Science of Us: Ebola Fears Are Triggering Mass Hypochondria.
“We tend to think of hypochondriacs as the irrational individuals who, after spending entirely too much time on WebMD, become convinced that a minor headache means a brain tumor, or that a lingering cough means lung cancer. But that anxiety and fear some of us are having over catching Ebola (a highly unlikely health outcome)? That’s hypochondria, too ...” The media is exacerbating this. Too much information can be worse than too little.
SciAm: Ebola in the U.S.—Politics and Public Health Don’t Mix.
“We don’t need high tech to control Ebola. This has been demonstrated repeatedly. In the 1995 Kikwit oubreak, we learned that transmission was not airborne and that the epidemic could be controlled with very basic personal protective equipment. PAPRs and HazMat suits may, in fact, be more of a risk, given they complicate care.”
[Note: I hate to have to dive into the whole Ebola thing, but after watching a few silent minutes of cable news on a neighboring treadmill (mine was blank), I feel a little commonsense might help things along. The cable newscasters were, on one hand, saying coughing and sneezing on airplanes was safe, but encountering it in your home, you need surgical masks. The amount of wrong and disinformation getting broadcast, along with the thinly veiled ‘informative fear-and-panic’, is getting up my nose. There are no health hypochondriacs like American health hypochondriacs. Tell someone you have a fever, see what happens.]
CJR: Reporters struggle to stay safe covering Ebola.
“Really, if you’re going anywhere that requires personal protective equipment, you need to be under the supervision of someone who knows what he or she is doing. Proper removal requires about 20 sequential steps, with spraying and hand washing throughout.” In which we may see the act of feeding the 24/7 cable news behemoth is a suicide that involuntarily takes others along for the ride. Freelance journalists are free to go just about anywhere; the question is, should they? In this case, their barebones modus operandi and ill-preparedness can kill innocents.
If I hear one more newscaster ...
... trying to sew fear-and-panic over ‘the man in Dallas with a bowler’, I’m gonna implode. I know you want to be all PC and all, newsies, but if you can’t get the pronunciation correct, don’t even try. Most tourists are calling it eee-BOW-lah anyway.
Every time newscasters do it, I picture John Cleese in the Ministry of Silly Walks.
SciAm/Nature: Manure Fertilizer Increases Antibiotic Resistance.
“Perhaps we’ve been enriching inadvertently for bugs that could eventually jump across agriculture to hospitals. [snip] Before we say anything about ‘nitrogen treatment is terrible and organic is wonderful’, we need to see what the downsides are.”
NiceMarmot: A Place for Everything.
Thought-provoking. What reading this brought to mind: what if Alzheimer’s is a loss of one’s mental map key ... no sense of scale, no ability to quantify the raw data within one’s mental map? We know the brain is very good at squirrelling stuff away in parts unknown. I wonder if the ‘key’ could ever be restored, post diagnosis. Just an amateur’s five second reflection.
Authority Nutrition: Whey Protein 101 - Surprising Benefits of Powders and Shakes.
I don’t need convincing. I currently use NOW whey protein isolate, unflavored. No sugars. I add my own unsweetened chocolate powder or other flavorings.
Guardian.UK: HIV pandemic originated in Kinshasa in the 1920s, say scientists.
“Though the virus probably crossed from chimpanzees to humans in southern Cameroon years earlier, HIV remained a regional infection until it entered the capital of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
DesignYouTrust: Iris Grace, The Five-Year-Old Autistic Art Prodigy.
Guardian.UK: Aspirin and a stiff upper lip are best remedies for a broken heart.
SciAm: Dry Roasting May Up Peanut Allergic Potential.
“... here’s a finding that could start to thwart the peanut threat: peanuts that are dry roasted may be more likely to trigger an allergic reaction than do their raw counterparts. At least that’s the case in mice. ” My italic emphasis.
SciAm: How Big Animals Deter Cancer.
NY Times: Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body’s Blood Sugar Controls.
So then ... what’s the point?
NY Times: F.D.A. Panel Weighs Restrictions on Testosterone Drugs.
“A fifth to a quarter of men who are prescribed testosterone have not had a baseline test for their testosterone level. And 60 percent of the prescribing is done by primary care doctors, while just 20 percent of the drugs are prescribed by specialists like endocrinologists and urologists.” So it’s treated like the depression pharmaceutical market then. So what’s the problem? (tongue in cheek)
$3 Million Gift Creates Stuttering Institute at UT Austin, Provides Free Treatments.
ProPublica: A New Way Insurers are Shifting Costs to the Sick.
“Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to turn away patients because of their pre-existing conditions or charge them more because of those conditions. But some health policy experts say insurers may be doing so in a more subtle way: by forcing people with a variety of illnesses — including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and epilepsy — to pay more for their drugs.” Aha. I wondered why some rudimentary generic drugs had gone exponential in price.
ABC: Experts - Chopin’s Heart Shows Signs of TB.
“The experts said heart is ” very well preserved,” but they did not open the jar.” The benefits of a long soak in quality cognac.
Annals of Family Medicine: The Cost of My Mother’s Cardiac Care in the US and India.
New Scientist: Woman of 24 found to have no cerebellum in her brain.
“Problems in the cerebellum can lead to severe mental impairment, movement disorders, epilepsy or a potentially fatal build-up of fluid in the brain. However, in this woman, the missing cerebellum resulted in only mild to moderate motor deficiency, and mild speech problems such as slightly slurred pronunciation. Her doctors describe these effects as ‘less than would be expected’, and say her case highlights the remarkable plasticity of the brain.”
SciAm: Testing Males and Females in Every Medical Experiment Is a Bad Idea. [Men ONLY?!!!]
“In their Nature commentary, the nih officials argue that scientists exclude females by ‘convention’ or to avoid variability caused by hormonal cycles in females.” Um ... ladies, what do you think about this? This sounds as bad as taking an adult dose and reducing it by weight proportion for children, rather than separate studies (children are *not* ‘small adults’).
Time: Salt Doesn’t Cause High Blood Pressure? Here’s What a New Study Says.
“We’ve reported before that the science surrounding salt is crazy confusing, and conflicting studies come out with some frequency. In keeping with the frustrating reality of so many nutrient groups, no one side has definitively won the debate.” Yes, no. Yes, no. No, yes. Listen to your body. Having a BP cuff at home isn’t a bad thing to have anyway. I’ve been surprised how many times I’ve used mine (inherited when my grandmother passed away). Fun to check BP before/after working out, cycling, etc.
Forbes: Early Intervention In Babies May Eliminate Autism Symptoms By Toddlerhood.
“The study was extremely small, and will need to be replicated in a randomized trial of a larger sample of infants. But if the results stand up to more testing, it would suggest that screening in infancy might not only be beneficial, but it might need to be standard.”
SciAm: We Now Have the Cure for Hepatitis C, but Can We Afford It?
SciAm: Sunscreen Floods Oceans as Warmer Waters Boost Tourism.
Now here’s something I haven’t ever thought about before ... the millions of gallons of Sea & Ski [et al] that have gotten dissolved in the oceans over the last 50 or so years ...
DesignByHumans: Human Nutrition Facts T Shirt.
Perfect. Needs an option for “gluten free”, methinks. Don’t want to make any celiac grizzlies ill.