LifeAlerts – Alternative Medicine

Alternative Medicine

Portugal – Do No Harm

Prof Cardoso, head breast surgeon at the Champalimaud Cancer Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, told the BBC that it was important that patients always checked with their doctors first before trying complementary therapies for cancer that had spread to the skin. The danger is that many products can interfere with hormone therapy or chemotherapy treatments, and certain ones prolong the blood clotting process – which can lead to wounds taking longer to heal and more scarring. The following herbal products are examples of those which slow down clotting: Green Chiretta, Feverfew, Garlic Ginkgo, Ginseng, Hawthorn, and Horse Chestnut Turmeric. Prof Cardoso said it was not surprising that patients search for complementary or alternative treatments that might make a difference. But she said people should know “they could end up doing more harm than good”. Read more

USA – Doctor suspended over Medical Marijuana Approval          

Dr. Andrew Medvedovsky from South Jersey, had The State Board of Medical Examiners suspend his licence over authorizing marijuana for thousands of patients at new jersey Alternative medicine indiscriminately. Medvedovsky will be actively suspended for a year, with a second-year to be served as a period of probation. He may also not enter any medical practice during business hours, when patients may be present, during his active period of suspension. The board expects him to complete courses in medical ethics and recordkeeping since he failed to take Medical history from patients or did not examine them before approving the use of Medical Marijuana. Read more

John Kelly’s Testimony Opposing New Jersey Assisted Suicide Bill A2451

published on the Not Dead Yet website on September 6, 2016. [Editor’s Note: John Kelly lived in New Jersey in his younger years and traveled back there to testify on October 6, 2016 in opposition to the latest assisted suicide bill, A2451. His oral testimony is below, and his full written testimony is here.] Chair Burzichelli, Vice Chair Lagana, Members of the Committee: My name is John Kelly, and I am the New England Regional Director for Not Dead Yet, the national disability rights group that has long opposed euthanasia and assisted suicide. I am also the director of Second Thoughts Massachusetts, Not Dead Yet’s Massachusetts affiliate. We are concerned that this bill is before the Appropriations Committee. It suggests that cost-containment really is a major factor behind the push for assisted suicide laws. So when in the state of Oregon, Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup received letters from Oregon Medicaid denying coverage for prescribed chemotherapy. The letters did, however, offer to cover the negligible cost of assisted suicide. Because assisted suicide will always be the cheapest treatment, its availability will inevitably affect medical decision-making. This will actually end up constraining choice. A2451 threatens you, every single resident of New Jersey, because all of us are vulnerable to misdiagnosis. “Terminally ill” is defined as: “Terminally ill” means that the patient is in the terminal stage of an irreversibly fatal illness, disease, or condition with a prognosis, based upon reasonable medical certainty, of a life expectancy of six months or less.” When it comes to life and death, there is no such thing as “reasonable medical certainty.” Of the millions of misdiagnoses every year, many are terminal misdiagnoses. We know this because of the thousands of people who “graduate” from hospice each year. Every year in Oregon, people have lived longer than their six-month terminal diagnosis. Every year in New Jersey, it is estimated that 1/10 people over the age of 60 are abused, almost always by adult children and caregivers. Although “self-administration” is touted as one of the key “safeguards”, in about half of Oregon program deaths, there is no evidence of consent or self-administration in the death. If the drugs were administered by others without consent, no one would know. The request form constitutes a virtual blanket of legal immunity covering all participants in the process. Assisted suicide laws inevitably take the lives of innocent people through mistakes, coercion, and abuse. Please reject this bill.{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}26+Information+Website&utm_campaign=f1894f7f9b-Euthanasia_Deception_documentary_counter10_7_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b9d6bb980e-f1894f7f9b-198483333&m=1  ]]>

Statements from the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the American College of Pediatricians.

National Institute of Drug Abuse

Legalized Cannabis and the Brain-A Clinical Review.

 Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are sounding the alarm over a possible increase in unknown cognitive and behavioural harms that widespread cannabis use may unmask. A clinical review conducted by NIDA points out that as legalization of the drug for recreational and medical use spreads, vulnerable populations, especially adolescents, are exposed to toxic effects of the drug. “This is not a problem that is specific to marijuana,” Dr Volkow states. “Young brains and drugs shouldn’t mix. Period.”

Powerful Disruptors

 Dr Volkow explained that young brains are engaged in a protracted period of “brain programming,” in which everything an adolescent does or is exposed to can affect the final architecture and network connectivity of the brain. “Drugs are powerful disruptors of brain programming because they can directly interfere with the process of neural pruning and interregional brain connectivity,” she added. In the short term, this kind of interference can negatively affect academic performance. However, long-term use can impair behavioural adaptability, mental health, and life trajectories. Currently, four states ― Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska ― as well as the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use among adults. Twenty-three other states, plus the District of Columbia, also regulate cannabis use for medical purposes. As a result of this rising tide of legalized marijuana, Dr Volkow and colleagues believed a more focused and in-depth study of its use and consequences was urgently needed.

Neuro-psychological Decline

 “Emerging evidence suggests that adolescents may be particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of cannabis use,” the investigators write. Several studies, for example, have shown that individuals who use cannabis at an earlier age have greater neuropsychological impairment and that persistent use of cannabis from adolescence was associated with neuropsychological decline from the age of 13 to 38 years. This was not found to be the case when cannabis was first used in adulthood. There is also “fairly clear evidence” of structural alterations in a number of areas in the brain associated with exposure to cannabis, although some evidence suggests that associated drinking may explain some of the structural alterations attributed solely to cannabis use. In other words, alcohol or cannabis on their own are not good for the body, but put them together and you have a more potent toxic combination. MRI studies have also pointed to changes in neural activity among cannabis users, including inefficient processing during a working memory task. “There is both preclinical and clinical evidence supporting the view that cannabis use is associated with an ‘amotivational’ state,” said Dr Volkow. The term “cannabis amotivational syndrome” is distinguished by apathy(laziness) and difficulty with concentration. She also notes that long-term, heavy cannabis use has been associated with underachievement in terms of educational pursuits. On the other hand, it is also likely that diminished motivation could impair learning as well, inasmuch as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in cannabis, has been shown to disrupt reward-based learning. “Amotivation in chronic heavy users may also reflect the fact that cannabis itself has become a major motivator,” Dr Volkow writes, “so other activities (e.g., schoolwork) become demoted in the individual’s reward hierarchy.” What now needs to be established is whether higher concentrations of THC might make the risk of developing amotivation or even addiction more likely, investigators add.

Cannabis and Psychosis

 There is also a lingering controversy over whether cannabis can trigger psychiatric disorders, notably, psychotic disorders and schizophrenia. “It is recognized that cannabis with a high THC can trigger an acute psychotic episode,” Dr Volkow writes. However, she cautions that the extent to which cannabis can result in schizophrenia is still being debated, although the consensus is that cannabis use in those at risk for schizophrenia can trigger the disease and exacerbate its course. Particularly at high doses, THC has been known to trigger schizophrenia-like positive and negative symptoms. Studies have also consistently shown an association between the use of cannabis and schizophrenia in cases in which cannabis use precedes psychosis.  “The association between cannabis use and chronic psychosis (including a schizophrenia diagnosis) is stronger in those individuals who have had heavy or frequent cannabis use during adolescence, earlier use, or use of cannabis with high THC potency,” Dr Volkow and colleagues observe.
“From these studies, ever use of cannabis is estimated to increase the risk of schizophrenia by approximately 2-fold, accounting for 8{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} to 14{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of cases, with frequent use or use of cannabis with high THC potency increasing the risk of schizophrenia 6-fold.”
Dr Volkow cautions that legitimate controversy remains as to how much cannabis use contributes to psychosis and the degree to which cannabis can precipitate psychosis in patients who have no genetic predisposition for the illness.

Key Questions

 A number of key questions need to be adequately researched before a clearer picture emerges about the potential harms of cannabis use. The first is, how much cannabis use is too much? Dr Volkow noted that it is not clear whether the effects of cannabis among heavy users apply equally to those who use cannabis much more casually. The second is, at what age is cannabis use most harmful? It is fairly clear that cannabis does have negative effects among adolescent users, the researchers note, but it may also have negative effects in older adults who undergo changes in brain plasticity and age-related cognitive decline, both of which could make them more susceptible to toxic effects of the drug. “Physicians are in a key position to help prevent cannabis use disorder,” said Dr Volkow. “This will require that they screen adolescents and young adults for cannabis consumption and that they intervene to prevent further use,” she added. In cases in which the adolescent or young person already suffers from the disorder, physicians need to tailor their intervention on the basis of the severity of the disorder and the presence of comorbidities, such as anxiety or depression. “Science has shown us that marijuana is not a benign drug. The morbidity and mortality from legal drugs is much greater than that for illegal drugs, not because the drugs are more dangerous but because their legal status makes them more accessible and a larger percentage of the population is exposed to them on a regular basis,” she said. “The current ‘normalization’ movement presses on with complete disregard for the evidence of marijuana’s negative health consequences, and this bias is likely to erode our prevention efforts by decreasing the perception of harm and increasing use among young people, which is the population most vulnerable to the harmful effects of regular marijuana use.”

Contributor to Mental Illness

 Commenting, Oliver Howes, MD, PhD, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, United Kingdom, said he endorses the NIDA’s position on cannabis use. “I agree that there are potential issues around the use of cannabis, especially if you start it early, in adolescence,” Dr Howes said. “Early use seems to be what increases your risk of psychosis in particular, but it also seems to be associated with more marked effects generally, and we’ve certainly seen the effects of long- term, early cannabis use on the brain’s dopamine systems that are linked to effects on motivation, or rather the lack of motivation, that you commonly see in heavy cannabis users,” he added. Dr Howes also shared DFL and NIDA’s viewpoint that there is much that is not known about the long-term effects of cannabis use, especially heavy cannabis use. He also noted that “as a physician, I quite commonly see young adults who started using cannabis at the age of 12, 13, and 14 and who have come to see me in early adulthood with mental health problems.
“And yes, I do think early cannabis use contributes to the mental health problems that we see later on.”

American College of Pediatricians 

Gender Ideology Harms Children.

 The American College of Paediatricians urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality. 1.Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. This principle is self-evident. The exceedingly rare disorders of sex development (DSDs), including but not limited to testicular feminization and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norm, and are rightly recognized as disorders of human design. Individuals with DSDs do not constitute a third sex. (1) 2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one. No one is born with an awareness of themselves as male or female; this awareness develops over time and, like all developmental processes, may be derailed by a child’s subjective perceptions, relationships, and adverse experiences from infancy forward. People who identify as “feeling like the opposite sex” or “somewhere in between” do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women. (2,3,4) 3.A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such. These children suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria (GD), formerly listed as Gender Identity Disorder (GID), is a recognized mental disorder in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V).5 The psycho-dynamic and social learning theories of GD/GID have never been disproved. (2,4,5) 4.Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous. Reversible or not, puberty- blocking hormones induce a state of disease – the absence of puberty – and inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child. (6) 5.According to the DSM-V, as many as 98{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of gender confused boys and 88{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty. (5) 6.Children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. Cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and cancer. (7,8,9,10) 7.Rates of suicide are twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBT – affirming countries.(11) What compassionate and reasonable person would condemn young children to this fate knowing that after puberty as many as 88{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of girls and 98{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of boys will eventually accept reality and achieve a state of mental and physical health? 8.Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse. Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures that they will “choose” a lifetime of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider unnecessary surgical mutilation of their healthy body parts as young adults. Michelle A. Cretella, M.D. President of the American College of Pediatricians Quentin Van Meter, M.D.Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians,Pediatric Endocrinologist Paul McHugh, M.D. University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital References:
  1. Consortium on the Management of Disorders of Sex Development, “Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood.” Intersex Society of North America, March 25, 2006. Accessed 3/20/16 from
  2. Zucker, Kenneth J. and Bradley Susan J. “Gender Identity and Psychosexual Disorders. “FOCUS: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry. Vol. III, No. 4, Fall 2005 (598-617).
  3. Whitehead, Neil W. “Is Trans-sexuality biologically determined?” Triple Helix (UK), Autumn 2000, p6-8. accessed 3/20/16 from; see also Whitehead, Neil W. “Twin Studies of Transsexuals [Reveals Discordance]” accessed 3/20/16 from
  4. Jeffreys, Sheila. Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism. Routledge, New York, 2014 (pp.1-35).
  5. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013 (451-459). See page 455 re: rates of persistence of gender dysphoria.
  6. Hembree, WC, et al. Endocrine treatment of transsexual persons: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinal Metab. 2009;94:3132-3154.
  7. Olson-Kennedy, J and Forcier, M. “Overview of the management of gender nonconformity in children and adolescents.” Up-to-date November 4, 2015. Accessed 3.20.16 from
  8. Moore, E., Wisniewski, & Dobs, A. “Endocrine treatment of transsexual people: A review of treatment regimens, outcomes, and adverse effects.” The Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2003; 88(9), pp3467-3473.
  9. FDA Drug Safety Communication issued for Testosterone products accessed 3.20.16:
  10. World Health Organization Classification of Estrogen as a Class I Carcinogen:
  11. Dhejne, C, “Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden.” PLoS ONE, 2011; 6(2). Affiliation: Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Psychiatry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Accessed 3.20.16 from Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International.]]>

Assisted Suicide – DFL not happy with Courts decision

Press Release – Court’s decision on Assisted Suicide.

Firstly DFL would like to send our condolences to the family and loved ones of Robert Stransham Ford,who passed away this morning, may he rest in peace. Secondly DFL would also like to thank Reg Willis, Adrian De’Oliviera and Robin Twaddle Attorneys for all there hard work and time they have devoted to the caseeuthanasia-live-without---copy Doctors For Life International is very disappointed with the judge’s decision over the planned assisted suicide. DFL has established that the three state Respondents and the Health Professions Council intend to appeal and 2 June 2015 has been arranged with the judge for argument for leave to appeal. DFL is considering appealing the judge’s refusal to admit DFL as a party to the proceedings and only admitting DFL as amici curiae. People who are terminally ill are at an extremely vulnerable stage of their lives. They often go through periods of deep depression, which is often over looked, but fully treatable. DFL would like to discourage organizations from using people at such vulnerable periods to gain publicity and to promote there agenda. It is not reasonable to introduce radical legislation on the perceived needs of a minority that could end up being lethal for the majority of the population. It is setting a dangerous double standard to say suicide under certain conditions is acceptable while discouraging suicide as a whole. SA ranks 5th in the world amongst countries with the highest prevalence of suicide. On a national level the Department of Health is battling an epidemic of teenage suicide. How are we going to prevent the spread of suicide contagion and discourage suicide amongst teenagers who feel that there life is unbearable, for what ever reasons, while at the same time send out an official message that suicide for some is acceptable. Take this in context with the present day situation in SA with extreme violence, more than 40 murders committed each day. In the words of Professor Daniel J Ncayiyana, former editor of the SAMJ in 2012; “Mob justice, police brutality and xenophobia abound. Needless deaths occur regularly in our hospitals through staff neglect and indifference. Health care providers think nothing of downing tools and walking off, abandoning critically ill patients, or of blocking ambulances with critical emergencies from entering health facilities during labor disputes. In the circumstances, euthanasia cannot be at the top of the wish-list of things that must be accomplished in order to improve the human condition of South Africans.” Coercion will also be too subtle to control. Research has shown that even the way in which a doctor describes the treatment options for someone with cancer can encourage a person to ask for euthanasia. With regards to family the only thing that’s necessary for a family member who wants to inherit something from the terminally ill patient is to hint, at the bedside, that he/she is a burden to the family. This kind of pressure is often too much to handle and the patient will feel there is only one choice and that is to ask for an assisted death. Legalized euthanasia also provides a financial incentive for premature deaths. It will always be cheaper to kill than to provide palliative care over long periods of time. In countries where euthanasia is legal there have been cases where medical aid schemes have said that they cannot cover the costs for breast cancer treatment but physician assisted suicide is covered. What choice does this really leave the person with who has to choose between suffering without treatment or assisted suicide? DFL is disappointed that this European trend which is so foreign to the African way of thinking is being forced onto our society by a small minority. Doctors for Life International is an organisation of 1400 medical doctors, specialists and professors of medicine from Medical Faculties in South Africa and abroad. DFL provides expert evidence on various issues of medical and medical-ethical importance. Since 1991 DFL has been actively promoting sound science in the medical profession and health care that is safe and efficient for all South Africans.]]>

Orison Pictures

Doctors For Life Videos Production To purchase any of the following educational productions, give us a call on +27(32)4815550, or contact us by email at Orison Pictures All costs excl. postage. If you accept our quote, you can send us the Proof of Payment and we will post the package to you ASAP. Acc Name: Doctors for Life Trust Acc Nr: 4058 3559 46 ABSA Bank, Umhlanga (632005) Swift Code (for international payments): ABSAZAJJ Proprietor: DFL Trading (PTY) Ltd Reg Nr: 2003-00214-07 Directors: Dr A van Eeden Dr AQ Mngadi Dr EM Combrink To download the Orison Order Form click the link

Video Description
In Your Face (2004): In this contemporary and no-holds-barred film, the brutal facts about HIV/AIDS and its associated lifestyle come through loud and clear. Cutting through the murky tide of ideas and conflicting messages, this film gives meaningful advice on the medical and moral dilemmas AIDS poses, while offering a powerful and practical solution. 30 minutes that exposes the truth… In your Face. Running Time: approximately 30 min SA: Languages: English & Zulu EU: Deutsch, French,Russian,Nederlands&Eng. Nam: Languages: Ovambo,Herero & English Target Age: 13-25 yrs DVD – R150 (VAT incl. and excl. postage)  IYF
Ingcluaza Nomndeni (AIDS vs. the Family) (2006): In the US and Europe, HIV/AIDS is a chronic disease. In Africa, it’s devastating. It is shaking the very foundation of society – the family. Those who suffer can least afford it – the poor and uneducated. In this sober and simple film featuring HIV-specialist Dr Koleka Mlisana, the disease is brought into context in easily understood terms, covering everything you need to know about HIV/AIDS while promoting solid family values and a healthy lifestyle. Running Time: approximately 48 min Languages: Zulu (English subtitles) Target Age: 25+ yrs DVD – R150 (VAT incl. and excl. postage) atf
AIDS against the Family (2001) AIDS is attacking the family. This video includes a message about abstinance before marriage and fidelity within marriage; it explains in clear terms the causes and consequences of careless lifestyles and encourages fathers to fulfill their God-ordained position in the family. It is suitable for all categories of industrial workers, students and adults. Running Time: approximately 25 min Languages: English,Zulu,Afrikaans,Sotho & Portuguese Target Age: 25+ yrs DVD – R120 (VAT incl. and excl. postage) aatf
Home Based Care Techniques (2001): Leave the comforts of South Africa’s well-developed cities, enter its rural villages and you are plunged into a poverty-stricken society weeping over its dying. The utter helplessness of an illiterate woman faced with caring for her terminal husband can hardly be expressed. DFL’s Home Based Care Program changes this hopeless situation into a time of reconciliation, love and closure, by creating a support-group and empowering people to care for those dying of AIDS. Using this simple, comprehensive and practical training program, Home Based Care has extended the lives of thousands. Running Time: approximately 80 min Languages: Zulu & English Target Age: 25+ yrs DVD – R150 (VAT incl. and excl. postage)  hbc
All about Abortion (2005) Induced Abortion is the most common invasive procedure in medicine today. It is not a life-saving operation, but a way out of a social problem. While it may appear to be a quick solution, most women have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. The physical and psychological aftermath can be devastating. For anyone faced with the very real crisis of an unplanned pregnancy, it is vital to make an informed and moral decision. All about Abortion unveils the miracle of life, answers the central question of when life begins, and offers sensible, sound advice to this difficult and controversial dilemma. Running Time: approximately 60 min Languages: English Target Age: 15+ yrs DVD – R120 (VAT incl. and excl. postage)  abortion
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LIFEalerts 28 May 2014

Abortion UK – Ireland women not entitled to free NHS abortions in EnglandUSA – Missouri lawmakers approve 72-hour waiting periodUSA – With New Bill, Abortion Limits Spread in South Alternative Medicine South Africa – Herbal remedies can be toxic: researcher Euthanasia UK – TV personalities agree to assisted death pactBelgium – Belgian doctor shows where the slippery slope ends HIV/AIDS No news today Homosexuality USA – Syphilis Cases Climbing Among homosexual menUSA – Conversion therapy bans stall across the nationUSA – Judge to be impeached after homosexual marriage ruling South Africa – Lifting of ban on homosexuals donating blood IVF & Surrogacy USA – Older infertile couples should try in vitro fertilization first Medical Ethics UK – Concern over new medical experimentation billUK – Conscientious objectors barred from qualification in UK Pedophilia Germany – Pedophile brains ‘abnormally tuned to children’ Pornography USA – Porn magazines to be banned from military basesUSA – The truth about the porn industryUSA – Porn is a public health issue Prostitution &Trafficking Canada – Use provincial laws to fight prostitution Stem Cells & Cloning USA – Controversy over cardiac stem cells could sink “heart failure cure”USA –  bioethics commission calls for ethics education in neuroscience Substance Abuse USA – Synthetic Marijuana Hospitalizes 45 in TexasUSA – Recreational Marijuana May Be Linked To Brain ChangesUSA – WHO says alcohol killed 3.3 million in 2012 USA – Marijuana Legalization In States Making Waves At UN


UK – Ireland women not entitled to free NHS abortions in England

Women from Northern Ireland are not legally entitled to free abortions on the NHS in England, the High Court in London has ruled. The case was brought by a 15-year-old girl and her mother who live in Northern Ireland. Unlike the rest of the UK, abortion is only allowed in very restricted circumstances in Northern Ireland. More than 1,000 women each year travel from NI to have an abortion in other parts of the UK. Because Northern Ireland is not covered by the 1967 Abortion Act, which applies in the rest of the UK, the judge, Mr Justice King, has ruled this was not a discrimination issue.

USA – Missouri lawmakers approve 72-hour waiting period

Missouri’s Legislature gave final approval Wednesday to legislation requiring a woman to wait three days after first seeing a doctor before having an abortion. The measure would triple Missouri’s current 24-hour waiting period and put the state in line with Utah and South Dakota as the only states to mandate a 72-hour time frame. The House voted 111-39 in favour of the measure Wednesday. Under both current law and the new legislation, Missouri’s abortion waiting period doesn’t apply in instances deemed by a doctor to be a medical emergency. But women do have to wait in cases of rape and incest.

USA – With New Bill, Abortion Limits Spread in South

The Louisiana State Legislature has passed a bill that could force three of the state’s five abortion clinics to close, echoing rules passed in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, and raising the possibility of drastically reduced access to abortion across a broad stretch of the South. The new rules passed by Republican legislatures require that doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Abortion providers and many medical experts call the requirement a thinly disguised effort to shut down clinics and undermine the right to abortion under Roe v. Wade. The Louisiana House of Representatives passed the legislation by an 88-to-5 vote. The bill passed the State Senate last week.

Alternative Medicine

South Africa – Herbal remedies can be toxic: researcher

A researcher has revealed that some herbal remedies can contain very toxic elements. “The toxic constituents are capable of causing adverse health effects when consumed, for instance, there are some plant species that contain cardiac glycosides that causes heart problems in humans,” says Salmon Adebayo, a Doctoral Degree candidate at the Tshwane University of Technology. A Ugandan study published in the online journal Plos One, found that “traditional herbal medicine use was independently associated with a substantial increase in significant liver fibrosis in both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected study participants.” Adebayo’s presentation revealed that more than 80{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of South Africans use herbal remedies for their primary healthcare needs.


UK – TV personalities agree to assisted death pact

Two TV personalities Judy Finnigan and husband Richard Madeley have said they have agreed to an assisted death pact should one of them fall seriously ill. This, even though these headline-grabbing comments go against advice of organizations like the World Health Organisation, which says that discussions about suicide and assisted suicide need to be handled very carefully, to prevent taking your own life or helping someone to die appear normal. Changing the law so you can kill a loved one, or be killed would put many vulnerable people at risk who might be pressured into ending their life, because they might feel that they had become either a care or financial burden.

Belgium – Belgian doctor shows where the slippery slope ends

Dr Wim Distelmans, is organizing an instructional tour to Auschwitz, the Nazi extermination camp in October, according to him, an ‘inspiring’ surrounding in which to ‘clarify confusion about euthanasia’. What it does show is how little distance there is between Belgian euthanasia in 2014 and Nazi death camps in 1944. Linking the right to die and the Nazis is a no-no in most circles. In fact, they lost their arguments as soon as they mention the word “Nazi”. Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick the Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Europe and a leader of Not Dead Yet UK, and Dr Tom Mortier, replied, ‘we have never, ever, linked him to the atrocities, the inhumanity, and the repellent euphemisms of the Nazi era. He has done this all by himself.’


No news today


USA – Syphilis Cases Climbing Among homosexual men

Cases of the sexually transmitted disease, once almost eliminated in the United States, have more than doubled among men who have sex with men (msm) since the year 2000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We are very concerned about what we consider this rising epidemic of syphilis among msm,” said Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s division of STD prevention. “This is a consistent, disturbing trend.” In 2000, the year with the fewest cases of syphilis, there were 6,000 cases nationwide. In 2013, there were more than 16,000 cases of syphilis, 91 percent of these in men. “We haven’t seen case numbers like that since back in the ’90s,” Bolan said.

USA – Conversion therapy bans stall across the nation

A movement to ban the controversial practice of “conversion therapy” that counsels homosexual children and teens on how to become straight is meeting with unexpected problems. Christopher Doyle, a licensed clinical professional counselor who supports sexual orientation change efforts, said the bills were losing because of coordinated efforts by ex-gays. They are also arguing that there can’t be a scientific basis for the claim that the therapy is harmful to children since “there is actually not one study” on sexual orientation change efforts and the impact on minors, Mr. Doyle said.

USA – Judge to be impeached after homosexual marriage ruling

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee a former presidential candidate and staunch social conservative, called on the state’s current governor, Mike Beebe (D), to call a special session of the state legislature to remove Judge Christopher Piazza from office who struck down the homosexual marriage ban that he signed into law 17 years ago. ” Huckabee asserted, Piazza “decided that he is singularly more powerful than the 135 elected legislators of the state, the elected Governor, and 75 percent of the voters of the state. Huckabee also blasted Piazza for issuing his ruling after the close of business Friday, which made “it impossible for the attorney general or other attorneys to file for an immediate stay of his overreaching decision.”

South Africa – Lifting of ban on homosexuals donating blood

In the past, homosexual men were seen as being at high risk of being infected with HIV and could only donate blood to SANBS if they had been celibate for six months or longer. The policy made in 2006 was widely criticised as discriminatory, unfairly targeting homosexual men while allowing heterosexual people who engaged in equally risky or casual sex to donate. Vanessa Raju, SANBS Communications Manager, confirmed that the non-discriminatory policy had been put in place that favors people in monogamous relationships, regardless of sexuality.

IVF &Surrogacy

USA – Older infertile couples should try in vitro fertilization first

Middle-aged couples who want to have a baby but are having trouble conceiving should go straight to in vitro fertilization (IVF), skipping other types of fertility treatment, a new clinical trial recommends. Researchers found that women aged 38 and older were more than twice as likely to become pregnant through IVF within their first two cycles of treatment than if they used oral or injectable fertility drugs. They also were twice as likely to have a successful birth from that pregnancy. These findings should cause insurance officials to reconsider their refusal to cover IVF, given that pregnancy occurs more rapidly with IVF and with fewer complications, said Dr. Tomer Singer, a reproductive endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Medical Ethics

UK – Concern over new medical experimentation bill

Experts are seriously alarmed at the new Medical Innovation Bill, intended to allow doctors greater freedom to experiment on dying patients. Legal philosopher Jaquline Laing concludes: “In short, medical experimentation on patients is mainstreamed while no clear conditions as to what would constitute degrading and inhuman treatment are anywhere outlined. Indeed, the very possibility of degrading and inhuman treatment is not considered, whether in the language of the bill or in any preamble, and safeguards nowhere outlined.” The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges is opposing the bill on similar grounds. They argued that the prudential requirements set out by the bill were too lax, and furthermore that the bill could turn medical innovation into an individual activity.

UK – Conscientious objectors barred from qualification in UK

The UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has barred doctors and nurses from qualifications if they refuse to prescribe or administer contraceptives. Dr. Peter Saunders, head of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said,  “If you look at non-Catholic Christians there would be many who may have no objection to contraception and see it as responsible behaviour but who draw the line at prescribing contraceptives meant to be taken after fertilization”. David Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford, said, “This is a form of unjust discrimination against professionals on the basis of their personal beliefs and, indirectly, a form of discrimination against patients who share the same beliefs and who may wish to be treated by professionals with a sympathetic understanding of their position.”


Germany – Pedophile brains ‘abnormally tuned to children’

The brains of pedophiles are abnormally “tuned” to be attracted to the faces of children, according to a study conducted by Dr Jorge Ponseti from Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany. 56 male brains were scanned by scientists, including 24 pedophiles, while they looked at photos of men, women, boys and girls faces. The same face and sexual processing regions of the brain were stimulated when adults saw photos of men and women and when pedophiles looked at images of children. The findings confirmed previous research showing that human face processing reflects sexual preferences. However, the study found no reason as to why pedophile brain’s preferred children.


USA – Porn magazines to be banned from military bases

Morality in the Media has demanded the Pentagon take pornography magazines off the shelves at military bases because they are ‘sexually exploitative’. Also, military wives have complained that easy access to porn at bases is breaking up their marriages because their husbands come back from deployment addicted to porn. Pornography is sexually exploitative and the military has a sexual exploitation problem, according to deputy executive director for Morality in Media, Casey Capozzoli. Selling sexually explicit material on base is against the law, according to the Military Honor and Decency Act, passed in 1996. The Department of Defense Appropriations Bill 2014, to be released in June, directs military officials to start the process of pulling the magazines off the shelves.

USA – The truth about the porn industry

Gail Dines, an academic and author of an explosive new book about the sex industry, ‘Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality’, interviewed a number of men in prison who had committed rape against children. All were habitual users of child pornography. They all said that they got bored with ‘regular’ porn and wanted something fresh. They were horrified at the idea of sex with a prepubescent child initially but within six months they had all raped a child. Child porn has increased significantly in popularity in recent years, with almost 14m internet searches for “teen sex” in 2006, an increase of more than 60{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} since 2004.

USA – Porn is a public health issue

The Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation is looking at pornography as a complex social problem that should be framed as a public health issue. Dawn Hawkins of Morality in the Media says porn sites get more visitors per month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. A third of all downloads contain porn and the Internet hosts 4.2 million porn websites. Porn is without doubt the most powerful form of sex education today, with studies showing the average age of first viewing porn is between 11 and 14. According to Mary Anne Layden of the University of Pennsylvania, who specializes in sexual trauma, pornography has been a factor in every case of sexual violence that she has treated as a psychotherapist.

Prostitution & Trafficking

Canada – Use provincial laws to fight prostitution

The federal government is expected to introduce amendments to the Criminal Code soon that will revamp the current law, by targeting pimps and johns but exempting prostitutes from prosecution.  A different approach to the problem is needed and if prostitution is to be eradicated, it must also be fought at the provincial level because provincial laws move faster, have fewer procedural impediments, and could pose a far more immediate threat to the sex-trade industry if properly deployed.  We need to stop regarding prostitution as an issue that can only be addressed by the federal government and with tougher criminal laws. A more coordinated approach, using existing provincial laws, could go a long way to reducing the problem.

Stem Cells & Cloning

USA – Controversy over cardiac stem cells could sink “heart failure cure”

An experimental treatment led by Dr Piero Anvera using cardiac stem cells to regenerate heart tissue which was heralded as a revolutionary breakthrough and as a “heart failure cure” in The Lancet, has been retracted, with The Lancet issuing “an expression of concern” about the much-cited paper. “This notice of concern, coupled with the recent retraction, is extremely troubling because of the large number of clinical trials inspired by reports from this group, the many desperate patients potentially affected, and the large amount of federal and private money that has been diverted from other areas of promising research to pursue these ideas,” Professor Jonathan Epstein, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine commented.

USA –  bioethics commission calls for ethics education in neuroscience

Calling for the integration of ethics into neuroscience, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released the 1st of 2 volumes on the ethics of brain research. The commission’s deliberations were shaped by a number of high-profile ethical disasters such as the fad for transorbital lobotomy, a psychosurgical procedure which cured “delusions, obsessions, and nervous tensions. As Chairperson, Amy Gutmann, of the University of Pennsylvania wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education: “By integrating ethics into neuroscience research early and thoroughly, we can avoid the need for a future bioethics commission to perform a painful postmortem on the Brain Initiative. Ethics in science must not come to the fore for the first time after something has gone wrong.”

Substance Abuse

USA – Synthetic Marijuana Hospitalizes 45 in Texas

During a 48-hour period over a weekend, 30 people in Dallas were admitted to local hospitals for reportedly overdosing on a synthetic marijuana product known as K2. An APD spokesman said in Texas there is an ongoing investigation into the most recent string of what he called “overdoses.” “This is the first time we’ve seen synthetic marijuana overdoses in ‘mass’ quantities like this. We need to figure out where this stuff is coming from.” Dr. James E’tienne, an emergency physician at Baylor University Medical Center, told Dallas media outlet WFAA-TV, “Several of [the patients] came in with similar symptoms of psychosis, altered mental status, abnormal behavior–ranged from very sedated to an agitated state.

USA – Recreational Marijuana May Be Linked To Brain Changes

New research reports that for each additional joint a person smokes per week, the greater the odds of structural changes to areas involved in motivation, reward, and emotion. “This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences,” said study author Hans Breiter, psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and psychiatrist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “Some of these people only used marijuana to get high once or twice a week. People think a little recreational use shouldn’t cause a problem, if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our data directly says this is not the case.

USA – WHO says alcohol killed 3.3 million in 2012

More than 3 million people died from using alcohol in 2012, for reasons ranging from cancer to violence. More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption, said Oleg Chestnov, a WHO expert on chronic disease and mental health. He added there was “no room for complacency”, warning that drinking too much kills more men than women, raises people’s risk of developing more than 200 diseases, and killed 3.3 million people in 2012. Poorer people are generally more affected by the social and health consequences of alcohol, he said.  More also needed to be done to raise awareness of the damage alcohol can do to people’s health.

USA – Marijuana Legalization In States Making Waves At UN

With Washington State and Colorado opening the door to legal recreational marijuana use, a United Nations report has been published which takes issue with this drift towards legalization. This year’s annual report commented on the legalization of marijuana in Colorado which, it says, has increased the number of drugged driving accidents. INCB President Raymond Yans urges national governments to look at drug policy through a wide angle lens. What is best for the health of the country? The science behind medical marijuana is sketchy and is seen by the U.N. group as dangerous to public health. Although the U.S. has permitted states to approve marijuana for medical use there is no solid research showing it to have legitimate medical applications.

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


LIFEalerts 08 May 2014

Abortion USA – Bill requires mental health info before abortionUSA – Country’s strictest anti-abortion law signed in Mississippi USA – Dobson tears into Obama: ‘Come and get me’ USA – South Carolina 20 Week Abortion Ban Advances Alternative Medicine Australia – Homeopathy is no better than a placebo say scientists Euthanasia UK – Retired art teacher commits suicide due to frustration with modern lifeCanada – Vegetative patient communicates with doctors for first time HIV/AIDS No news today Homosexuality Africa – EU Pressure on Africa to promote homosexualityUSA – Trans Women Are 49 Times More Likely to Have HIV UK – Promoting homosexuality on the rise in UK schools IVF & Surrogacy USA – Rates of IVF continue to growJapan – Researchers find ‘Juno,’ a key to fertility Ghana – First IVF quadruplets delivered in Kumasi Medical Ethics Belgium – Citizens’ Initiative against embryonic stem cells EU can’t ignoreUK – Alarm over care of the elderly India – Row over clinical trial as 254 Indian women die USA – bioethicists take Belgian child euthanasia to task Pedophilia USA – Child abuse costing the church billions of dollarsUK – Downloading child abuse ‘manuals’ to be made illegal Pornography UK – New system can scan the internet for illegal images Prostitution &Trafficking USA – Oklahoma House passes three human trafficking bills USA – Amnesty International should not endorse legalizing prostitutionUK – Outlaw buying sex, says former Tory minister Caroline Spelman Stem Cells & Cloning No news today Substance Abuse USA –  Dagga: Debunking Pot Proponents’ Prison Myths USA – Marijuana and tobacco, treated very differently by governmentUSA – Christie: I Will ‘Never’ Legalize Weed in N.J. USA – Recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain


USA – Bill requires mental health info before abortion

Anti-abortion lawmakers in Louisiana want women seeking the procedure in Louisiana to get pamphlets describing possible psychological effects, the illegality of coerced abortions and services available to human trafficking victims. The House Health and Welfare Committee backed a bill that would require clinics to provide those three brochures to women at the start of their state-mandated 24-hour waiting period before they can have an abortion. That would be added to other printed materials already required under the “Woman’s Right to Know” law, such as information on the foetus’ development in the womb and alternatives to abortion. No committee member objected to sending the bill to the full House for debate.

USA – Country’s strictest anti-abortion law signed in Mississippi

One of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country will go into effect in Mississippi, barring women from seeking an abortion 20 weeks after the beginning of their last menstrual cycle. The bill, signed into law by Gov Phil Bryant on Wednesday and going into effect July 1, calculates conception from the first day of a woman’s last period rather than when the egg becomes fertilized and implanted in the uterus. The new legislation does have exceptions for the life of the mother or if the foetus has no chance of survival.

USA – Dobson tears into Obama: ‘Come and get me’

James Dobson a harsh critic of President Obama and an opponent in court,  described him as the “abortion president” during an address. Dobson, whose organization recently won a court fight against Obama over a mandate in Obamacare that would have required his ministry to pay for abortion pills, has not been shy about challenging the president on his abortion agenda. He has made it so that every American will have to pay toward the support of abortion,” he said, noting the $250 million in taxpayer funds that already goes toward Planned Parenthood’s funding. He implored listeners to “keep fighting.” “We can win.

USA – South Carolina 20 Week Abortion Ban Advances

Legislation that would ban abortions after 19 weeks in South Carolina has advanced in the state Senate. A Senate subcommittee voted 4-1 to advance the bill after amending it to give exceptions to the ban for cases of rape, incest and foetal anomaly. Supporters believe the ban is needed on the assertion that a foetus at 20 weeks can feel pain. The proposed ban would only affect hospitals, as Planned Parenthood clinics in South Carolina do not provide abortions beyond 19 weeks. Under the ban, doctors who intentionally perform illegal abortions after 19 weeks could be fined $1,000 for first and second offences and $5,000 or three years in prison for a third offence.

Alternative Medicine

Australia – Homeopathy is no better than a placebo say scientists

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council analyzed how effective alternative medicine are in treating illnesses and conditions, and concluded that “there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective”. Among the 68 ailments that homeopathic remedies failed to treat were: asthma, arthritis, sleep disturbances, and chronic fatigue syndrome,  malaria and heroin addiction. The researchers concluded that alternative treatments were either no more effective than a placebo, or that there was no reliable evidence to suggest it was. At the time, David Colquhoun, a pharmacologist at University College London, told The Independent that homeopathy was “utter nonsense”. Americans have spent $2bn investigating these things … they haven’t found a single one that works,” he said.


UK – Retired art teacher commits suicide due to frustration with modern life

An 89-year-old named only as Anne, a retired art teacher, committed suicide at the Dignitas clinic because she was frustrated at the lack of interaction in modern life and because of our reliance on computers and the Internet. In her request to the clinic she said her lack of energy and declining health left her with “a life with no enviable future.” Anne took a lethal dose of barbiturates at the clinic, with her niece Linda, 54 at her side.

Canada – Vegetative patient communicates with doctors for first time

More than a decade after a car crash left him in an apparently vegetative state, Scott Routley has been able to tell scientists he is not in pain. Researchers have recorded the Canadian man’s responses to “yes” and “no” questions, as an MRI machined scanned his brain activity. It’s the first time someone who is uncommunicative and severely brain damaged has been able to give answers related to their care and treatment. Professor Adrian Owen, the study’s lead researcher at Canada’s University of Western Ontario, said 39-year-old Routley was clearly not vegetative and the text books needed rewriting.


No news today


Africa – EU Pressure on Africa to promote homosexuality

African governments reacted negatively when the European Parliament passed a resolution last month threatening sanctions on countries that punish homosexual acts. The resolution was a response to Uganda and Nigeria toughening sodomy laws and outlawing the promotion of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The European Parliament asked that the governments of Uganda and Nigeria no longer be given development aid from the European Union. The Africans promptly countered. Each society has a human right to defend its culture and traditions and “determine its own moral values and norms” through its democratic institutions, African nations said in a declaration issued a few days later.

USA – Trans Women Are 49 Times More Likely to Have HIV

Last month, The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) released a report, titled, “Trans Populations and HIV: Time to End the Neglect,” detailing the high rate of HIV infection among transgender men and women along with the failings of the HIV-focused medical community. The report’s estimate suggests that trans women are among the most at risk demographic, and are an estimated 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than members of the general population. Rates of infection are even higher among trans women of color. The reason for this alarmingly high rate of infection appears to hinge on a number of factors, including economic status, a propensity to engage in survival sex work, likelihood of intravenous drug use, and other high-risk behaviors.

UK – Promoting homosexuality on the rise in UK schools

“An increasing number of schools are introducing Section 28-style bans on promoting homosexuality, in the classroom,” delegates told the National Union of Teachers’ annual conference in Brighton this week,” media sources report. However, a motion before the conference has said, “That at least 46 schools, including a number of academies, had words similar to the previous legislation in their school policies. ”Deborah Glynn, from St Helens, Lancashire, highlighted research by the British Humanist Association, to the conference, “Which,” she said, “showed that there are many schools bringing this wording back into their policies.”

IVF &Surrogacy

USA – Rates of IVF continue to grow

A new healthcare analytics report has revealed just how much the IVF market is growing. The report, produced by Allied Analytics LLP, estimates that the net worth of the IVF market at the end of 2012 was US$9.3 billion, a figure which is set to increase to $21.6 billion by 2020. Delayed pregnancy in women is one of the key factors driving the increased use of IVF. Increased rates of infertility, due to stress levels, change in lifestyle and fertility related diseases, have also contributed to the increase in IVF. Developing economies are emerging to be the most preferred destination for IVF treatments with increasing focus on advanced technologies, improving health care infrastructure and favourable health care cost.

Japan – Researchers find ‘Juno,’ a key to fertility

Fertilization takes place when the female egg and the male sperm fuse and create an embryo. But how the egg and the sperm recognize one another in the first place is a more complicated question. Only in 2005 did Japanese researchers identify a receptor protein named “Izumo” on the sperm that recognized the egg. In the latest edition of the journal Nature, researchers report identifying the corresponding receptor protein on the egg: They named it “Juno.” A team of four from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Britain, led by Gavin Wright and Enrica Bianchi, made the discovery. Juno performs another crucial task: it blocks other sperm cells from joining to an egg once it has been fertilized.

Ghana – First IVF quadruplets delivered in Kumasi

The Trustcare Specialist Hospital and Fertility Centre in Kumasi on Friday cut a slice of medical history for itself, when it delivered a set of quadruplets through in-vitro fertilization. The babies, three males and a female, together with their 42-year old mother, are doing well. The pioneer assisted-reproductive technology centre in Kumasi, in a press release signed by Isaac Kofi Adu, clinical embryologist, said it had within the past three years delivered a number of multiple pregnancies. The release explained that to make IVF treatment affordable, the centre is collaborating with the Association of Childless Couples of Ghana (ACCOG), and “Walking Egg Organization” in Belgium, to bring low cost technology but effective IVF services to Ghana.

Medical Ethics

Belgium – Citizens’ Initiative against embryonic stem cells EU can’t ignore

One of Us, a European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures is against embryonic stem cell research from all 28 E.U. member states for a proposal that would block funding for research in which embryos are destroyed. Under E.U. rules, the European Commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation. E.U. member states have different regulations in the area of embryonic stem cell research, ranging from very permissive, for example in Belgium, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, where creating embryos for research purposes is allowed, to very restrictive, as in Poland and Lithuania, where research with embryonic stem cells is illegal. The union does not sponsor research that is illegal in the country where it would take place.

UK – Alarm over care of the elderly

The Lancet has published an alarming editorial about the pressure on healthcare systems from an growing elderly population. The key issue is demographic as the proportion of people over 60 years will double from about 11{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} to 22{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} by 2050. In addition, Western nations such as Britain have significantly cut funding to elderly care in recent years and public funding for older people’s social care fell by a massive £1·2 billion or 15·4 {01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} between 2010 and 2014, even though it had been stagnant between 2005 and 2010. The authors are concerned particularly for middle to low income countries such as China, which face the same issues as the US and the UK, but with less funding to address it.

India – Row over clinical trial as 254 Indian women die

The death of 254 Indian women in a 15-year US-funded clinical trial for a cervical cancer screening method has triggered a raging debate about its ethicality. It is a well established fact that any kind of cervical screening reduces the incidence of the cancer. Yet, almost 140,000 women in the control arm of the trial were not screened. After a complaint, the United States Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) determined that the women were not given adequate information to give informed consent. If, at any time during the past 15 years, the women in the unscreened control groups had been told the simple truth that cervical screening would lower their risk of death from cancer, they would have left the control groups and sought screening on their own, thereby nullifying a scientifically defective experimental design. The OHRP determined that it was thus difficult to presume that the studies are not compromised by the inadequate informed consent.

USA – bioethicists take Belgian child euthanasia to task

American bioethicists have criticised Belgium’s law permitting children with terminal illness to choose euthanasia. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Art Caplan and colleagues argue that children do not have adults’ capacity for informed consent. “Children and adolescents lack the experiential knowledge and sense of self that adults often invoke, rightly or wrongly, at the end of their lives,” they argue. Furthermore, a developed nation like Belgium ought to have good enough palliative care so that no child will experience “constant and unbearable suffering”. The ethical way to achieve this goal should be expanded education and clinical guidance around the provision of aggressive palliative care.


USA – Child abuse costing the church billions of dollars

Almost $3 billion is what allegations of child sex abuse has cost the American church between 2004 and 2013. The data was released in the 11th annual report from the US Episcopal conference on progress in the implementation of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People. The costs include the settlements, therapy and psychological care for victims and legal fees. The analysis conducted by StoneBridge Business Partners particularly looked at 127 diocese for the period from July 2012 to 30 June 2013. During this time, there were 857 victims of sexual abuse and more than 900 complaints against the church. However, not all cases had sufficient evidence to launch a lawsuit against the clergy accused of paedophilia.

UK – Downloading child abuse ‘manuals’ to be made illegal

Downloading manuals containing guidance on how to groom children for sexual abuse is to become a criminal offence, the government has said. The government must ensure police have the investigative capacity to infiltrate and disrupt the networks of offenders hidden online. Prime Minister David Cameron said “It’s completely unacceptable that there is a loophole in the law which allows pedophiles to write and distribute these disgusting documents.” I want to ensure we do everything we can to protect children – and that’s why I am making them illegal.”


UK – New system can scan the internet for illegal images

Scientists have developed a new system that makes it possible to scan traffic on the internet for illegal photographs. The system can, for example, help trace child pornography on the internet without infringing on the privacy of internet users, said researchers at the University of Twente in The Netherlands. Internet service providers could use the tool to keep their network ‘clean’, they said. The police use a standard database to detect illegal photographs such as child pornography on equipment they seize, such as computers or USB sticks.

Prostitution & Trafficking

USA – Oklahoma House passes three human trafficking bills

Three Senate bills aimed to combat human trafficking cleared the state House of Representatives this week. If the bills become law, those convicted of human trafficking in the future could find it much more difficult to live a normal life in Oklahoma once being released from prison. One of the three new bills would help victims who want suspects to pay them back financially. Another would require those convicted of the crime serve 85 percent of their time before being eligible for parole. The final bill would ensure convicts would have to register as sex offenders.

USA – Amnesty International should not endorse legalizing prostitution

An estimated 16,000 girls and women in the Chicago area are involved in the sex trade, according to a 2002 study. The only way we can put an end to prostitution is by penalizing its purchase and Amnesty International is set to decide whether it should endorse a policy to legalize the purchase of sex. Supporters of the policy change allege that decriminalizing paying for sex is a solution to the harms associated with prostitution. They say decriminalization would protect the health and safety of prostitutes and ultimately would curtail the domestic and international sex trade. However, virtually every person bought for sex, boy, girl, teenager or adult, would not choose prostitution if they saw another way to survive.

UK – Outlaw buying sex, says former Tory minister Caroline Spelman

The former Tory cabinet minister Caroline Spelman has called for the UK to consider criminalising the purchase of sex. She said she was shocked by estimates that thousands of prostitutes in the UK had been trafficked, and believed such sexual exploitation would have to be addressed through reducing demand. Demands for Britain to look again at changing prostitution laws come as France is passing legislation to emulate the Nordic model and the law is under review in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Finland and Canada.

Stem Cells & Cloning

No news today

Substance Abuse

USA –  Dagga: Debunking Pot Proponents’ Prison Myths

Dagga (marijuana) crusaders have waged an excellent campaign convincing people America’s prisons are overflowing with “nonviolent, petty” drug users costing millions in tax money. Pennsylvania State Senator Leach, a staunch advocate of legalizing marijuana, stated in 2013, “According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), 24,685 marijuana arrests were made in Pennsylvania in 2006 at a cost of $325.36 million to taxpayers”. But according to Rafael Lemaitre, the communications director of the ONDCP, the office “does not maintain arrest figures.” The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, whom however provide specific data, said there are fewer than 300 people sentenced to prison in Pennsylvania each year for marijuana, of which only about 5 are for possession of ‘small amounts’.

USA – Marijuana and tobacco, treated very differently by government

When it comes to tobacco and marijuana, public policies appear headed in contradictory directions. For years, candy cigarettes have been criticized as providing children a gateway to tobacco smoking leading to a federal ban in 2009. Yet in Colorado, the legalization of marijuana has produced a host of different candy products infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in pot. Dr. Andrew Monte, a medical toxicologist at the University of Colorado Medical School, said a poison control call occurs every few days involving a child ‘accidentally’ eating marijuana products. “The state of Colorado and the state of Washington are seeing significant, both social and enforcement, issues,” Ricky Adams, chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

USA – Christie: I Will ‘Never’ Legalize Weed in N.J.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie repeated his well-known opposition to legalizing marijuana in his state, and sharply criticized one that has done just that – Colorado. “To me, it’s just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey, and there’s no tax revenue that’s worth that.” Christie said on a public radio show. He vowed “never” to legalize the drug while in office because of its negative impact on people’s brains, citing a recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience released that found even smokers who used it once or twice experienced “significant abnormalities” in vital brain regions.

USA – Recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain

The size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week, according to The Journal of Neuroscience. The study suggests that even light to moderate recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain anatomy,” said Carl Lupica, PhD. The current study, Jodi Gilman, PhD, Anne Blood, PhD, and Hans Breiter, MD, of Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School used magnetic resonance imaging to compare the brains of 18- to 25-year olds who reported smoking marijuana at least once per week with those with little to no history of marijuana use. 106

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