Why Speak out for Science?

I have to really thank my anti-GMO friends for all of the memes they posted that woke me up to the whole issue surrounding biotechnology.  If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here writing this post.

It is very unlike local style, or at least the way I was raised to bring attention to oneself.  Doing that was considered kind of a no-no.  However, after attending school in the mainland and living there for many years, you start to learn that if you don’t speak up, you lose.  I learned pretty quick that I’d get run over if I didn’t say anything.  So, thanks to that experience, I found my voice.

Why speak up for science?  Well, when you have the opportunity to see what science and research can do to help people in action, one can see the potential for it in making people’s lives better.  I always was told that whatever I choose to do in life, make for certain that you make others’ lives better.  That is my mission learned through my experiences.

I was lucky enough to go to school at Washington University in St. Louis for my schooling.  WUSTL is well known for its medical research and as part of my training, I had the opportunity to observe some of it.  I was assigned to observe patients in the Movement Disorder Clinic there.  The project at the time was doing test trials of botox on people with movement disorders.  Botox was not even on the market at the time but was being studied to see if it could help people with disabling and disfiguring movement disorders.

I saw many people that had a wide variety of disabilities resulting from abnormal muscle tone.  One woman had a blepharospasm where she had her eyes permanently shut for years.  Another was a man who held his neck to the left and could not drive or eat normally or care for himself with his head turned permanently.  There were teenagers with cerebral palsy who could not walk normally because of calf spasm.  Though all very different, these people could not function normally.  The hope was that botox could alleviate these disorders and restore function.

The doctor carefully examined each person and injected the muscles one by one with a lot of care.  The following week, these people would return and the results were amazing.  To see people open their eyes or keep their head in midline and walk normally was something they had never done for years that we take for granted.  The research gave these folks improved function and some sense of normalcy that we forget about.  These people cried in joy when they had their function restored.  I too shed tears witnessing these small miracles.  These experiences are events I will never forget.

Not many people will get to witness the beauty of science and how it truly affects people’s lives like I did.  Nor do people have the same educational opportunities.  It is very easy to fall into the trap of fearing what you don’t know.  But as someone who has learned and know the benefits of science, I feel a sense of responsibility to educate people and open minds and eyes.  Our future can only get better with more knowledge and research.  That is why I speak out for science!


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