Check out this really interesting new blog from the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics.
Check out this really interesting new blog from the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics.
I found this short bio on tumblr and wanted to share it:
Sandra Jensen: Why she kicks ass
- She devoted lots of her time working as an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities; she worked part time as well as being heavily involved in volunteering.
- She was denied a heart-lung transplant by the Stanford University School of Medicine in California because she had Down syndrome. She then (along with supporters) began a very public battle, gaining nationwide attention arguing that Down syndrome should not be enough to automatically deprive a patient of a chance to survive, this resulted in her receiving the transplant (1996).
- She became the first person with Down Syndrome to ever receive a heart-lung transplant.
I’ll be over here in awe
I also found her obituary from 1997, which you can read here.
Jensen, an activist for disabled rights, served as president of a Sacramento disabled-rights group and was invited to watch then-President George Bush sign the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. Despite her disabilities, Jensen lived on her own, graduating from high school and busing tables at the Capitol cafeteria.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about her or her story online, but I did find this report, which is taken from NYT and US News articles.
Now here’s some good material for the next presidential debate:
In fact, Colorlines has a lot of columns about women in this issue; it’s well worth a good look.
Suppose the problem really is in the environment, but you can medicate your child to help them cope. A lot of people may medicate themselves to help them through a bad situation. Facing an MRI in a closed machine (i.e., you’re in the clanging tunnel for possibly an hour)? Xanax can seem reasonable if you are claustrophobic. A wedding with your most difficult relatives? Maybe xanax there too, or a martini or whatever. How about a bad work situation? A pill a day to keep anger away?
For myself I’d say absolutely not in the last case (clarification added in light of comment one). For a healthy child with a poor school environment that makes concentration and learning really too hard? C/D unmedicated, A/B on pills. I feel fortunate not to have to decide this one. Some people do have tO choose between these alternatives:
CANTON, Ga. — When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall.
The pills boost focus and impulse control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”
Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money — not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance.
It is not yet clear whether Dr. Anderson is representative of a widening trend. But some experts note that as wealthy students abuse stimulants to raise already-good grades in colleges and high schools, the medications are being used on low-income elementary school children with faltering grades and parents eager to see them succeed.
“We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,” said Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, a child mental-health services researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children. “We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.”
Dr. Nancy Rappaport, a child psychiatrist in Cambridge, Mass., who works primarily with lower-income children and their schools, added: “We are seeing this more and more. We are using a chemical straitjacket instead of doing things that are just as important to also do, sometimes more.”
The report seems to me to have political dimensions that can pull us in very different directions. On the one hand, it still seems to me amazing to see any questioning of the idea that it is only women who face a ticking reproductive clock. On the other hand, you know that the chances are very high that there is a lot of ablest thought that the research is going to inspire, and may well have been inspired by.
Let me add in that as a parent, the thought that one’s child might not be able to earn a living is utterly terrifying. Perhaps especially in the US, the fate of at least fairly markedly neuro-atypical adults can be very awful indeed.
Having said that, let me ask that if anyone has information on what people with markedly neuro-atypical children can do to plan a safe future for the child after they have died. Supposing, that is, that they don’t want to be academics. (JOKE!)
When I was pregnant, my British GP assured me that if GPs hadn’t noticed a problem with eating or drinking something, it probably didn’t exist. In comparison, biological pre-moms these days do have a lot to worry about. But what about dad’s? Well, I haven’t noticed much, but it seems to be starting. According to an article from Everyday Health, an online article from Occupational and Environmental Medicine (published by the prestigious JAMA), the following jobs are possibly sources of so-called “birth defects” in men’s offspring:
Mathematical, physical and computer scientists
Office and administrative support workers
Food service staff
Motor vehicle operators
And a lot more!
By the way, if you have any tendency to OCD or hypochondia, you might think of not even looking at the occupational and environmental medicine publication.
A recent article in Neuron, with the title above, addresses a very important phenomenon: Investigations in neuroscience get absorbed into contexts that are ‘symbolically layered and socially loaded‘. As the article says:
Since the “Decade of the Brain,” the field of neuroscience has expanded dramatically, tackling increasingly complex topics with profound social and policy implications … Neuroscience is now firmly rooted as a basic reference point within the public sphere, drawn into discussion of diverse issues such as antisocial behavior, economic decisions, substance abuse, and education.
However, scientific information is rarely transplanted intact into the public domain. As science penetrates the public sphere, it enters a dense network of cultural meanings and worldviews and is understood through the prism they provide. The cultural context determines which aspects of science travel into public consciousness: knowledge that resonates with prevailing social concerns is selectively “taken up” in public dialogue. For example, the “Mozart effect”—the empirically unsubstantiated idea that classical music enhances children’s intelligence … Furthermore, scientific information acquires new meanings as cultural preconceptions are projected onto it. For instance, Green and Clémence, 2008 demonstrate how over the course of public communication, a study linking vasopressin to affiliative behavior in voles (Young et al., 1999) was reconstituted as a discovery of the “faithfulness gene.” These lay ideas (or “social representations”) of science can have tangible societal consequences.
The article contains an extremely helpful bibliography for anyone wanting to look at the issues in this domain; it appears fairly innocent of feminist analysis, unfortunately. We have in a number of posts discussed some of the work by Cordelia Fine, who works in this area.
I asked a friend who specializes in medical history what it is about cancer patients, and the way they get attacked psychologically. She says there is a huge stigma about lung cancer, but she didn’t think it was true for other forms. So that leaves us without an answer to the question, How can anyone think it is a good idea to deal someone a blow at as they are goiing through treatment for cancer? And, believe me, they do all too often.
There are pretty bad figures about the national complaints, but there is also tons of anecdotal evidence that I’ve heard at my cancer center. Maybe part of it is that a lot of cancers occur when people might want to get rid of you and put a younger person in your place. But whatever it is, research is now making it completely clear: Stress can affect ways in which cancer cells grow and spread.
One of the US’s main cancer center just sent around the following:
there is growing scientific evidence that considerable psychological distress can affect the immune system, cancer specific biological pathways, and treatment recovery.
Some kinds of cancer love to spread; in fact, that’s often what makes them lethal. And they can create their own pathways. Stress can help them get the needed ingredients. It really can shorten lives and do so in very awful ways. Metatasis to the brain can lead to WBR, or whole brain radiation. There’s no way that’s something you want to do unless your life is at stake. You really, really don’t want to worry of you helped cause that because of your hostile behavior, however self-righteous you may have felt at the time. So concentrate on healthier people, OK? Not some experiencing an awful and still fundamentally mysterious disease.
As many of you know, the Sunday Times has had a contest to write the best essay defending meet eating. It came to a conclusion this weekend, and the winners are announced.
We mentioned before its all-male panel of judges. And in fact the ethicist recognizes concerns about diversity, in a rather odd context:
The contest is sexist and racist
The panel [of judges] consists of all white men. . . . And so the cycle of prejudice continues in which white male elite perspectives dominate the production of social facts. LORI GRUEN, A. BREEZE HARPER, CAROL J. ADAMS
The contest is harmless
This is a panel of five, for heaven’s sake, for a meaningless contest. How diverse can it be? Why should anyone care how diverse it is? ETHICSALARMS.COM
So we decided to go to the Gruen, Harper and Adams piece to see why they thought diversity would be an improvement.
One fact is that one is starting out from a biased position with all-men panel, since our culture identifies men with meat-eating. Secondly, A group of white western men are going to bring partial and fairly shared perspective to what is in fact a global problem. Third, when one picks for fame – as the ethicist said she was doing – one tend to create a circle which the men close.
Interesting reasons, hardly meant to be
inclusiveexhaustive (thanks, SH). What do you think?