Category Archives: Children

Babies’ Stem Cells Can Heal Mothers’ Hearts

Scientist Tells UN Babies’ Stem Cells Can Heal Mothers’ Hearts
By Rebecca Oas, Ph.D | February 19, 2015
Womens Health Forum

NEW YORK, February 20 | Unborn children can contribute stem cells that help repair their pregnant mothers’ diseased heart tissue, a scientist told a conference on women’s health at the UN last week. This groundbreaking research with ethical stem cells provides promise for treatments for other heart disease patients in the future.

Dr. Hina Chaudhry of Mount Sinai School of Medicine presented her research to enthusiastic applause at a two-day forum on women’s health helmed by Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, granddaughter of King Faisal I of Iraq, who is also a biomedical researcher.

Conference speakers discussed a range of topics relating to women’s mental and physical health, as well as women’s contributions to the field of medicine and health policy. Dr. Chaudhry noted that her research – which has since been published in some of the top journals in her field – initially proved difficult to fund, in part because it focused on a relatively rare observation most frequently seen in women of ethnic minorities.

Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite

Its implications could be much bigger. Researchers had previously known that fetal cells could remain in the mother’s body after birth – a phenomenon known as microchimerism – but Chaudhry and her team revealed the potential healing effects of this for cardiac disease.

“Identifying an ideal stem cell type for cardiac regeneration has been a major challenge in heart disease research,” said Dr. Chaudhry in a press release describing a paper showing that fetal stem cells from the placenta could be used to regenerate heart tissue. “Embryonic stem cells have shown potential but come with ethical concerns,” she added. Continue reading

Society needs you, Pope Francis tells large families

Pontiff urges policy-makers to support larger families

Large families benefit society by offering a “model for solidarity and sharing”, the Pope has said.

Addressing an estimated 7,000 members of the Italian National Association of Large Families at the Paul VI Audience Hall, Francis said: “In a world often marked by selfishness, the large family is a model for solidarity and sharing, and this attitude then becomes a benefit for the whole society.”

He continued: “The presence of large families is a hope for society. And for this reason, the presence of grandparents is very important: a precious presence for both practical help and above all, educational support.

“Grandparents preserve in themselves the values of a people, of a family, and help parents to transmit them to children. In the last century, in many countries of Europe, the grandparents were those who transmitted the faith: they secretly brought the child to receive baptism and transmitted the faith to them.”

The Pope also urged policy-makers to support larger families.

“I hope, therefore, thinking also of the low fertility rate that Italy has had for a long time … one per cent, almost nothing … there will be greater attention from politics and public administrators at every level to give support to these families,” Francis said, according to the website Crux.

The meeting took place on the feast of the Holy Family. In his Sunday Angelus address, the Pontiff reflected on the challenges facing families around the world, the topic of next October’s synod of bishops.

He said: “This light which comes from the Holy Family encourages us to offer human warmth in those family situation in which, for various reasons, there is a lack of peace and harmony and forgiveness. Our concrete solidarity is just as present, especially when it comes to families who are undergoing difficult situations because of illness, lack of work, discrimination and the need to emigrate.”

Abortion for Fetal Anomaly: The Compassionate Choice for Mother and Baby?

Registered Nurse Lynn Smith presents an excellent overview on some key issues to consider when couples are counseled to abort their unborn child with a fetal anomaly:

pregnantUltrasoundIn considering the H 4223, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, people need to know that abortion is not a life saving, pain sparing medical procedure in the case of fetal anomaly.

At a recent conference, OB-GYN doctor, Byron Calhoun, presented a strong case for perinatal hospice instead of termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly.  Not only is perinatal hospice safer for a woman and her family emotionally, but it is safer physically, for the mother.

There are 6-10,000 lethal fetal anomalies in the U.S. every year.  Traditional treatment for  lethal anomalies is termination of pregnancy, and the reasons for such treatment are not necessarily based on sound medical rationale, but on emotion:  obstetric providers’ well intentioned desire to spare the mother and the family a distressing experience, their need to “do something,” and their discomfort with bereaved patients.  On the physiological level, a prudent doctor is motivated to avoid maternal complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and fear of increased maternal mortality.

The doctors’ desire to be in control, and prevent suffering, is understandable, however research reveals that termination does not necessarily prevent maternal complications, mortality, or suffering but, in fact, pregnancy termination increases the risk of physical harm and prolongs suffering.  Grief after termination of a pregnancy is just as intense as after a spontaneous pregnancy loss, however, grief after termination for anomalies demonstrates prolonged consequences.  A study in the Netherlands of women with termination for anomalies reviewed psychological outcomes at monthly intervals. At 4 months 46% of women had pathological levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms.  At 16 months, 21% still had symptoms.  Grief after termination is intense and persistent, as shown in another Netherlands study.  Evaluated 2-7 years post termination, 2.6% had pathological grief and 17% had post traumatic stress.

Continue reading

“Billy’s Soliloquy” From Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Carousel” (Gordon MacRae)

[Carousel, 1956, Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Cameron Mitchell. A carnival barker finds a wife, dies in a robbery, and gets to return to Earth for one day to guide his teenage daughter.]

I wonder what he’ll think of me
I guess he’ll call me the “old man”
I guess he’ll think i can lick
Ev’ry other feller’s father
Well, i can!
I bet that he’ll turn out to be
The spittin’ image of his dad
But he’ll have more common sense
Than his puddin-headed father ever had
I’ll teach him to wrestle
And dive through a wave
When we go in the mornin’s for our swim
His mother can teach him
The way to behave
But she won’t make a sissy out o’ him
Not him! Not my boy! Not bill! Continue reading


Sacramento Bishop Soto Calls on Gov Brown to Support Human Services, not Population Control

The Most Rev. Jaime Soto, president of the California Catholic Conference and Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, issued the following statement upon word that the recently passed State Budget includes a 40% increase in rates paid to abortion providers, but continues a 10% cut in all other hospital and provider fees that endangers access to care for all women and families participating in the Medi-Cal Program:

“It’s no secret that millions of Californians, along with the Catholic Church, consider abortion the taking of an innocent human life. It is an intrinsic evil. No euphemism, no perversion of language can change that essential Truth.

“But buried deeply in the State Budget, and in the Medi-Cal Estimates provided by the Department of Health Care Services, is the fact that at a time when all health care provider rates remain slashed by 10% and women and families are struggling to find doctors, nurses and hospitals willing and able to provide essential medical care, abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and others are poised to receive a 40% increase in the fees they receive for performing abortions.

“This is insanely distorted health care. At a time when the state claims it is too poor to fully fund health care for nearly 10 million people, and women are struggling to find providers to give them basic medical care, the state returns a political favor by giving extra money to abortion providers.

“If that’s not bad enough, the Medi-Cal estimate that lays out this policy (attached), explains this is a cost-effective decision, because ‘Early statewide access insures services are less costly, whereas lack of access results in increased ongoing expenses for years.’

“In other words, it’s cheaper for state government to pay for abortions than care for mothers and children. By approving this budget, State elected officials are choosing abortion and pushing their preference on to women.

“What a callous and calculating thing for anyone to say, much less a government official.

“I call on Gov. Brown and the Department of Health Care Services to undo this wrong. Women deserve better. Children are not a threat to California. We believe abortion is bad health care for women and families. It is misguided to give special treatment to abortion providers. California should do better than this. Rollback this increase and fund essential health care, don’t double-down on something as wrong as abortion.”


Catholic Bishop: Marriage is ‘First Domino of Civilization’—When it Falls, ‘Then Fall All Subsequent Dominos’

By Michael W. Chapman | June 16, 2014

In response to a federal judge’s ruling that Wisconsin’s ban on homosexual marriage was unconstitutional, Bishop Robert Morlino, head of the Catholic diocese of Madison, Wisc., said the judge had “shaken one of the most precious and essential building blocks of our civilization,” and that when this “first ‘domino’ of civilization’” – man-woman marriage – is toppled, then “all subsequent ‘dominos’” of civilization fall.

This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it. – G.K. ChestertonThe bishop also said that in felling this first domino, “everything that is good, true, and beautiful, which is rooted in the natural family, is seriously threatened.”

Back on June 6, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that Wisconsin’s 2006 prohibition against gay “marriage” violated the equal protection and due process rights under the Constitution, but on Friday, June 13, the judge put a stay on her ruling pending an appeal to a higher court by Wisconsin’s Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

The appeal will be heard by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, Ill. Between June 6 and June 13, a reported 600 wedding licenses for homosexuals were issued in Wisconsin. Pending the appeals, those wedding licenses are now in limbo.

Following Judge Crabb’s ruling, Bishop Robert Morlino, who represents nearly 270,000 Catholics in 130 parishes in southwest Wisconsin, released a statement on the issue.


Bishop Robert Morlino, head of the Catholic Diocese of Madison

“Marriage is, and can only ever be, a unique relationship solely between one man and one woman, regardless of the decision of a judge or any vote,” said Bishop Morlino. “This is not based on any private sectarian viewpoint, but on the natural moral law that is universally binding on all peoples, at all times, and inscribed into our human nature, as man and woman from the beginning of creation. It behooves us to safeguard the sacred ecology of all nature, especially of our human nature.” Continue reading

Tiny robotic arm could operate on babies in the womb

By Meera Senthilingam
June 18, 2014

 It will consist of a camera providing 3D images of the fetus, which will help guide two flexible arms in delivering gels or patches to seal the gap in the spine of babies with spina bifida. If successful, the arms will be developed to perform surgery themselves and treat conditions such as congenital heart disease.

It will consist of a camera providing 3D images of the fetus, which will help guide two flexible arms in delivering gels or patches to seal the gap in the spine of babies with spina bifida. If successful, the arms will be developed to perform surgery themselves and treat conditions such as congenital heart disease.

London (CNN) — Some birth defects in newborns could one day be a thing of the past due to new robotics technologies being developed to perform surgery on babies in the womb.

Spina bifida is one such disease, affecting approximately 1 in 2,500 newborns worldwide, where a lesion on the back leaves the spinal cord exposed in the womb, leading to severe disabilities, learning difficulties, and sometimes death.

The best option is to perform surgery to correct the problem before the baby is born but the complexities of such a procedure mean this currently only takes place in five countries worldwide. Most countries instead perform surgery after a child is born, but when the majority of damage has been done.

To reduce the risk involved in fetal surgery, scientists at University College London (UCL), and KU Leuven in Belgium are developing a miniscule robotic arm to enter the womb with minimum disruption to mother and baby. The robotics are targeting spina bifida but also lesser known conditions such as twin-twin transfusion syndrome, where blood passes unequally between twins who share a placenta, and fetal lower urinary tract obstruction, where babies are unable to urinate in the womb and their bladders become large and distended. Continue reading

Baby Gives Life to Mom

A Mother’s life was saved by her unborn child.

BabySavedMomNicola Weller went to hospital for surgery to remove a tumor from her womb after somehow becoming pregnant even though she was on an IUD. The scan showed she was pregnant and Weller was shocked because she had been fitted with the contraceptive coil. Doctors discovered the pregnancy hormones had caused the tumor to disintegrate, meaning she did not require any treatment for it.

Weller eventually gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy named Brandon in September 2010 and there has been no sign of the tumor returning.

This is the miracle baby who saved his mother’s life – by destroying a cancerous tumour that was growing in her womb.

Doctors feared for Nicola Weller’s life when they discovered a tumour in her womb after she had complained about a swelling under her ribs.

Mrs Weller first discovered the swelling under her rib in September 2009. She went to see her GP who referred her to Bridport Community Hospital in Dorset for a scan.

Doctors told her there was a tumour growing around her womb and she needed an operation to remove it.

She was referred for a hospital scan 12 weeks later prior to an operation to remove it, but when they carried out the scan, doctors made the most startling discovery.

Weller, 29, was unknowingly seven weeks pregnant – despite using the contraceptive coil – and the pregnancy hormones had causes the tumour to disintegrate.

Mrs Weller, a recruitment specialist, said:

‘It was absolutely unbelievable. I hadn’t planned to get pregnant and I’d had the contraceptive coil fitted.

WellerMomAndBaby‘So getting pregnant was a miracle in itself – but to find that my unborn baby had caused this tumour to disappear was a further miracle. All that was left on the scan was a few blobs of blood floating around. There was no other sign of it.

‘My baby ended up saving my life. Without him I may not have been here today.’

“If a baby is carried to term, his or her mom will have a decreased risk of ovarian cancer.”

According to the American Cancer Society, “Women who have been pregnant and carried it to term have a lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who have not. The risk goes down with each full-term pregnancy. Breastfeeding may lower the risk even further.” The protective effect of pregnancy can last twelve years or more. The spacing of births does not appear to be a factor.

“If she’s under 30, add a decreased risk of breast cancer.”

Although women’s heath groups agree that giving birth at a young age decreases a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer, the exact maternal age limit is hard to pinpoint. states “Women who have never had a full-term pregnancy, or had their first full-term pregnancy after age 30, have an increased risk of breast cancer,” while the Susan G. Komen Foundation reports that childbirth protects first-time mothers as old as 35. The underlying hormonal mechanisms are not fully understood; see this Science Daily piece for a recent study on mice that may provide some answers.

“And preliminary research suggests that some of the baby’s stem cells will stay behind to repair her injuries for years or even decades after the child’s birth.” 

Much research remains to be done concerning this phenomenon, which is known as fetomaternal microchimerism. “Fetal cells exhibit a remarkable ability to migrate across the placenta into the mother and to integrate with diverse maternal tissues and organs, apparently homing in particularly to sites of damage and disease.” Recent studies of mother mice who suffered from strokes and heart failure indicate that fetal cells have a healing effect.

Underwear Affair

Ana Mendoza and Victor Ulanday with their children, two-year-old Nathan and five-year-old Lanna.

‘He’s my miracle baby’: North Vancouver BC mom with cancer fighting for her life

Jennifer Gauthier/ Metro Ana Mendoza and Victor Ulanday with their children, two-year-old Nathan and five-year-old Lanna.

Even when the pain becomes unbearable, cancer patient Ana Mendoza said one glance at her two-year-old son Nathan makes it all go away.

“He’s my miracle baby,” the North Vancouver mom told Metro from her bed at Lion’s Gate Hospital. “I tell him every day.”

Now two and a half years old, Nathan may not understand what his mom means when she says that, but Mendoza said she never wants him to forget how he helped save her life.

Mendoza was 17 weeks pregnant with Nathan when, during a routine checkup with her doctor, she and husband Victor Ulanday received the shocking and devastating diagnosis that she had Stage II cervical cancer.

“The first thing they wanted us to do was terminate the pregnancy,” she said. “It was very intimidating because it seemed like I had no other choice.”

Faced with the seemingly impossible decision, Mendoza, 40, said she couldn’t fathom losing the pregnancy. If it wasn’t for Nathan, Mendoza said she wouldn’t have known she had cancer. She decided to ask her doctor if there were any other options.

“I couldn’t let him go,” she said. “He’s totally the guy who saved my life.”

When an oncologist suggested trying a low dose of chemotherapy during the pregnancy to prevent the tumour from growing, Mendoza agreed to try. But seven weeks later, doctors were shocked to find the tumour, initially two centimeters, had continued growing despite the chemotherapy. It was now almost seven centimetres, she said.

Twenty-eight weeks into her pregnancy, Mendoza gave birth to a severely premature baby boy. Soon after, she started full-dose chemo and radiation, but still managed to spend every other waking moment beside Nathan’s incubator in the neo-natal intensive care unit, praying that he would survive.

“I made him a deal that I’ll take all the pain and then you do really well,” she said. “I’ll go through anything so that you survive and you do really well, and that’s what happened.”

Eventually both Mendoza and Nathan were discharged and went back home to be with the rest of the family, including the couple’s daughter, five-year-old Lanna.

Both seemed to be healthy until early last year when Mendoza suddenly developed a severe pain in her back, followed by lumps in her neck a few months later.

The cancer had returned and spread to her lymphatic system, doctors told her. She was given six months left to live.

“The lumps were everywhere,” she said. “Because of that, they said they can’t do anything.”

A year later, Mendoza said she is still taking her battle day by day. Last week, she suddenly couldn’t move her legs and was admitted to hospital again. Doctors told her a tumour on her vertebrae has caused her to become paralyzed.

Her pain is also becoming increasingly worse, she said.

“It’s hard,” she said, adding that she’s trying to focus instead on things that make her happy, like spending time with her kids. “We’re managing symptoms now.”

While he tries to stay strong for Ana, Ulanday said his wife’s strength throughout her battle continues to floor him. On Saturday, Ulanday is taking part in Vancouver’s annual Underwear Affair in honour of his heroic wife. The event sees participants walk, race or complete challenges while wearing their underwear to raise awareness of below-the-waist cancers and raise funds for cancer research at the B.C. Cancer Agency.

“She’s my rock,” he said. “She’s been fighting this with grace and courage for the whole nine yards.”

Although Nathan is too young to comprehend the severity of his mom’s illness, Ulanday said he hopes his son will one day understand how deeply his mother cared for him.

“Your mommy always loved you,” he said, fighting back tears. “Your mommy is always going to be there loving you.”