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Euthanasia in Belgium up by 10%: In 2006 in Belgium 428 people chose to die by euthanasia, an increase of 10% on the 2005 figure. Belgium decriminalised euthanasia in September 2002. Almost 80% of the 428 who chose to end their lives lived in Flanders, the Dutch speaking northern part of the country where more than half the population live.
British scientists grow part of a human heart: Scientists under the leadership of Magdi Yacoub, professor of cardiac surgery at Imperial College London, have grown part of a human heart from stem cells. Professor Yacoub led a team at Harefield Hospital, Uxbridge, Middlesex, which included physicists, pharmacologists, clinicians, and cellular scientists. Animal trials are scheduled for later this year. (Guardian, 2 Apr, p 1)
EC to fund registry for stem cell lines: The European Commission has agreed to fund the creation of a registry of human embryonic stem cell lines. It will be a publicly accessible internet site and will contain data on the sources of stem cell lines and clinical trials in the 10 EU countries that allow such research as well as in Australia, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland, and the United States.
A quarter of NHS staff “would not be patients” in their trust: Just over a quarter of health staff told a survey by the Healthcare Commission that they would not be happy to be a patient in their own NHS trust. Two fifths said that they would be happy with the care provided, and about a third were undecided. The commission polled more than 128000 staff. See www.healthcarecommission.org.uk.
Patients with haemochromatosis have a higher risk of stroke: People with the genetic mutation for haemochromatosis are more than twice as likely as other people to have a stroke, says a new study of more than 9000 Danish people who were followed for 24 years (Neurology 2007;68:1025-31). The mutation has been linked to brain diseases but not until now to stroke.
UK ban on junk food advertising comes into force: A ban on television advertisements for foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt during programmes aimed at 4 to 9 year olds came into effect in the United Kingdom this week, although dedicated children's channels will have until 2009 to phase in the restrictions.