Health and Science Writing-Maymester
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The United States has a growing problem that needs to be taken care of. The aging population has become unprecedented, with more people over the age of 65 than at any point in history. Addressing the of the elderly, not only addresses the mediocre nature healthcare system, but indemnifies that future generations are insured as well.
Emergency rooms across the state rush to expand their facilities due to increasing bursts of elderly and uninsured patients seeking care. The increasingly aging Baby Boomer generation forces hospitals to respond to overcrowding emergency rooms and out-patient care facilities by spending at least $25 million on renovations. Although these risks are costly, the benefit to the medical community brings newer fortified health technologies and establishments that many healthcare facilities would not have otherwise obtained.
Emergency rooms across the state are rushing to expand their facilities to accommodate increasing bursts of elderly and uninsured patients seeking care. The increasingly aging Baby Boomer generation is forcing hospitals to respond to overcrowding emergency rooms and out-patient care facilities by spending at least $25 million on renovations. Although these risks are costly, the benefit to the medical community brings innovative health technologies and surgery centers that many hospitals would not otherwise obtain.
Instructor: Sheila Tefft
22 May 2015
Reframing Our Views about Biotechnology through Bioethics
The media often sensationalizes biotechnology, conjuring depictions of mad scientists who create devastation in the name of progress. Though such ideas belong in the realms of science fiction than reality, biotechnology nevertheless carries risks and potential consequences. Thankfully bioethics scrutinizes the nuances of such new technologies.
The B.E.I.N.G.S (Biotechnology and the Ethical Imagination: A Global Summit) conference showcases the challenges and ethical concerns biotechnology will face. Biotechnology is the technological manipulation of organisms and its life systems. Gene therapy, pharmaceuticals, and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) can cure previously incurable diseases like cystic fibrosis and even solve the world’s malnutrition problems.
Despite this power, the scientific community lacks channels for researchers to discuss the impact new biotechnologies. The lack of “global forum,” as explained by Professor Ruha Benjamin, threatens both the newly risen technology and the people it will impact. There must be a collaboration or some medium for scientists and engineers. Biotechnology encases multiple scientific fields, therefore requiring a team of experts in all fields to assess its benefits and dangers. It has the potential to influence human health, culture, behaviors, and society itself.
Biotechnology can be both a therapy and an enhancement. The same technology used to prevent certain genetic diseases may also be applied to select for desirable traits in children. Biotechnology, in other words, is a double-edge sword when the technology is used for misguided goals.
Professor Benjamin exposes the short-term fixes of biotechnology. Often we use “technological fixes for social crises.” In one scenario, biotechnology could be utilized to construct and create desirable traits in human children. Such practices may lead to “discriminatory design” in science. Ruha Benjamin challenged all attendees of the conference to not ask what problems biotechnology can fix, but why the problem existed in the first place. Human traits and behaviors are influenced through the environment. Social factors like class, healthcare, education, and other lack of opportunities contribute to most of the society’s problems today.
Without critical examinations of the cultural and social causes, biotechnology will inevitably regurgitate social issues and inequalities rather than solving them. Discriminatory design is insidious, easily overlooked by scientists and consumers alike. An example of discriminatory design in science is the study of genetics influence on violence. The danger in this school of thought is the well-intention nature of the study. Although researchers believe they are solving the problem by looking into a person’s genome, they fail to look outside for external influences. A type of genetic profiling is thus created, in which an individual is presumed to be already guilty.
Consumers of biotechnologies habitually believe they are making informed, rational decision. Yet, consumers still lack an understanding of the choices they make. “Safe” procedures are mistaken as fool-proof treatments while ignoring the risks and consequences it has. Instead of examining the reasons why they pursue such biotechnological procedures to augment themselves, they misguidedly reinforce the belief that certain desirable traits or procedures are needed. Humans are the ones who create their own environment. Instead changing the environment and conditions that causes social problems, many choose to forcibly adapt to the environment they created.
Biotechnology has the potential to heal and injure people. When used correctly, biotechnology will improve the lives of all and help with mankind’s development. In this regard bioethics stands as a vanguard for biotechnology, helping to guide it to its intended goals.
The tree was sick. The limp leaves drooped down alongside the branches, barely hanging on by their stems. Mold infested over half of the tree’s side and decomposed its soggy bark. A sweet but pungent smell of rot surrounded the air around the dying tree. It look like it could be toppled over by a well-placed kick. Yet even after a few slams and pushes, the tree refused to budge. It was still clinging on to life, barely hanging on to its last few leaves.
The Hahn Woods is located near Houston road, next to bridge and a couple residential areas. It is a circular park with two main paths branching around and into the woods. The park had an earthy, fresh smell of wet wood and mud. The park has at least five different species of trees including oak and willow trees. The trees in the park tend to be 5- 15 meters tall and have a trunk with an average diameter of 10 inches. One tree had leaves that were similar to that of a maple tree; the leaves were composed of four, oval sections that met at the end of the stem. Most of the trees were healthy, although some were highly diseased with mold or mildew. There were yellow discoloration on the leaves of diseased trees, with browning around the edges. The trees also had an aquamarine colored lichen surrounding the base of the trees’ trunks. The lichen appeared in blotches, covering at least half of the base of the trees. The lichen had the same rough, jagged texture of the trees’ trunks. Most of the trees had some vines growing on them as well. The stem of the vines were very think (approximately one-half of a centimeter) but the vines latched and reached up to the trees’ highest branches.
In addition to trees, there were also several species of bushes, weeds, and grasses. The grass stretched from the parking area to center of the park. Grass did not grow on the park’s pathways; the paths were heavily used and was mostly composed of compacted soil with small bits of wood and rocks. At the farthest point away from the parking area is a creek about 10-15 feet wide. The water was mostly clear and the creek was at least half a foot deep around the edges.
Several types of birds were seen and heard based on their calls and coloration. Sparrows, such as the brown and red-bellied sparrows, were the most common. Wasps have nested in a rotting tree stump on the right side of the park. The stump had a diameter of about 1.5 feet and seemed to have been cleanly chopped off a chainsaw. Half of the stump was covered by a white mold or lichen. Despite this, the wasps seems to be thriving inside the stump, having at least three or four wasps entering or leaving every minute from its hive. Other species such as gnats and flies were in the park. The gnats were only visible under direct sunlight and tended to be either close or in the center of the pathways. Gnats grouped together in a small horde, flying extremely fast and circling around each other.
The park had several other features such as a bird house located at the center of a grassy field and some graffiti on a wall next to the creek. The bird house was made out of some kind of untreated, light brown wood, and had a dimension of 7x7x10 inches. The bird house was on a metal pole, approximately three meters tall, and had a white cone facing down at the end of the pole to prevent squirrels and snakes from raiding the house. The house of occupied by two adults and some juvenile brown sparrows.
I’d also like to express that most of those that find themselves without health insurance are normally students, self-employed and those that are unemployed. More than half in the uninsured are really under the age of Thirty five. They do not really feel they are needing health insurance simply because they’re young plus healthy. Their own income is generally spent on real estate, food, plus entertainment. Lots of people that do go to work either whole or as a hobby are not given insurance by way of their jobs so they go without owing to the rising cost of health insurance in the usa. Thanks for the strategies you share through this site.
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