Stephen Gould is an American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist of Harvard University who, in 2002, tried to explain the extinction of dinosaurs using three suggestions. Oprah Winfrey has once carried out research on pills and their effect on productivity. In this essay, we are going to analyze both articles, as well as compare and contrast them in order to verify whether their claims are expendable. According to our views, both articles are applicable in their fields of concern. Dr. Gould used drugs, sex, and disaster in his argument. The writer argues that one of the main reasons why dinosaurs got extinct is due to the loss of ability of the animals to distinguish good plants from poisonous plants. These animals fed on plants that had angiosperm growths of on them. He also noted that the liver detoxification system of the dinosaurs was compromised, which led to increased toxicity in the animals’ blood. There was an overdose in their systems leading to death and extinction. In the process of mixing food substances that were dangerous, the immune system had a hard time in adjusting to the responses. The writer also argued that, even though the animals had well-adaptive features to survive in high temperatures, some of their organs did not. One of these vulnerable organs was the testes. Naturally, sperm production can only occur at a specific optimum temperature. At temperatures higher than the optimum, the sperms start to denature, losing their normal protein integration and viability, hence going useless. According to Dr. Gould, this might be the condition the male dinosaurs were exposed to. This led to production of less viable sperm, and therefore the animals were considered sterile. This hampered reproduction; therefore, there was no way generational sustenance would occur. When the alligators, the other subject of Dr. Gould’s research, were placed in hot conditions for a long time, they did not develop methods of cooling themselves. The third theory put forth by Dr. Gould explained the extinction of dinosaurs by the occurrence of disaster. He explains that a large foreign body from the space fell on the earth. This foreign body caused drastic reduction of the earth’s temperatures, making it unbearable for the dinosaurs to survive. Gould has made good efforts in trying to explain the puzzle, since some of his suggestions are scientifically correct, such as the theory on sperm and feeding on poisonous plants. His study is very testable for that reason.
An analysis carried out by Oprah Winfrey shows that people are using pills to improve on their cognitive ability. This study is also very testable. Most of these people are students and the working class. The most common drugs used for these purpose include Ritalin, a stimulant that is used to treat Anti-diuretic Hormone Deficiency disease that afflicted 62% of these people. Provigil, a drug used for treating narcolepsy, is used by 44%. Others include beta-blockers and anti-anxiety drugs. Dr. David Gutman, MD, working with the psychopharmacology department at Columbia University expresses concern, hoping that people will not over rely on those drugs in order to perform better since they have their side effects. Of great concern is Raitilin, which has a tendency of cause restlessness, overactivity, high blood pressure, and insomnia. Prolonged predisposal to this drug can cause heart failures and arrythmias. Beta-blockers should be avoided, especially if the person has low blood pressure and a heart condition. It causes blockage of beta-adrenergic receptors; hence, no adrenaline can bind to the cardiac tissue. This leads to a reduced heartbeat rate, thereby lowering cardiac output. This in turn causes less perfusion in the tissues, resulting in oxygen shortages. If a person has a heart condition, it is even worse since the effectiveness of the heart as a blood pump is greatly reduced. For people with low blood pressure, the reduced cardiac output means that blood flows at a very slow pace to the tissues. Therefore, there is delayed perfusion, oxygen and nutrients supply of the tissues, causing fainting. Dr. Gutman advises on screening when using those drugs. However, he warns that that should be an excuse for people to use them day in day out, since they are addictive and have adverse side effects.
Can Smart Pills Lead to Expandable Research?
Indeed, the use of these smart pills can and has been subjected to further research. It is particularly the case with the use of smart pills in the workplaces. Many working mothers are relying on pills to increase their performance and proficiency in their work places in order to match their male counterparts. According to the US labor statistics, there is a sharp increase in the number of working women compared to working men over the recent years. This can be attributed to the use of stimulants, such as Raitilin (already discussed), Amphetamine, and Caitiline. These drugs provide a surge of energy, therefore improving the focus and agility of a person at work. These women end up getting addicted to the drugs such that they cannot perform without them. Oprah Winfrey conducted an interview on one lady who used a one-month prescription of Caitilin only for eleven days and developed a high level of addiction. Such mothers end up being workaholics and therefore abandoning their families. In an effort to equal their male peers, they end up losing it all.
The side effect of these smart pills should also be considered when conducting research. It is noted from above that the use of stimulants leads to an increase in the heartbeat rate and in hyperactivity. This might be the cause of increased stress levels among the working population. People tend to work overnight and overtime due to the effect of these drugs. A study should therefore be carried out to evaluate by how much these drugs improve concentration and focus of a person. Such research will be able to establish better ways of improving cognitive abilities in workers in order to offset the burden caused by the effect of these drugs. It is no doubt that these drugs may be improving the economic output, and therefore the GDP of the country. However, we should also not forget that this economic growth comes with negative social issues. Take for example those people who die as a result of arrhythmias and heart failures due to the use of stimulants. They may increase economic growth in the short run, but in the long run, those people will have shorter life expectancies. This leaves the economy with a high dependency ratio.
However, some people, after receiving treatment for a certain ailment, will still effectively carry out economically viable activities. In such situations, researchers should involve medical practitioners and psychologists to come up with the way of avoiding addiction in those patients. This is because, after that prescription, a person may be tempted to think that they used to perform better under the prescriptions than without. Intense guiding and counseling should follow their treatment in case such issues are reported. Researches can also come up with ways to combat addiction and adverse side effects of drugs.
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