Terminally ill patients exercise their “right to die” when they want their suffering to end, but what about those who want to live? A British court ruled that a doctor can decide when to terminate a patient’s life. Leslie Burke suffers from cerebral ataxia and will eventually lose his ability to speak and swallow, yet he is concerned that doctors will choose to end his life against his wishes. More
Drug makers and neuroscientists are enhancing what human brains can do, but what are the implications of these developments? For instance, what if brain researchers someday learn to find out what a patient is thinking? Or to predict a disabling disease? Or, right now, what about so-called “smart pills” that improve a college student’s performance on an exam? More
The yoga tradition goes back thousands of years, to ancient Indian philosophy and the Hindu religion. In this country, many Americans find the beginning exercises of yoga good ways to reduce stress. But lifelong practitioners also find it very much a spiritual discipline, using the most severe postures to help quiet the mind and achieve a sense of union with the transcendent. More
In the nation's capital, the Washington Hospital Center offers clergy special training sessions for a special kind of sick person: the patient with cancer.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, institutions run by Roman Catholic nuns could amount to virtual prisons for young women. Some spent their entire adult lives in these places. They were called the Magdalene Laundries, and they were in Ireland. THE MAGDALENE SISTERS chronicles the lives of three Dublin girls living in the Laundries. More