The rise of breast implants.
Organ harvesting from people who may not be brain-dead has doubled in three years. Transplant programs aren't getting enough organs from people whose brains die before their hearts, so they're seeking more organs from people whose hearts die before their brains, even when cardiac death is induced by withdrawal of life support. This includes cases in which "neurological criteria for death cannot be met." Some doctors start removing organs only 75 seconds after the heart stops. Objections: 1) "The person is not dead yet." 2) Pressure to get organs will cause families to withdraw life support more quickly. 3) Next, we may seek organs from incapacitated people. Rebuttals: 1) We need the organs to save more lives. 2) We're helping more donors fulfill their wishes. 3) Ethicists review all decisions. 4) The donors "meet the legal definition of death because there is no intention of reviving them." (For recent updates on getting organs from prisoners in South Carolina and patients in California, click here and here. For Human Nature's take on using embryos to grow organs for harvesting, click here.)
Latest Human Nature columns: 1) Machines that read your mind. 2) Real diets for real people. 3) Invasion of the naked body scanners. 4) The future of pain-beaming weapons. 5) Gay sheep and human destiny. 6) More on gay sheep. 7) The power to shrink human beings. 8) The first human embryo factory. 9) Lesbians of mass destruction.
Will Saletan covers science, technology, and politics for Slate and says a lot of things that get him in trouble.
Photograph on Slate's home page of a hand holding a cell phone by Digital Vision. Photograph on Slate's home page of a man napping by David De Lossy/Photodisc Green/Getty Images.