Life as an Extreme Sport

Stolen Themes – What I’ve Been Reading

The kind folks over at AJOB* have a neat feature that summarizes what they’re reading in the daily news. Once again, I have too many open windows and not enough time to write a full op-ed on each one, so I pay homage to the idea.

Report Faults Video Reports Shown as News – great. Next time you’re watching the news, just ask yourself whether or not it’s news, or actually an advertisement. The Daily Show covered this several months ago, but it’s still frustrating to see how widespread it actually is. Add this to another reason why I get the majority of my news from a frakkin comedy show.

Lessons in Conflict of Interest: The Construction of the Martyrdom of David Healy and The Dilemma of Bioethics
– mules, COI, KOL – betcha never knew bioethics had so many acronyms. It’s like the government, only less headache inducing! Seriously, this is a really interesting article that I read when it originally ran in the print edition of AJOB. I came across it again recently, when it was brought up in a discussion on the AJOB blog. It takes a look at conflicts of interest in bioethics, and how two major journals, The Hastings Center and AJOB, handled the situation when unreported conflicts of interests came to light. It also raises some really interesting comments about COIs, all amidst a fascinating and indepth discussion of the Healy affair.

Pioneering surgery on girl, 12, reverses heart transplant – how cool is this? The girl suffered heart failure at age 2, and had a donor heart “piggy-backed” onto her own. This leaves her own heart in place, but the donor heart does all the work. 10 years later, she begins to reject the donor heart, and through a rather interesting and dramatic series of events, her own heart is reconnected… and works fine! How fabulous for this girl, and how monumentally important for medicine.

Pope condemns geneticists ‘who play at being God’ – The title basically says it all here, but in his Good Friday meditations, the Pope condemned geneticists playing at being God. This comes at interesting timing, what with there being a new clinic just opened solely for the purpose of creating tissue-matched siblings (see further down). It also indicates Benedict’s commitment to becoming a more conservative Papa.

Runners’ bar codes may help health officials: Boston Marathon provides training ground for tracking disaster victims – basically, runners bibs are being imprinted with a bar code. If they require medical assistance, they will be scanned as the enter and exit medical tents, providing tracking of movement. The theory is, in natural disasters, you slap a wristband on someone with a similar bar code, and track them as they are removed from the site of the disaster and moved around the country, providing better tracking. An aside of the technology, race designers will be able to see if there are hazards over the course forcing people to drop out, and epidemiologists will be able to analyze similar.

How long do you think it will be before we start hearing about the number of the beast (again)?

Print me a heart and a set of arteries – what else do you say to this, other than how fucking cool? I’ve been following this technology for several years now, when I first saw the concept on a Discovery-affiliate. Basically, bioink dumps cells designed to flow like liquid onto a supporting gel (biopaper), and the ink flows and grows together. Within a day, the chicken heart cells were beating in tandem… So let me just reiterate: how fucking cool. I love technology.

Do we still need the Cartagena Protocol? – a prominent proponent of the Cartagena Protocol says we don’t need it anymore, and that GM crops don’t harm people or the environment. …did he forget to talk to butterflies? Or maybe GM foods cause long term memory loss…

Siblings of Disabled Have Their Own Troubles – this was an area of study for my sister when she was in school. Interesting to see it continued.

Lab-Grown Bladders Successful in Humans – speaking of growing organs… this is cool in its own right (although admittedly not as neat as printing an organ). Click the link to take a look at the picture, if nothing else!

My Black Skin Makes My White Coat Vanish: Even in one of the world’s most diverse cities, I have to convince my patients that I am the doctor. – an interesting personal take on the prejudiced faced by being a black, female doctor. That the bias is being continued by other black women is especially interesting, and speaks to greater problems than just getting through the bias in the established medical community.

UK team to open “designer baby” clinic – the Women’s Bioethics Blog saves my op-ed skin and presents an interesting tidbit about a new, designer baby, clinic opening in Britain. But it’s not just a designer baby they’re creating, but saviour babies…

*And I don’t say that just because some of them will be my professors in the upcoming years. They really are genuinely nice folks, and I’ve enjoyed all my interactions with them, which would be a large reason why I opted to throw my name in their grad program hat to begin with.