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No assurance for Scottish man over artificial nutrition & hydration

9 August 2006

A Scottish man suffering from a degenerative disease has again been refused an assurance that, when his condition deteriorates, doctors will give him artificial nutrition and hydration. The European Court of Human Rights upheld the decision of the English Court of Appeal last year in the case of Mr Leslie Burke who has Friedrich's ataxia. Mr Burke's condition causes lack of co-ordination, thus a loss of the ability to speak, but it does not interfere with mental faculties. He said that he was extremely disappointed with the ruling. [The Scotsman, 8 August]

A Scottish woman who was told by doctors that her unborn baby was dead was subsequently informed that the child was actually alive and well. Ms Julie Brown had an early-term examination whose result caused tremendous grief to her and the family. Three weeks later she had abdominal pain and, when she went to hospital, it was found that the previous diagnosis was incorrect. [icScotland.co.uk, 9 August]

The University of Edinburgh is to collaborate with the Geron Corporation of California on a project to develop embryonic stem cell treatments for liver failure, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. A spokesperson for Geron said: "We are enthusiastic about conducting these studies at the University of Edinburgh because of the infrastructure in place at the New Royal Infirmary in Little France." [Bionity, 9 August]

Citizens of Missouri will be voting soon on an initiative to change the state's laws on embryonic stem cell research. A coalition of pro-research groups collected 60,000 signatures in favour of the initiative, enough to put it to a referendum. A spokesperson for the group said: "The Stem Cell Initiative will ensure that Missouri's families have access to any treatments and cures discovered through medical research and allowed under federal law." [Orange News, 8 August]

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