Sunday, June 22, 2008

Elder Russell M. Nelson

Today I started reading the biography of Elder Russell M Nelson. I am only a few pages into it but I can tell it is going to be so good! Right now I am reading about his ancestry and how his family came to join the Church in the 1800s and came to America. His grandpa was even born and raised in Ephraim, Utah-near my home! Anyway, I just wanted to share a story from the life of one of his great-grandfathers named Johan Andreas Jensen. Johan was was living in Norway when he first learned about Christianity and he believed the teachings so much that he spent many years distributing his wealth to the poor. Even before he learned about the LDS church he would preach repentance in the streets of Norway and he even published an article calling the King of Norway to repentance. Of course, for this, he was thrown into jail. Six weeks later, he recieved roommates there-two Mormon misisonaries who were also jailed because they were caught teaching repentance! These two missionaries spent their time singing hymns, praying, and reading the scriptures. In the end, their actions served as the foundation of Johan's testimony and it was during his time in prison that he felt that the Church was true.

To me, that is a perfect example of how the Lord works in mysterious ways. Many times, when things do not happen according to our plans we seem them as negative events, but maybe they truly are blessings in disguise-things that the Lord will use to further His purposes later on down the road!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Medical Breakthrough: Stool Transplants

WARNING: this post contains information that is NOT for the weak of stomach!

Yesterday I attended a physician's seminar about Clostridium difficile, a bacterial species that causes very severe stomach cramps and diarrhea (a disorder called colitis). The disorder occurs mostly in elderly people and is commonly acquired after a long hospitalization.

Here is what C. diff looks like (a) under a microscope and (b) growing on a culture plate:

Okay, so usually the infection is treated with antibiotics and this is pretty effective. However, some antibiotic-resistant strains are starting to develop. For these, doctors often administer yogurt drinks that contain a lot of healthy bacteria. But this doesn't usually cure the patient completely. There is, however, one other method of treatment that has a 100% success rate since it was put into effect last year - A stool transplant!! I had no idea what that was until they explained it. You see, these doctors look at our waste products as organs and so here is what happens: doctors take a stool sample from a healthy donor, blend it up with some water or saline to form a "smoothie" and introduce into the patient's digestive system through a nasogastric tube. Here is the explanation again in layman's terms: the patient drinks somebody else's poop!

The idea of it makes complete sense: replace the bad bacteria that's causing disease with good bacteria so that the bad stuff can't survive. Even so, I'm not sure I could do it if I were the patient. But the FDA is working on a way to form capsules that can be swallowed instead of the liquid drink, which sounds a bit more bearable. So, my next money-making scheme? Sell my waste products to be made into pills! How is that any different than donating blood or selling plasma....
And if you are still reading...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"No hay rosa sin espinas; There is no rose without thorns"

I used to read all the time. But, with school and work taking up so much of my time, it has been a while since I have really just picked up a book and read for fun. A few weeks ago, a friend got me hooked on the Twilight series-those crazy vampire stories that everybody talks about. But, now I am finished with them and to satisfy my craving for another good book, I decided to read one of my mom's recommendations- called "Esperanza Rising". My mom is a T.A. for Fifth Grade and her class read this book, so it is definitely written for a younger crowd, but I like it. Here is the storyline:

Esperanza Ortega possesses all the treasures a young girl could want: fancy dresses; a beautiful home filled with servants in the bountiful region of Aguascalientes, Mexico; and the promise of one day rising to Mama’s position and presiding over all of Rancho de las Rosas. But a sudden tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. There they confront the challenges of hard work, acceptance by their own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression. When Mama falls ill from Valley Fever and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must relinquish her hold on the past and learn to embrace a future ripe with the riches of family and community.