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triple helix: Easter 2009

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Stem cells - The truth (gradually) comes out

Almost ten years ago, after the 1999 Donaldson Report recommended allowing scientists to clone human embryos for stem cell research using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), Triple Helix called the research 'unethical and unnecessary' and sounded a strong note of caution. We said that the enthusiasm for this new technology...

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Coroners and Justice Bill

In recent months and as part of a concerted campaign, assisted dying has constantly been in the media spotlight through the Debbie Purdy case (seeking immunity for her husband from prosecution should he accompany her to commit suicide abroad), Craig Ewart's SKY Real Lives documentary (covering his death at the...

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Obama and global health

Barack Obama's inauguration as US President has largely been seen around the world as positive, but what will it mean for global health? Two major breaks with previous policy have gone almost unnoticed. The first was the forced resignation (1) of Ambassador Mark Dybul, the controversial head of Bush's...

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End of life care in Scotland

CMF has about 450 doctor and 100 student members in Scotland, and since devolution of health policy, they have had to face some different challenges. At the time of writing, two Members of the Scottish Parliament are reviewing results of their radically different consultations on end of life care. Margo...

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Like a virgin?

The Chief Medical Officer advocates total abstinence from alcohol for under-15s, (1 ) but encouraging abstinence from underage sex is usually ridiculed. No surprise therefore that misleading headlines about a new study (2) on US virginity pledges were universally along the lines of 'Virginity pledge ineffective against teen sex despite...

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Dementia

Key points After reviewing aspects of dementia and commenting on its impact, the author reflects on recent coverage, both negative and more positive. While the challenges presented may appear to be ethical ones, they can often be radically reduced or eliminated by the professional competence and skill of care providers...

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Spiritual support in palliative care

Key points The author leads an innovative research group developing palliative care which is accessible for people with all life-threatening illnesses, is delivered in the community, and explores spiritual distress at the end of life. There are three characteristic trajectories of physical decline at the end of life: a...

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A New Year resolution

I write this at the start of a new year, when many people make resolutions. It's an opportunity to make a change – a positive action to stop doing one thing, or start doing something else. Although never particularly drawn to resolutions, I have been challenged to rethink my attitude...

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Staff behaving badly

Following personal experiences the author, a physiotherapist, became interested in negative behaviours in the NHS. She discusses published examples with illustrate national data. Seeing these behaviours as broader than 'bullying', she conducted research into workplace incivility and aggression as well, and recorded that all these had a negative impact on...

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Friend of 'Sinners'?

key points Harm reduction strategies aim at reducing the consequences of harmful behaviour rather than at reducing the behaviours that result in lifestyle related disease. They cause lively debate within CMF. The author argues that Old Testament law mixes absolute ideal principles and prescriptions for situations that are less than...

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God is not a God who stands back and watches

P ray and act now – Zimbabwe is bleeding.' This was last November's cry for help from CMF Zimbabwe. They are in the midst of the worst cholera epidemic Africa has seen for 15 years, with over 89,000 cases reported, the death toll over 4,000. Cholera is a visible manifestation...

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Eutychus

Healy-feely telly Changes over 40 years in the content of Dutch non-fiction medical television programmes probably mirror the changing times. Expert speakers have had less time allotted to them, while lay people have had more and more say. The scientific origins of the story are now emphasised less, and patients...

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Is there a Christian case for assisted dying?

Paul Badham is an Anglican priest, a patron of Dignity in Dying, and Professor of Theology and Religious Studies in the University of Wales, Lampeter. It is therefore significant when such a man publishes on the 'Christian' case for voluntary euthanasia. Does this book live up to its title? Is...

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Spirituality, Ethics and Care

How does spirituality relate to ethics? Robinson's book explores this relationship using case studies. He carefully considers how spirituality and ethics can be integrated in the practice of health and social care. There are many illuminating passages, eg on the meaning of agape love and its inclusive commitment to others....

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Care of the cancer patient

This book is a palliative care textbook by Finegan, a recently deceased CMF member and palliative care physician, and McGurk, a nurse. It covers a wide range of issues pertinent to those looking after patients with cancer. There is a large section on communication skills, an A-Z overview of how...

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Talking about Spirituality in Health Care Practice

The author is a dietician with long experience of teamwork in hospital and palliative care. Although mentioning her Anglican background, she writes for a secular readership a secular book pleading strongly for integration of spiritual care in all aspects of healthcare. She differentiates this dimension of reality from faith or...

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Against Physician Assisted Suicide.

This book presents the case against physician assisted suicide (PAS) from the point of view of an experienced palliative care physician. Dr Jeffrey writes clearly, making the book accessible to both healthcare professionals and members of the public. Although the structure of some chapters is a little weak, all the...

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Caring for Muslim Patients

The book explores 'what it means to belong to a sacred tradition, explore the intricate connection between faith and health for Muslims and consider some of the implications of this relationship for those striving to deliver culturally competent and sensitive heath care'. The life of the Prophet Muhammad and the...

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Teaching Medicine - a Christian Approach

What can Christians contribute that is different from any other conscientious teacher? Morgan proposes that scientific medicine has dehumanised us because behaviour is seen as mere product of biochemical reactions. He reminds us that Christians believe human beings are made in God's image and have infinite value. We must, therefore,...

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Living through bereavement

Owen is a retired minister whose wife died after they had been together for 45 years. He has shared the journey of bereavement with others, and travelled the road himself. The first two chapters brilliantly take us through the biblical view of death and the afterlife, before moving on to...

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Understanding five essential elements of child development

At a time when solutions to manage troubled children and teenagers vacillate between liberal and punitive extremes, this book challenges contemporary views of childcare to provide a secure framework for enabling children to develop their full potential as people made in God's image. Dr White draws on a lifetime's experience...

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Is this how God sees the world?

Retired member Stephen de Garis, living in Switzerland, writes from his own extensive experience of work overseas: I feel I must comment on Vicky Lavy's article in the last issue (1) which followed Helen Barratt's. (2) I wring my hands in despair at the topic, as will surely all people...

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'A cord of three strands'

We first met as a medical prayer triplet in November 2007. The thought of dragging myself out of bed at about 6.30 to cycle in the cold and dark to a friend's house for 7am prayer was not an opportunity I necessarily relished when we first started. I have to...

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