The rapid rise of international collaborative science has enabled access to genomic data. In this article, it is argued that to move beyond mapping genomic variation to understanding its role in complex disease aetiology and treatment will require extending data sharing for the purposes of clinical research translation and implementation.
Transoral laser microsurgery applies to the piecemeal removal of malignant tumours of the upper aerodigestive tract using the CO2 laser under the operating microscope. This method of surgery is being increasingly popularised as a single modality treatment of choice in early laryngeal cancers (T1 and T2) and occasionally in the more advanced forms of the disease (T3 and T4), predomi- nantly within the supraglottis. Thomas Kuhn, the American physicist turned philosopher and historian of science, coined the phrase ‘paradigm shift’ in (...) his groundbreaking book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He argued that the arrival of the new and often incompatible idea forms the core of a new paradigm, the birth of an entirely new way of thinking. This article discusses whether Steiner and col- leagues truly brought about a paradigm shift in oncological surgery. By rejecting the principle of en block resection and by replacing it with the belief that not only is it oncologically safe to cut through the substance of the tumour but in doing so one can actually achieve better results, Steiner was able to truly revolutionise the man- agement of laryngeal cancer. Even though within this article the repercussions of his insight are limited to the upper aerodigestive tract oncological surgery, his willingness to question other peoples’ dogma makes his contribution truly a genuine paradigm shift. (shrink)
This paper addresses several questions related to the nature, production, and use of animal-human (a-h) chimeras. At the heart of the issue is whether certain types of a-h chimeras should be brought into existence, and, if they are, how we should treat such creatures. In our current research environment, we recognize a dichotomy between research involving nonhuman animal subjects and research involving human subjects, and the classification of a research protocol into one of these categories will trigger different ethical standards (...) as to the moral permissibility of the research in question. Are a-h chimeras entitled to the more restrictive and protective ethical standards applied to human research subjects? We elucidate an Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysical framework in which to argue how such chimeras ought to be defined ontologically. We then examine when the creation of, and experimentation upon, certain types of a-h chimeras may be morally permissible. (shrink)
A unifying theory of general anesthetic-induced unconsciousness must explain the common mechanism through which various anesthetic agents produce unconsciousness. Functional-brain-imaging data obtained from 11 volunteers during general anesthesia showed specific suppression of regional thalamic and midbrain reticular formation activity across two different commonly used volatile agents. These findings are discussed in relation to findings from sleep neurophysiology and the implications of this work for consciousness research. It is hypothesized that the essential common neurophysiologic mechanism underlying anesthetic-induced unconsciousness is, as with (...) sleep-induced unconsciousness, a hyperpolarization block of thalamocortical neurons. A model of anesthetic-induced unconsciousness is introduced to explain how the plethora of effects anesthetics have on cellular functioning ultimately all converge on a single neuroanatomic/neurophysiologic system, thus providing for a unitary physiologic theory of narcosis related to consciousness. (shrink)
In this article, Lucas maintains the falseness of Mechanism - the attempt to explain minds as machines - by means of Incompleteness Theorem of Gödel. Gödel’s theorem shows that in any system consistent and adequate for simple arithmetic there are formulae which cannot be proved in the system but that human minds can recognize as true; Lucas points out in his turn that Gödel’s theorem applies to machines because a machine is the concrete instantiation of a formal system: therefore, for (...) every machine consistent and able of doing simple arithmetic, there is a formula that it can’t produce as true but that we can see to be true, and so human minds and machines have to be different. Lucas considers as well in this article some possible objections to his argument: for any Gödelian formula we could, for instance, construct a machine able to produce it or we could put the Gödelian formulae that we had proved as axioms of a further machine. However - as Lucas underlines - for every of such machines we could again formulate another Gödelian formula, the Gödelian formula of these machines, that they are not able to proof but that we can recognize as true. More general arguments, such as the possibility to escape Gödelian argument by suggesting that Gödel’s theorem applies to consistent systems while we could be inconsistent ones, are moreover refuted by Lucas by maintaining that our inconsistency corresponds to occasional malfunctioning of a machine and not to his normal inconsistency; indeed, a inconsistent machine is characterized by producing any statement, on the contrary human being are selective and not disposed to assert anything. (shrink)