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Ethics in Life Sciences and Healthcare: Exploring Bioethics through Manga (edX)

Learn about the ethical decisions surrounding critical health and life science issues through Manga. Is it okay to take pills to help you ace exams? Should you be able to choose the sex of your child? Is abortion murder? These controversial questions will be explored through Manga in this bioethics course. Bioethics is an interdisciplinary field of study that looks into ethical, legal, and social implications of life sciences and health care.

This course will help you understand key ethical issues surrounding crucial problems that profoundly impact your life from birth to death.


Topics include:

– Reproductive technology such as surrogacy and sex-selection of the baby

– Abortion

– Informed consent

– Euthanasia

– The use of medical technology for the purpose of enhancement

You will also learn about ethical arguments and regulations in Japan and other countries concerning life sciences and healthcare. Our hope is, through this course, you will better understand and formulate your own opinions on these important issues.

DISCLAIMER: The intention of this course is to present different arguments and perspectives on a number of different topics on bioethics. In other words this course DOES NOT aim to instill in its audience any particular perspective, religious or otherwise, on each topic.

What you’ll learn:

– Basic terms for bioethics

– Basics of ethical arguments

– How decisions are made on critical bioethics issues

– Regulations and public policies related to bioethical issues in Japan and other countries

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Ethics of Assisted Reproductive Technology

What is Assisted Reproductive Technology?

Sex Selection

Pros & Cons of Sex Selection

Ethical Issues Associated with Assisted Reproductive Technology

Week 2: The Ethics of Truth-Telling

Cancer and Its Disclosure in Japan

Pros & Cons of Cancer Disclosure

Paternalism & Self-Determination

Informed Consent & Patient-Centered Medicine

Week 3: Is Abortion Murder?

Current Situation of Abortion in Japan

Ethical Discussions in Japan

Ethical Discussions in Europe & America

Social Problems Related to Abortion

Week 4: What’s wrong with Enhancement?

Use of Medical Technologies for Enhancement

The Ethical Pros and Cons of Enhancement – The Anti-Use Position

The Ethical Pros and Cons of Enhancement – Where Are Enhancement Technologies Heading?

Week 5: Is Euthanasia Wrong?

Euthanasia and Death with Dignity

Japanese Cases of Euthanasia

For and Against Euthanasia

Palliative Medicine

Living Wills

Week 6: Living-Donor Organ Transplantation

Organ Transplantation

The History of Organ Transplantation

Living-Donor Organ Transplantation and Ethical Problems

Organ Trafficking

Living-Donor Organ Transplants: Exception or the Rule?

Week 7: Cloning Technology

Media Reports on the Birth of Dolly the Cloned Sheep and “the Birth of a Human Clone”

Two Purposes of Cloning and Ethical Controversy

Regulation of Human Cloning

Discussion with the Instructor – Part 1

Week 8: ES Cells and iPS Cells

Production of ES Cells and Regenerative Medicine

Barriers to ES Cell Production

The Production of iPS Cells

Problems of iPS Cells

Week 9: Lifespan and Eternal Life

Human Lifespan in the Past, Present, and Future

Effects of Life-Extension Technologies on the Individual

Effects of Life-Extension Technologies on Society

Discussion with the Instructor – Part 2

Week 10: Brain Death and Organ Transplants

The Organ Transplant Law and its Revision in Japan

The Process of Organ Donation

Ethical Controversy over Brain Death 1

Ethical Controversy over Brain Death 2

ENROLL IN COURSE