, the study of acupuncture and moxibustion, and etc.
Department of Medicine I, Landspitali University Hospital, Fossvogi, 108 Reykjavík, Iceland. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introduction: The study describes an assessment of scientific activity in Landspítali University Hospital for the period 1999-2003. Methods: Bibliometrical methods were used to assess the quantity and quality of the scientific output for Iceland and the three main institutions active in medical sciences, Landspítali University Hospital,(LUH), deCODE genetics (dCg) and the Icelandic Heart Association (IHS). All papers registered in the International Scientific Information (ISI) database with an author affiliated with these institutions were counted and classified. The number of citations were counted in Science Citation Index (SCI). Results: ISI publications for Iceland 1999-2003 were 2094, thereof 517 (25%) from LSH, 102 (5%) from dCg and 35 (1,7%) from IHS. Medical sciences accounted for 147 (33%) of the total in 2001. During the period 1981-2003 the total output of papers from Iceland increased from 0,01 to 0,07% and the total number of citations from 0,01 to 0,09% of the total world production. During the period 1994-98 papers from clinical medicine in Iceland were ranked 1st in the world with 6,7 mean citations when the world mean was 4,1. Molecular biology and genetics were ranked 10th. Conclusion: The assessment shows that the LUH is a leading knowledge institution in Iceland. The international comparision shows that Iceland is among the top 10 nations in quantity and quality of medical research.
Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine: expanding the open-access conversation on health care.
Dept of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, Groote Schuur Hospital J-2, Anzio Rd, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa. email@example.com.
Natural philosophy once spanned the fields of philosophy, science, and medicine. Scientific disciplines and medical specialties have rapidly achieved independence, and the availability of the internet and open-access publishing promises a further expansion of knowledge. Nevertheless, a consideration of the grounding concepts and ethical principles that underlie health care remains paramount. It is timely, therefore, to contribute to the global conversation on health care with an open-access journal that focuses on addressing the conceptual basis of medicine and related disciplines, considering the ethical aspects of clinical practice, and exploring its intersection with the humanities (including history of medicine).
The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article explores why cancer patients use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), why CAM use should be of interest to physicians who treat cancer patients, and how physicians may appropriately support their patients' quest for comfort, quality of life, and healing. We use the term "CAM" to refer to substances and practices that have been available primarily outside of the American medical mainstream, that have sources other than medical doctors and allied health care providers, and that are not commonly recommended by medical doctors as treatments for a given condition. Alternative treatments are those used instead of conventional medicine; complementary treatments are those used in addition to conventional medicine.
Institute of Medico-Engineering, Beijing, China.
Good health physique and fine psychological quality are required for an astronaut. Selection and health care of foreign astronauts are based on western medicine principles. In order to initiate space medicine with a new feature of Chinese Medicine. It needs further discussion on the application of Traditional Chinese Medicine to the research and practice of space medical science.
At different times during its history medicine has been laid open to accountability for its scientific and moral quality. This phenonmenon of laying medicine open has sometimes resulted in major turning points in the history of medical ethics. In this paper, I examine two examples of when the laying open of medicine has generated such turning points: eighteenth-century British medicine and late twentieth-century American medicine. In the eighteenth century, the Scottish physician-philosopher, John Gregory (1724-1773), concerned with the unscientific, entrepreneurial, self-interested nature of then current medical practice, laid medicine open to accountability using the tools of ethics and philosophy of medicine. In the process, Gregory wrote the first professional ethics of medicine in the English-language literature, based on the physician's fiduciary responsibility to the patient. In the late twentieth century, the managed practice of medicine has laid medicine open to accountability for its scientific quality and economic cost. This current laying open of medicine creates the challenge of developing medical ethics and bioethics for population-based medical science and practice.