Medicine

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 »

Can your brain testify against you?

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Defined set of guidelines required for neuroscientific techniques to be used correctly and effectively in law EurekAlert! Neuroscientific techniques continue to advance, but their applications in law raise concerns of a threat to individual rights. Previous applications of neuroscientific evidence include using brain scans to detect deception in an individual, and neurological responses to determine whether someone has intimate knowledge of a crime. However, just because we can use this technology, does it mean we should? A review published in ... 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 »

Time to challenge the culture of young doctors emigrating

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The loss of so many doctors from the Irish health system each year is not sustainable Niamh Humphries The high number of doctors emigrating to work abroad is a significant contributor to the crisis in our health services. The Irish Times The extent to which the Irish health system relies on internationally trained doctors, on agency and locum staff, and struggles to recruit consultants, shows it is time to reassess medical emigration and to challenge the presumption that it benefits ... Read More »

Breakthroughs put diseases on the back foot

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It has been a remarkable year of promise in medical science James Gallagher Incurable diseases from sickle cell to haemophilia now look as though they can be treated. Here are the highlights. BBC Huntington’s The defect that causes the devastating degenerative disease Huntington’s has been corrected in patients for the first time. It has been called the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative diseases for 50 years. The disease is caused by an aberration in a section of DNA called the huntingtin ... Read More »

Can WiFi cause cancer?

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WiFi operates in the 2 to 5 GHz range – part of the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Gary Larson Quora This is in the same part of the spectrum where cell phones operate so I may refer to WiFi or cellphone electromagnetic radiation interchangeably. These are radio waves – no different than those used to broadcast television programs – except that they are higher in frequency. They aren’t nearly as high a frequency as visible light – and ... Read More »

Michael Lee has motor neurone disease. This is what he thinks of euthanasia

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Michael Lee was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) 10 years ago, when he was 35 years old. Tracy Bowden Three years later he met his wife, Joanna, and they married in 2012. ABC Joanna is his primary carer, helped by a team of care workers. She is determined that her husband will not choose to end his life because he thinks he has become too much of a burden. Over the years the disease has taken its toll, causing ... Read More »

Parents In Ukraine Wary Of Vaccinations Even As Measles Numbers Rise

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Oksana has never vaccinated her 4-year-old son, convinced that such preventative measures against potentially lethal diseases do more harm than good. Tony Wesolowsky Natalya Saska “There is a lot of data that children who were vaccinated actually contracted diseases,” explains the 30-year-old mother from Kyiv, without providing specifics. “There’s also been lots of information about vaccinated children dying,” Oksana adds, declining to divulge her surname out of fear that her comments could trigger negative reactions among her friends. Such notions, ... Read More »

The missing Alzheimer’s pill

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When it comes to some of the biggest diseases America faces in the future, our drug system is set up to fail. DAVID H. FREEDMAN Politico What needs to happen? If there’s a dream of what a new drug is supposed to do, it might look something like Kalydeco. In 2012, the new light-blue pill from Vertex Pharmaceuticals rocked the world of cystic fibrosis, a fatal disease that affects 30,000 people in the United State. It’s best known for its ... Read More »

Huntington’s breakthrough may stop disease

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The defect that causes the neurodegenerative disease Huntington’s has been corrected in patients for the first time, the BBC has learned. An experimental drug, injected into spinal fluid, safely lowered levels of toxic proteins in the brain. The research team, at University College London, say there is now hope the deadly disease can be stopped. Experts say it could be the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative diseases for 50 years. Huntington’s is one of the most devastating diseases. Some patients described it ... Read More »

How a Native American tribe came to own one of the world’s most valuable patents

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Allergan, the drugmaker behind Botox, is using an unprecedented tactic to protect its valuable patents – angering lawyers and politicians, and keeping the price of its medicines high. Luke McDonagh The Conversation There has long been a debate about patents and traditional knowledge in developing countries. Pharmaceutical companies in the West, like Allergan, are often accused of “bio-prospecting”. They collect raw samples of traditional medicines and plants, whose healing properties have been known to locals for centuries, and patent modified ... Read More »

Radical new approach to schizophrenia treatment begins trial

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Exclusive: as evidence emerges that schizophrenia could be an immune system disease, two-year trial will use antibody drug currently used for MS Hannah Devlin The Guardian British scientists have begun testing a radically new approach to treating schizophrenia based on emerging evidence that it could be a disease of the immune system. The first patient, a 33-year old man who developed schizophrenia after moving to London from Cameroon a decade ago, was treated at King’s College Hospital in London on ... Read More »

The ethics of medical practice in offshore detention facilities

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As the standoff between hundreds of asylum seekers in the Manus Island detention facility and PNG authorities continues, we are witnessing a potential crisis of health and mental health among these detainees. Louise Newman The Conversation As a psychiatrist, I have had direct contact with current Manus detainees who are experiencing increasing anxiety and distress and an uncertain future. Some of these people are treated with medication, usually antidepressants, and some feel that this provides them with some symptomatic relief. ... Read More »

Doctors join forces for euthanasia

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A group of WA doctors have banded together to push for assisted dying laws in the State, arguing one of the country’s peak medical group is out of touch. Cathy O’Leary The West Australian The newly formed WA arm of Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice has made a submission to the State’s parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life choices, which closed for submissions this week. The doctors include GP Alida Lancee, who was at the centre of a police investigation last year ... Read More »

Assisted dying is one thing, but governments must ensure palliative care is available to all who need it

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Assisted dying moved one step closer to reality in Victoria last week with the authorising bill passing the lower house with a comfortable 47-37 majority Stephen Duckett Throughout the debate, many MPs spoke of terrible personal experiences of the deaths of family members. The Conversation Such harrowing stories were also present in submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life choices, that recommended an assisted dying regime leading to the… These terrible deaths were most often used to argue in favour ... Read More »