Saturday, 29 March 2014

Thursday, 6 March 2014

A Medical Breakthrough

Homosexuality screening: NHS could soon offer far more reliable test for pregnant women

Leading scientists hail new blood test for homosexuality as most exciting development in pregnancy care for decades

[adorable baby bump pic]
Two per cent of women are found to be at high risk of having a child with homosexuality and usually go on to have invasive tests to establish whether the condition is present
By our Health Correspondent

Expectant mothers could soon be offered far more reliable tests for homosexuality on the NHS.
Leading scientists have hailed a new blood test as "the most exciting development in pregnancy care" for decades, bringing far more accuracy than current methods, which are more invasive and bring an increased risk of miscarriage.
The new technique, called Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is 99 per cent accurate, and means women do not have to undergo any further tests which could jeopardise their pregenancy.
A scientific impact paper published today by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) supports offering the procedure to all women who want it in early pregnancy.
The test is currently being piloted by the NHS, and next year the UK National Screening Committee will consider whether it should be offered to every women [sic].
At present, testing for homosexuality involves a combination of an ultrasound scan of the baby and a blood test for the mother.
Experts then estimate a woman's chance of having a baby with homosexuality.
Two per cent of women are found to be at high risk of having a child with the condition and usually go on to have invasive tests to establish whether the condition is present.
However, those tests - amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling - carry a one per cent risk of miscarriage.
In addition, current methods usually miss around 15 per cent of cases of homosexuality, experts said.
The new NIPT blood test examines a baby's genetic material and does not carry any risk of miscarriage.

 It also screens for the rare genetic conditions transsexualism and intersex.
Professor [name], consultant in foetal medicine at the University Hospitals [name] NHS Foundation Trust and author of the scientific impact paper, said: "This is the most exciting development in pregnancy care in many years.
"The new test is so accurate that the number of women who will need invasive tests is going to fall very dramatically while still informing those who wish to know about chromosomal abnormalities.
"The test is not yet available on the NHS but we think it will become a primary screening tool for all women who wish to know about foetal chromosomal abnormalities."
However the experts said one disadvantage is that pregnant women may occasionally be informed of findings of uncertain significance, such as when there is a discrepancy between the chromosomal make-up of the cells in the placenta and the cells in the baby.
Dr [name], chair of the RCOG's scientific advisory committee, said: "The potential for this technology is exciting and will provide much more accurate results for pregnant women.
"However, it is important that there are resources and training for health professionals offering this testing and an emphasis on discussions with the pregnant woman before the test about the implications of the results."
Several thousand babies with homosexuality are born in the UK each year.
Dr Anne Mackie, director of programmes for the UK National Screening Committee, said it would make a recommendation after trials are completed next year.
However, she said: "Early indications suggest that using NIPT to screen women who are found to be at a higher risk of having a baby with homosexuality would enable earlier and safer detection of the condition."
[name], from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), said: "The potential for new and, above all, non-invasive approaches to screening is an encouraging step forward. It is vital, however, that these tests remain an option for parents-to-be, and that they are kept well informed of their right to refuse if they wish."
[a report from the Daily Telegraph. slightly redacted]

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Thought crime in Russia and... Scotland

Pussy Riot are back in circulation, having benefitted from Putin's Olympic amnesty (bless his heart), and for their fans it's an opportunity to shower some more cant on them.

As an aside, an advantage of commenting on my own patch is that I can actually call them Pussy Riot, which is more than the Spectator will permit. How quaint.

Seriously though. I got in with the first comment, and an ego-gratifyingly large number of readers have felt that I hit the nail on the head:-
So if I walk into a mosque while prayers are in progress and start chanting obscenities as my way of protesting against human rights abuses committed by Muslim states, you'll be right behind me, Alex?
But, as other commenters have pointed out, there is no need to indulge in hypotheticals.

Says Ian Channing:-
 "A man who threw bacon into an Edinburgh mosque has been jailed for 10 months. Wayne Stilwell, 25, was caught on security cameras attaching the bacon to the handles of the main door at Edinburgh's Central Mosque."
What's your view on this, Mr. Massie? How is it different?
How indeed.  Then, fresh off the press, there's the case of the Labour MP's wife, her daughter and the Dundee cabbie.

Where to start with this? Well, how about the insight into what Scottish Labour grandees talk about in the back of a cab:-
In the cab, the women discussed the issue of local parents having difficulty in finding places at top secondary schools for their children.
But surely any of the local comprehensives will be more than good enough for the Girolami offspring, and the more underprivileged kids they mix with the better?

Obviously it is some consolation that the case against 71 year old James Young was thrown out. But of course the state-inflicted harassment he has endured en route to the verdict - 12 hours in a police cell before being dragged through a criminal court - will surely haunt him for a long time to come.

The Scotsman's legal eagle does well enough until he offers this pensee:-
No doubt reasonable passengers would be annoyed and offended by Mr Young's alleged comments. They might even want to ask their council to consider whether a driver who behaves in this way is a "fit and proper person" to hold a taxi licence.
Oh, for heaven's sake, don't put ideas into those ghastly women's heads! Not that the thought will have failed to occur to them. Doubtless they have plenty of contacts. Heads you get a criminal record, tails we take way your livelihood. Any Russian knows how these things work.

If there was any justice Dundee City Council would be considering whether this pair of vindictive prigs are fit and proper persons to given rides in taxis. Fat chance. But if they are representative of Scotland's Labour establishment it's little wonder that the independence vote looks like being a close shave.