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Laurie Garrett "Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health"

Chapter One: In September of 1994 people in India were found to have a disease that was once called the Bubonic Plague in the 1400s. In the end fifty-six people died, but before it was all over, panic and fear spread throughout the nation rapidly, and then it hit the world. This panic caused the economic and political decline of the country. Stocks went down, tourists stopped coming, and trade with surrounding countries ceased almost completely. Indian doctors and citizens fled the country as well. Basically, all the necessary components of functioning cities were not in place, thus the country lost its ability to maintain an economic infrastructure. The Indian government had been negligent and had not paid enough attention to issues concerning the country's public health; their priorities had not been in order. As Garrett suggets, the government did not need new technology to defeat the plague, but proper implementation of basic health measures. There is a certain amount of trust between government officials and citizens that is necessary for maintenance of public health programs; this trust was violated globally and nationally during the plague outbreak. Garrett proposed that if the Indian citizens trusted their government they would, "respond swiftly to a disease crisis, reach sound scientific conclusions, and act rapidly in a manner that both staunched the outbreak and quelled panic."

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Cocaine: Where It Comes From and Its Neurological Effects

To people all over the world cocaine is viewed as a taboo drug. It is the cause of addiction and death among other things, but is, nonetheless, used by people of all social classes. Models and celebrities make it seem glamorous but those who have been sucked in by cocaine’s addictive properties or have seen a loved one hit rock bottom because of it know that it can ruin lives. It seems as though something this detrimental could only be manufactured by humans, but is it? Where on Earth does this horribly addictive drug come from? Is there more than one form of ingestion? How does it integrate itself into and react with our brains? And finally, what makes it so great that one would want to use it again and again, even to a point where it is life-threatening?

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What Is The Point of Aggressive Behavior?

Aggression is an emotion that is very present in our everyday lives. Behaviors that reflect aggression can be observed in almost every aspect of the media, including television shows, movies, video games and the news; we can also observe aggressive behavior in ourselves. This type of behavior is generally exhibited in a negative manner, causing pain or unhappiness to the recipient of the aggression. If aggressive behavior results in violence and/or other detrimental outcomes, why is it that humans are capable of expressing it? What sections of the brain are involved in the modulation of aggression and is it possible that this emotion serves a positive purpose?

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Neurobiological Model

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric disorder that is commonly characterized by obsessions and compulsions (1).  Obsessions are recurrent thoughts, images, or impulses that an individual with OCD experiences frequently.  These obsessions are unwanted and usually occur automatically.  People with OCD perform compulsive acts in order to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessions.  Compulsions are repetitive rituals that are completed according to “rules” that may or may not be related to the obsession (2).  Although people with the disorder recognize that their actions are irrational, they feel compelled to do them out of fear that something disastrous will ensue.  Most compulsions fall into four categories: counting, checking, cleaning, and avoidance.  An example of compulsive cleaning is someone who washes her hands five hundred times a day because she is afraid of being contaminated by germs (1).  Clearly a life based around the completion of rituals is not an easy or particularly pleasant one, but people abstain from getting help because of the shameful stigma attached (to the disorder).  There are a variety of treatments available, however, and due to technological advancements there is serotonin therapy which is based on a neurobiological model of OCD.

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