September
05
 

“We have a right to know our parents”

There are calls for a change in birth certificate regulations after a woman conceived by sperm donation had her adopted father erased as parent.

Emma Cresswell, 26, has won a six-year legal battle to have the man who she thought was her father removed from her birth certificate. Cresswell only discovered as an adult that she was conceived by a sperm donation, following a heated argument with her adopted father. Incensed at being deceived by her parents and feeling increasingly distant from her mother’s partner, Cresswell fought to have her adopted father’s details taken off her legal documents.

“I had thought I was one person for so long and then I found out that a whole side of that wasn’t true”, She said.

Cresswell is now campaigning for biological parentage to be stated in addition to legal parentage on a child’s birth certificate. Dr. Marilyn Crawshaw of the… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
September
05
 

Scientists one small step closer to memory alteration

Scientists from MIT say they have managed to manipulate ‘good’ and ‘bad’ memories in mice, in a study that may have significant impact on research into human memory alteration.

The study, published in a recent edition of Nature, examined the neuronal circuits thought to be responsible for triggering memory recall in mice. The researchers said they successfully used optogenics technology to activate circuits bearing specific memories.

Researchers created good memories in male mice by giving them time with groups of females, whilst bad memories were created by electrocuting the mice’ feet. The researchers then studied the way the mice reacted when the memories were activated in an empty space. When ‘bad memory’ circuits were activated, the mice ran away from the space, whilst when ‘good memory’ circuits were queued the mice stayed.

The results are said to indicate the existence of a precise physiological substrate for individual… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
September
05
 

“Common sense” prevails in the Ashya King saga

Ashya King, 5, has been reunited with his parents after they were released from a Madrid jail on Wednesday.

Ashya, who recently had a severe brain tumour removed, has been at the centre of an international police investigation after his parents took him from a British hospital against doctors’ advice. Brett and Naghemeh King were concerned that he was receiving inadequate care in the UK and wanted him to receive proton beam treatment abroad. Mr. and Mrs. King were imprisoned in Madrid for 72 hours after British police issued a European Arrest Warrant. Charges of ‘child cruelty’ were dropped on Tuesday.

Criticism has been levelled at British authorities for their ‘heavy-handed’ approach. In Question Time British PM David Cameron said that the police decision to issue the warrant “didn’t chime with common sense”. A Downing Street spokesperson said that the Home Office is expected… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
September
05
 

Catholic Church exposes forced adoption network

A Chilean priest is being investigated for coercing single women into give up their babies for adoption.

Fr. Gerardo Joannon of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SSCC) was allegedly part of a network of priests and doctors that coerced single pregnant woman to agree to adoption arrangements after birth. It is alleged that the women who resisted had their babies taken after birth and were told they had died. An investigation conducted by the Catholic Church found that Fr. Joannon participated in at least two adoptions where mothers were anesthetised and told after labour that their baby had passed away.

The SSCC began the initial investigation into the matter. A spokesman for the group has condemned Joannon’s actions. “[his actions] were totally unacceptable. It was very important for us to speak out and speak with a strong voice”, said SSCC priest Fr. Sandro… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
August
30
 

On the front line of the war on Ebola

The war on Ebola is creating heroes. The media have focused on Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) in Sierra Leone, where the country’s first case was diagnosed. More than two dozen of its doctors, nurses and support staff have been infected and died. Science, one of the world’s leading journals, published an early online paper on the Ebola virus on Thursday. Six of the authors are already dead, five from Ebola, all from KGH.

The New York Times highlighted the work of Josephine Finda Sellu, the 42-year-old deputy nurse matron, a brisk, cheerful and courageous  woman. “There is a need for me to be around,” she told the New York Times. “I am a senior. All the junior nurses look up to me.” If she left, she said, “the whole thing would collapse.”

“There are times when I say, ‘Oh my God, I should have chosen secretarial,’ ” she says. But nursing “is… click here to read whole article and make comments



 
August
30
 

Is fear of nursing homes a reason for Dutch euthanasia?

A Dutch euthanasia clinic is being investigated for helping an elderly woman to die because she did not want to live in a nursing home. This is the second time in four months that the Levenseindekliniek (End of Life Clinic) in The Hague has been reprimanded.

Even in the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, the clinic is controversial. It was set up to cater for patients whose own doctors refused to perform euthanasia and is financed by private health insurance. (Click here for the Leveneindekliniek FAQ.) In the two years after it opened in March 2013, 322 people were killed there.

The official euthanasia monitoring committee says that the clinic had not observed the formal guidelines for euthanasia. In the latest case, a woman in her 80s had been partially paralysed after a stroke. Twenty years ago she declared that… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
August
30
 

More surrogacy abandonment stories emerge

An Australian couple has copped a media bashing over their alleged abandonment of a Down syndrome twin born to a Thai surrogate mother. But with the enormous publicity given to the case, similar cases are beginning to emerge elsewhere. Aussies are not the only “heartless bastards” in the world of surrogacy.

In the UK, the tabloid press described the case of Amy, a child with congenital myotonic dystrophy, a rare inherited condition which causes babies to be “floppy” and developmentally delayed. She was the twin of a healthy boy. Both were born to “Jenny”, a British woman who had entered into a non-legally-binding contract with a couple.

But when the commissioning woman learned about Amy’s disability, she refused to take her. She told Jenny over the phone: “She’d be a ****ing dribbling cabbage! Who would want to adopt her? No one would want to adopt a disabled… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
August
30
 

What’s the real issue with commercial surrogacy?

In the wake of the recent Thai surrogacy scandals, commentators are debating how the practice of surrogacy should be reformed.

Many say that we should make commercial surrogacy legal in Western countries. In Australia, researchers from Surrogacy Australia, the Canberra Fertility Centre and Monash University are campaigning for compensation for Australia surrogates.

Fertility specialist Dr. Martyn Stafford-Bell says that overseas surrogacy arrangements expose both surrogates and babies to serious health risks. “Such adverse outcomes could be avoided if access to surrogacy was facilitated within Australia”, he commented in a recent interview. Australian Surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page agrees:

“The reality is if Australians are going in such great numbers to developing countries, such as India and Thailand, with the possibility of exploitation, sure it’s much better to have it here, where it can be regulated”.

But others are questioning the very practice of commercial surrogacy. Feminist Renate Klein… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
August
30
 

“Medicinal marijuana is bad medicine” - CMA president

The debate surrounding Canada’s marijuana laws has intensified, with the president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) labeling medicinal marijuana “bad medicine”. 

Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti is skeptical about the benefits of the controversial treatment. He voiced his concerns at the CMA’s annual meeting in Ottawa on the 18th of August: “It’s just plain bad medicine to prescribe a product when we don’t know how it works, we don’t know when it works, who it works for, how it interacts or how much to prescribe….”.

Under current Canadian law, patients wishing to purchase medicinal marijuana need to obtain a prescription from a doctor. Many doctors are unsure about the treatment and hence reluctant to issue a prescription.

Dr. Francescutti is concerned about the effect of current legislation on doctor-patient relations:  “It puts physicians in a very awkward situation and it strains the physician-patient relationship”.

Debate about the legalization of marijuana has become a central… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
August
30
 

Jimmy Savile meets bioethics

As details continue to emerge of Jimmy Savile’s horrific crimes, a bioethicist is questioning the complicity of healthcare workers in allowing for the abuses. Writing in the journal Bioethics, Professor Ruth Chadwick inveighs those who gave Savile access to vulnerable patients:

“Even if wrongdoing was not suspected, however, (and even the parents of abused individuals did not believe them, in the case of some celebrities who have now been exposed), patients should have a right to protection from the intrusion of non-healthcare personnel.”  

When Savile died in 2011, he was fondly remembered as one of Britain's best-loved entertainers. For half a century he had been a slightly eccentric, but popular DJ, media personality and charity fund-raiser. Not long afterwards, however, allegations of sexual abuse began to emerge. It turns out that the manipulative Savile had used his position to rape and molest hundreds of people, mostly young girls.… click here to read whole article and make comments




 

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