Insecticides "could cause male infertility"
12 January 2006
Exposure to insecticides could cause male infertility, according to an American study. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that men with higher levels of insecticide chemical chlorpyrifos in their blood had reduced amounts of testosterone. Dr John Meeker, who led the research, said that the findings "may be of public health concern because of widespread human exposure among men." [Reuters, 11 January]
A British woman suffering from multiple sclerosis is to travel to Holland for a stem cell operation that will cost £13,500. Julia Sandeman, 33, will undergo an operation which involves using cells from adult bone marrow and umbilical cords. This treatment is unavailable in Britain. Miss Sandeman's father said: "There is nothing the NHS can do for her. She has deteriorated over the last six years. But there is a strong hope that stem cells will help so we have to go for it." [BBC News, 11 January]
The Minister of State for Quality and Patient Safety at the Department of Health has said that embryonic stem cell research will "revolutionise" medicine in Britain. Jane Kennedy said, in a response to a question in parliament, that the government is investing £100million in stem cell research and clinical trials over the next two years. [ResearchResearch, 11 January]
Disgraced South Korean stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk has apologised on national television for his false claims to have produced cloned embryonic stem cells. However, he alleges that his work was sabotaged by members of his team. He said: "I ask for your forgiveness. I feel so miserable that it's difficult even to say sorry. The use of fake data ... is what I have to take full responsibility for as first author." [Life News, 11 January]
Residents of a town in Colombia could be forced to carry condoms with them at all times if a bill proposed by a town councillor becomes law. If it came into force, everyone in the town aged 14 and above would have to carry at least one condom with them whenever they went out. The proposal has met with considerable opposition, especially from Catholic clergy. Rev Jesus Velasquez said: "Nobody can force someone to carry a condom in their pocket. They should instead carry the responsibility of what sexual relations mean." [Evening Echo, 11 January]