ReasonINC

Reason; as the supreme authority in matters of opinion, belief, or conduct

Category: Medicine

Unit 731

In the dark basement archives that detail the history of unethical medical trials it is important to remember that even from the countries or cultures without notable documented cases it would hardly constitute a challenge to find equally distinguishable breaches of ethics, if not perhaps in the name of medical science.

I have to give the introduction above to feel that I am not being unfair to post here the example of perhaps the most shocking single case of atrocious medical research that emerged from a country with a cultural history at least as interesting and rich as any I have come across. Unit 731 was a research facility under the control of the Imperial Japanese Army between 1935 and 1945 in an area of north-eastern China under Japanese control.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731)

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My back hurts, I need to sit down

The forces in your lower back are around double their standing values when you are sitting. When sitting there is reduced lordosis, curvature, in the lower back and the resultant of the forces in the lower spine is pulled to a position where it irritates the associated soft tissues. Nerves in the intervertabral discs respond painfully to structural disruption of the discs and the position we adopt when we sit increases the likelihood of this. Improved muscle strength in the back and abdomen can help to counter the action of the forces that are damaging your discs – damage that is currently beyond the scope of medicine to repair. Sitting more upright helps to pull the vector of the acting forces into more favourable lines of action, similarly to how stronger muscles will. Some academics, rather dryly in my opinion, describe the chair as the most dangerous orthotic device ever developed; under the assumption that for most of the 150,000 years or so of our existence we would not have spent extended periods sitting in one position. Will a new generation who spend more time sitting than previous generations suffer from worse backs from an earlier age? If mine and those of some of my friends are anything to go on then yes, certainly.

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654542/)

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3291701/)

Smart?

25% of the body’s metabolism takes place in the brain, in humans. That means 25% of the energy we use is used by our brains. Primates follow as the next closest using around 10% of their energy in their brains.

Vision

With age, both the cornea and the lens in your eye – which light must pass through to reach the photo-sensitive retina inside the eyeball – begin to yellow. This colour change causes a lot of light in the blue spectrum to be scattered and absorbed. This means that with age we all see less contrast between shades of blue, green and violet. Blues will be dulled in your perception compared to when you were young.