London (Great Britain) -- "Medical research" for students at Ashwell House

Ashwell House, a university residence for women in London, organized its first forum on medical research directed to students of medicine and other sciences, under the title “On the medical research front.”

The forum was part of “Creating Sparks Week,” a national initiative which promotes projects publicizing science. The principal objective of the forum was to make known some current subjects of medical research, considering their human and academic relevance as well as their ethical implications.

The forum was inaugurated on September 11 by Professor Susan Greenfield, a director of the Royal Institute and author of the recently published book The Private Life of the Brain. Greenfield dealt with the problem of neurodegeneration and offered an up-to-date view of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. She also spoke of her research in the field of the autoconsciousness of the human mind and the importance of adopting a methodology that takes into account the personal dignity of patients.

Christine Growney, professor of anatomy at the University of Glasgow, spoke on “Research and the Person,” explaining certain ethical questions in medical research. Doctor Growney defended the need for research oriented by an understanding of the intrinsic dignity of the person.

Other participants in the conference were Professor John A. Henry, Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Imperial College, London, who spoke on the treatment for drug addiction and on toxicology; Doctor Gill Samuels, who gave her views on current perspectives in pharmacological research for the Genome project; and Dr. Keith Dorrington, of Oxford university, who spoke of the effects of lack of oxygen on the brain.

The students visited Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research, where they attended presentations on molecular biology, immunology, and infant deaths due to asphixia. Professor Colin Green, the director of the Institute, spoke about the concept of service as an essential factor in medical research.

Participants in the forum also took part in a demonstration of the Doppler echocardiograph at Oxford and visited the laboratory of Professor Rod Hay at the Institute of Dermatology at St. John’s Hospital, as well as the Department of Radiology at Hammersmith Hospital.

In an informal gathering at the Imperial College, Elizabeth Mills, director of the charitable organization “Research into Aging,” dealt with some practical ways for an organization that finances research to transmit values in medical research.

Romana, n. 31, July-December 2000, p. 281-282.

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