Nano Archive

Nanotechnology, health and bioethics. Between hope and risk

de Cozar Escalante, Jose Manuel (2010) Nanotechnology, health and bioethics. Between hope and risk. SIBI.

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Nanotechnologies are a group of technologies which study and manipulate atoms and molecules for different practical purposes. When applied to human health it is usually referred to as nanomedicine. The field of nanomedicine has incredible potential to improve early diagnosis and treatment of diseases, as well as aid in the regeneration of damaged organs or create high performance prostheses to replace parts of the body. According to predictions, nanotechnological treatments for certain kinds of illnesses will be more effective and have milder side effects. There are already health-related materials, drugs and treatments based on nanotechnology. However, there is some uncertainty about the possible bioethical and social consequences of developing nanotechnology in the area of human health. Currently the possible toxicity of nanoparticles is being evaluated: how will the health of workers in places where they are produced or any other person improperly exposed to such material be affected? Also being studied is their ecotoxicity, that is, the possible negative impact that they may have on living beings and the environment in general. There are also other risks and problems related to the abuse of nanomedical patents, which will unfairly block the neediest sectors from having access to medical products and assets, especially in poor countries; the escalation of third party access to private medical information; the increased potential to control an individual externally (for example, acting directly on cerebral functions); the alteration of public health systems; changes in the concepts of health and sickness; and the use of nanotechnologies beyond curing illness to enhance the body and brain. In order to deal with these problems more effectively nanomedicine must be developed responsibly based on ethical assessments of these technological applications, as well as a broad social debate in which citizens participate in decisions made on the regulation, financing and support of certain nanomedical technologies over others which may be perceived as less certain in terms of social value.

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Social and Political Science > Societal and ethical aspects of nanotechnology
NanoSafety > Environment, health and safety aspects of nanotechnology
ID Code:10599
Deposited By:M T V
Deposited On:24 Feb 2011 08:15
Last Modified:24 Feb 2011 08:15

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