Vegetative patient “talks” using brain waves

Bioethics, Mental Health
According to a report in Reuters,  man in a deeply unconscious state for five years has been able to communicate with doctors using just his thoughts in a study scientists say is a "game changer" for care of vegetative state patients. British and Belgian researchers used a brain scanner called functional magnetic resonance imaging to show the man, who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in a road accident in 2003, was able to think "yes" or "no" answers to questions by wilfully changing his brain activity. Experts say the result means all patients in coma-like states should be reassessed and it may change the way they are cared for in future. After detecting signs of awareness, the doctors scanned the man's brain while he was asked to say "yes"…
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Brain scans of patients in vegetative state reveal some activity

Bioethics
A stunning new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that many "patients in a vegetative state ... are more conscious than previously believed. They showed brain activity when questioned about familiar names or given instructions." In a front-page story, the New York Times reports that the study showed "the limits of the current bedside test for diagnosing mental state," which "experts said ... could alter the way some severe head injuries were diagnosed." The finding may also "raise troubling ethical questions about whether to consult severely disabled patients on their care." For the study, researchers placed 54 patients "inside advanced brain scanners," finding that five patients' scans "flashed exactly like any healthy conscious person's would," the Washington Post reports on its front page. Of those five patients, four…
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Abstinence-only program helps kids postpone sex

Children's Health, Parenting
Reuters Health is reporting that abstinence-only sex education can work – if it's based on established strategies for helping young people change their attitudes about other types of risky behavior like smoking and drinking, stunning new research shows. Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association, released a statement calling this a “landmark study.” "Science has finally caught up with logic and what parents have known for centuries by empirically demonstrating that equipping teens to abstain from sexual activity is an effective way to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases." The National Abstinence Education Association has noted, "A survey from Zogby International showing that when parents become aware of what abstinence education vs. comprehensive sex education actually teaches, support for abstinence programs jumps from 40% to 60%,…
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Half of teen girls have STIs by 2 years of first sex

Children's Health, Parenting
Reuters Health is reporting that within 2 years of having sex for the first time, half of teenage girls may be at least one of three common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to results of a study published in December. Often, those girls are infected by the age of 15. Researchers followed 386 urban adolescent girls aged 14 to 17 for up to 8 years. Within 2 years of becoming sexually active, half of the girls were infected with at least one of three common sexually transmitted organisms: Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or Trichomonas vaginalis the organisms that cause chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis, respectively. The researchers found that a quarter of the women had acquired their first STI by age 15, most often Chlamydia. "Repeated infections were very common," study…
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