April 21, 2014
Iran Considers Ban on Vasectomies in Drive to Boost Birthrate
(The Guardian) – Iran’s parliament is seeking a ban on vasectomies and a tightening of abortion rules as the country moves away from its progressive laws on family planning in an attempt to increase the birthrate. Two decades after Iran initiated an effective birth control programme, including subsidised male sterilisation surgeries and free condom distribution, the country is to make a U-turn. Last year the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticised existing policy on contraception, describing it as an imitation of western lifestyle.
April 16, 2014
PET Scans Offer Clues on Vegetative States
(New York Times) – A new study has found that PET scans may help answer these wrenching questions. It found that a significant number of people labeled vegetative had received an incorrect diagnosis and actually had some degree of consciousness and the potential to improve. Previous studies using electroencephalogram machines and M.R.I. scanners have also found signs of consciousness in supposedly vegetative patients.
April 15, 2014
I’d Seen Dementia’s Toll on My Patients. Now I Was Watching the Disease Unravel My Family.
(Washington Post) – As a geriatric psychiatrist, I understood the devastating toll dementia could take on an entire family. I had urged my mother-in-law to seek care early, which she had done, so she knew her options included activities to stay socially engaged, medication to slow the illness and possibly experimental treatment. But on a personal level, I was worried about my father-in-law, my wife, her siblings and myself. We would be my mother-in-law’s caregivers for the rest of her life. She was 76; my father-in-law was 79.
April 10, 2014
Access to Good Food as Preventative Medicine
(The Atlantic) – According to an article this month in the American Journal of Medicine, my patient’s predicament is common: nearly one in three U.S. adults with a chronic disease has problems paying for food, medicine, or both. Researchers at Harvard and the University of California at San Francisco studied data from the 2011 U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey.
April 9, 2014
Pro-Life Citizen’s Initiative Worries E.U. Scientists
(Science) – A group of European pro-life organizations is mobilizing against embryonic stem cell research in a way that the European Commission cannot ignore. One of Us, a so-called European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures 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.
March 27, 2014
Warning over Burning Aborted Fetuses
(BBC) – Hospitals should cremate or bury aborted foetuses rather than incinerating them, the medical director of the NHS in England says. The move by Prof Sir Bruce Keogh comes after it emerged that some hospitals have been burning foetuses as clinical waste. Channel 4 Dispatches programme says 10 NHS trusts have been burning remains alongside rubbish. It claims two more disposed of bodies in incinerators used to heat hospitals.
March 26, 2014
Hitler’s favorite American: “Biological Fascism” in the Shadow of New York City
(Salon) – Excerpted from ”Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogue: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem.” Growing up in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the early 1900s, young Carrie Buck impressed those she met as serious and self-possessed, someone whose quiet demeanor hinted at a life filled with challenges. Of humble origins—her widowed mother had given her up to foster care as a child—the stocky, darkhaired girl didn’t let her difficulties get her down. She enjoyed reading the newspaper, liked to fiddle with crossword puzzles, and always made herself useful around the house. She was a bit awkward in social situations, but otherwise she was a thoroughly average teenager. No one had any reason to think differently of her. Then something terrible occurred that changed Carrie’s life forever.
March 19, 2014
Two Premier Legue Clubs Sign Up with Top Genetics Company to Learn DNA Profiles of Players
(Daily Mail) – Two Barclays Premier League football clubs have commissioned tests of their players’ DNA, with an expert predicting genetic profiling will become ‘routine’ in elite sport over the next few years. It is claimed a simple swab test can determine an athlete’s power and endurance capacity, whether they are particularly prone to injury and what diet best suits their genes. British company DNAFit are already working with two top-flight English clubs as well as a ‘leading’ European side and Britain’s former 800 metres indoor world champion Jenny Meadows, the first athlete to reveal her DNA profile.
March 17, 2014
Health in Urban Slums Depends on Better Local Data
(Sci Dev Net) – Scientists and aid agencies need to collect better data locally and tap into local people’s knowledge to improve basic services and healthcare for the one in seven of those around the world who live in urban slums, a major conference has heard. Slum areas of fast-growing cities in developing countries are failing to benefit from the better and cheaper health services that are supposed to be derived from economies of scale, experts said at the International Conference on Urban Health held in Manchester, United Kingdom, earlier this month (5-7 March).
March 14, 2014
Unsettling images of patients in hiding after plastic surgery
(Wired) – Western ideals are, for better or worse, infecting the world. From automobiles to iPhones to, well, breasts. In South Korea, plastic surgery is rampant, and the goal is often to look less Asian. While there are plenty of photos of the final results, artist Ji Yeo balances the visual scales by documenting the ugly side of becoming “beautiful.”
March 13, 2014
Lebanese mayor arrested in Spain, accused of attempted organ trafficking
(CNN) – A wealthy mayor from Lebanon has been arrested in Spain for allegedly offering to pay $55,000 to poor people to obtain liver tissue for his liver transplant, police and a government official announced Wednesday. It’s the first time that potential human organ trafficking, a worrisome international crime, has been detected in Spain, authorities said.
March 10, 2014
The ‘cursed’ women living in shame
(BBC) – In a rural central Ugandan village, 17-year-old Sulaina sits on the mud floor of the tiny home she shares with her mother and younger brother and sister. She wants to help provide for her family. But she can’t. She can barely leave her house. Wherever she goes, a sickly smell follows her. That’s because she is constantly leaking urine. The rags she has stuffed in her underwear are drenched quickly, and then the urine starts running down her legs. She has sores all over her thighs where the urine has burned her. Sulaina has a condition called obstetric fistula. She developed it after giving birth to a baby girl last year.
March 5, 2014
Celebrity salami company BiteLabs isn’t quite ready to go to market with test-tube human meat
(Huffington Post) – A start-up called BiteLabs has been floating the idea of making salami out of test-tube meat grown from celebrity tissue samples, and has provided flavor profiles to whet potential supporters’ appetites. JLaw’s proposed flavor profile is described as having “notes of honey… spiced with orange zest and ginger,” whereas James Franco’s is “smoky, sexy, and smooth.” BiteLabs suggests pairing Kanye West’s bold, spicy test-tube steak with a strong bourbon.
March 4, 2014
The breast cancer racial gap
(New York Times) – A troubling racial divide in breast cancer mortality continues to widen in most major cities around the country, suggesting that advances in diagnosis and treatment continue to bypass African-American women, according to new research. An analysis of breast cancer mortality trends in 41 of the largest cities in the United States shows that the chance of surviving breast cancer correlates strongly with the color of a woman’s skin.
March 3, 2014
Revealed: Surrogate births hit record high as couples flock abroad
(The Independent) – Record numbers of British children are being conceived through surrogacy, according to official figures seen by The Independent on Sunday. The number of babies registered in Britain after being born to a surrogate parent has risen by 255 per cent in the past six years, amid mounting concerns that legislation has not kept up with demand.
The rent-a-womb boom
(The Daily Beast) – They’ve been called “baby factories,” conjuring up images of poor, illiterate women packed into bunks and forced by their husbands to bear surrogate children for Westerners. And they make up a vital industry in India—since 2002, when surrogacy was legalized in the country, a U.N.-backed study estimates that the surrogacy business has raked in more than $400 million a year.
February 27, 2014
Can doctors be taught how to talk to patients?
(New York Times) – Recently one of us attended a daylong retreat designed to help doctors communicate more effectively with patients. The course was taught by a colleague with whom we had consulted in the past on patient-related matters but who was known better by his reputation, which was almost laughably stereotypical: brilliant technically, but stunted when it came to interacting with people.
Reproductive coercion, intimate partner violence prevalent
(Medical Xpress) – Enough women experience reproductive coercion – male behavior to control contraception and pregnancy outcomes – that a research team now recommends health care providers address the subjects with their patients and tailor family planning discussions and recommendations accordingly. Researchers from Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island were part of a team that published “Reproductive coercion and co-occurring intimate partner violence in obstetrics and gynecology patients” in a recent issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
February 26, 2014
Toronto doctors sentenced for abusing sedated patients
(BBC) – A Canadian doctor who sexually assaulted 21 sedated patients while they helplessly watched has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Anaesthesiologist George Doodnaught, 65, abused the women, aged 25 to 75, while they were in his care. The victims testified that they had been conscious when Doodnaught kissed, fondled and assaulted them, but they were unable to move.
February 25, 2014
A morbidly obese patient tests the limits of a doctor’s compassion
(Washington Post) – The patient is large. Very large. At more than 600 pounds, he is a mountain of flesh. “My stomach hurts,” he says, his voice surprisingly high and childlike. It is 10 p.m. in the emergency room, and I am already swamped with patients I’m trying to move through the ER before my shift is over. Asked if he’s ever felt this kind of pain before, he says, “No, never. At least, not like this.” “Well, what’d you expect?” the unit secretary mutters, only half to herself.
February 21, 2014
Caring for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver
(New York Times) – Mr. Divinigracia could easily have been the subject of one of the 54 stories in a new book, “Support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes,” by Judith L. London. Dr. London is a psychologist in San Jose, Calif., whose first book, “Connecting the Dots: Breakthroughs in Communication as Alzheimer’s Advances,” broadened her contacts with family and professional caregivers facing, and often solving, everyday problems related to dementia.