Showing posts with label medicine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label medicine. Show all posts

19 Nov 2017

Disorders, Decisions



Whether you call it mental illness, lunacy, or insanity, being crazy isn't fun. It's not a lifestyle choice either. Not for most. Certainly not in my case. I'll get back to that....

...Somewhere along the line "mental hygiene" got repackaged as "mental health." I think it wasn't just a new coat of paint on old ideas. We were learning more about how minds work, and sometimes don't.

We were also learning what we can do: and what we shouldn't....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Sep 2017

"Raving Politics"

Quite a few parts of the Bible don't talk about forgiveness. But quite a few do, and they're not just in the New Testament.

This morning's second reading doesn't mention forgiveness directly, but the verse right after it does.

They all say why forgiving is a good idea.

It's enlightened self-interest, in the long run....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 Aug 2017

Editing Genes, Ethically

Scientists at England's John Innes Centre learned how to grow plants that produce polio vaccine. That sounds like a very good idea, particularly since the process should work for other vaccines, too.

The other 'genetic engineering' news raises issues that can spark strong feelings: and should encourage serious thought.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

31 Jul 2017

Dealing With Cystic Fibrosis

A "Benefit for Teri (Sanden) Starkey" notice was on the Our Lady of Angels bulletin board this Sunday.

The event was Saturday, July 29, and in Litchfield; a town south and a bit east of here, about an hour and half away.

I saw the notice a day late to do anything by Saturday, but figure I could pass along what I learned.

She has cystic fibrosis, and needs new lungs. The clinic in her area wouldn't or couldn't do the procedure.

The good news is that an outfit in North Carolina will. However, getting a chance to keep her alive means raising money to move her, her two kids, and husband, to North Carolina. That's something like a thousand miles away.

My guess is that the family has above-average medical expenses, too....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Jul 2017

Using Vaccines Wisely

Using drones to deliver vaccines seems reasonable for places like Vanuatu.

But vaccines won't help if folks don't know how to use them correctly, or can't.

Others avoid vaccines because they believe warnings from dubious sources.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

7 Jul 2017

Misusing Opioids

"Crisis" or not, opioid overdose is a problem. A lethal one, sometimes.

We've used one opioid, opium, for millennia. Others have been developed during my lifetime. They're all useful: and dangerous if misused.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

12 May 2017

Good Intentions

Variations on "dead men tell no tales" go back at least to 1560 or thereabouts in my language. The idea is much older.1

As advice goes, it's arguably flawed. Folks who are dead aren't chatty, but their bodies occasionally pop up at inopportune times.

I'll be talking about unmarked and unremembered graves, insane asylums, and similarly-uncheerful things. It's not all bad news, though.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

31 Mar 2017

DNA and Cancer

Apparently quiet a few sorts of cancer 'just happen,' no matter how much fiber we eat, how much we don't smoke, and how far we run each day.

Or exercise, in my case. Thanks in part to now-replaced defective hips, my running days never really happened.

That doesn't mean that we're all gonna die from random cancer. I think it means we should think about paying more attention to testing before symptoms appear....

After talking about oddly-under-reported 'cancer' news, I kept going; mostly about mutations, and why being healthy is okay...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

24 Feb 2017

Face Transplant at Mayo

Andy Sandness wasn't born looking like that. He's lived with the consequences of a "wrong choice" for more than a decade.

Agreeing to get Mayo Clinic's first face transplant won't undo his decision. But now he has a second chance for a normal life.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 Nov 2016

Brain Implants and Rewired Monkeys

Someone from the Netherlands gained a small measure of freedom after learning to use a prototype computer-brain interface.

I see that, and experiments with rhesus monkeys, as a good thing....

...As usual, I'll also talk about why I don't think God is offended when we help folks....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

11 Nov 2016

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.

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.

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.

22 Jul 2016

Early Agriculture, New Tech

'Genetics news' caught my eye this week.

DNA from barley that's been sitting in a cave for six millennia is helping scientists learn about agriculture's origins.

A fits-in-your-hand Biomolecule Sequencer is at the International Space Station. If it works, folks up there won't have to send samples down for analysis.

Finally, the world's first farmers were an unexpectedly diverse lot....

...Science? In a "religion" blog??...

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.

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.

25 Sep 2015

Kidneys, Experiments, and Ethics

Kidney failure isn't always fatal these days. Hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis can keep someone alive until a transplant donor shows up. Kidney problems kill about a million folks each year.

It's not the leading cause of death for my 7,250,000,000-plus neighbors, but that's still a lot of deaths.

Scientists in Japan grew working kidneys in rats and pigs. We're years away from grow-your-own kidneys for patients: but I think that's coming.

Meanwhile, a scientist in England wants permission to collect people for genetic experiments. The Francis Crick Institute, Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, and BBC News describe the proposal more discretely.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

6 Mar 2015

Mutant Cows, Mass Migrations, and a Brain Gene

Bovine tuberculosis may not be a big problem, if Ministry of Agriculture in Northwest A&F University, Yangling, research pays off.

Meanwhile, we may be learning who made Europe look and sound the way it does today: and scientists at the Max Plank Institute discovered how a uniquely-human gene helps our brains grow....

I've seen attitudes toward science and technology shift, quite a bit. I grew up when quite a few folks still thought human ingenuity would solve all our problems: or at least make "the future" a magical place to live....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Just A Mother: My Call, Vocation, and Witness

The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Embracing an outdated lifestyle on a traditional, smal...