As further proof that we haven't progressed much, ethically, from the days when unsavory characters made midnight forays into graveyards to provide medical researchers with cadavers for dissection, I offer this macabre story of tissue removed from bodies entrusted to various mortuaries in New York City, without consent and without proper safety precautions. The tissues were then implanted, in the form of bone and skin grafts, in hundreds of unsuspecting patients across the country.I'm beginning to suspect that "factory medicine" is as dangerous a practice as factory farming.
Because I have a friend who is an avid deer hunter, the New York Times article on chronic wasting disease caught my eye. CWD is the deer and elk equivalent of mad cow disease, and has spread so far to 11 states and two Canadian provinces.
The news is not all bad for hunters. Bruce Morrison, chairman of the National Chronic Wasting Disease Plan Implementation Team is himself a hunter and asserts, "I'm not worried." However, he also recommended that hunters in states where CWD has been found have their deer and elk meat frozen while the brain is tested, and warned that no part of an infected animal should be eaten.
Which is not good news for the rest of us. I fail to see a material difference between this warning and a call to increase greatly the testing of animals that end up in the meat departments of our grocery stores. We have not learned well from Great Britain's sad experience with mad cow disease, and need to stop burying our governmental heads in the sand. Japan's recent renewal of the ban on U.S. beef is not the most important reason for tightening the regulations, although it is the one grabbing the headlines.Personally, I'm awaiting news from Symantec and McAfee that they will be implementing special protection measures for Gateway computers.
Because of the vaccine shortage, we abstained from our annual flu shots last year. Perhaps that was a good thing, because it encouraged us to avoid public drinking fountains, to be more careful with handwashing, and to make use of pocket vials of hand sanitizer when out among the hand-shaking public. (This was recommended by a physician friend whose specialty is infectious diseases. The alcohol-based formula is effective on both bacteria and viruses and, because of the way it works, does not promote resistance as anti-bacterial soaps do.)
It was thrilling to have avoided the flu without the vaccine, but we decided not to translate that excitement into presumption, largely because we will be with people this season to whom we particularly do not want to pass the illness. So we paid a visit to the county health department.We discovered the health department as a source of immunizations one year when we tried to go to our doctor and discovered his office was no longer giving flu shots that year. That turned out to be a blessing! We've gone back to the health department ever since. Which of these two scenarios would you choose? (1) Go to the doctor, hang around for half an hour or so in a waiting room full of sick people, and hand over a $20 copay; or (2) go to the health department, wait five minutes, and pay $18!
Pressure is increasing on schools to remove that nutritional disaster called soda from their vending machines and replace it with healthy fare like water, juice, and milk. In response, the soft drink manufacturers, not to be caught with their profits down, have succeeded in spinning milk into soda. Take a delicious bottle of milk, add sugar, artificial flavor, and sometimes even carbonation, give it a name like Milky Way, Starburst, or Bubble Blast, and voila! — a drink no calf would recognize. (More)
I've noted before some of the problems with epidural pain relief during childbirth, and my latest reading, Lise Eliot's What's Going on in There: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life confirms my worries. Here are a few of her concerns: (More)
Well, I guess that explains why 20% of the world's population is Chinese!
I know we must make decisions based on the knowledge we have at the time, and have no problem with honest errors. My quarrel is with those—I include myself—who in the certainty of their own convictions would use the force of law or their position to shut down contrary beliefs."First, do no harm."