Monday, August 11, 2014

Pharmaceutical philosophy, discount conference registration, free online forensics course and a giveaway!

Some dogs I met during an AMRRIC program in Central Australia. The early-bird registration deadline for the AMRRIC conference has been extended til August 18 (see below).
How was your weekend? I joined a fellow ethics-academic for a night out watching a play all about neuroscience and ethics. The Effect, currentlyshowing at the Sydney Theatre Company, isn’t about veterinary topics but it is related in the sense that it tackles some big questions about science, research and knowledge.

Connie, a psychology student, and Tristan, a serial drug-trial participant, enrol in a trial for a new antidepressant. They’re isolated from the real world and develop feelings for each other – but the feelings grow as the dosages escalate, raising some big questions: are these feelings real? What is real infatuation/love/lust anyway? Does it matter if it is real or not?

Meanwhile the psychiatrists in charge face their own ethical questions. Is the study really blinded? Should it be? What is a reasonable risk to expose the subjects to? Is there a difference between risks in a controlled environment versus in real life? What are the consequences of pharmaceutical intervention for conditions of the mind and can these be justified? And is the history of medicine really just a history of placebos?

It may have been observational bias but my impression was that the audience were almost entirely made up of psychiatrists and doctors. 

The play runs until August 16 so you don’t have long to catch it, but you can read a review here and another here. It is the kind of play that makes you think long and hard about some huge ethical issues.

We would love to see the playwright Lucy Prebble tackle the issue of anthropomorphism in science.

Dog health in indigenous communities – discount rate for conference

Veterinarians, veterinary students, nurses, environmental health workers, infectious disease physicians and researchers and anyone with an interest in dog health in indigenous communities may be interested in the AMRRIC 10th anniversaryconference.

The early-bird registration rate has been extended until August 18.
This three-day conference in Darwin, from September 23-25, will cover a range of really important topics include:

  • Animal health and welfare in remote/developing community contexts
  • Zoonoses
  • Rabies
  • School and community education and awareness
  • Cultural awareness
  • Dog behaviour
  • Community social aspects of animal ownership
  • Environmental health
  • The link between interpersonal violence and violence towards animals
  • Invasive animals, National Parks and indigenous communities

To register or find out more, click here.

Free online course on Forensic Science

I knew that doing a MOOC on Coursera would suck me in. I found the Animal Welfare and Behaviour Course quite interesting, and just on the eve of completion those clever Coursera people sent an email recommending other recommended courses, including this introduction to forensic science.

Tempting as it is, we’ve committed to Pauleen Bennett’s course on Animal Welfare, but if you have the time and interest in forensic science sign up here.

SAT Giveaway - open til August 21

Finally, if you’ve not heard, SAT is running its second awesome giveaway. To find out how to enter, click here.