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"Imaging / Imagining the Skeleton," Symposium, Tomorrow, Friday, April 30, 1:00-4pm, CUNY Graduate Center

Posted: April 30, 2010 at 8:15 am

I just found out about a pretty intriguing looking event taking place in New York City tomorrow afternoon: "Imaging / Imagining the Skeleton," a free Symposium at CUNY Graduate Center. Participants include friend-of-Morbid-Anatomy and future Observatory lecturer (click here for details) Mark Dery.

Full details below; hope to see you there!

Imaging / Imagining the Skeleton
Friday, April 30, 1:00-4pm
CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave. (at 34th St.), NYC
Rooms 9206 / 9207
No reservations. First come, first seated
Caroline Jones KEYNOTE, MIT, History, Theory, Art History
Vincent Stefan, Lehman College CUNY, Anthropology
Lisa E. Farrington, John Jay College CUNY, Art History and Race
Mark Dery, Independent Scholar
Tatiana Garmendia, Artist
Dr. Joseph Lane, Hospital for Special Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery
Co-Sponsored by the Ph.D. Program in Art History and Science & the Arts CUNY Graduate Center; Funded by the John Rewald Endowment of the Ph.D. Program in Art History

Imaging/Imagining the Skeleton is a symposium organized to explore how social conceptions of the human form have evolved alongside the increasing ability of science/medicine to represent the body. The speakers will present a constellation of inter-disciplinary discussions about the relationship between representing/exhibiting the body, evolving conceptualizations of the body and bones, and artistic and professional responses to new medical imaging technologies. The underlying proposition is that the ability to investigate and represent the body—at the levels of both anatomy and function—has exerted a profound impact on how the relationship between the physical body and human experience is conceived. Those changing conceptions, in turn, have had far-reaching consequences for the humanities, social sciences, public policy, and artistic practice.

Symposium attendees will receive a catalogue from the exhibition Visionary Anatomies, originally presented at the National Academy of Sciences.

Introductory remarks by Kevin Murphy, Professor of Art History. Panel discussion moderated by Adrienne Klein, co-Director, Science & the Arts.

Speaker Bios and Paper Topics
Professor Caroline Jones will speak on “Senses, mediation, and selves beyond the skin.” Jones explores selected art works that use the trope of the skeleton to indicate “penetrating” views of the self, but contrasts these with a recent sensory turn that suggests a broader critique of modern ocularity. Caroline Jones studies modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on its technological modes of production, distribution, and reception. Previous to completing her art history degree, she worked in museum administration and exhibition curation, holding positions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (1977-83) and the Harvard University Art Museums (1983-85), and completed two documentary films. In addition to these institutions, her exhibitions and/or films have been shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, the Hara Museum Tokyo, and the Boston University Art Gallery, among other venues. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (among others), and has been honored by fellowships at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Max Planck Institüt (2001-02), the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton (1994-95), and the Stanford Humanities Center (1986-87). Her books include Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist, (1996/98, winner of the Charles Eldredge Prize from the Smithsonian Institution); Bay Area Figurative Art, 1950-1965, (1990, awarded the silver medal from San Francisco's Commonwealth Club); and Modern Art at Harvard (1985).

Professor Vincent H. Stefan, Lehman College CUNY, will speak on “Human Skeletal Variations” as it relates to analysis of skeletal structures both prehistoric and contemporary. Dr. Stefan's field of general interest is physical anthropology with specialization in human skeletal biology. His fields of study include human osteology and skeletal biology; forensic anthropology; paleoanthropology; quantitative methods; Rapa Nui (Easter Island) skeletal biology; Polynesian skeletal biology. Current research interests include the documentation and analysis of contemporary and prehistoric human skeletal variation. Future research will focus on the use of these same procedures to assess metric cranial/skeletal variation for understanding the peopling of all of Polynesia and Oceania. Currently Professor Stefan regularly consults with the Nassau County Medical Examiner, East Meadow, NY, the Suffolk County Medical Examiner, Hauppauge, NY, and the Westchester County, Department of Laboratories & Research, Office of the Medical Examiner, Valhalla, NY in cases involving human skeletal remains. He is expert in the recovery of decomposed/ skeletonized human remains, and in the identification of victims from skeletal remains.

Professor Lisa E. Farrington will speak on “de Bouffon's 1805 published autopsy findings on the body of Sartjie Baartman” Professor Lisa E. Farrington is the founding Chair of John Jay’s Art & Music Department, as well as an accomplished curator, author, and art historian. In 2007-2008 she was awarded the prestigious William and Camille Cosby Endowed Scholars chair at Atlanta University’s historically black women’s college, Spelman. She has earned numerous academic degrees, including PhD and Master of Philosophy degrees from the CUNY Graduate Center in New York, an MA in art history from American University, a BFA (magna cum laude) from Howard University, and an Honors Degree in painting and illustration from New York's School of Art & Design. Dr. Farrington worked for many years at the Museum of Modern Art and, from 1994 to 2007, was senior art historian at Parsons School of Design (the fine arts division of The New School). She specializes in Western and Non-Western Art, Haitian Art and Vodou Culture, African-American Art, Women’s Art, and Race and Gender studies. She has also taught the on-site museum art history course at Parsons Atelier in Paris, France. Dr. Farrington is a Mellon, Magnet, U.S. State Department, and Ford Foundation Fellow, and was a consultant for The College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Art History program. She has published ten books and a dozen scholarly essays in the past decade, including two monographs on artist Faith Ringgold, and a 2005 textbook for Oxford University Press entitled Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Women Artists, which recently won three major academic literary awards, including the American Library Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to Publishing, the American Association of Black Women Historians Annual Book Award, and the Richard Wright/Zora Neale Hurston Foundation nomination for non-fiction. She recently won the Andy Warhol Foundation / Creative Capital Arts Writers prize for 2010.

Mark Dery will speak on "The Anatomical Unconscious: X-Ray Specs, Visible Women, and the Eros of the Unseen," a cultural critique of the eroticizing of the scientific gaze. Mark Dery is a cultural critic. His byline has appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times Magazine to Rolling Stone to Salon to Cabinet, and his lectures have taken him to Australia to Austria, Belgium to Brazil, Macedonia to Mexico. He has been a professor in the Department of Journalism at New York University, a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow at UC Irvine, and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome. Dery is best known for his writings on the politics of popular culture in books such as The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink and Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century. He is widely associated with the concept of “culture jamming,” the guerrilla media criticism movement he popularized through his 1993 essay “Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of the Signs,” and “Afrofuturism,” a term he coined and theorized in his 1994 essay “Black to the Future” (included in the anthology Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture, which he edited). More at

Tatiana Garmendia, MFA, will speak by remote uplink on her “X-ray Painting and Graphite Series”and explore some of the dichotomies between actual and conceptual representations of body and bones. Tatiana Garmendia is a figurative artist with a conceptual twist. Her work synthesizes formal concerns and a humanist engagement with history and culture. Born in Cuba, she was raised a devotee of Santeria - the syncretic mix of Yoruba mysticism and Spanish Catholicism. She also hails from a family of doctors and medical researchers. “I grew up in a household where the human body, in various guises of dejection and exaltation, was a primary theme in devotional and medical imagery. In my earliest recollections, the body is both flesh and mythological certainty." Repatriation from the Spanish government took the artist’s family first to Madrid, and later to the U.S.A. She studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and has degrees from Florida International University, and Pratt Institute of Art, Brooklyn.

Dr. Joseph Lane, MD, Professor Orthopedic Surgery and Assistant Dean, Weill Cornell Medical College and Chief Metabolic Bone Disease Hospital for Special Surgery, will speak on “Reconstructing the Skeleton.” He presents the skeleton including radiographs, bone scans, PET scans, CT scans and MRI, and will suggest some of the implications of changing methods for “reading” skeletons and bones. Joseph M. Lane, MD has published extensively on bone biology, tissue injury and repair, trauma, bone and soft tissue sarcomas (including osteogenic sarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma), limb preservation, functional amputations, limb regeneration, and metabolic bone diseases (osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, rickets, osteomalacia, fibrous dysplasia). He has served on numerous committees for the AAOS, including the Board of Directors and Chairman of COMSS, the Chairman Oversight Panel on Women’s Health Issues. He was President of the Orthopaedic Research Society, Musculoskeletal Tumor Society, Chairman of NIH Orthopaedic Study Section, OREF grants review board, ABOS Question Writing Task Force. He is a member of the AAOS, AOA, ABJS, ASBMR, ORS, MSTS, and OTA. He has earned NIH career and R01 grants, OREF grants, and foundation awards. He has been a visiting professor at educational institutes and is on the editorial board of several peer journals.

Thanks so much to friend, artist, and book-club partner Laura Splan for tipping me off to this!

Image (click on image to see much larger version): from Mike Sappol and the National Library of Medicine's incomparable Dream Anatomy Exhibition; Caption reads: Elementi di anatomia fisiologica applicata alle belle arti figurative, Turin, 1837-39. Lithograph. National Library of Medicine; Francesco Bertinatti (fl. mid-1800s) [anatomist]; Mecco Leone [artist]. The anatomical studies for real, imaginary and prospective sculptures and paintings became a genre in its own right in the early and middle decades of the 19th century.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

2C19, Navigenics and Clinical Reality.

Posted: April 30, 2010 at 8:14 am


I would like to welcome Navigenics to the world of Clinical Utility. Just yesterday they announced their pharmacogenomics panel available to both consumers and physicians. It is about time!

However, the problem I see is threefold:

1. Where is the price of the test? Anything more than 200 won't work.

2. Is there a change in the terms of service, which allows me as the doctor to use it?

3. Will insurance pay for it?

Let's say that this is not intended for the doctor but instead just for the patient/consumer. Which Navigenics has agreed NOT To Do, At least in NY.
What exactly do you expect the consumer to do with this information?? Stop Plavix? Don't you Dare!

Write themselves a prescription? Ummmmm, OK.

Oh No, these tests are specifically for medical use.

Disagree? Merely the information itself is important? What good is information without ability to act on it? maybe you should ask Cassandra?

There are multiple companies out there offering PGX testing in one form or another. This makes the following questions of utmost importance

1. Which SNPs are tested?
2. Can you really trust a genetic counselor to give you advice on medications? How many have they prescribed? No offense, just reality.
3. Will the laboratory results and work in a clinical setting, integrated with clinical care?

Just because you're a great product backed by venture capital, with with analytical validity and the plan to get to market doesn't mean you will succeed in the market. Why? Most consumers still trust genetic testing decisions to be made by the doctors.

How do I know this? I'm the doctor. I am licensed to give clinical advice.

The Sherpa says: Why these DTC companies try to cut out the doctor is beyond me.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Prevention of Acupuncture Infection Needs More Focus

Posted: April 30, 2010 at 8:14 am

(HealthDay News) -- More needs to be done to prevent a rising tide of infections related to acupuncture, researchers from the University of Hong Kong say.

In a commentary, published online March 19 in BMJ, Patrick Woo and his colleagues stressed that "to prevent infections transmitted by acupuncture, infection control measures should be implemented, such as use of disposable needles, skin disinfection procedures, and aseptic techniques. Stricter regulation and accreditation requirements are also needed."

Five percent to 10 percent of acupuncture patients who develop certain kinds of bacterial infections go on to experience serious complications, the authors pointed out. These can include joint deterioration, flesh-eating disease and even paralysis and organ failure. Read more...

Kama Yogi for Optimal Male Sexual Performance!

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

An Interview With the Departing Sirtris CEO

Posted: April 29, 2010 at 8:18 am

An interesting article: "In what turned out to be his final official engagement as CEO of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Christoph Westphal offered some key lessons in how to build a successful biotech company ... It's pretty amazing ... in the last 20 years, we've gone from zero understanding of the genes that play a role in aging to a pretty clear understanding that IGF1 plays a role, MTOR, the Sirtuins play a role, there's 10-15 genes play a role. Many of those are going to be druggable targets. Will Sirtris be successful? I don't know. It's still going to be very risky. But I'll be shocked if there are not drugs in the next 10-15 years that target genes that control aging. ... Westphal did not shirk from addressing the ongoing controversy surrounding the physiological activity of some Sirtris compounds. ... There's a debate in the academic world. We don't know the specific molecular mechanism of why you need a specific substrate on the in vitro screen to find Sirt1 activators. ... It's a numbers game and it's gotten harder with the FDA ... People are spending less on pharma R&D and more on consumer health care and trying to diversify into developing countries and away from Europe and the United States. Fewer drugs are getting approved, revenues are going down, margins are going to go down."

View the Article Under Discussion:

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary:

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

One of Many Oddities in Aging and Longevity

Posted: April 29, 2010 at 8:18 am

Scientists proceed in their work by discovering a correlation and then picking apart the underlying mechanisms to find out why the correlation exists. In the field of aging research a great many as yet unexplained correlations exist, any one of which may point the way to important new knowledge. Take this for example: "Biological rhythms that oscillate with periods close to 24 h (circadian cycles) are pervasive features of mammalian physiology, facilitating entrainment to the 24 h cycle generated by the rotation of the Earth. In the absence of environmental time cues, circadian rhythms default to their endogenous period called tau, or the free-running period. This sustained circadian rhythmicity in constant conditions has been reported across the animal kingdom, a ubiquity that could imply that innate rhythmicity confers an adaptive advantage. In this study, we found that the deviation of tau from 24 h was inversely related to the lifespan in laboratory mouse strains, and in other rodent and primate species. These findings support the hypothesis that misalignment of endogenous rhythms and 24 h environmental cycles may be associated with a physiological cost that has an effect on longevity."

View the Article Under Discussion:

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary:

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

"The doctor in literature: Private life" by Solomon Posen at Google Books

Posted: April 29, 2010 at 8:16 am

"This is a structured, annotated and indexed anthology dealing with the personality and the behaviour of doctors, and doctor-patient relationships - ideal for medical humanities courses."

Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow us on Twitter and connect on Facebook.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

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