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triple helix: summer 2002

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Sexual Health - Christian doctors have a huge role to play

The nation's sexual health is in decline, as evidenced by rising rates of teenage conception, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer and mental health problems linked to early risky sex. The government is committed to lowering the under 18 conception rate by 50% by 2010, but its policies of 'over...

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Family Planning Services are Ineffective - But When Will Those Responsible Admit it?

'Teen sex advice ineffective.' The BBC News website [1] could not report it without using inverted commas. Anne Weyman, the Chief Executive of the Family Planning Association, blustered about it on the Today programme with noticeably less self-confidence than usual. However, The Observer, which normally avoids covering such news altogether,...

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Going Down to Tesco's - More Foolish 'Damage Limitation'

Two Somerset branches of the supermarket chain Tesco's are to take part in a pilot scheme in which a company pharmacist may dispense the morning-after pill (MAP) free without prescription to those under 20, but without lower age limit, after an interview. Named records are not to be kept and...

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'Religious Tolerance' on Campus - A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

A disturbing trend was highlighted by the recent publication of a document entitled Religious Tolerance and Respect on Campus. [1] Written by a Muslim chaplain at Oxford University, it claims the support of several organisations, including the National Union of Students. Its aim is the establishment of interfaith discussion groups...

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Ian Stillman - A Gross Miscarriage of Justice

Ian Stillman is profoundly deaf, diabetic, has only one leg and is a Christian. He has lived in India for 30 years and established the Nambikkai Foundation for the deaf. It has helped over a thousand deaf people to find jobs, and endeavours to improve the image of the deaf...

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A World Fit for Children - The UN Takes a Welcome Step

On 11 May, after tense and protracted negotiations, the UN General Assembly Special Session on children unanimously adopted a draft resolution entitled, 'A World fit for Children' to protect children from poverty, exploitation and disease. This marked a victory for the US, allied with the Holy See and Muslim countries...

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Teenagers and Sex

Britain now has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. This has significant health and social consequences for our society and so the government has started to implement a two-fold national strategy for England over the next ten years: [1] To halve the rate of conceptions among...

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Love is for Life

'Never before have adolescents been exposed to such relentless media pressure to have sex as early as possible ' (Dr Trevor Stammers, 1999). How do we support teenagers today who face incredible pressure from media,peers,and in relationships to become sexually active prematurely?Today 's teenagers are bombarded by media messages of...

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The Condom Controversy - Safe Sex or Russian Roulette?

My London medical practice has seen a huge rise in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) over the past few years. Genitourinary medicine clinics are struggling with the increasing workload and the Medical Society for the Study of Venereal Diseases is promoting training courses to help GPs cope. Despite well-funded Government initiatives,...

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Funding Healthcare

Ever since January 2000, when the Prime Minister Tony Blair was bounced into a commitment in a TV interview to raise spending on healthcare in Britain to the European average, healthcare funding has been a major issue for debate in this country. The Chancellor Gordon Brown almost stifled the debate at...

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Family Affairs

'When the most powerful president in the world will not release money already allocated to prevent unwanted pregnancy, to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, for the poorest citizens in the world, where is the morality in that?'[1] Amy Coen - President of Population Action International At the time of writing,...

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Hemlock in Strasbourg

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is less malleable and less of a euthanasist's charter than many commentators feared. That is the effect of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Pretty v United Kingdom (www.worldlii.org/eu/cases). The facts Diane Pretty suffered from Motor Neurone Disease (Triple Helix...

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Eutychus

Lessons in spiritual history taking What is a spiritual history? The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations (The US answer to CHI, NICE and GMC all rolled into one) sets down guidelines: 'Spiritual assessment should, at a minimum, determine the patient's denomination, beliefs, and what spiritual practices are important...

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Human Genetics - Fabricating the Future (Book Review)

This book by a lecturer in Christian ethics at the University of Durham is a scholarly work, providing an accurate and realistic evaluation of the current and future promise of molecular technologies in health care. There are some excellent sections, particularly the review of the twentieth century eugenics movement and...

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Detrimental Effects of Abortion (Book Review)

When abortion was decriminalised in the UK in 1967 its supporters argued that it should be more widely available because it was safer than a full term pregnancy. For decades this idea persisted. Slowly but steadily evidence has been accumulating that there are considerable health costs built into an abortion...

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Fire in My Bones (Book Review)

A tiny needle in the almighty hand of God' - this phrase captures the wonder of this challenging story. I really enjoyed the overview of decades of service, illustrating the fruit that comes from prayerful passion for mission. However, it is long after the seed is sown that any fruit...

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Chasing the Dragon (Book Review)

This is a remarkable and exciting book, filled with episodes of adventure, intrigue, crime, unspeakable cruelty and violence. For the medical reader there is much description of disease, addiction and appalling poverty. There are vivid descriptions of court cases and prison life. Chasing the Dragon is also a chronicle of...

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Thinking About Patients (Book Review)

This book, by a Christian GP and VTS Course Organiser in South London, is written to promote a multi-dimensional model of medicine. The first four chapters explore the changing role of medicine in society, looking at its scope, achievements and problems as we find them at the beginning of the...

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The Medics' Guide to Work and Electives around the World (Book Review)

This is a book that should prove to be of great value to students or junior doctors looking for ideas about electives or work overseas - in the developed or developing world. It is full of useful information. Users are encouraged to contribute further ideas and updates on places visited...

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Clones - The clowns of technology? (Book Review)

Lighten up, says Gareth Jones. Don't take ethics so seriously. Think about it, yes. Work hard with it, yes. By all means be intellectually rigorous, but then add a dash of humour. His title poses a question: Clones - the clowns of technology? Clowns, he says, are eccentrics who live...

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The Ethics of Transplantation (Book Review)

Keith Rigg is a consultant transplant surgeon in Nottingham and Reader at one of the local churches. He is well placed to write this 24 page booklet on the ethics of transplantation. Transplantation is here to stay and most members of the Christian community, as well as other religious groups,...

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Readers' Letters

Richard Scott's article 'Good news in the Surgery' (Triple Helix 2002; Spring: 6-7) prompted an article by Derren Hayes in both Doctor and Hospital Doctor magazines on 2 May 2002. Hayes' 'Working Practices' piece began by saying that the Triple Helix article had prompted the BMA to warn doctors not to...

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On Safari

I've just spent ten days in Kenya, my third visit but the first for nearly 20 years. I'll never forget flying from the capital Nairobi over Kenya's luminous tropical green countryside, the breathtaking Rift Valley, seeing Mount Kenya, and moving on to Marasbit, an oasis town amidst a huge desert...

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