Quickies: Risks in Editing Genes, Disney World as a Medieval Pilgrimage, and Complications of Organ Donation

  • Unexpected Risks Found In Editing Genes To Prevent Inherited Disorders – “The findings confirmed the suspicions of many researchers, and the conclusions drawn by Mitalipov and his team were unequivocal: The potential for conflicts between transplanted and original mitochondrial genomes is real, and more sophisticated matching of donor and recipient eggs — pairing mothers whose mitochondria share genetic similarities, for example — is needed to avoid potential tragedies.”
  • Visiting Disney World is the Modern Version of Making a Medieval Pilgrimage – “Pilgrims to Disney World do not have to spend months trekking to Orlando, but the approach to Disney sets the park apart from the space of normal life. To reach the Magic Kingdom requires a journey of many stages. Travelers must pass through private land, on highways owned by Disney, where all signs of the normal world are replaced by signs from Disney World. After parking, visitors make their way, perhaps by tram, across the vast expanse of asphalt to the ticket gates, where they gain entrance to the park. Even after that, though, their journey has one more step: they must take a special form of transportation, either ferry boat or monorail, to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom.”
  • A Skeptic Fact-Checks Yoga’s Health Claims And Goes With The Om – “I enjoy a stretchy pose where you sit with a knee crossed over a leg and the opposite arm wrapped around the knee but the point is, says the teacher, to wring the toxins out of your internal organs. I’m not going to wring out my internal organs. Sometimes she wants us to lower our shoulders and raise our chests to open up our hearts — a phrase that gives me cardiac-surgical creeps. The best is the sponge or corpse pose, which is what it sounds like. I’m fully competent at being a sponge, except you’re supposed to breathe in all the way up your left side and breathe out on your right because this activates your left and right brains. I just breathe on both sides.”
  • No longer ‘Mayberry’: A small Ohio city fights an epidemic of self-destruction – “This isn’t one of those Rust Belt towns where the economy collapsed. People point out that you can still get a decent job here. Major employers include a hospital, a truck factory, two prisons and a branch of Ohio University.”
  • The Mysterious Virus That Could Cause Obesity – “Randy’s family supported his efforts to control his weight. They made lower-calorie foods, gave him time to exercise, and didn’t pressure him to eat things he didn’t want. However, he continued to struggle with his weight through college. Randy kept thinking back to the moment everything changed. He had been the skinniest kid among his friends. And then he got cut by that chicken.”
  • A Dying Man’s Wish To Donate His Organs Gets Complicated – “Every day, physicians withdraw life support on behalf of patients in hospitals who choose to refuse care. That’s generally not considered physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia — the key being that the patient is already in the hospital. But Adox was asking to be admitted to the hospital specifically to end his life. And despite the planning, his request made some people uncomfortable.”

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Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. NPR’s yoga article is pretty lame. The author admits that she

    1. Didn’t make a good-faith effort to actually practice yoga as instructed. Obviously there are some poses that are difficult to get into, but something like alternate nostril breathing would have been easy

    2. Didn’t actually evaluate any of the studies she found because there were too many and therefore they must all be worthless

    And the kicker is that the yoga actually did her some good, but instead of maybe narrowing her search of the literature to those things that she knew first-hand yoga could have an effect on, or looking for randomized controlled trials, she simultaneously decides that yoga is bullshit and resolves to keep doing it. A totally pointless article.

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