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Reply to "Artificial Blood Experiment"

First, I want to say that I do not agree with conducting research without informed consent.

However, being a researcher, I expect that the study was approved to be conducted without informed consent in order to keep it a "blind" study.

Getting permission to do a blind study without informed consent is extremely difficult. And I can assure you that this group _does_ have permission from the proper reviewing agency.

In order to be able to do a blind study, the researchers must prove that the potential beneifits significantly outweigh the potential risks. It is extremely difficult to get this type of permission and this study was definitely passed through many ethical reviews.

Again, I don't think that it is right to do research without informed consent.

On the topic of margarine and plastic and "poly"...

As a person who prefers to eat food that remembers where it came from, I never touch margarine. I think that it is totally unhealthy and nasty. I totally agree with Mike's opinions on the health problems caused by margarine.

But as a chemist, I can assure you that margarine is nothing like plastic. True, there are structural similarities between margarine and plastic. There are also structural similarities between water and hydrogen peroxide. However, we will all agree that water and hydrogen peroxide are very different. I don't think that margarine is safe to eat, but it is nothing like eating plastic. Both are bad, but they are two very different situations.

The margarine/plastic argument is common and has a good bottom-line, but it is based on a lot of incorrect assumptions.

As far as the meaning of "poly", I have never heard that it means "bonding agent". It is my understanding that "poly-" is a prefix for "many", so "polyheme" would mean "many hemes".

Oxygen binds to heme through a positive-negative attraction, much like the attraction of a household magnet. Margarine molecules bond to each other through a similar positive-negative attraction. Neither situation uses any type of adhesive or bonding agent.

Plastics and adhesives often have "poly-" names, but only because they are often large molecules, or "polymers" which are molecules made from "many" base units ("mers").

But I'm not always right. Smile

Thanks for listening to me talk about my favorite subject,

(The Chemistry nerd with 6 years of graduate education in chemistry. And one more year to go.)
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