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What is the consolation of faith in the face of death?
Ira Byock, MD was the Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire and is currently Professor of Anesthesiology and Community & Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School.
Dr. Byock has authored numerous articles on the ethics and practice of hospice, palliative and end-of-life care. His first book, Dying Well, (1997) has become a standard in the field. His most recent book, The Four Things That Matter Most, (2004) is used as a counseling tool widely by palliative care and hospice programs, as well as within pastoral care.
Dr. Byock has been a consistent advocate for the voice and rights of dying patients and their families. He has been the recipient of the National Hospice Organization’s Person of the Year (1995), the National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship’s Natalie Davis Spingarn Writers Award (2000), the American College of CHEST Physicians Roger Bone Memorial Lecture Award (2003) and the Outstanding Colleague Award (2008) of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.
Question: What is the consolation of faith in the face of death? The absence of faith?
Ira Byock: I don’t think you need to be religious to face the end of life well, but I do think that dying and death really uncovers the spiritual core of the human condition. I say that because it really unmasks our vulnerability and questions that I think have inherent current spiritual implications become quite concrete, not abstract to philosophical to people.
Where am I going next? What was this life all about, after all? What was my life about? Was I worthy, was I a good person? Those sorts of questions, which really are at the core of religions take on tangible meaning and implications for people. If you have answers for those questions, if people who do have a strong religious faith often find that it is a well of strength during these times. I often will interview people and just acknowledge to them that sometimes when I meet people who are seriously ill, they tell me that their illness has really shaken their faith in god or their confidence in the universe. Other people I meet tell me that the illness has actually strengthened their faith, and I ask, has either of those things happened for you? But you don’t have to have a religion to be spiritual. I met a guy not too long ago, I call him Mr. Grady. I met him in clinic, and he had an advanced illness, was probably had 6 weeks or so to live, and he was a crusty Vermont farmer. And I asked him, if he had a faith in, and what was that like for him? And he said, “Oh doctor no, none of that for me.”
I said ,”Well, Mr. Grady, do you have a sense of where we go after this life?” He said, “Yeah doctor, the worms go in, the worms go out.” And half expecting that, because of just his demeanor, I said, “So Mr. Grady, and where will the worms go in and out of your bones?” And he said, “Well doctor, we have a place in the farm up in [ph] Bedford, we Grady’s we have been buried there for years and my grand parents and their parents have been there, and I suspect that we’ll – my family will be there forever.”
Well, very interesting because Mr. Grady doesn’t go to church, believe in God, have a religion, and yet he has this visceral connection to the land and to a family that preceded him for generations, ancestors he never met, and for people who he will never meet in generations to come. If that connection isn’t spiritual, I are not sure what to call it. It’s larger than himself and endures into an open-ended future, and has inherent meaning for him. That really satisfies my definition of spiritual.
Recorded on: March 21, 2008
What is the consolation of faith in the face of death?
Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.
- Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
- The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
- The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
Duke researchers have developed the first gel-based synthetic cartilage with the strength of the real thing. A quarter-sized disc of the material can withstand the weight of a 100-pound kettlebell without tearing or losing its shape.
Photo: Feichen Yang.<p>That's the word from a team in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adfm.202003451" target="_blank">new paper</a>, published in the journal,<em> Advanced Functional Materials</em>, details this exciting evolution of this frustrating joint.<br></p><p>Researchers have sought materials strong and versatile enough to repair a knee since at least the seventies. This new hydrogel, comprised of three polymers, might be it. When two of the polymers are stretched, a third keeps the entire structure intact. When pulled 100,000 times, the cartilage held up as well as materials used in bone implants. The team also rubbed the hydrogel against natural cartilage a million times and found it to be as wear-resistant as the real thing. </p><p>The hydrogel has the appearance of Jell-O and is comprised of 60 percent water. Co-author, Feichen Yang, <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2020/06/lab-first-cartilage-mimicking-gel-strong-enough-knees" target="_blank">says</a> this network of polymers is particularly durable: "Only this combination of all three components is both flexible and stiff and therefore strong." </p><p> As with any new material, a lot of testing must be conducted. They don't foresee this hydrogel being implanted into human bodies for at least three years. The next step is to test it out in sheep. </p><p>Still, this is an exciting step forward in the rehabilitation of one of our trickiest joints. Given the potential reward, the wait is worth it. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.
Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.
What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?
Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.