Adoption and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome screening

A personal post…  Many of my readers know that we brought our son home from Guatemala almost three years ago.  This Science News article on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (here) reminded me of one of the most stressful times in the adoption process — checking to see if Jon was healthy. 

Sadly, many babies have been afflicted with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Russia is the most infamous for this problem in children, though it is common in many other countries.  Regardless of all the warnings received from agencies and social workers, adoptive parents inevitably become very vulnerable once they get in-country to bring home their child.  You’ve waited months and years to bring home a child and the anticipation is almost painful.  FAS or other chronic illnesses are especially devastating to first-time parents, who will struggle enough with the joys and challenges of raising a child.

Luckily, we had a local resource — Dr. Boris Skurkovich at Hasbro Children’s Hospital (http://adoptionsinternational.com/) — who specializes in reviewing medical records, photos, and videos for any hint of potential issues.  The International Adoption Clinic is a great resource even after you bring your child home.

However, even Dr. Skurkovich can’t help with the latest trick, scam, fraud, etc.  Now we’ve heard of cases where parents are shown a picture of one child.  When they get in-country, the child they asked to bring home looks just a bit different and just a bit sicker.  Of course, that’s because the child is different and is sicker.  But how do you say “No”?

Has the key to room temperature superconductivity been found?

Nothing to do with project, program, portfolio, leadership, or any or type of management.  Just a very cool potential advance in superconductivity, which I’ve followed for years (here).  Cambridge researchers have been able to peer inside superconducting materials, which apparently was an issue.  As the lead author notes:

An experimental difficulty in the past has been accessing the underlying microscopics of the system once it begins to superconduct. Superconductivity throws a manner of ‘veil’ over the system, hiding its inner workings from experimental probes.

Now we can directly observe the location and characteristics of the structures — so-called “doped holes” — that support room temperature superconductivity. 

Superconductivity holds great potential for energy conservation (here), so practical applications of advances in this field won’t go begging.

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