The drug was hyper-effective. An unbelievably tiny quantity can remove any inflammation (eye, skin, hair skin rash, etc...). But the fall out and side-effects are no joke even for seemingly super minuscule doses. It was a horror story for me with horrible eye inflammation, small inflammations in different parts of the body and a skin rash I still struggle with until today. Mind you I took small localized doses and not an injection. I wasn't aware that it can travel through your skin, get into your blood and make a mess.
I think the research will need to specify potential side-effects and their probabilities. It's trade-off at the end of the day.
PS: Do not ever think of trying it without medical advice and doctor supervision.
If it's in the blood stream for enough generations, the body will find some alternate use for it. It's like a compression algorithm on your DNA.
...and so when we try to use meds to counter certain proteins or block receptors, we discover that it has a dozen totally unrelated impacts. "Oh, that blood pressure medication? Well let's just have it also randomly give you prostate cancer!" (real example).
Organic evolved animals are the worst type of spaghetti code - if there was ever something you'd want to redesign from the ground up, it's us.
Then add to that that there isn't even any "standard" type of human. We're all different - and even different groups of us have different smatterings of genes. Sometimes it correlates with our ancestors background - sometimes it doesn't. Who knows! Evolution! We're all each just individual experiments running around to see which genes can procreate the most.
...and it's not even as though each of us is a single experiment on a specific gene, that would be too easy. We're each an experiment on a unique collection of thousands of genes that evolution hopes will average out the results across the entire population. Try to wrap your statistics PhD around that!
Then also factor in that modern human evolutionary pressures are totally different than they were even a couple of generations ago, and it becomes clearly evident that evolution is in a complete state of dysfunctional disarray.
The more complex a species, the less adaptivity it has to fundamental shifts in environmental pressures. The interconnections between protein functions are directly responsible for that trade-off, and become a liability.
The time scales for evolution far beyond our current level of genetic complexity, probably extend beyond the life span of the Earth.
Now the benefit of this speghetti-code situation is that no intelligent designer is required - obviously a fundamental ingredient of abiogenesis, but does it benefit an species that's capable of genetic editing?
Nope. At this point, it's really just a bottleneck to even repairing the most straight-forward genetic diseases.
As a species, we're approaching the time where we've obviated evolution. ...I won't say we've seen that yet because reproduction rates are still very uneven across population segments, but it's only a matter of a few more generations (cataclysms not withstanding).
Not sure how you’re defining complex but humans pretty soundly refute that adaptability thing.
It’s not a “bottleneck” it’s just... life. Can you point to an animal anywhere near as successful as humans that doesn’t have.. genetic variability? No. It’s a requirement and precondition for our success, not some flaw we overcame despite.
Every protein has multiple functions, so we can't make changes easily without side effects. Bottlenecking human intervention specifically.
What's my private key? It's a mystery, but not a very interesting one.
Why does the universe exist? It's mysterious, maybe the most mysterious thing of all, and 8lit's interesting, but I'd say it's not the most interesting question of them all.
i mean to convey: something that is difficult or impossible to explain. something that is deeply interesting and provokes wonderment.
what is more difficult to explain and understand than the fundamental nature of existence?
perhaps it is not apparently immediately _useful_.
but in a cosmic sense, of what use is it to understand thought objects in the world when there is a complete lack of understanding of the consciousness in which these thought objects arise?
i’m curious what are some candidates for “most interesting question of them all” in your view. this is something which sparks a genuine curiosity in me and would love to hear your perspective.
how is it possible to know what is _actually_ of value as opposed to what is _apparently_ of value?
in your profile you mention:
> I do software nowadays, but I'm constantly looking for opportunities to do something actually useful for humanity.
how does one arrive at a belief about what is useful?
It's in our heads, but since we all run the same hardware architecture, it generalizes quite well.
even with this, this doesn’t address the concern of actuality versus appearance.
consensus reality has been wrong in the past, and can be shown wrong again.
so how can you be so sure?
This is hubris. Everything that humanity may accomplish in the future, from editing its own genome to creating general artificial intelligence, is a product of that same evolutionary process. We do all that out of our innate need for self preservation and reproduction—evolutionary imperatives for all organisms.
But it’s more accurate to think of evolution as a universal computational process occurring within the substrate of (bio)chemistry. That computation will yield further computation (intelligence and its products).
If we stick to traditional, useful definition of biological evolution, then we can confidently say that it stopped being the driving force for plant and animal life no later than when we've first learned to communicate and remember ideas; we've made it irrelevant when we've learned to write. It still works on microscale, but that's mostly because things breed and die faster at that scale, there's more of it, and we can't efficiently poke at it with any sort of precision.
Again, people love teaching for analogy here but humans are just nothing like code, to be honest.
A classical example is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurrent_laryngeal_nerve. Nobody in his right mind would design a nerve running from your brain to your larynx that way.
> A classical example is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurrent_laryngeal_nerve. Nobody in his right mind would design a nerve running from your brain to your larynx that way.
The matter is, the possibilities of DNA are infinite, you can create Godzilla if you knew how. The problem is, nobody knows how, so evolution is all we have - random mutations and survival will lead to /something/. Even genetical engineering now is in essence copy pasting of certain parts that we know work in a specific way, bound by what currently exists. But if you could really grasp biology, that works down to the single molecule and atomic levels, and actually dictate it however you like, I think it would be the final technology we would ever need.
In code, a single typo breaks the whole thing. So spaghetti code by definition is bad and breaks easily.
Sure, we have a fuck ton of complexity. But it’s only messy to us because we don’t understand all the conditions that led to it.
Humans certainly have flaws, but in general we are as well suited to surviving on Earth as you possibly can be, especially on the whole.
I’d say: we’re so so much better designed than any code that exists anywhere today, that it’s a farce. We are literally the opposite of spaghetti code. We’re Antifragile!
Furthermore, there are plenty of examples of single gene mutations/interventions that are deadly/crippling.
A single typo sometimes breaks the whole thing. Sometimes, it does not. The same is true for genetic mutations in humans - most typos are harmless, a few give us nasty cancers.
"Spaghetti code" doesn't mean "broken". It means "hard to maintain". Our modern medical system is pretty decent proof that maintaining a human is quite a bit of work.
Only in high-level languages, when you have to deal with grammar.
DNA is better compared to binary code fed to a CPU. There is no equivalent of "a single typo breaks the whole thing" there; whatever you feed the CPU, it will execute something. Whether you'll like the results or not is another question - but the same is true with biology. The DNA is there, physically, and it will interact with proteins in one way or another.
There are myriad of examples of our body having feature which you could equate to biological spaghetti.
Extra Credit: A prehensile tail would be extremely useful in many situations and I believe may decrease the risk of injury for elderly people. With an adequately strong prehensile tail, older people would be able to use it as a sort of a tripod leg to keep themselves upright with less risk of falling.
But, I think the double use of orifices (air, food, urine, semen) is a good idea. Minimizing orifices seems to be an advantage... fewer avenues for outside stuff getting in. (And I don't think human sexual organs are necessarily dirtier due their location; urine is more or less sterile, and feces shouldn't really come into play under ordinary circumstances... )
No such advantage with our bodies, as they are only "worked on" by probabilistic processes.
Well, and doctors. Who often have to deal with unintended or undesired side effects of medications and surgical procedures.
If we're so insanely flexible and efficient, why do we have the same body plan as every other tetrapod? We walk upright, but our weight is cantilevered out from a spine that is manifestly not designed for that.
But you also can’t point to anything better.
I mean, not yet. The days of "let's tweak it so the blood vessels go behind the retina" or "let's add a bit more cartilage to the knees" aren't here yet, but they're probably coming eventually.
Evolution doesn't really optimize for the "keep this body running at age 100" scenarios that we find ourselves in lately, and there's a lot of legacy code.
I like the idea of evolution, because "it is what it is". It happens whether you believe it or not. It has no goal, it just happens. And, it's not that evolution "changes" species, it's that whoever survives becomes the definition of what a species is at all, therefore "evolution" is just the observable outcome, the process is natural selection. So, it's pointless to "blame" evolution, to say "it is not good enough". I, you, we don't even know what's "Good enough" and for whom. Even whatever we consider "humanity" is the outcome of our natural selection. Your very wish to live forever, is the outcome of our natural selection.
The wish to genetically engineer our species' future members, will only be judged good or bad by its outcome, not by our planning. What you see now is what works, and the proof it works is we are still here. For example, if we end up destroying the world and our species with nuclear weapons, the path of evolution giving us intellect will have proven to be a bad one for this branch of DNA called "human species".
I can only say I have a very bad gut feeling about conscious genetic altering of humans, and I trust there are many arguments to find if I analyze it. Perhaps it's only some aspect of my DNA's self preservation not wanting to lose over some made-up DNA.
Ureters come out near the vagina, causing UTIs. Our intestines are better suited for being on all fours, leading to hernias. We eat and breathe with the same orifice, and some of us choke to death from it. Our eyes have blind spots that lead to our brains filling in details, sometimes inaccurately. Goosebumps are vestigial, men have nipples, human embryos briefly make tails and gill slits, heads are too big for the birth canal, etc. etc. etc.
If we had the technology to design a human from the ground up, we'd make a lot of fixes.
As with many hacked together and sloppy codebases, it still works, fairly well. That doesn't mean it's not hacked together and sloppy, though.
Many of your examples are contrived. Sure they have some failure modes, but they also are succeeding trillions of times a day.
I’d bet a lot of money a “human designed human” would not perform better, except for taking ideas from other humans, and only when done in very limited cases.
Sloppy compared to, say, crocodiles, which largely haven't changed in hundreds of millions of years. We humans aren't well designed for our current use cases, as we changed a whole bunch of our behaviors in the last few hundred thousand years.
> Where would you put the urethra, for example?
I'd leave that up to a biomedical engineer. Perhaps they'd rig up a system like reptiles and birds have, where the useful water gets reabsorbed and they excrete urea crystals.
> Sure they have some failure modes, but they also are succeeding trillions of times a day.
Again, this is true for spaghetti code. It is a mistake to think "spaghetti = broken". Spaghetti = hard to understand/maintain.
Crocodiles > humans >>>>>>> spaghetti code.
End of story, unless your spaghetti code only fails a very small amount, I guess. Not what I assume most people think when they think of it.
Won’t let me respond to you directly, but I haven’t failed to note that. I’ve never seen someone say anything positive about the reliability of spaghetti code.
Well god wrote all the code in like 7 days for this dump, so what did you expect? Quality?
Though I sometimes equate end times with "I'll get around to fixing that bug one day" as every supposed date of end times never comes. god really is a programmer.
I was tweaking my back every 4-6 months (like Nearly bed ridden for a week each time for 2 years, then Last summer I started doing an hour yoga class once a week and haven’t had any problems since!
It really is quite amazing how it makes you feel superhuman ... but oh dear, the crash the other side is horrible.
I remember reading the side effects the first time I took it and was shocked - but it's essentially the "nuclear" option when it comes to inflammation and honestly, still one of the best things we have.
Don’t mess around with steroids.
You might have been manic. That's a well known side effect of dexamethasone.
So x happens that triggers inflammation. Then you get stuck in a loop.
Steroids plus eyes can lead to glaucoma. My doc won't let me use them anywhere near the face.
I don’t even really use the term “my doctor”, I just see a doctor when I need to. I’m 30 and live in a large city, and I’ve rarely seen the same doctor more than a couple times in a row. I go in for a physical roughly once a year, and the doctor will sit and talk with me for 10 minutes or so. But otherwise if I need something checked out in between I often get seen by a PA or whatever doctor in the practice is free. I’ve never really felt encouraged by the same doctor to see them repeatedly, or to email them personally if I have a medical question like I know some people do. So when I move to a different neighborhood or something, I just end up seeing a different doctor next time.
Am I just getting bad doctors? How do you find this type of buddy doctor that becomes a long term relationship and really cares about you personally, like I hear about other people seeming to have.
As an internist and primary care physician, he had one patient who presented with back pain and was loaded on opiates, wanting refills plus more dope. He talked with her for almost an hour (a unique privilege most don't have in today's healthcare system, and likely none will going forward) and ended up sending her home with an SSRI and a note to check back in a little while. A few weeks later she was calling the clinic's owner raving about how she felt so much better, her back didn't hurt anymore, etc. I'm not writing that to say SSRIs > opiates, just to say in her situation he correctly identified her pain was due to depression. You don't get there unless you have rapport with your doc and the time to talk with them.
The point is that you have to find a doc you like and one that can spend time with you. Unfortunately I don't know of a good way of doing that. I'd hook you up but my dad passed some years ago. I'd love to hear people's ideas on finding someone like him — I need a doc, too.
If you switch jobs regularly, you will likely end up on multiple insurance plans, each with their own set of participating medical professionals. Sometimes there is overlap, often there is not.
In fact, I would recommend going to MORE doctors if you have concerns. That's why you get second and third opinions for important medical decisions.
I have high cholesterol. My father had a heart attack around 40. His father died of a heart attack. I told all my past doctors this and I have never gotten "tough love". Maybe because I have a young looking face and I'm rail thin. Maybe because I know my family history so they assume I know the risks. I put off statins in favor of trying diet and exercise unsuccessfully until I met a doctor that finally DID more forcefully suggest a statin. I should have started taking them way sooner.
A doctor is not where to find tough love or to find a friend. A doctor is where you go for expert opinions and recommendations. Inform yourself and be responsible for your own health.
My mom has a fairly good relationship with her doctor, but she worked in the same hospital with him for 30 years.
Stay in one place, go to the same guy repeatedly over time, and ideally, be really candid with them, and send them your family members. When I see half (or more) of a household, it's an entirely different dynamic. You can't buy the sort of relationship that comes of seeing someone's kids grow up, and then treating that kid. That kid is like... 5% blood relative to the doc at that point. He will never be "just a patient." Or when you treat someone and their mother - that's a different level of candor right there, because that person trusts me with their mother - that right there suggests I can be more open with them, because they won't immediately blame/hate me for news they don't like.
Time is the key, though. A lot of patients, if they get "tough love", turn around and go to a different doc. Especially the ones that say they just want to hear it straight - they are trying to convince themselves, I think. So getting to "tough love" is something that's built up over time, in both directions. (Also, studies suggest that it's somewhere between "not effective" and "actively harmful" when it comes to positively changing patient's health-related behavior, so it's not a super high priority.)
Bonus points if you go to someone that only takes cash. For a once or twice a year visit, it's not that much money (compared to, say, one month of most prescription meds), but it means they don't have to hustle you through an 8-minute visit to keep their lights on. You can only get so much of a connection with someone that's forced to hustle you out of the door - it's jarring and kind of upsetting to everyone involved, on both sides of the interaction. (When I was in training I was told pretty candidly I'd make a fantastic attending one day, if I learned to actually hustle patients fast enough to be able to afford keeping an office open. ... You can imagine, I structured my career towards cash patients only. I don't like being inaccessible to folk, but I hate it less than I hate giving people half-assed help when they're in need.)
Another good element is going to a physician that you're community-bound to in some way other than a strict transaction. Your kid's little league coach will have an entirely different relationship to you than "random doctor." That's becoming less common these days, unfortunately - with the way reimbursement is swinging, I don't know of many docs that still have time for much in the way of community activities. They exist, but they're a lot rarer than they used to be.
The next day I got out of bed and pretty much fell over. I could barely stand up. Wife took me to the hospital again, it turns out I had a reaction to dexamethasone.
Definitely not something to play around with.
*I don't recall if it was a pill or an injection. Probably injected, since I had trouble swallowing.
While modern medicine was not able to tell me what happened with me, I created this little mental model: Prednisone was keeping my immune system in check. Without enough of it, the immune system went haywire, and I was experiencing something akin to severe acute rheumatic arthritis. Once I upped my dose, this went away. I was then very disciplined with my tapering, and eventually, after 3 more months, I got off of Prednisone. Five days from now I'll be 2 years Prednisone free.
The chinese lead scientist in SARS/Covid19 is known for saving lives with these drugs (super high dose and cocktail drugs) but also warned their serious effect after the treatment. There was a huge debate of stop using them all together in favour of traditional chinese medicine (which is equally biased). Of course they save lives but you are at risk of huge comprises of the human body.
reference: http://www.j-smu.com/oa/pdfdow.aspx?Sid=2009112284 or https://wenku.baidu.com/view/7eef29aa0029bd64783e2c40
Systemic (that is, oral/intravenous for full-body effect) corticosteroid use doesn't usually have this specific side effect.
The side-effects of corticosteroids are generally No Fun Whatosever (I speak both as a former pharmacist and as someone who has needed them on occasion) but they're the go-to treatment for some very unpleasant inflammatory conditions. But you should remember that they're immune system depressants and should never be used without medical supervision.
(Side effects range from glaucoma leading to blindness -- for misuse of topical creams on the face -- through to sudden death -- for abrupt withdrawl from prolonged systemic doses.)
Could work in short term but this seems more like a stop gap than any cure/medicine which works against the virus. This is something which would taper your immune system down so you wont have adverse effects. The potential side-effects are huge.
The side-effects when the dose was just a little too high were......scary. In the sense of severe, bewildering psychosis.
Here's a different perspective on dexamethasone: