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A seldom discussed ethical issue around organ transplantation is the issue of tolerance. It is possible to induce immunological tolerance to particular antigens while still in the womb or for a brief period outside of it, similar to the way that some twins are immunlogically identical and can exchange tissues. However, developing or implementing a technology that was based around wide adoption of an early childhood intervention of any kind would be culturally and ethically very difficult. Despite the potential to save many lives without needing to invent entirely new (and also ethically suspect) ways of raising clone bodies or humanized animals, it remains stillborn
Thyroid Gland Location
This short video demonstrates the thyroid gland location and surrounding structures.
The thyroid gland location video is narrated and rotates to allow better visualization.
In this animation, I mention the thyroid gland’s relationship to other anatomical structures.
I did not mention its relationship to major arteries and veins.
The thyroid gland is medial (closer to the midline) to the common carotid arteries and
the internal jugular veins. The thyroid gland is fed by the superior and inferior
thyroid arteries. Like most endocrine glands, it’s highly vascular.
Thyroid Gland Function
The thyroid gland is an endocrine organ. The function of endocrine organs
is to secrete hormones. Hormones are the chemical signals that cause an effect
in another tissue. The thyroid gland affects every type of known tissue.
It releases thyroid hormones to increase metabolism in tissues.
Metabolism is the rate of chemical reactions in tissue cells.
Basically, how fast tissue cells use oxygen and nutrients to
form energy and heat. When thyroid hormone levels are high,
metabolism speeds up but when they are low, metabolism slows down.
I’d be interested in learning how far we have to go from growing patients’ own external organs inside an arm, using molds of autologous cartilage, to growing internal organs. Given that the ears and noses grown this way have been complete with nerves and vessels, there would seem to be at least some overlap.
The seed information to accomplish alt-vitro organ generation has become known. What has been learned cannot be unlearned. So restricting public research under the NIH will not control the eventual implementation of such advances. The rewards to those with the means to finance this research on their own and without oversight are too great. If this were to happen, the public would lose in at least two ways. First, the applications developed would be privatized, monetized and/or available only to the principal investors. Second, the ability to direct the research would be minimal. Better to have these developments take place in the sunshine, otherwise they will surely take place in the dark.
I’ve had a kidney transplant for 6 months shy of 20 years, a gift from my still healthy sister. I have worked full time since a month after the surgery, learned to snowboard, gotten married, taken countless fantastic trips around the world and been able to enjoy all that life has to offer.
Until someone knows the tragedy of organ failure in their own or a loved one’s life, there is no way to understand how important this research is, or how important replacement organs are for those who need them. We sacrifice animals all the time for food, a life sustaining product, so I don’t see much difference if we can grow life sustaining organs for those in need.
Very interesting article. It strikes me that it’s hard to remain inbounds when I think about this. There are so many related issues – policies and practices related to health care, for-profit medicine, ethical treatment of animals, the connection between self-awareness and how we value a living thing, the destructive ecological forces humans routinely visit on the planet, and on and on. But when I do my best to stick to the question at hand, I know where I stand. Should we create organs for humans, even if it means killing animals? My thinking (as a non-vegitarian who wears leather boots) is obvious: yes. I agree, however, that we should also foster organ donation. Two countries very alike in some ways suggest how to do this. As Dan Kahneman points out in “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Austria has an opt-out system of organ donation, while Germany has an opt-in system. Austria’s organ donation rate: north of 95%. German rate: south of 15%.
This points to two things: we shouldn’t be going hungry so often when there’s such low-hanging fruit. Also, humans seem to be much better at inaction than they are at action.
Thank you very much for your work
As a teenager I read the book “The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton”.
The book imagined a future where society dreamed up many unpleasant ways to inflate the supply of replacement organs.
When/if one of my organs fails, if a pig can supply a replacement, I am all-in.