Bioethics

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Bill Nye, the science betrayal guy

Bill Nye, the science betrayal guy

Television personality Bill Nye chooses politics over science. A generation grew up on the Emmy-winning TV show Bill Nye the Science Guy. The series spanned 100 episodes and covered everything from dinosaurs to computers. Kids came home from school to watch Bill Nye on PBS in their living rooms. They cheered when their teacher would pop a Bill Nye video into the VCR ... (Continue reading)

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Demands for Canada’s fertility laws to be re-examined

In a position statement released on May 11 concerning sections six and seven of the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act, the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society called on the federal government to legalize the payment of surrogates and egg and sperm donors, though board member Sherry Levitan suggests placing a cap on how much money surrogates or donors can receive. The position statement uses the term “reasonable compensation,” which the society says “helps prevent abuses, ensures fairness and transparency, and ... (Continue reading)

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The deVeber Institute hosts symposium on medical ethics

The deVeber Institute hosts symposium on medical ethics

Jean Echlin (third from right) with Campaign Life Coalition summer students at the deVeber Institute seminar. Just less than a month after the legalization of euthanasia in Canada, the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research hosted “Medical Ethics in an Age of Medically Assisted Dying and Reproductive Decisions,” their second annual summer symposium. On ... (Continue reading)

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Pro-lifers reject notion that Zika virus justifies abortion

As the Centers for Disease Control said April 13 that the Zika virus can cause microcephaly and other birth defects, pro-life leaders expressed concern that the assessment will be used to promote abortion. A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded, “a causal relationship exists between prenatal Zika virus infection and microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies.” The study examined, among other factors, “Zika virus infection at times during prenatal development that were consistent with the defects observed” ... (Continue reading)

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Quebec study illustrates need for baby born-alive law

Quebec study illustrates need  for baby born-alive law

Bioethicist John Haas clarifies church teaching on extraordinary medical care. A Quebec study showing a 20-fold increase since 2000 in the number of babies who survive abortion only to die in hospital demonstrates the need for a Canadian “born-alive infant protection law,” says the Toronto-based Campaign Life Coalition. The Quebec study, just published in Neonatology, studied 12,000-plus infant deaths between 1987 and ... (Continue reading)

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deVeber memoir delights, inspires

deVeber memoir delights, inspires

Few Canadians have been more widely revered for a lifetime of benevolent accomplishments than Dr. L.L. (Barrie) deVeber, professor emeritus in Paediatrics and Oncology at Western University. So who, exactly, is this exemplary intellectual and physician -- some kind of saint? Well, not quite. Just ask his younger brother George. In Barrie: The Memoirs of Dr. L.L. deVeber as told to S. M. Schaeken, deVeber recalls that, as a boy, ... (Continue reading)

Ethical alternative to embryonic stem cells discovered

Scientists have discovered a new kind of stem cell. In the Dec. 10 issue of Nature, a group of international researchers led by Andras Nagy from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto reprogrammed adult mouse cells to create F-cells, a new kind of stem cell that grows in fuzzy-looking colonies. The results came as part of Project Grandiose, an effort by Nagy and his team to map out what happens when the previously-discovered induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) are formed. iPS ... (Continue reading)

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First American human clone created

First American human clone created

Wesley Smith questions the claim that cloning technology will not be used for reproduction. For the first time, American scientists successfully cloned humans. Four embryo clones were permitted to develop into blastocysts before being harvested for their stem cells. The findings of the scientists led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a reproductive biology specialist at the Oregon Health and ... (Continue reading)

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Nobel prize for ‘ethical’ alternative to embryonic stem cells

The man who discovered induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has received the 2012 Nobel Prize for medicine. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, a researcher from Kyoto University, developed a new process in 2006 that used four genes to reprogram skin cells in mice to behave like embryonic stem cells, which are pluripotent and thus capable of developing into any cell of the human body. In November 2007, Yamanaka and his team were able to create human iPSCs. Yamanaka and the co-recipient, John B. ... (Continue reading)

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Ottawa files argument in euthanasia appeal

Ottawa files argument in euthanasia appeal

Justice Lynn Smith The federal government has come out strongly against assisted suicide in an appeal against a British Columbia judgment declaring the ban to be unconstitutional. On Oct. 26, it filed its legal argument with the B.C. Court of Appeal, claiming that assisted suicide is prohibited in order to protect the most vulnerable members of society who might otherwise be coerced into ending their lives. The purpose of the Criminal Code, ... (Continue reading)

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Problems with “embryo-like” stem cells

Toronto scientists at Mount Sinai Hospital have discovered problems in using reprogrammed stem cells for personalized organ repair. “It looks like the reprogramming process which creates (embryonic-like) stem cells from skin cells is creating damage or mutations,” said Andras Nagy, one of the lead authors of the study published in the journal Nature. These cells, known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), were found by researchers to have three times as many genetic mutations as embryonic stem cells. In ... (Continue reading)

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Genetically selected embryo to save siblings

Interim Staff On Feb. 7, doctors in France announced that the country’s first “saviour sibling” was born. Popularly termed a “bébé-médicament” (medicine baby), a saviour sibling is conceived through in-vitro fertilization and screened to ensure its cells could be used to treat a brother or sister with a genetic disorder. Umut-Talha (“our hope” in Turkish) was born on Jan. 26 in good health at Antoine Beclere Hospital in Clamart, a Parisian suburb. His embryo was selected so that it was not a ... (Continue reading)

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Supreme Court rules against federal fertility law

By as split 4-4-1 advisory decision, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a 2008 Quebec Court of Appeal decision that found some of the federal Assisted Human Reproduction Act intruded on province’s jurisdiction over health. Pro-life and faith groups condemned the decision because it gave provinces control of the creation, destruction and manipulation of human embryos. The Supreme Court upheld in part the Quebec government’s constitutional challenge against the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA), ruling that key sections intrude on ... (Continue reading)

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Pro-lifers worry about pre-natal genetic screening

Pro-lifers worry about pre-natal genetic screening

An inexpensive genetic test has been developed that can detect 448 genetic childhood diseases.  The makers of the test are hoping to expand this to 580 conditions within the next six months and the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, which funded the National Center for Genome Resources research hopes that the new universal screening process will be available commercially within a few years. Presented in the January issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, ... (Continue reading)

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Embryo-free stem cell breakthrough

Some scientists still want ESCR A faster and more efficient way of deriving stem cells from ordinary skin cells has been discovered, announced scientists in Boston on Sept. 30, who said their discovery will revolutionize an already-booming field of medical advances through adult stem cells. Meanwhile, stem cells derived from human embryos cannot claim even one success in human treatment. A technique that develops ordinary cells into stem cells, or induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells, was created four years ago; ... (Continue reading)

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