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Social Media and Scientists: From AMA to Libel

Bertalan Meskó at ScienceRoll blogs about new guidelines from the American Medical Association how doctors should use social media. AMA recommends that doctors "maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship" and "use privacy settings to safeguard personal information," among others. Mesko finds the guidelines disappointing: "I expected much much more from AMA," he writes. "Clear recommendations about how to use Facebook privacy settings properly with videos or screenshots; what to do when a patient sends us a friendship request on Facebook or when a patient writes about an adverse drug event on our blogs. Case studies, clear examples, tutorials, presentations."

Meanwhile, Martin Robbins at The Guardian in the UK highlights libel law guidelines for scientific bloggers. Several scientific and writers associations got together to come up with the guide, which is available here. Robbins says that libel charges are becoming more of a concern for bloggers: "Many bloggers have had to pull posts offline - there's no shame in it, it's often the only rational thing you can do faced with a threat that has the potential to ruin your life for years to come," he writes.

Also in The Guardian, Evan Harris urges the UK government to consider new libel reform laws that would better protect "citizen journalists." The recommendation "stresses the importance of ensuring that the legislation catches up with the internet age and prevents the chilling effect on bloggers free expression by the bullying actions of companies and powerful individuals who threaten expensive legal action over something written," he writes.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.