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It is with a heavy heart that the time has come for my Ask Mikey column in the Ahwatukee Foothills News to come to an end. It has been a very interesting and blessed journey, as I have appreciated getting to know the community more and more throughout the years.
In 2003, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and researchers around the world celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA by Jim Watson and Francis Crick. I was a graduate student in the Watson School of Biological Science at CSHL, named after James Watson who was the chancellor of the CSHL, and in 2003, I participated in (and planned!) some of the 50th anniversary events. Coinciding with this celebration was a meeting about DNA that brought world-renowned scientists and Nobel Prize winners from around the world to CSHL to celebrate how much had been accomplished in 50 years (including sequencing the human genome) and to look to the future for what could be done next. That meeting was the first time I had heard about the Cancer Genome Atlas Project. At this point, the TCGA (as the project was affectionately called) was just a pipe dream - a proposal by the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute (two institutes in the National Institutes of Health - the NIH). The idea was to use DNA sequencing and other techniques to understand different types of cancer at the genome level. The goal was to see what changes are happening in these cancer cells that might be exploited to detect or treat these cancers. I remember that there was a heated debate about whether or not this idea would work. I was actually firmly against it, but now with the luxury of hindsight, the scientific advances of the TCGA seem to be clearly worth the time and cost.
Nearly any time of day, if you’re driving around Ahwatukee, you’ll easily come across at least a handful of people on the roads running — this is one reason why I love living in this community.
Every cell in the body continually carries out millions of biochemical processes requiring oxygen.
Last evening my wife and I attended the Bruce Munro Sonoran Light show exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden and if you have not been, I highly suggest you try to make it there this week as the show ends Mother’s Day, May 8. We arrived when it was still light so we could walk around the garden and see all the plants in bloom. As we were walking, I overhead a woman asking her companion what the name of a certain plant was. They were unable to name the plant so I offered to help with an app on my phone called Garden Answers which works by taking a picture of the plant, analyzing it for a few seconds and then sending the name and information of the plant back to my phone. The gentleman with her was amazed and even said, “I thought I had seen it all! I cannot believe there is an app for naming a plant.” It got me thinking about all the incredible applications or apps that are created to help people in their everyday lives and how we can all benefit from these.
We play a lot of nose work games at our dog school, Edu-Care for Dogs, and the dogs love it. While almost everyone realizes that a dog’s ability to smell is far superior to ours, what many people may not be aware of is that using their nose to pinpoint the location of different objects requires a great deal of mental focus. After an hour of tracking games, the dog “students” are exhausted — both physically and mentally.
The holidays are upon us and our regular routines are being challenged by additional commitments which can produce stress. Much of this stress is due to conversations we have with ourselves.
I recently heard a speaker mention the temptation to despair. That sounded so strange, but as I thought about it, I realized what a real temptation that is for me.
When I turned 50, I knew all the things I was supposed to do: drive slow in the fast lane on the Maricopa, start pestering my kids for grandchildren, and add a colonoscopy to my roster of regular tests, because when you’re 50 years old you catapult into The Era of Doctors Rooting Around Looking for Something Wrong, and a colonoscopy is, appropriately enough, the be-all-end-all of rooting around.
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