3 July 2013

Anatomical wonders

“When you think about it, the human heart is amazing” said a friend of mine recently. “It goes on pumping seventy times a minute for the whole of your life, all on its own.” And I had to agree, it is pretty amazing. What other machine keeps on going, day in, day out, for seventy or eighty years? A little maintenance in the form of diet and exercise helps, and sometimes things go wrong and it fails, but most of us can rely on our hearts to keep beating for many decades without any thought on our part.

The whole human body is amazing. The laptop I'm writing on is eight years old. It has definite signs of senility. I keep it because I like the keyboard, and it functions reasonably well as a word-processor. But there’s a good chance this laptop will suddenly stop working some day soon, and it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to repair it. In comparison, three out of four eighty-year-olds have brains that continue to function well. The wonder is not that some people develop dementia, but that so many people avoid it.

My decision to study medicine at university was made partly as a result of reading a book about human anatomy. What I read about the complexity and intricacy of the human body and it’s ability to regulate and repair itself was awesome and I wanted to know more. It still fascinates me.

Genetics, circumstances and poor choices can all have a detrimental effect on our health. Nevertheless, the psalmist was right when he praised God that he was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139.14). This TED video could well be used as a reflection on the previous verse – “You knit me together in my mother’s womb”. (If you can't see the video here, this link should take you there).

No comments:

Post a Comment