3/25/2014

A new method of creating versatile stem cells from a relatively simple manipulation of existing cells

A new method of creating versatile stem cells from a relatively simple manipulation of existing cells could further reduce the need for any stem-cell research involving human embryos, according to leading ethicists. Although the process has only been tested in mice, two studies published Jan. 29 in the journal Nature detailed research showing success with a process called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP.  Scientists from Japan's RIKEN research institute and Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston were able to reprogram blood cells from newborn mice by placing them in a low-level acidic bath for 30 minutes. Seven to 9 percent of the cells subjected to such stress returned to a state of pluripotency and were able to grow into other types of cells in the body.

"If this technology proves feasible with human cells, which seems likely, it will offer yet another alternative for obtaining highly flexible stem cells without relying on the destructive use of human embryos," said Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. "This is clearly a positive direction for scientific research."

The Catholic church opposes any research involving the destruction of human embryos to create stem cells. Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said if the new method were used to create stem cells so versatile that they could form placenta tissue and make human cloning easier, "then we would have serious moral problems with that." But there is no indication so far that the scientists could or would do so, he added. "You could misuse any powerful technology, but the technique itself is not problematic" in terms of Catholic teaching, Doerflinger said. David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council in Washington, said the new STAP process is yet another indication that "there are all these different ways to create stem cells without ever having to endanger a human being." He said adult stem cells -- drawn from living human beings without harming them, as well as from umbilical cord blood or bone marrow -- "are the only stem cells that have ever proven to help a single patient." More than 60,000 patients around the world are receiving treatments for a variety of diseases from adult stem cells, he added. Another type of adult stem cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, is still being used only in animal models, said Prentice, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry and was a founding member of Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics. Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka received the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the iPS technique.

 *More at: http://ncronline.org/news/politics/new-stem-cell-method-offers-another-alternative-embryonic-research

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1/03/2014

Made for Each Other...

Does love have anything to do with the human body, with being a man or a woman? Is there anything unique about married love? What is marriage? The answers to these questions can be found in very unique video done by The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage that has launched a new initiative for the protection of marriage. See more at http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/sexual-difference-video/.


“Made for Each Other,” the first video of the Marriage: Unique for a Reason series, takes up these and other foundational questions about the meaning of marriage. Marriage is about love, but it’s about a unique love that only a man and a woman as husband and wife can give to each other. In the video, Josh and Carrie talk about why men and women matter for marriage. Their dialogue and interactions illuminate the beauty of sexual difference and complementarity between man and woman as husband and wife. Only through sexual difference can a husband and a wife give themselves completely to one another – so completely that “the two become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). True marital union is not possible without sexual difference.

This is why sexual difference is essential to marriage. Sexual difference is the necessary starting point for understanding why protecting and promoting marriage as the union of one man and one woman isn’t arbitrary or discriminatory. Rather, it’s a matter of justice, truth, love, and real freedom. Only a man and a woman—at every level of their identity: biological, physiological, emotional, social, spiritual—are capable of authentically speaking the language of married love, that is, the language of total self-gift, open to the gift of the other and the gift of life. (Please see the second video “Made for Life,” which explores the topic of marriage and children.)



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12/28/2013

Searching of personal identity of biblical man coming to the pluralistic society on the 21st century

We enthusiastically invite you to the Annual International Scientific Conference to be held in Kosice, Slovakia on April 9, 2014 at 2.00 pm! This year’s conference theme is: "Searching of personal identity of biblical man coming to the pluralistic society on the 21st century". We look forward to seeing you in Kosice this year!

12/16/2013

European Parliament rejected a report that recommended that EU nations declare abortion to be a human right

I would like to recommend to all my readers the article written by Steven Ertelt, where he focus on "The Estrela report". If you didn't know about such a report then, read this article.

"For the second time in two months, the European Parliament rejected a report that recommended that EU nations declare abortion to be a human right and to make abortion available within all public health systems of member countries. Adoption of the report would have placed more pressure on pro-life nations like Ireland, Poland and Malta to legalize abortion on demand. The proposal was rejected in Strasbourg today and instead an alternative report proposed by the European People’s Party was adopted by 334 to 327 votes.

Responding to the result, Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said: “Today is International human rights day. It is fitting that a report which sought to attack the most basic human right – the right to life –  was rejected. The Estrela report sought to turn on its head the right to life, ignored the mounting evidence that abortion hurts many women and undermined the concept of conscientious objection for medical practitioners.” “The report states that 20 member nations permit abortion on demand (generally with a gestational limit). Of the seven remaining nations, three have very liberal restrictions regarding abortion while three nations will perform abortions only under more limited circumstances,” says pro-life analyst Nora Sullivan. “The measure the European Parliament is now considering contains no limits regarding gestational age – leaving open the possibility of elective-abortion-until-day-of-birth as a human right. Doubly disturbing are the severe infringement on conscience protections of physicians (specifically gynecologists and anesthesiologists) that are proposed.”

“This measure claims to be a human rights issue yet it fundamentally ignores the human rights of the three key people involved in this tragic act.  It ignores the most basic right, the right to life, of the baby at the center of the whole issue.  It ignores women’s real needs by hiding them behind the iron curtain of abortion rhetoric.  And it ignores the conscience of the doctor, who is being asked to end a human life after spending years training how to preserve it,” Sullivan said. “The European Union should not be asking physicians to suppress their consciences; it should be trying to find its own.”
The previous vote had 351 MEPs voting to send the pro-abortion bill back to committee while 319 voted against the move to zap the legislation. The committee eventually voted the measure back out of committee — leading to today’s vote.

John Smeaton of the British pro-life group SPUC applauded the vote. “The Estrela report represents one of the most concerted recent attempts to get the European Parliament to exceed its competence and try to impose abortion on European Union member-states,” he told LifeNews. “Today’s rejection of the Estrela report proves that peaceful and prayerful grassroots lobbying by pro-lifers can have a real positive impact in the political arena. I wish to thank SPUC’s supporters at home and our colleagues in Europe for saving lives today.” “The “Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”, put forward by Edite Estrela MEP, suggested that abortion is a human right, called for compulsory sex education for all children in and outside of school, and attacked conscientious objection for healthcare professionals,” Smeaton continued. The report asserts that currently, in countries where abortion is legal, it is often rendered unavailable due to physicians’ “abuse of conscientious objection or overly restrictive interpretations of existing limits.” The proposed legislation seeks to require member nations to “regulate and monitor the use of conscientious objection so as to ensure that reproductive health care is guaranteed as an individual’s right, while access to lawful services is ensured and appropriate and affordable referrals systems are in place.”

More at: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/12/10/european-parliament-again-rejects-bill-declaring-abortion-a-human-right/

11/21/2013

ANZSPM: "Euthanasia and assisted suicide are not a solution to patient suffering"

Xavier Simons wrote an excellent article and published by BioEdge on November 16. This article is particularly important against euthanasia and assisted suicide. Palliative care is undermined by euthanasia and assisted suicide, according to many palliative care organisations. In Australia, where end-of-life issues are hotly debated, the leading palliative care body has joined the chorus of opposition.

The Australia and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM) has released a new position statement on the practices, arguing that euthanasia and assisted suicide are not a solution to patient suffering, and that legalising the procedures would take attention away from the real issue - a lack of access to palliative care.

In the document the ANZSPM emphasises, "There is a clear distinction between good care for the dying and active interventions instituted in order to deliberately end the life of a patient." Instead of providing VE or PAS, doctors should try to alleviate symptoms: "When requests for euthanasia or assisted suicide arise, particular attention should be given to gaining good symptom control, especially of those symptoms that research has highlighted may commonly be associated with a serious and sustained ‘desire for death’ (e.g. depressive disorders and poorly controlled pain)."

Out of a the ten point policy statement, three points stressed "the significant deficits in the provision of palliative care in Australia and New Zealand". ANZSPM called for new government "health reform programs", as well as increased carer support for respite care, so as "decrease the sense of burden for many patients at the end of life." Statements also stressed: "When requests for euthanasia or assisted suicide arise, particular attention should be given to gaining good symptom control, especially of those symptoms that research has highlighted may commonly be associated with a serious and sustained "desire for death" (e.g. depressive disorders and poorly controlled pain). In such situations early referral to an appropriate specialist should be considered. Despite the best that Palliative Care can offer to support patients in their suffering, appropriate specialist Palliative Care to remedy physical, psychological and spiritual difficulties may not relieve all suffering at all times."

See also an excellent article by Lawyer, Margaret Dore: Quick Facts About Assisted Suicide. This article is particularly important considering the push in New Jersey to legalize assisted suicide.

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9/24/2013

Pope Francis encouraged doctors to “be witnesses and speakers of this ‘culture of life’"

Speaking to a group of gynecologists and obstetricians at the Vatican, Pope Francis affirmed that all human life has dignity and rejected the discarding of “defenseless” human persons through abortion. “Every unborn child, although unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s face,” Pope Francis said, adding that like Christ, these aborted children experience the rejection of the world. The Holy Father asked doctors “who are called to take care of human life in its initial phase” to remind people that “in all its phases and at any age, human life is always sacred.” “This is a commitment to the new evangelization that often requires going against the current,” he added in his Sept. 20 address. “The Lord counts on you to spread the ‘Gospel of Life.’”

Speaking today before a meeting sponsored by the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Physicians, Pope Francis emphasized the doctor’s role in protecting and promoting all life, which, from the unborn to the elderly, “carries the face of Christ.”“In the fragile human being each of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh experienced the indifference and loneliness that often condemn the poorest” members of society, he said. The Pope lamented the “widespread mentality of profit, the ‘throwaway culture,’ which now enslaves the hearts and minds of many,” and “requires the elimination human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker.”“Our response to this mentality is a firm and unhesitating ‘yes’ to life,” he emphasized.

The Holy Father noted that the defense of life in all stages “has become in recent years a real priority of the Magisterium of the Church,” especially with regard to the “most defenseless,” the unborn, elderly and sick. He noted that, paradoxically, in medicine today, “the health professions are sometimes induced to disregard life itself” while at the same time trying to care for patients.
“The paradoxical situation can be seen in the fact that while the person is given new rights, sometimes only presumed rights, life as a primary value and basic right of every man is not always protected,” he said.

But despite the culture’s denial, the “final objective of doctor is always the defense and promotion of life,” Pope Francis affirmed. Doctors must not discard life, which is at the center of social development, he emphasized. The intrinsic dignity of the human person is beyond any measurable worth, and no human life is “more sacred” or “more significant” than another. With this understanding of the human person, he challenged the doctors present to “be witnesses and speakers of this ‘culture of life,’” helping the contemporary culture to recognize “the transcendent dimension” of human life from “the moment of conception.”The Pope encouraged doctors to pray for “the strength to do your job well and to witness with courage.”

Source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-asks-doctors-to-spread-the-gospel-of-life/ . Used with permision, Sep. 24, 2013.

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7/01/2013

Every human life is beautiful, every human life is precious!

With last Sunday’s Day for Life in Ireland the Church began a month of prayer dedicated to the theme ‘Choose Life!’ Parishes and individuals will be invited to pray a special ‘Prayer for the Child in the Womb’ during Masses from October 7 through to the Feast of All the Saints of Ireland on 6 November, a press release for the campaign explained. The bishops also published a pastoral message entitled: “Every human life is beautiful, every human life is precious - Choose Life!” It highlights the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb, and the right of each to be treated as individual persons. “When we say that human life is sacred we are recognising something that is sensed not only by religious people but by everyone who appreciates the wonder of human life,” the letter explained. “By virtue of their common humanity, the lives of both a mother and her unborn baby are sacred,” the letter insisted. “If our concern for human rights is to mean anything, it must include concern for the most basic human right of all – the right not to be killed,” the letter continued. It also noted that this year’s annual Day for Life coincides with a decisive moment for Ireland. In the coming weeks, the Government will decide how to respond to a 2010 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. “Despite what some have asserted, the Irish Government is under no obligation to legislate for abortion because of this ruling of the European Court,” the letter stated. “On the contrary, our Government is free to respond by seeking full protection in Irish law for the right to life of the baby in the womb. This could be done while ensuring that women in pregnancy continue to receive every treatment necessary to safeguard their lives,” the letter said.
Summary of key points from Choose Life: From the moment of conception, every human life is beautiful, every human life is precious and every human life is sacred. Government does not have to provide for abortion in Ireland to comply with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. Legislating for abortion denies the humanity and dignity of the child in the womb and violates the most basic human right of all – the right to life. It is never necessary to target the life of the baby in the womb to save the life of the mother. Ireland, without abortion, is consistently one of the safest countries in the world in which to be pregnant. Many women who have had abortions speak of their deep regret, and research also confirms the harm that abortion can cause women. International experience shows that once abortion is legalised, even in apparently very limited situations, it becomes more widespread than was first intended. ---
Choose Life: Prayer for the Child in the Womb Lord Jesus, you are the source and lover of life. Reawaken in us respect for every human life. Help us to see in each child the marvellous work of our Creator. Open our hearts to welcome every child as a unique and wonderful gift. Guide the work of doctors, nurses and midwives. May the life of a mother and her baby in the womb be equally cherished and respected. Help those who make our laws to uphold the uniqueness and sacredness of every human life, from the first moment of conception to natural death. Give us wisdom and generosity to build a society that cares for all. Together with Mary, your Mother, in whose womb you took on our human nature, Help us to choose life in every decision we take. We ask this in the joyful hope of eternal life with you, and in the communion of the Blessed Trinity. Amen. ---
www: Choose Life Web site - http://www.chooselife2012.ie/ --- Source: http://www.zenit.org/article-35685?l=english

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