LIFEalerts 04 December 2015

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Abortion USA – Five abortion clinics shut down in the past five weeks USA – Planned Parenthood Clinic becomes Pro-Life Pregnancy Center
Alternative Medicine The Philippines – Bill seeks to regulate practice of acupuncture China – YangZheng XiaoJi May Stop Cancer Metastasis
Euthanasia Belgium – Expanding physician-assisted death to psychiatric cases Germany – Germany’s defeat of liberalized assisted suicide laws
HIV/AIDS No news today
Homosexuality UK – Sperm donor child ordered to develop relationship with father
IVF & Surrogacy UK – New drug provides safer IVF treatment India – Research Council Officially Ends Surrogacy in India Cambodia – Clinics Shift Business to “Lawless” Cambodia
Medical Ethics UK – Delusional but autonomous
Pedophilia UK – Is Pedophilia a Deviance or Disease Abu Dhabi – Tech industry fights online child sexual exploitation

Italy – Androgen deprivation therapy and pedophilia

Pornography Sweden – ‘Braille porn’ for blind people created by Swedish artist UK – Report claiming porn reduces the size of your brain UK – Police K-9s trained to sniff out child pornography USA – The Impact of pornography on individuals, families and children
Prostitution &Trafficking USA – Amnesty’s Human Rights Scandal USA – Guess who supports ditching prostitution laws  South Africa – High rate of disease among prostitutes in cities USA – Prostitution the most dangerous working environment Sweden – A prostitutes perspective on the Swedish model
Stem Cells & Cloning USA – Is the great stem cell debate over? USA – End ‘stem cell tourism,’ experts urge
Substance Abuse Syria – Captagon: The amphetamine fuelling Syria’s civil war USA – Medical doctor convicted of legal drug dealing
  Abortion   USA – Five abortion clinics have shut down in the past five weeks A total of 21 Abortion facilities have closed so far in 2015. Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue said “When abortion numbers come out for 2015, we expect that abortions will have decreased in each state where abortion clinics have closed”. Between September 28 and October 29, 2015, operations ceased at abortion facilities in Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Virginia.   USA – Planned Parenthood Clinic becomes Pro-Life Pregnancy Center The Planned Parenthood facility where abortion center manager-turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson worked is now a functioning pro-life pregnancy center. Hope Pregnancy Centers of Brazos Valley purchased the Bryan, Texas Planned Parenthood building last year after the abortion center closed. “What was once a place of death and grief where an estimated 6,400 abortions were performed has been transformed into a place of life,” Tracy Frank, executive director of Hope Pregnancy, said in a statement. Its free services include pregnancy tests, ultrasound, counseling about pregnancy options, baby supplies, STD testing, and more.   Alternative Medicine   The Philippines – Bill seeks to regulate practice of acupuncture Senator Miriam Santiago has filed a bill to regulate the practice of acupuncture in the country. Senate Bill 2966 seeks to standardize the practice of acupuncture to ensure that only licenses acupuncturists can perform the treatment. Under the bill, a Board of Acupuncture shall be created under the Department of Health. The board will be consisted of two licensed acupuncturists and one layperson who has never been an acupuncturist or member of any closely related profession. Santiago said any person is prohibited to practice acupuncture unless licensed. To become licensed acupuncturist the person must have completed a board-approved national certification process and have passed an examination administered by the board.   China – YangZheng XiaoJi May Stop Cancer Metastasis A study led by Cardiff University and Peking University, has found that a cocktail of non-toxic chemicals found in fruits and vegetables can be the key to stopping cancers from spreading. The study has found that YangZheng XiaoJi targets the formations of new blood vessels that supports tumor growth, blocks the pathway, and stops the spread of cancer cells, therefore stopping cancer metastasis. Clinical trials of YangZheng XiaoJi and its effects on lung and other cancers have started and it is showing positive results.   <Back to Top>   Euthanasia   Belgium – Expanding physician-assisted death to psychiatric cases The latest addition by Hastings Center fellow Bonnie Steinbock, suggests assisted death for psychiatric cases is the logical consequence of current euthanasia legislation. Steinbock suggests that no good argument has been made in defense of the current prohibitions on euthanasia for the mentally ill.  She discusses the potential objections that could be made to broadening the scope of the law, and suggests that none of them is convincing. Many argue that the “terminal illness” requirement is appropriate. But Steinbock asserts that terminal illness is rarely the real motivation for patients seeking euthanasia.   Germany – Germany’s defeat of liberalized assisted suicide laws The German parliament has decided not to legalize organizations that promote or offer assisted suicide and to continue barring doctors from offering such assistance as a regular medical service. Lawmakers instead toughened the national stance against commercialized assisted suicide. Such acts will now be punished with up to three years in jail, even if a doctor claims to have acted to relieve a patient’s suffering. The bill was passed with 360 out of 602 votes.   <Back to Top>   HIV/AIDS & STI’s   No news today   <Back to Top>   Homosexuality   UK – Sperm donor child ordered to develop relationship with father A UK High Court has ordered a donor-conceived-girl to develop a relationship with her father and his same sex partner. She had been brought up since birth by her biological mother and her mother’s lesbian partner, but seven years ago her biological father petitioned the courts to have contact with her. High Court Justice Stephen Cobb ruled that the girl should have ‘indirect’ and ‘limited’ contact with her father, saying that “the significant void in their lives is the lack of any meaningful relationship with their fathers.”The decision, the culmination of a long running legal battle between the girl’s biological mother and father, goes against the will of the daughter, and she believes that litigation has “ruined her life”.   <Back to Top>   IVF &Surrogacy   UK – New drug provides safer IVF treatment During conventional IVF treatment doctors inject patients with the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, which helps ovaries mature eggs that are later harvested. A potential side effect during this step is ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS), a potentially life-threatening condition. Severe OHSS occurs in up to 2{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of all patients but women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are at much higher risk, with up to a quarter of such patients suffering severe OHSS. Researchers from Imperial College London, working with clinicians from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, found that using Kisspeptin as an alternative hormone to HCG did not lead to OHSS, even in women at high risk of developing the condition.   India – Research Council Officially Ends Surrogacy in India A letter from the Indian Council of Medical Research has officially ended surrogacy services for non-Indians, effectively immediately. The letter was issued at the behest of the Health Ministry and tells fertility clinics not to entertain any foreigners wanting surrogacy services in India. In a related move the government has banned the import of human embryos for IVF and surrogacy purposes. In a notification the “Import policy of the item ‘Human Embryo’ …has been changed to “Prohibited except for research purposes based on the guidelines of the Department of Health Research.” The government also told the Supreme Court this week that foreigners cannot rent a womb in India. Surrogacy services would only be available for Indian couples.   Cambodia – Clinics Shift Business to “Lawless” Cambodia The international market for surrogacy is proving to be very resilient in the face of legal and social disruption. Now that India, Nepal and Thailand have banned international clients from using local surrogates, clinics and brokers are shifting their business to Cambodia. Clients who travel to Cambodia to get a baby are taking a big risk. The business has sprung up overnight, as Cambodia’s first IVF baby was born in 2014 according to the Fertility Clinic of Cambodia. No laws govern surrogacy there and the legal system is “murky and corrupt”. If the authorities do step in, they could treat surrogacy as human trafficking. The future of the clients, the surrogate mothers and the babies could be at risk. cambodia/11638#sthash.xFaXJl8o.dpuf   <Back to Top>   Medical Ethics   UK – Delusional but autonomous Can a confused, lonely, bi-polar 73-year-old with religious convictions refuse a life saving operation? Mr B will die of infection unless his leg is amputated below the knee. In the opinion of the judge he does not have the mental capacity to make a rational decision about his illness but points out that “Mr. B’s mental health and well-being will be further compromised following an operation. Further to that, his religious sentiments will undoubtedly continue and he will believe that the amputation was carried out against the Lord’s wishes.” The judge therefore decided that Mr. B’s best interests were to do what he wanted rather than what was good for him. His right to autonomy trumps his right to health.   <Back to Top>   Pedophilia   UK – Is Pedophilia a Deviance or Disease Gunjan Sharma, a medical student at the Cardiff University School of Medicine writes in The MSPress Journal, Vol 2, No 2 (2015) that pedophilia is often described as society’s darkest taboo. This essay looks at Pedophilia from the perpetrator’s perspective, at how we can provide help to people before the offence takes place. Also the primary prevention strategies used across Europe and the difficult position the clinician may be placed under. Ultimately, this essay looks at pedophilia as a medical disorder and the pedophile as the patient, focusing on alleviating suffering for both the patient and for society.   Abu Dhabi – Tech industry fights online child sexual exploitation The world’s biggest search engine Google, social media and software firms have pledged to fight the abuse of the internet for online child sexual exploitation by developing new technology, tools and expertise by developing innovative technology like the Child Abuse Image Database. Yahoo has piloted the use of a Google tool which identifies indecent videos of children and Microsoft will enable more organizations to find indecent images of children using Photo DNA.  A dedicated team of Facebook engineers will be assisting in a technology upgrade for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the USA, to help them manage the increase in the number of reports resulting from the growing global collaboration to tackle online child sexual abuse.

Italy – Androgen deprivation therapy and pedophilia

A research paper by Silvani, Mindaini and Zucchi in The Journal of Medicine and the Person, discusses andrology as an evolving discipline which embraces social problems like pedophilia. While international legislation aims to defend childhood it does not provide for compulsory treatment. Regarding chemical castration, the andrologist may perform an important role as part of a team of specialists and most literature refers to the use of leuprolide acetate rather than medroxyprogesterone and cyproterone acetate which presents more side effects. Current opinions on chemical castration for pedophilia are discordant. Some surveys confirm that therapy reduces sexual thoughts and fantasies, especially in pedophiles who relapse into the crime. However, others report that chemical castration does not modify the pedophile’s personality.   <Back to Top>   Pornography   Sweden – ‘Braille porn’ for blind people created by Swedish artist A Swedish artist, Nina Linde, 33, who created a ‘sensual Braille book’ for blind readers, has presented the saucy publication for the first time to the country’s national library. The tactile features X-rated images and is believed to be the first written material of its kind to offer erotic stimulation to the visually impaired. The book was created in 2010, but an official copy was given to the National Library of Sweden in Nov 2015. Lind insists that despite its graphic content, it should not be labelled ‘porn. And she said that she was inspired to produce it after visiting the Braille Library in Stockholm and discovering there was no dirty stuff for the visually impaired.   UK – Report claiming porn reduces the size of your brain Conservative peer Ian McColl, a former surgeon, speaking in the House of Lords, has claimed that the constant use of pornography can reduce the part of your brain that registers pleasure. The study which examines 64 healthy men as they viewed sexually explicit videos and non-sexually explicit materials – found that constant pornography consumption can reduce the parts of the brain related to reward. He added that researchers involved in the study found participants who used pornography excessively needed increased amounts of stronger material in order to maintain similar levels of pleasure. There is increasing evidence to suggest that brain activity of those individuals who consume large volumes of pornography is similar to the brain activity of those with other addictions.   UK – Police K-9s trained to sniff out child pornography Sheriff’s deputies in Texas are using a new kind of cyber-crime detective to help them track down child pornography offenders. K-9s are being trained to sniff out storage media being used to keep child porn images. What the dogs actually smell is the glue that binds the electronic media – thumb drives and SD cards, which offenders go to great lengths to try and hide. A specially trained K-9 was a part of the raid on former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle’s home this past summer. In 2004, Fogle established the Jared Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on raising awareness about childhood obesity through educational programs and tools provided to parents, schools, and community organizations.   USA – The Impact of pornography on individuals, families and children A 2015 study by the American College of Paediatricians reveals that: Male subjects demonstrated increased callousness toward women. Subjects considered the crime of rape less serious. They were more accepting of non-marital sexual activity and non-coital sexual practices such as oral and anal sex. They became more interested in more extreme and deviant forms of pornography. Subjects were more likely to say they were dissatisfied with their sexual partner and were more accepting of sexual infidelity in a relationship. They valued marriage less and were twice as likely to believe marriage may become obsolete. Men experienced a decreased desire for children, and women experienced a decreased desire to have a daughter. Subjects showed a greater acceptance of female promiscuity.{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}3A+Pornography+Developments&utm_medium=email   <Back to Top>   Prostitution & Trafficking   USA – Amnesty’s Human Rights Scandal Alejandra Gil the Vice President of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) that officially advised UNAIDS on its prostitution policy was jailed on Thursday 12th March for sex trafficking in Mexico City. Over 200 prostitutes were involved in a prostitution ring she was operating. Amnesty International also reference NSWP and the Advisory Group it co-chaired in its draft policy calling for brothel keeping to be decriminalised. NSWP is no fringe group. In 2009 it was appointed Co-Chair of the UNAIDS ‘Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work’. So why is Amnesty International about to adopt their policy proposals?   USA – Guess who supports ditching prostitution laws  The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is hosting White Ribbon week as a protest against pornography and request that people take a more personal role in combating porn by being aware of its harm, educating the public and fighting exploitation on another front in its ongoing fight with Amnesty International. Amnesty is working to decriminalize prostitution, which empowers sex trafficker and pimps around the world – not women. A group lobbying for “sex workers” was once led by a woman convicted of sex trafficking.  “These are the kinds of people who provided input to Amnesty’s policies,” says Lisa Thompson of National Center. “So it’s sort of like the fox guarding the hen house if you will.”   South Africa – High rate of disease among prostitutes in cities In Pretoria, a total of 1152 prostitutes compete for business at 30 different sites. This is according to a study on the state of homelessness conducted by the University of Pretoria and Unisa. The report, “Path Out of Homelessness”, warns of a multiplicity of social situations in the inner city where diseases proliferate. The report says that on average, 10 prostitutes ply their trade at a single site, but this can in places rise to as many as 200. Of 416 sex workers screened for HIV and TB since October last year, 187 were HIV-positive and of these 177 also had significant TB symptoms.   USA – Prostitution the most dangerous working environment The mortality data for prostitutes is staggering. The American Journal of Epidemiology published a meticulous study by a group of researchers, amongst whom, John J. Potterat, epidemiologist, formerly with the El Paso County Health Department, finding that the “workplace homicide rate for prostitutes” is 51 times that of the next most dangerous occupation for women, working in a liquor store. The average age of death of the prostitutes in the study was 34. “Women engaged in prostitution face the most dangerous occupational environment in the United States,” The Journal concluded.   Sweden – A prostitute’s perspective on the Swedish model In “Lies about sex work in Sweden” Isabella Lund, a Swedish prostitute and debater espouses her experiences and details of why the Nordic Model implemented by Sweden in 1999 is not as effective as made out to be. Amongst other points; prostitutes must pay taxes for their incomes although nobody knows how, and they risk being evicted if found selling sexual services. They also risk losing custody of their children. She writes compellingly about the options available to prostitutes and that the effect of the legislation has just resulted in prostitution becoming much more hidden from society at large. She refers to numerous flaws in the model being touted by certain feminists as the solution to legislation regarding prostitution.   <Back to Top>   Stem Cells & Cloning   USA – Is the great stem cell debate over? Ten years ago the most controversial issue in bioethics was the use of human embryonic stem cells. Since these can only be obtained by destroying human embryos nearly every Western legislature had bitter debates. But then Shinya Yamanaka developed induced pluripotent stem cells which have all the potential of embryonic cells without the ethical baggage. Now a paper in Nature Biotechnology has suggested that iPS cells and hES cells are really functionally equivalent – meaning that there is no need to destroy embryos for research or for therapies. The report has not attracted a single comment but according to the findings of Konrad Hochedlinger and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston it seems that the debate is over.   USA – End ‘stem cell tourism,’ experts urge According to a paper in BMC Medical Ethics by Kirstin Matthews of Rice University and Ana Iltis of Wake Forest University, disillusioned patients tired of waiting for stem cell cures they were promised more than 10 years, are approaching clinics around the world offering experimental stem cell-based interventions instead of waiting for scientists in the US to complete clinical trials. Central problems of stem cell tourism include the lack of patient protection, US liability standards, regulation of clinical sites and clinician licensing. “These interventions have insufficient evidence of safety and efficacy; patients may be wasting money and time, and they may be forgoing other opportunities for an intervention that has not been shown to be safe and effective,” they write.   <Back to Top>   Substance Abuse   Syria – Captagon: The amphetamine fuelling Syria’s civil war Separate investigations have found that the growing trade in Syrian-made Captagon, an amphetamine widely consumed in the Middle East, generated revenues of millions of dollars last year, some of which was almost certainly used to fund weapons, while combatants on both sides are turning to the stimulant to help them keep fighting. Saudi Arabia alone seizes 55m tablets a year, perhaps 10{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the total thought to be smuggled into the kingdom. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Syria has long been a transit point for drugs coming from Europe, Turkey and Lebanon. But the breakdown of law and order, collapse of the country’s infrastructure and proliferation of armed groups have turned it into a major producer.   USA – Medical doctor convicted of legal drug dealing A woman has become the first American doctor to be convicted of second degree murder for reckless prescriptions of painkillers. Dr. Lisa Tseng was found guilty of the deaths of 3 patients. Tseng prescribed crazy, outrageous amounts of medication to patients who didn’t need the pills. She ignored the deaths of several patients, even though one patient overdosed in her office and had to be revived. When she learned that she would be investigated, she fabricated medical records. Tseng earned about $5 million in three years. “You can’t hide behind a white lab coat and commit crimes,” said Deputy District Attorney John Niedermann.   <Back to Top>   Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>