Tag Archives: NIH

Stop Assuming They Think Like Adults

A recent fight within the UK and between that nation and Turkey – a country that seeks admittance to the EU, even though only the small portion of it actually belongs in Europe; the majority is in Asia – has to do with teenage girls from Muslim families. Three of them left the UK the other day. The eldest had stolen her older sister’s passport. The UK does not keep track of who leaves the country. Although the rules state that minors may leave only when accompanied by a parent, the girls (one aged 16, the other two 15) were able to fly to Turkey all by themselves.

Why were they going? To cross Turkey into Syria, there to become the latest in a series of adolescent girls scammed and persuaded to become “jihadi brides”.

It appears now that they have entered Syria, despite their parents’ pleas and the Foreign Service tracking. Turkey, blamed for facilitating both female and male Isis devotees’ border crossing, has in turn become rather stroppy itself, complaining that the UK lost three days in informing Turkish officials of the girls’ intention.

Even the girls’ school has had to defend itself from finger-pointing, noting that it does not permit extremist doctrines and strives to teach its students to accept others. The three girls, it says, were not radicalized on its grounds.

That’s probably true. There are too many places online to read radical Islamist philosophy – who needs a brick-and-mortar school?

The parents, rather than accepting responsibility for teaching their daughters that what Muslim men want is more important than the desires of Muslim women, wants the UK to keep track of exits as well as entries. Not a bad idea.

The girls’ aim is to marry terrorists and murderers. Not the actions of sane, healthy women. And even Isis points out that jihadi brides must prepare to be jihadi widows – which means they will in turn be traded off, potentially sold into sexual enslavement, and almost certainly will die (of beatings, suicide, complications of pregnancy and childbirth) in Syria, probably within five years. The parents will never see their daughters again.

There may be good reasons for keeping them from the UK, as escapees from Isis have been indoctrinated in terrorism. Even when their primary role has been support and childbearing, creating more children to be molded into mini-terrorists.

But now comes the argument in The Guardian that the UK should let its adolescents leave because, well, look, they’ve made their decisions. Let them lie in it. Don’t stop them, even if they’re under 18 years old and legally minors to be protected. We’re better off without them. They want to support brutal and murderous regimes? Fine. They’re old enough to know better.

Except they’re not.

What that Guardian writer fails to understand is that although adolescents may look mature, inside they’re still growing. They certainly aren’t mature when it comes to childbearing, which is hugely more risky for teenagers than for women over 20. Even sex is risky, since their bodies have not finished developing. An immature vagina should not be entered by anyone’s engorged penis, including that of a jihadi “husband”.

And we have evidence that inside these girls’ brains, there is a whole lot of re-assembly going on. Dr. Jay Giedd of the US National Institutes of Health, among others, is engaged in longitudinal research on brain development. What he has found through fMRI examination of healthy people is that teenagers’ brains are entirely different from those of adults. The area really should be cordoned off with “Caution: Undergoing Construction” tape. Teens literally cannot think the way grown-ups do, and it’s wrong to blame them when they don’t.

As Giedd has said, “It’s sort of unfair to expect them to have adult levels of organizational skills or decision-making before their brains are finished being built.” Meaning, just because a brain has acquired adult size in terms of its weight does not mean it’s ready for full and complete use. That’s like saying a house that’s just been put under roof — meaning the slates or shingles are attached – is ready to be moved into. Wait a minute. What about walls? Plumbing? Electrical wiring, floor finishes, paint, all the other things we expect of a house? Not there! Well, it’s not freakin’ done, then, is it. Back to work!

No one in their right mind leaves to support Isis. We don’t see long lines of mature women ready to give up their freedom and families, do we? These girls are just the latest in a series from different Western countries who have been groomed and seduced online, who wish to exchange a fairly restrictive family existence for an entirely restrictive and ultimately painful and fatal one, while imagining they are more holy for doing what terrorists bid them do.

Prime Minister David Cameron has urged that more attention be paid to online radicalization by people promoting the “poisonous ideology” of terrorism, and Europol is enhancing cooperation among agencies to connect the dots between extremist recruiters and those who finance their activities.

Families need to make their children’s passports unobtainable. In a deposit box or held by a non-Muslim friend or colleague. In addition, they must have serious chats with their children in order to teach them of the risks of extremism. Also, the UK ought to be keeping track of the people who leave its shores, especially where they look young.

Because kids and adolescents do not, cannot, think like adults.

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“Remember The Ladies”

 

Drugs tested on men don’t work well on women. Surprise, surprise.

 

In March of 1776, Abigail Adams wrote an impassioned letter to her husband urging him to remember that women were as patriotic as men, as desirous of separating the American colonies from British rule, as willing to fight and sacrifice toward that end, and deserving of the vote.

Adams’s letter – where she urged her husband to “remember the ladies”, some of whom were far better educated than the backwoodsmen who would be allowed to govern the new nation – did not succeed.

Here’s one that will: The National Institutes of Health (NIH), having finally acknowledged that clinical studies that do not contain an equal number of female participants fail to produce medicines and remedies and even procedures that are 100% effective for all adults, are now requiring female/male parity in future studies.

Think this is just one more ho-hum, medical academia requirement? Think again.

When a new Big Pharma product is produced using only male study subjects, that product can have adverse effects on fully half of the people who take it.

Half.

As in, 1 out of 2, or 50%.

What kind of efficacy is that? Horrible, as it turns out, since women experience adverse drug reactions at higher rates than men do.

As a scientist quoted in the New York Times says, “One of the underlying assumptions has been that females are simply a variation on a theme, that it isn’t a fundamentally different mechanism, that if you’ve learned about the male you’ve learned enough to deal with both males and females. We’ve discovered that’s not always the case.”

That’s true even on a cellular level. “Every cell has a sex. Each cell is either male or female, and that genetic difference results in different biochemical processes within those cells.”

So human does not equal male. Human includes all of us, with all our differences.

“Contrary to the conventional wisdom in laboratories, there is far more variability among males than among females on a number of traits and behaviors,” researchers have found.

Look, if you hope to produce drugs and remedies that will help everyone, you need to include, well, everyone in your studies. It’s no use pretending women are smaller and slightly inferior men. That kind of attitude was false from the start, and women have been hurt by the very pharmaceuticals prescribed to help them. Lies are lies, no matter their origin.

Does it cost more to include female subjects in lab testing? Only if you double your testing population. Instead, you could go halves on it. Or use only female subjects, and ignore men’s worries that the product may not actually help them that much.

After all, that’s what’s been happening, in reverse.

For the foot-dragging NIH to finally get its ducks in a row and require parity in studies is amazing. Now, researchers, stop complaining and step up to the plate.

 

 

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Really, Chile?

Sebastian Pinera, making life-and-death decisions one 11-year-old at a time.

 

If a child is too young to adequately consent to sex, with all its emotional and physical ramifications, then surely she is too young to make life-or-death decisions, right?

 

Not in Chile.

 

An 11-year-old girl repeatedly raped and impregnated by her stepfather has been praised by Sebastián Piñera,  the nation’s president, for her “mature” decision not to seek an abortion. (Note that this scenario occurs all over the world. A recent case in China involved an abused 12-year-old.)

 

Now, leaving aside questions of what abortion options would be available to this young girl in Chile (few), the amount of pressure a Catholic country’s therapists and families might place on a vulnerable child (huge), and the fact that the girl’s mother is obviously not the person who should be raising her (the mother initially called the rapes “consensual”), how is a child whose frontal lobe is still under construction to be regarded as mature enough to decide to continue a process that can easily kill her?

 

Two things: first, the age of menarche — a girl’s first menses — has been dropping since 1840, as has boys’ sexual maturity since 1750, even though mentally and emotionally they are still children; and, second, the brain research being carried out at the National Institute of Health (NIH) by Dr. Jay Giedd and by other researchers in other countries, clearly indicates that even in healthy humans, a child’s brain differs from an adolescent’s brain differs from an adult’s brain.

 

This 11-year-old is therefore two whole steps away from having an adult brain. She should not be asked to make an adult decision, since she does not yet possess the frontal lobe capacity to do so.

 

In addition, pregnancy and childbirth are risky. Even in wealthy nations with excellent healthcare and follow-up, grown women die during fetal growth and delivery. The US is hardly at the top of the list for maternal mortality (that’s where people die as a result of pregnancy or delivery, including within several days after a birth), but US statistics demonstrate that overall, maternal mortality is 8 per 100,000. In Chile, the figure is almost three times higher: 23 per 100,000. In both countries, that is an average. In certain geographical areas and among certain populations, death rates soar.

 

That is especially true of people who are pregnant before they reach age 20. Among teenagers, pregnancy is horribly dangerous. Imagine what the risk will be for an 11-year-old who can only picture a baby being like a doll to “take care of”.

 

Amnesty International asserts that this child must be provided with an abortion in order to save her life. While Chile stalls, an evasive scenario is likely to happen. Because the young girl’s body is immature, something is almost certain to go wrong with the pregnancy. At that point, doctors can intervene and decide to “deliver early” in order to keep the 11-year-old alive. Early enough, and the fetus will not survive.

 

That’s what you call prevarication. In a society where a raped child is praised for “maturity”, that’s what happens.

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Filed under Chile, Grooming, Jay Giedd, Menarche, Menstruation, Misogyny, NIH, Pregnancy, Rape, Sexual assault