This article appeared in the Feb 1996 edition of CMQ

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Dr. Peter McCullagh of the John Curtin School of Medical Research, a Department of The Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, presents an analysis of the literature as to the possibility that PVS patients suffer from persistent thirst if fluids are withdrawn, His conclusion is that they do and is backed by the view that there is a centre controlling thirst in the hypothalamus. As PVS is caused by damage to the cortex leaving the hypothalamus unscathed, his thesis is certain to create a re- assessment of certain judgements adopted by the courts recently, by which permission was given for the withdrawal of nutrition and fluids in these patients.

Further analysis of the PVS situation comes from Lesley Murphy who finds that the standard clinical tests may not be sufficient to detect residual consciousness.

Professor Casey presents the recent developments in her studies of the psychological effects of abortion.

To coincide with the inauguration of the Lejeune clinic we reproduce a paper delivered by the Professor at the Medical Society of London on 3rd. November 1992 which summarises some of the possibilities opened up by his research.