Publications Archive - 2020

Recent Posts

PLOS One: Crowdfunding for complementary and alternative medicine: What are cancer patients seeking?

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly being integrated into conventional medical care for cancer, used to counter the side effects of conventional cancer treatment, and offered as an alternative to conventional cancer care. Our aim is to gain a broader understanding of trends in CAM interventions for cancer and crowdfunding campaigns for these interventions.

RSC Policy Briefing: Let's Do Better: Public Representations of COVID-19 Science

COVID science is being both done and circulated at a furious pace. While it is inspiring to see the research community responding so vigorously to the pandemic crisis, all this activity has also created a churning sea of bad data, conflicting results, and exaggerated headlines. With representations of science becoming increasingly polarized, twisted and hyped, there is growing concern that the relevant science is being represented to the public in a manner that may cause confusion, inappropriate expectations, and the erosion of public trust. Here we explore some of the key issues associated with the representations of science in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these issues are not new. But the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on the biomedical research process and amplified the adverse ramifications of poor public communication. We need to do better. As such, we conclude with ten recommendations aimed at key actors involved in the communication of COVID-19 science, including government, funders, universities, publishers, media and the research communities.

BMJ: COVID-19 and ‘immune boosting’ on the internet: a content analysis of Google search results

The spread of misinformation has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic, including topics such as immune boosting to prevent COVID-19. This study explores how immune boosting is portrayed on the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical Law International: The legal and policy considerations of transplanting pediatric thymus regulatory T cells as an immunotherapy in Canada

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) hold promise for cell-based therapies for autoimmunity and transplant rejection. In Canada, the potential collection, short-term banking, and transplantation of pediatric Tregs leftover from surgery raise legal and policy concerns. Tregs likely fall under the definitions of “tissue” found in most provincial donation and transplantation statutes. With the exception of Alberta’s Human Tissue and Organ Donation Act, the fundamental distinction between donation of tissue primarily for transplantation and secondary donation of by-products of a medical intervention undertaken for the benefit of the donor is inadequately addressed in Canadian law. Most statutes prohibit transplantation except in accordance with their provisions and do not contemplate living donation by minors under a specific age. Provinces could amend their legislation in order to properly enable the transplantation of by-products like Tregs from infant donors. This process is relatively ethically uncontroversial, so if common research ethics and privacy concerns can be addressed, it should likely be permitted.

Obstetrics and Gynaecology: Discussing NIPT on Reddit: The benefits, the concerns, the comradery

As the use of Non‐Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) increases, its benefits and concerns are being examined through surveys, qualitative studies and bioethical analysis. However, only scant research has examined public discourse on the topic. This research examined NIPT discussions on the social media platform Reddit.

American Journal of Public Health: Crowdfunding Cannabidiol (CBD) for Cancer: Hype and Misinformation on GoFundMe

Misinformation around CBD for cancer is widespread on medical crowdfunding campaigns. Given the potential adverse impact, crowdfunding platforms, like GoFundMe, must take steps to address their role in enabling and spreading this misinformation.

Bio Med Central: “Immune Boosting” in the time of COVID: selling immunity on Instagram

The concept of “immune boosting” is scientifically misleading and often used to market unproven products and therapies. This paper presents an analysis of popular immune-boosting posts from Instagram.

Taylor & Francis Online: The consumer representation of DNA ancestry testing on YouTube

Ancestry testing and personal social media accounts were commonly promoted, demonstrating biotechnological hype where promotion abounds and critiques are scarce. Questions persist around the impact of ancestry DNA testing in reifying a scientifically inaccurate conception of race and what impact YouTube videos might have on audiences.

Does Debunking Work? Correcting COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media

BMC Medical Ethics: The law and problematic marketing by private umbilical cord blood banks

Private umbilical cord blood banking is a for-profit industry in which parents pay to store blood for potential future use. Governments have noted the tendency for private banks to oversell the potential for cord blood use, especially in relation to speculative cell therapies not yet supported by clinical evidence. We assessed the regulatory landscape governing private cord bank marketing in Canada.

OSF PrePrints: Does Debunking Work? Correcting COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media

One of the defining characteristics of this pandemic has been the spread of misinformation. Indeed, the World Health Organization famously called the crisis not just a pandemic, but also an “infodemic.” Why and how misinformation spreads and has an impact on behaviours and beliefs is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon. And there is an...

JOGC: Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening: Navigating the Relevant Legal Norms

In sum, the law will define and bound the acceptable behaviour of physicians recommending or administering NIPS, and nudge the technology's implementation forward. Physicians and policymakers should be aware of the potential impact of these legal norms on both utilization and public expectations.

Nature: Pseudoscience and COVID-19 — we’ve had enough already

The scientific community must take up cudgels in the battle against bunk.

Érudit: Research, Digital Health Information and Promises of Privacy: Revisiting the Issue of Consent

L’obligation de préserver la vie privée des patients et des participants à la recherche est fondamentale en recherche biomédicale.

Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease: Policy Challenges for Organ Allocation in an Era of "Precision Medicine"

March 20, 2020 Timothy Caulfield, Blake Murdoch, Ruth Sapir-Pichhadze, Paul Keown

Policy Options: misinformation, alternative medicine and the coronavirus

Alternative medicine practitioners are leveraging the fear around coronavirus to sell products and procedures that are scientifically unproven.

Future Medicine: Portrayal of umbilical cord blood research in the North American popular press: promise or hype?

Findings demonstrate the need for continual monitoring of the media portrayals of UCB as stem cell and transplantation research develops and as clinics continue to operate.

Journal of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology: The Law and Ethics of Switching from Biologic to Biosimilar in Canada

An in depth look in the implementation of nonmedical/'forced' switches by cutting drug coverage for reference biologics and funding only less expensive biosimilars. B Murdoch, T Caulfield January 3, 2020


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