LIFEalerts 09 June 2016

Abortion USA – Kansas permanently defunds Planned Parenthood USA – 175 babies saved from abortion pill USA – New meta-study confirms link between abortion and preterm birth Alternative Medicine USA – Herbal remedies an overlooked health hazard USA – Alternative Medicine Users More Likely To Delay Chemotherapy USA – Acupuncture Licensing Signed into Law USA – Home Remedy For Skin Cancer May Cause Damage Euthanasia Netherlands – Dutch pediatricians seek child euthanasia Netherlands – Dutch euthanasia cases up by 4{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} Australia – Searching for meaning at the end of life USA – Suicide on the rise IVF& Surrogacy UK – Court decision broadens scope of surrogacy Medical Ethics UK/USA – Calls to extend 14-day embryo rule France – Paris conference investigates CRISPR potential USA – Scientists discuss synthetic human genome behind closed doors USA – Experimentation continues on chimera embryos Pedophilia No news today Pornography USA – Revenge Porn: Is It Legal? UK – Queen’s Speech forces porn sites to verify users Same SexAttraction USA – Are homosexuals born that way? SexualExploitation USA – Stomping Johns: The Demand Side of Prostitution USA – Inconvenient truths: sex buyers and prostitution harm denial USA – Amnesty ignores downside of decriminalizing prostitution USA – Five reasons Amnesty’s policy should worry you Substance Abuse South Africa – Pro marijuana advocates get high on dagga policy shift South Africa – “Sizzurp” cough syrup craze hits Cape teens USA – Pennsylvania Legalizes Medical Marijuana UK – More than half of UK toddler poisoning deaths caused by methadone   Abortion  USA – Kansas permanently defunds Planned Parenthood Kansas defunded Planned Parenthood and in doing so expanded access to healthcare for poor women. Kansas Senate Bill 436  reallocates $61,000 from the abortion provider to full-service healthcare clinics. Gov. Sam Brownback made the following statement: ”The time has come to finish the job. We must keep working to protect our most innocent Kansans, the unborn. Every year since I became governor we have enacted pro-life legislation. We have come a long way, but there is still work to be done.”  USA – 175 babies saved from abortion pill In 2006, Dr. Matthew Harrison from North Carolina was called to help a young woman that has taken the RU-486 abortion pill. There was no known antidote or treatment to stop the abortion. Focusing on how RU-486 works, he gave her a shot of progesterone. She received progesterone shots twice a week until about halfway through the pregnancy when her body began producing enough progesterone to support the pregnancy. She delivered a healthy baby at 40 weeks gestation. To date, 175 babies have been born alive and healthy, and 100 more are on the way, thanks to Dr. Harrison’s discovery. The success rate of saving babies after the first pill has been taken is about 53 percent.  USA – New meta-study confirms link between abortion and preterm birth A new study appearing in the latest issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology finds that abortion comes with a “significantly higher risk” of premature births in future pregnancies. The study, a meta-analysis of 36 international studies and over a million women, finds a 52{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} increase in the risk, as well as heightened possibility of lower gestational and birth weights. <Back to Top>  Alternative Medicine  USA – Herbal remedies an overlooked health hazard Millions of people around the world use herbal health remedies and many of our allopathic medicines are derived from herbs. But researchers Dr. Donald M. Marcus, professor emeritus of medicine and immunology at Baylor, and Dr. Arthur P. Grollman, distinguished professor of pharmacological sciences at Stony Brook University, discussed the scientific evidence showing that the plant Aristolochia commonly known as birthwort, Pipevine or Dutchman’s pipe can cause aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). People with this condition experience interstitial nephritis, renal failure and cancers of the urinary track. According to the national prescription database, between 1997 and 2003, 8 million people were exposed to herbs containing Aristolochia.  USA – Alternative Medicine Users More Likely To Delay Chemotherapy Women with early stage breast cancer who resort to alternative medicine are more likely to delay recommended chemotherapy, a new study suggests. This is one of the first studies evaluating the impact of complementary and alternative medicine use on decisions about chemotherapy. Led by Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the researchers studied a group of 685 women with early-stage breast cancer who were recruited from Columbia University Medical Centre, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, and Henry Ford Health System and enrolled 2006-2010. The women were younger than 70 with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer.  USA – Acupuncture Licensing Signed into Law Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016.  HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of Acupuncturists in the State of Kansas. Previously, untrained and inexperienced practitioners had equal footing to perform acupuncture as fully trained acupuncturists. The Bill requires Kansas Acupuncturists to complete a nationally accredited certification program, pass national exams, and carry professional liability insurance. HB2615 goes into effect in July, 2016, even though it was removed from the list of therapies in the UK due to a lack of evidence that it works.  USA – Home Remedy for Skin Cancer May Cause Damage Despite the promise of an “easy and natural” treatment for skin cancer, home remedies such as black salve, also known as Cansema, can actually make things worse, new research shows. “There is a misperception that black salve ‘draws the cancer out,’ when, in fact, it just indiscriminately damages anything it touches,” study co-author Dr. Mark Eliason, a dermatologist at the University of Utah, said in a news release from the American Academy of Dermatology. “One of the reasons black salve treatment is so dangerous is that many users have no idea how harmful it can be.” <Back to Top>  Euthanasia  Netherlands – Dutch pediatricians seek child euthanasia After neighboring Belgium passed legislation in 2014 enabling child euthanasia, doctors and activists in the Netherlands are keen to catch up. The Dutch Health Minister, Edith Schippers, has earmarked almost 400,000 Euros for a study of whether to expand eligibility for euthanasia to children between 1 and 12. At the moment, children under 1 may be killed with the consent of their parents following criteria set out in the Groningen Protocols, where children older than 12 are already eligible. The Dutch Paediatric Association (NVK) kicked off the debate on the topic last year. They already strongly support a change. Netherlands – Dutch euthanasia cases up by 4{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} According to the latest statistics released by the government, in 2015 there were 5,516 euthanasia or assisted suicide cases. This is rise of 4{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} over the figures for 2014. The most intriguing feature of the statistics was the steep rise in euthanasia for end-stage psychiatric disorders (56, up from 41 in 2014, 73{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}) and dementia (109, up from 81, 74{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}). According to the Dutch protocols for euthanasia, each doctor is supposed to lodge a report with one of the five regional review committees. In 4 out of the 5,516 cases, the committees detected some irregularities, which will be investigated further.  Australia – Searching for meaning at the end of life Researchers from Australia and the UK have called for greater attention to be paid to ‘spiritual care’ in the treatment of elderly patients.  Psychiatrists John Wattis and Stephen Curran of the University of Huddersfield discussed the need for clinicians to provide holistic treatment for elderly patients: “The technical and the interpersonal aspects of clinical care should go together. Being prepared to assess spiritual need and deal with it – or signpost the patient to those who can help – should be part of good medical practice.” USA – Suicide on the rise Columbia University psychiatrist Jeffrey A. Lieberman has criticized the lack of funding for research into suicide prevention. A report from the National Center for Health Statistics gives a sobering set of statistics that the suicide rate has increased during the period 1999-2014. The average percent increase in the age-adjusted suicide rate was about 1{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} per year from 1999 to 2006, which increased to 2{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} from 2006 to 2014. The suicide rate for females aged 10-14 years had the largest percent increase, a 200{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} increase. <Back to Top>  IVF&Surrogacy  UK – Court decision broadens scope of surrogacy In a landmark decision, the High Court in the UK has ruled that it is discriminatory to prevent single men or women from becoming the parents of babies born to surrogate mothers. The government will probably have to update its legislation to make it compatible with the ruling. Until now, only couples in a stable relationship could become parents of a child born to a surrogate mother. Single people could adopt children, but they were not automatically entitled to be regarded as a parent if their child was born to a surrogate. <Back to Top>  Medical Ethics  UK/USA – Calls to extend 14-day embryo rule Policy analysts are calling for a change to the 14-day embryo experimentation rule requiring scientists to terminate embryos in vitro before two week of development after new embryology research in Nature, where scientists kept embryos alive until the 14-day mark. University of Manchester bioethicist John Harris argued a 21-day deadline would allow scientists to better understand miscarriages and stem cells to treat diseases. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics said they are considering whether to advocate for legal change. US ethicists writing in Nature this week called for clarification and re-evaluation of existing regulations. Reverend Tadeusz Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Centre suggested the 14-day-rule was flawed and only paid “lip service to the moral status of the human embryo”.  France – Paris conference investigates CRISPR potential CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies hold great promise for treating disease but provoke ethical concerns, especially about germline modification and altering the genetic heritage of future generations. Two conferences in Paris were attended by leading figures in stem cell research to discuss regulation, governance, and ethical issues surrounding human gene-editing research. Irish lawyer Caroline Simons summarized the proceedings on the blog of Paul Knoepfler’s stem cell lab.1.  Germline gene editing technologies are not ready for clinical application in humans.2.  No country has regulated specifically for these technologies, but some consider that their regulations would encompass, or at least not prohibit, somatic gene editing.3.  Most countries prohibit germline gene editing. Click to read the other points.  USA – Scientists discuss synthetic human genome behind closed doors Scientists, lawyers and entrepreneurs have gathered behind closed doors at Harvard to discuss creating a synthetic human genome. This could lead to the creation of humans without parents, genetically-engineered humans or copies of existing people. The NY Times said the goal of the meeting was to synthesize a complete human genome in a cell line within 10 years. Drew Endy of Stanford, and Laurie Zoloth at Northwestern University, were highly critical of the secrecy surrounding the meeting. The creation of new human life is one of the last human-associated processes that has not yet been industrialised or fully commodified. It remains an act of faith, joy, and hope. Discussions to synthesise a human genome should not occur in closed rooms.  USA – Experimentation continues on chimera embryos US Scientists continue to conduct research on human-animal hybrid embryos, despite a moratorium on funding from the National Institutes of Health. Pablo Ross, a reproductive biologist from the University of California, Davis, has been working to grow human organs in developing porcine foetuses. “We’re not trying to make a chimera just because we want to see some kind of monstrous creature; we’re doing this for a biomedical purpose.” Some bioethicists are concerned about creating chimera embryos. Stuart Newman, professor of cell biology and anatomy at New York Medical College, said “If you have pigs with partly human brains you would have animals that might actually have consciousness like a human.” “It might have human-type needs. We don’t really know.” <Back to Top>  Pedophilia  No news today <Back to Top>  Pornography  USA – Revenge Porn: Is It Legal? A recent national survey shows that 36{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of Americans plan to send intimate content to their partners. Additionally, one in ten ex-partners threatened to expose racy images online and carry out the threat 60{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4} of the time. Revenge porn is unwilling individuals being exploited for the entertainment of others. There are no federal laws criminalizing revenge porn. However, due to recent advocacy efforts twenty-eight states now have revenge porn laws in place. Revenge porn is a real problem that federal lawmakers are only recently starting to realize.  UK – Queen’s Speech forces porn sites to verify users Porn sites will be forced to verify users’ ages as part of a crackdown, confirmed today in the Queen’s Speech. Strict rules in the Digital Economy Bill will force porn-lovers to go beyond just saying “yes, I’m 18” – and could ask for their credit card details. The law will apply to all sites showcasing material in the UK according to officials.  <Back to Top>  Same Sex Attraction  USA – Are homosexuals born that way? In spite of the latest Gallup poll, 51 percent of Americans say that people are born gay or lesbian, while only 30 percent say outside factors such as upbringing and environment determine sexual orientation. However no fewer than eight major studies from around the world have found homosexuality is not a genetic condition. Physychiatrists William Byne and Bruce Parsons summarize the evidence favouring a biologic theory to be lacking.  Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council says that these numerous, rigorous studies of identical twins have now made it impossible to argue that there is a “gay gene. Some homosexuals openly admit that their lifestyle is a choice. <Back to Top>  Sexual Exploitation  USA – Stomping Johns: The Demand Side of Prostitution Samantha Bergh says since 2003, she has primarily worked against men’s demands for prostitution and pornography. The phrase “red light district” refers those neighborhoods in every sizable city where men can go to sexually prey on girls with society’s permission. They are the rape neighborhoods, where rape is a little more okay than it is elsewhere and everyone knows it. When sex is “work,” rape is theft; a man raping a woman is more akin to a man shoplifting than a man inflicting life-wrecking torture. A man’s agreement to pay $150 for sex makes the rape he commits a crime worth $150 in the public changing minds. There’s a role for everyone who wants to do something about sex-based slavery. USA – Inconvenient truths: sex buyers and prostitution harm denial The truth about prostitution is often concealed behind the lies, manipulations and distortions of sex trade pimps, managers and others who profit from the business, says research by Melissa Farley on the psychosocial and psychobiological realities. Just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and clients), domination, exploitation, and chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit?  Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished as they are being chronically sexually harassed, endangered, and raped.  Most women in prostitution suffer from severe PTSD and want to get out.  USA – Amnesty ignores downside of decriminalizing prostitution Laws applying to all involved in the sex trade overlook the abuse and expolitatation at its heart.  Should prostitution be legalized?  Cynthia Dills answer implicitly endorses the full decriminalization policy proposed by Amnesty International and other watchdog organizations. This policy would decriminalize everyone from the marginalized (mostly) woman and girls who are the merchandise, to the buyers and middlemen who exploit them.  Instead, Amnesty International’s acceptance of prostitution with the recommendations made by attendees at the Carter Center’s World Summit to End Sexual Exploitation, held in May 2015 in Atlanta.  They state:  “Commercial sexual exploitation is gender-based violence and a public health crisis made possible by unethical and ungrounded male entitlement, which disproportionately affects the most venerable among us. USA – Five reasons Amnesty’s policy should worry you Darren Geist from Rolling Stones magazine reports: 1. Decriminalization will Increase sex trafficking. 2. It will reduce the quality of life for prostitutes and hinder efforts to provide protection and improve health care. 3. It ignores complicated issues of consent in prostitution, where most prostitutes are victims of exploitation. 4. It will fuel rape culture. 5. it’s promoting a form of economic libertarianism, typically anathema to the human rights left. Amnesty’s proposal perverts human-rights and women’s-rights principles. It sacrifices concerns and welfare of the vast majority of prostitutes. Amnesty has staked out a position that will be a boon to pimps and sex traffickers, and do great damage to the human rights of the men, women and children caught up in the sex industry. <Back to Top>  Substance Abuse  South Africa – Pro marijuana advocates get high on dagga policy shift Pro-dagga activists welcomed the Central Drug Authority’s policy shift as “a move in the right direction”. In a position statement in the South African Medical Journal, the authority contradicted its own National Drug Master Plan, now recommending the adoption of an “immediate focus” on decriminalising dagga. In a recommendation on the medical use of dagga, the authority said, “ingredients of the cannabis plant should undergo standard evaluation by the Medicines Control Council to assess benefits and risks for the treatment of particular medical conditions”. South Africa – “Sizzurp” cough syrup craze hits Cape teens Parents and caregivers have been warned to hide cough syrup from their teenagers, as the American drug craze called “sizzurp” takes off on the Cape Flats. The mixture which can contain cough syrup, pain killers, sweets, fizzy drinks and alcohol is also referred to as “purple drank”, and is apparently being consumed by the litre by school children. The Western Cape Education Department said it causes feelings of euphoria, followed by a “sleepy and calm state”. The drink was made famous by various rappers and Hollywood celebrities.  USA – Pennsylvania Legalizes Medical Marijuana Pennsylvania joined 23 other states in legalizing medical marijuana. Lawmakers hope pot can help curtail the state’s painkiller abuse problems.  UK – More than half of UK toddler poisoning deaths caused by methadone The number of teens being poisoned over the past 20 years has risen sharply with more than half (57{01b0879e117dd7326006b2e84bcaac7e8fa1509c5c67baf2c9eb498fe06caff4}) of toddler deaths from drug poisoning caused by methadone, the medicine used to help heroin addicts kick their habit Dr. Mark Anderson, of the Great North Children’s Hospital, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, said: “It is the second most common cause of drug related death in England and Wales after heroin or morphine.” The researchers analyzed national data on childhood poisonings and hospital treatment and admissions to intensive care for unintentional poisoning between 2001 and 2013. The research came as a study by the University of Nottingham, published in the journal Injury Prevention. <Back to Top>  Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International]]>