Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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Physician News

Keith Black, M.D., was honored by the Cedars-Sinai Alumni Association, and John Harold, M.D., was named president-elect of the American College of Cardiology.

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Meetings and Events

Pharmacy Focus

Carisoprodol to Become Schedule IV Drug on Jan. 11, 2012

Due to the potential for abuse of carisoprodol, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made the decision to designate carisoprodol (SOMA) as a Schedule IV controlled substance.

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Upcoming CME Conferences

Click below to view a complete list of all scheduled Continuing Medical Education conferences.

CME Newsletter - December 2011 (PDF)

Grand Rounds

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Mengele Survivor Reminds Researchers of Importance of Informed Consent

Eva Kor is no scientist. But as a survivor of Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele's brutal medical experiments on twins in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, she has much to say about research ethics.

Speaking before a crowd that filled Cedars-Sinai's Harvey Morse Auditorium for an IRB Grand Rounds series lecture on Nov. 11, Kor cautioned researchers who use human subjects.

Cedars-Sinai "You have been trained to use good judgment and clear logic," she said. "But you cannot forget that you are dealing with human beings. The moment you forget and cross that narrow line, you are headed in the direction of the Dr. Mengeles."

In her speech, titled "The Importance of Informed Consent," the Romanian-born founder of the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Ind., gave a harrowing account of her experiences as "a human guinea pig" who nearly died at the hand of the infamous "Angel of Death."

Mengele, who helped choose prisoners for execution at the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, was blamed for the deaths of thousands, including many of the estimated 1,500 sets of Jewish and Roma ("Gypsy") twins, mostly children, whom he selected for pseudoscientific experiments.

Kor and her sister, Miriam, then 10, were two of the twins who survived. After arriving in Auschwitz by cattle-car train in 1944 and being separated from their mother, father and two older sisters - whom they never saw again - they huddled in "filthy bunk beds, crawling with lice and rats," Kor recalled.

Several times a week, she said, she was injected with unidentified substances and stripped naked while her body parts were measured.

"We were reduced to the lowest form of existence - just a mass of living, breathing cells,'" Kor said.

After falling ill with a high fever, Kor received a bedside visit from Mengele and four other doctors at the camp's hospital.

"Dr. Mengele said, laughing sarcastically, 'Too bad. She's so young. She has only two weeks to live,' " Kor recalled.

But she defied predictions and recovered. The twins' ordeal ended, shortly before their 11th birthdays, in January 1945 when Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz. Kor later made her way to Israel and the U.S., where she settled in Terre Haute after marrying Michael Kor, an American tourist she had met.

In recent decades, she has devoted her life to locating other survivors of Mengele's twins experiments and educating people about the Holocaust. In 1984, Kor founded an organization known as CANDLES, which stands for "Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors." In 1995, she opened the Holocaust museum.

In her speech last month,Kor urged scientists to apply the following test to human trials:

"Just ask yourself: Would I want to be treated this way if I was one of the research subjects? And if the answer is 'no,' you are going in the wrong direction, and you are doing the wrong thing."

Audience member Stuart G. Finder, Ph.D., director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics at Cedars-Sinai, said Kor's speech provided an important reminder that a research subject is not just a "data generator."

"She reminds us to pay close attention to our shared humanity," Finder said, "and as such, to remember, even in research, that our core commitment is to take care of others."