Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

11 Nov 2016

Different Sorts of "Dead"

Deciding who's dead and who's not isn't always easy. But getting the answer right can be a matter of life or death....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Oct 2016

Sweet Potatoes, Genes, and Long Life

One woman decided to take a road trip after learning she had a terminal illness. Another switched careers. Both choices make sense, given the circumstances.

This year's World Food Prize goes to a team who developed a new sweet potato, scientists found a virus with spider genes, and there's a lively difference of opinion regarding human life span.

We've learned a lot since my youth, and there's a great deal left to learn.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

16 Oct 2016

Alchemy, Science, Life, and Health

(From BBC, via Wikipedia, used w/o permission.)
("I find that nothing's ever exactly like you expect...." (Professor Richard Lazarus))

A mad scientist's lot is not a happy one. All he wants is to redefine being human: and the next thing you know, he's eating guests at his victory celebration.

Doctor Who's The Lazarus Experiment doesn't have much to do with The Devil Bat and The Brain That Wouldn't Die, apart from featuring a mad scientist — and science gone horribly wrong.

Some movies, like Fantastic Voyage and Things to Come, present science and technology as useful.

But "tampering with thing man was not supposed to know," as Mr. Squibbs put it, keeps the plot going for quite a few; like Altered Species, They Saved Hitler's Brain, and Island of Lost Souls.

Reticence, reasonable and otherwise, regarding new ideas isn't new....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 Oct 2016

Elastic Brains and New Tech

Maybe 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks,' but apparently the adult brain isn't nearly as rigid as scientists thought.

I'll be looking at neuroplasticity, the idea that brains can change; research that may lead to better neural interfaces; and 'brain training' games....

...We've been learning a great deal about the human brain and how it works. That's a good thing for me, since I have maintenance issues with mine....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

9 Oct 2016

Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Hope


(From Philippe de Champaigne/Tessé Museum, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)

Life in my mid-60s requires caution that wasn't necessary in my youth. Considering the alternative, though, being alive is pretty good: even in moments of loss.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

7 Oct 2016

Bioethics and a Three-Parent Baby

A Jordanian couple have a baby boy: who does not have a lethal genetic disorder, thanks to DNA transplanted from a third person. Four of his siblings did not survive the procedure.

I'll be talking about the decisions involved in that procedure, research involving "tiny brains" grown from human cells, genetically modified humans grown as research subjects, and water bears....

...After discussing recent genetics news, I'll share why I take human experimentation and medical ethics personally, and what I see coming in the near future....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Aug 2016

Polio, Zika, and Using Our Brains

Polio is back in Nigeria: only two cases that we know of; which isn’t particularly comforting, since most folks with polio have no symptoms.

The good news is that vaccines are available: and may get to most of those who need them before the disease does.

Zika, another viral disease, is still in the news, this time a case in Texas that affected a baby.

On a happier note, researchers are making progress on a brain-machine interface that could help folks walk again.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Jul 2016

Temperance, Catholic Style


(From O. Herford, via Life Magazine/Wikipedia, used w/o permission.)
("Life" magazine, Demon Rum, and Matthew 12:45: June 26, 1919.)

My household is "dry:" there's no beer in the fridge, wine in a rack, or whiskey on a shelf. That's partly because I drank too much, which was a very bad idea. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2290)

After that experience, I could get cherophobia and virtue confused — but I won't.

Cherophobia, aversion to happiness; and hedonophobia, fear of pleasure; are real words. But "blessed are the miserable, for they shall spread misery" is not in the Beatitudes. 1...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

29 Apr 2016

Cryonics, Smallpox, and Pope Pius VII

I remember when heart transplants were front-page international news, not local human interest stories: and when polio vaccinations were new. I really do not miss the 'good old days.' I remember them, and they weren't.

I also remember when cryonics was 'science fiction stuff,' not a highly-experimental and controversial medical procedure. I probably won't live long enough to see whether it works. But if you're young enough: you might....

...Since I'll be talking about life, death, and medical practices, I'd better start by saying that I'm a Christian: a Catholic.

Like it says in the Apostles Creed, "I believe in ... the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting." I'll be explaining why I don't see a conflict between that belief and trying to save lives....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Nov 2015

Mutant Medflies, GMO Mosquitoes

First, the good news: releasing genetically-modified medflies and mosquitoes may mean fewer crop failures; and fewer deaths from malaria.

Now, the not-so-good news: I'm pretty sure some folks won't think it's good news....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

16 Oct 2015

Pig Organs, Ancient Immigrants

We're years away from safe pig-to-human organ transplants: but scientists using CRISPR gene editing tech are working toward that goal.

Other scientists are discovering a chapter of humanity's family history: Eurasian immigrants returning to Africa, when the Shang dynasty and Egyptian Empire collapsed.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 May 2015

A Robotic Tentacle, and Disney’s Baymax

Disney Studio's film version of Baymax is fiction. Robots designed to work with people are real: although they're nowhere near as smart as their fictional counterparts.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Feb 2015

DNA, Babies, Life, and Death

DNA evidence in a court case isn't new: but deer DNA in a poaching trial is.

Less than two decades after a cloned sheep's birth, British Members of Parliament okayed human cloning: using DNA from three people.

Scientists who think this is a good idea may be right: at least for some versions of the new tech.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

8 Feb 2015

"Months of Misery" and Job's Friends

My wife and a friend are making bread, about 15 feet from my desk. They're having a great time, and I'm trying to not get distracted while writing this post. The results may be interesting. Or confusing. I'll let you decide which.

Thanks to some very powerful prescriptions, my ADD-inattentive and major depression isn't nearly as hard to handle as it was: which reminds me of this morning's first reading.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Oct 2014

Ebola: Scary, and Beatable

This year's Ebola outbreak has killed thousand of folks in West Africa: and one in the United States. By any reasonable standard, it's a very serious health problem....

...As I've said before, being healthy is okay. (June 13, 2014)

Not being healthy is okay, too: but I'm expected to take care of my health: within reason....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Alternative Medicine...Is It Right for a Woman of Faith?

Many women today suffer from chronic illness. It may be autoimmune related diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus or it may be digestive issues like Colitis or Crohn’s. 

And those are only the very tip of the iceberg. 

I don’t think there are verifiable statistics for this phenomenon because it doesn’t appear that there is a real awareness of the seriousness of this trend—but it is there.

I see it.

I hear it, too.

Since I’ve spent the better part of the past three decades (and probably even more time than that but I just didn’t put the pieces together) with what can best be described as “chronic illness” that evades concrete diagnosis, I may just be more sensitive to seeing and hearing the telltale signs of this trend among our female population.

29 Aug 2014

Regeneration: Getting Closer to Growing Lost Organs

Too many folks die, waiting for a compatible donor organ. We can't coax a patient's body into growing a new heart or kidney: yet.

But we can build made-to-order bladders, and scientists have grown a new thymus: inside a mouse. It's a first step....

...If starfish and some mice can regenerate complete missing parts: why can't we?

Right now, we don't know. Not for sure. It probably has something to do with our immune system, and the way our bodies deal with injury....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Aug 2014

Robin Williams, Suicide, and Hope

Robin Williams was a few months older than I am when he died. That photo is from 1979, when he was becoming famous for his role in "Mork & Mindy."

I admire Williams' work, regret his addiction to cocaine and alcohol, and am sorry that he is dead. He was a remarkably talented actor and comedian. Sadly, he apparently decided to hang himself.

We can't be sure, but it's likely that suffering from depression had something to do with his death.

Celebrity deaths get heavy media coverage: so when yet another movie star dies from suicide, drug overdose, or some other avoidable cause, it can seem that fame leads to self-destruction.

Although famous folks from Hannibal to Margaux Hemmingway killed themselves, I think it's prudent to remember that many high-profile folks didn't: like Lauren Bacall and Bob Hope.

I'll be writing mostly about life, depression, death, and why I haven't killed myself. You'll find links to articles about Robin Williams near the end of this post.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Aug 2014

Neurosynaptic Cores and Retinal Implants: Getting a Grip About Tech

IBM's neurosynaptic cores may not show up in home computers for years. Their circuits emulate a brain's neural circuits: and require an entirely new sort of software.

Retinal implants are another matter. Thanks to new tech, several folks who would have been blind can see: a little....

..."Metropolis," Tsukumogami, and the Roomba Revolution that Wasn't


The inventor Rotwang in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" is more 'evil wizard' than 'mad scientist:' my opinion. It's still a good movie: but not, I think, a particularly realistic look at what we'll see in 2026.

Rotwang's maschinenmensch looked more like the human she was built to impersonate after a high-tech makeover, but even without upholstery she was remarkably — human....

But so far, artificial intelligence has been quite obviously "artificial:" and emphatically not up to the task of leading a Roomba revolution.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Jun 2014

Mutant Mosquitoes and a Made-to-Order Cancer Treatment

After an utterly unscientific survey, I found that lists of dangerous animals include critters like sidewinders, piranha, and tarangual hawks. The latter are smaller than hawks but big for insects: and that's another topic.

A few list-makers are savvy enough to include mosquitoes. These blood-sucking pests aren't dangerous by themselves: it's the lethal diseases they carry. The good news is that scientists are learning how to kill mosquitoes without poisoning people....

...Health and Using the Brains God Gave Us...


..."Is being healthy okay?"

Maybe that sounds like a daft question, or maybe not. Reading some of the more maudlin 19th-century 'lives of the saints,' a person could get the impression that sainthood required either a messy martyrdom, or dying of some horrible disease: smiling all the way.

There's more to sainthood than that, and that's yet another topic. (February 14, 2010)

I occasionally run into news about someone who decides that getting medical treatment is immoral....

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