"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Medical Monday: I wish I understood this better!

The headlines are a little scary!

First I needed to look up the word "Chimeric." Which, according to Merriam-Webster means: "relating to, derived from, or being a genetic chimera or its genetic material." So I looked up the term Chimeric and came up with this:
a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology having a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail an imaginary monster compounded of incongruous parts

So, that made it a little more scary .... so I investigated further and looked up the medical definition and came up with this: An individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution

Still pretty scary! So I started reading the articles. And I admittidly did not fully understand what they were talking about. But several phrases made me even more nervous:
"cloning primate and even human stem cells, into living breathing organisms"
"More interestingly, although they have both male and female DNA, they are all developing as males, because masculine genes have dominated the monkeys development"

Science is not my area of expertise. I won't even try and pretend otherwise. But I do understand the basic need for stem cell research. And I am torn. I understand the desire to be able to regenerate organs to save lives; the desire to use stem cells to treate Type 1 Diabetes and the desire to relieve symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. But it is scary.

My dad remembers when things like stem cell technology were part of comics. I remember when video phones were on the The Jetsons and yet today even my Nana Skypes. So, I look to todays science fiction (movies like Children of Men, I am Legend even Project X); creating life from a petri dish scares me. My fear is are we playing God and what will the consequences of that be?

I completely understand the desire to end pain and save lives. But what if we are not supposed to? What if this is how the human population contains growth? I would love to find a cure for Lupus. I would love to find a cure for small cell lung cancer (a disease a very good family friend was recently diagnosed with). But at what cost?

I don't have the answers. I am not even going to try and have the answers to these questions. It hurts my head enough to get through the articles. But a future of genetically modified children, genetically modified food, growing organs in a petri dish, creating life in a lab scares me ~ I think it should scare all of us to the point that we keep a closer eye on the people push the line in the sand a little bit further all the time.

1 comment:

  1. nice to have you back blogging leann - but oops, i've only just noticed you wrote a new years resolution post - how did i miss that??!

    and yes, like you, stem cell research doesn't bother me - for me it's definitely preferable to animal experimentation and exploitation... i would like to think it would be used to find cures for existing diseases though, not create new 'beings'...

    anything associated with genetic modification frightens the life out of me... after all, we know some humans can't be trusted - and those without scruples will do anything to build their own 'empires' and serve their own purposes at any cost...