Journal Club

The DRZE Journal Club series summarises a selection of recently published journal articles on a currently discussed topic in the life sciences. This review is supplemented by recently published, further literature in the same subject area.

The Journal Club articles are published in the Zeitschrift für medizinische Ethik (ZfmE) and can also be viewed in full text via the DRZE.

Soziale Roboter in Medizin und Pflege
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Social robots in medicine and healthcare

Halsband, A. (2024): Soziale Roboter in Medizin und Pflege. Ethische Bewertungen im Ausgang von idealen Eigenschaften und Fähigkeiten. In: Zeitschrift für medizinische Ethik 70 (2), 280–285. DOI:

In future, medical healthcare will also be improved with the help of robots. The use of so-called social robots is currently being researched, for example in elderly care, and is the subject of controversial debate in the bioethical discourse.

The sixth edition of the DRZE Journal Club examines the extent to which the deduction of ideal characteristics or capabilities that social robots should exhibit can meaningfully guide the ethical evaluation of their use. [more]

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Ethical perspectives on surrogacy

Scholl, S. (2024): Ethische Perspektiven auf Leihmutterschaft. In: Zeitschrift für medizinische Ethik 70 (1), 135–142. DOI:

Since the first child was born through a surrogate mother 40 years ago, the topic of surrogacy has been the subject of controversial debate. To this day, there is neither a general consensus on the ethical evaluation nor a standardised legal regulation. The commission set up in Germany to examine the legalisation of egg donation and surrogacy has made this topic even more urgent.

The fifth issue of the DRZE Journal Club provides an overview of the various areas of discussion in the ethical debate. To this end, four different contributions from this topic area are summarised and compared with each other. [more]

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Premises and ethical implications of machine mindreading

Krämer-Nagelschmidt, E. (2023): Premises and ethical implications of machine mindreading. In: Journal of Medical Ethics 69 (43), 647-652. DOI:

What humans can't do, machines may soon be able to do. The process of “reading” thoughts, also known as “mindreading”, is still in its initial stages, but is making significant progress. With the help of neuroimaging techniques, it is possible to map thought processes by machine and thus guess what thoughts the subject is thinking. If neuroimaging techniques continue to develop in terms of mindreading, this would have far-reaching ethical implications for legislation (lie detector test) as well as for the individual and technology in the long term.

The fourth issue of the DRZE Journal Club provides an overview of the current state of research and sheds light on the limits and possibilities of machine mindreading as well as the ethical implications that could arise. [more]

Nudging im Gesundheitswesen
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Nudging in the health sector: Ethical aspects

Bartmann, M. (2023): Nudging im Gesundheitswesen: Ethische Aspekte. In: Zeitschrift für medizinische Ethik 63 (3), 488–494. DOI:

Nudging uses various cognitive mechanisms to influence people’s decision-making processes so that they choose the option that is in their best interest anyway. A classic example is the conspicuous placement of healthy meals in the canteen, which is supposed to make employees choose the salad rather than less healthy alternatives. More recently, nudging measures have also been increasingly used in the health sector. Since health care is a very sensitive area where decisions of great consequence are made, nudging is particularly controversial here.

The third issue of the DRZE Journal Club provides an overview of selected current research articles and highlights the ethical implications of nudging measures in the health sector. [more]

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Artificial human gametes (in vitro gametogenesis): Ethical aspects

Halsband, A. (2023): Künstliche menschliche Gameten (In-vitro-Gametogenese): Ethische Aspekte. In: Zeitschrift für medizinische Ethik 69 (2), 311–316,  DOI:

To date, human gametes, i.e. sperm or egg cells, have not yet been generated in the context of human medical research on in vitro gametogenesis (IVG). However, the artificial genesis of human gametes is anticipated in the near future. The artificial creation of human gametes would not only fundamentally change reproductive medical procedures and legal definitions of parenthood, but also ethical reflections on reproductive autonomy and parental responsibility.

The second issue of the DRZE Journal Club provides an overview of selected current research articles from the period 2022 to 2023 and considers these anticipated upheavals from an ethical perspective. [more]

KI in der Medizin
© Colourbox

AI in medicine: Ethical aspects

Wagner, R. (2023): KI in der Medizin: Ethische Aspekte. In: Zeitschrift für medizinische Ethik 69 (1), 145–152. DOI:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly important role in our everyday lives. Medicine is one of the central areas in which AI systems are being applied and where ethical concerns are being raised. Various AI programs are already being used in medical practice today. For example, AI is being applied to examine radiological image material by automation. Modern AI systems are capable of identifying pathologies as well as generating diagnoses and prognoses. Although these technical possibilities are still at an early stage of development, astonishing successes are already being recorded today. At the same time, however, the use of AI poses serious risks, especially in medicine.

The first issue of the DRZE Journal Club provides an overview of selected current research articles that focus on the ethical viewpoints of this debate. [more]

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