Wednesday, May 30. 2012
Aniridia is a genetic condition where those that have the genetic mutation are born without all or part of the iris, the part of the eye that controls how much light enters the eye through the pupil. Aniridia is caused by mutations in a gene that codes for a protein that controls eye development. Any mutation in this gene that produces a defective protein will cause aniridia, which means this is a dominant condition. Any person inheriting this mutation from their parent will also have aniridia. So anyone with aniridia has a 50/50 chance of passing this condition onto their children.
The lack of an iris means an inability to control the light that enters the eye. This can cause damage to the cornea, the thin, transparent tissue that covers the pupil. Previously, for a patient to get a new cornea, it would have to be donated from a recently deceased person.
A woman in Scotland who suffers from aniridia has received an adult stem cell transplant to try and repair her left cornea. Sylvia Paton is the first person in the UK to undergo such a treatment. From the Edinburgh Evening News:
A WOMAN who received the UK’s first corneal stem cell transplant today told how her son’s struggle with a hereditary eye condition inspired her to try the treatment.
Continue reading at LifeNews.com >>
This week Congress votes on PRENDA, the Prenatal Non-discrimination Act which would outlaw sex selective abortion in the United States. As I have written before, this would bring the United States in line with a long list of other countries around the world, including China and India, that have banned sex-selective abortions. I gave exhibits A, B and C to prove that sex selection is happening in the U.S. despite the claims of pro-choice feminists that the problem is "non-existent." Live Action has given me exhibit D. Here is there video clearly showing that Planned Parenthood is ready and willing to abort a girl simply because she is a girl:
Of course false feminists would rather protect the elusive idea of "choice" and not actual females being targeted by gender discrimination. They will continue to insist that sex selection against their fellow sisters just isn't happening despite all the evidence to the contrary. That seems to be the "pro-choice" modus operandi. I don't think it will work forever.
Make sure to call or write your Congressional representative and tell them you want the United States to catch up with the rest of the world and make sex-selective abortion illegal. Tell them to support PRENDA.
Tuesday, May 29. 2012
Sometimes I wonder if Germany is the last bastion of common sense in our world. In Germany, they do not allow any research on human embryos. Germany just recently caved to pressure and allowed preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) on human embryos, but only for cases whether the parents carry genetic disease. (In the U.S., we have no restrictions on PGD, not even for sex selection.) And it was Greenpeace of Germany that successfully challenged the patenting of human embryos in Europe. With the crazy ideas coming out of England and Australia these days, I found this story refreshingly sane.
Dr Roland Kipke, of the University of Tübingen International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities, and his colleagues have written a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics arguing that cognitive enhancing drugs for otherwise healthy people are too dangerous to be ethical. From Michael Cook's commentary at BioEdge:
They contend that the neuroenhancers are wrong on two counts.Note the authors mention the coercive nature of enhancements. You can choose not to enhance, but you will be left behind or forced into low-paying, low-satisfaction positions. Medicine, research, engineering, the law, etc will all be reserved for the enhanced because us lowlys who don't want to be addicted to some drug we don't need just won't be smart enough anymore. Some choice.
Wednesday, May 23. 2012
This is just horrific. Abortion is horrific. Gendercide is horrific. And so it is no surprise that these practices breed more horror. I really hope this report is not true. From India Today:
Some doctors in Beed are disposing of female foetuses by feeding them to dogs in order to destroy evidence of female foeticide.Continue Reading at Creative Minority Report>>
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that children conceived posthumously with IVF are not entitled to Social Security survivor benefits. In 1939, the Social Security Administration put in a provision that allowed dependent children to collect their parent's benefits as survivors. In 1939 they did not have a crazy fertility industry willing to make children en masse for any reason for anyone. So the 1939 definition of "dependent child" was open for interpretation in 2012.
On Monday the Court, decided on Astrue vs. Capato against the Capatos. Before Robert Capato died of cancer, he banked his sperm. A year later his widow, Karen Capato, used that sperm to create IVF embryos and gave birth to twins. Karen applied to Social Security for "survivor" benefits for the twins. Those benefits were denied by the SSA and now the Supreme Court has upheld their decision saying that the Capato children were never truly dependent on Robert for his wages.
This case had many facets and elicits conflicting thoughts in me. On one hand the fiscal conservative in me said, "No way!" Children knowingly conceived with the gametes of a deceased person are not entitled to survivor benefits. Once Robert died, the marriage was over making Karen a single mother.
But the Catholic pro-lifer in me realizes that this is an untenable situation for these children. They were intentionally brought into this world never to know their father. They have been wronged by an out of control fertility industry. An industry that purposefully and knowingly creates children that will never meet their father. If anyone needs our compassion and our support, it is these twins who, in this Brave New World, were forced to argue, to the Supreme Court, that they deserve their father's benefits. They are as much children of God as anyone who was naturally conceived and should not be punished for the decisions of their genetic parents.
I was not the only one who had this opinion. The Life Legal Defense Foundation, Jennifer Lahl, director of Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, Dr. Anthony Caruso, a former IVF practitioner, Stephanie Blessing and Kathleen R. LaBounty, donor-conceived adults, and Kathleen Sloan, a women's rights advocate, submitted a friend of the court brief in favor of the Capatos.
I was hoping that the Court would rule differently, not because I want to champion IVF. I wanted the Court to rule that the Capato children deserved survivor benefits to wake up America to what is going on in the fertility industry: that children are being created with the intent that they will never know their biological father. If we taxpayers have to support this practice, then for sure we would not only be aware of it, but that we have an interest in seeing that it does not continue.
In the end, the Court rule against Karen Capato 9-0 which is a clear indication that the Social Security Administration was within the law to deny survivor benefits for posthumously conceived children. Unfortunately, I don't think this case raised the kind of awareness about the practices of the IVF industry that I had hoped it would.
Tuesday, May 22. 2012
This is no surprise for those of us who were paying attention during the stem cell frenzy of the last decade. We remember the irony that in 2006, Michael J. Fox endorsed Claire McCaskill, Missouri democratic candidate for United States Senate. Fox told viewers of a TV ad that McCaskill supported stem cell research that could provide a cure for his Parkinson's disease. McCaskill, a Catholic, is a ardent champion of embryonic stem cell research. That very same weekend, researchers reported that they had injected rats with Parkinson's with embryonic stem cells directly into the brain. The symptoms of Parkinson's were greatly improved. Except the rats had the formations of tumors in their brains that showed signs of developing into cancer if the study had continued.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is focusing on other ways to treat Parkinson's because stem cell therapies are "complicated." From commentary at New Scientist:
For years, actor Michael J. Fox was on the front line of the US's "stem cell wars", arguing that embryonic stem cells could cure conditions like his own – Parkinson's disease.
They are on your trail Harry and not even the Hendersons can protect you. From Reuters:
Scientists are turning to genetic testing to see if they can prove the existence of the elusive hairy humanoid known across the world as bigfoot, yeti and sasquatch.
Monday, May 21. 2012
Parents from South Carolina have traveled to India and paid tens of thousands of dollars to have their 6 year-old son injected with embryonic stem cells. As, CNN's Drew Griffins reports that Josh Burnaman and Stephanie Krolick have taken their son Cash to India and had former obstetrician, Dr. Geeta Shroff, "treat" his rare condition with stem cells from a now destroyed human embryo. From the CNN story:
Cash Burnaman, a 6-year-old South Carolina boy, has traveled with his parents to India seeking treatment for a rare genetic condition that has left him developmentally disabled. You might think this was a hopeful mission until you learn that an overwhelming number of medical experts insist the treatment will have zero effect.There are so many red flags flying up in this story that I truly fear for Cash's safety.
Continue reading at LifeNews >>
Wednesday, May 16. 2012
Pertussis, better known as whooping cough, is on the rise. There is a outbreak right now in Washington State. From MedPageToday.com:
Pertussis infections have reached epidemic proportions in the state of Washington, officials there said, with more than 10 times as many cases this year as were counted by early May in 2011.Pertussis is nasty. It causes violent and uncontrollable coughing. In infants it can be deadly. Vaccinations for pertussis do not start until age 2 months and take several subsequent vaccinations to build immunity, so if you have an infant, make sure everyone around him or her has been vaccinated.
Make sure your children are up to date on their pertussis vaccinations AND make sure that your teenager or young adult in your life has HAD A BOOSTER!!! It is this group that is vulnerable because their immunity has waned. Also pregnant women in their third trimester should also have a booster. Here is the info from the CDC. (DTaP is for children and Tdap is for adolescents and adults):
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis VaccinesI know that some of you are worried that DTaP or Tdap are part of the set of vaccines that are grown in aborted fetal cells. They are not. There is one combined vaccine that you should avoid though. According to Children of God for Life, Pentacel by Sanofi Pasteur is a combined shot for DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), polio and HiB. The polio portion is made in MRC-5, a cell line derived from an aborted fetus. Instead ask for Glaxo SmithKline's Pediarix which is a combined vaccine for DTaP, polio and hepatitis-B but does not used MRC-5 cell line in its manufacture.
A study done at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research showed that obesity is contributing to a "shortage of organs for donation." From Inquisitr.com:
In an analysis of 104 potential kidney donors, researchers at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research found that 23 percent of the patients were classified as morbidly obese. A person who is classified as morbidly obese is not able to donate an organ.What to do to get more organs? Get people to lose weight:
Obese people are largely considered bad candidates for organ transplantation due to the strain the surgery and healing will put on their bodies. At times, Obese donors are put on diet and behavior management programs and doctors chart their progress monthly to determine if their eligibility has changed. Only 3% of those who try to lose the weight and become donors succeed.So lose weight (even undergo bariatric surgery), not for your own health, but so that you can become an organ donor.
I don't have an issue with organ donation per se, but I do take issue with the increasing tendency to see our fellow humans, not as persons in their own right, but as harvestable biological material.
Continue reading at Creative Minority >>
Tuesday, May 15. 2012
I have to confess that I am a bit disheartened. I find that my fellow Catholics are having trouble really connecting with the Church's teaching regarding genetic engineering. Some very smart, thoughtful and faithful Catholics are having difficulty with the distinction between gene therapy, which is genetic engineering to fix a genetic pathology, and genetic enhancement which is genetic engineering to an otherwise healthy person to make them super-human in strength, intelligence, or infused with non-human traits like night vision or glow-in-the-dark skin.
I think when we focus on the minutia of every little nuance of every possibility we lose sight of the greater picture. Keeping genetic engineering in the realm of therapy (which is exactly where it currently resides), we can prevent some truly horrifying and unnatural modifications of the human genome. We will prevent the mixing of human and animal DNA and the tinkering with otherwise healthy offspring without their consent. Two things that clearly fall in the "immoral" box.
Just remember that science and academia are already toying with enhancements. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Maxwell Mehlman, director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, $773,000 to develop standards for tests on human subjects in genetic-enhancement research. Research that would take otherwise normal humans and make them smarter, stronger or better-looking. If the existing human-trial standards cannot meet the ethical conditions needed for genetic-enhancement research, Mehlman has been asked to recommend changes.
Monday, May 14. 2012
Researchers in Australia have found stem cells in breast milk that, like embryonic stem cells, can become many different types of cells in the body. Dr Foteini Hassiotou and the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group at the University of Western Australia have found pluripotent stem cells in human breast milk that they have turned into bone, brain, liver, and pancreatic cells that produce insulin.
Continue reading at LifeNews >>
Saturday, May 12. 2012
What do you do when you have created 18 extra IVF embryos and you don't want to destroy them or give them away to just anyone? You put them on Craigslist of course! From WhoTV.com:
After struggling for years to have children the McCrea family had their prayers answered, and then some, thanks to In Vitro Fertilization. Now the family is sharing their extra blessings....Continue reading at Creative Minority >>
Monday, May 7. 2012
Commenter Tom from AZ writes about transhumanism:
How we can make machines to do things, rather than modifying ourselves, anyone who prefers the alternative is regressive. One of the key traits of anatomically modern humans is that, rather than adapting our bodies, we adapt our tools.Tom is right. Instead of modifying a soldier's eyes to have night vision, give him the best night vision goggles and then let him take them off at the end of the day and at the end of his career.
We should be looking to advance technology like cell phones, glasses and hand-held computers that we can use and then change or stop using without having to see a physician. Integrating these technologies into our bodies with genetic enhancements, artificial limbs or eyes replacing perfectly good ones, or hooking up artificial intelligence straight into our nervous system ensures that we are slaves to the technology.
In preparation for the new Avenger Movie, my son and I watched "The Incredible Hulk" with Edward Norton and in it I found a gem. In the now famous post credit scenes that lead up to The Avengers, General Ross is drowning his sorrows in a bar. His attempt to create a super soldier out of actor Tim Roth had some serious unintended consequences. In essence, Ross created a monster he couldn't control.
Tony Stark walks in and says to the General, "I hate to say I told you so, but that super soldier program was put on ice for a reason. I always thought that hardware was much more reliable." Ross replies, "You always wear such nice suits." 0:38 for those who want to watch it:
In other words, don't mess with the human body. Instead make a better suit.
Friday, May 4. 2012
My latest piece introducing National Catholic Register readers to Church teaching on human genetic engineering:
Human genetic engineering has always been the stuff of science-fiction novels and blockbuster Hollywood films. Except that it is no longer confined to books and movies.
Scientists and doctors are already attempting to genetically alter human beings and our cells. And whether you realize it or not, you and your children are being bombarded in popular media with mixed messages on the ethics surrounding human genetic engineering.
So what does the Church say about the genetic engineering of humans?
The majority of Catholics would likely say that the Church opposes any genetic modification in humans. But that is not what our Church teaches. Actually, the Church does support human genetic engineering; it just has to be the right kind.
Surprised? Most Catholics probably are.
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