The BBC recently wrote an article regarding the genetic test that was approved, allowing people to get tested for genetic conditions before pregnancy. Though this test has the potential to be very beneficial and prevent people from creating families if they would be at a high risk of carrying a genetic disorder if they so choose, it also has the potential to create a stigma around people who test positive for genetic disorders.
Upon being tested and finding positive results, would our society then tell those people that they should be be banned from having families and children? Knowing that you had a higher chance of carrying a genetic disorder would perhaps cause one to feel as though they had a moral obligation to be tested to prevent the disease from being passed onto others. This would cause a stigma on those who test positive for any such diseases.
This video shows another aspect of the implications of having genetic testing done.
The definition of eugenics as given by the Apple dictionary says it is, “The science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.” By using technology that can be available to us because of a progression in research is not always a good idea. By implementing this as a normal test into health care systems, there would be a great possibility that our society would lead to being in favor of eugenics.
Other factors which would be a greater concern to Americans, would deal with wether or not health insurance companies could take this information into account, or even have mandatory testing for certain groups of people. This is not a topic to be taken lightly, but rather one that should be well thought out before the test is planned to be used on a regular basis which could have negative impacts on our generation.
A study recently done which was published in the journal General Dentistry yielded surprising results, which make me wonder how many nasty things I was exposing myself to in band class once upon a time… A shocking 442 different types of bacteria were found to be growing on 13 different instruments which were swabbed in 117 different places.
It wasn’t only bacteria which they found though. Also present on these instruments were 58 types of mold and 19 types of yeast. What’s worse (besides the fact that woodwind instruments had the highest number of microbes) is that the the species that were found were highly resistant to most of the antibiotics which are generally used.
Among the bacteria, many species of Staphylococcus were found, which are known to cause a variety of different things ranging from minor skin infections such as pimples to more serious conditions such as pneumonia and toxic shock syndrome. This youtube video shows the different places in which Staphylococcus can also be found, and why it’s important to be careful.
Not surprisingly, it was shown that mouthpieces tended to have more contamination than the other parts of the instruments studied, which included the cases. The instrument which was found to have the highest number of contaminants was the clarinet, and brass instruments generally had lower numbers of microbes present.
An easy way to prevent these instruments from getting so filthy is to sterilize them on a regular basis using ethylene oxide. However, it is worth noting that it should not be overused. Ethylene oxide has narcotic effects, and chronic exposure may lead to the induction of mutagenic effects, and it has been proven to be a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
As with any situation involving microbes, the best solution is to keep to yourself, wash your hands, and keep clean!
Do you know anyone with chronic back pain? Or any kind of chronic pain at all? Well, the good news for them is that in a few years, they could be saving big time dollars on drugs by simply having a chip inserted into their spine that is no larger than the size of the head of a match. According to an article in Popular Science: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-12/implant-beat-chronic-pain-microchip-embedded-spine recent research that was done in Sydney has lead to this breakthrough which causes the chip to block the pain messages that are sent to the brain from the spine. The chip itself is surrounded in a covering which also has a battery in it. How does it charge you may be wondering? Wirelessly! Who knew that was even possible?
The chip works by sending out a 10 volt pulse that blocks a pain signal when one is detected by its unique properties. The thing that makes me nervous about it is mainly the side effects that it could have. There is a specific function to why it is that we feel pain. For example, if you get bitten by a rat in the middle of the night (which happened to my friend!), it could be beneficial to feel pain, wake up, go to the hospital and get a rabies shot. If you didn’t feel the pain, you could see a mysterious mark on your body and brush it aside not knowing the risk that you’re taking by not getting it checked out.
So what comes next? Hopefully they’ll come up with a way to distinguish between chronic pain and pain that is indicating some sort of danger that you’ve put yourself in. Until then, I think I’ll stick to T3s when I get my wisdom teeth out.