Wednesday, May 23, 2007
A little perspective:
Right now I'm interning in a neuromuscular clinic, mainly seeing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and myasthenia patients. The former is the topic of my research project, and so that's what I spend my time on - reviewing charts, reading about the disease, etc. We have no idea how to stop it, or even how it happens: we can see the signs, but diagnosis is mainly a matter of just not having another explanation.
For the most part, it seems to strike at random, quickly disabling and almost invariably killing its victims. My project is looking at options to improve tracking of ALS, so that we might find more clues as to what causes it.
This brings me back to one of the things I find the coolest about studying biology - and particularly neuroscience - is the number of things that have to not fuck up all the time in order for life to exist, and they go wrong in similarly ordered fashion. Either that, or an organism face-plants trying to outrun something it clearly can't outrun, damages its ability to outrun things it ought to be able to escape in the future, and is eaten.