Gennadij Raivich, a professor of perinatal medicine and neuroscience at University College London is the author of publications like “Investigation of cerebral autoregulation in the newborn piglet during anaesthesia and surgery” and “Methyl-isobutyl amiloride reduces brain Lac/NAA, cell death and microglial activation in a perinatal asphyxia mode”. There are 153 of these listed on his website.
Interestingly, 15 satisfied female “customers” from all over the country spoke in his defence, including a police officer, maths teacher and lecturer, some of whom had two and in one case three of his children via what he called “Artificial Insemination Plus”.
The WHO has endorsed the use of untested Ebola interventions on patients infected with the disease.
A 12-member panel of bioethicists convened by telephone on Monday to discuss the issue.
In a press conference following the discussion, Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general of the WHO, said there was consensus about the compassionate use of the drug on those infected with the virus: “[There has been] unanimous agreement among the experts that in the special circumstances of this Ebola outbreak it is ethical to offer unregistered treatments”.
The panel believed that the extent of the outbreak and the high case-fatality rate outweighed concerns about the side effects of untested treatments:
“In the particular circumstances of this outbreak, and provided certain conditions are met, the panel reached consensus that it is ethical to offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment or prevention.”
An EU investigation into criminal activity during the 1999 Kosovo war has found that a “handful” of Serbian soldiers were killed by Albanian militants for the purposes of organ trafficking.
Special Investigative Task Force chief Cliff Williamson announced the findings at a news conference in Brussels late last month.
Williamson said that “less than ten” soldiers were killed and their bodies smuggled to Albania for organ harvesting.
The fact that there were only a few victims, Williamson remarked, does not diminish the savagery of the crime: “even one person was subjected to such a horrific practice, and we believe a small number were, that is a terrible tragedy”.
He did say, however, that accusations of widespread organ harvesting have caused unnecessary trauma for families of missing soldiers.
The investigative committee does not currently have enough evidence to initiate prosecution but will continue its investigation.
The Festival will feature a range of films and documentaries. If the Walls Could Talk (1996) is a revealing trilogy of stories about unexpected pregnancies set in the same house, but with different occupants spanning over 40 years. In the teenage classic Juno (2007) an adolescent discovers she is pregnant after a one-off event with her best friend. (See trailer below.)
The worst-ever Ebola outbreak has prompted bioethical discussion on two fronts. The viral disease has killed about 1,000 people in West Africa, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. A few cases have been diagnosed in Nigeria. The chances of dying in this outbreak are about 50%. Newspapers in Western countries like the US, the UK and Australia are highlighting the possibility of their own epidemics. The World Health Organisation has declared it an international public health emergency, although it has not suggested general bans on travel or trade.
The first issue, as bioethicist Arthur Caplan points out, is that developed countries only worry about exotic diseases like Ebola when it threatens them:
“The harsh ethical truth is the Ebola epidemic happened because few people in the wealthy nations of the world cared enough to do anything about it. We do need headlines about Ebola. They should ask how…
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This New York Times video sketches the burgeoning Chinese surrogacy industry. Although it is technically illegal, there are many loopholes and the country now has an estimated 1,000 surrogate mother brokers. The Times interviews the CEO of Baby Plan Medical Technology Company who says that his business has four branches and a track record of 300 babies.
The children are expensive: US$240,000. The Times features a surrogate from the impoverished countryside who hopes to solve her financial problems with the pregnancy. Baby Plan provides her with good medical care but sequesters her in a flat for the duration of her pregnancy. “Our liaison staff tells them every day that the baby in your stomach isn’t your baby,” says the CEO. “A nice way of putting it is emotional comfort; less nice is brainwashing.”
Most social work students probably do not imagine that their career might require them to play the pander. But finding prostitutes for disabled clients is sometimes part of the job description, even though both the legality and morality of this practice are disputed. Another voice was added this week to long-simmering debate in the pages of the Journal of Medical Ethics over this issue.
Back in 2009 Dr Jacob M. Appel, a New York psychiatrist with a flair for controversy, argued that “sexual pleasure as a fundamental right that should be available to all”. Hence, if the disabled were unable to experience this, the government should step in and provide subsidised prostitution. “As a society, we also provide food for those who cannot feed themselves—even delivering it to their homes, when required. Sexual pleasure ought not be viewed any differently.”
Many sci-fi novels consider what life would be like without suffering. Philosopher David Pearce believes we can have such a life - and indeed, that we have a moral imperative to pursue it.
Pearce calls himself a negative utilitarian. Our moral calculus should be informed by a desire to limit as much as possible the suffering of all sentient beings. Pearce adopts a similar position to Peter Singer regarding the moral status of animals. Animals can suffer just like human beings, and this biological similarity gives them moral standing.
A leading Japanese stem cell researcher has committed suicide in the wake of retractions of papers which he co-authored. Yoshiki Sasai, 52, deputy director of the Riken Center for Developmental Biology, was discovered by a security guard and died in hospital about two hours later. Suicide notes were apparently found but the contents have not been disclosed.
Dr Sasai was a colleague of lead author Haruko Obokata on two stem-cell papers published in Nature earlier this year. The papers claimed that bathing cells in a mild acid could make them revert to a pluripotent, or even totipotent state. But the resutls were challenged after other scientists could not replicate them. It was soon discovered that some of the data was fatally flawed.
New surrogacy regulations introduced by the Thai junta government have placed hundreds of surrogate newborns and fetuses in legal limbo.
Yesterday the National Council of Peace and Order - the current Thai interim government - announced a blanket ban on commercial surrogacy arrangements, strictly limiting surrogacy to altruistic arrangements involving blood relatives. The regulations are a ratification of extant restrictions in the code of ethics of the Thai Medical Council.
It is unclear what effect the new ban will have on ongoing surrogacy arrangements involving couples from other countries.
NCPO spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said yesterday the law would allow infants who have just been born to be suckled by their birth mothers for six months, but then would allow the baby to be taken home by parents.