Monday, July 18, 2011

Surgery for the unborn baby with Spina Bifida

Yes, I knew it was possible, and I applaud it. Yet, the unsettling thing is that the listeners of NPR are amazed by the fact that an unborn baby is worthy of surgery, some are actually saying that it runs contrary to natural selection and good economic sense. Read the article here. 
There are scientists who are discovering possible pre-natal biochemical therapies for Down syndrome, like Dr Jim Paddy Baggot of Los Angeles, CA. He sees some ways that the malformation of babies with Down syndrome can be stopped by intervening before birth by making sure the developing baby is given the right chemicals. to overcome genetic defects. Dr Baggot describes his work;

Initially, my research centered on  pathways involving folate metabolism. This was because earlier research conducted by Drs. Lejeune and Peeters suggested a problem of folate deficiency in Down syndrome. And indeed we did find an abnormality in the pathway of folate metabolism.
When we compared our work with other similar research, we found that our results can be explained by a gene that was present in chromosome 21.
There are normally 2 copies of chromosome 21 in each cell. With Down syndrome, there is an extra copy of chromosome 21. That means that there are three copies of each gene on chromosome 21. Gene products of chromosome 21 will be increased by 50%. What we saw in our data was that the substrate of the gene product was reduced by similar amount. When a result is caused by a 50% increase of gene product, this is called the gene dosage effect. As far as we know, we were the first to show gene dosage effect on this gene, and the first to show gene dosage effect in amniotic fluid.
As part of our comprehensive global survey, we looked at carbohydrates and simple sugars. It revealed no major abnormalities. It was important to look at simple sugars because one syndrome of mental retardation known as galactosemia is characterized by an excess of a simple sugar, galactose. This work was published online at Internet Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.
In 2008, our research team was blessed with the publication of two additional  articles in the prestigious medical journal Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy.*

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Its time for Morning Star Camp!

For 14 year old Bella, its the most anticipated two weeks of the year; when she spends a glorious two weeks at Monfort Retreat in Washington, New Hampshire a Morning Star Camp.
See the beautiful slideshow of last year's camp here. You can see Bella in her blue and white plaid shirt proudly displaying her very first handmade basket. I think every child should have this type of experience, friendship, adventure, sports, crafts, campfires and prayer in the woods, don't you?
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What do we do with out leisure time?

Driving home from a day long cookout at the beach where I spent many summers of my childhood, it slipped out, "sometimes I wish I weren't SO CATHOLIC!". Then, recoiling in horror, I hoped that none of my kids were listening. Whew, they went home with Grandpa and  weren't in the car!
What did I mean by that statement? I meant after a day full of watching people who have two incomes, and lots of stuff:boats, fancy beach gear, including $5,000 canopies, fine wines, gourmet food, and better clothing than I have, discuss nothing but their stuff. homes, boats, vacations, clothing, investments, and careers,  I was feeling, well. . . if not envy then a fair amount of longing for what is generally considered the good life.
I am a teacher, after all, if I had kept that tenure-track job though my daughters' early childhoods, I'd be retired at $80,000 a year instead of writing for free and hoping against hope that I can get my basement finished someday. I could live in the posh beach town outside NYC where I grew up instead of the rural part of CT where life is simple and the people don't have boats besides canoes.
Sometimes I think I want that lifestyle. . . then I get over it and remember who I am.
Today, I went for a long walk in the cool afternoon along the river near our home, with Christina and our retriever Molly. We sat  for thirty minutes with our feet in the cool water, listening to the rush of water on the stones, Christina pitching rocks into the river, Molly exploring and me thanking God for the simple life. No one spoke of investments but we were invested. In each other.
I have long had the conviction that our pastimes have to be simple, since our time belongs to God. He needs Catholics to be engaged in the battle for souls, in this life,  and this leaves little time for recreation and unnecessary second incomes.  Watch this video from Michael Voris on this subject.
Sometimes the world tempts me to forget this sense of mission.
 May Our Lord keep me focused, this world is not my home.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New Zealand Ministry of Health sued in International Criminal Court for eugenics violations

For immediate release

A group of parents of children with Down syndrome have lodged a complaint with the International Criminal Court against the Governments(of New Zealand) screening programme for Down syndrome.

Group spokesman Mike Sullivan said the group has applied to the Office of the Prosecutor under the provisions of Article 15.1 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Court has confirmed that the application is being considered.

The Prosecutor has been asked to investigate and intervene in the Ministry of Health's antenatal screening programme, as it persecutes against people with Down syndrome through the prevention of their births.

Evidence was presented to the Court's Prosecutors showing the screening programme prevents around 75% of births of people with Down syndrome in New Zealand.

The programme is promoted and funded by the government at a cost of $9.4M per year, or around $75,000 per unborn child diagnosed with Down syndrome.

The complaint names the Minister of Health as responsible for the programme under his statutory role. Article 27 of the Rome Statute provides that a role as a government official shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility.

Mr Sullivan explained the complaint presents evidence obtained under the Official Information Act. This includes details the previous Labour Minister of Health had foresight that the consequences
of the screening programme would be the prevention of births of people with Down syndrome via selective abortion, leading to a significant reduction in their numbers. ``The current Minister of Health is continuing with the programme in the knowledge that the vast majority of pregnancies with Down syndrome will be aborted and has consistently refused to address any of our concerns,'' Mr Sullivan said.

The group who lodged the complaint is comprised of 37 concerned parents, siblings and supporting organisations, including a number of doctors.

The groups position statement is genetic screening must not be used to prevent the birth of unborn children with Down syndrome, as this is discrimination.

The group recognises genetic testing may help some parents prepare for the birth of a child with Down syndrome, in which case it should only be only directed towards safeguarding or healing the unborn child.

For further
information contact:
Mike Sullivan, 09
436 1498 0r 021 406 266

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