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Genetic errors not other causes may be behind nearly all miscarriages

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After analysing the tissue of nearly 25,000 miscarriages, researchers found more than half were caused by randomly occurring chromosomal abnormalities, with many of the remaining losses probably being due to undetectable genetic errors



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10 June 2022

A stock image of chromosomes

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More than half of all pregnancy losses are caused by randomly occurring chromosomal abnormalities in embryos and fetuses, according to the biggest study of its kind.

Having a miscarriage is often highly traumatic and can leave people wondering why it happened. One US survey found that 41 per cent of those who lost a pregnancy thought they did something wrong, like lifting heavy objects or being too stressed.

In the past, there was no way of knowing what caused some pregnancies to end, but advances in …

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No 10 hiring of healthcare lobbyist prompts privatisation concern | Health policy

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Rishi Sunak has appointed a private healthcare lobbyist with links to a series of controversial clients to advise him in Downing Street, raising concerns over further privatisation within the NHS.

Bill Morgan, a founding partner of the PR and lobbying firm Evoke Incisive Health, joined No 10 as a health policy adviser earlier this month where he is believed to be helping drive through NHS efficiencies.

He was previously an adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care for two months but continued as senior counsel to Incisive Health at the same time, according to his LinkedIn page, raising questions over a potential conflict of interest between his public role and the company’s clients.

In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry last week, Sunak underlined his commitment to the health service, saying: “When it comes to the NHS, we all share the same ambition … to give everybody in the country the best possible care, free at the point of use.”

However, there has been renewed focus on the prime minister’s views on private healthcare after the Guardian reported he was registered with a private GP who charges £250 for a consultation.

Morgan’s arrival at No 10 will throw the spotlight on some of his more controversial clients during his nine years at Evoke Incisive Health. Virgin Care was one when it controversially sued the NHS after losing out to a rival group of in-house NHS providers and a social enterprise firm on an £82m contract to provide children’s medical services in Surrey in 2016.

The company, which claimed there were “serious flaws in the procurement process”, later secured an out-of-court settlement. Six clinical commissioning groups and NHS England paid Virgin Care £1.57m. Surrey county council handed over another £440,000 and at least £243,000 more was diverted from frontline NHS services to cover legal fees.

Another Incisive Health client, the private mental healthcare provider Cygnet, ran Whorlton Hall specialist hospital in County Durham, where 10 staff were arrested in 2019 after a BBC Panorama documentary exposed cruelty and abuse towards people with autism and learning disabilities. The 17-bed hospital, which it had taken over months before, was later closed.

Another Cygnet hospital, Bury Hudson, was placed into special measures in September and ordered to improve safety after its overall performance was judged to be “inadequate”, after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission in June when inspectors said patients told them they were being “bullied and abused by their peers and staff members” and that they did not feel safe on wards.

Sara Gorton, head of health at the union Unison, said: “Appointments like this will do nothing to reassure the public that the NHS isn’t in the government’s sight-lines for more privatisation. Ministers should be putting patients’ interests first rather than ideology and private businesses.”

The Guardian understands that Morgan, whose appointment was cleared by the Cabinet Office’s propriety and ethics team, has now sold his stake in the firm.

Morgan’s former company also represents the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, which was formed in 2005 to provide a voice for private health companies.

Evoke Incisive Health represents several businesses that have won major contracts within the NHS, including Orchard Therapeutics, Guardant Health and Spirit Health. They have also worked with the General Medical Council, the Global Lung Cancer Coalition and the campaign group 38 degrees.

A government source said: “This government has delivered record investment in the NHS and record numbers of doctors and nurses who work within it. It will never be for sale to the private sector.” Evoke Incisive Health declined to comment.

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Umbilical cord ‘milking’ cuts brain injury risk for babies born limp

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Squeezing nutrient-rich blood from the umbilical cord into babies who are born pale or struggling to breathe improves health outcomes



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19 September 2022

Waiting to clamp the umbilical cord allows more nutrient-rich blood to go into a newborn’s body – but there isn’t always time in emergencies

Shutterstock / Sopotnicki

Squeezing blood from the umbilical cord prior to cutting it can improve the health of infants who are born limp, pale or barely breathing.  

As a matter of routine, doctors typically wait a few minutes after birth before cutting the umbilical cord. This practice, known as delayed cord clamping, allows more nutrient-rich blood to transfer from the placenta to the newborn baby. 

Yet when a newborn is …

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Bronx mom suspected of stabbing sons to death obsessed with demons

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Heartbroken relatives of the 11-month and 3-year-old boys found fatally stabbed in an overflowing Bronx bathtub say their mother, suspected of killing them, is obsessed with demons.

“They were beautiful children and they did not deserve to die. It’s simple as that,” Beverly Hill, the paternal grandmother of 11-month-old victim Octavius Canada told the Daily News. “They were beautiful and they had no reason to die.”

Cops believe the boys’ mother, Dimone “Brenda” Fleming, stabbed them to death. Fleming, 22, is undergoing psychiatric care and has not yet been charged.

Octavius and his 3-year-old sibling, Daishawn Fleming, were found repeatedly stabbed in the neck and torso Saturday night in a family shelter on Echo Place near the Grand Concourse in Mount Hope, police sources said.

Octavius’ great aunt, Casey Canada, said Fleming had been talking obsessively about “demons.”

“She thought the kids were devils. She said she was afraid of them,” said Casey Canada, who looked after both boys and raised their father, Columbus Canada, like a second mother.

But Casey Canada was baffled why Fleming would allegedly take her children’s lives.

“She definitely loved them for sure,” Casey Canada said. “That wasn’t fake.”

Dimone Fleming with her older son who died, Daishawn Fleming

Fleming, who went by the nickname “Brenda,” clashed with her own relatives and Canada’s family, Casey Canada said.

“There wasn’t a moment I was around her she wasn’t loving with the children — but with adults she could change in a moment,” the great aunt said. “She just snapped.”

Cops were initially called to the scene because Fleming was acting erratically but didn’t find the young children, who were submerged in a bathtub covered with clothes and a bed sheet, sources said.

Octavius’ father, Columbus Canada, arrived minutes after police left and found the youngsters, then desperately tried to revive them before police returned.

Columbus has three other children from prior relationships who were all close to the murdered two boys, his mother said.

“How is he going to tell them? They’ve gotten close to these other children, to their brothers,” Hill said. “They can’t understand.”

“[Columbus] is not doing well at all. He can’t get over the fact that she did this. He don’t even understand what happened. Who would do something like this?” Hill added. “The whole family is like, ‘Why?’ If you got a problem, you could have said something to somebody. You don’t have to f—ing kill the kids.”

NYPD officers and detectives investigate the fatal stabbing of two young children at an apartment building on Echo Place in Mount Hope, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (Jeff Bachner/New York Daily News)
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Canada works dutifully to support his children, Hill said, and his family barely had the chance to get to know know little Octavius.

“They liked to play with cars, they liked to play with trucks, they liked video games. They liked to go school and play with crayon,” Canada’s sister Shakira Canada said of the two slain boys. “They liked to go to the park. And now they can’t do any of that.”

Casey Canada helped raise her nephew Columbus, describing herself as like a second mom to him, and enjoyed visits from him and the two slain boys.

“Octavius would never cry — and you know babies, they cry about everything…. He was a happy go-lucky happy baby,” Casey Canada said. “Daishawn just wanted to play with toys. When he came over, he just wanted to play with blocks.”

Hill said she didn’t want to speculate on Fleming’s motives.

“I don’t know and I don’t care. All I know is that my grandkids are f—ing dead,” she said.

“They shouldn’t have died. That shouldn’t have happened. And her a– ain’t dead. She should have killed her own f—ing self.”

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