New initiatives aim to harness technology and genomics to create bespoke medicine, customizing your healthcare like your Facebook profile. Instead of relying on generic practice guidelines, your doctors may one day use these new analytic tools to find the ideal treatment for you. Big data will make this precision possible: patterns that emerge from the DNA and medical records of millions can predict which treatments work best for which patients.
Notions of social justice generally embrace values such as the equal worth of all citizens, their equal right to meet their basic needs, the need to spread opportunity and life chances as widely as possible, and finally, the requirement that we reduce and, where possible, eliminate unjustified inequalities. The following excerpt explores the meanings and principles of social justice from a political, philosophical, and social worker perspective.
The birth of the the first child after a mitochondrial replacement technique has raised questions about the legality of such procedure. In this post we explore some of the legal issues surrounding this case. Mitochondria are cellular organelles that generate the energy cells need to work properly. Two interesting features of mitochondria are that they are solely inherited via the maternal line and that they possess their own DNA.
If a social conversation turns to the history of navigation – a turn that is not so unusual as once it was – the most likely episode to be mentioned is the search for a longitude method in the 18th century and the story of John Harrison. The extraordinary success of the book by Dava Sobel has popularised a view of Harrison as a doughty and virtuous fighter, unfairly disadvantaged by the scientific establishment.
Donald Winnicott (1896–1971) is one the most original and creative thinkers in the history of psychoanalysis after Freud. His theories about the early interaction between the infant and its environment, transitional objects and phenomena, true and false self, the relation between the analysand and the analyst, and many other topics have been of great importance for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, social workers, teachers, and others all over the world.
Geert Hofstede, in his pioneer study looking at differences in culture across modern nations, identified four dimensions of cultural values: individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity-femininity. Working with researcher Michael Bond, Hofstede later added a fifth dimension with called dynamic Confucianism, or long-term orientation. Utilizing these interpretative frameworks leads to a greater understanding of ourselves and others.
After oxygen, fresh, clean water is the most basic requirement for the majority of life on Earth in order to survive. However, this is a true luxury that isn’t accessible for many millions of people around the world. Today hundreds of thousands of people die every year from these types of waterborne diseases, and even though these numbers are declining there is still work to be done.
We share with the other great apes a long history, a largely common genetic heritage, a similar physiology, advanced cognitive abilities that permit cultural learning and exchange, and a gathering and hunting way of life. And yet we are not just great apes. There are some radical differences. The least interesting of these, although the ones that almost everyone has focused on, are the anatomical differences, and in particular our upright bipedal stance.
Ever stopped at the scene of an accident on a dark night? Treated a heart attack on a remote island? Coordinated the transfer of a critically ill baby with a heart defect? Were you prepared? Did you have the right toolkit? You need a cool head to perform critical clinical interventions while simultaneously planning the transfer to definitive care. Almost all patients have a transport phase
Sleep is defined as “a periodic state of muscular relaxation, reduced metabolic rate, and suspended consciousness in which a person is largely unresponsive to events in the environment”. It comes easily to some, and much harder (sometimes impossible) to others, but we all need it in order to function day-to-day. Not only is it required to stay healthy, it also allows a space for our brains to think out problems whilst we doze.
We now know that the Earth is many billions of years old, and that it has changed an unimaginably number of times over millennia. But before the mid-eighteenth century we believed that the Earth was only a few thousand years old. Then scientists (who we now call geologists) began to explore the Earth’s layers and found fossils, suggesting it was much, much older than they first thought.
The Danish concept of ‘hygge’ has captivated the British imagination. Pronounced runner-up word of the year, it seems a fitting counterpoint to the word ‘post-truth’ in first place: an apt response to the seismic political shifts of 2016. Hygge is difficult to translate: it is not a concrete entity, but something akin to a cozy, warm, and homely feeling, a sense of familiarity, a state of mind in which all psychological needs are in balance.
March is Social Work Month in the United States. Social workers stand up every day for human rights and social justice to help strengthen our communities. They can be the voice for people who aren’t being heard, and they tackle serious social issues in order to “forge solutions that help people reach their full potential and make our nation a better place to live.” There are over 600,000 social workers in the US alone.
The public is turning out to be, whether knowingly or not, animal ethnographers. The diversity of pets, farm animals, and wild animals they track with lens is exposing the rarest of behaviors. These behaviors not only make intriguing viewing but serve to widen our thinking about the animal world and perhaps diminish our iron-gripped hold on cleverness. Might we be less willing to destroy creatures whom we believe are ‘smart’?
Every year in March, Brain Awareness Week champions the global campaign to celebrate and publicise the progress and benefits of brain research. Are you lying? Do you have a racial bias? Is your moral compass intact? To find out what you think or feel, we usually have to take your word for it. But questionnaires and other explicit measures to reveal what’s on your mind are imperfect: you may choose to hide your true beliefs or you may not even be aware of them.
The existence of gravitational waves, or ripples in the space-time, is no more just a speculation but a firm truth, after the recent direct detection of such waves from at least two pairs of merging black holes by the LIGO gravitational-wave detector. In such a binary system, two black holes orbit each other at a close separation, nearly at the speed of light, whirling the spacetime in their neighbourhood.