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Defending life
from conception to natural death


6 January 2005

6 January 2005

6 January 2005 A brain-disabled woman in Florida, about whom there is a legal dispute over her continued feeding, is not comatose but is aware and responsive.

Mrs Terri Schiavo was visited by her family and their lawyers on the 24th of last month.

Mrs Barbara Weller of the Gibbs Law Firm said that Mrs Schiavo recognised her mother's voice and smiled at her.

She made eye contact during the rare 45-minute visit and was "expressive".

[LifeSite, 5 January ] Three young people died in Japan late last month after using a suicide technique which is publicised on the internet.

Our source, a newspaper in the north-west of England, points out that the method which the un-named people used was the same as that employed by a Lancashire man in August.

Websites and online chatrooms are used to provide advice on killing oneself, and to make suicide pacts.

[Preston Today, 5 January ] Pregnant women allegedly died and others suffered from grave side-effects during trials in Uganda of a drug which was supposed to stop them transmitting AIDS to their unborn children.

The serious problems were described by Dr Jonathan Fishbein, formerly of the US National Institutes of Health, to National Academy of Sciences investigators.

It is suggested that the results of the trials of Nevarapine were ignored.

Dr Fishbein's testimony is mentioned as part of coverage of an announcement by global pharmaceutical companies that they will publish more information about the results of drug trials.

[Financial Times, 6 January ] An IVF technique which involves injecting sperm into eggs does not seem to be any more effective than the conventional method.

Researchers from the Kaplan Medical Centre, Rehovot, Israel, surveyed nearly 1,000 women in Italy, and found that intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) resulted in the same rate of embryo loss as normal IVF.

[Reuters, 5 January ] Regardless of the technique used, the rate of embryo loss in IVF is massive.

Only a tiny minority of IVF children ever see the light of day. Scientists in Florida have successfully treated heart attacks in rats using stem cells from human umbilical blood.

Subject to more experiments, such blood could be used to repair human heart muscle. [Medical News Today, 5 January ] The use of stem cells from umbilical cords is ethical, unlike the removal of such cells from human embryos who perish as a result.

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