Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Culture Dish:The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo

Tags: Rebecca, Skloot, Modern Genetics, immortal Lack' Cells, Lack's Grave Marker, Treatment,Vaccines, HIV, Polio, Genes, Epidemics, Racisms, Girl, Dragon, Tattoo, The Promise, Obama, Jonathan Alter, One term, Priest, Abuse, Eye Witnesses, memory revision, Prosecutorial Judges,

Although Oregonian, Rebecca Skloot, could have made a lot more money signing a movie contract with the big studios, she signed a contract with HBO to produce the film based on the book. She is one of the few book authors who actually made the lives of victims of the Establishment better by giving 20 percent of her book profits to them and paying for a grave marker.

I like living in Oregon because caring about strangers has not largely disappeared where the public helps those who cannot pay for medical treatments or food all the time. One anonymous donor giver $300,000 to the Food Bank.

We don't seem to even care about our own family anymore. Do we want to live a life where making money and acquiring things is the main objective. I was shocked that I contributed the same dollar amount as Vice President Biden to charity!

We complain a lot about our system, but make no real effort to change it. We are all strangers where friends (Acquaintances) are sacrificed for our greater profit.

Skloot, a superb science writer whose writings on science has appeared in all the top venues such as the New York Times. Her book is more about how we medically mistreat the underclass based on race and income even now and also writes about the huge contribution her still living cancer cells made to science and medical treatments including HIV, polio, and many other diseases.

The main thing impeding progress in curing diseases was the problem of keeping cells alive, even cancer cells long enough to determine how important various factors including diseases has on cell function! Yes, the same factors affect cancer cells as regular cells. If Henrietta Lacks' cells were removed after treatment as some where, they would have died. But cells removed in 1950 are still used all over the world in science research.

The book has relevance to you now because doctors are now taking cell and gene samples from us and doing research that can and has made them lots of money for them. But it is also a wonderful narrative story about making non-fiction becoming more real and interesting than many good fiction novels.

If you like mysteries, I am now reading "The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson whose book was made into a film and now showing in Eugene, Oregon. I am now losing lots of sleep and will finish it during the day. Most mysteries on the best sellers are boring because they are too obvious or fit a pattern. This one really gets your thinking juices boiling.

Read slowly and think while reading! We are all too busy to read because we try to do everything and do not put priorities on things that are really important for our pleasure.

Henrietta Lacks's lack of treatment for her cancer in 1950 showed how even one of the top hospitals, John Hopkins, treated or untreated African-Americans and other underclass and still do.

In the great book The Promise by Jonathan Alter, before his election, he made the comment that when we win, I will have to do things that may make me only a one term President!

Although he did not campaign on Healthcare in a serious way, when the Financial Crisis hit, he had to think of not only saving our economy, but how to reduce spending and make healthcare available to all at a reasonable cost by taking out the huge waste in healthcare. Insurance works where risk is reduced if both the healthy and sick all belong to the same system.

That is why life insurance only for the old would lead to bankruptcy. The same is true of Medicaid and Medicare. That is why a value added tax is needed to pay for Medical Care, an idea which Obama will eventually incorporate if he gets a second term. Healthcare Guaranteed by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, short book, covers this process. A bunch of smart guys attended his book review, but based on the questions asked, very few got it!

Because Alter was in Washington and got free access to the Obama administration, his facts come from interviewing key players during or soon after a crisis including many plans they were making for the future. So memory fade and as we know, everytime we recall a memory, the memory changes based on what is happening now.

That is why I am skeptical that many of those suing the Catholic Church did get abused. The Martin School for small children abuse in California was also fabricated too by questioners asking leading questions of the children over and over again. As we all should know, eye witnesses without corroborating evidence get so many things wrong that at least half of the prisoners on death roll in Illinois were innocent. I assume even a larger majority in Texas and Florida have been wrongly convicted of capital crimes. Judges should essentially wipe out eye witness testimony from playing a major role in convictions.

In the San Francisco area where many Caucasians, Blacks, and Asians live, it was surprising that most mis-identified someone of a different group in a study of photographs. Since I lived my early life in a all black community, I can identify different Blacks more easily than I can Whites even in my old age!

Jim Kawakami, December 01, 2010, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com

MAY 31, 2010

More on Henrietta Lacks's New Grave Marker

Category: HeLaPublication News and FollowupsThe Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksWomen and Science

Anyone interested in Henrietta Lacks and the grave marker finally placed on her long unmarked grave this weekend should click here immediately for a beautiful post by scientist David Kroll, who attended the unveiling ceremony. It's filled with beautiful photos of the day, and a tribute to all Henrietta's cells did for science. His photo below shows Henrietta's new headstone in much sharper detail than the one I posted yesterday with the text of the inscription. Visit his post for many more photos of the ceremony, the graveyard, and Henrietta's family. ... http://scienceblogs.com/culturedish/

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