Friday, June 29, 2012

The IVF Panic: 'All Hell Will Break Loose, Politically and Morally, All Over the World'

Before in vitro led to the births of four million humans, we feared the procedure's inhumanity.
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Doctor Katarzyna Koziol injects sperm directly into an egg during in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) at Novum clinic in Warsaw October 26, 2010. (Reuters)
Lesley Brown, the mother of the world's first baby conceived through in vitro fertilization, has died. She was 64.
By the time she turned 30, Brown and her husband, John, had been trying for nine years to conceive. As they tried, the doctors Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards were making strides in in vitro fertilization -- the process that brings the egg and sperm together in a lab setting, implanting the embryo after fertilization. The procedure -- as one doctor put it, "an incredible leap into the unknown" -- had never led to a full-term pregnancy. By the late 1970s, however, Steptoe, a gynecologist, and Edwards, a biologist, were getting close. When Brown and her husband volunteered for in vitro, the process was -- finally -- successful. Brown delivered a daughter, Louise, on July 25, 1978.
Given the number of babies that have now been conceived through IVF -- more than 4 million of them at last count -- it's easy to forget how controversial the procedure was during the time when, medically and culturally, it was new. We weren't quite sure what to make of this process that, on the one hand, offered hope to infertile women and, on the other, seemed to carry shades of Aldous Huxley. People feared that babies might be born with cognitive or developmental abnormalities. They weren't entirely sure how IVF was different from cloning, or from the "ethereal conception" that was artificial insemination. They balked at the notion of "assembly-line fetuses grown in test tubes." In press coverage of Brown's pregnancy, "test tube baby" -- a phrase that reflects both dismissal and fear, and which we now use mostly ironically -- was pretty much a default descriptor. (That's especially noteworthy because Louise Brown was conceived not in a test tube, but a petri dish: "In vitro" simply means "in glass.")
For many, IVF smacked of a moral overstep -- or at least of a potential one. In a 1974 articleheadlined "The Embryo Sweepstakes," The New York Times considered the ethical implications of what it called "the brave new baby": the child "conceived in a test tube and then planted in a womb." (The scare phrase in that being not "test tube" so much as "a womb" and its menacingly indefinite article.) And no less a luminary than James Watson -- yes, that James Watson -- publicly decried the procedure, telling a Congressional committee in 1974 that a successful embryo transplant would lead to "all sorts of bad scenarios." 
Specifically, he predicted: "All hell will break loose, politically and morally, all over the world." 
Despite those warnings, though, IVF development moved forward, until the procedure took on an aura of inevitability. "No one doubts that well-documented embryo implants and transplants will occur, probably within a year or two," the Times noted, also in 1974.
Indeed, test-tube production is advancing at such a pace that Dr. Bentley Glass, former president of the American Association of Advancement of Science, has predicted that by the end of this century a fully formed baby could be 'decanted' from an artificial womb.
But whether such a procedure should be performed at all, and under what circumstances, is currently the subject of an unusually wide-ranging and sometimes bitter debate. It is a debate that rages in the background as the potential 'predestinators' -- the researchers themselves -- go forward, proceeding 'Russianlike' in their operating theaters, their critics say, oblivious to the hue and cry rising behind them.
For many of those critics, the fear wasn't in vitro itself, but the slippery slope it suggested. "First came artificial insemination, then the test-tube baby," Anne Taylor Fleming wrote in 1980; "now researchers are experimenting with transplanting embryos from woman to woman. Such scientific breakthroughs raise fears of a brave new world where parents can select their child's gender and traits, where babies will gestate in laboratories and where the question of abortion ethics pales in the face of an even more complicated question -- the ethics of manufacturing human life."
And the complicatedness of that question meant that Lesley Brown faced the danger not just of a brand-new medical procedure, but also of a morally indignant public. While on bed rest, in a public hospital, during her pregnancy, Brown had to be moved from her room in response to a bomb threat(later proved a hoax). Later, she, John, and Louise had to move to a new home -- one with a private backyard -- so that she could take Louise outside without encountering camped-out reporters. As Louise, now 34 and a mother to her own son, put it: "Mum was a very quiet and private person who ended up in the world spotlight because she wanted a family so much."
Today, more than thirty years after Lesley Brown got her family (she would go on to have another daughter, Natalie, also via IVF), the procedure that got it for her isn't without its remaining controversies. The Catholic Church teaches that "IVF violates the rights of the child: it deprives him of his filial relationship with his parental origins and can hinder the maturing of his personality. It objectively deprives conjugal fruitfulness of its unity and integrity, it brings about and manifests a rupture between genetic parenthood, gestational parenthood, and responsibility for upbringing." In 2010, Catholic bishops in Poland branded in-vitro fertilization "the younger sister of eugenics." 
In the broader culture, though, IVF has won the best thing that a controversial technology can: widespread acceptance. Just a year after Lesley Brown gave birth to her first daughter, cultural normalization seemed a foregone conclusion. In a 1979 year-in-review edition of its paper, theSarasota Herald Tribune reprinted James Watson's "all hell will break loose" exhortations against IVF. It then remarked, simply: "He was mistaken." And in 2010, Robert Edwards won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his role in pioneering the IVF procedure. The Nobel committee cited achievements that have "made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition affecting a large proportion of humanity." 
In recognizing those achievements -- achievements that have also led to, among other things, advances in stem cell research -- the committee made a point of stating the obvious: "Today," it declared, "IVF is an established therapy throughout the world."

Male Infertility No Sperm

Infertility affects not only female, but also male. Male infertility no sperm is the condition where the couple is not being able to getpregnancy after one year in trial. In male, infertility occurs because of a male has problems with his sperm and also the reproductive organs.
The major cause of the infertility in male is varicocele. Varicocele is the condition where the veins in the scrotums are enlarged. The enlargement of the veins influences the temperature in testis. The temperature increases and affects the quality of the sperm.
The second cause of the infertility is azoospermia. Azoospermia is the condition in which there is a blockage on the male reproductive tract. In the other words, azoospermia is pointed to the male infertility no sperm or zero sperm count. There are two problems belong to the man with no zero which are the first is the sperm cannot or not be able to get out into the ejaculate because there is blockage on the male reproductive tract called obstructive azoospermia and the second is the problem with the man who does not make sperm called non-obstructive azoospermia. This cause of infertility affects about one percent of all men as stated or estimated by The American Society of           

male infertility no spermThe infection on urinary tract, gonorrhea and Chlamydia are the causes of the blockage. Gonorhhea and Chlamydia are the transmitted sexual diseases. Epididymis is the place for sperms to swim before they reach an egg and make the fertilization there and if Epididymis gets infected, it can cause wound or scar and blockage and finally, prevents the sperm from leaving or coming out to make fertilization on an egg.
Someone is diagnosed having azoospermia when there is no sperm can be seen or detected through the high-powered microscope on twoseparate times. The diagnostic that focuses on the cause of azoospermia can help your doctor in defining what treatments that are suit to you. You will do the complete medical history, physical examination and the tests of selected hormones as your first assessments or evaluation.
The physical examination here includes the tests of testis size, varicoceles and secondary sex characteristics. Also, you will have other tests like a transrectal ultrasound, urinalysis, or testicular biopsy.
For male, azoospermia can be a threat for the male infertility no sperm of a man. If you have already suffered from this, you can consume the herbal remedies to cure your infertility of azoospermia. Nowadays, you can buy some products of herbal remedies in the market. Shilajit ES capsule is one of examples of the herbal remedies that are sold in the market. This capsule is the recommended and the best capsule to cure the azoospermia and also safe to be consumed.male infertility no sperm
To cure the azoozspermia, you have to take the capsules twice a day frequently for two up to threemonths if you want to get the best result. You can drink the capsule with milk or plain water. This herbal remedy is good for a male to increase the sperm count and also influences the quality of 

Appendectomies no threat to fertility, study says

Getting an appendectomy doesn't seem to hurt a woman's chance of having babies, according to a new study that contradicts long-held beliefs among fertility experts.

In fact, UK researchers found women who'd had their appendix removed were more likely to get pregnant later on than women who hadn't had the common surgery.

Dr. Alan B. Copperman, who heads the division of reproductive endocrinology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and was not involved in the new work, called the results "reassuring."

"We always assume that appendectomy is a risk factor for infertility," he told Reuters Health. "This study showed us it wasn't necessarily the appendectomy that put patients at risk."

Still, he warned, "I would not conclude that your fertility is enhanced by appendectomy."

The procedure is one of the most common surgeries in the U.S. and is usually done to treat appendicitis, a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the appendix.

One in 14 people nationally will have appendicitis at some point in their life. It most commonly occurs in young people age 10 to 30.

Isn't it meant to make you go blind? Man suffers excruciating headaches every time he looks at pornography

It sounds like the set up for a joke, but a medical journal has revealed how a man approached doctors after suffering blinding headaches every time he watched porn.
The 24-year-old software engineer from India experienced exploding pain across his whole forehead every time he tried to view a sex video over a period of two years.
The first twinges of discomfort would strike just five minutes after he started watching a film and would build to a climax within eight to 10 minutes.
The case in India was a more unusual form of 'primary headache associated with sexual activity'
The case in India was a more unusual form of 'primary headache associated with sexual activity'
Neurologists in New Delhi who treated the otherwise healthy single man were at first baffled because he had no history of headaches, no family history of migraines and had never received a head injury. Physical and neurological exams also came back normal.
They suggested his case was caused by changes in the pain-sensing nerves in the face and jaw, which became more sensitive during a 'heightened emotional state associated with viewing pornography.'
Surprisingly, sex-associated headaches are not as rare as you might think. One in 100 people will experience at least one at some point in their lives, with men worse affected.


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Could caffeine transform the average nan into Supergran?

Drinking coffee could help older people maintain their strength and reduce their chances of falling and injuring themselves, a new study has found.
The decline in muscle strength that occurs as we age can reduce quality of life by making everyday tasks harder. 
The process is not well understood, but it is clear that preserving muscle tone is key. 
Fighting fit? Caffeine was found to boost older muscles. However, it can also stop the body from absorbing calcium
Fighting fit? Caffeine was found to boost older muscles. However, it can also stop the body from absorbing calcium
It is known that in adults in their prime caffeine helps the muscles to produce more force. But as we age, our muscles naturally change and become weaker.
So, sports scientists at Coventry University looked for the first time at whether caffeine could also have a strengthening effect on pensioners.
Their study on mice revealed that caffeine boosted power in two different muscles in elderly adults - an effect that was not seen in developing youngsters.
Jason Tallis, the study's primary author, said: 'With the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle to preserve health and functional capacity, the performance-enhancing benefit of caffeine could prove beneficial in the aging population.'


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Women who go through the menopause before 46 are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke

Women who go through menopause before the age of 46 are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as women who go through the change later in life, a study has found.
The findings from a diverse group of U.S. women support results of earlier studies that had only focused on white women.
Early menopause was found to double the risk of stroke and heart attack. Scientists said a genetic link between ovarian function and heart disease could be to blame
Early menopause was found to double the risk of stroke and heart attack. Scientists said a genetic link between ovarian function and heart disease could be to blame
Lead author Dr Melissa Wellons, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said women who had the menopause early should make extra efforts to reduce their risk.
'My advice to them would be to get your traditional risk factors checked and do the things that we know, based on evidence, can improve your risk of developing heart disease, like keep your cholesterol in check and keep your blood pressure in check,' she said.
Wellons and her colleagues collected health information through surveys of 2,509 women, including 331 Chinese, 641 black and 550 Hispanic women.
Close to 700 of them, or 28 per cent, had gone through menopause early - before age 46. The average age when women stop having periods is 51 in the U.S and 52 in the UK.
The younger group included women who went through menopause naturally or had a hysterectomy - surgery to remove the uterus - which can cause early menopause.

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Once-a-day pill that makes HIV treatment easier and with fewer side-effects moves a step closer

HIV sufferers have been given hope of a more efficient treatment, after wide-scale tests on a breakthrough pill.
The new 'Quad' pill was found to be faster acting and have fewer side-effects compared to two widely-used drug regimens.
And an extra bonus for those who need to take it, the solitary once-a-day pill removes the need for an array of drugs on a daily basis.

Quad: The new four-in-one HIV pill, described by doctors as an 'important new treatment option'Quad: The new four-in-one HIV pill, described by doctors as an 'important new treatment option'
Sufferers must rigidly adhere to their HIV medication routine because missed doses can quickly lead to the virus becoming resistant to the medication, making them more vulnerable to a progression of their illness.
But now results from two large international trials, published in The Lancet, revealed that Quad was an 'important new treatment option' that could improve compliance with treatment.
The human immunodeficiency virus weakens the ability to fight infections and disease, such as cancer. AIDS marks the final stage when the body can no longer battle life-threatening illnesses.


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Duchess of Cambridge to sleep on streets to help the homeless - just like William and Diana did

Just like Diana, Kate Middleton is a patron is several charities
Just like Diana, Kate Middleton is a patron is several charities
Princess Diana, who was renowned for her charity work, left large shoes to fill after her untimely death.
But it seems that the Duchess of Cambridge is doing an extremely good job of filling them.
Not only is she a loyal patron of several charities but now she is set to follow in Diana and Williams footsteps by spending a night sleeping rough on the streets of London.
Kate will join Centrepoint ambassador and Loose Women star Lisa Maxwell on the Sleep Out campaign to raise awareness of the growing homeless problem in the capital.
48-year-old Lisa Maxwell told Kate she should follow her husband's example and join her on the streets the next time she was involved, and Kate agreed.
Prince William's mother regularly made secret visits to homeless shelters, even taking the young prince with her.
The experience is said to have encouraged him to become a patron of the charity Centrepoint as an adult and in 2009 he spent a night sleeping rough in sub-zero temperatures amidst wheelie bins close to Blackfriars Bridge to raise the charity’s profile.
And now it's his wife's turn to endure a night out in the elements.
Lisa and Kate were introduced by William at a party and the pair immediately hit if off. Lisa told Kate she worked with Centrepoint and Kate was extremely interested, asking Lisa enthusiastically about her work.
Lisa said: 'She asked me about sleeping out, so I said: "Next time I do it, you're doing it with me. No excuses, he's done it." She said: "You're on."'
The loose women star spoke in admiration of the young Royal at London's Brasserie Blanc at the after party of her new play, Chicken.
'She is very savvy and very smart,' she said.
Seyi Obakin, Prince William, and Catherine support the charity at a time when homeless figures are extremely high
Seyi Obakin, Prince William, and Catherine support the charity at a time when homeless figures are extremely high
Three years ago, William was joined on his night sleeping rough by Centrepoint chief executive, Seyi Obakin, and his private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.
It wasn't a peaceful night under the stars for the three musketeers, who nearly got run over by a roadsweeper.
Writing on the Centrepoint website, Seyi revealed: 'William was determined to do it as patron to raise awareness of the problem and to be able to understand a little better what rough sleepers go through.'
Princess Diana was the patron of the Centrepoint charity for the homeless and introduced her son to the good cause
Princess Diana was the patron of the Centrepoint charity for the homeless and introduced her son to the good cause
At the time, a St James' Palace spokesman said: 'Prince William took away from the experience the importance of tackling all the issues that cause people to be homeless and stay homeless, from drug dependency to mental health problems.'
Centrepoint helps the homeless in London and the North East and was one of six organisations Diana remained patron of when she scaled back her charitable interests.
Kate and William visited the charity last year and joined in on a healthy eating cookery programme.
The work of William and Kate is fundamental to the charity as the latest figures reveal that there has been a 20 per cent increase in those sleeping rough in a year

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As a cancer scare erupts over a chemical in the fizzy drink ... just how safe is a can of Coke?

Defence: Bot Coca-Cola and Pepsi insisted their products were completely safe
Defence: Bot Coca-Cola and Pepsi insisted their products were completely safe

The world is addicted to Coca-Cola. Each day, 1.6 billion cans and bottles of the sickly brown liquid are gulped down, making it the globe’s most recognised brand.
But ever since it was first concocted as a brain tonic in 1886 (designed to treat ‘sick headaches, neuralgia, hysteria and melancholy’), the makers of Coca-Cola have been secretive about what goes into their drink.
American pharmacist and Coke founder Asa Chandler was so concerned that the recipe could fall into the wrong hands he reportedly never wrote it down. 
That secrecy lives on today. Coca-Cola insists only two people alive know the formula, that they never travel on the same plane in case it crashes and that the list of ingredients is locked in a bank vault.
But while the recipe for Coke is surrounded by the kind of mystique that marketing men dream of, the company found its formula under less welcome scrutiny this week. 
For it has emerged that Coca-Cola in the U.S. has reduced levels of one of its ingredients following fears that it could cause cancer.
The chemical — 4-methylimidazole (4-MI) — helps to give the drink its colour, but is listed by Californian health officials as a potential carcinogen. 
While European regulators do not believe it poses any health risks, the company has also pledged to reduce its levels in Coke sold in Britain and the rest of the world, although it hasn’t given a timescale.
Pepsi, meanwhile, has reduced the chemical in its American formula, but refused to change it anywhere else — meaning if the Californian health officials are right, the Pepsi sold in Britain and most of the rest of the world is potentially more carcinogenic than the stuff swigged in America.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi this week insisted that all of their beverages are completely safe, with Coca-Cola claiming it made the change in the U.S. only in response to a ‘scientifically unfounded’ food law in California.




Cola’s colour comes in part from 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), a chemical that forms in the production of caramel food colouring.
Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other manufacturers insist it is safe at the low doses found in drinks.
But in California they disagree. After studies showed that long-term exposure to the chemical causes lung cancer in rats, health officials ruled that products with more than 29mcg must carry a health warning.
And when research by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, a campaign group, found cans contained nearly 140mcg, all cola companies across the U.S. were forced to cut levels.
Food campaigners say daily consumption of  4-MI at 30mcg would cause cancer (pictured) in one in 100,000 people over their lifetimes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that someone would need to drink more than 1,000 cans of cola every day to reach the levels that caused cancer in lab rats.
And the British Food Standards Agency agrees. It says the chemical is ‘not a food safety concern’.


A can of cola contains 40mg of caffeine — half the caffeine in a mug of tea and a third of the amount in a mug of filter coffee (pictured).
Caffeine is a stimulant that works on the central nervous system. It can trigger a dramatic, short-lived increase in blood pressure and increases the heart rate.
But there is little evidence that it causes long-term high blood pressure, or that it is bad for healthy hearts. Many regular coffee or cola drinkers simply develop a tolerance to the stimulant.
In the UK, pregnant women are advised to have less than 200mg a day. Those with high blood pressure are also warned  to steer away from coffee, tea and cola drinks.
Caffeine can also stop the body from absorbing iron from food — so people with a big cola habit may be at greater risk of iron deficiency.


Doctors are in no doubt — the biggest danger from cola doesn’t come from the hidden additives, flavourings  or colourings, but  from sugar.
Too much sugar leads to obesity, the major cause of cancer in the western world.
It also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, causes heart disease and increases the risk of stroke.
The over-consumption of sugar (pictured) has been linked to depression, poor memory formation and learning disorders in animal experiments. And it rots teeth.
Each regular can of  cola contains eight teaspoons of sugar. When you drink that much sugar so quickly, the body experiences an intense sugar rush. 
The cane and beet  sugar used in Coca-Cola is used up quickly by the body,  which soon experiences a  rapid drop  in energy, leading to cravings for more sugar.


Phosphoric acid is a clear, odourless chemical that gives cola its tangy flavour and helps cut through the sickly sweetness of all that sugar.
It is also an effective rust remover — the reason that a glass of Coke can restore the lustre to coins and old metal.
But it can also disrupt our bodies.
Research  at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland found that drinking two or more colas a day doubled the risk of kidney stones (pictured) — and the phosphoric acid in it was blamed.
Another U.S. study found that women who regularly drink cola — three or more times a day — had a four  per cent lower bone mineral density in their hips than women who didn’t drink cola.
Again, phosphoric acid is thought to be the cause. No one is entirely sure why it leads to weaker bones, although some researchers argue it prevents calcium from food being used to renew bones.


Human foetus
The ‘gender bending’ chemical BPA, or bisphenol A, has  been linked to heart disease, cancer and birth defects.
It is found in baby bottles, plastic forks, CD cases and in the lining of aluminium fizzy drinks cans, including those of Coca-Cola.
Because it mimics the female sex hormone oestrogen, and thus disrupts the natural balance of the body, some believe it could be dangerous — particularly to foetuses (pictured). 
Some animal studies have indicated it is safe. Others have linked BPA to breast cancer, liver damage, obesity, diabetes and fertility problems.
Despite the uncertainty, it has been banned in baby bottles across the European Union and in Canada in case it leaches from plastic into formula milk or juice drinks.
The Food Standards Agency in the UK says it is safe in food packaging and poses no risk in fizzy drinks.


Citric acid gives lemons (pictured), oranges and grapefruit their kick and cola its bite, helping to make the drink nearly as corrosive as battery acid when it comes to teeth.
Prolonged exposure to cola and other fizzy drinks strips tooth enamel causing pain, ugly smiles and — in extreme cases — turning teeth to stumps.
A study in the journal General Dentistry found that cola is ten times as corrosive as fruit juices in the first three minutes of drinking.
The researchers took slices of freshly extracted teeth and immersed them in 20 soft drinks. Teeth dunked for 48 hours in cola and lemonade lost more than five per cent of their weight.
A study in the British Dental Journal found that just one can of fizzy drink a day increased the risk of tooth erosion. While four cans increased the erosion risk by  252 per cent.

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