Vox: Why a federal court just ruled Obamacare subsidies are illegal in 36 states.
“The suit alleges that subsidies should only be available in states that set up their own insurance exchanges, based on the text of the Affordable Care Act. The government can still appeal, but if it ultimately loses the case at the Supreme Court, it’s possible that federal subsidies will no longer be available to help make insurance affordable in over thirty states.” And everything hinges on a single word. Who says proper English isn’t important?
Eye appointment … back later.
Just a check. Nothing serious.
Update: I’d been testing a set of Ciba contacts. I wasn’t able to go more than five or six hours with them. Terribly red, dry eyes. Doc said that was not good, so we switched to Coopers. Immediate relief, but I have to spend more time with them (and let the eyes recover from the Cibas) before I can make a real recommendation.
Mosaic: Can meditation really slow ageing?
“Researchers have since linked perceived stress to shorter telomeres in healthy women as well as in Alzheimer’s caregivers, victims of domestic abuse and early life trauma, and people with major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
FiveThirtyEight: Dying at the Grand Canyon.
Erm, go observe in person. When I visited the park, the number of both American and European tourists prancing [I chose that word carefully and accurately] down the Bright Angel Trail with just a single water bottle stunned me.
SciAm: Bread Wheat Genome Contains “Shocking” Plot Twist.
“In short, the wheat family tree is beginning to look distressingly similar to that of the Hapsburgs.” Worth the read, even if you don’t share an interest in such things. You can baffle the foodies in your social circle.
The Economist: Low-cost fertility treatment - Maybe babies.
“Last year Belgian researchers tested a shoebox-sized IVF laboratory built from cheap glass tubes that uses baking soda and citric acid to create the carbon dioxide needed for fertilisation to occur. Pregnancy rates matched those from a standard laboratory and set-up costs are 85-90% lower.” The turkey-baster solution.
New Republic: Interruptions at Work Make You Way Less Productive.
“Researchers have known for a while that interruptions inhibit our ability to carry out many tasks—from detecting traffic signals to performing surgery. This study is unique, though, in looking at—and quantifying—how distractions affect the caliber of creative work.”
Past Horizons: Prehistoric tooth plaque provides dietary insight.
“The researchers found ingestion of the purple nut sedge in both pre-agricultural and agricultural periods. They suggest that the plant’s ability to inhibit Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium which contributes to tooth decay, may have contributed to the unexpectedly low level of cavities found in the agricultural population.” If you trace Google search term use, “purple nut sedge” is going to transition from being ‘nuisance’ to being a paleo food fave. Mark my words.
Mashable: Early Lab Tests Find a Modified Cat Parasite Can Treat Cancer.
AuthorityNutrition: Does Green Coffee Bean Extract Work? A Detailed Review.
Seems to. There are caveats. If you suffer from stress and anxiety, the extra caffeine may not be a welcome influence.
Bicycling: A PSA on PSA for Cyclists.
“Our study does not show cause and effect relationships and so we do not conclude cycling causes prostate cancer. [snip] It is likely that cycling affects the way people are investigated rather than making them more likely to develop prostate cancer.”
SciAm: Why Alzheimer’s Drugs Keep Failing.
I’m counting on assisted suicide as being an option, if I ever get diagnosed as such (and if there are no working therapies available). I have no wish to burden anyone else; the ‘dirt nap’ would be my preferred therapy.
BBC Sport: Tour de France 2014 - Alberto Contador pulls out on stage 10
More info here about his four-year-old doping ban than the actual crash that caused his retirement from the race. Filling column-inches (pixels)?
Hypochondria in medical students and doctors: When to worry about health symptoms.
“Medical student syndrome is a well-documented phenomenon, a one- to two-year phase during which aspiring physicians think they’ve contracted whatever disease it is they’re studying.” Anyone who’s had a child become a physician knows this well. The internet allows us all to be hypochondriacs. Too many conversations these days begin with … ‘organ recitals.’ Such casual conversations about health used to be reserved for those over 60.
NPR: Hottest Burger In Britain Burns 2 Journalists.
“After taking just one bite - one bite - the men experienced severe stomach cramps, and lost feeling in their hands.”
c|net: Smelling farts could be the best thing you do today.
“The study out of the University of Exeter in the UK found that the hydrogen sulfide gas found in rotten eggs and flatulence could reduce the risk of cancer, heart attack, strokes, arthritis, and dementia.” I’ll just go visit Yellowstone instead, thankyouverymuch.
Authority Nutrition: Are Nitrates and Nitrites in Foods Harmful?
Another compound that gets health foodies crazy. You can just skip to the bottom about bacon, if you want.
RockHealth: Why Doctors Still Use Pagers.
Significant positives. Makes me want my pager back.
Guardian.UK: Blood test breakthrough in search for Alzheimer’s cure.
“Larger trials involving 5,000 to 10,000 people are still needed …” *Sigh* Just about every piece of ‘stunning’ medical news I see these days includes verbiage like this. Media builds the article on sensation, then includes this little item, pulling the rug out from underneath the sensation.
Denver Post: Colorado claims contraceptive program caused big drop in teen birth rates.
“A state health initiative to reduce teen birth rates by providing more than 30,000 contraceptive devices at low or no cost has led to a 40 percent drop in five years, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Thursday.”
BusinessWeek: Hospitals Are Mining Patients’ Credit Card Data to Predict Who Will Get Sick.
“Imagine getting a call from your doctor if you let your gym membership lapse, make a habit of buying candy bars at the checkout counter, or begin shopping at plus-size clothing stores.” Using big data to apply health care more efficiently. I’ll stay out of the privacy implications.
New Scientist: Consciousness on-off switch discovered deep in brain.
“Although only tested in one person, the discovery suggests that a single area – the claustrum – might be integral to combining disparate brain activity into a seamless package of thoughts, sensations and emotions.”
He’s baaaaaack … eye update, longer version.
Well, I had my macula mapped, and a whole host of other tests. The good (?) news is that my vitreous has detached from my retina cleanly. Got to see a nice little cutaway scan of my eye (like a horizontal slice showing the separation). My macula is clean. I’m still having flashes, and apparently that’s to be expected. I have a very small blind spot just above center in the right eye. Seems to be diminishing as the PVD progresses, so we’ll just continue to observe its progress. Doc says everything is ‘normal’ … but I should not go out and engage in kickboxing for the next three months. Impact sports are forbidden. I have a host of floaters, too, that occasionally make viewing a monitor a real penance. There is no change to my overall prescriptions.
Best news: The headaches have subsided, the light sensitivity is gone.
Net-net, though: I can start posting with normal frequency again. The floaters do, however, annoy me to death, so if I am suffering from their blurriness, that will naturally slow down my posting. I hate having to read blurry type. Best description is, the floaters can be numerous enough, it’s like trying to read through a bowl of chicken noodle soup.
Eye update: Dilated to the max again.
Soon as my eyes calm down, I’ll post a fuller update. Quick take: all is proceeding as expected. No retinal issues (thank goodness).
New Scientist: Near-death experiences are overwhelmingly peaceful.
“Laureys’s team will now try to find an objective measure of such experiences by scanning the entire brains of people who say they have just had a near-death experience after a cardiac arrest. The team will look for small scars that might reflect the after-effects of the event.” Good luck finding that objective measure ...