An Ol’ Broad’s Ramblings

April 23, 2007

Overloading the Box

Filed under: Healthcare, Life, Uncategorized — olbroad @ 2:27

Let’s say you’ve got a box. You’re going to put cookies in that box, so it should be a good sized box. Slowly, you start putting the cookies in, by ones and twos. Some of the cookies coming off the conveyor belt aren’t wanted, at least not by you, so you throw them in the trash. You’ve got a square opening at the bottom of the box to allow some of the cookies to crumble and fall out. The more cookies you add, the more the box fills, but very few of the cookies are falling out, so the box starts to bulge at the sides, putting more and more stress on the cookies already in the box. They begin to break, but not enough are falling out to make room for the new, fresh cookies.

This is our planet. We are throwing away babies at an incredible rate, yet work so hard to keep others alive who have lived a good full life, long after it’s time for them to pass on. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars keeping people alive who, in the normal course of events, be it car wreck or devastating illness, should be allowed to go with dignity. The strong are getting fractured by those who are not so strong. So, when I came across this article, for some reason, I pictured an overloaded cookie box.

Daily pill to beat genetic diseases

A pill that can correct a wide range of faulty genes which cause crippling illnesses should be available within three years, promising a revolution in the treatment of thousands of conditions.

I understand the want to cure all ills, but should we?

As well as offering hope of a first effective treatment for two conditions that are at present incurable, the drug has excited scientists because research suggests it should also work against more than 1,800 other genetic illnesses.

Hope is a great thing to have. We don’t want our loved ones to ever leave us, but dying is just part of living.

In most genetic conditions, between 5-15 per cent of cases are caused by a defect called a “nonsense mutation”. Genes are instruction manuals for cells to make proteins, but nonsense mutations in effect introduce a command halfway through that stops production. The kind of protein disrupted determines the nature of the disease.

Who are we to mess with nature? Perhaps I’m being a cold hearted b*tch, or maybe I’m trying to be practical? I don’t know. If my child had a debilitating disease, would I feel differently? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Other diseases that can be caused by nonsense mutations include beta thalassaemia, a blood disorder, and Hurler syndrome, in which children’s mental and physical development stops and most patients die by the age of 10.

It’s horrible that children die and I wish it wasn’t that way at all. I think there’s a reason for these ‘nonsense mutations’. Don’t ask me what, I don’t know. That’s not my job, and He’s not answering the question.

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