Oral contraceptives linked to suicide

A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry has found a positive association between the use of oral contraceptives and suicide attempts and suicide.

The study, conducted by researchers based in Denmark, involved a review of nationwide registers that provided individually updated information about use of hormonal contraception, suicide attempts, suicide, and potential confounding variables. Using data from nearly half a million women, the study analyzed prescriptions and filled prescriptions for contraceptives, as well as deaths and causes of death, and compared women taking this type of birth control to women who did not… click here to read whole article and make comments

Doctors who receive a complaint are more likely to “overtreat”

Research from Imperial College London (ICL) has shown for the first time an association between the way complaints against doctors are handled and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and defensive medical practice.

The researcher team, led by Professor Tom Bourne from ICL’s Department of Surgery and Cancer, have conducted multiple studies in the past on the effects of complaints on doctors’ mental health; yet this is the first study to associate mental illness symptoms with specific aspects of the complaints process.

While many complaints against doctors in the UK are handled by the… click here to read whole article and make comments

Russian surrogacy, controversial and unregulated

A Russian senator has proposed a ban on both commercial and altruistic surrogacy. Anton Belyakov, of the small A Just Russia party, compares commercial surrogacy to prostitution, which is banned. “It is immoral and brings harm to both mother and the child,” he told Women and Girls News Deeply.

Surrogacy is booming in Russia according to News Deeply. Vladislav Melnikov, head of one of the European Centre for Surrogacy, says that 2,000 children were born in Russia to surrogate mothers in 2016. Nationwide there are around 100 surrogacy centres, including 40 in Moscow.

The financial incentive for commercial surrogacy is… click here to read whole article and make comments

‘Uber for birth control’ creates new ethical challenges

Contraception is another area where logistics is outpacing regulation in the United States. A new smartphone app, Nurx (pronounced new Rx) promises to prescribe and deliver all kinds of contraception plus the morning-after pill. Since there are no consultation or delivery fees, for women with health insurance their contraception will effectively be free. For those who don’t, the service costs US$15 a month.

It’s “Uber for birth control” – a logical development of telemedicine and new business methods.

The app is designed to make obtaining contraception as simple as possible. A woman selects a prescription, answers a few… click here to read whole article and make comments

“Care” vs “overzealous treatment”: Pope Francis speaks on end of life issues

Pope Francis has advised doctors to avoid "overzealous treatment" of patients at the end of life, saying that "burdensome" treatment may not be in the bests interests of the person.

Addressing the World Medical Association European Regional Meeting on End of Life Questions -- a conference jointly organised by the World Medical Association, the German Medical Association and the Pontifical Academy of Life -- the Roman Pontiff said that that the development of powerful medical technologies calls for prudent discretion on the part of clinicians:

"greater wisdom is called for today [in… click here to read whole article and make comments

Victoria one step away from legalising euthanasia

The Australian state of Victoria will soon legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia. On Wednesday, after a marathon 28-hour debate, the bill was finally approved in the upper house. A few amendments need to be ratified by the lower house next week, but that is expected to be a mere formality. 

“Today’s all about emotion, and it’s all about compassion,” said Premier Daniel Andrews. “It’s about providing for those who have for too long been denied a compassionate end, and the control, the power, over the last phase of their journey.”

So, from June 19, 2019, just 18 months away,… click here to read whole article and make comments

Nitschke designs new euthanasia machine with detachable coffin

Australia’s best-known euthanasia activist, Dr Philip Nitschke, is back in the news with another machine for committing suicide, the Sarco capsule.

The machine will allow anyone who has the access key to end their life by simply pressing a button. Developed in the Netherlands by Nitschke and an engineer, the machine can be 3D printed and assembled in any location. Access to the Sarco capsule will be by an on-line mental questionnaire which will provide a four-digit access code.

When the person lies in the capsule, he can activate it and liquid nitrogen will rapidly drop the oxygen level,… click here to read whole article and make comments

NEJM debates repairing human germlines

With the rapid advance in gene-editing technology, the time has come to consider how to ethical trials, according to an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. Bryan Cwik, a philosopher at Portland State University, in Oregon, zeroes in on some unprecedented difficulties in designing trials of modifying the human germline.

Cwik argues that “intergenerational monitoring” will be needed, not just of the first generation of modified children, but of their children and grandchildren. There could be subtle effects which emerge only after two or three generations. He points out that:

Monitoring for effects of gene… click here to read whole article and make comments

Jehovah Witness woman in Quebec freely chose not to have transfusion and paid with her life

Eloise Dupuis    

A woman was within her rights to refuse a blood transfusion even if she risked dying, said the Quebec coroner this week.

Eloise Dupuis, 27, died in Quebec on October 12, 2016 of multiple organ failure and loss of blood after a Caesarean section. A Jehovah's Witness, she insisted that she did not want to receive a blood transfusion. The coroner, Luc Malouin, said that she had made a free and fully informed choice.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that blood transfusions are forbidden by the Bible. Another Quebec woman of the same persuasion, 46-year-old Mirlande… click here to read whole article and make comments

Should Americans excuse FGM as a minority cultural practice?

Dr Jumana Nagarwala

Eight people have been charged with involvement in female genital mutilation in Michigan – the first case in the United States. Dr Jumana Nagarwala is the central figure because she performed the procedure – nicking the clitoral hood of two Minnesota girls who were brought to her by their parents.

All of the defendants are members of an Indian Muslim sect called Dawoodi Bohra.

In a post on The Hastings Center blog, two Muslim physicians from the University of Chicago attempt the difficult task of calling for a compromise on this incendiary… click here to read whole article and make comments

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