Japan debates rules for organ donation</b>

Faced with a lengthening list of candidates for heart transplants and a tiny list of donors, Japanese patients are going overseas to the US, Canada and Germany. Some parliamentarians claim that their law on organ donation is too restrictive and are calling for changes in the consent law. At the moment, Japan does not allow organs to be harvested from brain-dead patients unless they have expressed their wishes in writing. Without this in hand, even their relatives are not allowed to authorise a transplant. As a result, since 1997, only 29 Japanese diagnosed as brain dead have become organ donors,… MORE

Bride famine arrives in India</b>

Bride at Indian wedding Indian social scientists are predicting a rise in sexual violence and wife-sharing because 40 million aborted girls are missing from the population. It is estimated that 5 million girls are aborted each year. "In Haryana [state] a whole generation of young men is failing to find wives because a quarter of the female population has simply disappeared," says the London Times.

"All over India, since the 1980s when the country was flooded with cheap ultrasound technology, this mobile killing machine, wielded by doctors with no ethics, has been doing… MORE

Nobel laureates back Kerry as white knight of US science</b>

Forty-eight Nobel-Prize winning scientists have backed Democrat presidential hopeful John Kerry as the best hope for American science. President George Bush, they charge, had short- changed scientific research by accepting biased advice, reducing funding and restricting immigration of scientific migrants. "John Kerry will change all this," they said. "John Kerry will restore science to its appropriate place in government." Mr Kerry has promised to place America at the forefront of scientific discovery and amongst other moves, has promised to lift barriers to human embryonic stem cell research. MORE

Freezing eggs could be big business for US MBA student</b>

A Harvard Business School student has founded a company which promises to extend women's fertility with the unproven technique of egg-freezing. Christina Jones, 34, who has already helped to found two IT companies, is establishing a network of clinics which will harvest, freeze and store eggs. The target market for her company, Extend Fertility, is women from elite universities and business schools who want to delay child-bearing because of their careers or because they cannot find a partner. Women as old as 40 will be eligible.

The project seems premature to many IVF… MORE

Single cell could yield foetal diagnosis</b>

An Australian scientist working for a US pathology giant is developing single-cell fingerprinting in a new laboratory in Brisbane. The work of Associate Professor Jock Findlay gives a glimpse of the range of capabilities opening up for the IVF industry.

Professor Findlay's team is developing clinical diagnostic techniques which can yield cheap and accurate results in a single day from a single cell. Foetal cells taken from a Pap smear will allow doctors to determine the sex of an unborn child and whether it has single-gene defects or Down syndrome or other major chromosomal abnormalities. This will enable all women… MORE

Two more British suicide tourists die in Zurich</b>

The Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas has helped a mentally ill British couple to die in its Zurich clinic. Robert Stokes, 59, and his wife Jennifer Anne, 53, drank pentobarbitone with the help of a "euthanasia assistant", a Bedfordshire coroner found this week. Their son David said that his parents were mentally disturbed. "I know my parents were not terminally ill. The only terminal illness they had was inside their heads," he told the press. MORE

Scottish bioethics council calls for embryo research moratorium</b>

The Scottish Council on Human Bioethics has called for a moratorium on all research on human embryos in the UK because laws regulating the field are hopelessly out of date. The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, it says, grants licences for procedures which would outrage the public if they understood what was happening. The world-famous Roslin Institute in Midlothian which cloned Dolly the sheep, for instance, is creating embryos from human eggs without sperm, a process called parthenogenesis.

"Out of respect for democratic values and the view of the general public, a moratorium should be enforced on parthenogenesis… MORE


by Michael Cook
Australian Doctor, 15 June 2004   

IN BRIEF: Zavos again MORE

Australian euthanasia activist promotes suicide pill in US</b>

Director Janine Hosking working on her documentary of the death of Lisette Nigot Australian assisted suicide activist Dr Philip Nitschke is spruiking his "peaceful pill" in the US while he attends the launch of a documentary about his involvement in the suicide of a 79-year- old Perth woman. He will tell several right-to-die groups in Washington DC that his pill can easily be made from household ingredients. "If you drink it you will go to sleep and you will die," he explains.

The documentary, Mademoiselle and the Doctor, directed by Janine Hosking, is being… MORE

UK’s first legal human clones on the way</b>

Dr Miodrag Stojkovic Amidst bitter controversy, the UK's fertility medicine watchdog is preparing to approve the nation's first human clones. A Serbian scientist at Newcastle University who left Munich because of Germany's ban on embryonic stem cell research has lodged an application with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to clone embryos for diabetes research. In the course of the experiment, Dr Miodrag Stojkovic (pictured, right) will create embryos using leftover eggs from IVF treatment and then destroy them for their stem cells.

When news of the proposed experiment broke, arguments for and against… MORE

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