Health briefs

Scientists develop device to mimic the wombHealth Shorts


(WNS)–Researchers have developed a womb-like device they hope can save and improve the lives of extremely premature babies. The device has only been tested on baby lambs so far, but the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia scientists plan to test it on premature humans in the next few years, according to a study published April 25 in the journal Nature Communications. The development shows more promise than any previous attempt to mimic the womb environment for critically preterm babies, but it also raises a host of ethical questions scientists and doctors are struggling to answer, including questions about its effect on the abortion debate. The extra-uterine system is a plastic bag, called a Biobag, filled with artificial amniotic fluid. It has two tubes that connect to the baby’s umbilical cord. One tube runs to an oxygenator and infuses the baby’s blood with oxygen and nutrients and removes carbon dioxide. The other tube pumps the blood back into the baby’s body using the power of the baby’s own heartbeat.

France rejects a third gender category

(WNS)–France’s highest court in early May rejected the notion of a “neutral” gender. The ruling upheld a lower court’s decision denying a French citizen with a sex development disorder the right to use “neutral” as an official gender. The Cour de Cassation, France’s supreme court, ruled that the distinction between male and female was “necessary to the social and legal organization, of which it is a cornerstone,” and that the recognition of a neutral gender would have “profound repercussions on rules of French law” and necessitate legislative changes, according to Agence France-Presse.

Creationists cheer findings in bear genome sequencing project


(WNS)–Baby Bear’s big surprise may not be that he found Goldilocks asleep in his bed, it may be that he discovered his parents came from two entirely separate species. Evolutionists are equally surprised because separate species are not supposed to be able to interbreed. But the new findings come as no shock to creationists, who note the discovery backs the belief that God created types of animals that diversified into what scientists now consider separate species. Evolutionary scientists in Germany made the discovery after sequencing the genomes of all known bear species for the first time. They were surprised to find that mixed breeds of bears are not nearly as rare as they had assumed.

Vatican investigates Belgian order over euthanasia support

(WNS)–A Catholic order in Belgium is facing a Vatican investigation after the group’s decision to allow euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals. Brothers of Charity, which works around the world with elderly and mentally ill patients, announced in March that it would permit doctors to perform euthanasia at its 15 psychiatric hospitals in Belgium on non-terminal psychiatric patients who request death. The Belgian chapter’s mostly lay board of directors published a nine-page explanation asserting that because “autonomy of the patient is the fundamental value in contemporary society,” the order will “fully respect the value of the patient’s autonomy by [honoring] the desire not to live with unbearable and futile suffering and to take seriously the request for euthanasia.”

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