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Way back in the 1940s Jerome Kagan performed a classic study on personality in which he formed a core concept that rooted at least part of the mind in biology. This was an incredible breakthrough in understanding that certain perceptions and reactions can be rooted in inherited traits. What Dr. Kagan did was observe a bunch of children as eight month old infants. Read the rest of this entry »
Di at Doctor and Covenants pointed me to this story, where a brain surgeon was operating to remove a mass from a patient and and ended up finding a foot. The story states that this is either a rare type of tumor called a teratoma or is it a rare case of a twin that remained attached to the patients and was totally enveloped into the skull, a condition called fetus in fetu.
The image is striking, and gives a certain visceral reaction, which is largely why pictures like this make their rounds on the internet. Read the rest of this entry »
There is a dirty little euphemism we all learn about in medical school called health care disparities. It seems the health care system is better at treating heart disease in men compared to women, hypertension in whites compared to blacks, and in keeping rich people healthier across the board in every category compared to the poor. The problem runs deep enough and fundamental enough that it appears no one is immune. It is the problem of poverty that I find particularly perplexing. Read the rest of this entry »
” Be ye Therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.”
We love and adore that which is perfect in our society. Hollywood is built on the premise that the beautiful people can sell movies, models are airbrushed to perfection to sell magazines. The Olympic games is going on currently with its motto, “Bigger, stronger, faster.”
As the records fall, it seems these athletes do live up to the motto. Just look at Michael Phelps, the epitome of the bigger, stronger, faster ideal.
Sadly, as recent scandals in Baseball and Bicycling have revealed, the push to be bigger, faster, and stronger can lead to the use of steroids, amphetamines, or other substances with very real consequences for an athletes long term health and well being. When does the drive to perform cross the line into madness. In my day, Michael Jordan was celebrated worldwide as the greatest ever, even carrying his team to victory over my beloved Utah Jazz in one game in the finals with Forty some odd point and the flu. Today, it is Tiger Woods held in much the same esteem, having just won the US open with a severe knee injury in a playoff he counts as his greatest victory ever. My question is, at what point does this single minded devotion turn into madness.
When I was in the third grade, I learned about this very cool thing called a bike-a-thon. I could take my bike and by just riding it help cure cystic fibrosis, a disease that I had no idea what it was, but sure sounded bad. In my idealistic eight year old mind this just seemed like it just having fun for a good cause, so I signed right up and went for it.
My second grader sister heard about the same thing and decided she had to do it as well. That was a pain. This meant every pledge I went to get had to pledge equally to the both of us by royal decree of my mother. I was irritated, but we both pluckily canvassed the small town of under 1,000 inhabitants, all of whom knew our family, and gathered pledges. I knew no fear in those days, heck, I didn’t even realize knocking on doors asking for money is annoying in my innocence.
Pledges were made per mile and so the first question we were asked was how many miles we were going to bike. I pulled the number twenty off the top of my head as it seemed a nice even number. I still remember some of the amused, patronizing smiles as these wordly wise adults then penciled in their donation. Our pledges piled up and we ran out of room to contain them, requiring extra pledge sheets. What’s the harm in donating to a couple of naive kids playing grown up biking on their Schwinn’s after all. Read the rest of this entry »