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Pro-Life News in Brief.

Patients' Vision Improved by Adult Stem Cells

Three corneal corneal

pertaining to the cornea. See also keratitis, keratopathy.

corneal anomaly
includes microcornea, coloboma, megalocornea, dermoid, congenital opacity.

corneal black body
see corneal sequestrum (below).
 disease patients in Australia gained significant vision improvements after treatment with their own stem cells stem cells, unspecialized human or animal cells that can produce mature specialized body cells and at the same time replicate themselves. Embryonic stem cells are derived from a blastocyst (the blastula typical of placental mammals; see embryo), which is very young , according to a report in the journal Transplantation.

"This is an important step forward in treating patients with corneal types of blindness, using adult stem cells," David Prentice, founding member of Do No Harm, the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics, told NRL Noun 1. NRL - the United States Navy's defense laboratory that conducts basic and applied research for the Navy in a variety of scientific and technical disciplines
Naval Research Laboratory
 News. "This improved technique grows the cells on an approved contact lens contact lens, thin plastic lens worn between the eye and eyelid that may be used instead of eyeglasses. Actors, models, and others wear them for appearance, and athletes use them for safety and convenience.  that can be easily placed into the eyes of the patients, and from which the adult stem cells can move onto the eye and repair corneal damage."

Researchers at the University of New South Wales The University of New South Wales, also known as UNSW or colloquially as New South, is a university situated in Kensington, a suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.  reported that the patients had diseases of the cornea cornea: see eye. , which is the transparent outermost out·er·most  
Most distant from the center or inside; outmost.


furthest from the centre or middle

Adj. 1.
 part of the eye. Adult stem cells taken from each patient's good eye grew on a special contact lens that was inserted into the affected eye, the London Daily Mail reported.

The contact lenses remained in the eyes for three weeks. During this time, the healthy stem cells moved to the corneas and healed the damaged cells, the researchers reported. "We've gone from patients that have only been able to count fingers, you know, at a close distance in front of their eye so to speak, to being able to read letters on a standard visual chart," medical scientist Dr. Nick Di Girolamo told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is Australia's national public broadcaster, known previously as the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The ABC provides television, radio and online services throughout metropolitan and regional Australia, as well as  (ABC ABC
 in full American Broadcasting Co.

Major U.S. television network. It began when the expanding national radio network NBC split into the separate Red and Blue networks in 1928.

The benefits of the treatment are many. The stem cells are harvested from the patients themselves, without harming them and without the need for anti-rejection drugs Anti-Rejection Drugs Definition

Anti-rejection drugs are daily medications taken by organ transplant patients to prevent organ rejection.
. The technique is also non-invasive and inexpensive. The researchers plan to continue refining the treatment, and may even expand to treat other parts of the eye.

"We're focusing on corneal disease because of the accessibility of the cornea," Di Girolamo told ABC, "but it's quite possible that using a similar material to the contact lens material, you know in the future that sort of material could be used as a carrier of different stem cells such as retinal stem cells to the back of the eye."

Proposed Abortion Law Opposed by Most Spaniards

According to two different polls released June 1, a proposed abortion law in Spain that would allow 16-year-old girls to abort their babies without their parents' knowledge is opposed by a majority of the people, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The bill is strongly supported by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. However, even members of his Socialist Party told pollsters they are against the minors' abortion provision, according to the AP.

The Zapatero government's proposed law, which will be considered by Parliament later in 2009, would allow abortion on demand up to 14 weeks and with an doctor's approval until 22 weeks.

A poll published in the El Pais newspaper showed that 64% of the general public and 56% of Socialists oppose the portion of the law that would allow girls as young as 16 to have abortions without parental notification. According to a poll in La Vanguardia, 71% of Spaniards said they oppose the provision, while 60% of Socialist voters are also against it.

Pro-life groups in Spain have said they will vocally oppose the proposed law. The Spanish Family Forum, a coalition of Catholic associations, will hold a demonstration in Madrid October 17, which is when Parliament will debate the law, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. ). "Abortion should never be legalised because it is an attack against the right to life," the coalition's president Benigno Blanco told a news conference, AFP reported.

South Dakota Warns Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood

A service mark used for an organization that provides family planning services.
 to Follow Law

South Dakota officials have warned Planned Parenthood that it may face sanctions unless it begins to follow a 2005 informed consent law, according to the Argus Leader.

The state created specific disclosure forms that abortionists are supposed to present to women before an abortion. The forms include language intended to give women complete information, including phrases such as, "That the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being," the Argus Leader reported.

In an e-mail dated March 31, state officials notified Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and the Dakotas, which runs an abortion clinic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota Sioux Falls (IPA: [su fɑlz]) is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota, and the county seat of Minnehaha County.GR6 The 2007 city population is 148,000. , that it was in violation of the law because it was not using the state-approved forms, according to the Argus Leader.

"Any abortion facility violating any of the provisions of [state law] places its abortion facility license at risk for suspension or revocation," wrote Anthony Nelson, administrator of the state Office of Data, Statistics, and Vital Records, in the e-mail.

Planned Parenthood staff have said that the language is too "ideological" and that they should be "free to choose the specific text of the disclosures they provide" as long as they include certain biological facts, the Argus Leader reported.

In response to the state's e-mail, Planned Parenthood filed a federal court injunction, its latest in a series of court challenges to the law. After being passed in 2005, the law only began to be enforced last year when the Eighth Circuit court overruled an earlier ruling that enjoined the law, according to the Argus Leader.

The case is still moving through the courts, but the law is now in effect.

Baby Saved by Fetal Heart Surgery

For the first time in Canada Canada is divided into six time zones and ranks third among countries with respect to number of time zones, after Russia (eleven) and the United States (nine).

The province of Saskatchewan has a law making daylight saving time (DST) permanent (The Time Act, 1966 - Statutes of
, a baby survived fetal surgery to correct a narrowed heart valve and is now thriving. Oceane McKenzie, born at six pounds, one ounce one month after the surgery, is expected to return home to Gatineau, Quebec, soon, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

"I think it opens up all sorts of opportunities for the future ... it's something we can offer to other babies," Dr. Greg Ryan, chief of the fetal medicine fetal medicine
The branch of medicine that deals with the growth, development, care, and treatment of the fetus and with environmental factors that may harm the fetus.
 unit at Mount Sinai Hospital Mount Sinai Hospital can refer to:
  • Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto)
  • Mount Sinai Hospital, New York
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center & Miami Heart Institute
  • Mount Sinai Hospital, Cleveland
  • Mount Sinai Hospital, Chicago
  • Mount Sinai Hospital, Milwaukee
, told Canadian Press (CP). "I think the important thing is getting the message out to the referring physicians that this is something that's now available in Canada."

Oceane's parents, Vicki and Ian McKenzie, discovered that their unborn baby girl had critical aortic stenosis aortic stenosis
n. Abbr. AS
Pathological narrowing of the orifice of the aortic valve.

Aortic stenosis
A stiffening of the artery which carries blood from the heart to the body.
, a narrowing of the left ventricle's main outlet valve, at 30 weeks into the pregnancy, the Ottawa Citizen reported. If not treated, the baby could have died of heart failure or the condition would have developed into hypoplastic left heart syndrome hypoplastic left heart syndrome Pediatric cardiology A group of congenital often AR cardiac defects characterized by hypo- or agenesis of the left ventricle, aortic and mitral valves, an atrial right-to-left shunt; right-sided hypoplasia of tricuspid or pulmonary , with a 10-year survival rate of only 65%, according to CP.

Although the procedure had not yet been successful in Canada, doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto believed that the McKenzies' baby was a good candidate for the surgery. "It can only be offered to a few babies in utero in utero (in u´ter-o) [L.] within the uterus.

in u·ter·o
In the uterus.

in utero adv.
 who are detected at the correct stage and when their aorta hasn't yet narrowed too much," Dr. Edgar Jaeggi, head of the fetal cardiac program at the Hospital for Sick Children, told CP. "This baby came to us at just the right time."

The operation took place just three days after the diagnosis, on March 19. The doctors inserted a needle into Vicki McKenzie's womb and then into the baby's heart. A tiny balloon catheter balloon catheter
A catheter with an inflatable balloon at its tip, used especially to expand a partially obstructed blood vessel or bodily passage and to measure blood pressure in a blood vessel. Also called balloon-tip catheter.
 was placed into the aorta, where it would widen the valve, according to the Toronto Star.

Oceane survived the surgery and was born one month later on April 15. She has since undergone two more operations to further widen the valve, and may need an aorta transplant when she is older, the Ottawa Citizen reported. But her parents, along with two older brothers, are thrilled she is doing well and can come home.

"Finally after two months, we can say we're a lot more relaxed and confident that she is going to be home and live a normal life," Vicki McKenzie told CP. "Modern science, modern medicine is amazing. And we're so happy it was able to give us a chance to be a family of five."

Wisconsin Hospital Sued for Non-Treatment of Disabled

The advocacy group Disability Rights Wisconsin filed a lawsuit May 14 against University of Wisconsin (UW) Hospital for failing to treat pneumonia in two developmentally disabled patients, according to Wisconsin State Journal The Wisconsin State Journal is a daily newspaper published in Madison, Wisconsin by Capital Newspapers. The newspaper, the second largest in Wisconsin, is primarily distributed in a 19 county region in south-central Wisconsin. . The group is seeking a change in the hospital's practices to conform to state law, which Disability Rights contends requires treatment unless the patient is in a "persistent vegetative state persistent vegetative state: see under coma, in medicine. ."

One of the patients died, while one survived after the family intervened. Although UW Hospital claimed it was acting in the patients' best interests, Disability Rights attorney Mitch Hagopian "worried some UW Hospital doctors may be too quick to suggest withdrawing treatment from a developmentally disabled person they perceive to have a low quality of life," the State Journal reported.

"Wisconsin Right to Life commends Disability Rights Wisconsin for raising this important issue on behalf of patients who cannot speak for themselves," said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life. "The statement by UW Hospital that they were acting in the 'best interests of the patients' is hollow, given that one of the patients died, and the other reported being subjected to undue pressure to withdraw treatment."

The lawsuit concerns two unidentified patients, a 72-year-old referred to as "J.L." and a 13-year-old called "M.E." Both had developmental disabilities developmental disabilities (DD), the pathologic conditions that have their origin in the embryology and growth and development of an individual. DDs usually appear clinically before 18 years of age.
. J.L. came to the hospital with pneumonia May 1, 2008, and in discussion with Dr. Julia Wright about his quality of life, the family agreed not to treat him, according to the State Journal.

When J.L. woke the next morning and asked for food, family members changed their minds and wanted to resume treatment. They allege in the lawsuit that Wright was reluctant to agree to their wishes, the State Journal reported. Eventually, however, Wright restarted treatment and J.L. returned to his nursing home and recovered.

In the other case, the developmentally disabled teenager's mother had agreed with UW Hospital doctors to limit his treatment because of "poor prognosis and poor quality of life," according to the State Journal. When his long-term care facility long-term care facility
See skilled nursing facility.
 Bethesda Lutheran Homes wanted to give antibiotics for his pneumonia in November 2006, hospital doctors declined to give the order. The home gave the medicine anyway, but his parents transferred him to UW Hospital where the antibiotics, food, and fluids were withdrawn and the child died, according to the newspaper.

"Learning that UW Hospital has been sued for denying care to patients with developmental disabilities who are not dying puts that entity squarely on the slippery slope 'slippery slope' Medical ethics An ethical continuum or 'slope,' the impact of which has been incompletely explored, and which itself raises moral questions that are even more on the ethical 'edge' than the original issue  to devalue the lives of those considered to have no meaning," Lyons said. "Not only did officials at the hospital approve a plan to perform late-term, elective, dismemberment dismemberment /dis·mem·ber·ment/ (dis-mem´ber-ment) amputation of a limb or a portion of it.


amputation of a limb or a portion of it.
 abortions at one of its facilities, it is now on record as applying the same lack of respect for the lives of those with disabilities."

Euthanasia Bill Proposed in Australian State

The state Parliament in Tasmania, Australia, will consider a euthanasia bill in August, according to The Age. If passed, it would be the only state in Australia to allow terminally ill Terminally Ill

When a person is not expected to live more than 12 months.

Any gifts given out by the afflicted person at this time may be considered as a dispersion of the estate rather than a gift.
 people to legally kill themselves.

The Northern Territory had previously passed a euthanasia law in 1995, and four people died under its provisions before the federal Parliament overturned it two years later, The Age reported.

The Tasmanian bill would legalize le·gal·ize  
tr.v. le·gal·ized, le·gal·iz·ing, le·gal·iz·es
To make legal or lawful; authorize or sanction by law.

 euthanasia with the requirements that the patient be terminally ill, "be assessed by a psychiatrist, have second medical opinions on their condition and also be a resident of Tasmania for at least 12 months," according to The Examiner.

Pro-life and religious groups condemned the attempt to bring euthanasia to the state. "Going down the pathway of euthanasia is literally a way to death, not to life for our societyand it will bring great harm to Tasmania," said Anglican Bishop John Harrower, according to The Examiner.
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Publication:National Right to Life News
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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