In 1991 when my youngest child was diagnosed with leukemia, my world changed. Indelibly etched on my psyche, his “critical diagnosis” initiated dramatic changes: emotional, scientific, medical, psychological—basically a “human” response to this new world of years of treatment, monitoring, diagnoses, follow-ups, and knowledge about the “tools” and “methods” of human health that were constantly part of my son’s life and relentlessly on my mind. As an academician, my students received over the two decades before, a conservation lecture regarding the need to protect our earth’s biodiversity. The varied spectrum of life could, as a Madagasgan periwinkle has done for my son by providing vincristene, become one of the myriad of chemicals that have reversed the tide on childhood leukemia deaths and help us fight the disease (the incremental success in cancer care is overshadowed by the fact that the increase in mortality of humans in the last 30 years has been primarily attributable to environmental contaminants whether in air or water). The tools or protocols for the treatment of diseases with unknown or little known causative factors are in many respects a trial and error process and ultimately a mix of various treatments that produce “the best” results; few silver bullets exist, yet my child is cured!
KeywordsCritical Diagnosis Spawn Stock Biomass Atlantic Menhaden Peruvian Anchovy Leukemia Death
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