Thursday, May 31, 2007
Microsoft and the future of human computer interfaces: If we change the way we look at things, will the things we look at change?
Microsoft unveils revolutionary device
New top-secret 'Surface' will change the way we look at computing
"At the touch of a hand, the hard, plastic tabletop suddenly dissolved into what looked like tiny ripples of water. The ‘water’ responded to each of his fingers and the ripples rushed quickly away in every direction....the radical new approach starts with the guts of the device itself. Under the impact-resistant plastic top skin on an otherwise nondescript table hide five infrared scanners, a projector and a wireless modem. The scanners recognize objects and shapes placed on the top and respond to them accordingly."
Full text here.
Next stop, the holographic interface, like in the movie Minority Report?
"Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have agreed to stop directly financing research that uses animals to test or develop their products, except where such testing is required by law."
The debate about whether animal models are testing are needed is discussed in the article, with quotes both from Dr. John A. DeSimone, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University (citing the need for animal models) and Dr. Alan Goldberg, director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University (citing that advances in alternatives to animal models, many of which are usually more scientifically precise, have already reduced the number of lab animals in use by 50 percent.)
"The two soft drink giants are the latest companies to respond to scrutiny by PETA, which has mounted a campaign to denounce animal testing practices in the beverage industry, an industry that, unlike cosmetics or pharmaceuticals, had largely been unpublicized in the animal testing arena."
For the full text, click here.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
In the Washington Post this morning, this article:
"What if you could burn fat while shaking a martini? Actually, it's your body that shakes like a martini on a new type of fitness machine that's generating lots of buzz and celebrity use. Even NASA has tested the concept.
These machines use vibrations to tone muscle and claim to do it faster. Aggressive promoters also say the equipment improves flexibility and strength, reduces pain and stress, builds muscle and reverses osteoporosis.However, researchers warn of possible injuries ranging from back pain to cartilage damage. One even warns that the high-powered jiggling might harm the brain. They say the science is thin and too little is known about the long-term effects of such powerful vibrations.Still, NASA is studying vibration as a possible tool for reducing muscle atrophy and bone loss during astronauts' long, weightless trips in space."
Rest of the article here.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I can't believe the Women's Bioethics Blog just turned two years old this month -- thanks to Kathryn Hinsch, the WBP Board, our wonderful volunteer bloggers, our fellow bloggers, and all those in the academic and health-related field for your invaluable support, emotional and otherwise. Look for changes in the next year, as we experience growth spurts, changes in format, and new additions to our team.
If you are interested in blogging for us, contact either Kathryn (khinsch[at]womensbioethics.org) or Linda (lindaglenn[at]biomedlaw.com).
Full text of the article here.
A Dutch reality show that claims to be trying to draw attention to a shortage of organ donors said Tuesday it would go ahead with a program in which a terminally ill woman will choose a contestant to receive one of her kidneys. The program, "Big Donor Show," has been attacked as unethical and tasteless.
At least one member of the Dutch parliament plans to ask the government to block Friday's broadcast.
Does anyone seriously believe that a show like this would highlight the need for organ donation and the plight of those waiting in a useful manner? Or does it just appeal to the darker side of human nature?
Monday, May 28, 2007
With the news that four more genetic mutations have been linked to breast cancer, we are going to have to seriously consider what it means to have a genetic mutation, to look beyond the lab at the actual impact the geneticization of medicine is having on how patients are both viewed and treated, and consider what appropriate treatment actually means.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Reuters claims that health experts help TV docs get facts straight:
"That young mother with breast cancer on "Grey's Anatomy" may do more than just drive the storyline: She may also be teaching you something.
Recognizing the reach of popular television shows, real-life doctors and public health experts are at work behind the scenes to add a dose of education to entertainment."
Now if they could only get a bioethicist on House MD to stop his bad-boy behavior! (or in the case of Grey's Anatomy, bad-boy, bad-girl, just plain bad behavior).
I'm not sure that this is respectful of the dead, in fact, part of me feels that it is downright morbid, even though cemeteries are often beautiful, peaceful places. On the other hand, El Dia De Los Muertos, the three-day Mexican holiday to honor and celebrate loved ones who have passed on, seems respectful enough.
What to do you think?
I received an email from one of our readers yesterday in response to the Breast Implant Redux post telling me about the FDA Scientific Fairness to Women Act, which Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) re-introduced to Congress yesterday. The purpose of the bill is to make women’s health issues a priority at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and among other things, it would:
§ Elevate the Office of Women's Health within the FDA so that the office reports directly to the Commissioner, instead of being buried two levels down from the Commissioner;
§ Rescind approval of silicone breast implants if the manufacturers cannot conclusively demonstrate their safety for the life of the implant; and
§ Require to FDA to convene a workshop to review and evaluate current scientific data on the use of emergency contraception by young women under the age of 18.
Needless to say, I’m guessing this very important impending bill is hardly likely to appear in the mainstream media. But women need to know about this important legislation -- You can contact your representative here to support the bill. Feel free to pass this information on.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
"With silicone breast implants back on the market, a debate over follow-up care is roiling the plastic surgery community, even as more women are choosing to have their breasts surgically enlarged.
When the Food and Drug Administration decided last November to again allow the use of silicone for breast augmentation, it did so provided that manufacturers instruct doctors to advise patients they will need biannual M.R.I.’s to check for ruptures and should remove the implants if a rupture is detected.
But some surgeons are criticizing the recommendations, saying they are bureaucratic and unscientific and that they interfere with their ability to tailor diagnosis and treatment to each patient. Some said they would not recommend the M.R.I.’s, while others said they would follow the recommendations, albeit unenthusiastically."
For the full text, click here.
This is not a good sign, though, scientists explained -- parthenogenesis is a last resort; it undermines genetic diversity and adaptability and represents "an evolutionary dead end that compromises the survival of the species." The complete article can be found on CNN's website.
(Editor's note: Hat tip to R. Alta Charo, who quipped "Hmm-- next it will be lawyers reproducing by parthenogenesis" -- I don't know that lawyers are in any danger of extinction, though I can think of plenty of people who wish lawyers were!)
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Nanomedicine under a microscope - a general look at the potential implications of nanomedicine and ethical issues that arise as the technology develops.
Happiness for aging baby boomers? -- Sensing the future
Research which "suggests that aging baby boomers someday will live like the Jetsons, with technology keeping track of their health and providing ready assistance in everyday life, including helping them to drive and shop."
Livesaving Livestock or Frankenstein Science?: "Livestock whose genes have been manipulated could play a critical role in developing new medications and cheaper treatments for human ailments, scientists said Monday.
However, the use of transgenic animals, which have foreign DNA integrated into their genetic information, remains controversial and faces regulatory, economic and societal challenges."
It's all in your genes (but are you willing to relinquish your privacy?): "A revolution in genetics is leading to almost weekly discoveries about genes linked with diseases such as diabetes, but also creating a dilemma for medical scientists: Should they tell the patients whose DNA was used in the research that they may be at risk for a serious illness? At present, that's almost taboo because of privacy policies governing most medical research.
"Researchers are coming up with more and more information, but we're using 'privacy' and our own ingrained paternalism as excuses for not sharing information that could be important to [individual research] subjects," said Dr. Isaac S. Kohane, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a researcher at Children's Hospital in Boston."From the Christian Science Monitor: Population Explosion Fuse re-lit: "Prospects for stabilizing the world's soaring population have taken a blow. This development, if not reversed, will have huge economic, environmental, and political impacts on most people alive today.
Two years ago, the United Nations projected that the number of people on this planet would reach 8.9 billion by 2050. In March, the UN Population Division revised that projection to 9.2 billion."I'll take one drug from Column A and one from Column B - Pharma's Rush to Test Drugs in China: "Despite ethical concerns, Big Pharma is recruiting more patients for clinical trials.
Feng Shuangquan, A 49-year-old peasant from the northeastern Chinese city of Baoding, entered his local hospital in April, 2006, suffering from liver failure. For the next two months, he was in and out of the hospital for blood transfusions, but doctors couldn't halt the deterioration. Finally, one of his doctors handed a note to Feng's wife, who was sitting by his side. Without even asking her to read it aloud, Feng knew the news was bad. "She didn't say anything," he recalls, "but I recognized everything from her face." The recommendation: Let Feng go home and die.
Another doctor on the team refused to give up. He had heard an American company was testing an experimental device in China that just might keep Feng alive. It was an artificial liver—the rough equivalent of a dialysis machine for kidney failure—developed by Vital Therapies Inc. (VTI) of San Diego. Admitted to the trial, Feng spent several days in a hospital bed while VTI's technology took over his liver's function and gave the diseased organ a chance to recover. Today, "my health is pretty good," Feng reports. "My life was saved." [Full Text]"
Our blogger, Kelly Hills, posted this on blog.bioethics.net:
"Good news for frequent flyers heading east: Viagra appears to offset jetlag. Sadly, it seems to have no effect - at least on jetlag - for those flying west."
The article explains that the research study shifted the biological clocks of hamsters, by using low doses of Viagra and exposing them to a shifted light-dark cycle, but the article doesn't explore whether or not the drug was tested on both male and female hamsters. Considering that Viagra does work, at least for some women, in terms of sexual arousal by increasing blood flow, this jetlag effect should work at least in theory for women -- should make for an interesting follow-up study.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Eliminating the period also eliminates the reassurance most women who are using the pill seek. Now granted, there are women who are using the pill for other reasons - endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc - and for them this will likely be a great option. But I remain unconvinced that Lybrel will be able to capture a market that Seasonale was unable to make a dent in.
"Aaaaargh! When a newly minted doctor investigating Americans’ access to medical care has no insurance — then you know that our health care system is truly bankrupt.
Let’s hope that the presidential campaign helps lead us toward a new health care system. John Edwards has set the standard by proposing a serious and detailed plan for national health care reform, and other candidates should follow.
The medical and insurance lobbies have been busy blocking national health care programs since they were first seriously proposed back in the 1920’s — and the result has been millions of premature deaths in this country because of people falling through the cracks. Doctors fighting universal coverage have been saving lives in their day jobs while costing lives with their lobbying.
Over all, a person without insurance is less likely to have diseases diagnosed early, less likely to get routine preventive care — and faces a 25 percent greater chance of dying early.
Americans with good jobs and complex needs receive superb medical care. But a child in Costa Rica born today is expected to live longer than an American child born today."
The bottom line: Let's push for the Presidential candidates to seriously address this issue, and lead us toward a new health care system.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
'How much choice do you really want to give?' asked Arthur Caplan, chairman of the department of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. 'That’s the challenge of prenatal testing to pro-choicers.'
For many women and their partners, the decision to terminate a pregnancy after a prenatal diagnosis of a serious genetic defect can be harrowing, often coming after a painful assessment of their own emotional and financial resources." To read on, click here.
Now if they could only avoid the same problems that the Polyheme trials ran into, which we blogged about before.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
"Whether it is American senior citizens driving into Canada in order to buy cheap prescription drugs or Canadians coming to the U.S. for surgery in order to avoid long wait times, the relative merits of these two nations' health care systems are often cast in terms of anecdotes. Both systems are beset by ballooning costs and, especially with a presidential election on the horizon, calls for reform, but a recent study could put ammunition in the hands of people who believe it is time the U.S. ceased to be the only developed nation without universal health coverage.
Gordon H. Guyatt, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who coined the term "evidence-based medicine," collaborated with 16 of his colleagues in an exhaustive survey of existing studies on the outcomes of various medical procedures in both the U.S. and Canada. Their work appears in the inaugural issue of the new Canadian journal Open Medicine, and comes at a time when many in Canada are debating whether or not to move that country's single-payer system toward for-profit delivery of care. The ultimate conclusion of the study is that the Canadian medical system is as good as the U.S. version, at least when measured by a single metric—the rate at which patients in either system died.
"Other people knew that Canadians live two to two and a half years longer than Americans," says Steffie Woolhandler, an author on the paper and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, citing a phenomenon that many attribute to differences in lifestyle between the two countries. "But what was not known was once you got sick, was the quality of care equivalent in the two countries."
To read, click here.
Pretty pills: The dark side of the latest underground beauty trend
by Claire Colman
Just imagine if you could transform your looks by popping a pill.
No need to spend hours in the gym in pursuit of a perfect body; no fake tans, sunbeds or hours baking on the beach to get a tan; and you could say goodbye to facials and expensive anti-ageing treatments.
Just swallow a tablet with breakfast and you're done.
It sounds like the bizarre predictions Sixties futurologists made about the year 2000. But, astonishingly, 'wonder tablets' are the new underground beauty trend - and they could have dire consequences.To read on, click here.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
up to now the mainstream media have refrained from calling the right's opposition to the HPV vaccine what it is—delusional, psychotic, homicidal—because up to now only women's lives were at stake.Is Dan right? Based on the media coverage of the link between HPV, oral sex and throat cancer, he just might be. And that raises, as I said, disturbing questions. Is it just because instead of talking about 4,000 people a year, we're talking millions, or is it accurate to break it down on gender lines? And if that gender breakdown is right, what in the world does that really, truly say about our society?
That's about to change.
Here's the headline from my morning paper: "HPV Factors in Throat Cancer: Study Could Shift Debate About Vaccine." You bet it will. Up to now the HPV vaccine—which, again, has proven 100 percent effective against the cancer-causing strains of the virus—could merely prevent 10,000 cases of cervical cancer in American women every year, along with 4,000 deaths. But now the debate could shift—it will shift, it already has shifted—because it's no longer "just" the lives of 4,000 American women that are on the line, but the sex lives of 150 million American men.
*Note: Savage Love is a sexually explicit column that tackles reader questions about sex and sexuality in a no-hold's barred manner. If you are offended by or would prefer to avoid casual and explicit language, do not read Savage Love!
Monday, May 14, 2007
You go, girl!
Friday, May 11, 2007
We are pleased to recognize the following distinguished scholars:
Margaret Pabst Battin, MFA, PhD, is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah.
Rebecca Cook, JD, JSD holds the Faculty Chair in International Human Rights, the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.
Ruth Faden, MPH, PhD is Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Executive Director of The Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University.
Patricia A. King, JD is Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Medicine, Ethics, and Public Policy, Georgetown University and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.
Ruth Macklin, PhD is Professor and Division Head of Bioethics in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Barbara Katz Rothman, PhD is Professor of Sociology at City University of New York.
Their ground-breaking work in the areas of law, medicine, sociology, and philosophy continues to enrich the field of bioethics – we express our awe and gratitude. Learn more about their impressive accomplishments here.
To honor their legacy, we are awarding six ASBH one-year membership scholarships to part-time or full-time graduates students studying bioethics.
Thank you to all those who submitted nominations for this year’s program—it wasn’t easy to narrow the field. We are establishing this as an annual event, and we look forward to bringing you news of more wonderful work by women in bioethics.
Congratulations to scholarship winners Sabrina Weiner, Stephanie Jenkins and Michal Raucher. (And special thanks to the Seattle Chocolate Company who donated little goodies for our bioethics "Moms" and to bioethics researcher Sue Trinidad who helped put the program together.)
Thursday, May 10, 2007
(Hat tip to Peggy Danziger for bringing it to our attention.)
The human and chimpanzee genomes vary by just 1.2 percent, yet there is a considerable difference in the mental and linguistic capabilities between the two species. A new study showed that a certain form of neuropsin, a protein that plays a role in learning and memory, is
expressed only in the central nervous systems of humans and that it originated less than 5 million years ago. The study, which also demonstrated the molecular mechanism that creates this novel protein, will be published online in Human Mutation, the official journal of the
Human Genome Variation Society.
Led by Dr. Bing Su of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Kunming, China, researchers analyzed the DNA of humans and several species of apes and monkeys. Their previous work had shown that type II neuropsin, a longer form of the protein, is not expressed in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of lesser apes and Old World monkeys. In the current study, they tested the expression of type II in the PFC of two great ape species, chimpanzees and orangutans, and found that it was not present. Since these two species diverged most recently from human ancestors (about 5 and 14 million years ago respectively), this finding demonstrates that type II is a human-specific form that originated relatively recently, less than 5 million years ago.
Jay Hughes of the IEET comments "Just wait my hairy friends - soon you will be blogging and working with the rest of us."
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
With diabetes and other weight-related diseases beginning to reach epidemic proportions and affecting our health care system and costs, health researchers need a different approach to help individuals lose weight. We had posted earlier about studies that showed the weight is heavily influenced by genetics and today, Gina Kolata of the NY Times takes some excerpts from her new book, Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss — and the Myths and Realities of Dieting and illustrates how the fight against obesity involves more than simply, 'eating less, exercising more' -- in what could analogized to variations in pain threshold of individuals, Kolata quotes Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, an obesity researcher at the Rockefeller University, who said this in the journal Science in 2000: "The feeling of hunger is intense and, if not as potent as the drive to breathe, is probably no less powerful than the drive to drink when one is thirsty. This is the feeling the obese must resist after they have lost a significant amount of weight."
"It's interesting to me that three Republican presidential candidates in last night's debate said they did not believe in Evolution. I think it's interesting because Evolution is something that has really been on my mind lately as I have been watching the incredible BBC's series Planet Earth. Watching the magnificence of the natural world in action has both reinforced my belief that there simply must be a God AND convinced me that Evolution is absolutely true. To put it simply, I have come to believe that Evolution was actually designed by God, who got the whole ball rolling the first place and gets involved now and then when need be. In any case, the more I learn about science and the natural world, the more incredulous I am that anyone who has reached the level of being a credible presidential candidate could still deny that Evolution is true."
Sunday, May 06, 2007
The case could end up in the European Court of Human Rights.
Among other things, if Hiasl is declared a person, he would have the right to own property and if people wanted to donate money to him, he'd have the right to receive it. Witnesses for Hiasl will include Jane Goodall.
[Editor's note: See also Great Ape Project, http://www.greatapeproject.org)
Thursday, May 03, 2007
As part of WBP's program to honor "Mothers of Bioethics", we are offering one year ASBH membership scholarships to six full or part-time graduate students studying bioethics. To be considered, email (info (at) womensbioethics.org) one paragraph about your academic passion and commitment to ensuring the field reflects the perspectives, needs, and concerns of women. Be sure to include your name, graduate program, and university affiliation. Submissions must be received by May 9th. Program honorees and scholarship winners will be announced on May 11th - just in time for Mother's Day.
In New Scientist magazine's (one of my favorites!) Space Blog:
"Some of the issues include determining when to 'pull the plug' on astronauts who become deathly ill and are using up scarce onboard resources, and whether to do genetic tests to select astronauts for the long trips. "The idea that we will always choose a person's well-being over mission success, it sounds good, but it doesn't really turn out to be necessarily the way decisions always will be made," says Paul Root Wolpe, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania and a NASA advisor. Yikes.The US has never had to deal with any major health crises in space, but it has had experience with them in extreme environments on Earth. In March 1999, for example, physician Jerri Nielsen discovered a lump in her breast while she was stationed in Antarctica. The lump was cancerous, but she could not leave to get medical care because it was too dangerous for planes to land at the South Pole during the six-month long night that is the Antarctic winter. Medical supplies were air-dropped to her in July and finally in October she was flown to safety. That story sends shivers down my spine..." Rest of the story here.
And from the Discovery Channel: "How do you get rid of the body of a dead astronaut on a three-year mission to Mars and back?
When should the plug be pulled on a critically ill astronaut who is using up precious oxygen and endangering the rest of the crew? Should NASA employ DNA testing to weed out astronauts who might get a disease on a long flight?
And should sex in space be considered a health issue or behavorial issue?
And in funny twist of serendipity, the tv show Bones, whose main character is a forensic anthropologist, last night's episode was about what lengths astronauts would go to get back into outer space (including experimental surgery and treatment).
This and more from latest tv drama, Space: The Final Frontier -- oh, wait, that's Star Trek... hmmm, maybe one more Star Trek series in the making...
I am writing to ask you personally to help us increase the membership of ASBH. I would appreciate it if you would read this letter over fully, and then get back to me with any ideas, concerns, or further steps you believe we should take as an organization. (Some of you may receive this letter in hard copy as well.)As leaders in the field, I believe it is our responsibility to create and sustain a professional organization that can accommodate the needs of its members, represent the interests of the field, and mentor the next generation of scholars. For that reason, I would like to encourage you to solicit your faculty, colleagues, and students to join the organization. Perhaps you yourself are no longer a member. Some have let their membership slip because they felt the organization was no longer serving their needs. Some have left because of ideological differences with the Society. Some have chosen to put their time and effort into other professional organizations. I am sure there are other reasons as well.All are understandable. I would like to suggest, however, that we are entering a new moment in the history of ASBH. The organization is being suffused with a new, young generation of scholars looking for mentorship from the experienced scholars in the field. Ideologically, the organization is open to change, and this may be just the time that input from those who feel strongly about issues in the field can have their greatest influence.As the membership grows, we have an opportunity to expand the scope and number of sessions in the Annual Meeting. We will become more financially stable. We will have a greater influence over the national dialogue about the delivery of care, the unequal allocation of health care resources, global health priorities, the technologization of health and medicine, and all the other issues that are so important in this time of rapid change. I am asking your help to improve even further the level of that conversation at ASBH.
Please: if you are not a member, join, or rejoin ASBH. Encourage your colleagues to join throughout your institution. Distribute this email and the website url to your students. In order to give even a bit more incentive, join before June 1, and we can offer a 10% discount on memberships (send in only $60, $85, $100 or $125 from the four membership categories).
As you know, the ASBH is a dynamic and wide-ranging professional society made up of clinicians, bioethicists, legal scholars, philosophers, theologians, social scientists, historians, and scholars of the medical humanities, among others. The Annual Meeting will be held this year from October 18-21 in Washington, D.C. The theme, Connecting and Collaborating, is dedicated to the widest participation of people from across disciplines and ideological positions.In addition to the Annual Meeting, joining ASBH has other benefits. Members receive discounts on ten of the major journals in the field; receive our newsletter, ASBH Exchange, with articles and features; have access to the ASBH website, including access to our large membership directory; can join affinity groups in their areas of interest; and can become members of the premier community of scholars in bioethics and the medical humanities.
Please take advantage of this singular opportunity to join ASBH at a discount, and please distribute this letter to your colleagues and students, or refer them the ASBH website, www.asbh.org. I encourage you to contact me personally to discuss any issues of concern that you have about ASBH, its past, or its future. You can reach me at (215) 898-7136. If you have membership questions, please call our Executive Director, Amy Claver, at (847) 375-4877. With your help, ASBH will continue to grow and flourish as we face the challenges of the coming decades.
Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D.President
* * * *
Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D.Departments of Psychiatry, Medical Ethics, and Sociology
and Center for BioethicsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPenn homepage: http://www.bioethics.upenn.edu/people/?last=Root_Wolpe&first=Paul
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
From the participant who had no copies of the variant gene: 'I've always got a fridge full of chocolate or cakes and people ask how I can eat all that and still stay slim"
From the participant who had two copies of the variant gene: " I've never been able to get off that last bit of weight, I've always been a bit heavier no matter what I eat"
BUT just in the last day or two, the US based Salk Institute team presented their work at Experimental Biology 2007: a drug that can switch on a gene to burn body fat -- The ultimate use being be to treat people at risk of obesity-related diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
The rest of article here.
The Blossoming Field of "Neurolaw": An article in the NY Times explores the 'biology as the basis for behavior' defense in criminal cases. In a trial that opened in the last few days in a State Supreme Court in Manhattan, jurors will be asked to decide whether the defendant was a sadistic man preying on an unsuspecting woman or whether his actions were the result of mental illness.
Disease Drove Sex Attack, Defense Says
"...Now the writer, Peter Braunstein, 43, is about to go on trial, charged with a bizarre crime against a woman who worked in his own newsroom. Prosecutors say he dressed as a firefighter, staged a fire to get into her Chelsea apartment, tied her to a bed, drugged her with chloroform and sexually molested her for 13 hours...
In similar cases, lawyers have argued that their clients were in a dissociated state, much like sleepwalking. A version of this defense, said Rachel Barkow, a law professor at New York University, would be: “You know killing is wrong, but it turns out you think you’re in the middle of a video game. Because of a paranoid delusional state, you thought it was all a fantasy.”
To read the rest of the article, click here.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Why sweat the postpartum chub and flab away when you can have it excised, sucked, trimmed, tucked, and recontoured? Gravity got you down these days? Or, have you just had it up to your “barely there” bust (by society’s standards) and have finally sought out that skilled surgeon who will grant you the voluptuous proportions you have been pining after?
Statistics released by the American Society for Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) verify that cosmetic plastic surgery is on the up and up among US women aged 20 to 39 years. In 2006, more than 325,000 tummy tuck, breast augmentation, and breast lift procedures were performed on women in this age demographic, which represents an alarming 11% increase from 2005. Compared with the growth of overall cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, the increase in these so-called “Mommy Makeover” cosmetic surgeries (ie, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, and breast lift) are a whopping 5 times higher for the same time interval.1
Rip up that check you wrote to your local gym. Fire your personal trainer. Burn your Lycra shorts, sports bra, and running sneaks. Forgo that
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons President, Roxanne Guy, MD, nowadays, women are having children later yet returning to their careers earlier, and are simultaneously juggling busy schedules. She added that many women “are finding cosmetic plastic surgery to be the answer to returning to a pre-pregnancy shape they are comfortable with.”1 Hmmm. I wonder how many of these women had double-sized Ds and washboard abs before they were pregnant? And, how many women can honestly say that they exhausted all natural routes to shedding the “baby fat” before opting for more invasive and risky approach to weight loss and body contouring?
In 2006, 95,500 breast augmentations were performed on women in their 20s compared with 118,500 among the “30-something” category. The number of breast lifts and tummy tucks were also higher in the older age group.1 Now more than ever, women are opting for cosmetic plastic surgery and while I do not completely oppose this approach, I believe it should be recommended, performed, and considered more judiciously, both by clinicians and surgeons and patients. “Mommy makeovers” bring to mind a fully automated society where all we have to do is swipe a card, push a button, and exert minimal energy to get a desired result. There is something to be said for working hard, working up a sweat, and quite frankly, not adhering to society’s or television’s beauty standards. When everyone is walking around with cookie-cutter noses, breasts, abs, and rears, among other body parts, who will stand out? I’ll tell you: the lady behind this blog that has a little bit of sag, an average-sized chest, a few grey hairs, a little stomach bulge, no credit card debt, a fairly healthy body and mind, who happens to do things the old-fashioned way: through blood, sweat, and tears.
1. News from the ASPS: cosmetic plastic surgery “mommy makeovers” on the rise: results revealed in ASPS procedural statistics report. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Medem, Inc. April 10, 2007. Available at: http://www.medem.com/medlb/article_detaillb.cfm?article_ID=ZZZTY00IF0F&sub_cat=0. Accessed April 2007.
Most of us are aware that those who imbibe red wine reap health benefits such as protection against neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and heart disease and may prolong life, but to what extent? Moreover, what brand or vintage provides the greatest health perks?1
These are precisely the questions that researchers at
When you are cruising your local liquor shop or perhaps favorite vineyard, you may notice a warning or two on various wine labels, such as: “Warning: the consumption of wine during pregnancy may cause birth defects.” or “Warning: this wine contains sulfites.” However, once Dr. Hoffman and colleague quantify and determine the resveratrol levels in different bottles of red,1 wine labels may read a little something like this:
“Good times, good friends, good heart – drink Winston Farms vintage 2007”
“Contains 5 mL resveratrol: eat, drink, and live long”
“Save time and gain mind in a bottle”
Okay, so future wine labels may not be so poetic (!) However, Dr. Hoffman and colleague aim to rank the healthiest bottles of red wine and eventually collaborate with wine suppliers and retailers and encourage health labels on their products. Ideally, these researchers would like consumers to have the ability to “go along to the supermarket and to be able to know at a glance the levels of resveratrol contained in the wines that they are choosing” added Dr. Hoffman.1
I am not sure if the
1. Is your favourite red wine really that good for you? Medical News Today Web site. April 23, 2007. Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=68600. Accessed April 2007.