Up@dawn 2.0

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mentality Effects Disease

    It is known that certain levels of stress can cause diseases to become worse overtime. It is now being researched that stress is a much larger contributing factor than it was once thought to be. Anyone who has dealt with stress, this should include everyone at some point in time, knows that it is mentally and physically tiring. This can result in further damage to the human body. We shall explore some situations that explore this area of study from my personal experiences.
    For starters, many vertebrates have stress levels that effect their health. Birds can undergo many stressful situations such as learning to fly, injuries, and disease. I have experienced many times finding young birds that have fallen from their nests. When I was younger, I would help my mother try to care for these young birds and try to rehabilitate them. The loss of the security causes much stress on the bird and usually ended in the bird parashing. I also witnessed a rabbit that was attacked by a feline. The rabbit was not majorily injured from the attack, so my mother, not knowing any better, decided to place the rabbit in an animal crate to further protect it. I checked the rabbit periodically during the day and found its state of health to rapidly decline. The rabbit, due to extreme levels of stress due to the confinement and human contact eventually went into a stage of shock. By the next day, it had perished. I now, with my education and rational thinking, put a high priority of blame of these deaths to the levels of stresses that were exerted on the animals. It would have probably been more humane to allow nature to take its course and could have resulted in a higher chance of survivability.
    Humans must not forget that although we have a higher level of thought processes and advancements in technology, deep down, we are still animals and share many bodily functions with other mammals, vertebrates, and other living organisms. The same effects that have been witnessed with animals experiencing stress should be considered when evaluating our own health.
    In order to correlate and extend my previous post on my grandfather's experience with dimentia, I shall include a story of how I belive his condition was catalized by his thoughts which increased his stress levels. My great-grandmother, Mary Gordon Thompson was the first known family case of Alzheimer's.
    Mary Gordon Thompson, or "grandmother" as the family called her, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in the early 1990's. As a child, I did not quite grasp the idea of this disease. I would notice that she would repeat stories often or ask my name frequently, but as a child, I did not consider this abnormal. Through the years, I noticed her condition to worsen. She began to forget her grandchildren's names including my father. Later it was hard for her to describe or even name common objects. One memory that I will always have is when we showed her pictures of a family trip to Disney World. My father showed her a picture of Cinderella's castle and asked her if she knew what it was. She responded by saying, "That is a telephone." This confused me greatly and started my understanding of the disease she had.
    Since the decline and later death of grandmother, I noticed a great difference of my grandfather's thought process. Due to his mother's condition and his understanding of biology, he assumed that it would be possible for him to later have the same fate. He would continually talk and describe how he thought he was experiencing the same symptoms. It was always on his mind and was stressing him out. I know believe that the levels of thought, worry, and resulting stress further pushed him into a worsening condition.
    I do belive that if he had been more relaxed about this situation, he would not have the severity of his condition. I can know see that his stress is more increased as ever. He gets very frustrated not being able to complete sentences or finish daily tasks such as getting the mail or eating dinner in one sitting.
    To conclude, humans should try to decrease their stress levels to help secure a better and healthier lifestyle. High levels of stress has been observed to increase the severity of disease and complications not only in humans but also in many other forms of biological life. We should also always remember that humans are deeply related to these other biological systems and related stress should be considered when dealing with our own diseases and disorders. Reducing our own stress will increase the chances of a healthier body, mind, and future for the benefit of the world. Here is a link for further research concerning stress levels correlating to human health: Psychosomatic Disorders.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Got a minute?

1 Minute of All-Out Exercise May Have Benefits of 45 Minutes of Moderate Exertion
For many of us, the most pressing question about exercise is: How little can I get away with? The answer, according to a sophisticated new study of interval training, may be very, very little. In this new experiment, in fact, 60 seconds of strenuous exertion proved to be as successful at improving health and fitness as three-quarters of an hour of moderate exercise.
Let me repeat that finding: One minute of arduous exercise was comparable in its physiological effects to 45 minutes of gentler sweating... (continues)
But it would be wrong. Right?

It would be wrong for me. I would not derive the "benefits" of walking away from every kind of trouble, and into an expansive space of mental freedom, if I tried to do it in a 60-second sprint.

Are people really so pressed for time? Or for motivation?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Socioeconomic-status and Patient-Physician Interaction (Report #1)

                   Across various professions, socioeconomic status (SES) is a factor that plays a critical role in whether or not an individual may be eligible to perform or undergo a task based off of their race, social class, gender and many more aspects. In particular, individuals who are employed within the medical/health field encounter the issues associated with ethnicity, gender, and social class on an everyday basis. Having said that, the question at hand remains at whether or not physicians should be equipped with the ability to handle their wide patient-base on an interpersonal level; or, whether or not physicians should have a standardized method of interaction between their patient-base.

                As far as race is concerned in medicine, modern-day physicians can use a patient's ethnic background to more efficiently diagnose and provide a treatment plan for his/her ailment. In example, people of African-American descent are three times as likely to contract a serious case of asthma as any other race. With that stated, a doctor may be able to use this information in order to eliminate the possibility of this characteristic from causing any harm to the individual by addressing/checking the issue prior to conducting any further treatment if a more serious issue may be persisting. Additionally, people of Pacific-Islander descent are 75% more likely than any other race to contract a fatal heart-attack; therefore, a doctor may be able to use this information and change the dosage amount or concentration of a particular medicine/drug (I.E: Blood Thinner) to suit the needs of that particular individual. With all of this stated, medicine's aim is not to see their patients through a "racial looking glass;" but, rather, to utilize any bits of information at their disposal to maintain the well-being of their patients.

                The issue of gender in medicine stems from its neutrality in the issue. To clarify, the treatment for males and females tends to be very similar; needless to say, this may pose a problem as the two do not always react the same way or exhibit similar symptoms from taking a particular drug. For example, women suffering from profuse sweating may be diagnosed as having hot flashes (Gender-Neutral Diagnosis), but it is more symptomatic of the early signs of a heart attack which is usually not an indicator of a heart attack in men (Gender-Specific Diagnosis). Quite frankly, an issue such as the one previously mentioned could be avoided in the case that the situation is appropriately addressed with respect to the individual's physiology. Nevertheless, modern-day medicine cannot entirely be personalized with respect to gender at this point due to the incredible amount of demand for health care and lack of suppliers, but further research and technological advancements are allowing this to come into closer reach.

                Social class is another issue involved within the relationship between the patient and the physician. For instance, patients of a lower social class do not always have access to a greater array of benefits and are usually at a higher risk of acquiring some disease/disability then a patient of a higher social class may be. Having said that, this creates an inequality complex between the patient and the physician as the doctor may not always be able to provide his/her patient with an equally optimistic prognosis. Now, this issue stems more from the socio-political aspect of medicine that is out of the health provider's control; but, the physician should still be able to interact with the patient on an interpersonal level in terms of providing information about alternative treatment methods and possible outcomes.

                In my opinion, I believe that all medical professionals and students alike should be subjected to an educational system which includes a diverse group of instructors/mentors such as ethicists, sociologists, and politicians. I would hope that this methodology would provide the present and future of the medical/health sciences world to operate on a more interpersonal/sensitive level as opposed to a standardized/impersonal means of treatment among the infinitely expanding patient-base.

Invulnerability: Impossibility or Synonymous Reality? (pt. I)

"No mortal can ever be made invulnerable." True? What do you see as the important implications of this for the issue of vaccination as public health policy?

If, by definition, invulnerability is predicated upon it being impossible to harm or to damage an individual, then it doesn’t take much more provocation to agree with the sentiment that “no mortal can ever be made invulnerable”. Even half-deity little godlings can’t be made without a weak spot, as Eula Biss reminded us with her inclusion of the Achilles myth in her On Immunity. Invulnerability is precisely that: a myth.
The possibility of invulnerability in terms of the average human being begins and dies with anatomy, ironically enough. As we age, our bodies decline, as follows natural life progression. This makes us weaker, more susceptible to disease, injury, and every other danger daily life has to offer.
Directly antithetical to the idea of invulnerability.
And yet, even in our prime, even at our fittest, by steadfast biological dictation, we are all still flesh and bone. Flesh and bone, which are susceptible to disease, to damage, to death, etc.
At the risk of repetition: by the nature of our anatomical structure, no mortal can ever be made invulnerable.
But that is not to say that susceptibility and immunity are to be entirely thrown out the window simply because the “impervious” synonymity of our definition has been trashed. Susceptibility to and immunity to disease are controllable, if anything can so be defined in a system as unpredictable as that of the human anatomy. This is to say, in terms of vaccination, some of the dangers which prevent The Invulnerable Human Being from coming into existence can be taken out of the equation.
To further explain, as might be the glaring, obvious point of this discourse, if smallpox is indicated as a potential harm, or threat, to the human race, and a vaccine is developed to prevent smallpox, in a world of mandatory vaccinations, the apparent “eradication” of that particular strain of smallpox would be seen. This is not to say that the smallpox disease would cease to exist, in fact, it might go through some viral evolution, and recur stronger than ever years down the road. And yet, for a time, the prevention factor of immunology and immunization would have not only lead to a decrease in smallpox-related deaths, but also founded a shared “herd immunity”, and a sense of categorized invulnerability (to that particular virus, of course).
This, then is where significance comes to bear in terms of public health policy. The foundation of communal immunity is predicated upon the participation of the entire community, for the health and safety of individual. Invulnerability, if impossible by mortal standards, is still ideologically a goal and once again can be accomplished almost categorically. That is, we might not be able to be invulnerable to (immune to, insusceptible to…) even half the things which pose danger to us as flesh and blood, but arguments against preventing what we can through immunization (beyond those made on the grounds of actual health risk/danger to the individual receiving the vaccination), are arguments made for a step away from communal health and safety.

Part II will continue address the broader effects and implications of attitudes of impossibility when regarding public immunity and apparent "invulnerability".

Is Capitalism Bad for Healthcare?

I usually try to avoid hyperbolic and dichotomous propositions like the one used in my title here, but Christ if it isn't hard not to think that way sometimes, and dammit if Buzzfeed doesn't get a lot of traffic to their website with titles like these. Or maybe it'd be something more like: '10 reasons capitalism is bad for healthcare,' but I'm not gonna stoop that low. I will, on the other hand, actually use a list. 

Nonetheless, I'll try to provide some real content here. I'll tone down the hyperbole as well with the clarification that most of the best healthcare countries are capitalist as well, but have not gone in the extreme neoliberal direction that the United states has in the last 35 years, which is closer to the more traditional conception of capitalism. Capitalism has taken on many forms, but for those countries that are, overall, capitalist nations, and who rank high on the list of the best healthcare systems in the world, the healthcare systems themselves are, in fact, more socialist than capitalist. 

The general public argument that has sustained the exponential expansion of for-profit healthcare corporations--which now includes pharmaceuticals, hospitals (a sector that should strike a particular chord here in Nashville, home to hospital mega corporation HCA), insurance, biotech, healthcare equipment and technology, etc.--has been that the high cost and increasing cost of healthcare across the board is necessary for the research, development, and quality that makes the American healthcare system so great.  In the end, its a public good argument: if we paid less, or had a different system, we'd all end up with shitty hospitals, shitty drugs, shitty healthcare. And its also a customized version of a broader argument about neoliberal capitalism that has increasingly gained traction since the 80's, that a free market economy unfettered by government regulation, combined with a managed system that subsidizes buzzwords like 'innovation' and 'technology' and 'sectors' yields the best society, maybe the ultimate society, the one that the teleological progression of history has always been destined to bring us to. (If this seems like an over exaggeration, see Fukuyama's 'The End of History and The Last Man' )  

But while this broader argument about capitalism may be a self induced caricature, a concept we've all become familiar with in the year of the Donald (also see https://www.reddit.com/r/nottheonion), I think most of us have come to see this argument about our healthcare system as a load of BS. My main argument here is that Healthcare's conceptual foundation rests on the idea that the ultimate end should always be the patient's well-being, but in a system of unfettered capitalism, the ultimate goal is always profit, with any other ends taking on auxiliary role.  These financial ends ultimately trump any other concern, and in fact, become antithetical to the real ends of healthcare. Here's some examples that support my case: 

1.) Pharmaceutical companies don't use all of that money for research and development. 
Exhibit A:  nine out of ten pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing than research. Johnson and Johnson, the biggest, spent around 17.5 BILLION on marketing compared to 8.2 Billion for research. 

Exhibit B: Dramatic price hikes on existing drugs, or astoundingly high rates for new ones, are common practice in the United States.  This is a practice that is defended by drug companies so that they can fund drug research, but a close look at the finances of more than a dozen public drug companies illustrates research and development expenses are routinely smaller than company overheads. The more plausible explanation is that they're just trying to reap as much in profits as they can. 

  Exhibit C: Pharmaceutical companies bribe doctors to prescribe medication incorrectly.  Johnson and Johnson, for instance, improperly promoted the antipsychotic drug Risperdal to older adults, children and people with developmental disabilities. To do this, they paid doctors, hospitals, and other companies kickbacks. For their efforts, they were slapped with a 2.2 billion dollar fine. Might sound like a lot, but remember, they spent 17.5 billion dollars in marketing alone the year before. 

Exhibit D: DrugMakers Reap Profits On Tax-Backed Research. Xalatan, a best-selling eyedrop for glaucoma, was sold by Columbia University to the Pharmacia Corp. for around $20 million. In 1999, sales of Xalatan exceeded $500 million. But it was the American taxpayer that provided Dr. Bito (the researcher who developed the drug) with the bulk of his funding: $4 million.

2.) Hospitals make a bunch of money, but not because their services are better. 

Exhibit A: Remember HCA? It has the dubious honor of having the biggest fraud settlement in US history at 2 billion dollars for overcharging patients, which you can read about here.  

Exhibit B: Rick Scott, the CEO during the period of HCA's most rampant fraud, is now the governor of Florida. In July of last year, the state announced it would repeal hospital standards for children's heart surgery that had been in place since 1977.  Why? Because a number of hospitals owned by Tenent, another huge for-profit hospital chain, did not meet these standards, and instead of investing money into improving their hospitals, they made enormous contributions to the former HCA CEO's political action committees. In 2013 and 2014, Tenet contributed $50,000 each year to Let's Get to Work, Scott's political action committee. The next largest Tenet contribution those years to a state candidate's PAC was $25,000.
It's hard to get much worse than repealing safety standards for heart surgery in children.

Exhibit C: The same procedures in the US can cost up to ten times more than in other countries, even with insurance. A lot of people have gotten wise to this idea, as is evidenced by the increasing trend of 'medical tourism:' US patients traveling abroad in order to avoid the

Exhibit D: Non-profit hospitals are actually the most profitable in the US. 

3. The US spends more per capita on healthcare for a worse system

Exhibit A: The US spends almost 20% of its GDP on healthcare, more than any other 'developed nation,' and more than any other nation in the world. 

Exhibit B: The U.S. Healthcare system ranks 31st in the world. (France ranks highest, and to compare spending, see above)

In the next post, I'll explore some alternative approaches to healthcare and research.

Fitness Industry ethics

In my last post, I talked about a type of enhanced athlete that not only had its own health risks ,but had reciprocal effects on its viewers due to the instilled passion (or in some cases, obsession or delusion) to pursue through intense training the most aesthetic muscular build. This athlete is none other than the bodybuilder and while the sport its self causes it own bio-ethical issues, it is only a branch of a system that can be quite deceitful and corrupt depending on who you choose to trust. The fitness industry is similar goals to that of body building though they can vary at times. Fitness is more of reaching a more aesthetic you, whether it be a lean,slender build for running or the powerful build of a power lifter or somewhere in between.

While there is a lot of good information out there which has helped me as well as many others start their fitness journey there is also a lot of deception connected to big money. First of all there are the supplement companies. The main company associated  with fitness is the protein shake,powder, bar industry which makes around 16 billion dollars a year. They sell the idea a lot of times that more protein is better when it comes to wanting to gain muscle when this only partially true. Many scientific studies have been done to prove that the need protein intake for regular weight trainers is around 1.6-7 g per kg of body weight which comes to a little bit less than a pound a day. Yet, if you ask the average beefed up bodybuilder or trainer who was taught oddly enough by these same industries they will tell you 1, 1.5 , or even 2 grams of protein per POUND of body weight is needed which is extremely higher and much harder to get through regular food. For instance I weigh 190 lbs. Getting 190 grams a day of protein would be a chore which is where these supplement companies(so conveniently I might add) come in to save the day. The question now is this, why when there is scientific literature showing others do these companies get to sell their deception. It is a two part problem. You see we have these enhanced athletes in the which pose as naturally train individuals which actually can benefit from a protein intake as high as a pound per body weight. Then you have supplement companies sponsoring these same athletes and encourage them to sell the point even harder. I believe that deception like this leads to my next point. Absolutely horrific diet advice. The average article you find on google will tell you that you need to consume around 3000 calories a day to gain muscle. However, when deeper research is done the average male can only gain 1/2 pounds of purely lean muscle a month. Now while you stick to the freedom of a 3000 calorie 109 gram protein diet thinking your making bodily improvements you are actually causing bodily harm. Some people even take it to even greater extremes like fitness blogger Kali muscle. He has made many videos showing him making 5000-9000 calorie meals for muscle gain. (and not giving any disclaimers of satirical nature)


Kali is one of the many enhanced yet athletes that try to come off as natural and then opens the door for deadly eating habits in the name of "gains." Even normally healthy eating has been over powered by cultural preference. Phrases such as counting carbs and carb-cutting are always used in talks of fitness yet they neglect the fact that carbohydrates are the most efficient type of energy your body runs off of. The paleo diet which includes primarily protein and fat much harder to do properly because fat is very energy dense and what ever your body does not need is stored as extra fat. The deep fried culture of America loves to keep things as close to its unhealthy ways as possible while still going in the right direction which don't get me wrong is quiet possible. But if tell the average person he can loose weight by eating bacon the result may not be as desired.

                                                     Image result for bacon

 What is needed is a public understanding of how the body works as well as athletes that are enhanced coming forward even at the cost of endorsement loss. We must think of the health of our nation especially as health professionals which means saying no to the cries of the masses and doing what is ethically sound for not only our present but future generations

Children and the elderly

Posted for Darcy V Tabotabo

For many residents in nursing homes, there is very little family to visit with. Their life

remains stagnant in a constant battle of depression and boredom as they live each day in the

same monotonous way with people who are living the same lives as them. Much like in

Gawande’s book, one doctor decided to try to combat this disease, as I like to imagine it, and

built a home that allowed its residents to flourish. Having pets and plants to care for gave

residents a reason of being and a sense of importance as well as meaning. As it said in the

reading, the atmosphere changed from the moment the birds arrived at the home, giving the

residents something to laugh about as the doctor and nurses tried to wrangle the birds together.

To further improve the atmosphere, allowing these residents to do fitness classes with

middle school children would just bring out the happiness even more. The energy just from being

around youth alone would improve the well being of the residents; however, an even larger

impact would be their opportunity to pass along their wisdom and even serve as a mentor for

them. For many of these residents, these children can be just as good as grandchildren who some

may not see or let alone have. Interacting with these children would be able to open the

residents’ minds and allow them to exercise themselves mentally. I believe it shouldn’t just stop

at fitness classes. It should be carried on to another program where children can just interact,

whether that be with homework or just talking. This type of program would help the elderly have

a higher sense of meaning just as taking care of animals and plants.

Not only would this be good for residents, but the children as well. In our current culture

today, there are very few three generation household, and grandchild-grandparent relations aren’t

as valued as they once were. This would give children the opportunity to learn wisdom from

their elders while also giving them knowledge of another time in history. Children benefit seeing

first hand how these residents interact with them and learning from them. Fitness classes alone

would show children how important their mobility and energy is while being able to give that

energy to the residents.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3285008/Pensioner- playmates-amazing-

daycare-nursing- home-youngsters- sing-color- read-elderly.html#v- 8421848498702991412

This is a video about a nursing home with an attached pre-school! You can truly see how

much it means to the residents to have the youth around them.

I have volunteered at nursing homes for a long period of time. Over time, I have seen

residents develop and open up each time I visit. I always try to ask life advice and learn from

them, which not only helps me, but gives them a sense of mentorship and belonging. Their while

dispositions change through this one hour of contact each week. Just by seeing this, I could only

imagine the impact children would have on residents as they bring their energy to them.

I feel as though Atul Gawande is a strong advocate for this because of his strong belief

that what the elderly need is independence and autonomy. This type of interaction would help

them feel more youthful while also giving them an opportunity to mentor those younger. This

would give them more of a prospect to be independent as well as make them feel like they are

giving to something larger than themselves.

Bioethics Final Blog Post #1: Anti-Vaxxers

Penn & Teller Anti-Vax

With all due respect to avoiding dogmatism, how in the hell is this still a thing? Now I would never advocate mandatory vaccination for every child, as this would violate my beliefs on parent's rights and also work in direct opposition to my stance on population control, but I just cannot understand some of the reasoning behind this movement. Many of the arguments against vaccinations seem stripped straight from the crazy conspiracy theorist handbook. "Pharmaceutical companies only care about making money!" Ok...somewhat true. "And vaccinations are just another one of their scams to get your money." NO!!! It is completely contradictory for a company to sell you something that will last you forever. The money in medicine isn't in preventing diseases, but in treating them. This argument is completely illogical.

Yesterday I stumbled across this little beauty on Facebook. Well yes of course children have more vaccinations now then they did 70 years ago. Humans hadn't even discovered many of those diseases by 1940 or 1980, let alone a vaccination for them, and the increase in number for the ones already being issued is evidence of nothing except that the dosages being given out in previous decades proved to be insufficient. Mindlessly spreading empty propaganda like this has become the norm for modern anti-vaxxers, who conveniently left out any death or infliction numbers. We receive nothing about the effectiveness of the vaccines from this, nor does it account for the number of children that died of similar "unknown causes" that could be identified later as a preventable disease.

It is the smoke and mirrors of this topic that drives me the most insane. This type of non-scientific material is not being spread by professionals, but by illogical people with no medical degree. And as fear tactics so often do, it is working. Where oversight and inquiries into vaccination safety were probably initiated through goodwill and genuine concern, they are now likely propelled by the same enormous pharmaceutical companies trying to sell prescription drugs to treat the same illness that could have already been destroyed with a vaccination. Vaccinations are one of the greatest discoveries in human history, and yet we have allowed a small number of people to pit us against something that could save the entire race. It's not just asinine, it's ass-backwards. On a long enough timeline, if every human was vaccinated upon birth for certain diseases, we could potentially eliminate the human susceptibility to those pathogens. It might then be possible to stop giving the vaccines altogether, and then human race would just be naturally immune to Polio, or Hepatitis. It might also be just as likely that this system could cause entire populations of bacteria to starve into extinction with all human hosts now removed from their food chain.

It's actually almost funny, and somewhat poetic I guess, how easily global issues can be hidden behind microscopic scapegoats. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hospice (part one)

I wanted to take this time to tell you guys about my first interactions with Hospice and the questions that we had for the hospice worker over our “case”. 
Hospice: A special healthcare option for patients and families who are faced with a terminal illness. 
All of this information is from personal experience. 

3 weeks ago, my Great-Grandmother (Wanda Tipton / Nanaw) was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer... she was terminal. We thought that she had time to decide a treatment plan to prolong her life by just a little bit. Sunday April 17, 2016 she was not doing well at all so we took her to the emergency room, she was then admitted into the ICU. She was declining very quickly and we knew that she didn't even have time to decide on treatment. The doctors were trying very hard to get her to consent to a feeding tube because she wasn't getting any nutrition, and without nutrition she would die. She respectfully declined by saying, "No, don't bring me a feeding tube, you can bring me Jesus though." Tuesday April 19, 2016 was her last day. She knew it, the doctors knew it, and we knew it. It was at this time that we (the family) were turned over to hospice because at this point, the doctors were no use to us. The hospice care worker that was on our case was named Jessica. She was by far the one of the sweetest people that I have ever met. We had a lot of questions for Jessica concerning the end of Nanaws life. Jessica had all the answers that we needed. 

What is hospice?
How will you take care of Nanaw?
What does hospice really do?
Is the decision for hospice care giving up hope or waiting to die?
Does hospice do anything to bring death sooner?
Is her death going to be natural?
Does hospice have a plan for after her death?
Does hospice provide support my family after Nanaw’s death?
These are just some of the many questions that we had asked Jessica, and that she answered. She knew what she was talking about when it came to her job. 

Anyways back to Nanaw, she was in a lot of pain from the cancer. (It has now spread rapidly throughout her ENTIRE stomach) Jessica noticed this and also that her breathing was rapid and that she had very bad anxiety, so decided to put her on a medicine that would relax her entire body and just let death take its course. We all said our goodbyes as they put Nanaw on the drip of pain medicine. She was still alive for a while, but she was comfortable. That got me thinking, hospice is all about comfort for the end of someones life weather its at home or in the hospital. They made sure that my Nanaw was comfortable and not hurting for the last hours of her life. That is something that anyone can appreciate. 

For the next post I will probably explain some myths about hospice that I learned from Mrs. Jessica, and the aftercare not only to my Great-Grandmother after her death, but to us as well.  
Reproductive Cloning is defined as the production of a genetic duplicate of an existing person. Each newly produced individual is a clone of the original.

To understand reproductive cloning, here is some basic scientific knowledge:

A gene is a sequence of DNA that has a specific location on a chromosome. Chromosomes are found in the human body and are long chains of genes. Normal human bodies have 23 chromosomes, and inherit one of each pair from their mother and father. The combination of paternal and maternal genes forms the basis of human genetic variety and diversity. In reproductive cloning, the entire genetic code is produced from a single body cell of an adult individual. Clones contain identical sets of genetic material in the nucleus of every cell in their body. Therefore, cells from two clones have the same DNA and the same genes in their nuclei.

Cloning Techniques

The most common cloning technique is somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).  There a four steps that occur within this procedure.

1. The nucleus is removed from an egg leaving components fermented from the mother (cytoplasm and mitochondria)
2. A somatic cell is taken from the adult who is to be cloned. The DNA is removed from the nucleus and inserted into the prepared egg.
3. Using either chemical or electrical stimulation, the new cell is then forced to divide. This therefore develops an embryo.
4. The embryo continues to divide, and after several days the embryo is placed into the womb of the recipient and allowed to develop for the normal amount of time.

The result is a clone, an individual that is the genetic duplicate of the individual from whom the original body cell was taken. Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has not been proven to occur in a human being. If Somatic cell nuclear transfer was to occur within a human being, the resulting child would not be the person’s son or daughter, not their brother or sister. The resulting child is considered to be a “new” human being… a clone.

The other technique is cloning by embryo splitting

1. In vitro fertilization begins the process.
- Sperm is used from an outside union, and an egg to generate a zygote.
2. The zygote divides into two and then four identical cells. The cells are separated and allowed to develop into separate but identical blastocysts. The blastocysts are then implanted into the uterus.
In cloning by embryo splitting the embryos have two parents because the mitochondrial DNA is identical.

Purpose of Reproductive cloning

1. Couples who desire to have children that are genetically identical with them, but are infertile.
2. Parents who have lost a child, and which to have another that is genetically identical to them
3. People who need a transplant to treat their own or their child’s disease and who therefore wish to collect genetically identical tissue from a cloned newborn
There are several other purposes for reproductive cloning. In my next post, I will discuss the bioethical issues associated with reproductive cloning.