Recap: Science Fiction TV Dinner, House, M.D.

House, M.D. image by Nina Miller

What happened

At this Science Fiction TV Dinner event on September 30 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, we screened “Cane and Able,” of the hit medical drama House, M.D. In the episode, House’s 7 year old patient was experiencing vivid hallucinations of alien abductions. But in reality, the boy was a genetic chimera with two distinct sets of DNA in his body—a condition that stemmed from his mother’s in vitro fertilization, when his embryo absorbed another implanted embryo in the womb. Once House and his team were able to remove all of the “foreign” cells in the boy’s brain, he was cured and his terrifying science fictional hallucinations ended.

After the screening, CSI’s Joey Eschrich moderated a conversation with Dr. Cathy Seiler, scientific liaison at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, and Dr. Ken Ramos, associate vice president of Precision Health Services and professor of medicine at the Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona.

Insights from the Conversation

  • “[This episode of House, M.D.] is a quiet, almost invisible example of science fiction that shows us a vision of what the future of medicine could look like…” – Joey Eschrich, paraphrasing Cathy Seiler
  • “Chimerism…is when you have 2 different sets of DNA in your body…. You look like one person from the outside, but in some ways you are two people on the inside. You will be most familiar with this concept form organ transplants.” – Cathy Seiler
  • “Every single patient encounter that you go through [as a doctor] involves a great deal of detective investigation…. One thing we are trying to inspire medical students to do…is to take full advantage of the tools that are available to you to investigate diseases and find cures.” – Ken Ramos

Join us next time!

Our next Science Fiction TV Dinner event will take place on Wednesday, October 8 at 5:00pm at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. We’ll watch the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Intervention”, featuring the Buffybot, Buffy’s robotic doppelganger, then have a conversation with social scientists and technologists about identity, technology, and how fantasy and storytelling can help us understand who we are and where we’re going.

The event is free and dinner will be served! Learn more and register today at http://buffytvdinner.eventbrite.com.