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Christopher Root

BIOL 1090-F17 Timmins

Signature Assignment ePortfolio Reflection

November 25, 2017

Reflection on News Analysis 2: Zombie Cells

Reflection prompt 1. Did your article, or things you saw in your search for articles, change the way you
think about science? Did you see evidence of scientists actively engaged in public policy debates, and
were you surprised by their level of advocacy?

I had stated in the original analysis that I found the article fascinating, and this holds true to today. This
article was enlightening in that it put a spotlight on the need for drug companies to develop products
which must be taken repetitively over long periods of time to realize a profit after incurring losses on
research and development and contributed to an expanded understanding of modern science as it
relates to healthcare.

The scientists involved in this study were passionate realists in that they appeared to care deeply about
improving the human condition and battling issues faced in old age but also recognize the need for it to
be profitable to succeed in a capitalistic society. The debate discussed in this article was whether any ill
effects would be seen long-term through the removal of so-called senelytic (zombie) cells. Their
advocacy is two-fold, in that they broke free of their research facility to start a private company with the
hope of curing maladies of age and realizing enormous profit and this should surprise no one in
todays marketplace of ideas.

Reflection prompt 2. Discuss how your article made connections to another discipline, like business,
government, politics, economics, or humanities. If it didnt make any connections to other disciplines,
discuss a connection it could have made.

The obvious connection here is business. Dr. Jan van Duersen and James Kirkland formed Unity
Biotechnology with a slick website promoting various medications in development to destroy different
types of senescent cells. The article itself bordered on advertising as it included no contrary opinions
and included various well-designed graphics to simplify understanding, as well as a catchy title (To stay
young, kill zombie cells) released near Halloween.

The other major discipline involved would likely be political. Healthcare is a hotly debated political topic
these days with those opposing government interventions versus those purporting to support private
and free markets. Many countries outside of our own have very different systems for handling care and
distribution, and it will be interesting to see how a so-called miracle drug for old age could somehow
be restricted inside our border but yet be widely available in areas where healthcare is considered a
right rather than a privilege.
Reflection prompt 3. Describe how the class has impacted your views on science, the human body, and
human impacts on the planet.

I have always been fascinated with science and in my younger years always figured that was my future
career destination. Reality and monetary reasons have pushed me into the security of information, but I
will always have a passion and respect for those in scientific fields.

My initial thought when reflecting on this statement is that the human body is somehow simultaneously
mind-bogglingly complex yet simple enough for the average person to understand each of the functions.
It would never be possible to fully understand each of the different areas and interactions to specific
systems in the body, which is why there are so many different types of doctors who specialize in one or
two of them. People are easily frustrated with doctors because it is sometimes difficult to get a
comprehensive answer when they are facing issues, and doctors must consider a vast number of
interrelated internal and external systems to make an educated determination in assisting a patient.

As far as our impact on the planet, it is no secret that causing environmental issues and increasing our
reliance on animals as food is ultimately a model that is not sustainable. During this class, I shifted my
dieting habits away from simple carbohydrates and processed meats toward complex carbohydrates
and a plant-based diet with minimal meat intake and lost a significant amount of weight. I also had a
shift in my belief system related to genetically modified organisms, in that I previously used to avoid
them due to science delivered by the news. There is no scientific basis behind many of these claims,
and I now feel that this type of food modification is beneficial to providing better outputs without
reducing nutritional benefits to decrease mass starvation across our globe.