Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) deficiency constitutes one of the most common hereditary enzyme deficiencies, affecting 35% to 40% of East Asians and 8% of the world population. It causes the well-known Asian Alcohol Flush Syndrome, characterized by facial flushing, palpitation, tachycardia, nausea, and other unpleasant feelings when alcohol is consumed. It is also associated with a marked increase in the risk of a variety of serious disorders, including esophageal cancer and osteoporosis. Our recent studies with murine models have demonstrated that (...) a one-time administration of an adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene transfer vector expressing the human ALDH2 coding sequence (AAVrh.10hALDH2) will correct the deficiency state and prevent alcohol-induced abnormalities of the esophagus and bone. If successful in humans, such strategy would reduce the increased risk-associated disorders such as esophageal cancer and osteoporosis, but also prevent the Asian Alcohol Flush Syndrome. This treatment thus raises ethical concerns: although it would potentially prevent fatal disease, it could also allow affected individuals to drink alcohol without suffering the Asian Alcohol Flush Syndrome and, hence, potentially enable personal destructive behavior. Here we explore the ethical arguments against the development of a gene therapy for ALDH2 deficiency and we find them wanting. We contend that development of such treatments is ethically appropriate and should be part and parcel of the solutions offered against the condition. (shrink)
In contemporary Western societies, infants in the first 3 months cry more than at any other time during their life. Although this crying is believed to function to assure nutrition, protection, and mother-infant interaction thought to be essential for later attachment, it also predisposes to complaints of excessive crying (“colic”), discontinuing breast-feeding, and, in the extreme case, child abuse. A resolution of this apparent paradox is proposed based on evidence that elements of caregiving are important determinants of some aspects of (...) early crying. It is argued that early human crying under caretaking conditions typical in Western societies is characterized by prolonged crying bouts, that it is specifically the length of crying bouts (rather than frequency or pattern) that is affected by caregiving practice, and that prolonged crying bouts are probably not characteristic with caretaking practices typical in non-Western societies and possibly in our evolutionary past. It is suggested that caregiving behaviors may recruit normal physiological functions that potentiate cry bout duration in Western caregiving contexts, but reduce it in others. Frequent, short bouts are sufficient, and probably better suited than long bouts, to promote all the positive and presumably adaptive functions claimed for infant crying. Furthermore, they may have provided a mechanism by which infants could enhance their own fitness. (shrink)
This study is an extension of our recent ethics research in direct marketing and information technology. In this study, we investigated the relationships among core organizational values, organizational ethics, corporate social responsibility, and organizational performance outcome. Our analysis of online survey responses from a sample of IT professionals in the United States indicated that managers from organizations with organic core values reported a higher level of social responsibility relative to managers in organizations with mechanistic values; that managers in both mechanistic (...) and organic organizations which were perceived as more socially responsible were also perceived as more ethical; and that perceived ethical attitudes and social responsibility were significantly associated with organizational performance outcome measures. Our article discusses research premises, conceptual framework, hypotheses, research methodology, data analysis, recommendations for further research, and conclusions. (shrink)
I argue that in the first three months, crying is primarily a behavioral state rather than a signal and that its properties include prolonged and unsoothable crying bouts as part of normal development. However, these normal properties trigger Shaken Baby Syndrome, a form of child abuse that does not easily fit an adaptive infanticide analysis.
Fundamental to the modern conception of historical perspective was the position that nature had its own integrity and that a common human nature underlay human action in history. The first tenet was an achievement of the Scholastics, the second of Italian humanists of the fourteenth century. In order to justify the reading of ancient pagan texts an early humanist Albertino Mussato had resorted to the late ancient and medieval tradition that the pagan poets had been divinely inspired to predict the (...) coming of Christ and a number of other revealed truths. Subsequently, however, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Salutati argued that if poetic genius was a divine gift to individuals, poetic creation was a product of human effort. The consequent desanctification of the ancient writers allowed them to be approached as historical human beings. Nevertheless, the new enthusiasm for Plato beginning with Bruni initiated a retreat from this position and a return to the medieval confusion between the world of grace and the world of nature. By the second half of the fifteenth century, Plato’s “divine madness of the poets” was being interpreted to mean that the ancient poets had been divinely inspired to utter Christian truths. (shrink)
The temporal widths of a light pulse as measured in different inertial frames are shown to have a relation more complicated than that of a simple time dilatation. The result is compared with the dilatation in the twin paradoxGedanken experiment. The light pulse measurement requires two observers in two different frames. The measurements of the observers are compared. For the twin experiment a comparison is made between two clocks which have undergone different histories between the two points at which their (...) world lines intersect. (shrink)
Measurements in spacetime can be classified as spacelike or timelike, according to the positional and temporal characteristics of the measuring process. A well-known adjective for the spacelike measurement is “synchronous.” To describe the timelike measurement the term “syntopic” is introduced. The use of these terms is illustrated in discussing the measurement of time dilatation and the Lorentz contraction.
Despite the worldwide prestige of America's doctoral programs in the humanities, all is not well in this area of higher education and hasn't been for some time. The content of graduate programs has undergone major changes, while high rates of student attrition, long times to degree, and financial burdens prevail. In response, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1991 launched the Graduate Education Initiative, the largest effort ever undertaken to improve doctoral programs in the humanities and related social sciences. The (...) only book to focus exclusively on the current state of doctoral education in the humanities, Educating Scholars reports on the GEI's success in reducing attrition and times to degree, the positive changes implemented by specific graduate programs, and the many challenges still to be addressed.Over a ten-year period, the Foundation devoted almost eighty-five million dollars through the GEI to provide support for doctoral programs and student aid in fifty-four departments at ten leading universities. The authors examine data that tracked the students in these departments and in control departments, as well as information gathered from a retrospective survey of students. They reveal that completion and attrition rates depend upon financial support, the quality of advising, clarity of program requirements, and each department's expectations regarding the dissertation. The authors consider who earns doctoral degrees, what affects students' chances of finishing their programs, and how successful they are at finding academic jobs.Answering some of the most important questions being raised about American doctoral programs today, Educating Scholars will interest all those concerned about our nation's intellectual future. (shrink)