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Igarashi set to catch a wave in surfing’s Olympic debut

first_imgIn this June 8, 2018 photo, surfer Kanoa Igarashi talks about his his preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where surfing will make its Olympic debut during an interview in Tokyo. In keeping with the best laid-back traditions of his sport, Igarashi isn’t about to let the pressure of representing Japan overwhelm him when surfing makes its much-anticipated debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 20-year-old Igarashi was born in Huntington Beach, California, in 1997 but recently received Japanese citizenship in order to compete for is ancestral homeland in 2020. (AP Photo/Nicola Shannon)TOKYO — In keeping with the laid-back lifestyle of his sport, Kanoa Igarashi won’t let the pressure of representing Japan overwhelm him when surfing makes its much-anticipated debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.The 20-year-old Igarashi was born in Huntington Beach, California, in 1997 but recently received dual citizenship in order to compete for his ancestral homeland in 2020.ADVERTISEMENT “Ever since I was a kid, I loved being in the spotlight,” Igarashi said during a recent interview. “I loved having a lot of people watching me and competing under high pressure situations.”In April, The International Surfing Association formally approved Igarashi’s request to represent Japan at future ISA World Championships. Igarashi previously represented the United States.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownAs host nation, Japan automatically receives one slot for the men’s and women’s event. As the first Japanese surfer on the World Tour, Igarashi will be a strong favorite to represent his country in the Olympics.Igarashi’s father Tsutomu grew up surfing in Japan before moving to the United States. Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Kouame stars as Ateneo outlasts rival La Salle in Filoil Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew LATEST STORIES MOST READ Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons filmcenter_img Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award “It’s up to us to find the ideal wave,” Igarashi said. “That’s part of the challenge.”The four-man heat method will be used. Four athletes will compete at a time, with the best two proceeding to the next round. The length of a heat depends on the condition of the waves and lasts 20 to 25 minutes. In that time, an athlete can ride 10 to 12 waves, with their two highest scores counting.The United States, Australia and Brazil are expected to be the favorites but given his experience and familiarity with the waters, nobody is counting Igarashi out.“It’s not just about me,” Igarashi said. “It’s about my whole country that is backing me and behind me and supporting me. I can’t wait for the moment to come and I’m going to do my best to prepare for it mentally and physically to get the gold medal.”The International Surfing Association, based in La Jolla, California, is the sport’s governing body. It was founded in 1964.Surfing’s push to be included in the Olympics has a long history but got a big boost in 2014 when IOC President Thomas Bach realized the need to add more youthful, vibrant sports to the Olympic program.A total of 26 sports applied for inclusion in the 2020 Games and in August of 2016, five new sports, including surfing, were added to the program.Despite his relaxed approach, Igarashi knows competing for Japan in home waters on sport’s biggest stage will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.“This is the Olympics, this is the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. It’s not just another test in school, this is the real deal,” Igarashi said. “I feel the pressure every day. I go to sleep thinking about it but this is what makes a great athlete, it’s about dealing with the pressure, being excited for the moment instead of being scared of the pressure.” Kanoa started surfing at the age of three and entered his first contest three years later. He qualified for the World Surf League’s championship tour in 2015 and, one year later as an 18-year-old rookie, collected more Round One wins than any surfer on the tour that year.The chance to represent Japan is a dream come true for Igarashi.“It’s everything I’ve dreamt of as a kid, especially with the Olympics coming up,” Igarashi said. “It’s all happening, this is a really big moment in my career and I’m going to remember it for the rest of my life.”The surfing competition in 2020 will be held at the Tsurigasaki beach in Chiba Prefecture, about two hours outside of the Japanese capital. It’s where Igarashi’s father honed his skills before moving to the US.While the waves at Tsurigasaki can’t rival those of the North Shore of Oahu, Igarashi said there are plenty of challenges.ADVERTISEMENT DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water recedinglast_img read more

Chairman calls for immigration office in Region 2

first_imgRegional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt is calling for an immigration office to be set up in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam). “Recently, I visited the Passport Office in Georgetown and was very impressed by the level of professionalism and timely response offered by the staff as they served the public … The Regional Democratic Council of Region Two reiterates its call for the processing of machine readable passports in Region Two,” he posited.According to Ramdatt, the burdens placed on Essequibians – travel expenses and time loss among other challenges – could not be overemphasised. He went on to point out that Region Two and its neighbouring regions contribute significantly to Guyana’s economy and as such, should also be outfitted with these critical services.“Our Minister of Citizenship had committed during a flag-raising ceremony in February 2017 to address this concern … Fifty-two years after Independence, it is only fair that there is equality in the services offered and we enjoy similar benefits given to other regions,” the Regional Chairman asserted.This call by Ramdatt comes on the heels of ongoing efforts by the coalition Government to decentralise key public services across all the regions of the country. It was reported that new immigration offices will be constructed in Regions Two, Seven and Eight.Already, an immigration office was recently completed in Linden, Region 10. Construction of the 2000 square-foot building, which is located at Lot 43 Mackenzie, begun back in January following a sod-turning ceremony in December.The office is expected to process other documents such as birth and death certificates.Prior to this, there was another sod-turning exercise in Fort Ordnance, Canje, Berbice, Region Six, for the construction of a passport office at that location.last_img read more

Duncan to remain suspended – Granger

first_img…despite dismissal of fraud chargePresident David Granger was adamant that trade unionist Carvil Duncan must remain suspended from several constitutional agencies despite having his fraud charge legally dismissed.Carvil DuncanHe contended that the ruling by the Magistrate on November 2, 2016, does not prove Duncan’s innocence and reminded that there is still another matter of conspiracy pending in the courts.“The ruling by the magistrate was that insufficient evidence had been provided, there’s a slight difference between insufficient evidence and innocence,” the Head of State explained during his weekly telecast “The Public Interest”.Granger posited that he will await the findings of the tribunal he had established to determine whether Duncan is fit to continue serving in his constitutional positions.Duncan was facing a charge which stated that on March 31, 2015 at Georgetown, he stole $984,900, property of GPL.But Magistrate Leron Daly ruled that the prosecution’s evidence was insufficient to make out a prima facie case against Duncan who was charged on January 26, 2016.Duncan still faces a conspiracy charge which stated that between May 7 and 8, 2015, he conspired with then Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GPL, Aeshwar Deonarine, to steal $27,757,547, property of the power company.He is expected in court on January 4, 2017, to answer that charge.Duncan was recently suspended from the chairmanship of the Public Service Commission, as well as his membership in several other constitutional bodies by the President, who appointed a Tribunal to determine his fate in light of the criminal charges.Duncan had moved to the High Court and late last month, Justice Franklin Holder issued temporary orders to halt the work of the tribunal.But Minister of State Joseph Harmon told the media that the work of the tribunal was completed at the time the orders were circulated.Harmon indicated that the order is preventing the tribunal from submitting its report to the President and that the attorneys representing the State will be challenging the court order.Justice Holder had ruled that the tribunal was established based upon unlawful advice provided by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.last_img read more

Fort St. John gains two nurse practitioners

first_imgPartnerships between Northern Health, Ministry of Health, First Nations Health Authority, municipal governments and communities across northern B.C. have helped recruit seven new nurse practitioners to the Northern Health region, which First Nations Health Authority’s chief nursing officer, Becky Palmer, says will help increase access to primary care.“Nurse practitioners offer a scope of practice that make them an extremely valued asset for rural and remote First Nations communities, as well as citizens accessing services in the urban setting,” Palmer said.“We have heard from our clinicians and other partners working in First Nations communities, that nurse practitioners are an important contributor to enhancing care for First Nations.”Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with a graduate level nursing degree in advanced practice.Advertisement They are qualified to see patients for acute issues like a cold or injury, follow patients with chronic health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure, provide prenatal care, do check-ups and physical exams, and prescribe medications. PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Northern Health has announced that Fort St. John has received two new nurse practitioners, among the seven that have joined health centres across Northern B.C.Michael Tantongco recently completed his studies at the University of Victoria, and is a nurse practitioner with a background in pediatric oncology. Virginia Davis recently completed her master’s program through University of Northern British Columbia, and has moved back to Fort St. John to work here as a nurse practitioner. Photo by Northern Health Photo by Northern Health Photo by Northern Health Photo by Northern Health – Advertisement -All 21 full-time, four part-time and five casual nurse practitioners who currently work within the health authority provide primary care.“Nurse practitioners work in both independent and collaborative practice roles in B.C., providing valuable support to health care services,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.Last fall, Kristan Ellis-MacDonald started practicing in Chetwynd after relocating from Halifax, Nova Scotia.“There were no jobs for nurse practitioners available in the Maritimes when I was looking, so I feel very fortunate to join Northern Health as a nurse practitioner at the Chetwynd Primary Care Clinic,” said Ellis-MacDonald, adding that she is excited to live in Chetwynd for the community and beautiful environment.Advertisementlast_img read more

Man City reaction: ‘Joe Hart was exceptional. DON’T SELL HIM PEP!’

first_img1 Football fans the world over took to Twitter to applaud Joe Hart’s heroics in the Champions League. Manchester City drew 0-0 with Real Madrid at the Etihad, in the first leg of the semi finals, and the England man was key in keeping a clean sheet. He made a number of good saves, including one in the closing stages of the match [pictured], when he denied Pepe from point-blank range. Transfer rumours suggest that incoming City boss Pep Guardiola wants to bring a new shot-stopper with him to Manchester, but if he saw this game he may reconsider. See some of the best reaction, below: Joe Hart: The England goalkeeper impressed against Real Madrid last_img

Newcastle blow! Benitez’s assistant is appointed manager of Serie B outfit

first_imgRafael Benitez’s bid to lead Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first time of asking has suffered a blow after his assistant was appointed manager of Hellas Verona.Fabio Pecchia has been named boss of the Italian side, who finished bottom of Serie A last season, having served alongside Benitez at Napoli, Real Madrid and, latterly, St James’ Park.Benitez was unable to keep Newcastle in the top flight following his appointment as Steve McClaren’s successor in March, but last week signed a three-year contract after opting not to exercise the release clause in the event of relegation.A Newcastle statement read: “Newcastle United have this evening confirmed that first-team coach Fabio Pecchia will be leaving the club to become manager at Italian club Verona.”Benitez wrote on his official website, rafabenitez.com: “I am sad to see him depart as he has been an excellent professional from the first day and until the last in the years we have worked together.“Second and most importantly, I am pleased because he has been considered for this new position, he leaves to face these new and exciting challenges, both personally and professionally.”Benitez praised Pecchia’s qualities and Verona’s choice of coach.Newcastle added that steps are being made to replace the Italian.The Newcastle statement added: “Good progress is being made with regard to replacing Pecchia, and a further announcement will be made in the coming days.” 1 Fabio Pecchia, 42, followed Rafa Benitez to St James’ Park in March last_img read more

DONEGAL MUSICIAN IS LIVING LIFE TO INXS!

first_imgA Donegal musician is living the rock and roll dream by working with some of the world’s best-known bands and musicians.Lifford man Mike Keeney, himself an accomplished musician having fronted his own band, studied music at Masters Level at Queens.He went on to become Head of Music at North East Regional College in Bangor at age of 23 before leaving that a couple of years later to pursue the music business with his then band Leya. They were signed to Rubyworks in Ireland releasing one album supporting Snow Patrol, Embrace, Franz Ferdinand etc along the way.The band never never took off for them so they parted ways and Mike has been working in production/ studio work mostly since then.Has recorded albums like the Celtic Thunder album with Phil Coulter and crew which went to the top of the US billboard charts.Last year he recorded a new album with X Factor’s Mary Byrne, while in between he has in between recorded the movie soundtracks for two movies, Heartless directed by Ridley Scott http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1220214/ and Killing Bono http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1535101/ alongside his long time friend and collaborator Ciaran Gribbin from Derry. He has recently worked on orchestral arrangements for Duke Special “Under the Dark Cloth” album in association with the RTE concert orchestra.In January, Mike was asked to come out to Melbourne to record INXS new single which they were recording with their new vocalist – Ciaran Gribbin!!His latest projects have seen him relocate to Donegal again, working on new albums with Belfast songsters Duke Special and Foy Vance.While back in Donegal, Mike can catch up with his family including parents Packie and Kathleen.One of his cousins just happens to be a certain half-decent goalkeeper by the name of Shay Given and both are the exact same age and grew up together. All of which begs the question – why wasn’t Mike asked to record the official Euro Song for this year’s trip to Poland?!DONEGAL MUSICIAN IS LIVING LIFE TO INXS! was last modified: March 12th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

GARDA CHARGED WITH HARASSING WOMEN ARRESTED AT MOTHER’S DONEGAL HOME

first_imgA GARDA charged with harassing two women over a 18-month period has been arrested at his mother’s Donegal home.Donal Maguire, 38, was remanded on bail after he was arrested and charged with four counts of harassment at locations including two Dublin shopping centres.Gda Maguire, whose duties on the force have included security at the President’s official residence in the Phoenix Park, was remanded for six weeks at Dublin District Court for the directions of the DPP. The accused, a father-of-four with an address in north Dublin, is charged with harassing one of the women at Jervis Street Shopping Centre on February 7 and March 18 last.He is also charged with the same offence at Tesco, Clarehall Shopping Centre on dates between September 2012 and 2013.The last count of harassment is against a second woman, at North Great Clarence Street, Dublin 1 between February 1 and March 19 this year.The charges are under Section 10 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.The Irish Independent reports that Detective Inspector Francis Sweeney told Judge Patricia McNamara he arrested the accused yesterday at 11.11am at Gda Maguire’s mother’s home in Bundoran, Co Donegal. He was brought to Mountjoy Garda Station where he was later charged on one count and had nothing to say after caution.Detective Inspector Anthony Howard said the accused was further charged with the remaining three counts at 11.30pm and made no reply.Judge McNamara initially said she was requiring a cash lodgement was €100, but Defence Solicitor Mattew Kenny said the accused was of limited means and not in a position to pay this. He said it would amount to a remand in custody for his client.“Given his profession, if he is remanded in custody today and unable to take up his bail, that would have dramatic consequences for him”, Mr Kenny said.He said the accused could barely afford his transport costs back to Donegal.The court was then told that the defendant was a serving member of the gardai but had been suspended from duties on three-quarters pay pending the outcome of the proceedings.He was married with four children but no longer living in the family home and had spent time in a psychiatric hospital. Neither of the alleged victims was his estranged wife.Judge McNamara decided that justice would not be done if the accused were kept unnecessarily in custody. She noted that the accused was innocent until proven guilty.Bail was granted in the defendant’s own bond of €200, with no cash lodgement but under “strict conditions”, including a ban on entering the city and county of Dublin except for court appearances, legal consultations and medical appointments.He is to reside with his mother in Bundoran and sign on three times per week at the local garda station.The accused is to have no contact whatsoever with the alleged victims. Det Insp Howard said there were “limited directions” from the DPP at this stage and he sought a long adjournment.The accused, wearing blue jeans, a navy jumper and green t-shirt underneath did not address the court during the hearing.Judge McNamara granted legal aid after hearing the defendant’s net weekly income was €150.He was remanded on bail to appear in court again on May 8.GARDA CHARGED WITH HARASSING WOMEN ARRESTED AT MOTHER’S DONEGAL HOME was last modified: March 29th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:arrestedbundoranDonal MaguiredonegalGardaiharassmentlast_img read more

Big Science Portrays Embryonic Stem Cell Issue as Political Litmus Test

first_imgThe number of articles in scientific journals on embryonic stem cell research (also called “therapeutic cloning”) has been on the rise, particularly those referring to Britain’s or John Kerry’s support of it (see 08/11/2004 editorial), and Germany’s or Bush’s opposition to it.  Though science journals are expected to be above politics, on this issue their desire for political leaders with liberal policies on embryonic stem cell research is palpable.  How do they justify it morally?  (For the alternative, see 09/03/2004 headline.)A Nature editorial1 urged Germany to get over its hangups about its Nazi past and move forward.  Referring to a recent position paper by the National Ethics Council, the editorial states, “Its cautious tone illustrates how slow has been the evolution of attitudes towards the sanctity of life, which have been so deeply influenced by the Nazi abuse of genetics.  In no other Western country is the spectrum of attitudes towards cloning so narrow, and so skewed towards conservatism.”  (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Michael Gross, editorializing in Current Biology,2 similarly urged Germany to follow the UK’s lead in liberalizing stem-cell research policy, even though two-thirds of the public oppose doing so.  He regrets that “those who believe that Christian morality rules out any research with human embryos insist that the current restrictive legislation should not be touched or even debated at all,” because “The trouble is that any further delay will contribute to the brain drain and help to slow down German biotech.”Gretchen Vogel in Science has reported twice recently on the controversy.  In the Sept. 10 issue,3 she analyzed California’s Proposition 71, which seeks $3 billion in state bonds to fund embryonic stem cell research.  The qualms about cost and morals are set against economic benefits and predicted treatments for disease.  She quotes promoters who “argue that tax revenues and royalties from companies spun off from new discoveries will help offset the $6 billion it will cost to pay off the bonds over 30 years.  ‘You could think of it as an intellectual stimulus package,’ [Fred] Gage [Salk Institute] says.”  In the Sept. 24 issue,4 Vogel discussed the arguments in Europe over who gets to patent stem cell discoveries.Giuseppe Testa and John Harris discuss ethical questions of using embryonic stem cells (ES) for reproductive therapies in the Sep. 17 issue of Science.5  Pragmatics include benefits for same-sex couples and infertile couples being able to have genetically-derived children: “We suggest that from an ethical and legal perspective, this procedure is most appropriately framed as a therapeutic intervention to treat infertility.  It replaces in vitro the physiologic function normally responsible for reprogramming the germline genome, analogously to the well-established medical technologies that replace other deficient bodily functions,” (not that social parenthood should lose preeminence, they are quick to add).  This is not human “cloning” – it’s more like modified in-vitro fertilization.  The social implications are important, however: “The possibility of an all-male or all-female couple’s being able to have a child sharing the genetic make-up of both parents in virtually the same way as for heterosexual couples is thought-provoking and can be used as a lens through which to discern our attitudes toward parenting and family, as well as our notions of what is ‘natural.’”  As long as safety is preserved, such techniques are no less natural than medical practice itself, they argue. David Baltimore (Caltech president), in an editorial in Science Sept. 24,6 targeted the Bush administration for what he feels have been politically-motivated, anti-science policies.  These included positions on HIV/AIDS (not enough support for condoms; see 07/15/2004 headline) and global warming (not enough support for the international policy), as well as ES stem cell research (Bush’s “arbitrary decision” to restrict research to existing cell lines).  He suggests two motivations that, in his opinion, have been preventing the administration from letting “policies track the science” – i.e.,“either religious conservatism or economically based political caution.”The team that cloned Dolly the sheep is now seeking to clone a human embryo, reports the BBC News.  Does this represent crossing the ethical line of no return?  A representative of the Church of Scotland lauded the intent to find a cure for motor neuron disease, but said that cloning a human embryo to the blastocyst stage and then destroying it “raises big ethical issues.”Meanwhile, adult stem cells continue to demonstrate promise, without raising ethical questions.  For instance, EurekAlert reported research from University of South Florida where scientists used umbilical cord stem cells to reduce stroke damage.  Recently also, Nature Science Update reported on stem cells from adult bone marrow being used to prevent a form of blindness, and the 08/27/2004 headline discussed adult stem cells being used to treat hearing loss.  See 05/24/2004 headline on the media bias toward ES cells over adult stem cells.1Editorial: “Time to look to the future,” Nature 431, 385 (23 September 2004); doi:10.1038/431385b.2Michael Gross, “UK cloning moves prompt questions abroad,” Current Biology, Volume 14, Issue 18, 21 September 2004, Pages R732-R733, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.09.002.3Gretchen Vogel, “California Debates Whether to Become Stem Cell Heavyweight,” Science, Vol 305, Issue 5690, 1544-1545, 10 September 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5690.1544].4Gretchen Vogel, “Stem Cell Claims Face Legal Hurdles,” Science, Vol 305, Issue 5692, 1887, 24 September 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5692.1887a].5Giuseppe Testa and John Harris, “Ethical Aspects of ES Cell-Derived Gametes,” Science, Vol 305, Issue 5691, 1719, 17 September 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1103083].6David Baltimore, “Science and the Bush Administration,” Science, Vol 305, Issue 5692, 1873, 24 September 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5692.1873].The advice of the politically-savvy voter holds true here: follow the money trail.  The advocates of ES research are straining to find moral rationalizations for creating human beings for the purpose of destroying them, while the underlying drumbeat is always money, priority and prestige.  Big Science is concerned about who will be first, not who will be right.  Individual scientists who promote it have Nobel Prize dollars in their sights.    Adult stem cells already have many successes, with no ethical problems, while ES stem cells have none, and many practical and ethical problems.  On empty promises of wonder cures, Californians are being asked to dole out $6 billion of tax money in an already-overtaxed state, climbing out of a severe deficit, to feed the Big Science appetite for glory.  If this is such a good investment, why not ask Bill Gates for a few tens of billions?  Why should taxpayers be forced to fund what might many of them find morally reprehensible?    Baltimore’s anti-Bush article (see also 08/24/2003 headline) and all the others are liberal down the line, reinforcing our assertion that Big Darwinian Science is indistinguishable from political liberalism (see 08/05/2004 commentary).  He merely assumes that the liberal positions on AIDS, global warming and stem cells are the “scientific” ones, and that opponents are motivated only by “religious conservatism.”  Proposition: Big Darwinian Science is motivated by political liberalism.  Why let them get away with the opposite statement?    Notice also the openly liberal gay agenda advanced by Testa and Harris, and their willingness to redefine what is natural by letting two gay men clone their genes to have a kid (a female womb is just a commodity they have to borrow for the procedure).  This is a “therapeutic intervention to treat infertility”?  What kind of doubletalk is this?  Two men can’t have babies; that is the law of nature; that is not “infertility.”  In this brave new world, where words mean anything you want, why not redefine cannibalism as natural while we’re at it?  After all, you are what you eat, and with a little help from medical science, the procedure could be made both safe and wholesome (see 08/28/2003 commentary).    To liberals, “Christian morality” is the evil.  It’s the meddling obstacle in the way of scientific progress.  As the ghost of Mengele vanishes in the fog of political rhetoric (see 04/22/2004 headline), maybe the world would be better off if we followed the progressive lead of North Korea.  After all, their little god Kim Jong Il has no such Christian morals standing in his way of experimenting on humans, embryonic or adult (see this BBC News story).  The “evolution” of his “attitudes towards the sanctity of life” has been rapid, and the brain drain very effective.(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

More Going On in the Brain Than We Realize

first_imgThe news story about a girl who can see in both eyes with half a brain has stunned neurophysiologists (see New Scientist and Live Science).  Somehow, the remaining parts of her brain underwent a massive reorganization of the circuits involved in vision.  “It was quite a surprise to see that something like this is possible,” one of the neuroscientists who imaged the girl’s brain remarked.  Even more surprising is that the girl appears to be able to lead a normal life.  This story illustrates that much about the workings of the brain remains to be understood.    How aware is an unborn baby in the womb?  Live Science reported that experiments seem to show short-term memory in fetuses 30 weeks of age.  Tests with vibroacoustic stimulation on 100 pregnant women in the Netherlands apparently showed habituation to stimuli by the growing infants.  This does not necessarily correspond to consciousness, but was unexpected; Dr. Jan Nijhuis, a co-author of the study and an obstetrician at Maastricht University Medical Center in The Netherlands, said that until a few decades ago, “people would say that the human fetus is a sort of black box.”  Tests on infants below 30 weeks were negative, but that could be due to using the wrong kind of stimulus.    Apes have brains but something is missing: the ability to innovate.  Experiments show they can imitate one another, and even pass on lessons learned.  But New Scientist said, “For all their cognitive prowess, chimpanzees will never build four-stroke engines, stone pyramids, or even a simple wheel.”  Why?  When watching another chimp, they focus on the outcome, but not on the process that produced the outcome.  Andrew Whiten (St. Andrews U, UK) thinks that dichotomy, however, is too simplistic.  His observations acknowledged the monkey-see-monkey-do ability, but said, “They didn’t show any kind of cumulative cultural evolution.”  What in the brain of a chimp limits them?  It’s not just size, as the first story indicated.    New Scientist also debunked the myth that we only use 10% of our brains by discussing the vital role of glial cells that has been coming to light in recent years.  Long thought as mere scaffolding, these cells that constitute 90% of brain tissue may underlie dreams and imagination.  They have also been implicated in cell regeneration and cell death.  For those reasons, they may hold keys to understanding Alzheimer’s disease and other neural disorders.  Helen Thomson wrote about this in her review of a book, The Root of Thought by Andrew Kolb, that surveyed the history of speculation about the brain.  Thomson ended, “No matter what scientists uncover, though, it is clear that the brain is a far more subtle structure than the neural lightning storm it was once thought to be.”    Bacteria don’t have brains at all but they display some uncanny abilities that seem downright brainy.  New Scientist described bacteria that can communicate, make decisions, cooperate, form communities, navigate, learn, remember, and adapt.  “Remarkable though these behaviours are, we have probably only scratched the surface of what single-celled organisms can do,” reporter Michael Marshall wrote.  “With so many still entirely unknown to science, there must be plenty more surprises in store.”    Another story on New Scientist warned that doctors may be misdiagnosing patients in comas.  New testing methods found that 41% judged in a vegetative state were actually minimally conscious.  The thought of a partly conscious human being denied food and allowed to die should bring shudders to family members who are typically more concerned about their loved one than the medical staff.  “We may have become much too comfortable about our ability to detect consciousness,” said Joseph Giacino, the doctor in Belgium whose team re-diagnosed 44 patients and reclassified them as minimally conscious.  “I think it’s appropriate for there to be some level of alarm about this.”  Most diagnoses are made with subjective techniques that are subject to examiner bias.  The new method devised in 2004, called revised coma recovery scale, uses a series of behavioural tests based on criteria that can be used to distinguish between the two states.  It considers patients who may pop in and out of consciousness, and distinguishes reflex responses more objectively.    Judging the mental state of someone seemingly unconscious is important.  It can be a matter of life or death.  Some jurisdictions allow withdrawal of food depending on the diagnosis of vegetative state.  The other investigator said, “It’s very important to be sure of the diagnosis.”Between birth and death, that 3-pound jelly-like mass in your skull is your physical key to rationality, decision-making, and emotion in ways we do not fully understand.  It may half as large as others – that’s not the important thing.  Take what you have and use it wisely.  And be careful how you treat the brains of others.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more