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triple helix: winter 2005

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Banning smoking - A welcome proposal

Smoking could be banned in offices and factories, restaurants and most pubs within four years under plans unveiled by the government. The plans form part of Health Secretary John Reid’s White Paper on Public Health, and are expected to become part of the government’s manifesto for next year’s general election....

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The euthanasia bandwagon - Propelled by medical fence-sitting and indifference

The Mental Capacity Bill,[1] which gives full statutory force to advance refusals of food and fluids, passed its third reading in the House of Commons on 14 December 2004 by a majority of 354 to 118 amidst huge controversy about it bringing in 'back-door euthanasia'.[2] The government employed a three-line...

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Business as usual on the IAG - A report not to be mindlessly swallowed

The latest annual report of the Government's Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health[1] was published in October 2004. The group was set up to monitor progress and advise the Government on the implementation of its sexual health strategy. It is chaired by the Labour peer Baroness Gould of Potternewton who...

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‘Choosing’ our genetic future - A specious euphemism for prenatal eugenics?

The Human Genetics Commission's consultation Choosing the Future: Genetics and reproductive decision-making[1] closed on 15 November 2004. The consultation covers a variety of issues including designer babies, preimplantation diagnosis, prenatal screening and genetic counselling. The HGC will report to ministers in 'late 2005'.[2] CMF's full submission is available on our...

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Stem Cells

The battle over stem cells intensified throughout 2004 becoming a major issue in the US election won by Republican George Bush on 4 November. Much of the controversy centred around different views on the status of the human embryo, and the fact that embryos have to be created and destroyed...

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Taking a Spiritual History

There is 'increasing emphasis on spirituality as a factor contributing to wellbeing and coping strategies' said Speck and colleagues in a recent BMJ editorial.[1] A team from the Royal Free Hospital, London, has also discovered in a study of acute admissions to that hospital that 71% of people have an...

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Chiropractic

Chiropractic is one of the most widely used systems of alternative health care available today. It is particularly popular in Canada and the USA, its country of origin, where there are over 50,000 practitioners. It is also available in many other countries around the globe. It was rather slower to...

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Addressing spiritual needs

As a GP I come into contact with more spiritually needy people during the course of one day in my surgery than many ministers do in a month. As doctors in general, and GPs in particular, we can often build long-term relationships with patients, leading to both great opportunities and...

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African Healthcare Exodus

As the continent with the most poor people, Sub-Sahara Africa is a place of great need. More than 350 million (out of a population of 765 million) people live on less than a dollar a day; and, unlike other povertystricken continents, this proportion is rising.[1] In 2000 Africa's debt stood...

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Trusting in Chariots

Christians have been at the forefront of providing care for the sick and the marginalised since the time of Jesus.[1] His command to 'preach and heal'[2] has been central to the calling of Christian missionaries down the centuries. Though modern medical mission has only arrived in its current form in...

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Head to Head - Should Christian doctors support a ban on smacking children

'Yes!' Paul Burgess is a GP in Southampton For a long time we parents have been hoodwinked into believing that smacking can be a useful and even necessary part of child discipline. We have been hoaxed into accepting that the Bible supports such a bogus and empty method of teaching...

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Eutychus

UK egg bank opened The UK's first 'human egg bank' has opened, according to an article published in the Mail on Sunday. The bank has been set up by Mohammed Taranissi, director of the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre in London, and will store more than 1,500 frozen eggs. He...

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Healed, restored, forgiven (Book Review)

In 2000, the Church of England produced its monumental report A Time to Heal. This book draws from that report, and is a valuable collection of material for use in connection with healing prayer. It is a resource not just for Anglicans but for all Christians everywhere. There are sets...

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Driven beyond the call of God (Book Review)

Are you a driven person? Do you think you drive yourself too much? This book will help you answer these questions and do something about it. Pamela Evans is a doctor who is also a counsellor, and investigates some of the reasons behind spiritual 'drivenness' and 'workaholism'. 'Anything that's used...

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From cells to souls (Book Review)

The Psalmist's question 'What is man that you are mindful of him?' has never been more relevant than today. The Christian understanding of man is now under particular pressure from neo- Darwinians such as Dennett and Singer who look at our biology and morality, and from neuroscientists who challenge our...

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Holiness and sexuality (Book Review)

There are so many books available exploring both theological and personal Christian perspectives on homosexuality that any new addition to the field should offer fresh insights. This one does. The chapters were all originally papers given at a symposium at Oak Hill Theological College in April 2003. Although the chapters...

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Children and bereavement (Book Review)

Wendy Duffy, previously a hospice nurse, is now a bereavement counsellor. She is also a pastoral assistant in her local parish church and writes from many years' experience of supporting children and families through the bereavement process. Her short book is easily readable and is targeted at parents, teachers, clergy...

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In a strange land…People with dementia and the local church (Book Review)

This book offers a compassionate and well-informed look at the world of dementia. The author is an Anglican minister with many years' experience in pastoral ministry in this area. He paints a realistic and forthright picture of the problems of dementia, and talks straightforwardly about the difficulties and opportunities of...

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Straw Dogs - Thoughts on humans and other animals (Book Review)

We have become used to modernism, and got the hang of postmodernism but what comes next? Perhaps post-humanism? Christians and humanists mostly get along. We share a broadly similar and liberal vision of what is good for society because we both believe that being human is special and valuable. To...

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Good news for the invisible blind

The story of Jesus and the blind beggar of Jericho (Luke 18: 35-43) offers interesting insights into blindness and the complexities of ministry to blind persons, especially in places where they are ignored or treated as invisible. A blind person by instinct will resist cross conversation or being pushed aside. So...

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