USS Vesta

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Chatty Doctors, Chatty Topics

Posted on Thu Oct 15th, 2020 @ 12:12pm by Bathory PhD & Commander Martin Sorenson

Mission: When the Bough Bounces
Location: Mess Hall
Timeline: MD 02 : 1324 Hrs
1736 words - 3.5 OF Standard Post Measure

Doctor Bathory's tour of the Vesta's personnel had become quite an adventure. While he had fairly normal conversations with most of the crew, the Denobulan physician had more interest in speaking with those who may not have had what could have been considered the 'normal' aging process. For that was truly what he was interested in.

Of course, everyone seemed to know that. The Mirans had made themselves scarce for a number of reasons (he had some warning that one of them was not for 'life sciences'), while he had yet to make it down to the El Aurian bartender that he had been hearing about. Of course, he met her during the dinner that the Commodore put together.

There was also the little factor of the crew's time jaunt and what affects, if any, that would have on the body. He was fascinated to find out if there were any lasting side-affects, and what that would interact with. Of course, no one liked being experimented upon.

"Doctor Sorenson. I was hoping to catch you at a good time." Bathory made a pleasant approach with his tray of replicated Denobulan meats and cheeses. There was no better lunch than the most traditional of lunches. "There were subjects were were not able to discuss last night and I was hoping we would have time to discuss them... perhaps now?"

Martin looked up from his grilled cheese and tomato soup. He had as usual been reading journals while eating and took a moment to shift mental gears - he normally avoided lunch discussions that usually involved small talk, but talking to an actual medical researcher about his research was something else entirely. He smiled and nodded, waving to the opposite seat. "Of course, Doctor. I'd be delighted."

"Excellent!" And without another word, Bathory sat himself down in the seat across from Martin, plate placed on the table. "I wanted to continue our discussion on telomares because I have typically not had anyone so interested in the debate on the topic. Something that could be considered such a basic building block being the key to unlocking how prolong the lifespan - but it makes sense! Why not work to preserve the length of the telomere naturally in order to do so? It is something that has been done for so many years with homeopathic remedies that it only makes sense to continue research upon it, especially if results are to be had."

"Well, there's nothing controversial with respect to their effects on diseases associated with age. Some of the first truly effective cancer treatments and preventatives came from studies of telomeres, and we do know that other effects of ageing can be reduced by preserving telomere length. That's the reason various forms of age-related mental disease are almost unheard of today," Martin began, quickly warming to the subject. It had been awhile since he'd had a chance to have a discussion on medical theory. "But the idea that halting telomere deterioration could actually lengthen life, beyond simply reducing age-related diseases, hasn't been supported in any study I've seen. There is a distinction after all between ameliorating the effects of ageing, and actually extending lifespan."

Bathory snapped his fingers. "And that is exactly it - and likely why everyone frowns upon my research - is because I have had little positive consistent results on the matter. Not without trying, of course, but I'd rather not delve into undesired sciences or anything like those fictional holonovels seem to believe anti-aging sciences will cause us. If we try too hard, we'll have negative effects. But, if we manage to somehow genetically engineer some way to almost fool the telomare to react slower and allow the body to continue to do what it does without the thought of age, that might... simply be the secret. Many have tried, but I feel I'm at the brink of a breakthrough as of late, or else I would have given up on that whole thought."

"And yet the telomere reacting as it does is what stops quite a few otherwise serious conditions. Slower telomeres would significantly impede normal healing, for instance." Martin paused in thought, spoon seeming to tap something invisible in the space in front of him. "Have you read the recent Dosadi literature? Their limb and organ regen process is banned in the Federation in part because the treatment radically shortens telomeres, which not only limits repeated uses but may be implicated in the Imperium's falling fertility rates. They've been working on a retroviral therapy to reverse that. No success yet, but some of the initial work points toward actually speeding telomere reaction while triggering follow on replacement growth."

"Not recently," Bathory lamented. "I had made note to take a look into it, but I believe by the time I got a hold of any documentation... yes, the Denobulan Science Commission had already frowned upon many of my efforts. No matter. Regeneration and healing were key aspects of why I was thinking about modifying the telomare itself, because those are certainly aspects I had thought of. But it is something I need to look further into. Perhaps if I can corroborate some of their research, it will allow me to look into mine further. But, that may require I have a Dosadi scientist to chat with on multiple topics. Ah, another road block. But enough on that."

Bathory leaned in conspiratorially. "Perhaps you could tell me more on the Miran members of the crew? Not of their personal medical histories of course, that would be a breech of privacy, but... surely the Miran genetic-make up has changed due to their upbringings. To live as young as they look and still have sustained both their youth as well as not damage any of the body's biological necessities. Daystrom has a few articles on the topic, but nothing compares to being able to examine that up close..."

Martin had been about to offer a Dosadi contact, or potential contact - he'd learned while visiting the hospital on Haumea that their Acting CMO had been attached to the Federation embassy on Dosad. However the question about Jack and Nolan put him a little off. It made sense given Bathory's area of interest, but it still felt ...intrusive. "As you say, there is a body of literature on the Miran virus, its effects, and the measures built on Dr. McCoy's initial research that prevent the lethal adult-onset phase and perhaps most importantly, transmission, which is why Mirans can serve on starships at all. I believe that included some anonymized DNA tracking. However, as to Mantell's or Marc's records, I'm afraid any discussion of their genetic make-up, and especially changes to it, would also fall under patient confidentiality," he demurred. "You would have to speak to them for permission on that."

"Of course, of course." That sounded like an 'easier said than done,' as Bathory had not seen either Miran for more than a few fleeting moments. Commander Mantell he did not expect to see much of; engineers tended to repel themselves from Doctors, but the youthful-looking scientist was another matter. Surely Lieutenant Commander Nolan Marc had some interest in the life sciences. "Perhaps I'll get lucky. I don't mean to intrude on their specific privacy of course. But let's not make this uncomfortable. Tell me, Commander, what is it you're studying right now? I find it's always good to get myself out of my own realm of thought and into someone else's. It gives me a refreshing look at life."

"Oh, nothing as high level as your research," Martin said, ducking his head modestly. It was a relief that the subject of Mirans had been dropped, but he was all too aware that it had been some time since he'd done the sort of real medical research Bathory was known for. "My main focus recently has been the effects of radiation on novel pathogen mutation and transmission, as well as methods to counter increased patient susceptibility due to exposure. Well, that and catching up on the literature on advanced prosthetics. Did you know a recent Vulcan Science Academy study suggests there may be a way to build in a sort of 'muscle memory' using positronic feedback circuits?"

"I had not known that." And, after a moment of mulling it over, Bathory's eyes lit up. "Both forms of research are increasingly useful. Don't be so shy about it. You never know when the right mind will come by and suggest something that could help. The Vulcan Science Academy's research is always enlightening to read, but I've discovered that they do not share the same sentiment. I wonder... there's a series of articles that are surface level research on the topic of how Borg technology interacts with it's host. The actual utilization of Borg technology, that is something I do not recommend, but there is something to be said about how they managed to perform such horrific acts and the technology behind it. I've always said we do better defending ourselves against our those who wish to inflict harm when we know more about them... Perhaps there is something there that can be connected to the study you're reading up on?"

Sorenson took a sip of his soup to hide a slight cringe. Medical research with Borg tech tended toward the darker shades of gray area, but he understood the reasoning. However it wasn't as relevant to this discussion. "Possibly, but muscle memory tends to be individual and trained, whereas most Borg responses are either built in or uploaded through the Collective. However, as we recently gained an xB crewmember, I should probably take a better look into the recent literature... speaking of which, I really should get back. I have appointments scheduled," he said apologetically.

"But there's something to be said about-" Bathory cut himself off as Martin stood. "Of course! I would not want to keep you from appointments. Please, let me know if there's anything I can do to help. Not that I expect you will with your experience." With a smile and nod, Bathory himself stood up with his finished platters of food.

And, as the two parted, the Denobulan doctor could not help but grin. If he had this much time on his hands... maybe there were items he could complete on his checklist.


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