EPISODE #3 - The immortal life of henrietta lacks
Bridget McNeela joins the podcast to discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and share 3 local wines. Topics include: scientific advancement, medical ethics, informed consent, scientific education, individualism vs collectivism, and whether or not you should have the right to be an asshole.
0:00 - Introduction of episode, book, guest, and booze
5:40 - What are immortal cells? Overview of the story
9:00 - The author and the HeLa mystery
10:53 - Why isn’t Henrietta Lacks a household name?
12:34 - The incredible impact of Henrietta’s cells
14:12 - The dichotomy between medical advancement and medical ethics
15:20 - Henrietta’s rapid decline, and the ill gotten cell sample that changed the world
19:48 - The Family learns about HELA - 22 years later
24:57 - Innovation vs Informed Consent
29:00 - Scientific illiteracy, scientific suspicion, educational opportunity costs
35:38 - Horror, embarrassment, and “cancer screenings.”
41:46 - No evil characters to blame, “No one ever thinks they’re the bad guy”, Humans are shady animals.
44:28 - Moral obligations, the “right to be an asshole”, and the individualism-collectivism spectrum
John’s key mega-beliefs (sort of mentioned in the podcast) that make up most worldviews are: 1) religious vs secular morality 2) individualism vs collectivism, 3) free will vs determinism, and 4) How wide is your In-group: Family? Ethnic group? Church? Country? All humans? All sentient beings?
50:24 -Dictatorship of celletariot, and the cellular clusterf***s.
58:53 - Are they even Henrietta’s cells anymore? Are they even human cells anymore?
59:34 - $hould the Lacks family be paid?
1:00:37 - The Lacks family finally sees their mother’s cells after 60 years!
1:01:53 - Where is the Lacks family now?
1:04:40 - Deborah's death breaking the family
1:06:42 - Medical leverage and market power
1:07:06 - The belle of the cataract ward
1:10:00 - Ancestry/23&me, genetic privacy, dystopian futures
[Correction]: John misspoke when he said he had more cousins on one side that Bridget’s 30 cousins, it turns out John has 46 first cousins TOTAL, not just on the one side. He has just 24 on the one side, 21 not including himself and his two siblings.