27E93C3A-83B9-4595-91CE-57506165869F Created with sketchtool. The Check Up – Esports, Ectogenesis, and Eradication

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  Last updated September 14, 2017 at 8:39 am

The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web. Since it’s Women’s Health Week, this edition celebrates all things women and womanhood.


Chinese Female Gamers are More Than Pretty Faces


We’re at a tipping point when it comes to Esports. Competitive video gaming as a legitimate career path is a reality in many countries, and China seems to be leading the way when it comes to gender equality. Esports could become a great equalizer – the classic biological excuses for keeping men and women from competing against each other don’t stack up when you’re sitting at a computer. But men and all-male teams dominate Esports, and when women enter the fray they’re subjected to criticism based on their looks and biology. Enter the women in China who are getting the same level of support and training as men and absolutely killing it! But I’m scared they’re killing themselves too – one woman reported having lost ten kilograms from her already slender frame over two years of playing because she forgets to eat and sleep.


Artificial Womb Thought Experiments Straight Out of Science Fiction


Even though I’ve read and talked about artificial wombs a fair bit, I learnt from this article that the term for a completely external womb is ‘ectogenesis’. Whether or not we reach that milestone in the near future, research into external viability of a human fetus is progressing rapidly. It’s helpful to think down a few garden paths and predict the ramifications of what artificial wombs will mean for parents, babies, and society. Thought experiments like this, and science fiction stories, prepare us for these inevitable technological advances. I’m certainly not going to make up my mind about anything before it actually come to pass, but it can’t hurt to be informed.


Fewer Gardasil Jabs Will Soon be Just as Effective


Whenever I think about it, I get goosebumps about the fact that I’m seeing a type of cancer be eradicated in my lifetime. It’s just incredible. The vaccine responsible is Gardisal, which protects again HPV – a disease that is responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer. Currently it takes three jabs over a couple of years to become fully immune, but the latest version of Gardisal will only take two. Gardisal 9, which protects against nine strains of HPV rather than the current five, will probably be fully available next year.


Human Bodies as Art


Thinking about the human body can become clinical quickly and easily. For instance, it makes my job easier to categorise stories about the body into how we can examine, optimise, repair or enhance the body. But this story shook me up a bit – in a good way! It’s about artist Carol Rama and her work examining bodies as vessels for feelings and desire, and the intersection of personal health and societal expectation.


Painfully True Stories


And finally, I recommend grabbing a cup of tea and taking the time to soak this video in. It’s a timely reminder to trust people when they share their pain and struggles with you.



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About the Author

Casey Harrigan
Casey Harrigan (@caseyharri) is a Contributing Editor for The Body and Culture on Australia’s Science Channel. Her academic background is in science communication, and her professional background is in science and factual television. Don’t get her started talking about sci fi movies, comedy, interesting animal facts, or Beyonce because she will never stop.


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@ 2 months ago
[…] Last week’s news about decreasing the number of Gardasil shots from three to two became even more crucial this week – only 43 per cent of American teenagers finish the full course of their HPV vaccine that would ultimately protect against cervical cancer. There are so many factors contributing to this statistic, but it shouldn’t matter that a life-saving vaccine takes three jabs. Here we are in the real world though – clearly fewer steps along the path to full vaccination will get more people there. And it should follow that this will improve Australia’s statistics too – while we’re nowhere near as low as the states, we’re not at 100 per cent. […]

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