July
18
 

TEXAS “FUTILE CARE” LAW UNDER ATTACK AGAIN

Another weakness in Texas's futile care law has emerged in the case of a woman who suffered brain damage after her breathing tube became disconnected in hospital. Texas hospitals may remove life support from patients when further care is deemed "medically futile". In this case, however, the hospital's negligence may have caused 29-year-old Kalilah Roberson-Reese to lapse into a persistent vegetative state. This case raises questions of whether the law might be used to bury mistakes," says Jerri Ward, a lawyer for the woman.

A newcomer to Texas, Ms Roberson-Reese was pregnant with her first child when she went to the Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston complaining of leg pains, chest pains and shortness of breath. Apparently she was misdiagnosed and doctors later discovered that she had blood clots in her leg. Her child was born by an emergency Caesarean section and died. Her condition worsened to the point where she needed a tracheal tube. This slipped out, depriving her… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
July
18
 

CURES FROM DANDRUFF?

Looking for new sources of multipotent stem cells? Try dandruff. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that hair follicles are a rich source of adult stem cells which can be differentiated into nerve cells, smooth muscle cells and skin pigment cells. They say that if their approach to isolating and growing the cells can be upscaled, it might some day provide the tissue needed for disorders like peripheral nerve disease, Parkinson's and spinal cord injury. The results were published in the American Journal of Pathology. click here to read whole article and make comments



 
July
18
 

HUMAN EGG TRADE HAS A HUMAN COST

The desire of older professional women to bear IVF children with donated eggs relies upon exploited women in Eastern Europe, the London Daily Mail claims. Investigative journalist Fran Abrams went to Romania and the Ukraine and asked to buy eggs at IVF clinics linked to prominent London clinics.

The issue has been hotly debated after 62-year-old Dr Patti Rashbrook gave birth to a boy, becoming Britain's oldest mother. Ms Abrams found that egg donation had ruined the reproductive system of some poor women in Bucharest. Recently married Alina Ionescu, of Bucharest, for instance, was 18 when she sold her eggs two years ago for ?150. The procedure left her ovaries so scarred that she is now infertile. How does she feel about British fertility tourists? "I would wish those women luck," she told the Daily Mail. "Because right now I can understand how they feel." click here to read whole article and make comments




 
July
18
 

IN BRIEF: India, Britain, US

Peasant misery: Overwhelmed by their struggle with the land, 35 farmers in the Indian state Maharashtra have written to the Indian president seeking euthanasia. A number of farmers have committed suicide in the region in the past year. "We would like to end our lives instead of suffering crop losses every year," they wrote. click here to read whole article and make comments



 
July
11
 

FALUN GONG MURDERED IN CHINA FOR THEIR ORGANS,     CLAIMS CANADIAN REPORT

The Canadian government is planning to investigate allegations that Falun Gong members in Chinese prisons are being murdered and their organs sold to transplant patients. Former cabinet minister David Kilgour and a respected human rights lawyer, David Matas, spent two months investigating the startling claims and have documented them in a 60-page report. "The allegations, if true, would represent a grotesque form of evil which, despite all the depravations humanity has seen, would be new to this planet," they say. The Chinese government banned Falun Gong as a subversive sect in 1999 and has imprisoned large numbers of its supporters.

The two men acknowledge that they have no eyewitness evidence, but from interviews and careful analysis of publicly available information, they conclude that thousands of people have been murdered. China has very few voluntary organ donors and relies on harvesting organs from about 1600 prisoners executed each year. But since 1999 -- the year of the crack-down on the… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
July
11
 

LESSONS FROM KOREAN STEM CELL DEBACLE DEBATED

Disgraced Korean stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk has admitted that he ordered subordinates to falsify his cloning research. But he has insisted at his trial for embezzlement and violation of bioethics laws that his colleagues should share the blame. Dr Hwang told his staff to make it appear that results were based on 11 embryonic stem cell lines, rather than the two he was actually working on. And it appears that even these two were faked by a junior researcher without his knowledge. They were stem cells from IVF embryos, not clones. "It was definitely wrong," Hwang testified about the faked scientific papers. "I have no intention to escape the overall responsibility, but I feel differently about the view that all responsibility should lie with me as one of over 30 authors".

The lessons of the Hwang case are bitterly disputed in the US, where many scientists are pressing for Federal restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
July
11
 

AFTER 19 YEARS IN DARKNESS, TERRY WOKE UP

Neurologists are thrilled at the chance to examine the brain of an American man who "woke up" after 19 unresponsive years in a state of minimal consciousness. An article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation features images of the brain of Terry Wallis, now 42, who skidded off a small bridge in a pick-up truck back in 1984 and woke up in 2003. Although he is still severely impaired, physically and mentally, he is clearly recovering. He recently told his family that he was "proud" to be alive. It appears that his brain is healing itself by forming new neural connections, although what actually spurred his brain into new activity is still a mystery.

Although his case sounds remarkably like Terri Schiavo's, doctors say that Mr Wallis's injuries were less severe. During his 19 years of darkness, he never spoke but he was occasionally responsive and appeared to be aware of the presence of other people. Now he is… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
July
11
 

SURROGACY BOOMING IN CALIFORNIA AND OREGON

Oregon and California are developing "business clusters for surrogacy" which attract clients from other American states and Canada and other countries because pregnancy for profit is legal there. California, with 50 fertility clinics and the world's oldest surrogacy agency, is a global leader, but Oregon is also an attractive venue for people who come from states or countries where surrogacy is illegal. According to an article in The Oregonian, about 25,000 children have been born to surrogates in the US over the past 30 years, with about a quarter of these in the past five years. High-profile surrogacies for actress Angela Bassett and for TV host Joan Lunden have helped to spark demand. It is expensive: the cost of having a child with a surrogate mother can be as much as US$70,000 -- and most couples have already spent another $70,000 on unsuccessful IVF treatment.

Up to now, medical insurance have covered the costs of the surrogate mother's pregnancy. But… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
July
11
 

IVF—THE HUMAN SIDE OF TECHNOLOGY

This has been a bumper week for stories about the unintended effects of artificial reproduction -- mostly from the UK, where, because of a high degree of government regulation, exceptional cases surface more often in the media.

Louise Brown a mother: The world's test-tube baby, Louise Brown, is expecting a child of her own, according to reports in the UK media. Ms Brown was born in 1978 and since then more than 3 million babies have been born around the world with artificial reproductive technologies. click here to read whole article and make comments




 
July
11
 

IN BRIEF: creating sperm; Vatican comment

Artificial sperm: Researchers in the UK have produced functional sperm from mouse embryonic stem cells. Seven mice were born as a result, of which six survived to adulthood. Three had serious abnormalities. The lead researcher, Professor Karim Nayernia, says that the development will help scientists to understand how sperm develop and to explore what causes male infertility. Theoretically the procedure could be used to create a baby without a male. click here to read whole article and make comments



 

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