boli0119: October 2011 Archives

An Out of Body Experience (OBE) is defined as an experience that usually involves a sense of floating outside of one's own body, and in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from an outer location. This bizarre sensation that 25% of college students and 10% of adults have claimed to have had, springs up many questions for scientists and specialists. Can this actually happen? - And how would we even be able to test this phenomenon to validate it?

So what may cause this sensation? It is impossible to find good evidence to support that people actually experience this sensation. Scientific findings appear to falsify these claims. According to the Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding textbook, people who have unusual fantasies, such as vivid fantasies, lucid dreams, hallucinations, perceptual distortions, and strange body experiences on a regular basis. People may also experience them when they are under the influence of psychedelic drugs, experiencing headaches or seizures, or under great relaxation or stress. Can we actually believe that these people are experiencing a true OBE, or can there be another explanation? Unfortunately, it's a claim that we will never know to be true or not.


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Today I came across a neurological disorder that I found both interesting and disturbing. The name of this horrifying disease is Anencephaly. It is a cephalic disorder that consists of a defect in the closure of the neural tube during fetal development. It occurs when the head end of the neural tube fails to close, which leaves the fetus with an absence of a large part of the brain, skull, and scalp. They have no forebrain and no cerebrum. What's left of the brain is usually uncovered by skin or scalp. Babies born with this disorder are usually blind, deaf, unable to feel pain, and/or unconscious.
The physical effects of Anencephaly are quite severe and unpleasant. These poor babies have a large part of their brains exposed and large, frog-like, and protruding eyes (as a result of no forebrain).
This disorder effects one in one-thousand pregnancies, and the lifespan on the baby spans from a few hours to a few days, if it survives the womb. In the end, the baby will not survive. It's controversial with many people whether or not people should abort the baby, knowing it has 0% chance of survival. 50% of fetuses with anencephaly are aborted, yet the other half of mothers believe there might be a miracle.
Scientists believe that anencephaly can be contributed to both genetic and environmental factors. It has been confirmed, however, that it can be prevented by folic acid. Drugs that lower the amount of folic acid, such as anti metabolic drugs, lowers this, hence increasing the risk. Anencephaly can also be the cause of high exposure to toxins such as lead, chromium, mercury, and nickle.
Sadly, there are no treatments. It's difficult to think of what parents experience when finding out their bundle-of-joy won't be able to survive, and that they will have to overcome the horrifying experience of losing a child.

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