The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
In March of 2012, Ronny Edry, and Israeli graphic designer, posted an image on FaceBook that, to his surprise, went viral. In fact, he accidentally created an online movement for peace in the Middle East. You can click on the image below, but it may be better to go to this link: Ronny Edry Ted.com.
Edry and thousands of like-minded individuals have built bridge in the Middle East between the people of Iran and Israel. They do not consider themselves to be enemies. They love each other. While the leaders of their countriesstrut around on their self-important stages prophesizing war, large segments of the citizenry proclaim graphic messages of peace.
"In December 1955, 7-year-old Johanna Nightingale had become very ill with a Streptococcus pyogenes throat infection, which soon affected her kidneys, causing acute glomerulonephritis and then chronic kidney disease. Dialysis did not yet exist, and the next 5 years of Johanna's childhood revolved around the hospital. Johanna was extremely small, weak, and prone to sickness. She spent at least 3 weeks of every month in the hospital, receiving supportive care. In 1960, one of Johanna's doctors in Winnipeg read that Boston's Dr. Joseph Murray was performing kidney transplantations and immediately wrote to him about Johanna's case. Murray responded, saying that as a patient with renal failure who happened to have a healthy identical twin, Johanna sounded like a perfect candidate for transplantation.
In May of 2011, the 63-year-old identical twins made the trip from Alberta, Canada to Boston to meet with the Nobel-honored surgeon who pioneered the field of human organ transplantation. The twins were 12 years old at the time that Lana donated her kidney to Johanna. Today, Johanna is the longest surviving kidney-transplant recipient.'
"The Kaddish is a prayer that is recited at every Jewish service to honor the memory of those who died. I was curious about what it would mean to 'Be the Kaddish.' I wondered: How does a person become a prayer?"
If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain: If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain. Emily Dickinson
"Doors Swinging Open" by Frank Bruni, in the September 27, NY Times, is a story that brings the Dickinson poem to mind. It chronicles the journey of Energy Maburutse, a young man with osteogenesis imperfecta from rural Zimbabwe, to Lynn University in Florida.
Congratulations to Barbara Nachman, aka The Movie Slut, for her recent piece, "Raucous at the Movies" which appeared this week in the NY Times.
Ms. Nachman who composes the blog, "Movie Slut Reviews" writes in the Times, "I am a terrible film critic. I’m indiscriminate about the flicks I watch, and I find something sensational about every one of them, including mindless summer blockbusters.
For me, what happens on the big screen is always a joy. What goes on in the audience, however, is just the opposite. And at this time of the year, when air-conditioned theaters offer a respite from both heat and doldrums, there is a lot going on."
Coach and player sat in front of cameras and microphones at a table bedecked with Wake Forest caps — a scene reminiscent of the day last week when football recruits across the nation wore the hats of the colleges they had chosen.
This event was different, distinguished by white-coated surgeons who flanked the athlete — and by the player’s periodic wincing from the fresh, deep incision in his right side.
“I didn’t ask,” said Jordan, a freshman, who was not a transplant match with family members. Coach Tom Walter had volunteered.
In these days of venality and self-interest, we need feel-good stories like this. Coaches and mentors can inspire us to be better people, bigger souls... Read Full Article.
In case you missed this amazing NY Times Op-Ed piece, you might want to read it.
"Most of us are perfectly capable of making distinctions within the
Christian world. The fact that someone is a Boston Roman Catholic
doesn’t mean he’s in league with Irish Republican Army bomb makers, just
as not all Orthodox Christians have ties to Serbian war criminals or
Southern Baptists to the murderers of abortion doctors.
Yet many of our leaders have a tendency to see the Islamic world as a
single, terrifying monolith."
"Few in the U.S. or Europe remember that a devastating Taliban attack occurred last
spring at the shrine of the 17th-century poet-saint Rahman Baba, at the
foot of the Khyber Pass in northwest Pakistan. For centuries, the
complex has been a place for musicians and poets to gather, and Rahman
Baba’s Sufi verses had long made him the national poet of the Pashtuns
living on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. “I am a lover,
and I deal in love,” wrote the saint. “Sow flowers,/ so your
surroundings become a garden./ Don’t sow thorns; for they will prick
your feet./ We are all one body./ Whoever tortures another, wounds
This NY Times article should interest anyone who takes a wide-angle view of health and disease. It focuses on the "Microbiome:" which is defined as "the totality of microbes, their genetic elements
(genomes), and environmental interactions in a defined environment. A
defined environment could, for example, be the gut of a human being or a
soil sample. Thus, microbiome usually includes microbiota and their
complete genetic elements."
Zimmer's article is a fine introduction to this area and is a glimpse into a brave new world which determines how we are well and ill. It is worth reading and rereading. There is lots of basic science here, but also stuff of philosophy. The microbiome is an important terra incognito, the understanding of which may help some of us to lead healthier lives.
This illustration shows the body sites that will be sampled from
volunteers for the Human Microbiome Project, part of the NIH's Roadmap for Medical Research.
We would like to welcome a new author, Shazia Jamshed, to Cell 2 Soul. She is fortunate to be researching and studying Social Pharmacy on the magical island of Penang, Malaysia. "Simply put, social pharmacy relates medication use to individuals and to society at large by using the methodology of the social sciences. In this field, pharmacy is coupled with psychology, economics and sociology. It is truly a blend of science and art. Social pharmacists advocate for radical change in the recognition of pharmacists' status. They initiate policies to change the system and attempt to become an integral part in developing and implementing such policies."
This is an emerging field that holds great promise for us as patients and caregivers. To read Dr. Jamshed's brief discussion of Social Pharmacy see. Download Social Pharmacy--edited
As you sit down tonight at Sunday Dinner, reflect for a moment on the stats from the U.S.
The lead article in May 2010’s The Atlantic is called “FAT NATION:
It’s worse than you think. How to beat obesity.“ This is a long,
dense, well-written and important essay. Here’s the intro:
OBESITY: After years of dieting, the author finally resorted to
bariatric surgery. It worked—but he realized that it’s too expensive to
stem our obesity epidemic. So what to do? Michelle Obama’s
anti-obesity plan, he argues, is a major first step. Developed largely
in secret, and with startling comprehensiveness, it has thrilled
advocates— and made the food industry anxious to cooperate.”