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Monday, April 26, 2010

CMSA Newsletter Submissions

If anyone is interested in submitting an article for the CMSA newsletter, you can email me at catholicmedstudent@gmail.com.  Articles should be around 500 words.  If you have an idea, let me know!

In Christ,

Brian

Vatican Backs Stem Cell Research

I hope that the title of this post caught your attention. It was supposed to.  I thought that employing the same tactics of the main stream media might help spread the message a bit.  That tactic being, of course, to leave ambiguity in regards to what type of stem cells are being used.  In this case, it would be ADULT stem cells.  So here is part of the story:

ROME – The Vatican is pushing for research of adult stem cells as an alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells, which the Catholic Church opposes because it maintains that the destruction of the embryo amounts to the killing of human life.
On Friday, the Catholic Church threw its support and resources behind the study of intestinal adult stem cells by a group of experts led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The group wants to explore the potential use of those cells in the treatment of intestinal and possibly other diseases, and is seeking an initial euro2 million ($2.7 million) to get the project going, officials said.
"This research protects life," Cardinal Renato Martino said during a meeting with Italian and American scientists and health officials to outline the project. "I want to stress that it doesn't involve embryonic stem cells, where one helps oneself and then throws the embryo away and kills a human life.".....

....In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI said the Catholic Church can encourage somatic stem cell research — also known as adult stem cell research — "because of the favorable results obtained through these alternative methods," and more importantly because it respects "the life of the human being at every stage of his or her existence."

"Ethically, the rules the Catholic Church promotes are really very simple: That all research be respectful of human life," said Father Bob Gahl, an American professor of Moral Philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. "Nobody should be killed in the process of doing medical research. So this new project falls exactly within the Catholic Church's ethical guidelines."
Dr. George Daley, a stem cell expert at Children's Hospital in Boston and past president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, said both adult and embryonic stem cells may prove useful for treating different diseases.
"I applaud the Vatican for being interested in supporting biomedical research," Daley said Friday, "but I can't help but think there's an agenda."
He called intestinal stem cells "a very exciting area of basic research" but said therapeutic uses are only speculative at this point.
How quaint that this scientist would think there is an agenda behind the Vatican's support of this research.  Perhaps that agenda would be the continuation of ethical stem cell research, which has already shown so much promise and therapeutic application in the treatment of so many diseases?  Regarding his comment about the 'speculative' aspect of this research, it would appear that intestinal stem cells hold as much if not more promise than embryonic stem cells do.  It is unfortunate that a majority of scientists are so ideologically blinded by the desire to master embryonic stem cells (which have ZERO therapeutic application at this point) rather than supporting the continued research into the success of adult stem cells.

This step by the Vatican is wonderful, in regards to the relationship between science and the Church.  The Church has constantly supported the sciences that do not violate human dignity or the Law of God, and this is just another step in the great history of the Church. 

Sparse Blogging

I want to apologize to the few readers out there for not posting more regularly in the last few weeks.  I have my last exam before preparing for the Step 1.  So after Tuesday I hope to have more posts to put up, more frequently!  God bless!

Brian

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

UN and WHO ignore new maternal health numbers





LONDON – The number of women dying in childbirth worldwide has dropped dramatically, a British medical journal reports, adding that it was pressured to delay its findings until after U.N. meetings this week on public health funding.
A separate report by a group headed by the United Nations reached a very different conclusion on maternal mortality, saying the figure remains steady at about 500,000 deaths a year.
The disagreement reveals the politics behind public health, where progress made in tackling a health problem can jeopardize funding. Public health officials are gearing up to ask for billions of dollars this week at U.N. meetings .
The British medical journal Lancet rushed out a paper on Sunday that found the number of women who die in pregnancy or childbirth has dropped by more than 35 percent over 28 years.
Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, said he was disappointed when maternal health advocates pressured him to delay publishing the report until September, after several critical fundraising meetings. He also wrote a commentary in Lancet on the pressure.
"Activists perceive a lower maternal mortality figure as actually diluting their message," he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "Advocacy can sometimes get in the way of science."
He did not name any group or individual who tried to pressure him.
In their paper, Christopher Murray and colleagues at the Institute for Health Metrics at the University of Washington found that maternal deaths have fallen from about 500,000 deaths in 1980 to about 343,000 in 2008. The study in the Lancet was based on more data than was previously available in addition to statistical modeling and was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
It was a surprising finding for experts who have long assumed that little progress has been made in maternal health.
But on Tuesday, another report by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, a global alliance hosted by the World Health Organization, claimed progress in maternal health has "lagged." According to their "detailed analysis," from 350,000 to 500,000 women still die in childbirth every year. The authors did not explain where their data came from or what kind of analysis was used to obtain that wide range of figures.
In that report, U.N. officials also claimed they need $20 billion every year between 2011 and 2015 to save women and children in developing countries.
Dr. Flavia Bustreo, director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, denied there was any conflict between her group's study and the Lancet study. She said her group was not involved in pressuring the journal not to publish Murray's study.
"The debate on numbers may continue," Bustreo said Wednesday. "But we welcome this as good news. There is hope at last for maternal health."
In the world of public health, good news can paradoxically be bad news. The more people who are dying, the more money U.N. officials can raise, making some experts less keen to acknowledge that a problem is not as bad as they once thought.
The U.N. is hosting a meeting of public health experts and heads of state on maternal and child health this week in New York, followed by another one in Washington in June.
For years, U.N. AIDS officials threatened that the epidemic would spread among general populations in countries worldwide, and claimed more than 40 million people were infected. Money for projects fighting AIDS, meanwhile, grew exponentially.
When U.N. officials finally admitted they had been overestimating the numbers for years and dramatically revised their figures — down to 33 million — donors began to rethink their financial commitments.
Experts say public health figures need to be taken with a huge grain of salt, particularly when they come from people who are also soliciting funds for the campaign.
"The U.N. has a track record of inflating disease figures to keep the aid money flowing, so I'd probably place more faith in the figures which show a lower disease burden," said Philip Stevens, of International Policy Network, a London think tank. "This is yet more confirmation that whoever paints the most apocalyptic picture gets the most cash, even if they have to manipulate and spin the data."
  
It is unfortunate, but not surprising that money is influencing research.  What is particularly frustrating (but again not surprising) is that it is occurring at the level of the United Nations.  When we know that money is influencing the release of information, how can we trust the decisions and justifications for emphasizing one aspect of public health over another?  Moreover, in regards to maternal health, it is clear that the same individuals and groups promoting maternal health at the UN are also deeply involved with population control.  It is my opinion that the reasons for trying to withhold the information about the decrease in maternal death is because the fundraisers do not want to slow down their attempts at population control.   We need to stay informed with what is going on behind the scenes, both on the international level as well as within our own country. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Gianna Center: Offering Authentic Women's HealthCare

 
I wanted to pass along this news to anyone who is interested:
First, some background: 

At The Gianna Center, we are delighted to offer a new, exciting approach to women's healthcare.  We combine comprehensive primary care with specialized gynecologic care and serve women with a deep committment to honoring their dignity and the sanctity of human life. 

We are the first women's healthcare center in New York City to make an explicit committment to following the teachings of the Catholic Church in the provision of our healthcare services, and we look forward to providing these services to all women, regardless of their faith tradition or personal beliefs.

Our mission is simple -- to acknowledge the dignity of all women and to provide exceptional, prolife healthcare for women.  Our goal is to be of service to you.  We look forward to serving your healthcare needs.
 Second, a message from the founder:
 
Hello Everyone,

What a roller coaster this Lent has been for us at The Gianna Center!
 
In February, just 3 months after the Grand Opening of the Center in Midtown Manhattan, we were notified that funding for the Center was being cut by St. Vincent's Hospital as part of their restructuring efforts to keep the last Catholic Hospital in NYC open.
 
On Easter Monday, in a true experience of Easter Resurrection, The Gianna Center opened again as a privately owned medical practice which will continue to provide 100% prolife, Catholic healthcare for women and couples in New York City.

Our services will continue uninterrupted, including general medical care and gynecology, prenatal care, and NaProTechology medical and surgical consultations and services.  Dr. Beiter and I will continue to work full-time out of our office at 15 East 40th Street and Dr. Beiter will continue to perform surgery at another hospital here in New York.  Plans are also in place to extend the services of the Center to include psychological counselling services, faithful to the teachings of the Church, in the next few weeks.
 
Please check out our new website www.giannahealth.org for information and updates.
 
As we announce our new ownership, I am also excited to announce an incredible event coming this May.
 
On Monday May 17, 2010, Pierluigi Molla, the son of St. Gianna, our Center's patron saint, will be joining Archbishop Dolan for a morning blessing and enshrinement of a relic of St. Gianna at The Gianna Center at 10 am.  All are welcome, and we would love to see you there.
 
That Monday evening, a Mass will be offered for the intention of healing for couples struggling with infertility.  The Mass will be held at a location to be announced and will include the opportunity for everyone present to hear about St. Gianna's life from her own son and to recieve a blessing with St. Gianna's relics.  Please consider coming out to this Mass to show your prayerful support for couples suffering from what is often a hidden and painful cross.  More details will follow.
 
God is good -- in all things, at all times -- but most of all in the amazing work He does in the world through His people.  At this moment, as I announce the "new life" of The Gianna Center, I cannot help but thank the many, many people whose generosity and efforts on behalf of The Gianna Center made it possible for us to keep the Center going over the past 6 weeks, despite this tremendous set-back.

It would not have been possible to keep The Center going without each and every one of you -- and I thank you all!
 
God bless you.  We look forward to continuing to serve you in New York City!
 
Sincerely,
Anne Mielnik, MD
Founder, Gianna Healthcare for Women
 
 

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

GOOD FRIDAY


Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate. They brought charges against him, saying, "We found this man misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar and maintains that he is the Messiah, a king."

Pilate asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds, "I find this man not guilty." But they were adamant and said, "He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to here."

On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; and upon learning that he was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign.

He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. (Even) Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate.

Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly. Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, "You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him.

Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him." But all together they shouted out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us." (Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder.) Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus, but they continued their shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

Pilate addressed them a third time, "What evil has this man done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him."

With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted.

So he released the man who had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked, and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished.

As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him.

Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.'

At that time people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?"

Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left.

[Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."] They divided his garments by casting lots.

The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God."

Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."

Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews."

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us."

The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation?

And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal."

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.

Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, "This man was innocent beyond doubt."

When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events.