Monday, April 17, 2017

Education by Face Book

Just when I had decided that I should not waste my time with the daily reading Facebook, I start getting really interesting posts. Whether friends send them to me or whether it is the newspapers that are targeting me I don't know, but I have been receiving the most interesting articles. No only have I been able to keep up to date with what Zuma has been up to, but I have been exposed to some lovely poetry that I would not have otherwise been aware of and I have also learnt about new research findings in Biology and Neuroscience.
Today I came across an article published by the New Yorker about Schizophrenia( written by Siddhartha Mukerjee)  Genetic research has thrown new light on this disease and found a connection between immune response and Schizophrenia. A pair of genes (B2 and B4, I think they are called) are responsible for the production of proteins that destroy foreign matter, harmful compounds and junk of various kinds in the body. These proteins travel about scouring our organs including the brain and twine themselves around bits they want to destroy. They also twine them selves around some synapses. Apparently during early development, even before birth, our nerve cells are making more and more connections , but when we reach maturity many of these connections are destroyed by the aforementioned proteins, presumably because otherwise we would have far more than we need.  A variant of B4 causes too much synapse-destroying protein to be produced and synapses that are actually needed are destroyed. Somehow this gives rise to the symptoms of Schizophrenia. (and also bipolar conditions). Scientists think this is why the onset of psychotic episodes occurs typically in late adolescence or early adulthood when these proteins are active.

The brain is a very strange organ, more wonderful than we could ever imagine. It would be great if knowing more about the causes of mental illness could mean that a cure is in sight for this horrible illness, but I am afraid this is wishful thinking.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The decay of the ANC

So our infamous president is not going anywhere.  I am not surprised. Those who are greedy and unscrupulous can usually get what they want.The Guptas and their patron/puppet,Zuma have won. We shall have to get used to living under their evil and corrupt regime. Living under a bad government  is something we had to learn to do in the past. We can learn to do it again. We must get ready to face more poverty, more unemployment, higher prices, more government inefficiency. When I supported the struggle against the Apartheid government, I knew that this could happen. But at that time to join the forces opposed to the Nationalist Government was the right thing to do. It is no consolation to me to know that I foresaw the future so accurately.

This is a sad day for South Africa.