A Great Britain judge has ruled that a surrogate mother gets to keep the baby she carried, despite having no biological ties.
The story that sounds like it could have happened in one of Britain's famous soap operas began two years ago in a Burger King. An unnamed gay couple looking to have a child via surrogate turned to Facebook where they found a group that will match couples with surrogates. In the 30-minute meeting the couple and woman (all unnamed to protect the child's identity) agreed that she would carry the baby using an anonymous egg from America and the sperm of one of the men. In exchange they would pay her the equivalent of $11,500. In Britain it is illegal to be paid for surrogacy, but the person or couple can pay for expenses the surrogate may encounter while pregnant.
The woman was originally pregnant with twins but miscarried one of them and soon planned to abort the other, so she told the men that she miscarried both of the babies. However, she had a change of heart and carried the second baby to term, then refused to turn the child over to the fathers (who only found out one of the babies was still alive just before his birth).
The baby was born in July of 2015 and the case has finally been settled over who gets to keep him. Ms. Justice Russell ruled that the woman suffers from learning difficulties that prevent her from being able to “consent freely or unconditionally” to entering into the private surrogate arrangement. A medical expert said that she had "created a fantasy" in which she imagined going on a "journey" with the baby and "creating some sort of alternative family".
Ms. Justice Russell also ruled that the couple were “manipulative and dishonest” in their dealings with the mother and “at the very least, potentially exploitative.” She said that the mother had "demonstrated commitment, willingness and ability" to give the little boy - who was born with medical problems - what he needed to thrive.
Under British law she is the child's legal mother unless she signs the rights over to the couple, which she has said will not happen. She told The Daily Mail “He is my little boy. I gave birth to him. I felt him kick for the first time. I’m the one now breastfeeding him. He’s happy and so loved. I’m absolutely terrified I’m going to lose him.”
According to the ruling, the biological father and his partner will be able to see the child once every eight weeks and will be financially responsible for his upbringing, along with his mother and her partner. The baby's birth certificate will be amended so that the child has his father's last name.
With no laws to enforce surrogacy contracts, Great Britain is notorious for problems of this nature.
Stage 4: Moderate cognitive decline (Mild or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease)
As the disease progresses, in this stage doctors could start to see signs of problems in many different areas such as:
- Forgetting recent activities or events
- Weakened ability to perform challenging mental arithmetic; counting backwards from 100 by 7’s, for example.
- A significant amount of difficulty executing complex tasks, such as planning dinner for guests, paying bills, or managing finances.
- Having trouble remembering one’s own personal history.
- Becoming irritable or solitary, especially in social or mentally challenged situations.
Stage 5: Moderately severe cognitive decline (Moderate or mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease)
Day-to-day activities will not be able to be performed without assistance. By this time, those with Alzheimer’s may:
-Be unable to recollect their address, telephone number, high school, or college they graduated from.
- Not know or remember where they are or the current day and month
- Have difficulty with less mental math, such as counting backwards from 40 by subtracting 4’s or from 20 by 2’s.
- Need assistance with dressing for the appropriate season or occasion
- Can still remember significant details about themselves and their family.
- Can still be able to eat and use the restroom without help from a caregiver.
Stage 6: Severe cognitive decline (Moderately severe or mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease)
By this time, the individual’s memory continues to deteriorate, personality changes may occur, and they may need wide-ranging help with daily activities. Individuals may:
- Lose knowledge of recent occurrences as well as of their surroundings
- Remember their own name but have a hard time reminiscing about their personal history
- Able to tell familiar and unfamiliar faces apart, but have problems remembering the name of a spouse or caregiver.
- Need help dressing properly and may, easily make the mistake of putting on the wrong clothes or shoes on the wrong foot if not watched.
- Have changes in their sleep patterns – sleeping during the day and becoming agitated at night.
- Needs help with using the restroom (flushing the toilet, wiping, washing/drying hands, for example)
- Have trouble controlling their bladder or bowels.
- Have severe personality and behavioral changes, including suspiciousness and delusions (such as coming to the conclusion that a loved one or caregiver is not real) or compulsive, repetitive behavior like hand-wringing or tissue shredding.
- Tend to roam or become lost.
Stage 7: Very severe cognitive decline (Severe or late-stage Alzheimer’s disease)
This is the final stage of the disease, in some cases individuals will lose the ability to function on their own, adapt and respond to their environment, and carry on conversations. However, they are still capable of saying words or phrases.
Due to the fact that this phase is so severe, those that reach this point will require complete assistance. They will lose knowledge of how to do something as simple as walking. Their reflexes will become abnormal, and the muscles will become limp.
The stages listed above can be different for each person that suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s important that both seniors and caregivers know the signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia and can determine which stage one may be experiencing. Having Alzheimer’s disease can drastically change a person’s life, so it is up to those that can still function and live a normal life to help the ones that can no longer enjoy day-to-day activities as they once did.
If you have any questions about protecting an aging loved one, call Oldham and Deitering at 937-898-7673.
From February 22nd – 24th 2017 in Bali, Indonesia,
the participants of the fourth World Ocean Summit
devised a plan to protect the Coral Reefs. The result is the initiative called
50 Reefs. It will bring together leading scientists and conservationists to
develop a list of the 50 most critical coral reefs to protect. It will be a
catalyst to the global action and investment needed to prevent their
The 50 Reefs program is being backed by a group of innovators in business, technology, and government. This includes Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, and The Paul G. Allen Foundation, which are all influential leaders in the conservation community. These big name leaders will be able to build a network of scientists, communities, and organizations that can come together to help save the coral reefs.
“When people think of climate change, they often think of extreme heat, severe storms, and raging wildfires. But some of the most disastrous effects of climate change are out of sight – on the ocean floor – and saving the remaining coral reefs is critical. Without coral reefs, we could lose up to a quarter of the world’s marine biodiversity and hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people would lose their primary source of food and livelihoods.” Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary – General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.
Instead of working to save individual reefs, this initiative is working on a global scale. It will address the threats facing all reefs, from overfishing and pollution, which are local threats, to rising temperatures and ocean acidification, which affect ecosystems globally. By working on global solutions, there is a better chance of 50 Reefs making a difference for coral reefs.
To have a chance of thriving in the future, corals will need to adapt to rising temperatures. Unfortunately, corals are very vulnerable to temperature change. The corals that build reefs are home for 25% of all ocean life, so it is imperative that 50 Reefs find a way for them to adapt.
Scientists aren’t expecting a miracle however, and expect to save only 10% of the reefs. Their research shows 90% of the reefs being destroyed by 2050. The University of Queensland’s Professor Hoegh-Guldberg says: “It’s based on the best science. It’s saying we will only have 10% left but let’s make sure those 10% have the best chance of survival.”
The initiative is different from what most people would expect in that it shifts focus from the most critically endangered reefs to those that have the best chance of survival if global temperatures stabilize. Professor Hoegh-Guldberg has referred to it as a triage situation. “We’re only going to have 10% of today’s reefs there so, knowing that, how can we best provide support for those reefs so they do survive?”
The plan is to identify the reefs least vulnerable to climate change, but also the ones that are most important as seed centers that will allow reefs to repopulate over time. Richard Vevers of The Ocean Agency said this was a real wakeup call that the planet is losing its most bio-diverse ecosystem. “It’s not about losing a tiger or a single species; it’s an ecosystem of up to a million species. We’re not just talking about corals; we’re talking about all the species that are dependent on those corals – that’s what’s so shocking about what’s happening right now.”
The job of selecting the 50 reefs will fall to a team of international experts, who are expected to make their decisions by the end of 2017.
We all know that diets have wide ranging benefits, from
weight loss and focusing on healthier foods. Some people believe they have
found that dieting can delay the aging process and boost brain health. They say
that intermittent fasting (drastically reducing your food intake for short
periods of time) can boost your health and delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Mark Mattson, chief of the laboratory of neurosciences at
the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland, had this to say on the
subject: “We find that in the animals, the intermittent fasting reduces brain
inflammation. “ He also pointed out that in mice studies, intermittent fasting
dramatically improved heart health and prevented symptoms of Alzheimer’s. “Intermittent
fasting improves cognition, that is learning and memory, and protects nerve
cells from dysfunction and degeneration.”
More research needs to be done on humans before the full
benefits of fasting can be understood, but Peter Bowes, a participant of a study
where he tried the Prolon fasting diet, is convinced of the benefits. “You feel
more productive…your brain is buzzing, your synapses are snapping. You’ve got a
massive workload in front of you and you just plow through it.”
There are three different types of fasting diets. With the
5:2 plan, you eat normally five days a week, and for the other two days you
will consume fewer that 600 calories. On the alternate day plan you eat
normally one day, the next day you’ll eat fewer than 600 calories, and repeat
so on. Finally, time restrictive fasting is when you only eat between noon and
Todd Morgan, a neuroscience at the University of Southern
California’s School of Gerontology, stresses that “we really need clinical
studies to look at this. But there are benefits to the cardiovascular system,
obesity, diabetes – these are all disorders that can increase your risk for
One of the biggest challenges with this (or any diet) is sticking with it. While fasting, people often end up binging or getting irritable if they aren’t eating enough. As always, consult your doctor before starting any kind of diet regime.
One in three Americans do not get
enough sleep, and 45% of the remaining world’s population doesn't either. The
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls that a "public health
problem," because disrupted sleep is associated with a higher risk of
physical and mental conditions including diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular
disease. There is evidence suggesting that there is a link between lack of
sleep, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
A new study published in
Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, finds that people
who get less REM, or dream-stage sleep, may be at higher risk for developing
dementia. REM is the fifth stage of sleep when the eyes move, the body heats
up, breathing and pulse quicken and the mind dreams.
The study found that people who
took longer than the typical 90 minutes to enter REM were more likely to get
dementia. They also spent only about 17% of their sleep dreaming, compared to
20% in those who did not develop dementia. No association with dementia was
found for any of the other four stages of sleep.
Additional research has recently
been presented by Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in
London. Three studies by researchers at
Wheaton College in Illinois found significant connections between breathing
disorders that interrupt sleep and the accumulation of biomarkers for
Alzheimer’s disease. Treating the problems with dental appliances or CPAP
machines that force air into airways could help lower the risk of dementia or
slow its progress, the researchers said.
While a correlation between sleep
apnea and dementia has been documented in the past, these are among the first
long-term studies to look at the relationship between sleep disruption and the
biomarkers commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease, said Megan Hogan, one
of the Wheaton researchers. Noting that
past research has found that the brain clears up deposits of amyloid plaque
during sleep, Hogan hypothesized that apnea may impede this process.
“During sleep, your brain has
time to wash away all the toxins that have built up throughout the day.
Continually interrupting sleep may give it less time to do that,” she
said. It may be in the deepest stages of
sleep that the clearing-up takes place, said Ronald C. Petersen, director of
the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study
of Aging. “If you’re only making it to Stage 1 or Stage 2, and then you start
choking or snoring or whatever, and you wake yourself up and you do it again
and again, you may not even be aware of it, but you may be accumulating this
bad amyloid in the brain rather than clearing it,” he said.
In recent research, people who
repeatedly jolted awake during the night showed immediate increases in amyloid
buildup, Petersen said. And if the sleep disruption continued for a couple of
weeks, subjects showed increases in the tau protein tangles that also are
associated with Alzheimer’s.
It is not yet clear whether the relationship between apnea and dementia is causative —“whether people with very early levels of brain disease are having trouble sleeping, or whether people having trouble sleeping are more likely to develop brain disease,” said Keith N. Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association. He noted that animal studies have suggested it could go both ways. “Ultimately it doesn’t matter what the direction is for this to have an effect on your life,” he said. “If you’re waking up your partner multiple times a night or you’re tired all day, then you really, really need to go get checked by your doctor, because it could be a sign of something serious. Or if it’s not, just treating the apnea could help with your day-to-day cognition"
Many people have been told that it is
important for people to “avoid probate.” But just because people may have heard
that term, doesn’t mean they know exactly what probate means, why it can be a
problem or how to successfully avoid it. In this post, we will take a look at
the term probate to understand exactly what it means, and what the process
The term probate most literally means “to prove” a will. Today it covers the entire legal process necessary to settle a person’s estate after they die. The appointed representative (usually a family member) opens the probate case in court. With the court’s help, they will work through all of the financial business that the decedent left behind. For example, probate includes disposing of personal property, money, real property or anything else that the deceased owned at the time of their death. Probate also deals with any debts that were in existence at the time of death.
Probate is not inherently evil. It is simply a system that was created to oversee the way estates are handled. However, there is some truth when people say that probate should be avoided, if possible. Some of these cons are listed below.
A Lack of Privacy
Probate cases are filed in the court and are in the public record. If for any reason a person wants to maintain a sense of privacy after they die, it could be a good idea to avoid probating the estate in court. Famous people or other potentially controversial people usually don’t want their financial and family affairs dragged out into the open.
Probate Can Create Family Disagreements
One reason that wills and estates are probated in court is to allow interested persons the chance to represent their own claim on the estate by challenging or contesting a will that does not favor them. For people with complicated family dynamics, unpopular second marriages or estranged loved ones, avoiding probate should be a top priority. When an estate is handled through non-probate channels, it becomes much less likely that a will may be successfully challenged.
Like most things that end up in court, probate can be time-consuming. In more complex estates, the entire process can last months or years. And, while the family waits for this time to pass, the decedent’s assets or property may be slowly losing value or be lost completely.
Probating an estate requires the help of a competent probate lawyer to facilitate the matter. Since the process requires court appearances and extensive paperwork, the legal fees can mount up quickly. With proper pre-planning, much or all of this cost may be avoided.
Creating a smart estate plan is the best way to avoid probate. You and your attorney can work together to draft the proper legal documents and carefully time asset transfers.
The revocable living trust is an instrument which dictates the management or distribution of property. The property is transferred in title to the trust during the owner’s lifetime. The property owner also chooses someone to act as trustee, an appointed fiduciary who will manage the trust property and any distributions after the death of the trust’s creator.
The other good thing about a trust is that there is no need to involve the court in any way. There is nothing to file and it does not need to be submitted to the probate court.
Another way to avoid probate hassles is by placing your assets into joint ownership with your future beneficiaries. This way, when you pass away, the ownership interest will automatically transfer to the joint owner.
Payments on death accounts (POD) have a designation which names a person who will receive the assets in the account when the original account owner dies. At the same time, transfer on death (TOD) is a designation on the title or deed to a piece of real estate or a car which will automatically change ownership once the owner dies.
Some people assume that the easiest way to avoid probate is to give everything away before you die. However, doing this could cause problems for seniors when they may need to qualify for assistance for long-term care.
It’s nice to have some alone time, but when you
live alone and don’t get out to socialize as often anymore, alone time can
quickly escalate into feelings of isolation and sometimes even depression. It’s
estimated that this is one of the factors that has lead to millions of older
Americans to suffer from depression.
However, avoiding these feelings could be as easy as turning on your computer or picking up your smart phone! According to Michigan State University Today , researchers have found that getting online regularly and exploring social media or emailing friends can reduce your chances of depression by more than 30%.
The reasoning behind this is pretty simple. “It all has to do with older persons being able to communicate, to stay in contact with their social networks, and just not feel lonely,” Shelia Cotten, a Michigan State University professor of telecommunication, information studies and media, said. It was concluded that being able to connect with people online lessened the chances of depression for all participants of the survey. The internet had the biggest and most positive impact on individuals that live alone.
An example of the impact the internet can have on someone comes from an 81-year-old woman who lost her longtime boyfriend. With him no longer around, she had a lot of time alone. Her daughter gave her an iPad for Christmas and set up a Facebook account for her. She quickly learned how to navigate the site (despite never using a computer before) and has been able to connect with family and friends.
The internet shouldn’t be a substitute for real life. But if you’re using it in moderation and you’re doing things that enhance your life, then the impacts are likely to be positive in terms of health and wellbeing.
As for your kids who might complain about you being on Facebook and commenting on what they do, or tell you that you post too much, just tell them you’re doing it for your mental health.
If you have any questions about protecting an aging loved one, call Oldham and Deitering at 937-898-7673.
There may come a time when you or a loved one begins to have difficulty getting around, and may consider purchasing a cane. Here are some things to consider when looking for a cane.
Do you need a cane for balance or support? If you just need help balancing, a single point cane will probably work best for you. However, if you're recovering from an injury, or just need a cane to help support you, a four tip cane may be the best option (also consider asking your doctors opinion).
The grip of your cane is a matter of personal preference, but a foam grip, or grip that's molded to fit your hand, are usually best. If you have trouble grasping with your fingers because or arthritis or joint pain, a larger grip may be a better solution. If you experience pain or numbness in your hands and fingers while using your cane you might want to consider purchasing one with a different grip.
Many canes are adjustable, but some are not. When checking for the fit of your cane your elbow should bend at a comfortable angle, about 15 degrees. You might bend your elbow slightly more if you're primarily using the cane for balance. With your arm hanging straight down at your side, the top of your cane should line up with the crease in your wrist. If your cane is too tall, it will take more effort to lift it, and if it's too short you could end up leaning, which can throw off your balance.
If you are using your cane for stability, you can use it in whichever hand is more comfortable. However, if you need it because of an injury it should always be held in the hand opposite of the leg that needs support. For example, if your knee pain is on your left side, you should use the cane in your right hand. The cane should then move forward as you step forward with the bad leg.
If you have to go up stairs, you should lead with the good leg. And when you go down stairs, you should put your cane on the step first and then step down with your bad leg.
Once you've purchased your cane, it'll be good to get in the habit of checking the tip. Much like the tread on car tires grips the road, the tip of your cane can help provide traction on most surfaces. Make sure the rubber tip is supple and the tread is in good shape. If the tip looks worn, buy a replacement tip at a pharmacy or medical supply store. You can buy canes at drugstores, discount retailers, medical supply stores and online, usually between $10 and $50. Medicare can sometimes cover canes with a written prescription from a physician.
Sweat isn't typically thought of as a good thing, but a sweating billboard in Brazil might end up saving lives.
Using a technology that releases a mixture of a lactic acid solution that mimics the smell of human sweat and carbon dioxide, which is in human breath, the sweating billboard is the latest in the fight against the Zika virus. In addition to luring the mosquitos with the smell of humans, it lights up at night t attract the bugs with the promise of warmth.
Designed under a Creative Commons license, the billboards can't be patented, which means their plans are available for other cities and countries to duplicate and build free of charge.
The creators of the boards, Posterscope and NBS, say that the insects are drawn to the aroma from the board from a distance of up to 2.5km (approximately 1.6 miles) away. Once they are lured into the traps, the bugs are able to live out the rest of their natural life without the threat of biting anyone.
Otto Frossard from Posterscope said that the billboard will remain empty, and not contain any advertisements. He also stated that the board would cost "a few thousand Reals" (1,000 Brazilian Reals is $280/£194) to make.
The billboards aren't without their criticisms though. Dr Chris Jackson, a pest control expert at the University of Southampton has stated that while the science behind the billboard is effective, he isn't sure how wise it is to put them in heavily populated areas. So far two of the Mosquito Killer Billboards have been installed in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil.
"Maybe if it was not in a high-density place, where people are sitting perhaps with exposed legs... otherwise, you're pulling in hungry mosquitoes and providing them with exposed human flesh," Dr. Jackson continued.
As we or our loved ones begin to age it might be a good idea to visit an elder law attorney. It may not be something that is at the forefront of our minds, but elder law planning is a vital component that can prevent you or your family from being impoverished.
For example, imagine your father is an “Older American” that national statistics tell us has an average income of only $27,612 a year. This is only $2,301 a month of income to live on. Let’s say he also has the national estimate of average net worth at $232,000 but he’s not in debt.
He tells you that he has decided to enter an assisted living facility. The average national costs for this will be at least $42,600 per year or $3,550 a month, which is a difference of $1,249 a month. He will incur a deficit immediately. He will have to start reaching into his savings just to pay his rent, not to mention paying for anything else. The average length of stay in an assisted living facility is 22 months. During this time, he will drain his assets down to $204,522 with rent alone.
After the 22 months 59% of residents go on to live in a skilled nursing facility, 33% will pass away, and the remaining will move to a similar assisted living facility. If your father needs to move to a skilled nursing facility once leaving the assisted living home, his costs are going to skyrocket. The national average for a private bed is $7,440 a month. A shared room isn’t much cheaper and after just two years your father won’t have enough money to pay for a third year and his savings will be nearly exhausted.
Your elder law attorney’s emphasis will be on the client’s quality of life, which means they will plan and promote adequate acute and long-term care options in the event that their client’s health begins to deteriorate. An elder law attorney works on more than just long-term care, they can also help with Medicare, income during retirement, and health-care decision making.
Joyce Deitering has immersed herself in the study of elder law, including continuing legal education on planning for seniors and their families and those with special needs. In her desire to properly advise and serve clients with long-term care issues, such as assessment and residential placement, long term care insurance analysis, and home health care, she was instrumental in acquiring cutting edge software program for creating superior elder law and special needs planning legal documents. She has joined a forum in which ideas and expertise on elder law and special needs planning are freely exchanged among attorneys. You can contact her with any questions at 937-898-7673.
We’ve all seen a movie where a terrorist is going to
contaminate a community’s water supply and the hero has to stop them. What
happens though if the hero is too late? Thanks to University of Cincinnati
scientist David Wendell, an associate professor at the University, we may not
need to worry about contaminated water much longer. He has created a
protein-based photocatalyst that uses light to generate hydrogen peroxide to
eliminate E. coli, Listeria, and potentially protozoa like giardia and
Wendell believes that if the protein (called StrepMiniSog)
is mass produced, it could be used to “spike” public water supplies in the case
of an outbreak. Explaining the protein,
he said, “We designed this protein to attach to pathogens of interest using
antibodies, so that when the attached photocatalyst is exposed to light it
generates hydrogen peroxide and kills the pathogen.”
Wendell points out that his protein will neutralize viruses
and bacteria in water without adding worrying contaminants, such as antibiotics
or disinfection by-products, to the environment.
“In the environment or engineered water treatment systems
there are many bacteria that you want to preserve. We need a disinfectant that
can ignore helpful bacteria while neutralizing pathogens responsible for
sporadic outbreaks. It is essentially a seek-and-destroy technology where it
will only attach to the organisms of interest. By using a selective approach we
can preserve existing microbiomes, which makes them more resistance to
Currently, outbreaks are treated by increasing chlorine
concentrations at water treatment plants. Too much chlorine however, can
produce other types of water contamination, referred to as disinfection byproducts
(which are regulated by the EPA). Certain bacteria, such as Legionella, are
gaining resistance to Chlorine.
Wendell has received a $500,000 grant as part of an NSF
CAREER Award earlier this year to develop a mass-production system for his
protein-based photocatalyst. “I think it is feasible to have a mass-production
technology in less than five years.”
Wendell also believes that his technology can be used as a personal disinfectant. Unlike the antibacterial products on the market now, which kill all types of bacteria, including the good ones, his would only target harmful pathogens. “The technology is also very useful for any sort of surface disinfection, including treating human skin.”