Tag Archives: Health

Designer Babies Are at the Doorstep

A child with cystic fibrosis (CF) can look forward to a lifetime of nearly suffocating in his own mucus, probably infertility in the case of a male child, and finally death in middle age.

The disease is genetic. If you were pregnant and knew your baby was destined to struggle with CF, what would you do?

  • Have an abortion?
  • Carry the baby to term as-is?
  • Repair the defective genes so he would not develop CF?

For me, the choice would be easy. I would repair the genes.

designer-babiesThis week, news broke that scientists have managed to edit the DNA of human embryos using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, in a way that could absolutely cure CF and other diseases. (Here’s a 90-second explanation of CRISPR, and here’s one in more depth that runs 7:20.)

Not only could the technique prevent disease in an affected embryo, but the gene would forever be eliminated from the line of descent (the embryo’s children). Pretty great, right?

Yes, but the scary part is that this technique could conceivably be employed to edit any gene. You want taller children? Smarter children? Stronger children? You will be able to have them — for a price.

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Consider Compassion

My doctor and I were recently talking about stress in my life. He suggested, “When you’re in those situations, consider compassion.”

Consider compassion. There is so much that’s right about that.

He did not say, “You ought to try to be more compassionate,” as if I don’t already have enough stress in my life without “trying” to do one more thing.

He did not tell me what, specifically, compassion would mean. That would have added more “ought” to my already heaping plate.

He did not worry that I would do it wrong unless closely supervised.

He just put something out there for me to consider and trusted the idea itself to be sufficiently persuasive. I love it.

“What can I do if I don’t feel compassionate?” I asked.

“You can observe how you do feel, acknowledge it, and choose compassion instead if you wish.”

I’ve been experimenting with that, and in most cases it really is that simple. So, I thought I’d pass this along for you to consider.

By the way, with better diet, more exercise and more compassion my blood pressure is waaaay down. I don’t dare say how much because I’m afraid it’s a fluke. If it’s still low at my next visit (end of January), then I’ll blog more about it.