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Science, technology, and life.
Dec. 16 2005 8:58 AM

The "Race Gene"

And other news from science and technology.

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Feeding tubes have run amok, according to some doctors. They were invented as temporary devices for young patients but have become permanent and routine for terminal old patients. Studies show they risk complications and don't prolong the lives of terminal patients, but the number of insertions has doubled each decade. Reasons: 1) More old people. 2) Liability fears. 3) Tubes are easier than helping nursing home patients feed themselves. 4) Insurers pay nursing homes more for patients with tubes. 5) Pro-lifers are fighting to require tubes in more cases. Critics' warning: Today's option is tomorrow's prison. (For Human Nature's take on terminal illness and assisted suicide, click here.)

Latest Human Nature columns: 1) Our creepy genetic experiment on dogs.2) Creationism's slow death. 3) The pope's antigay tendencies. 4) Pat Robertson vs. the pope on intelligent design. 5) Does Alito treat women like girls? 6) Bill Bennett's racial determinism. 7) The mainstreaming of anal sex.