Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Group 1 Mid-Term Presentation: Summary Post

Kat took a look at three artists that use body parts, either their own or others', in order to Kat took a look at three artists that use body parts, either their own or others', in order to create art pieces. There are quite a few ethical questions to raise: Is it selfish of Mark Quinn to use his own blood this way instead of donating it? Does the message that Andrew Krasnow is trying to send outweigh the importance of the skin samples he takes from medical supplies? Do we even "get" this message when looking at his pieces (as opposed to Francois Robert)? Why would someone take issue with Linda Jones' pieces? Do you find them disturbing? Why/why not? Overall, my project focuses on these questions and the aesthetic appeal of human flesh/blood/bones/medical supplies. Do we find these pieces beautiful?

Logan’s work consists of an investigation of the Alder Hey organ scandal, in which Dutch pathologist Dick van Velzen ordered for the illegal seizure and retention of organs from dead infants and children. This issue brings up the ethics and morality of what to do with cadavers, and what happens when physicians place greater value on the constituents of a human as opposed to their lives.

Emily wrote about the manipulation of a cadaver for theatrical, entertainment, and anatomy purposes. The experiment is called Project 12:31. Joseph Jernigan, who was sentenced to murder due to him killing a 75 year old man during a robbery, agreed to donate his body to scientific and medical research. His cadaver was donated to the Visible Human Project, where they cross sectioned it into 1,871 single millimeter slices. Photographer Frank Schott then took multiple pictures of the pieces. The purpose of this was to “facilitate anatomy visualization applications,” giving better more 3D insights of the human anatomy, but it raised ethical concerns to some groups, with main ones saying the medical profession should have nothing to do with executions, and it was scrutinizing the individual. Art director Croix Gagnon worked with him and they ran the slices through an animation illuminating the internal images. They created a process where they played the video of the cross sectioned body on a laptop at night and recorded the video using night photography, manipulating laptop animation and leveraging abnormally long exposures. The end result was “long exposure light paintings of the cadaver” which look like ghostly figures haunting photos.  There are a series of photographs in Project 12:31, with the cadaver appearing in different positions and locations.

Meredith’s work consists of an investigation and description of Body Worlds, which is an exhibition of dead bodies with the primary goal of health education.  Exhibits are deceased human, and even animal, bodies that are medically altered to show what’s under the skin in order to better understand human anatomy and physiology.
Evan’s basic outline consists of a short history of the discovery of anatomy through dissection, morality and ethicality through the years as relating to larger religions, laws and other codes put in place by society;
why people deal with death the way they do; when and why is it ethical and legal in our society to dissect a dead body and the ethicality of a person’s after death wishes and the movement of their body.

For further reading…

Meredith’s Subject: http://www.bodyworlds.com/en.html

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Group 3

     Hello. Yesterday we talked about the direction of our presentation and when we would meet again in the future to continue preparing for the presentation. We also talked about genetically removing perceived flaws, fears, or other traits that we would be able to and how this could change us. We talked about whether or not this would be a good thing or bad thing. How far is too far when it comes to altering the genetic material of a being?

The New Science Of "Three-Parent" Babies

It's a misnomer, since a "parent" is one thing and a genetic materials donor something else again. But I heard this during my commute to school this morning, it's well worth a listen.
"Day two today of F.D.A. hearings on what you may have seen described in headlines as “three-parent babies.”  The genetic material of three adults combined to make one healthy baby.  Mom’s nuclear D.N.A., dad’s sperm, and mitochondrial D.N.A. from a donor, to avoid inheritable disease.  Backers say this reproductive technology will spare families from passing down suffering.  Maybe extend fertility for older moms.  Critics say this is the gateway to genetically modified human beings, high-tech eugenics, dystopia.  This hour On Point:  science, ethics, reproduction, and D.N.A. times three."
The New Science Of Three-Parent Babies | On Point with Tom Ashbrook

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Group 2

We talked about whether research findings should be open to the ordinary folks or if it should be regulated/classified and kept out of the public eye?  Some said that they should keep it secret until it is perfected or more was known on the subject.  Others felt that it would be good for others to be able to see the information (More people working on a problem are better than one).  We also talked about bad people getting ahold of information that they could misuse for devious or malevolent causes.  
Then we talked about consideration for synthetic organisms. First we talked about our definition of consideration.  Recognition of its existence? Rights? Consequences?  We also talked about the possibilities of applying this to artificial life (Artificial Intelligence).  Would sentient, self-aware computers be deserving of full consideration as life?  This brought up Singer's idea of speciesism.  Some of our group thought that artificial life would not be deserving of equal rights or treatment as people.  Others felt that rights would be necessary if the life form was sentient and self aware.  
We then set a meeting time to work on our group project.  We will meet in the library at 6pm on Wednesday the 26th. 

Group 1-Chapter 4 Discussion

We discussed our group report on Thursday and finalized our project plans.

We then discussed whether Marshall's drastic measures were something we would do. Logan did not think it was worth it. The general consensus was that it was not worth it. Evan gave the hypothetical scenario asking if someone would inject themselves with AIDS in order to study the effects. We did not think that was worth the suffering.

Daily Quiz

Feb. 25

1. What was the first successfully decoded genome?

2. What was Venter's new genome sequencing technique named?

3. What was the first live organism sequenced by Venter's method?

4. True/False: Gram positive bacteria show up pink/red during a Gram Stain test.

5. What is meant by the term "essential" amino acids?

6. What is a bacteriophage?

7. Who pioneered the plus-minus sequencing of DNA and sequenced the first viral DNA genome?

8. (T/F) Mycoplasma genitalium has the smallest known genome. 

[If your FQs are "NOTED" below but not in the quiz, help yourself to a QR... & as always, take your bases.]

1. RNA viral genome-bacteriophage MS2 (pg 48). 2. whole genome shotgun sequencing (pg 53). 3. haemophilus influenzae. 4. False. 5. They cannot be manufactured by cells in the body and must be obtained through diet. 6. A virus that uses bacteria as hosts to replicate. 7. (Fred Sanger) p.48. 8. A: True (P. 54)


What color do gram positive bacteria stain? -Purple

What implications could the creation of human microorganisms present? If humans can create synthetic life does it deserve the same considerations as natural life?


FQ: T/F. Comparative genomics states that evolution tends to use the same structure/sequence over and over again if that structure plays a critical biological function.
(True) p.53

FQ: T/F. Archaea are more closely related to eukaryotes than prokaryotes. 
(True) p.56

FQ: Which two enzymes had a major contribution to deciphering the genetic code?
( Reverse transcriptase and DNA polymerase) p.67

DQ: Do you think major research results should be published openly to the laity or kept under strong surveillance?

DQ#2: Does the creation of synthetic life point to the life's lack of vitalism or to the proof of Spinosa'z God?

link: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2013/03/08/should-healthy-people-get-their-genomes-sequenced/#.Uwv7pH8g_E4

FQ: What stops the DNA polymerase from adding additional nucleotides to the growing DNA chain?
A: Dideoxynucleotides or terminator nucleotides (P. 48)

FQ: What is the carbon source for every protein and lipid in a Methanococcus cell? This can also be converted to methane to generate cellular energy.
A:Carbon Dioxide (P. 55)

FQ: The structures seen in the meteorite, ALH 84001, from Mars were produced by living nanobacterium. (True/False)
A: False (P. 56-57)

DQ: Are experiments, such as Marshall's experiment of swallowing a solution of Helicobacter pylori, worth risking your life to gain further knowledge of a specific organism?

Link: Can there be gray area between religion, politics, and contraceptive?

DQ- I would like to discuss with the group if it would be difficult for them to throw caution to the wind as Venter does, uncaring about his reputation? Also, how would it affect them to work with someone with a tarnished reputation and take a huge gamble, much like Hamilton Smith did?

(DQ) What sort of problems could we solve today by creating new microorganisms?

LINK: Venter-

LINK: Sanger's method of DNA sequencing: http://www.dnalc.org/view/15479-Sanger-method-of-DNA-sequencing-3D-animation-with-narration.html

Factual question

Where was Phi X 174  discovered?
pg 63.

Group 2

We started of with talking about our group project.  We had scheduled to meet on Thursday night, but we decided that we could not do that.  We decided we would meet up at another time soon.  From there we went briefly into the ethical obligations of physicians and other health care professionals versus their own personal ethical codes, especially in the case of advising patients on issues they may have personal opinions for or against.
Here is a link I found on the subject that I though was pretty interesting.  It is a debate between two philosophy professors on the subject of personal vs professional ethics:  http://centers.scb.rit.edu/ethics/2011/06/personal-vs-professional-ethics/

Playing Craig

And more... (Laughter is a useful defense mechanism.)
The Food and Drug Administration is weighing a controversial fertility procedure that involves combining the genetic material of three people to make a baby free of certain defects, a therapy that critics say is an ethical minefield and could lead to the creation of designer babies... (continues)
STANFORD, Calif. — An extremely rare, polio-like disease has appeared in more than a dozen California children within the past year, and each of them suffered paralysis to one or more arms or legs, Stanford University researchers say. But public health officials haven't identified any common causes connecting the cases... (continues)
When you have a child off at college, you worry about his general health, state of mind, alcohol use — and, as you sign those tuition checks, academic achievement. But how much thought do you give to your child’s roommate?... (continues)
Think too much about your life span and you will never get out of bed in the morning. Once you do, though, all the scientific mysteries of the subject may lie panting on the rug at your feet. Why should your good old faithful dog (avid exerciser, nonsmoker, nondrinker) be condemned to age and die after barely a decade, while you remain firmly in your prime — and the neighbor’s African gray parrot lives loudly on and on?... (continues)

Monday, February 24, 2014

group 3
After briefing talking about the medical professionals role in a patients life and if a doctor should be allowed to decline a procedure because of an individual ethical issue, we talked about our midterm project and how and when we wanted to get together for it. we decided that we would have our first meeting on Friday and then get together one more time maybe two until we felt comfortable with our presentation to the class. we also discussed other groups presentations and how we were excited to see them and see what the groups have to say.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Venter, Chapter 3 Summary

After discussing ethical issues of health care professionals regarding spiritual matters, we decided to discuss our midterm presentation. We discussed assigning an order for presentees and a day to meet up next week to practice. The rough order we decided on is as follows (subject to modification!):

1. Logan
2. Emily
3. Kat
4. Meredith
5. Evan

We plan on refining our subject matters over the weekend and coming up with a solid order next week.

If anyone would like to coordinate a meet-up time, email me at lms5j@mtmail.mtsu.edu! I would post my number, but I don't who would get a hold of it from the internet.

Daily Quiz


1. (T/F) In the late 18th century/early 19th century, scientists had a hard time accepting DNA as a ''code script'' because it seemed far too simple in composition to transmit genetic information.

2. What acid is more versatile than DNA in a way that it is both an information carrier and an enzyme?

3. (T/F) Human and bacterial ribosomes are indistinguishable, thus taking antibiotics harms both the bacterial and the human cells equally.

Thanks, Nikita.

Your questions, everybody else? Let's build it together [POSTSCRIPT: please fill in the questions we crowd-sourced in class, I didn't write them down.]




1. True.  2. RNA, ribonucleic acid. 3. False. 4. 


DQ: What are your thoughts on dust, considering it is 3/4 dead skin cells that most likely belong to someone else.

["Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto", or "I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me."]

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSzEjGQ5N1o
A link to a video of protein folding simulation.

Group 1 Discussion Post for Venter Chapters 1-2

So sorry for the delay, everyone! Totally slipped my mind!

Our group discussed our group projects for a while. We will be presenting on scandalous dead bodies and the ethics behind using corpses for entertainment, art, or simply a keepsake.

We then discussed our opinions on artificial life. Kat said she was fine with it as long as it would help society. Dr. Oliver said this was all very dangerous without the researcher being omniscient. We then talked about the ways in which this revolutionary research could have adverse consequences.

I then suggested that not much had happened after Dolly the sheep was cloned, so maybe the creation of artificial life will not have any negative consequences, either. However, we then discussed that there were many things I was not informed on about cloning, and that wealthy people now clone their pets.

We agreed that Venter should try to be protecting of his research and careful of who all learned how to replicate his success. We also agreed that any seemingly beneficial results should be thoroughly studied and completely safe before they are mass distributed due to unknown effects.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Group 3 Discussion

We took the first few minutes to discuss about the group project. Nikita brought up his discussion question that he had posted a few days ago, "Do you think that even with the availability of the best medical treatment, a portion of patient's health is influenced by positive thinking and optimism?" We mostly agreed that optimism can improve ones health, although there are limitations to that. This then led into the debate on whether optimism can come from inheritance or outside influences. As we provided supporting examples for both outlooks, our discussion drifted into the influence of music. There are people that must have music in their lives, people that enjoy it but don't see it as a necessity, and people that simply do not like music. The influence of music cannot be accurately quantified since the amount of influence vary depending on the individual.

Group Two

We started out talking about our group project.  We are doing our project over animal testing.  We touched on some of the pros and cons of animal testing.   We looked at some of the progress that we have been making while using animals for testing, as well as looked at the poor living conditions and poor treatment of some of the test specimens.  We also set a meeting time to get together and work on this.  Dr. Oliver came and helped to add to our conversation on animal rights.

Group 2

We took our test on Thursday and decided that we would not meet to work on our project after it.  Up coming is Life at the Speed of Light by Craig Venter.  Here is an interview from NPR in which Craig Venter talks about his book.

Daily Quiz

Feb 18

1. What theory (or view of life) holds that organic life follows its own impetus and rules, and cannot be reduced to inorganic chemistry?

2. The merged understanding of computing and life as "coded" is called the ____ Age?

3. What's protoplasm?

4. What cells have a half-life of 120 days?  

5. Who couldn't "hold back his urine," and why does it matter to Venter?

6. What's Weismann's corollary? (OR, to whose revolutionary work in biology does it point?)

7. What crucial component of life does the "new vitalism" downgrade or ignore?

8. What is "nature's self-reproducing automaton"?

  1. ==
  2. 1.  Vitalism-p.12. The Digital Age of biology) - p.1.2. Digital. 3. 3. A living content surrounded by a plasma membrane. 4. (Red Blood) -p.18. 5. Berzelius, p. 13; it demonstrated the possibility of synthesizing organic compounds. 6. There must be a common ancestral cell; Darwin-p.16. 7. DNA-p.17. 8. The double helix.
  3. ==
  4. DQ:Are there important ethical implications in the fact that "the outcome of computer evolution is built into its programming"? (p.23)
  5. DQ: Do you think that even with the availability of the best medical treatment, a portion of patient's health is influenced by positive thinking and optimism? 
  6. DQ: Do you believe that all lifeforms, even possible exoplanet life, have to be organic?

    Link: http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/05/health/positive-thinking-deepak-chopra/
    This may assist you in finding the best answer to my discussion question.
"Cracking Your Genetic Code" link:. http://youtu.be/4gUZiwgWpW8

What is life?

One of the landmark events of 20th century science was celebrated and reinterpreted for the 21st century in Trinity College Dublin on 12 July 2012 as part of the Science in the City programme of ESOF2012. Dr Craig Venter, one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project in the 1990s and a pioneer of synthetic biology delivered a lecture entitled, 'What is Life? A 21st century perspective' recreating the Irish event that inspired the discovery of the structure of DNA. 

In February, 1943 one of the most distinguished scientists of the 20th Century, Erwin Schrödinger, delivered a seminal lecture, entitled 'What is Life?', under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, in Trinity College Dublin. The lecture presented far-sighted ideas on how hereditary information could be encoded in a chemical structure (aperiodic crystal) in living cells. Schrödinger's book (1944) of the same title is considered to be a scientific classic. The book was cited by Crick and Watson as one of the inspirations which ultimately led them to unravel the structure of DNA in 1953, a breakthrough which won them the Nobel prize. YouT

Group 1: Venter, Chapters 1 and 2

It's a little late at night, but I thought I'd kick things off for our group.

(FQ) What organic molecule was synthesized by Wöhler in the 19th century, allegedly "disproving" vitalism?

(FQ) True/False: In Louis Pasteur's experiment involving the regular beaker and the beaker with the swan shaped neck, bacteria grew in both when exposed to air.

(FQ) What two scientists are credited with the discovery of the structure of DNA?
James Watson and Francis Crick

(DQ) I'd like to discuss everyone's view on "creating life", as was done by Venter and his team.

Below is a link to an interview with Mr. David Rajeski, the director of the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, discussing the morality of creating life.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Life At The Speed Of Light (Ch. 1,2)

I hope everyone did well on the exam.

FQ: What theory stated, "Organic substances have at least 3 constituents... they cannot be prepared artificially... but only through the affinities associated with vital force. It is made clear that the same rules cannot apply to both organic and inorganic chemistry, the influence of the vital force being essential."
A: Vitalism

DQ: Do you believe that all lifeforms, even possible exoplanet life, have to be organic?

I watched an interesting documentary on Netflix. The film is called "Cracking Your Genetic Code" and it's by PBS. This refers to "knowing yourself to the genetic level." Would one really want to know they're possible fate by looking at they're own genetic codes? I only have a short clip of the documentary on YouTube, but here it is... http://youtu.be/4gUZiwgWpW8

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Group 1: Study Questions

1. What Greek philosopher was one of the earliest exponents of virtue ethics?

2. What is the best known consequentialist theory?

3. What principle of John Stuart Mill's is frequently referenced in this chapter?
Mill's Harm Principle

4. Which religious traditions are most akin to virtue ethics? 
Hinduism and Buddhism

5. What is the generally accepted term for Eastern bioethics (often called the antithesis to western bioethics)?
Familial Communitarianism

6. What ancient philosophy is a powerful influence on many parts of Asia, dealing with the practice of ren and sustained by rituals of rites?

7. What is the first, and arguably most, important consideration a health professional has in relation to his patients?
He/She must always act within the welfare and best interests of his patients.

8. The Geneva Code of Medical Ethics was drawn up in 1948 after the medical atrocities from what significant event? 
World War II

9. What political philosopher details the aspects of minimum health status in his book, A Theory of Justice?
John Rawls

10. How did John Snow halt the spread of cholera on Broad Street?
He removed the water pump handle.

Group 2: Study Guide Questions

1) What percentage of our nations GDP is spent on health care and are we one of the highest or lowest? 
            18% and we are the highest compared to others, some spending as little as 3%. 

2) Although the major infectious diseases may have been eradicated in higher income societies, they have been replaced by ____________.
            Diseases of affluence 

3) In Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma, he describes the medical relationship as a conspiracy  against what group/ type of people?
            the laity (lay people, ordinary people)

4) what are the three key features of valid consent?
            it is informed, competent, and voluntary

5) Name one of the Four Principles in Beauchamp and Childress's theories on biomedical ethics?
            Non-Maleficence, Beneficence, Autonomy, and Justice

6) What Greek philosopher was one of the earliest exponents of virtue ethics?

7) What 40 years US study denied information and treatment to its subjects?
            Tuskegee Syphilis Study

8) Bioethics has broken free of what mentality?

            Doctor knows best

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Genetically Modified Kids

Betsy here, ran across this today and thought of bioethics class. 2 genetically altered children, both born to mothers who couldn't otherwise conceive on their own. Tested to have genetic material from 2 mothers and 1 father. Obviously a lot of people are critical of the experiment. The head scientist mentions that cloning a child would be 'easy work' for one of his students.
I scanned through recent posts and didn't see mention of it, so I thought I'd leave it here!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Group 3: Chapter 6

     Today we spent a huge portion of our class discussing social contract philosophies and those that affiliate with it, including John Rawls, Thomas Hobbes, J. Rousseau, and John Locke. We briefly touched on a point that being a celebrity should not grant privilege to the healthcare, in a case like jumping up the list to receive a kidney transplant. We have, also, discussed the lifeboat situation and a few people have stated their opinions on the issue.
     For those that have missed the class today, we will take a look at the links that have been nominated as interesting next Tuesday and our exam, covering the first book, will be on Thursday.
     Groups did not have a lot of discussion time; however, we did talk about a possible mid term presentation topic which will center around a movie that is similar to the lifeboat scenario presented in the book.
     Factual questions for Exam 1:
---------these are all of the factual questions asked in our group; once every group has posted theirs we can make the list shorter -------

1- The idea of Natural Law, which bases itself upon the departure from ''natural procreation'', is a principal that belongs to which philosopher and theologian?
(Thomas Aquinas)

2-What is inverse care law?
(The availability of good healthcare varies with the need of the population served) p148

3- What is therapeutic misconception?
(Wrongly believing a new experimental research project may benefit a particular patients illness)

4- Name two of the four codes that protect an individual from malicious research.
(protection of the research participant is paramount, independent ethical review, scientific validity, fully informed and voluntary consent, acceptable balance of risks and benefits. p.116)

5- In what kind of a randomized clinical trail (RCT) does neither the researcher nor the research subject know to which group any patient is assigned?
(double blind. p.121)

6- Which famous, contemporary philosopher coined a term called speciesism?
(Peter Signer. p122)

7- Name the features that represent a valid consent between a health care professional and a patient.
(it must be informed, competent, and voluntary)

8- (T/F) According to the book, confidentiality should not be breached when there is a clear threat to a specific individual.

9- What are the two major spheres of justice discussed by Campbell?
(Social Justice and Distributive Justice)

10- What 2 major factors need to be considered when informing a patient about a treatment?
(Severity and Probability)

11- What is medical paternalism?
(The idea that the doctor always knows best, beyond what is known about the medical facts and consequences.)

12- In religions, like Buddhism, what is meant by the ''way of dharma''? 
(a way of a universal spirituality which maintains and nurtures all life)

13-: List the five major religions mentioned in the book in a chronological order, starting with the earliest.
(Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam)

14- True/False. If a chronic patient is not getting any any better, the physician's primary role is to generate furor therapeutics. 

15- Which theory has been dominant in bioethics and often used by many health professionals?