Author Archives: Enjoy Furigay

Memory Technology Outline

  • Introduction
    • Intro Music
      • Theme of Mr. Nobody
    • Introduction of Reporters
    • Introduction of Topic
    • Hook
  • History
    • Early Types of Memory Technology (Enjoy)
      • Mnemonic Devies
    • Current Memory Treatments
      • Alzheimers Disease Technology (Elondra)
      • Brain Implant (Enjoy)
      • Ultrasound, Brain Pacemaker, Memory Erasing Injection, Dream Projection (Sabrina)
    • Comparison of Past Treaments and Current Treatments (Add if short in time)
    • Diseases and Disorders that Need Memory Technology
  • Procedure and Trials
    • Explanation / Description of Procedures
    • Animals / Human Trials
  • Risk Factors, Complications and Ethics
    • Risk Factors
    • Complication
    • Ethical and Social Implication
  • Interviews
    • Two Interviews (Elondra’s Roomate and Enjoy’s friend)
  • Personal Opinions
  • Conclusion
    • Summarize and add hopes for the future

 

Cover Letter for Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network

MARCH 12, 2016

 

SELECTION COMMITTEE

KAPIT BISIG KABATAAN NETWORK

KAPITBISIGNETWORK@GMAIL.COM

HTTP://KBKN.TUMBLR.COM

 

Dear Selection Committee,

As a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double major in Biology (BS) and Chemistry (BA), I am very interested in you organization, more specifically your 2016 Relief and Rebuild Mission in the Philippines. Your mission is to support survivors of calamities in the Philippines by raising funds, organizing rehabilitation missions, and advocating for long-term solutions to improve disaster preparedness. This really piqued my interest due to the fact that I am a native born Filipino and that I want to become a general surgeon when I grow up.

Tuguegarao is the province in the Philippines in which I was born in. Living there for five years and only visiting twice gave me an appreciation for the Filipino culture and made me realize how much I lost touch with it. Due to this reason, I have joined many Filipino-oriented organizations and groups. I am a part of Bukas Loob sa Diyos, which is a worldwide Filipino Catholic organization that aims to promote Christian and Catholic values through teachings and volunteering. As a youth leader, I am responsible for helping the other members of the youth grow closer to God and understand his teachings by leading many praise worships and activities. Additionally, I am part of Kasama, which is a Filipino organization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that aims to raise awareness about and promote Filipino values, which is done through activities such as learning how to dance traditional Filipino dances and learning how to cook Filipino food.

Joining these groups has surrounded me with the Filipino culture that I had neglected to indulge in after I moved to the United States. Your 2016 Relief and Rebuild Mission in the Philippines is another opportunity that will help me become more involved in it. By participating in this trip, I will be able to make connections with fellow Filipino youth in the United States and obtain a better understanding about my heritage through firsthand experience. In addition to that, I will become part of an organization that will unite and empower Filipino youth and students across the United States. Other than reconnecting with my culture, a reason for my attraction towards your organization is my objective in life.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been interested in the medical field. The way that the doctors and nurses worked so hard and so passionately to save lives really brought me in. During the month of March of this year, I job shadowed a neurosurgeon for an academic-related assignment. I felt a sense of comfort and belonging when I entered the operating room. Ever since then, I knew I had to become a surgeon. However, I didn’t want to stay restricted to working in a hospital located in a developed country such as the United States. There were many other areas that are in dire need of medical attention. Therefore, my objective in life is to become a general surgeon who travels to underdeveloped and impoverished countries to provide my services.

Your mission trip is the perfect opportunity to gain firsthand experience in helping a third world country. After Typhoon Haiyan, many parts of the Philippines were left devastated. For starters, people living in the Philippines are not as privileged or wealthy as people living in developed areas such as the United States. Additionally, funding or help for this magnitude of destruction can be restricted. Due to this reason, this mission trip is very helpful. I will be able to personally help those who have been directly affected by the disaster and find out whether or not I truly want to become a traveling surgeon, while providing much needed help. As a result, this trip can become a learning experience for me and help define me as a person.

I feel as if I would be a strong candidate for this mission because I am very experienced in service learning and volunteering. As mentioned before, I am part of Bukas Loob sa Diyos. This organization performs a lot of volunteering activities. Around Christmas, many of its members go to retirement homes and orphanages and sing Christmas carols. Throughout the year, they travel to retirement homes and help the elderly out by performing tasks such as feeding them and playing Bingo with them. They also work with other volunteering and service learning groups such as Stop Hunger Now and Urban Ministries to perform similar tasks. Additionally, they host many retreats in where anyone is welcome to participate in teachings and worships to become closer to God. What I listed only encompasses a small amount of the services they do provide. As a member for about eight years and a youth leader for five years, I have been involved with a multitude of those activities. As a result, I have gained much experience in working with others to achieve a goal and have obtained a better understanding of those who are not as privileged as I am.

I hope this letter expresses my aspiration to become part of your mission trip and organization. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at enaj@email.unc.edu. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

 

Enaj Joeyce Furigay

Biology (BS) and Chemistry (BA)

515 Paul Hardin Dr

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

 

Enclosure

  1. Furigay CV / Resume

 

Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network Mission Trip

Growing up in the United States is a very privileged opportunity that I was able to obtain thanks to my parents’ hard work and dedication. However, while trying to adjust to a new culture, I was losing my connection to my Filipino culture gradually. Due to this fact, I have chosen a mission trip that would help me get back in touch with something that really defines me as a person.

Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network is a national Filipino youth and student led relief network that was built in response to Typhoon Haiyan, which, as one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, devastated parts of Southeast Asia. One of the areas that took a large portion of damage was the Philippines. This group is launching their third annual mission trip from June 30th to July 26th this summer. In this mission trip, the selected participants’ purpose is “to continue building with our kababayans (countrymen) back home to fight against climate change and its root causes in the Philippines and serve the communities of typhoon survivors and indigenous people.” They will travel to the affected areas and attempt to increase the inhabitants’ poor quality of life, which will help them experience the Filipino culture.

The application requirements are informal in comparison to the other internships I have researched. The first part of the application asks for basic information such as my name, phone number, email, address, and organization/ school. The next part are the questions, which asked me to write a blurb about myself and what my reason was for applying. The third part asked about any health concerns that I had. The applications are reviewed during the months of February and March. If selected, representatives will contact the applicants for an interview. Those who passed the interview will be notified by the end of March. If selected, the next following months will be for preparation. For example, the participants will have to attend mandatory retreats. There are no academic requirements or credentials.

This mission trip has many strengths. As stated prior, this will help me connect to my Filipino culture. Despite being in many Filipino groups in the United States, I have felt that I need to be in the Philippines to truly understand my culture. I have visited the Philippines twice since I moved to the United States and during those visits, I have felt as if I reconnected to my culture. However, my last visit was six years ago and due to financial constraints, there is no way I can go back in the near future with my family, but this trip pays for basic necessities such as housing, food, and transportation. Therefore, it may be cheaper than a regular vacation. Additionally, this will help me with my career. I want to travel the world as a surgeon and provide my services to those in need. This can help me decide if I really am interested in this line of work or not and give me firsthand experience.

The weaknesses of this trip are mainly due to money. This trip costs $500, which covers housing, food, and transportation. However, this does not cover airfare. Tickets during this time can go up to $2000 for one person. Additionally, I would need to be provided extra money for emergencies and other things. Due to this, the costs may increase to $3000+. I do not have a job so I’m planning to work this semester and in the summer to try to obtain that money. My parents may also have to provide a huge majority of the funds. Due to the costs, my parents are very hesitant in allowing me to go. Another weakness would be the long duration of this trip. I will have to cancel any plans I have for that month and miss any events that will occur during that time.

Some information was withheld from the application. The specific locations and travel times were not included. Due to this, the actual events or volunteering services are unknown as well. However, I feel as if they withheld this information because the information would only be relevant to those who are to be selected.

Medical Technology May Be Getting Way Too A-“head”

Enjoy Furigay

Has medical technology become advanced enough to make fiction fact and dreams reality? Has medicine made enough developments to defy the almighty transcendent? With the possibility of a human head transplant being performed in the near future, there have been speculations of the creation of an “artificial” individual like the monster from Mary Shelley’s book, Frankenstein.

(x)

Many attempts at artificial transplants of organs such as the skin, liver, and heart have been successful. For example, a revolutionary medical event occurred when Patrick Hardison, a 41 year old firefighter who suffered from severe burns, was able to receive a full face transplant surgery in August 2015.

Figure 1. The progression of Patrick Hardison’s face after the surgery.

Therefore, why can’t a head transplant become viable with the rapidly evolving technology of the modern era?

Surprisingly, a head transplant was already performed by a group of neurosurgeons led by Dr. Robert White in the 1970s. The team was able to transplant the head of a living rhesus monkey into the body of a beheaded rhesus monkey through rapid stitching of both entities. However, this experiment could only loosely be called a success.

Figure 2. The head of the rhesus monkey during the surgery.

When it awoke after the surgery, the head had expressions of great pain, confusion, and anxiety. With the disconnection of the spinal nerve fibers, the monkey could only react to stimuli, smell, hear, taste, and see. However, it was not able to digest the food it was given and was paralyzed from the neck down. After eight days in this dismal state, the body’s immune system rejected the transplant and the monkey met its end.

In conclusion, Frankenstein’s monster could not have a pet monkey.

Despite the warning of not repeating a head transplant from Dr. Jerry Silver, a neurologist who participated in Dr. White’s surgery, an Italian neuroscientist from the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group named Dr. Sergio Canavero plans to perform a human head transplant in December 2017, which is only about two years away.

Figure 3. Dr. Canavero in his TED Talk.

Canavero believes in Dr. White’s statement that “…with the significant improvements in surgical techniques and postoperative management … it is possible to consider adapting the head-transplant technique to humans.” This modern day Dr. Frankenstein has outlined a possible procedure called HEAVEN-GEMINI that will allow for the connection of the donor’s and recipient’s spinal cords.

The head anastomosis venture, or HEAVEN-GEMINI, is a complex surgical procedure that involves the cooling and cutting of both the recipient’s and donor’s spinal cords in a way that would allow anastomosis to occur. To spare you of the confusing and complex medical terminology Canavero uses in his outline, I will summarize the procedure here:

Anastomosis is simply “a surgical connection between two structures,” which in this case, are the brain and the spine. This would allow for minimal tissue damage and nerve fusion that was not a component of Dr. White’s rhesus monkey surgery. Grey matter interneuronal networks, or in other words, the networks in the spine that relay information to the body, are kept functional during and after surgery with low level electrical stimulation.

(x)

To keep the body healthy, different types of support such as anesthesiologic and thermal will be given to both the donor and recipient during the surgery. Canavero outlines the procedures to be followed post-surgery, also.

After the surgery, the individual must remain sedated in a cervical collar under intensive care for maximum recovery. When the individual wakes up, measures need to be taken in order for him or her to get used to the new body and establish their identity. The healthcare team responsible for the individual must maintain a positive relationship with him or her to ensure intellectual and emotional growth and help during times of stress and anxiety that can be related to the procedure, recovery, and/or the new body. We wouldn’t want the individual to be in an unstable emotional state like Frankenstein’s monster, right?

The concept of HEAVEN-GEMINI does seem viable. Canavero explains in elaborate detail the steps of procedure and the conditions that have to be met for the surgery to be successful. This shows that he is knowledgeable about this topic and the medical field overall. Theoretically, the surgery will allow the patient to function normally due to the connection between the spinal cord and brain instead of being immobile and unable to eat like the rhesus monkey in Dr. White’s experiment. In addition to that statement, the recipient may be able to live a prolonged life, instead of just a few days. Furthermore, this procedure doesn’t use the elementary technology of Dr. White’s time. Canavero will use cutting-edge technology to fuse the head and body together, instead of just rapidly stitching them together.

This seems like a medical miracle, right? Cut off some heads, put ‘em in some bodies, and save the day! (Or solve paralysis, at least.)

(x)

It’s not false that this procedure would create great leaps in the medical field. Other than paralysis, this gives amputees the chance to regain their lost body parts and “brain dead” or beheaded victims a second chance at life. Additionally, it could lead to the creation of a superior human. However, a miracle does come with complications.

First, let’s delve into the moral and philosophical issues of this medical wonder. He or she consists of two entities: the donor (body) and the recipient (head). Would the person be one of the two, both, or have a new identity all together? Once the identity issue has been solved, there is the question of how he or she will be treated morally, legally, and socially. Essentially, the patient is a “new being” with this being the first known successful head transplant for any entity. Will the patient follow societal norms or will a new set of rules be made specifically for that individual? The major moral concern of this procedure is the fact that we may be violating God’s will. By performing this experiment, are we trying to exceed the limits a transcendent has put on us? If we are, would this spell doom for humanity?

In addition to these ethical and philosophical questions, many medical doctors and scientists have been skeptical about this procedure. Dr. Thomas Cochrane, a director of neuroethics at Harvard Medical School stated that it will be impossible for Canavero to gather enough evidence to go through with the surgery and that there is no guarantee that the recipient will have a better lifestyle post-surgery. Dr. Michael DeGeorgia, a neurologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center argues that head transplants may be feasible in the far future, but in decades, not in two years with medical technology as it is now.

Will Frankenstein’s monster be able to have a friend since it couldn’t have a pet?

(x)

In my opinion, hopefully not. (Sorry.) There have been numerous amounts of science fiction movies that emphasize that this is a dangerous idea. I don’t want to deal with the extinction or endangerment of humanity with the creation of a superior being, either.

What’s your opinion? Would you want a second chance at life or do you think Canavero lost his head?

Figure 4. This picture shows a happy Dr. Canavero.

Annotated Bibliography

In a controversial surgery led by Robert J. White, a team of neurosurgeons performed a head transplant on a living rhesus monkey. Paralyzed and only able to smell, hear, taste, and see for a couple days, the test subject met its end a couple days later. This surgery raised questions on whether or not a full head transplant should be performed on humans, which would both raise many ethical questions and save countless of lives. With talk of a head transplant being performed on an actual human, many state that it should not be done due to the outcomes of Dr. White’s surgery.

1. Nguyen, Tuan C. “What It Will Take For A Head Transplant to Work.”

Washington Post. WP Company LLC, 6 Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2016. <http://search.proquest.com/docview/1661969649?pq-origsite=summon>.

 

Sergio Canavero is an Italian neuroscientist who is advocating for a full head transplant in the near future. His big, revolutionary idea, although, comes with many complications. How would one fuse the spinal cord together in order to connect the brain and body? How would one prove that this experiment is feasible? How would he respond to the ethical controversy of this experiment? Canavero already has a theory, called Project GEMINI, that may help him achieve the impossible. However, with so much skepticism and controversy about this subject, it may be hard for him or any others to perform such a revolutionary surgery.

2. “Gizmodo: The Crazy Science Behind a Proposed Head Transplant.”

Gizmodo. Gizmodo, 25 Feb. 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2016. <http://search.proquest.com/docview/1658165306?pq-origsite=summon>.

 

In China’s Harbin Medical University, a team of researchers are planning to perform a head transplant surgery with long-tailed macaque monkeys. They plan to connect a fraction of the spinal nerve fibers, which should be enough for the monkey to maintain voluntary muscle movement and other crucial functions. However, there are many ethical problems and skepticism for this procedure. Whether or not this experiment will be successful, more knowledge and better technology need to be attained in order to successfully perform it on humans such as increasing the number of nerve connects, preventing the rejection of the transplant, and keeping the brain healthy.

3. Fingas, Jon. “Monkeys May Be the First Primates to Get Successful Head Transplants.”

Engadget. AOL Tech, 6 June 2015. Web. 26 Jan. 2016. <http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/07/monkey-head-transplants/>.

 

The possibility of a human head transplant would be revolutionary in the medical field, but it poses many philosophical and neuroethical complications. By performing one, the person may lose their personal identity, metaphysical and social status, and physical and emotional experiences. Despite these problems, Sergio Canavero plans to perform a head transplant by 2017 on Valery Spiridonov. It can be possible with new technology such as HEAVEN-GEMINI, which involves the cooling and cutting of the donor’s and recipient’s spinal cords to allow for fusion. It addresses in more detail how it is possible and what will happen post-surgery.

4. Pascalev, Assya, Mario Pascalev, and James Giordano. “Head Transplants, Personal Identity and Neuroethics.”Springer (2015): 1-8. Springer Science and Business Media Dordrecht. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

Written by Dr. Sergio Canavero, himself, this article explains HEAVEN-GEMINI through his perspective.

Using Dr. Robert White’s head transplant on a rhesus monkey as an example, he explains and outlines in incredible detail how project GEMINI will allow for the complete fusion of the spinal cord and brain. Additionally, pictures are included in this source to make the procedure easier to understand. Canavero, further, supports his endeavor by explaining how Dr. White’s procedure was performed and compares it to project GEMINI. It is stressed that this procedure is very complex and extensive preparation is needed for it to be successful.

5. Canavero Sergio. 2013. HEAVEN: The head anastomosis venture project outline for the first human head transplantation with spinal linkage (GEMINI). Surgical Neurology International 4(1): 335–342.

This article explains in more detail about Dr. Robert White’s procedure with the rhesus monkey. Dr. White’s plan in this experiment was to completely cut off the monkey’s head intact and then rapidly stitch it to the neck of another beheaded rhesus monket. The monkey could eat, react to stimuli, and snarl when prodded, but the spinal nerve fibers were not connected. Due to this problem, it could not control anything below its neck and only lived for eight days. However, despite the outcomes of his surgery, White continues to relentlessly believe that a head transplant on humans is very viable.

6. White R.J.. 1999. Head transplants. Scientific American 10: 24–26.

This article explains a theoretical surgery in which a head/ brain transplant could work, but then states that it is no more than medical fiction. The reasoning is that all the material that broke does not regenerate and if the nerves did join, how can one be so sure they are connecting the right fibers? There are millions of fibers in the body. Therefore, it would be surgically impossible. If the surgery were to be successful, what would the identity of the individual be? Would the person be the donor, recipient, or a new third person? What would their memories be and who would it belong to? These may confuse the individual and cause stress.

7. Puccetti Roland. 1969. Brain transplantation and personal identity. Analysis 29(3): 65–77.

A chemical called polyethylene glycol that encourages the fat within the cell membranes to fuse together, is being used to fuse together the ends of the spinal cord. This technology will be used in Dr. Sergio Canavero’s human head transplant that will take place in two years. This article simplifies the HEAVEN-GEMINI procedure into short paragraphs, allowing the reader to have a better understanding of what will happen in the complex surgery. Additionally, this article states that Canavero expects the recipient to be able to move and feel their face when they wake up and be able to walk in a year.

8. Stoppard, Miriam. “Head Transplants.” The Daily Mirror: 42. Mar 27 2015. ProQuest.Web. 2 Feb. 2016 .

The Early History of Idiots

In this reading, the author talks about the early history of autism, in which he emphasizes how autism was treated with disdain. Autism is a disease that has a wide variety of symptoms. Due to this, people in earlier times were often confused at whether to label them as “idiots,” which was the term used for people with mental illnesses or disabilities at the time. In one case, a young autistic boy had a great musical ability, but was greatly lacking skills in things such as mathematics. Although, there is still some inequality between “normal” people and those with disabilities, their treatment has greatly improved since then.A s time progressed and we learned more about the disabilities, those with them were given accomondations such as education that was made to help people with such disabilities.