Mel Gibson visits Spina Bifida ward in Guatemala City

Oscar-winning actor Mel Gibson spent several days in Guatemala, working with Mending Kids International, a children's charity. Mending Kids International provides life-changing surgical care to children worldwide. They either bring children to partner hospitals in the US for treatment, or specialised teams travel to developing countries. Mel Gibson visited the Spina Bifida ward in San Juan de Dios Hospital to learn more about their needs. Mending Kids International already helps children with neurological problems and Spina Bifida in Asia and Africa and is interested in helping Guatemala.
On average, the Spina Bifida ward in Guatemala treats 100 children a year


Dose-dependent risk of birth defects with antiepileptic drugs

Prenatal exposure to antiepileptic drugs is associated with a greater risk of major congenital malformations. Using the EURAP epilepsy and pregnancy registry with data from 42 countries, scientists monitored over 3.900 pregnancies exposed to monotherapy with different doses of four common drugs: carbamazepine, lamotrigine, valproic acid, or phenobarbital. They concluded that the risk of major congenital malformations is influenced not only by type of antiepileptic drug, but also by dose and other variables. This should be taken into account in the management of epilepsy in women of childbearing potential. Risks of malformation were significantly higher with valproic acid and phenobarbital at all investigated doses. The study results are published in the Lancet Neurology.
Associate professor Torbjörn Tomson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden is the corresponding author


Protecting the rights of women and girls with disabilities

The General Assembly of the European Disability Forum (EDF) has adopted the 2nd Manifesto on the Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities in the EU. During the annual meeting in Budapest, Hungary, EDF's Women's Committee, chaired by Ana Peláez, proposed this important human rights document, which is designed to be a toolkit for activists and policymakers. Although the women's movement in general has played a key role in pushing for change and made great efforts to empower and prepare women for the struggle for equality, the same cannot be said for women with disabilities. Empowering women with disabilities is, therefore, an urgent requirement at the present time. IF whole-heartedly supports this outstanding initiative.
Ana Peláez is a strong advocate for the rights of women and girls with disabilities


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