Ethics

14.09.2021

Monkey, Mouse or Zebrafish? Considerations in choosing model organisms

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On what considerations do researchers base their choice of model organisms for their work? How do they deal with the implicit moral hierarchy among animals, with primates at the top and fish at the bottom? Scientific and ethical questions concerning the choice of model organisms were at the heart of the symposium on 1 July 2021 organised by the Ethics Committee for Animal Experimentation (ECAE). The report is now available.

The aim of the symposium was to raise awareness of these issues among researchers, animal welfare officers and regulators. In order to address questions as concretely as possible, the topic of the symposium was discussed with reference to a specific research field – Alzheimer’s disease. The report, available in English, German and French, can be downloaded below or on the ECAE website.

Download the report (PDF)

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Ethics

01.09.2021

Changes in the SAMS Ethics Department

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Medical progress continually opens up new possibilities that raise challenging ethical questions. The SAMS Ethics Department supports the development of guidelines and recommendations that provide practical assistance to physicians and other health professionals in medical practice and biomedical research. Sibylle Ackermann is the new Head of Department as from 1 September 2021.

Sibylle Ackermann has worked in the General Secretariat for 11 years, first as a scientific collaborator and then as project manager for the Ethics Department. She will build on her many years of experience in the SAMS and her extensive network to bear on the numerous tasks ahead. She will be joined by Manya Hendriks, who holds a doctorate in biomedical ethics and a master's degree in anthropology and sociology. We wish Manya Hendriks a warm welcome. You will find all the faces of the General Secretariat in the «Portrait» menu.

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Academy

12.08.2021

Peter Meier-Abt: a tribute to a tireless spokesman for science

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Peter Meier-Abt, President of the SAMS for many years, passed away in May. In the next Bulletin we will publish a tribute to this tireless spokesman for science. The full version of the article can be found on our website. It was written jointly with the Swiss Personalised Health Network and the Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation, two institutions that he has significantly shaped.

Peter Meier-Abt was a man of many talents: a physician with two specialist titles, a leading clinical researcher and a tireless spokesman for science. His intelligence, energy and standing left their mark on all the positions he held during his career. We remember him with gratitude and fondness. Read the tribute on our website in French or in German.

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Projects

05.08.2021

smarter medicine: Top 5 list for paediatrics

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The association «smarter medicine – Choosing Wisely Switzerland», of which the SAMS is a member, aims to prevent unnecessary medical treatments. It promotes the development of Top 5 lists, for which medical societies determine interventions that should be avoided or only used under certain conditions. In August 2021, «pédiatrie suisse» (the Swiss Paediatric Society) published its list.

Like many other specialist societies, «pédiatrie suisse» supports the «smarter medicine» initiative. Its list contains five recommendations for the care of infants, children and adolescents and is aimed at paediatricians and general practitioners who care for children. The Top 5 list concerns paediatrics in private practice and in hospitals and focuses mainly on therapeutic aspects in the sense of «do not harm».

The recommendations can be downloaded below (in French). More information on the initiative and the Top 5 lists of other specialist societies can be found on the «smarter medicine» website (French or German).

Top 5 list for paediatrics in French (PDF)

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Projects

22.07.2021

White Paper: Seven goals for clinical research

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What does publicly funded clinical research need to increase its benefit for patients and society? The SAMS White Paper Clinical Research presents a roadmap with seven goals to strengthen the impact of clinical research in Switzerland. It suggests ways on how to use resources more efficiently and how to align efforts on common priorities.

Considering the main stakeholders of clinical research, fragmentation, overlaps, and a lack of shared strategic priorities are evident. Elaborated by the SAMS on behalf of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, the White Paper outlines in an action plan for change how to address the current challenges for clinical research so as to increase its benefit for all and to make Switzerland an international leader in the field.

Download the White Paper (PDF)

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Publications

16.07.2021

Science Communication in Switzerland: Assessment Report and Recommendations

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What is the current state of science communication in Switzerland? Answers to this question are provided by an assessment report published by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. Together with a description of the actual situation, the report offers concrete recommendations on how science journalism in our country could be strengthened.

In addition to positive aspects – such as the high level of public trust in science or the wide range of formats available for science-society dialogue –, it also identifies challenges, like the insufficient support for researchers who communicate with the public, the erosion of science journalism, or the dissemination of dis- and misinformation on social media. Learn more in the report or at the online event on 19 August 2021.

Download the report (PDF)

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Academy

01.07.2021

New faces on the SAMS Executive Board

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The Executive Board is renewing itself. At its meeting on 1 July 2021, it welcomed three new members recently elected by the Senate: Professor Luca Crivelli (Ticino), Professor Nicole Probst-Hensch (Basel) and Professor George Thalmann (Bern).

The SAMS takes this opportunity to say goodbye to Professor Claudio Bassetti and Professor Urs Brügger, who have both reached the end of their 8-year term of office on the Executive Board. The SAMS could not be active in so many areas without the voluntary commitment of members such as Professor Bassetti and Professor Brügger. We thank them very much for their dedication. You can find the current composition of the Executive Board on our website.

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Ethics

21.06.2021

The medical-ethical guidelines «Decisions on cardiopulmonary resuscitation» have been revised

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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) decisions and their consequences involve considerable burdens for all concerned. The revised SAMS medical-ethical guidelines offer recommendations for medical professionals on how to proceed in various situations and provide guidance for discussing CPR with patients and relatives.

The interruption of the supply of oxygen to the brain in acute cardiac arrest requires immediate action. In the acute situation, it is particularly difficult to assess the individual prognosis, and the patient’s wishes are often not clear. To support medical professionals, the SAMS issued medical ethical guidelines in 2008. The revised version takes into account both medical and social developments, as well as the latest scientific findings. The guidelines are available online in four languages (eng/fr/ger/it), and print versions (fr/ger) can be ordered free of charge.

Medical-ethical guidelines: Decisions on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (2021) (PDF)

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