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April 3, 1998     The Message
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April 3, 1998
 

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10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana _ t[] _' ..... 'l'r I" ,' t[ I ,i  _ __ Free will crucial in understanding By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Any debate over nature vs. nurture must take into consideration the importance of free will, the nati6n's top geneticist told a gathering of doctors and medical educators March 21. Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, told a Washington conference that the gene- mapping project is showing that every major disease except some types of trauma -- has both a genetic and an environmental component. As genetic research progresses, he said, it will become increasingly possible to discover precisely what dis- eases to which a particular person might be susceptible. But even that information will not definitively show who will get a certain disease, Collins added. "Free will is never mentioned, never measured in these scales," he said. "It's unfortunate that it's not men- tioned, because to divide everything up into nature vs. nurture discounts what it means to be a human being." Collins" talk-on "Nature, Nurture and Spirituality: We Are More Than Our Genes" closed a two-day con- ference on "Spirituality, Cross-Cultural Issues and End- of-Life Care: Curricular Development," sponsored by the National Institute for Health Care Research and the Association of American Medical Colleges. The conference was aimed at helping medical schools integrate into their curriculums the views of patients on spirituality and health, diversity issues and care at the end of life. Collins said his talk had little to do with end-of-life issues, since even when the genetic "revolution" comes, "the death rate will still be one per person." On the cross-cultural issue, he expressed the convic- tion that "the concept of race will become ever more meaningless from the scientific point of view" as genet- ic advances continue. Collins, who was on the research team that discov- ered the gene for cystic fibrosis in 1989, centered his very major disease except some types of trauma has both a genetic and an environmental component Dr. Francis S. Collins address on the topic of spirituality and science. He had said in the talk that he had become a Christian at the age of 27. The 15-year project to map and sequence all of the human DNA by the year 2005 is running "a little ahead of schedule and a little under budget," Collins said. He said the project was nearly at its midpoint, reaching that milestone on the "unfortunate" date of April Fool's Day, April 1, 1998. He said the technology needed to see a person's DNA and thus predict his or her susceptibility to cer- tain illnesses "is about to burst forth into the clinic." But much groundwork remains primary care physicians Collins said. "The point is to use that he said, saying that many patients know that they have a prof ease if there is no known cure, as is with Huntington disease and "We cannot allow medicine to becorae line where and stick genetic the results laps," he Collins Congress will guard offensive use ofi mation," companies want to screen out those likely to Even when the "blueprint" pleted through the genome stand how it all works," Collins "The reflection is a certain he is as a person," he added. "Are sum of our genes? You betcha." Through the genome project, are learning a huge amount into disease prevention." 3ut tion, the gene map "will be the building." The Secret's Out ...... Natural Family Planning, not 'Rhythm' "I wish I knew all this 20 years Kipple)5 international NFP lead- ago[," Mary Ann Miles, Pastoral ers, point out that for about 80 Associate at St. Clement Church percent of married COulCles, Cal- using exclaimed to the Natural Family endar Rhythm proved to be . st. Thomas Acquinas (1225 - 1274 A.D.) Calendar Rhythm method Planning professionals as they "about as effective as the mechan- writes about human conception fertility becomes more predictable finished a slide presentation in ical contraceptives available dur- I Boonville last month, ins the years before [oral contra-  700-Years , ...................................................................................................... ceptives]." Calendar Rhythm Marco Polo takes land route to China (1271 A.D.) Assembly production worked when a woman's cycles NEWS AND COMMENTARY remained fairly the same from By SOOZIE SCHELLER one cycle to the next. However, Contributing Writer the Calendar Rhythm method This simple time line give some perspective on the understanding of human ...--.,-,,-.-    could not accurately serve the some major world events. Up until that evening, Mary roughly one out of five women Ann was only familiar with the who normally experience wide cycle. Ninety-eight percent Of Nebraska upon Natural Family Calendar Rhythm method of variation between cycles. Espe- Natural Family Planning and its cially for couples who were in couples of normal fertility seek- Planning and uses NFP to diag- ning limitations. Based on the the post-partum period, experi- ins to achieve a pregnancy do nose and treat women'shealth from the 'bu so by the sixth cycle. Women he modern Ovulation Method of natural Family Planning overcomes the limitations of previous methods. wlo breastfeed or have long enced infertility, or were in cer- tain other circumstances, Cal- endar Rhythm sometimes failed to help couples avoid or achieve pregnancy. Mary Ann Miles was one in that group who experienced dif- ficulty in using the Calendar Rhythm method. The modern Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning impressed Mary Ann and the other women attending the NFP Information- al Session because of its preci- sion, versatility and usefulness as a health record. The Ovula- tion Method is 99.6 percent effective in avoiding pregnancy. Seventy-five percent of couples seeking to achieve a pregnancy dO so within the first menstrual or variable cycles use the Ovulation Method of Nat- ural Family Planning effec- tively. Dr. Thomas J. Hilgers of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduc- tion has built a large, successful medical practice in Omaha, problems more effectively than with artificial reproductive technologies. His own suc- cess leads Dr. Hilgers to say, not' work." Planning For more one Family Mar in in call St. "''"'n ST. M medical news from,c=.ho,c Health perspect,ve is a courtesy of Services t research of Dr. Kyusaku Okino (1924, Japan) and Dr. Her- mann Knaus (1929, Austria), users of "Rhythm" predicted a woman's fertile phase by applying formulas to calendar records of her past menstrual cycles. When Okino and Knaus linked the ovulation event to the last day of the men- strual cycle instead of the begin- ning of the menstrual cycle, they reached the first modern milestone in understanding the timing of ovulation. While the overall history of Natural Family Planning is too extensive to describe in this week's column, it is important to note that our civilization's transportation skills have pro- gressed more steadily than our knowledge of human concep- tion over the last 700 years. Only since the 1960s did the pace of research increase to pro- vide us with the modern NFP methods. ting on the Calendar R.yema John and  2