Perspectives in Biology and Medicine

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
Volume 48, Number 3, Summer 2005

CONTENTS

Articles

Science and Medicine

    Neuman, Yair, 1968-
  • "Meaning-Making" in Language and Biology
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    Subject Headings:
    • Biology.
    • Metaphor.
    Abstract:
      The linguistic metaphor in biology adheres to a representational theory that seeks similarities between pre-given domains. The point of departure of this paper is the generative and nonrepresentational conception of metaphor. This paper argues that by adopting the nonrepresentational conception of metaphor, meaning-making may be the appropriate perspective for understanding biological systems. In both cases (the linguistic and the biological), boundary conditions between different levels of organization use micro-level disorganization to create macro-level organization.

Ethics and Philosophy

    Fiester, Autumn.
  • Ethical Issues in Animal Cloning
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cloning -- Moral and ethical aspects.
    Abstract:
      The issue of human reproductive cloning has recently received a great deal attention in public discourse. Bioethicists, policy makers, and the media have been quick to identify the key ethical issues involved in human reproductive cloning and to argue, almost unanimously, for an international ban on such attempts. Meanwhile, scientists have proceeded with extensive research agendas in the cloning of animals. Despite this research, there has been little public discussion of the ethical issues raised by animal cloning projects. Polling data show that the public is decidedly against the cloning of animals. To understand the public's reaction and fill the void of reasoned debate about the issue, we need to review the possible objections to animal cloning and assess the merits of the anti–animal cloning stance. Some objections to animal cloning (e.g., the impact of cloning on the population of unwanted animals) can be easily addressed, while others (e.g., the health of cloned animals) require more serious attention by the public and policy makers.
    Benatar, S. R.
    Fox, Renée C. (Renée Claire), 1928-
  • Meeting Threats to Global Health: A Call for American Leadership
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    Subject Headings:
    • World health.
    • Public health -- International cooperation.
    • Medical policy -- United States.
    Abstract:
      Although the application of major biomedical advances has yielded spectacular results for individual health, there has been little improvement in the health of whole populations. There is a "back to the future" irony in the fact that at the inception of the 21st century, the eruption and spread of a multitude of "old" and "new" infectious diseases has become the most serious global threat to the health of humankind. At this historical juncture, the United States is the country with the most potential for favorably influencing global health and health care. Although there are historical, cultural, economic, and political factors that impede the United States from rising to this challenge, there is both a moral imperative and a rational long-term self-interest basis for the U.S. medical profession and government to exercise leadership in facing the health challenges of tragic and genocidal proportions that threaten everyone in an increasingly interdependent world.

History and Biography

    Cosans, Chris.
  • Was Darwin a Creationist?
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    Subject Headings:
    • Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882. On the origin of species.
    • Owen, Richard, 1804-1892.
    • Creation.
    • Evolution (Biology)
    Abstract:
      Throughout the Origin of Species, Darwin contrasts his theory of natural selection with the theory that God independently created each species. This makes it seem as though the Origin offers a scientific alternative to a theological worldview. A few months after the Origin appeared, however, the eminent anatomist Richard Owen published a review that pointed out the theological assumptions of Darwin's theory. Owen worked in the tradition of rational morphology, within which one might suggest that evolution occurs by processes that are continuous with those by which life arises from matter; in contrast, Darwin rested his account of life's origins on the notion that God created one or a few life forms upon which natural selection could act. Owen argued that Darwin's reliance on God to explain the origins of life makes his version of evolution no less supernatural than the special creationist that Darwin criticizes: although Darwin limits God to one or a few acts of creation, he still relies upon God to explain life's existence.
    Breathnach, Caoimhghin S.
  • Hugh Ross's Curious Lymphocyte Experiments
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ross, Hugh Campbell, 1875-1926.
    • Lymphocytes.
    • Mitosis.
    Abstract:
      It is now almost 100 years since Hugh Campbell Ross began his experiments on white blood cells and cancer. By suspending peripheral blood cells in a solution of agar gel, he was able to observe changes in them provoked by various natural and artificial substances, which he named auxetics, kinetics, or augmentors, depending on the effects they produced. After his early experience he focused his attention particularly on lymphocytes in peripheral blood samples; he claimed to have observed rapid division in them, although at that time they were looked upon as end cells without a future. He contended that his results challenged what had become the orthodox view of the role of the nucleus in mitosis, asserting that cytologists had been led astray by relying on examination of fixed, dead structures. When doubt was cast on his claim to have induced cell division, his brother Ronald, Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, came to his defense, but to no avail, and although he continued his experiments for a number of years they were quietly forgotten. Fifty years later the occurrence of mitotic division of peripheral blood lymphocytes was established beyond any doubt by Nowell and Hirschhorn.
    Talley, Colin Lee, 1963-
  • The Emergence of Multiple Sclerosis, 1870-1950: A Puzzle of Historical Epidemiology
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    Subject Headings:
    • Multiple sclerosis -- Epidemiology -- History.
    • Multiple sclerosis -- Diagnosis -- History.
    • Neurology -- History.
    Abstract:
      In 1868, Jean-Martin Charcot identified multiple sclerosis (MS) as a distinct nosological entity. By 1870, American neurologists became aware of the "new" disease and began to diagnose cases in the United States. For the next 50 years, however, American physicians thought it was a rare condition. From 1920 to 1950, this perception changed dramatically; by 1950, neurologists considered it among the most common neurological diseases in America. The increasing prevalence of MS between 1920 and 1950 can largely be explained as an effect of an increase in the number of trained neurologists, urbanization, a changed ecology of disease, and altered concepts of gender and disease. Physicians recognized MS more frequently because over time there were more neurologists who had the skills necessary to make the difficult diagnosis, and because patients were more likely to be seen by a trained neurologist. Significant numbers of patients with MS had been misdiagnosed with other diseases such as hysteria and neurosyphilis; over time, they were increasingly diagnosed correctly.
    Morgenstern, Leon.
  • The Bells Are Ringing: Tinnitus in Their Own Words
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    Subject Headings:
    • Tinnitus -- Patients.
    Abstract:
      Tinnitus, commonly known as "ringing in the ears," is the perception of a ringing noise or other sound within the head when none exists. It is a malady that affects millions, so its occurrence among the famous comes as no surprise. Beginning with Pliny the Elder, who coined the term, this essay describes the travails of a dozen well-known subjects afflicted with this disorder, through several centuries, principally in their own words. For some it was a burden to be endured; for others, it was unendurable. Suggested remedies were many and oft-times strange; cure, even now, is nonexistent.
    Young, Barbara, 1920-
  • A Psychiatrist's Life and the Emerging of Her Creative Eye
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    Subject Headings:
    • Young, Barbara, 1920-
    • Psychiatrists -- Maryland -- Baltimore -- Biography.
    • Photographers -- Maryland -- Baltimore -- Biography.

Culture and Society

    Baptista, Luis Felipe.
    Keister, Robin A.
  • Why Birdsong Is Sometimes Like Music
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    Subject Headings:
    • Birdsongs.
    • Birds -- Songs and music.
    Abstract:
      The sounds and songs of birds have inspired the musical compositions of numerous cultures throughout the globe. This article examines a variety of compositions from Western music that feature birdsong and explores the concept of birds as both vocalists and instrumentalists. The concept of birds as composers is then developed—how they use rhythmic variations, pitch relationships, and combinations of notes similar to those found in music—and the theory that birds create variation in their songs partially to avoid monotony is considered. Various families of birds that borrow sounds from other species are surveyed, in particular the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris), which may have inspired a Mozart composition. We conclude that the fusion of avian bioacoustics and the study of birdsong in music may function as a conservation tool, raising the awareness of humans and stimulating future generations to save for posterity what remains of the natural world.

Essay Reviews

    Bentley, Ronald.
  • The Development of Penicillin: Genesis of a Famous Antibiotic
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    Subject Headings:
    • Lax, Eric. Mold in Dr. Florey's coat: the story of the penicillin miracle.
    • Penicillin -- History -- Popular works.
    Carrick, Paul, 1946-
  • The Hidden Costs of Environmentally Responsible Health Care
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    Subject Headings:
    • Pierce, Jessica, 1965- Ethics of environmentally responsible health care.
    • Jameton, Andrew.
    • Medical ethics.

Book Reviews

    Goldblatt, Stanford J.
  • Governance of Teaching Hospitals: Turmoil at Penn and Hopkins (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kastor, John A. Governance of teaching hospitals: turmoil at Penn and Hopkins.
    • Teaching hospitals -- Maryland -- Baltimore -- Administration.
    Riordan, Michael H.
  • Governance of Teaching Hospitals: Turmoil at Penn and Hopkins (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kastor, John A. Governance of teaching hospitals: turmoil at Penn and Hopkins.
    • Teaching hospitals -- Maryland -- Baltimore -- Administration.

Letter to the Editor




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