LIFEalerts 8 June 2015

LIFEalerts 08 June 2015

Abortion

USA – House Passes Bill Banning Abortions After 20 Weeks

USA – Bill that would force abortion clinic to close or move passes

Alternative Medicine

Australia – Homeopathy is not an effective treatment, says study

USA – Drinking chamomile decreases risk of death in older women

Euthanasia

USA – Terminally Ill California Mom against Physician Assisted Suicide

UK – Fear of death driving push for euthanasia, says medical ethicist

HIV/AIDS

No news today

Homosexuality

No news today

IVF & Surrogacy

Spain – Test improves implantation chances by pinpointing fertility window

Australia – Karyomapping in Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

Switzerland – Country to vote on embryo regulation

UK – Unregistered surrogate-born children creating ‘legal time bomb’

Medical Ethics

Canada – Bioethicist questions value of Down syndrome detection

Pedophilia

South Africa – ‘Sex with a child is always rape’

Argentina – Convicted Sex Offender Gets Sentence Reduced

UK – Is sex crime genetic?

Pornography

Canada – Underground child porn trade moving toward youngest victims

UK – Pornography industry proposes user ID checks for adult webs

Prostitution &Trafficking

USA – Washington Congress finally passes anti-human trafficking bill

UK – Buckinghamshire girl abused by 60 men in ‘ring of horror’

Stem Cells & Cloning

Italy – Leading stem cell surgeon accused of ‘scientific misconduct’

Australia/USA – Stem cell clinics are the ‘Wild West’ of medicine

Substance Abuse

USA – Marijuana Study Finds Legal Weed Contains Potent THC Levels

USA – Get high grades, get high – parents offer drugs as ‘bargaining tool’

USA – Multiple ER Visits Linked to Risk of Prescription Overdose Death

USA – Increase in babies born to mothers addicted to pain medications

Abortion

USA – House Passes Bill Banning Abortions after 20 Weeks

The House of Representatives approved a pro-life bill that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth. The vote for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act broke down on mostly partisan lines with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it. The House approved the bill on a 242-184 vote. Pro-life groups hope to use the measure as an election tool in 2016 in an attempt to wrest control of the White House and approve a pro-life president who will sign it into law. This is the second time the House has voted for the legislation having approved it in May 2013.

http://www.lifenews.com/2015/05/13/house-passes-pro-life-bill-banning-late-term-abortions-after-20-weeks/

USA – Bill that would force abortion clinic to close or move passes

A bill that would ban abortion clinics within 2,000 feet of public schools was approved by the Alabama House and now moves to the Senate. If signed into law, House Bill 527 from Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, would close the only clinic in Huntsville. The bill was approved on a 79-15 vote. The Tennessee Valley’s all-Republican House delegation voted in favor of the legislation “This (bill) is just saying that a child in a public school shouldn’t be subjected to the goings on (with protesters on either side of the issue) at abortion clinics,” Henry said.

http://www.timesdaily.com/news/local/bill-that-would-force-huntsville-abortion-clinic-to-close-or/article_5b831563-6c1a-58b2-8191-5344eebbd3c5.html

Alternative Medicine

Australia – Homeopathy is not an effective treatment, says study

After reviewing 225 research papers, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has concluded that homeopathy is not effective for treating any medical condition. Based on the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective. According to Paul Glasziou, chair of the NHMRC Homeopathy Working Committee, the findings would lead private health insurers to stop offering rebates on homeopathic treatments and force pharmacists to reconsider stocking them. While some studies reported homeopathy was effective, the quality of those studies was poor and suffered serious flaws in their design and did not have enough participants to support the idea that homeopathy worked any better than a sugar pill.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/Homeopathy-is-not-an-effective-treatment-says-study/articleshow/46536760.cms

USA – Drinking chamomile decreases risk of death in older women

A new study by University of Texas Medical Branch shows drinking chamomile tea was associated with a decreased risk of death from all causes in Mexican-American women over 65. Chamomile is one of the oldest, most-widely used and well-documented medicinal plants in the world and has been recommended for a variety of healing applications. The study examined a seven-year period during which researchers tracked the effects of chamomile and the cause of death in older Mexican – Americans. The researcher’s analyzed data from 1,677 women and men.14% of the people in the study drank chamomile tea. The data showed that consuming chamomile was associated with a 29% decreased risk of death from all causes among women.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150520160312.htm

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Euthanasia

USA – Terminally Ill California Mom against Physician Assisted Suicide

After suffering a series of debilitating lung infections, Stephanie Packer went to a doctor who diagnosed her with scleroderma, a terminal lung disease. The autoimmune disease causes hardening of the skin and some days are good while others are marked by low energy and pain that only sleep can relieve. Physician Assisted Suicide isn’t something she is considering and Stephanie says she hopes other terminally ill people consider palliative medicine and hospice care. “Death can be beautiful and peaceful,” she says. “It’s a natural process that should be allowed to happen on its own.” She is hoping for a lung transplant which could give her a few more years. This year marks three years since her doctor gave her three years to live.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/05/20/405204480/terminally-ill-california-mom-speaks-out-against-assisted-suicide

UK – Fear of death driving push for euthanasia, says medical ethicist

Responding to a report by The UK Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Timothy James, senior lecturer in Medical Law and Ethics said: “For most people, dying at home isn’t about autonomy; it’s about dealing with the fear of dying in a hospital with poor end of life care. The fear of dying in misery in hospital is what is driving the assisted dying debate. For a long time now the option should be available for terminally ill patients to die at home. We are seeing too many cases where proper pain control is not given.” Some of the cases investigated over the last four years include a 29-year-old male dying of cancer who was admitted to hospital and left without pain relief for 11 hours.

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/fear-of-death-driving-push-for-euthanasia-says-medical-ethicist/11454

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HIV/AIDS & STI’s

No news today

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Homosexuality

No news today

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IVF &Surrogacy

Spain – Test improves implantation chances by pinpointing fertility window

Infertile couples could benefit from a new test that tailors the timing of IVF treatment to a woman’s individual cycle. This test assesses the activity of genes of the womb lining to pinpoint a woman’s optimum time for treatment. Prof Garcia-Velasco is leading a clinical trial of the test, involving 2,500 patients in more than ten countries, including Britain. In the test, a biopsy of the endometrium is taken and the gene activity is analysed. As the cells enter the receptive phase a series of genes switch on and off in a reliable sequence that scientists can read like a clock. The test was given to 85 women who had each experienced IVF failure, 33% of those treated had a successful implantation.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/09/ivf-test-pinpoints-womans-fertility-window-implantation

Australia – Karyomapping in Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

New karyomapping technology is a significant advancement for couples wanting to avoid the transmission of a serious genetic disease to their children. Specialized Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) testing for each couple normally takes months to complete but with the new karyomapping technology individualized tests do not need to be developed so there will be a significant reduction in the time taken for patients to access PGD for single gene disorders. The Karyomapping test will be suitable for about approximately 90% of couples. Karyomapping is a single nucleotide polymorphism test which provides a universal genome-wide linkage based analysis, to determine which disease mutations, if any, embryos have inherited from their parents. Additionally one can look for chromosomal errors that cause implantation failure and miscarriage.

http://mivf.com.au/fertility-treatment/genetic-testing-pgd

Switzerland – Country to vote on embryo regulation

Swiss law currently only permits three embryos to be created but the country will hold a referendum to decide whether to legalize preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). If the constitution is altered, it will become possible to create 12 embryos, some of which could be tested for genetic diseases and the others frozen. Marco Romano, a parliamentarian for the Christian Democrats, was in favor of it until he spoke to doctors in a clinic: “I spoke at length with a professor and I had the impression that the specialists want to use anything that technology makes possible, to the point of playing with life. In accepting PGD, we open a door and we don’t know exactly where it will take us.”

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/swiss-to-vote-on-embryo-regulation-in-june/11452

UK – Unregistered surrogate-born children creating ‘legal time bomb’

Addressing a conference on the rapid expansion of surrogate births, Dame Lucy Theis said that without a court-sanctioned parental order and improved international legal frameworks children could end up “stateless and parentless”. It is estimated that as many as 2,000 children a year are born to surrogate mothers, mostly overseas, before being handed over to British parents. Last year only 241 applications were made for parental orders. A parental order extinguishes the rights and responsibilities of the surrogate birth mother, who would otherwise be recognized in law as the true parent. In most cases the birth mother is not the genetic mother but carries a fertilized embryo to full term for the parents.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/may/18/unregistered-surrogate-born-children-creating-legal-timebomb-judge-warns

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Medical Ethics

Canada – Bioethicist questions value of Down syndrome detection

Bioethicist Chris Kaposy asks if we really need ever-more accurate tests to detect Down syndrome in unborn children and questions “a ‘corporate arms race’ to develop prenatal tests for Down syndrome.” Most of the time women who test positive undergo an abortion. Research by Dr Brian Skotko at Massachusetts General Hospital suggests Down syndrome people and their families are happy with their lives. “… The social utility of these tests is incommensurate with the effort needed to create them. In contrast to the scientist who devotes their life to the treatment of cancer, … devotion to create a test that helps parents avoid the birth of people who tend to enjoy their lives seems somehow less ambitious, or off the mark.”

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/canadian-bioethicist-questions-value-of-down-syndrome-detection/11449

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Pedophilia

South Africa – ‘Sex with a child is always rape’

The High Court in Pretoria turned down a man’s appeal against his life sentence for raping the daughter of a family friend. His defence was that the child insisted they have sex because she loved him. He said he had obliged to prove his love. He told the court that when he asked, the girl said she was 16, although she did appear to be younger. The man said they had consensual sex. But Judge NV Khumalo said the law was clear that whether a child of 11 gave consent or not, having sex with such a young child was rape and a criminal offence.

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/sex-with-a-child-is-always-rape-1.1850963#.VV4zC1Kzmc4

Argentina – Convicted Sex Offender Gets Sentence Reduced

Two Argentina judges are under fire for reducing the sentence of a convicted child abuser. In the newly publicized 2014 ruling, the judges cut the sentence of Mario Tolosa, from six years to 38 months. One of the judges, Horacio Piombo, defended the ruling saying that before Mr. Tolosa molested the boy, the child had already been molested before by his own father. The judge said that as a result of that experience, the child ‘was showing signs of being gay’. Under Argentine law, “simple abuse” is punishable by three to 20 years in prison. Harsher sentences are imposed for “aggravated abuse” which Mario Tolosa was originally convicted of.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32806811

UK – Is sex crime genetic?

Men are up to five times more likely to commit a sex crime than the average male if they have a brother or father who has also been convicted of a serious sexual offence. A study of 21,566 men convicted of rape and other sexual crimes in Sweden between 1973 and 2009 has revealed a strong genetic component to sex offending. Titled “Sexual offending runs in families: A 37-year nationwide study,” the paper was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. It was written by five experts from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, University of Ottawa, and Oxford University. 99

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/09/europe/sex-offenders-genetic-predisposition/

Study: Sexual offending runs in families: A 37-year nationwide study

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Pornography

Canada – Underground child porn trade moving toward youngest victims

Data from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection shows that sexualized images of children under the age of 9, depicting explicit sexual acts, represent the largest and fastest-growing category in Canada’s underground child pornography trade, according to exclusive data obtained from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. Their abusers are overwhelmingly family and friends. The data shows 73 per cent of the images of young victims depicted sex acts that included “bondage” and “torture.” That figure was up 12 per cent over the previous year.

It is the first time that the age category from newborn to 8 accounted for more than half of the material. Images of children in older age categories dropped or held steady.

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/04/26/underground-child-porn-trade-moving-toward-youngest-victims.html

UK – Pornography industry proposes user ID checks for adult webs

Britons may soon face identity checks to access adult material on the internet, according to discussions between Whitehall (the British governmental administration) and the private sector. A scheme proposed by the pornography industry would see adult sites verifying visitors’ identity with organizations such as banks, credit reference agencies or even the NHS. It comes ahead of an expected new law demanding age checks for online pornography and threatening a block on any sites which don’t comply. The Digital Policy Alliance, which acts for online companies, suggests using information already on their files across central and local government and the private sector.

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/may/26/pornography-industry-user-id-checks-adult-websites-privacy

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Prostitution & Trafficking

USA – Washington Congress finally passes anti-human trafficking bill

Much later than expected, the House has given final congressional approval to legislation to expand law enforcement efforts and provide help for victims of human trafficking — a crime that forces young victims into the sex trade and hard labor with little or no pay. The House vote was 420-3. Under section 118 of this bill, the advertising of sex for trafficking will result in a mandatory penalty of 10 or 15 years, depending on the circumstances of the crime. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/05/congress_finally_passes_anti-h.html

UK – Buckinghamshire girl abused by 60 men in ‘ring of horror’

Eleven men deny sex charges against two vulnerable schoolgirls. One aged 12 or 13 at the time, alleges she was abused and passed between 60 men who had sex with her. The prosecutor said the girls were conditioned into believing their “horrifying” ordeal was normal .This case concerns child sexual exploitation on a massive scale. They were looking for excitement, attention, for somewhere to hang out away from school and home. And they were easy prey for a group of men wanting casual sexual gratification that was easy, regular and readily available. The girls were befriended and given gifts such as alcohol, DVDs, food, and occasionally drugs.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-32781942

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Stem Cells & Cloning

Italy – Leading stem cell surgeon accused of ‘scientific misconduct’

Italian celebrity surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, who created artificial windpipes with cadaver-derived scaffolding and stem cells, has been found guilty of scientific misconduct by an investigator from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. Dr Macchiarini’s operations were widely reported and seemed to bring almost miraculous relief to three patients. But the post-operative reality was different. Two of the patients have died, and the third has been hospitalized in intensive care for nearly three years. The investigation was prompted by doctors caring for the patients who found that their condition was not nearly as good as Dr Macchiarini described in his publications. According to the investigator, the surgeon “omitted some data and also fabricated or falsified some data regarding the postoperative state of patients”. 119

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/leading-stem-cell-surgeon-accused-of-scientific-misconduct/11451

Australia/USA – Stem cell clinics are the ‘Wild West’ of medicine

Doctors in the United States and Australia are treating dozens of conditions ranging from sports injuries to multiple sclerosis to dementia to hair loss but they don’t know how the stem cells work and there often is no evidence that they do work, other than optimistic anecdotes. “It’s sort of this 21st century cutting-edge technology. But the way it’s being implemented at these clinics and how it’s regulated is more like the 19th century. It’s a Wild West,” said Dr. Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at the University of California. And Dr Martin Pera, of Stem Cells Australia said that “Immediate action is required to curb the growth of exploitative unproven and unfounded practices”.

http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/stem-cell-clinics-are-the-wild-west-of-medicine-say-critics/11448

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Substance Abuse

USA – Marijuana Study Finds Legal Weed Contains Potent THC Levels

Typical THC levels are well below 10% but in Colorado the average THC level is 18.7% and some contains 30% THC or more. Andy LaFrate’s Denver lab is licensed by the state and paid by marijuana businesses to measure the THC strength in their products. After analysing more than 600 samples of marijuana provided by certified growers and sellers, he detected little medical value and lots of contamination. Some green buds viewed were covered in fungi; he also examined more than 200 pot extracts or “concentrates” and found some contained solvents like butane. Families who have moved to Colorado so children suffering from seizures can get help through medicinal marijuana instead now run the risk of the seizures increasing.

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/legal-pot/legal-weed-surprisingly-strong-dirty-tests-find-n327811

USA – Get high grades, get high – parents offer drugs as ‘bargaining tool’

A pair of Floridian parents is facing child abuse charges after offering their two daughters marijuana and cocaine to do chores and excel in school. Joey and Chad Mudd are now facing multiple felony child abuse charges, after giving the kids marijuana. Chad has also been charged with giving them cocaine – which he allegedly snorted with them earlier this year in his truck. Joey Mudd meanwhile admitted to smoking dagga with her kids on five occasions, saying it works as a ‘bargaining tool’. She is employed at a paediatrics care unit. Joey Mudd has been released on a $5,000 bond with an order not to contact her children, while Chad is still locked up. 120

http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/2015/05/08/get-high-grades-get-high—parents-offer-kids-drugs-as-bargaining-tool

USA-Multiple ER Visits Linked to Risk of Prescription Overdose Death

A study, by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, was recently published online in the journal Annals of Epidemiology. People with four or more ER visits in the past year were 48 times more likely to die of prescription drug overdose compared to those who visited an ER once or not at all. With three visits a year, the risk of overdose death from a prescription drug was 17 times greater and nearly 60 percent of drug overdose deaths involved prescription drugs. In 2011, improper use of prescription drugs led to 1.4 million ER visits. Joanne Brady, an adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology analyzed data from more than 5,400 people who visited ERs in New York State between 2006 and 2010.
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/05/14/multiple-er-visits-linked-to-risk-of-prescription-drug-overdose-death

USA – Increase in babies born to mothers addicted to pain medications

New research supports recent recommendations to screen or test pregnant women for substance abuse. Done over three years at one U.S. hospital, the study included 40 painkiller-exposed newborns in the first year, 57 in the second year, and 63 in the third year. Researchers determined that 50 percent to 60 percent of the babies developed neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which includes withdrawal symptoms and complications. These infants remained in the hospital after birth for an average of 23 days whereas a healthy drug-free newborn usually only stays in the hospital for one or two days. The findings were in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/05/22/more-babies-born-to-mothers-addicted-to-pain-meds

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Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International