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 ...
SciAm: Protective Gene Staves Off Dementia.
Lithium apparently activates the protein.
BBC: Older sperm donors ‘just as good’.
“We know that as men go above the age of 40 and go into their fifties, their chances of getting a woman pregnant does reduce as a consequence of age. ‘I don’t think you can take this data and apply it uncritically to the general population, the advice would still be you should be trying to have a child before the age of 40 or 45.’” Interesting. In America, there is heavy pressure from the medical establishment to have children before 35, a full decade earlier. Anyone over 35 is treated as a ‘risky’ pregnancy, with attendant elevated costs. Yet, if you look through photos from the past, you see middle-aged mothers everywhere. Granted, earlier is better (less genetic mutations). But older is not an impossibility, as some seem to believe.
ContactMusic: Jeff Beck Opens Up About Hospital Visit On Brian Wilson Tour.
“During a stop in Chicago, Illinois, Beck attended a hospital and underwent an endoscopy - an internal examination with a flexible camera - but he was determined to continue with the concerts.” Two months ago. I’ve been trying to find any explanation of Jeff’s recent hospital visit and withdrawal from touring. Worrisome.
Powered by Osteons: Lead Poisoning in Rome - The Skeletal Evidence.
“Did lead poisoning cause the fall of the Roman Empire? Probably not.” You know what’s funny? Look up “Roman lead pots” on Google. You won’t find many - at least, I didn’t. Lead-glazed ceramics, yes. Lead-riveted and lead-stapled metals yes. But no pure “lead pots”. I think historians need to be a bit more specific when writing about the circumstance. The amount of infusion from a lead glaze is not the same as a pure ‘lead pot’.
Personal: Eye update, standing desk update.
The right eye, ongoing PVD: Gross. Oh, I can see clearly out of it most of the time. But. I have a C-shaped floater just to the right of my central vision, which flips in and out of center depending on how I move the eye. Like having a marionette worm in my vision. Moving my eye side to side, it’s like trying to look through a clear jelly danish. Lots of out-of-focus stuff going by. The light sensitivity has subsided, along with the headaches (thank goodness). Eye appointment next Tuesday, new verdict then. I see no signs of retinal detachment, but the risk continues for three months.
Standing desk experiment: A Keurig packaging box, laid on its side, is almost perfect to stick a board on to hold my keyboard and mouse [temporary rig]. I find myself more focused, definitely. Standing constantly (of course I’d go whole hog and not mix standing and sitting), I find my leg strength has been challenged a bit. Nighttime is the worst. The hamstrings just plain old HURT. Stretches don’t do enough to salve the soreness. Totally new appreciation for cashiers, hairdressers and others who stand all day. I remembered a physician’s recommend of Omega 3 supplementation for ‘restless leg’, and decided to try it (going to two or three softgels a day), and that seems to have stopped the nighttime pain as I adjust. “Vitamin I” (Ibuprofen) had no effect.
Assessment: Painful in early stages, but very much worth the experiment.
One thing I can tell you for sure: going through RSS feeds at a standing desk, I’m much more deft at tossing questionable material away. If I have to stand for it, I want real value for my post. Dubious writing? Don’t waste my time. Out you go. READ.
Archaeology News Network: Study provides first direct evidence of plants in Neanderthal diet.
Guitar World: Jeff Beck Cancels Second Leg of European Tour Due to Medical Concerns.
Oh no! Best wishes for a quick and complete recovery, Jeff.
ArtsJournal: Aging, as in Fine Wine.
Guardian.UK: Controversial Seralini study linking GM to cancer in rats is republished.
“Republishing data that was faulty in the first place in study design and analysis does not provide redemption. Furthermore, it is now possible to publish almost anything in open access journals” Oh, lordy. I still maintain, a site that requotes this study sans caveats will not be linked from *my* blog.
PS Mag: A Lifetime of Intellectual Stimulation Staves Off Dementia.
“The onset of cognitive impairment was delayed, on average, by more than eight and one-half years for people who ranked in the top 25 percent in terms of lifetime intellectual enrichment, compared to those in the bottom 25 percent.”
Guardian.UK: Exercise or bust? Breasts and physical activity.
From my discussions with friends who have undergone reduction surgery, it was a) unwelcome male behavior and b) exercise issues that prompted their elective surgery. Not a one has regretted the choice.