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Biomedicine and the Human Condition: Challenges, Risks, and by Michael G. Sargent

By Michael G. Sargent

The best way to stay away from illness, how one can breed effectively, and the way to dwell to a cheap age are questions that experience confused humankind all through background. This booklet explores our development in realizing those demanding situations, and the dangers and rewards of devising strategies. A huge diversity of themes are coated, together with copy, the advance of human progeny from belief to maturity, staying fit, growing old, melanoma, an infection and the load of our genetic legacy.

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Extra info for Biomedicine and the Human Condition: Challenges, Risks, and Rewards

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THE FIRST TEST TUBE BABY: Louise Brown, born on 25 July 1978 in Oldham, Lancashire, was the first baby conceived by IVF. 19 The idea of fertilisation outside of the body was not particularly daunting to a zoologist who believed that he could recreate conditions comparable to those in the uterus and thereby facilitate fertilisation. The fertilised egg would then be transferred to the prospective mother’s womb to implant on the wall of the uterus. xml 38 CY488-Sargent 0 521 83366 3 March 18, 2005 13:54 LEARNING TO BREED SUCCESSFULLY and the early embryos of other mammals were surprisingly robust at the ball-of-cells stage (the blastocyst).

Kung breastfeed their babies for more than three years. Creative thinking about alternatives to this commitment began in prehistoric times, when humans started using the milk of domesticated animals to feed human offspring. The question was debated actively in ancient times: we know that Galen, the doyen of Graeco-Roman medicine, forcefully advocated breast-feeding for at least three years. Plainly, babies whose mothers lacked milk would be doomed without a substitute food, an eventuality that mothers seem to have addressed, at least since the time of Genesis, by taking a wet nurse (Genesis 35:8).

As the fate of most fertilised eggs is oblivion, this is clearly sentimental rather than rational. In spite of the unyielding stance of the Vatican, probably most Catholics ignore its authority by preventing unwanted pregnancies. MEDICALLY INDUCED TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY: The central ethical issue of when the embryo acquires the moral inviolability of a person was decided in British law in 1967, not by metaphysical jousting but in the rough-and-tumble of Parliament. The law, the first of its kind in Western countries, was drafted on the advice of the British Medical Association (BMA).

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