Tag Archives: disease

Learning the Lesson of Stephen Hawking… Never Give Up

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up- Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking; photo from bbc.com
Stephen Hawking; photo from bbc.com

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76 in his home in Cambridge, England, early in the morning of March 14. In a statement from his family, they stated that Hawking died peacefully.

For over 50 years, Hawking had battled a form of ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and he was orignally given only two years to live when first diagnosed. Instead of giving up, Hawking took this as another part of life.

Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England to Frank and Isobel Hawking. Stephen had two sisters, Philippa and Mary and an adopted brother, Edward. The family was known for their intelligence and eccentricity.

Hawking was known to be “lazy” and “bored” when it came to his work, especially when he felt the work was easy. This showed itself while at college in Oxford, and later on, Hawking would gain popularity by joining the University College Boat Club and serving as coxswain.

Everything was going well until Hawking started to experience increasing clumsiness during his final year at Oxford. It got to a point where his family noticed the changes. A medical investigation had begun, and the worst possible outcome had been diagnosed: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurological degenerative disease that eventually left Dr. Hawking unable to move on his own.

Hawking was given two years to live. Though tempted to give up, he soon noticed how slow the disease was taking affect on him. H decided that rather than falling into despair and letting the disease control his life, h would instead delve into something that he loved–science.

With all of the work that Hawking did for the world, it’s even harder to began to think about how much pain he went through on a daily basis. That alone should be enough to make us appreciate all of the work he did in physics, which will be discussed, tested, and lead humanity into the future for years to come.

God Speed, Mr. Hawking… see you on the other side.

 

 

Cover Photo from The Telegraph

Waiting Room Blues

We’re all sitting in a makeshift waiting room.

A drug treatment facility masquerading as a fidcus emporium

The doctor is late

It’s as if having a medical degree comes with a broken watch

All of us are here for the same reason

Our brains flood us with that feel-good chemical

Get my heart racin’ baby

We shift uncomfortably

Unsure as to whether or not we’ll get our fix

waiting room
“The doctor is late. It’s as if having a medical degree comes with a broken watch.” Photo from: www.juiceforskin.com

 

 

 

 

 

They leave us in twos

Some cross the threshold and never come back

Gone into the zone of white lab coats and Zoloft

‘Not I’ said the bipolar

‘Not me’ said the schizophrenic

We shift and stare

Trying to find the drug addict among us

Only to find that we’re all addicts,

Getting high off serotonin.

Would you choose a lobotomy over fear?

There have been plenty of treatments for phobias over the years, and lobotomies aren’t the newest fad for this. However, one had recently been successful, as a 44-year old man lost a piece of his amygdala and, happily, his aversion to the creepiest of our little friends: the spider.

Though the surgery was not originally intended to cure the man’s arachnophobia, the side effect seems to be a welcome one. The procedure, known as a left temporal mesial lobectomy, was merely intended to deal with an abnormality in his left amygdala that doctors decided was the cause of his recent bout of seizures. Although the abnormality and accompanying seizures were part of his preexisting (and rather uncommon) condition known sarcoidosis, the bonus results are a happy outcome.

Lobotomy. Graphic by Jilletta Becker
Lobotomy. Graphic by Jilletta Becker

The amygdala is responsible for our emotional responses, so it isn’t new information that this ability to cut out someone’s fear is possible. However, this is the first documented case in which a specific fear was completely removed from a human being through surgery. Researchers are still not sure how exactly this was possible or how they might be able to recreate the results, but it seems to depend at least partially on what type of fear is being targeted.

Arachnophobia is a specific fear triggered by a specific image or idea which leads to panic. When it comes to more general anxieties or fear, scientists do not yet know if the same results could be achieved.

In another case, however, a 44-year old mother was able to lose all her fear after illness permanently damaged her amygdala. Scientists have been studying her for over 20 years, yet despite their research, have not come to fully understand how the disease worked to only eliminate one emotion from the woman, despite her entire amygdala being damaged by the disease.

Perhaps this isn’t a time for science to be too involved in recreating a situation, though, and perhaps this is why it doesn’t seem to be something anyone is working too hard to develop. Even though it sounds like a great relief to feel no fear, the woman has recounted several stories in which she was in danger due to her inability to recognize the emotion. The same could perhaps be true and therefore an issue for the 44-year old man who no longer fears our creepy, eight-legged friends.

Without our emotions to drive us and warn us when necessary, are we still fully capable humans? Perhaps it’s better not to find out.

Is raising overly-religious children dangerous?

This summer, a Texas court ruled against a couple who took their kids out of school in 2004 to be home-schooled. A family member had started to notice that the children weren’t being educated, even at home. Instead of teaching them, the parents, Michael and Laura McIntyre, told the nine children that they didn’t need to go to school because they were going to be raptured. Further investigation revealed that the children weren’t being educated properly, according to the states standards. In 2006, one daughter  even took it upon herself to run away so she could go to a real high school.

In 2007, an attendance officer filed complaints against the McIntyre’s, who responded by claiming that their rights to religious freedom were being violated. But alas, they failed. The court found that no religious rights were being violated. It’s simply impossible to home school kids without some regulation.

Personally, I agree with this ruling. I understand that many parents fear that their children will stray from their god and start believing in the blasphemy that is science. (Insert extreme sarcasm here.) But let’s be honest, the reason it’s required for children to go to school is so we don’t have a nation of warped idiots. I’ve met a few perfectly normal home-schooled kids. But I’ve also met a few people who were home-schooled and seemed to be totally brain-washed. I’d say in most cases, the reason parents want their kids to be home-schooled is either for religious purposes or because parents don’t trust the school system.

church
“I’d say in most cases, the reason parents want their kids to be home-schooled is either for religious purposes or because parents don’t trust the school system.”

Public school systems can be very iffy. Many worry that public school kids aren’t experiencing a wide enough array of subjects, and aren’t being able to explore their interests. I will agree with that reasoning for home-schooling kids, but I don’t agree with home-schooling for the purpose of forcing your kids to be religious. In the documentary “Bible Camp,” (available on Netflix) there’s a scene with a mother home-schooling her child. She explained that she pulled him out of public school because he was being taught evolution and the Big Bang theory. She couldn’t understand why creationism wasn’t taught as a theory and even told her son “science is wrong.” Creationism is such an old idea that has so much evidence stacked up against it, which the reasoning behind it. But to only want your child to believe in one theory, and not allowing them the option to explore others is simply cruel.

Children are naturally curious. In watching my nephew learn about dinosaurs, I’ve always thought it was great to see children being so curious and wanting to learn more. I know that when I have children, I’ll expose them to all sorts of sciences and theories so that they can make their own decisions. I can’t imagine being a parent and not wanting that for your child.

In the last few years, there’ve also been cases where parents have neglected to take their children to the hospital when care is needed because they believe that “God will provide” and somehow their child will be magically cured if they pray hard enough. For example, a couple watched as their daughter died of diabetes. She was in pain because of this chronic condition, yet her parents just watched her deteriorate. It’s so hard for me to imagine being a parent and watching your child die when prayer is obviously not working. I feel like any reasonable parent would go to the ends of the earth to heal their child, even if it could screw them financially. There are so many parents who have put their entire life savings and put themselves in crippling debt to save their children. I don’t understand how anyone could accept their child dying as “God’s will” and just let them go when there are doctors who’ve gone to school for years in order to save people’s lives. I suppose if someone is crazy enough to believe that God will magically intervene and save their child, they probably also believe that doctors are of the devil because they’re trying to “play god.”

Some try to argue that parents should be allowed to make decisions based on their child’s health care, and that calling this “child abuse” is infringing on religious freedoms, but any case where a parent knowingly endangers their child’s life because they’re too proud to admit they’ve been wrong, they should never be allowed to have children again. Keeping your child from basic health care is essentially the same as starving or neglecting them. Prayer may work coincidentally, but if it doesn’t seem to be working, how can anyone just let their child die?

Seeing parents who are so set in their ways that they kill their children’s curiosity, endanger their lives and tell them “science is wrong” makes me worry for the future. The reason our country and states have specific laws and regulations on what kids are taught is so that we won’t have a generation of idiots. Science has provided us with the amazing technologies, medicine and many other amazing applications. Why anyone would deny that, and force their beliefs on their children is beyond me. Why anyone would allow their child to die and accept it as “God’s will” is amazing to me. One can tell that the McIntyre children knew what their parents were doing was wrong, considering one daughter ran away to receive an education. The girl who died of diabetes as her parents prayed over her also begged her parents to take her to a doctor. We need to take it upon ourselves as human beings to make sure every child has the opportunity to receive a real, practical education, and real, practical medical care. Parents are supposed to protect their children, not endanger them with stupidity.

HIV awareness hits home

AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, attacks the body’s immune system. Dec. 1 was World Aids Day and on Nov. 30 there was table in the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center that handed out information on this topic. At the table there were many different pieces of information that were available for Radford University students. If you were unable to go by the table, here is some information that you missed. Continue reading HIV awareness hits home

Kick butt for Kidneys

Greek life here at Radford University takes support for a philanthropy to a new level with their enthusiasm for helping out different foundations and organizations.  A philanthropy is the altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes. The newest rage around campus is Phi Sigma Sigma’s Kicks for Kidneys fundraiser. Continue reading Kick butt for Kidneys