Doing discussion and reply for 1
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Your initial post should be well thought out and include specific details from the book. Your posting should be around 125 words, or more.
Some questions to help you get started; You may pick a question to answer or feel free to discuss anything from the book that interested you!!
Why did Henrietta’s doctors need to ask for her family’s permission to remove tissue samples after her death? How did Day initially respond to their request, and what made him change his mind?
What did Mary, Gey’s assistant, think when she saw Henrietta’s painted toenails? How was the timing of this realization ironic?
What unusual characteristics of HeLa cells made them ideal for use in the polio vaccine trials?
Explain the contribution that HeLa cells made to the emerging field of genetics. Who profited monetarily from the sale of HeLa cells and other human biological materials? Did Gey personally profit?
How soon after Henrietta’s death did the media attempt to write about her?
What reasons did Berg give for wanting information about the woman whose cells were used to grow HeLa?
Summarize the factual errors that appeared in the stories about HeLa.
Why didn’t Henrietta’s family know that her cells were still alive? In what specific ways do you think that learning of HeLa soon after Henrietta’s death might have changed her family members’ lives?
Describe Deborah’s childhood. What challenges did she have to overcome?
What questions did Deborah have about her mother and sister? Why do you think no one told her very much about them?
How are the white and black Lackses related? Compare and contrast the different attitudes the family members held about race.
Describe the experiments Southam conducted using HeLa cells. How were his subjects recruited and informed? What objections were raised? What were the legal consequences of his actions?
Summarize the way the various ways that HeLa was used in the space program.
What scientific discoveries were made possible as a result of fused hybrid cells? How did the public respond to the idea of cell hybrids? In what specific ways did the media influence the public’s perceptions of cell hybrids?
How was Joe’s life different from his brothers’ lives? What do you think caused this difference? How did Day, Sonny, and Lawrence respond to Joe’s crime? What did they want Joe to do? What does the note Joe wrote to the judge tell you about his personality and background? How did prison change Joe?
What did Stanley Gartler discover about 18 of the most commonly used cell cultures?
What unique abilities does the HeLa cell line have that allowed it to contaminate cultures without researchers being aware that contamination had occurred? Why would HeLa contamination be a problem for researchers? How did the scientific community respond to Gartler’s theory about HeLa contamination?
The extended Lacks family expresses distrust of science and medicine due to their experiences. The book also makes clear that there are valid historical reasons for the entire African-American community to feel that way. Were you surprised by this historical information? How does this relate to our discussion of diversity in science?
What does the author’s choice of descriptive details reveal to the reader about her impression of Sonny Lacks?
What does the 1969 Johns Hopkins study reveal about the researcher’s attitude and assumptions about race?
What specific request did George Gey make before going into surgery? Why didn’t his surgeons honor his request? After finding out that his cancer was terminal, what reason did Gey give for his decision to offer himself as a research subject? Did Gey benefit or profit in any way from his participation in the research studies? Do Gey’s attitude and actions after his own diagnosis of terminal cancer change your opinion of him? Explain your answer.
What did Howard Jones realize when he reviewed Henrietta’s medical records?
What was the purpose of President Nixon’s National Cancer Act?
Explain how Henrietta’s real name became public knowledge. Do you agree that Henrietta should have been correctly identified in order to “give her the fame she so richly deserves,” or do you think her anonymity should have been protected? Explain your answer.
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