The Sun's Shadow

Stumbling to find a light switch in the dark

The Dying Process

Sounds a little morbid I must admit, but in reality it some really cool research that is being under taken. There is a new study being conducted called AWARE, doctors will examine patients who are in state of cardiac arrest… why cardiac arrest well as it turns out death is not one single moment but a process.

“Contrary to popular perception, death is not a specific moment,” said leader of the study Dr. Sam Parnia of the University of Southampton in the U.K. “It is a process that begins when the heart stops beating, the lungs stop working and the brain ceases functioning — a medical condition termed cardiac arrest, which from a biological viewpoint is synonymous with clinical death.”

Clinical death is basically when the blood stop circulating in the body and everything afterwards shuts down, so it makes sense then to study cardiac arrest patients, they are having heart attacks and their hearts have stopped.

This will help to provide further insight as to what is happening to us (our brain) as we die, and this is important due to the reports that people bring back from the “other side” or what they possible imagine the otherside to be

Previous research suggests about 10 to 20 percent of people who live through cardiac arrest report lucid, well-structured thought processes, reasoning, memories and sometimes detailed recall of events during their encounter with death.

One study found that people who reported peaceful feelings, bright light and out-of-body experiences during a brush with death are more likely to have had difficulty separating sleep from wakefulness in their everyday lives. Both before and after their near-death experiences, these people often have symptoms of the rapid-eye movement (REM) state of sleep while awake.

Death is the natural end to our natural lives, and as our brain struggles in the final moments it is comforting to think that it can be akin to having a dream so long as that dream doesn’t become a nightmare… I wonder if this research will turn up any interesting correlations on the type of people who see positive or negative things during a near death experience.

September 18, 2008 Posted by | life, Medicine, Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Science Does What Only Ancient Gods Were Able Too

Make a Paralyzed man walk again… Israeli scientists have developed a Human exoskeleton that allows a person to walk again.  The Device is called Rewalk invented by Israeli engineer Amit Goffer who is the head of a Argo Medical Technologies.

This is simply amazing, this is a technology is in its infancy and it can only help those who are paralyzed from the waist below, you do need use of your arms to make this work. It does offer hope to those people who may have never thought they could walk again or too look a person eye to eye in conversation, but don’t take my word for it.

“I never dreamed I would walk again. After I was wounded, I forgot what it’s like,” said Kaiof, who was injured while serving in the Israeli military in 1988.

“Only when standing up can I feel how tall I really am and speak to people eye to eye, not from below.”

Its not just the restoration of a person ability to walk but article also point out the additional health benefits for a paralyzed person to be able to stand up and walk again.

Kate Parkin, director of physical and occupational therapy at NYU Medical Centre, said it has the potential to improve a user’s health in two ways.

“Physically, the body works differently when upright. You can challenge different muscles and allow full expansion of the lungs,” Parkin said. “Psychologically, it lets people live at the upright level and make eye contact.”

Iuly Treger, deputy director of Israel’s Loewenstein Rehabilitation Centre, said: “It may be a burdensome device, but it will be very helpful and important for those who choose to use it.”

Wait, what’s that Iuly it is a burdensome device?

The system, which requires crutches to help with balance, consists of motorized leg supports, body sensors and a back pack containing a computerized control box and rechargeable batteries.

Sure the suit is bulky at this point and requires specific control to make maneuvering easier, but to make a person walk again means the technology is here, Iron Man cannot be too far behind. This technology will be further developed and you can be sure it will be made smaller, lighter, and more user friendly.

Science Amazing!

August 29, 2008 Posted by | Medicine, Science, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Is Chelation a Cure?

The words people choose to use are sometimes if not often very telling. Controlled studies are to be done on the use of Chelation Therapy as an autism treatment, now there is some controversy over this, as chelation is a treatment for heavy metal poisoning, which has not been linked as a cause for autism except in the mind of the anti-vaccination crowd.

I support this research for the reason that parents are desperate to do something with their autistic child that some parentsif not many will likely engage in chelation therapy. We should study it to be better inform these parents, however there are people who think the risks in conducting a study are too great.

Others say it would be unethical, even if it proves chelation doesn’t work.

Federal research agencies must “bring reason to science” without “catering to a public misperception,” said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of an upcoming book on autism research. “Science has been trumped by politics in some ways.”

We demand evidence to base claims and treatment on and  we must be held to the same standard when we discount a treatment. Yes, I grant the unstated major premise for this is heavy metal causes autism and the medical community sees chelation as something that should not be used unless you have heavy metal poisoning and there is no link to this and autism, but that will not stop parents from trying this to with their children. Many parents have already bought in to the the idea that vaccines have caused their child’s autism. Parents have become mistrusting of the medical community and are willing to try anything. This study needs to be done to help combat the problem of anecdotal evidence and confirmation bias where parents only hear the positive reports or see the improvements they are looking for. We need to do this study to determine any efficacy chelation therapy has on an autistic child even if it is none, but certainly there will be side effect and what those side effects both short and long term.

That brings me to how I find the choice of words telling… no one to my knowledge is claiming chelation is curing autism, they will say things like it “saved” my child… but it didn’t cure them, I find this telling in that if it didn’t cure them it means their autism symptoms were somewhat relieved and some parents even claim to a great degree but their child is still autistic, so how much did they actually improve and how much is this just parents seeing what they want to see.

I support this research, I don’t have high hopes that this will be shown effective but that is exactly why we need evidence based treatment because we need to be certain and have the evidence to show parents that this is effective or not and what the risks are, even when the premise for this treatment is as faulty or unfounded as it is here… people by our nature want to believe in miracles they want the anecdotal evidence to be true. We have a responsibility through evidence based medicine to provide those answers and the details that support it the conclusion of the research.

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Medicine, Science | | 3 Comments

Is It Murder or Suicide?

This past Tuesday 16 year old Neil Beagleydied from an illness that could have been treated. He is from a faith healing family, which means they rely on their faith in god alone to save them. I normally read about these stories and I would rage against a parent who allowed a child to die instead of getting them the proper medical care, however this is not that situation as the article points out.

Tuesday’s death of 16-year-old Neil Beagley, however, may not be a crime because Oregon law allows minors 14 and older to decide for themselves whether to accept medical treatment.

“All of the interviews from last night are that he did in fact refuse treatment,” police Sgt. Lynne Benton said Wednesday. “Unless we can disprove that, charges probably won’t be filed in this case.”

An autopsy Wednesday showed Beagley died of heart failure caused by a urinary tract blockage.

So he was of a legal age and made a choice to refuse treatment… this is important because we all have the right to refuse treatment it cannot and should not be forced upon us even if the refusal would result in death. What clear to me here is that he died when he could have been saved, in fact it would seem he choose death. This to me is suicide, by refusing treatment he intentionally killed himself. He choose death over life.

When a parent refuses treatment for a child its murder and when you refuse it for yourself its suicide.

June 20, 2008 Posted by | Medicine, Nonsense, Religion | , , , | Leave a comment