Wednesday, May 11, 2005


People realize that blacks are more dangerous. How amazing! "Negative feelings about black people may be subconsciously learned by both white and black Americans, suggests a brain imaging study. The research is among the first to test the brain physiology of racial biases in both black and white subjects. The new study showed that both white and black people had increased activity in an area of the brain called the amygdala - which responds to fearful or threatening situations - when completing a matching task with images of black faces". Logical Meme has more.

Homosexual brains respond like female brains: "Using a brain-imaging technique, Swedish researchers have shown that men and women respond differently to two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal, and that homosexual men respond in the same way as women. The two chemicals, one a testosterone derivative produced in men's sweat and the other an estrogen-like compound found in women's urine, have long been suspected of being pheromones, chemicals emitted by one individual to trigger some behavior in another of the same species. The role of pheromones, particularly in guiding sexual behavior, has been well established in animals but experts differ as to what importance, if any, they have retained in human mating. The new research may open the way to studying human pheromones as well as the biological basis of sexual preference. The study, by Dr. Ivanka Savic and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is being reported in Tuesday's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences..... The report by Dr. Savic and her colleagues recalls a 1991 report by Dr. Simon LeVay that a small region of the hypothalamus was twice as large in straight men than in women or gay men."



A sane verdict: "A jury took less than three hours yesterday to throw out a prosecution which threatened to extend the crime of manslaughter to carers who fail to prevent suicides by people who have repeatedly made it clear that they wish to take their own lives. Jill Anderson, 49, who told police she and her pain-racked husband, Paul, had exchanged the phrase 'I love you' at least 17 times a day in his final weeks, was cleared after admitting that she had failed to dial 999 when he took the last of many overdoses at their Yorkshire country cottage .... Lawyers are assessing the implications for the use of manslaughter by gross negligence as an alternative to the Suicide Act, which applies only to people who actively assist someone to die. The prosecuting QC was the Treasury counsel David Perry, who represented the Home Office in the Diane Pretty case, arguing against her right to die, and there have been suggestions that the government has been looking for ways to tighten things up."

Organ sanity needed: "Let's put some perspective on the 'ethics' of money in transplant situations: The surgeon who performs the transplant is paid. The nurses, anesthesiologists, medical technicians and aides who assist the surgeon are paid. The company which transports the organ from its point of origin to its point of use is paid. The lady behind the counter at the hospital coffee shop who serves up a cuppa joe to the patients' families while they await word is paid. Only one party to this whole process is expected to forego payment for 'ethical' reasons -- the donor (or, if the donor is dead, the donor's estate). The result? Only 30% of Americans register to donate their organs. Hundreds of Americans die every month awaiting a transplant organ which never arrives. Thousands of transplantable organs are buried or baked every month. Nobody wins. The exclusion of market values from the organ transplant process results in death after death -- in the midst of an abundance of potential life."

Freedom and the organ shortage: "Governments cause lots of problems. Individuals solve lots of problems. When individuals try to solve a problem caused by government, they face an uphill struggle. The organ shortage is an interesting example, and since April is National Donate Life Month, the subject is worth reviewing in detail. There is a large and growing shortage of transplantable human organs in the United States. Over 88,000 Americans are now on the national waiting list, and about 40,000 more join the list every year. Over 6,000 Americans died waiting for transplant operations last year. But these deaths are not the result of any real scarcity of organs. In fact, Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Rather, the federal government has caused the organ shortage by bureaucratic meddling in the transfer of organs from people who no longer need them to people who do."

Good thing they found out eventually: "The nitrous oxide gas used in most general anaesthetics is unsafe and should be discontinued, say Australian doctors who have found it doubles the rate of serious vomiting and pneumonia after surgery and raises the risk of wound infections. Their study of 2050 patients also showed that those who had undergone surgery were slower to recover and likely to stay in hospital longer if gases used to keep them unconscious included nitrous oxide as a base, rather than oxygen alone or oxygen and air. Paul Myles, director of anaesthesia at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, said: "This is going to really surprise people ... nitrous oxide is used in 80 per cent of anaesthetics. It's the stock in the stew. It's the foundation of anaesthesia and has been that way for 160 years."


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