Health

Mitsutoki Shigeta: ‘Baby factory’ dad wins paternity rights

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A Bangkok court has awarded paternity rights to a Japanese man over 13 babies he fathered through Thai surrogate mothers. BBC The ruling allows Mitsutoki Shigeta, 28, to pursue custody of the children. The son of a wealthy entrepreneur, he caused controversy in 2014 when he was revealed to have fathered 16 babies via surrogates in Thailand. His so-called “baby factory” case and others led to Thailand banning commercial surrogacy for foreigners. Mr Shigeta, who was not present at the ... Read More »

Netherlands passes bill introducing opt-out organ donation

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Vote ‘real breakthrough’, says Dutch Kidney Foundation Senators in the Netherlands have approved a new law making all Dutch adults organ donors after death, unless they opt out. Harriet Agerholm The Independent The bill narrowly passed in the upper house of the Dutch parliament, more than a year after MPs passed the legislation. Pia Dijkstra, who drafted the bill, said under the new system every person over 18 who is not yet registered as a donor will receive a letter asking if they want to donate their organs after… ... Read More »

Erdoğan hits the bottle

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As the ruling Islamists put up taxes on booze, some Turks turn to home brew. By Zia Weise Politico ISTANBUL — Kerem lives within walking distance of Turkey’s oldest beer factory, but he refuses to drink a drop of domestic bestsellers Efes and Bomonti. Instead, the 29-year-old sales manager has turned his flat into a micro-brewery — joining a growing number of Turks who make their own booze to avoid soaring alcohol taxes imposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s conservative government. ... Read More »

Fixing pain management could help us solve the opioid crisis

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Australia is facing a critical public health issue of poorly managed pain The combination of poor health outcomes, inappropriate prescribing for pain and non-prescription use of opioids has resulted in opioid-related deaths surpassing the national annual road toll. Meredith Craigie The Conversation And prescription opioids were involved in more than 70% of drug-related deaths in Australia in 2017. What should opioids be used for? Opiods began being commonly prescribed in the 90s, despite limited research supporting their effectiveness for chronic pain that wasn’t ... Read More »

Patchwork abortion laws a lottery for women

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Every Australian should have access to the health services they need. Full stop. This shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but when it comes to reproductive health services, it seems it still is. Tanya Plibersek * Brisbane Times Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures that Australian women will experience in their lives. But our patchwork of abortion laws and holes in service provision mean more and more women are having to travel interstate. Tasmania’s only provider of surgical ... Read More »

Up to a million Britons use steroids for looks not sport

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Health warnings as image culture drives usage of performance-enhancing drugs Steven Morris The Guardian Up to 1 million people in the UK are taking anabolic steroids and other image- and performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs) to change the way they look, public health experts and doctors have said. This ranges from teenagers seeking the perfect physique to elderly men hoping to hang on to youthful looks. Research suggests that appearance rather than sporting performance is the reason for a majority of those ... Read More »

Money for nothing: is Finland’s universal basic income trial too good to be true?

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Europe’s first national experiment in giving citizens free cash has attracted huge media attention But one year in, what does this project really hope to prove? Jon Henley in Helsinki The Guardian One year on from its launch, the world remains fascinated by Finland’s groundbreaking universal basic income trial: Europe’s first national, government-backed experiment in giving citizens free cash. In January 2017, the Nordic nation began paying a random but mandatory sample of 2,000 unemployed people aged 25 to 58 a monthly ... Read More »

‘Not the way they wanted to die’: Final wishes of thousands of Australians going unmet

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The desire of thousands of gravely ill Australians to die without pain and surrounded by family is going unmet because palliative care services fall badly short, the national peak body has warned. Nicole Hasham Brisbane Times Just one palliative medicine specialist is available for every 704 deaths each year, according to Palliative Care Australia. It has called on the Turnbull government to make palliative care a national health priority, appoint a ‘national palliative care commissioner’ and ensure health workers can ... Read More »

Nasal spray aimed at tackling gambling addiction to be trialled in Finland

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Researchers to test fast-working spray containing naloxone, a treatment usually given to opiate addicts that blocks production of dopamine The Guardian Could gambling addiction be treated with a nasal spray? A group of Finnish researchers are launching a study to find out. The fast-working spray contains naloxone, which is commonly used as an emergency treatment for overdoses of opiates such as heroin, opium and morphine. It blocks the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure with a central role ... Read More »

Before losing battle with cancer, this 27-year-old woman penned a heartbreaking, eye-opening letter

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“That’s the thing about life, it is fragile, precious, unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right,” Holly Butcher wrote in an emotional post on Facebook. Alex Eriksen Yahoo Butcher, 27, lost her battle with cancer this week. Her words are drawing attention on social media, garnering more than 8,000 shares, 11,000 likes, and 2,000 comments. Butcher, from Brisbane, Australia, covers a range of life topics in her letter, including coming to grips with her mortality. She ... Read More »

Oireachtas committee has opened the door to abortion for disability

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If no reasons for abortion need be given in the first 12 weeks any reason will do William Binchy The Irish Times The report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution is a dismal document It proposes the introduction of abortion on demand, expressly for the first twelve weeks of the child’s life, and covertly at all stages potentially up to birth. The majority of the committee proposes the abortion of unborn children in the ... Read More »

Book revelations put new focus on Donald Trump’s mental health

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Yale psychiatric professor who briefed members of Congress last month tells the Guardian ‘the danger has become imminent’ Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House review – tell-all burns all Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington The Guardian The revelations in Michael Wolff’s explosive book about Donald Trump’s first year in office have renewed scrutiny of the president’s mental health Although the White House has denounced Wolff’s Fire and Fury as “complete fantasy”, the book sheds light on concerns among top White ... Read More »

We must help vulnerable people to make the best decisions

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New legal measures will bolster rights of those with diminished decision capacity Áine Flynn The Irish Times “Do you know where you are?” “Do you know what date it is?” “Can you name the Taoiseach?” “Can you spell ‘world’ backwards?” These questions are from the traditional mental status examination. They are an example of how not to assess the decision-making capacity of someone with an intellectual disability, mental illness, dementia or acquired brain injury. A person whose… We must help… Read More »

The Giant, Under Attack

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One of America’s biggest rehab companies built an empire But after a patient named Gary Benefield died, its enemies — investors and business rivals alike — struck hard. By MICHAEL CORKERY and JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG The New York Times On the last day of his life, Gary Benefield expressed hope for the future. He was finally about to “get right,” he said. A Harley-riding tough guy and retired utility worker, Mr. Benefield had let addiction get the better of him. He was downing a ... Read More »

For richer or poorer: 4 economists ponder what 2018 has in store

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Editor’s note: We asked four economists to offer their thoughts and insights on what they expect to be a key theme or issue in 2018. Greg Wright, assistant professor of economics, University of California, Merced Patricia Smith, professor of economics, University of Michigan Christos Makridis, Ph.D. candidate in labor and public economics, Stanford University William Hauk, associate professor of economics, University of South Carolina The Conversation Income and wealth inequality are currently at levels last seen during the Gilded Age ... Read More »

Is humanity eating itself into an early grave?

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Despite advancements in science and medicine working to prolong our lives, our lifestyles offset their effects. * Tomasz Pierscionek * RT In the past infectious diseases caused millions of premature deaths, now an obesity pandemic threatens to do the same. The significant increase in life expectancy seen around the globe during the past century is primarily attributed to a reduction in child mortality, improved sanitation, the manufacture of new medicines and vaccines, and numerous other advancements in science and healthcare. Life spans ... Read More »