SCITAINMENT

Dear Readers,

I love you and I want you to know that I do not take you for granted.  I have for you an attempt at making science entertaining:  Scitainment, Inc.  I was searching for proof of the soul to turn all atheists to the Lord for once and for all when I had my company called Scitainment, incorporated in 1997.  While I am afraid it may be true that most scientists would rather believe in ridiculous alternate explanations than our Lord, I still believe that real scientists respect and appreciate and love the supernatural.

Francis Collins is Director of the National Institutes of Health and openly Christian after having converted from atheism at age 27 (see Time, November 13, 2006, Vol. 168, No. 20).  Before being appointed director of the NIH, Collins led the Human Genome Project and other genomics research initiatives as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (Wikipedia).

Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), the greatest scientist of all time, had a spiritual awakening at age 56.  He then became the most prolific theological writer ever.  One cannot even read everything he wrote, seriously.  It is a miracle which hardly anyone seems to know about or talk about, which is weird.

William J. Baldwin became a dentist in Southern California in 1970 (must have been nice).  He pursued training in hypnosis as an adjunct to his dental practice.  This training went well beyond the field of dentistry, and in 1982 he left dentistry and enrolled in a doctoral program in clinical psychology.  He graduated in 1988 and went on to become one of the pioneers of spirit releasement therapy (see Spirit Releasement Therapy:  A Technique Manual, second edition, 2009).

At best, the next scientist can only take an incremental step, in the right direction, beyond where the last scientist left off.  Baldwin recognizes scientist and psychiatrist Carl Wickland and his wife Anna for their work detailed in the book Thirty Years Among the Dead that was published in 1924.  The Wicklands’ methods formed the basis for techniques developed by Baldwin.  In turn, I recognize Baldwin’s methods as the basis for the techniques detailed in the “Instructions for Helping to Improve the Human Condition” posted on this website.  Baldwin never got to meet his mentor, but his book was always there for him.  It is the same for me.

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Enough about me; this story is about you:

All humans are made of trillions of cells, but the DNA in the cells of one human differs from that in the cells of every other human.  Your DNA is a comprehensive biological atlas of you.  Information about many aspects of you, such as your health, is encoded in your DNA.  You should have access to your DNA, and so should your loved ones.

It is possible to possess samples of one’s own DNA that are large enough to see with the naked eye and that can be stored at room temperature.  DNA samples can be passed down through generations as family heirlooms and potentially used for analyses to establish things like identity, lineage, inheritance patterns, probable strengths and weaknesses.  You can even incorporate your DNA samples into art for display, such as a family tree with DNA samples from various family members.  DNA samples can also be incorporated into jewelry and given as uniquely meaningful gifts.  In this way, you can give a part of yourself to a loved one, something no one else can give them.  So much for diamond rings.  I was able to make your DNA for you for about the same money or less than most couples spend on a diamond engagement ring.

What is DNA?

DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid.  DNA is the molecule of heredity.  It is DNA that is physically passed from parent to offspring, carrying the traits that result in children having their father’s nose or their mother’s eyes.  Half of your DNA is from your mother and half is from your father.  DNA exists as long, paired strands spiraled into a double helix.  DNA is packaged into units called chromosomes which are housed in the nuclei of cells that make up the human body.

What information does your DNA contain?

Your traits, such as eye color, health and maybe even thought patterns, are determined by your genes which are sections of a DNA molecule.  Genes are units of heredity that carry the blueprints for making proteins.  Proteins do everything that gets done in a cell and in the body.  Genes, through the proteins they encode, determine all body processes, including how the body responds to challenges from the environment.  Your genes constitute a blueprint of your possibilities and limitations.  They hold an encyclopedia of information about you and, indirectly, about your relatives.  The legacy of generations of ancestors, genes carry the key to similarities and uniqueness.

Why is it valuable for you to have your DNA (genes) at your disposal?

The value of your DNA sample is the same as that of your family portraits; it provides documentation of you.  But not only can you look at your DNA, you can also look into it.  Collecting DNA samples from your family members and passing them down through the generations will result in the ultimate history of your family.

DNA fingerprinting can determine things like gender, physical characteristics, and whether two people came from the same family.  The process is complicated, but the result is simple.  Each DNA sample is turned into a set of lines, like the bar code on price tags for store products.  The lines of one sample can be compared to the lines of another to see if they are alike.

In the past few years, researchers have learned how to test for hundreds of genetic disorders, and more new tests are becoming available all the time.  More than 4,000 diseases such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis are known to be genetic and passed on in families.  DNA-based genetic testing involves examining a person’s DNA for signals of health and sickness, ability and disability, strength and weakness.  Genetic testing can be helpful in diagnosing disorders and predicting chances of developing a particular disease or risk of passing a genetic disorder to a child.  Knowing your genetic profile could suggest what health-related behaviors you should follow and offer you greater potential for early diagnosis, effective treatment and accurate prognosis.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so eloquently noted by Benjamin Franklin.  Yes, there are 16 ounces in a pound (and about 28 grams of flower per ounce, while we are at it).  Knowing your genetic profile could also be very helpful to your offspring for generations to come.

How about this one for a timely headline:  “23andMe helps identify genetic links to common skin cancer”?

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What else should you know about genetic testing?

The decision to have a genetic test deserves careful preparation and thought because the issues are so complex and so new and the consequences so profound.  If you have a pressing issue, genetic testing may be appropriate for you now.  For the vast majority of us, however, the time for genetic testing is in the future.  This is because the legal, social and ethical issues surrounding genetic testing have not been resolved.

Under debate are issues such as privacy and protection against the use of test results to discriminate in employment or insurance coverage (at least coverage can no longer be refused for preexisting conditions today, except for poverty).  Before predictive gene tests become generally available, specialists and society at large need to address major ethical concerns.  The present moment, when genes are being discovered but before tests become widely available, offers a window of opportunity to prepare for the future.

Scitainment offered clients purified, visible quantities of their own DNA.  In providing clients with their DNA samples, I could assure them privacy, confidentiality and anonymity because Scitainment was owned and operated solely by me, my husband, and my parents.  My company had no obligations, ties, or interests in and was not connected in any way to any database, organization, government agency, insurance company, investors, etc.  Furthermore, having DNA samples separate from the body is designed to ensure confidentiality of genetic testing.  We had planned to offer additional services preferentially to our first clients.

How are DNA samples prepared?

Say your goal was to obtain as many leaves of a particular plant as possible.  Starting with a seedling of the plant, you would nurture it under just the right growth conditions so that it would become as large and healthy as possible.  Then you would take cuttings from the plant and produce even more plants that are all the same.  Eventually there would be a lot more leaves than the original seedling had.

In a similar manner, we grew large numbers of cells from a sample of skin and then purified DNA from the cells.  Before cells divide into two, they first duplicate all of their DNA.  Thus, by growing cells we can achieve natural and complete amplification of DNA.  This requires a small biopsy of normal skin to be performed.  The procedure is similar to having a mole removed.  It took about two or three months to culture cells from skin biopsy samples, and we encouraged clients to visit our laboratory during that time if possible to watch their cells grow.  Cultured cells are mortal.  That is, after a variable period of active proliferation, they inevitably lose their capacity to divide and they eventually die.  However, we cryopreserved some of the cells while they still had the capacity to multiply.  Cryopreserved cells can be thawed even years later and allowed to grow again.  Thus, if someone wanted more of their DNA in the future, it could be derived from their preserved cells and there would be no need to have another skin biopsy done.

Although DNA can be purified from blood, it is possible to derive only relatively small amounts in this manner.  This is because the vast majority of the cells comprising blood are red blood cells which do not contain DNA.  You could not donate enough blood to yield as much DNA as can be obtained from cells grown out of a skin biopsy specimen.  Hair, nail clippings, and saliva are also common substrates for genetic testing; but again, these substrates provide a very limited amount of DNA that may be insufficient to perform all the analyses you want.  We were able to provide clients with so much of their DNA that they could have a multitude of analyses done.

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I hope you love DNA as much as I do!

DNA does not, however, encode the soul!  DNA encodes the physical body, which is the vessel for the soul here in the physical world.  The soul is energy.  It may be a luminous field, it may encompass the colors of the visible spectrum of light, it may be a biomagnetic field.  It seems efforts are always underway to image, measure, or otherwise describe it.  It is believed that people with strong fields can transfer energy.

The body is the form of the soul, just as charity is the form of faith.  Charity is love toward the neighbor.  Faith is truth.

Charity through faith accomplishes good, not charity by itself or faith by itself.  Indeed, faith and charity are nothing unless they terminate in good deeds.

Charity opens the spiritual mind.  Faith comes through charity, which is a life in accordance with the 10 commandments (see Exodus Chapter 20 in the Bible and my first blog post).

All who lead a life of charity and faith are guarded by our Lord and raised into heaven after their judgment.

Only through strict discipline in a selfless life can one gain an understanding that goes beyond just learning and knowing.

In loving memory of my father, the Wolf, excellent scientist, I will pass your DNA down to your grandchildren whom you never got to meet.  The vial shown in the picture is a liquid form.  We also made a dry form for jewelry.

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