Administering of medical drugs for non-medical purposes
With few exceptions, once a drug or device is licensed for medical use, decisions about its use in individual cases are left to the doctor and patient, and to the marketplace. As medicine and biotechnology gain the ability to manipulate physical, and possibly mental, traits that are not obviously linked to disease, there are increasingly fuzzy borders between what constitutes a "disease" and a "successful" treatment.
A ten-year experimental programme is currently authorized in the USA aimed at testing whether human growth hormone (HGH) can increase the final height of otherwise healthy children using human growth hormone (HGH) who have adequate levels of HGH in their bloodstreams but nevertheless are very short. Most studies involving short children with adequate HGH have lasted less than two years, with many suggesting that hormone supplements simply shorten the time it takes to reach adult height.
If shortness is a biologically-determined disease then what about shyness ? What about fat people ? What about people with different skin pigmentation ? What about young girls whose breast won't grow to the size that society desires ? We are moving onto a very, very dangerous journey that starts with "enhancement" and ends up with eugenics.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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