Lifealerts 14 July 2010 UK - Abortion 'triples breast cancer risk': Fourth study finds abortion linked to disease Australia - Liberal MP defends abortion law change Spain - New Abortion on Demand Law Takes Effect amid Controversy USA - Life over death No news today UK - GP's admission may lead to fresh charges Holland - Euthanasia cases in Holland rise by 13 per cent in a year Scotland - Opponents deal a blow to MacDonald's assisted suicide bill Switzerland - The penniless founder of Dignitas 'now a multi- millionaire' UK - Doctor escapes trial over assisted suicide death No news today USA - Scientist believe they found a cure for AIDS/HIV USA - Clinicians Attempt to Prenatally Prevent Homosexuality No news today USA - Fertility clinic gives patient wrong embryos No news today No news today UK - Sex domain gets official approval No news today Canada - Stem cell therapy may provide new approach to fight infection Japan - Stem Cell Treatment Heals Spinal Cord Injuries in Mice New Zealand - Ex smoker presents his damaged heart to committee Singapore - Singapore's policy keeps drugs at bay Brunei - Prevention Still the Best Defence Against Drug Abuse USA - Prescription drug overdose cases skyrocket at emergency departments No news today Ghana - MOH to integrate traditional medicine in health delivery South Africa - Ubhejane is not registered – TAC Zimbabwe - Mum 'kills son, sells ear for $US20' Uganda - Uganda registers witchdoctors Abortion UK - Abortion 'triples breast cancer risk': Fourth study finds terminations linked to disease An abortion can triple a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer in later life researchers say. A team of scientists made the claim while carrying out research into how breastfeeding can protect women from developing the killer disease. While concluding that breastfeeding offered significant protection from cancer, they also noted that the highest reported risk factor in developing the disease was abortion. Other factors included the onset of the menopause and smoking. The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, are the latest research to show a link between abortion and breast cancer. It is the fourth epidemiological study to report such a link in the past 14 months, with research in China, Turkey and the U.S. showing similar conclusions. There has been an 80 per cent increase in the rate of breast cancer since 1971, when in the wake of the Abortion Act, the number of abortions rose from 18,000 to nearly 200,000 a year. Australia - Liberal MP Peter Abetz defends abortion law change State Liberal MP Peter Abetz says many women who seek an abortion are being told their unborn child is just a blob of tissue. Abetz has defended his decision to promote changes to Western Australia’s abortion laws, including a requirement that women view an ultrasound of their unborn child before going ahead with an abortion. "It still leaves women with the choice. But it will be a better informed choice. They will have seen with their own eyes that it is deceitful to refer to their unborn child as a blob of tissue”. Many women – and most MPs in 1998 – accepted that a foetus below 20 weeks was just a blob of tissue. The foetus is just part of a woman’s body – no different to an appendix or any other tissue. That is what women are still being told in abortion clinics today. Strange, because even the pro-choice people tell us that those women, who have an abortion, think very seriously about it before they have one. They don’t do it lightly, we are told. But hang on a minute. “I have never heard of a woman going through much turmoil or having to weigh it up carefully whether to have a mole removed, or have her appendix removed. Deep down everyone has always known it is not just a lump of tissue: It is her unborn baby. “It is no wonder that most abortion clinics refuse to allow women to see their ultrasound before having their abortion.”
Spain - New Abortion on Demand Law Takes Effect amid Controversy A new abortion law which will allow the procedure to be provided on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy came into effect in Spain amid controversy about its constitutionality. Various regional and provincial governments have implied that they will not fully comply with the law unless it is confirmed by the nation's Constitutional Tribunal. The President of Murcia, Ramon Luis Valcarcel, said that "for the moment there are no reasons to comply" with the law… We will continue taking the juridical path… And when all of that is resolved, we will see what is done. For the moment, there is no reason to comply with the law.” The more conservative of Spain's two major parties, are seeking to overturn the law before the Constitutional Tribunal. The previous law, which permitted abortion in cases of danger to the "psychological health" of the mother in accordance with a 1985 ruling, was exploited by abortion clinics to rationalize the approval of over a million abortions in the years following. The government of Navarra has said that it will make
referrals to other regions when abortions are requested, but will not perform them in the region itself. USA - Life over death Every day, parents hear dire news hidden in clinical terms like "incompatible with life," "no quality of life," and "termination of pregnancy." Despite the uncertainty and fear, these mothers often have no regrets that they chose life for their children, no matter how brief. Here are stories of five who continued their pregnancies despite medical advice to the contrary. - The Illions’ baby was diagnosed with hydrocephalus—water on the brain. Doctors said he
would be a vegetable. Although he lags behind in areas like speech and potty training, he is otherwise a normal, healthy 5-year old.
- Mary Mabeus was 18 weeks pregnant when her baby was diagnosed with Mosaic Trisomy 13,
an extra chromosome in some cells. Although the boy died at 19 months his mother said, “We lived a lifetime in his 19 and half months… He was the most perfect little soul that I'll ever know in my lifetime."
- JoAnne Cascia's baby Gabriel was diagnosed at 20 weeks of gestation with Thanatophoric
Skeletal Dysplasia, a lethal form of dwarfism that affects the ribs, making them too small for lung development. He lived for 90 minutes after birth. Everyone was feeling blessed that they even had an hour and a half with him.
- Rafie’s unborn child was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: Only the left side
of the heart was forming. Now 8 years old, Rafie’s girl lives her life "full speed ahead."
- Liz Ledoux learned of her baby's medical condition at 26 weeks, when doctors told her that
baby Cynthia had Exencephaly—her brain was forming outside of her skull. Cynthia was born and died after living for 90 minutes. Ledoux said, "She was beautiful… the smile, and the perfect little fingers, and the perfect little toes… Was it difficult? Absolutely. But I don't regret it. I had—in my eyes—one of the most beautiful babies in my arms for an hour and a half."
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Euthanasia Euthanasia - 20100625 UK - GP's admission may lead to fresh charges Dr Howard Martin, a former GP, admitted to having helped dozens of his patients die by giving them high doses of powerful painkillers. Even though Dr Martin admitted that it was murder, Professor Sikora, an oncologist, believes that Howard Martin “just used old-fashioned pain-control practices”. Whereas Professor Robert Forrest, a toxicologist, urged that the investigation be reopened “on account of Dr Martin's own admissions and, in particular, his motivation and intent to hasten death”. “Meanwhile, patient safety campaigners are calling for tighter checks for doctors and nurses giving patients powerful painkillers.” Holland - Euthanasia cases in Holland rise by 13 per cent in a year In 2009, euthanasia killed 2636 Dutch people. Dutch medics have been accused of killing some patients who could not consent properly. “Phyllis Bowman, the executive officer , said: ‘I am sure that the increase in numbers of people opting for euthanasia is largely a result of
inadequate pain control.’” According to the British campaign group, Dignity in Dying, “euthanasia is open to abuse”. Furthermore, Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, “insisted that assisted suicide remained a crime punishable by up to 14 years in jail.”
Scotland - Opponents deal a blow to MacDonald's assisted suicide bill Margo MacDonald's bid to introduce assisted suicide in Scotland has been dealt a blow. It was found by the Scottish Parliament's Information Centre (Spice) that the vast majority of people actually opposed this legislation. Pro-life campaigners who protested against the bill put forward by Ms MacDonald”, welcomed this strong opposition.
Switzerland - The penniless founder of Dignitas 'now a multi-millionaire' The man who founded Dignitas 12 years ago, Ludwig Minelli, was virtually penniless at that time, but by 2007, the firm was “worth more than £1million”. In 2005, Soraya Wernli left Dignitas convinced that the firm was just “a money-making machine”. A nurse that had worked there for two and a half years “quit her job” because “she was so disturbed by its activities”. Furthermore, “urns of ashes were found in Lake Zurich” and are “thought to be the remains of people who died at Dignitas”.
UK - Doctor escapes trial over assisted suicide death Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Starmer, announced that Dr Irwin, who admitted that he helped a terminally ill man “commit suicide at the Dignitas facility in Switzerland”, “wouldn’t stand trial because it was ‘highly unlikely’ that a court would jail a 79-year-old man”. This decision has alarmed critics who fear that assisted suicide is being legalised by the back door. In addition, according to Andrea Williams, Director of the Christian Legal Centre, “you don’t decide not to prosecute just because someone’s old, if they’ve committed a crime”.
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HIV/AIDS & STIs USA - Scientist believe they found a cure for AIDS/HIV Experts have discovered a way to avoid HIV infection, a fact that would prevent further spread of the AIDS pandemic, according to a study published in the journal ‘Nature Biotechnology’. Currently, there are over 33 million people in the world infected with HIV/AIDS who, so far, have not found treatment to cure it. Experts from the University of Southern California explained in the report how they managed to create cells in mice immune to the virus causing the disease. They reported that if these cells could be developed in humans, the pathogen would be controlled. The CCR5 receptor is a surface of white blood cells that HIV uses to infect cells. "The challenge now is to apply the same method in humans, which would open the way to generate virus resistant proteins that can produce HIV -resistant cells in all the counterparts it infects" , said Paula Cannon, director of The US Labor Department.
Homosexuality USA - Clinicians Attempt to Prenatally Prevent Homosexuality Alice Dreger, professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and collaborator Ellen Feder, associate professor and acting chair of philosophy and religion at American University, have brought to national attention the first systematic approach to prenatally preventing homosexuality and bisexuality. The "treatment" is targeted at one particular population of girls. The girls and women in question have congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a serious endocrine disruption that sometimes results in ambiguous genitalia. Research has shown that females born with CAH have increased rates of tomboyism and lesbianism. Most clinicians who use prenatal dexamethasone for CAH seek to prevent the development of ambiguous genitalia. But the New York-based group of clinical researchers whose work is traced by Dreger and Feder suggest that prenatal dexamethasone can also be used in this population to prevent the "abnormality" of homosexuality, as well as the "abnormal" interest these girls tend to have in traditionally masculine careers and hobbies.
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In Vitro Fertilization USA - Fertility clinic gives patient wrong embryos A woman who sought treatment from a prominent Connecticut fertility clinic received embryos belonging to a woman with the same last name. The blunder occurred in April 2009 at the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services at the University of Connecticut Health Center. The lab technician apparently checked only the last name on the container of embryos and removed the wrong ones from frozen storage. The woman who received the embryos was informed of the error within an hour and used a “morning after pill” to terminate the pregnancy. The embryos belonged to a woman who had been out of treatment since 2006 but had continued to store them at the centre.
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Pornography UK - Sex domain gets official approval
Official approval has been given for the creation of an internet domain dedicated to pornography. The board of net overseer Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) gave approval for the creation of the .xxx domain at its conference in Brussels. ICM Registry the company which is backing the domain, said .xxx would make it easier to filter out inappropriate content. The decision ends a long campaign by ICM Registry to win approval. Stuart Lawley, chairman of ICM, welcomed the decision and said it was "great news for those that wish to consume, or avoid, adult content". ICM has said it expected the first .xxx domains to go live in early 2011. It said it had more than 110,000 pre-reservations for .xxx domains. Initial approval for .xxx was given in 2005 but this was rescinded following protests from politically conservative groups. In February 2010, a panel of US judges said Icann erred in denying the approval of the domain. Icann accepted that ruling and began a public consultation process on whether the domain should be approved.
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Stem Cells Canada - Stem cell therapy may provide new approach to fight infection Researchers at University Health Network in Toronto have discovered that the use of bone marrow stem cells may be able to help treat sepsis, a deadly condition that can occur when an infection spreads throughout the body. They used mesenchymal stem cells to test these cells in mice with sepsis. Bacteria from the gut were released into the abdomen, resulting in severe infection, inflammation and organ damage throughout the body. Six hours after inducing the infection, approximately half the mice were given an intravenous injection of mesenchymal stem cells. After five days, 50% of the mice that received stem cells were alive and had healthier lungs and other organs, lower levels of bacteria and a more moderate level of inflammation. Mesenchymal stem cells may provide a promising approach for treating organ damage caused by severe infection and we are looking to test this in patients in the near future, said Dr. Stewart. Japan - Stem Cell Treatment Heals Spinal Cord Injuries in Mice A team of researchers from several Japanese universities announced they have been successful in repairing the damaged spinal cords of mice using induced pluripotent stem cells. The treatment though complex and lengthy, holds out hope to those who have suffered spinal cord injuries causing varying degrees of paralysis. The safe use of iPS cells has long been a goal of researchers worldwide, as these types of stem cells are sourced from adult cells and not human embryos. They harvested 500,000 of the cells that had not formed tumors and injected them into the damaged spinal cord of a mouse 9 days after its injury. The subject mouse, which had lost all mobility in its hind legs, soon recovered the ability to use its legs.
Substance Abuse New Zealand - Ex smoker presents his damaged heart to committee Mohi Waihi took his damaged heart to the Maori Affairs committee, which were holding an inquiry into the New Zealand tobacco industry. Waihi told the committee that he started smoking at 19 and had five heart attacks before getting a transplant from a 40-year-old female donor in 2005. "I am just so glad I am here," he said. About 40% of New Zealand's 500 000 indigenous Maoris smoke -double the rate of the total adult population - and 22% of Maori deaths are attributed to
smoking. Executives of tobacco giant Philip Morris International told the committee they accepted that smoking caused disease and death, but that there is a consumer demand for it and that the product is currently regulated and legally sold and bought.
Singapore - Singapore's policy keeps drugs at bay Singapore pursues a comprehensive national strategy to combat the scourge of drugs, comprising a high-profile public education campaign, treatment and rehabilitation of drug offenders, as well as strict laws and stiff penalties against those involved in the drug trade. But Singapore's tough stand against those involved in the drug trade, including capital punishment, have sometimes come under criticism from people like Mr Patrick Gallahue and Mr Rick Lines of the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA). But Singapore has one of the lowest prevalence of drug abuse worldwide. Over two decades, the number of drug abusers arrested each year has declined by two-thirds, from over 6,000 in the early '90s to about 2,000 last year. Fewer than two in 10 abusers released from prison or drug rehabilitation centres relapse within two years. “We do not have traffickers pushing drugs openly in the streets, nor do we need to run needle exchange centres” writes Michael Teo, Singapore's High Commissioner. Brunei - Prevention Still the Best Defence Against Drug Abuse Drug prevention, as opposed to harm minimisation techniques, is still the best line of attack against drug abuse in the Sultanate, said the president of the National Anti-Drug Association of Brunei (Basmida). Freshly returned from the second World Forum against Drugs in Sweden, Datin Ali said that Basmida practices a "zero-tolerance" policy towards drug abuse. 'Warm reduction techniques are no substitute for drug prevention programmes," said the Basmida president. Citing examples from Australia and the Netherlands, Datin said that liberal drug policies can lead to rampant drug abuse within communities and do not actually eliminate or reduce drug use. "Politicians in these countries advocate harm minimisation such as providing needle exchange for heroin users and coffee shops for cannabis smokers but if this continues then drug abuse will continue," she said.
USA - Prescription drug overdose cases skyrocket at emergency departments An FDA proposal could require opioid manufacturers to do more to educate physicians and patients on the potential dangers of their products. With new data showing that prescription drug misuse now rivals illicit drug use as a cause of emergency visits, the FDA in June released a long-awaited proposal aimed at curbing recreational use of opioid analgesics. Fatal poisonings from opioid overdoses tripled to nearly 14,000 deaths from 1999 to 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2009. Emergency visits related to misuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs doubled from 500,000 in 2004 to 1 million in 2008, said the report. As physicians have moved to treat acute cancer and chronic pain more aggressively using opioids, the opportunity for recreational use of the drugs has grown, said Susan E. Foster, at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Physicians and other health professionals should do more to tell patients, especially parents, about the dangers of letting their opioids get into others' hands. "You, as a parent, may safeguard your gun or your alcohol from your kids in order to protect them, yet you just leave your prescription drugs out there for the taking."
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Traditional Healers Ghana - MOH to integrate traditional medicine in health delivery The Ministry of Health is establishing a unit to integrate traditional medicine into the mainstream health delivery system. The General Secretary of the Association said a Traditional Medicine Division would be created to facilitate the program. He was speaking at a two-day seminar to improve the efficiency of members of the Ghana Faith Healers and Traditional Birth Attendants. South Africa - Ubhejane is not registered - TAC On 22 June 2010 it was incorrectly reported in Business Report that Ubhejane was registered with the Medicines Control Council (MCC). Ubhejane has not been registered as a medicine in South Africa. There is no evidence that it is of any benefit to people with HIV. Mr Gwala claims that Ubhejane will increase one's CD4 count and decrease one's viral load. Gwala is consequently selling Ubhejane as an antiviral medicine. All antivirals must be registered by the MCC before they are marketed in South Africa. Section 14(1) of the Medicines Act prohibits the sale of medicines that are subject to registration and are not registered. In addition, section 29(b) makes it clear that "any person who . contravenes or fails to comply with the provisions of section 14(1) . shall be guilty of an offence." TAC has previously lodged a complaint with the Department of Health's Law Enforcement Unit against Ubhejane but no action has been taken by the Department.
Zimbabwe - Mum 'kills son, sells ear for $US20' A Zimbabwean woman killed her infant son and sold one of his ears for $US20 to a traditional healer wanted for ritual murders in neighbouring Mozambique, police said. "We can confirm that the woman Christine Hofisi from Chipinge (near the Mozambican border) strangled her 18-month- old son to death and cut off his left ear," deputy national police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said. Mandipaka said the traditional healer known as Maheza was facing criminal charges in his home country after being found with 11 human skulls, but he skipped bail and is now believed to be living in the border area. Ritual murders though not common in Zimbabwe often involve traditional healers and business people who believe that the use of magic potions mixed with human organs can bring them good fortune. Uganda - Uganda registers witchdoctors Districts of Uganda have started registering all traditional healers and witchdoctors operating in villages across the country and all registered traditional healers will be given numbers and name tags which they will have to display whenever on duty.
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