New evidence in France of harm from epilepsy drug valproate

BBC, 21 April 2017
Source: BBC News
“A drug given to pregnant women for epilepsy and bipolar disorder caused “serious malformations” in up to 4,100 children, a French study suggests. Introduced in France in 1967, valproate is prescribed widely worldwide. Doctors in France are now advised not to give it to girls, women of childbearing age and pregnant women. Some families of children with birth defects born to women who took the drug while pregnant have sued Sanofi, saying that it did not adequately warn about the risks.”
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Italy experiencing measles epidemic after fall-off in vaccinations

The Guardian, 20 April 2017
Source: Reuters
“Italy is experiencing a measles epidemic following a fall-off in vaccinations. The Italian health ministry said on Wednesday there had been almost 1,500 registered cases of measles so far this year against some 840 in all of 2016 and some 250 in 2015. The Higher Health Institute says only around 85% of two-year-olds are being vaccinated against measles at present, well below the 95% threshold recommended by the World Health Organisation to block the illness.”
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Is decision-making capacity an “essentially contested” concept in pediatrics?

Med Health Care and Philos (2017). doi:10.1007/s11019-017-9768-z
Authors: Eva De Clercq, Katharina Ruhe, Michel Rost, Bernice Elger
“Key legislations in many countries emphasize the importance of involving children in decisions regarding their own health at a level commensurate with their age and capacities. Research is engaged in developing tools to assess capacity in children in order to facilitate their responsible involvement. These instruments, however, are usually based on the cognitive criteria for capacity assessment as defined by Appelbaum and Grisso and thus ill adapted to address the life-situation of children. The aim of this paper is to revisit and critically reflect upon the current definitions of decision-making capacity.”
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Why Assam’s two-child policy plan is being criticised by public health experts

ScrollIn, 13 April 2017
Author: Arunabh Saikia
“India: Assam’s health minister unveiled the draft of a new population policy for the state. It proposes, among other things, to penalise people who have more than two children. If the draft were to become law, they would be ineligible for government jobs and benefits, and be barred from contesting all elections held under the aegis of the state election commission.”
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Labor to fight anti-vaccination child care centres

Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2017
Author: Kirstie Chlopicki
“NSW Labor will fight to put a stop to legal loopholes and ban anti-vaccination child care centres across the state. As part of the legislation introduced to the NSW Parliament this week, the opposition will seek to remove the “conscientious objector clause” from the Public Health Act, to prevent unvaccinated children being enrolled in childcare centres. The bill will retain the specialist provision for children who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition such as a specialised cancer treatment.”
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In a world first, Singapore’s highest court rules that parents deserve kids with their genes

The Conversation, 3 April 2017
Author: G. Owen Schaefer
“Blood is thicker than water, or so the saying goes, reflecting the value we put on biological relationships. But is it something the law should recognise? Singapore’s Supreme Court recently ruled on a case that asks this very question, and it gave a fascinating answer: parents have a strong interest in “genetic affinity” with their children, one that can merit compensation if subverted.”
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26 years ago the UK signed up to formula milk advertising rules – so why isn’t it law yet?

The Conversation, 22 March 2017
Author: Aimee Grant
“Like the topic of infant feeding itself, public health bills can be a minefield. Ask any mum or dad and they will tell you that parenting media in the UK is flooded with potentially misleading advertising for certain formula products. Although, NHS tells mothers that babies who are fed first infant formula need nothing more than that, there is still a wide range of “follow on” formulas available for babies over six months old. So why do manufacturers make these products, and advertise their “health benefits” if children don’t need them?”
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Regulator grants license for Britain’s first three-parent IVF babies

Reuters, 16 March 2017
Author: Kate Kelland
“Britain’s fertility regulator on Thursday granted doctors the first UK license to create babies using a three-parent IVF technique designed to prevent inherited genetic diseases. The license, granted to a team of doctors in Newcastle, northern England, means the first child created in Britain using the mitochondrial pronuclear transfer technique could be born before the end of this year.”
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