Thursday, June 26, 2014

Big Brother alert

not only does the NSA know you're sending LOL cat emails to Aunt Mary, but now your doctor knows if you bought a coca cola or cigarettes at Walmart.

It's one thing to have Amazon know what I have purchased and recommend more stuff, but another thing to snoop into my purchases, which after all might not be for myself but another person.

That last part is why the article (no link) about Chicago's mayor trying to snoop in on gun purchases is a joke: Only law abiding persons purchase a gun with all the paperwork and waiting periods. The bad guys steal them or buy them on the street from someone who stole them or bought them out of state.

This is one of the "subplots" of the Janet evanovich series of novels: The old folks buy their metamucil and guns from the back of cars on Stark street.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

arthritis pill and baldness

the old fashioned "baldness" pill was one that blocked testosterone, so if you put it on your skin, age/testosterone baldness improved

but what if you are bald from an auto immune disease (alopecia aerata)?

Yes, an anti arthritis medicine works.

 tofacitinib helped the guy with complete hair loss (alopecia totalis) from psoriasis...

we use immune supressors against severe psoriasis (i.e. methotrexate) so that makes sense.

wikipedia article
the drug is being used for psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain bowel disease.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ebola outbreak

the UKGuardian says the outbreak "is out of control", and the "doctors without frontiers" group is claiming they treated 400 plus, meaning they treat most of the cases (why do I wonder if there are more cases out there?)

The traditional African way to treat these patients was similar to how they treated smallpox: Put them in a hut away from the village, put food and water at the door of the hut, and if no one picks it up after a week or two, burn the hut down.

Sounds cruel, but when a lot of folks blame the massive number of Native American deaths from European diseases on the fact that they cared for their sick relatives, it probably kills a lot fewer people than being "compassionate".

And the "christian" way would be to let volunteers to care for the sick: 

Calling Father Damian...


LATimes article on the 84 CDC workers who were exposed to anthrax from a lab problem.

An initial CDC review showed the lab was preparing samples of Bacillus anthracis, or anthrax, for research seeking new ways to detect pathogens, but that the lab did not “adequately inactivate the samples” before sending them along, the agency said.The protocol requires waiting 48 hours and then testing to see if spores have grown, but the lab waited only 24 hours, a CDC spokesman said. Further investigation might reveal more problems, he said.
Workers in the labs conducting the research, believing they were handling inactive B. anthracis, were not wearing gear that would adequately protect them from the live bacteria, the CDC said.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

bad boys grow up to be dead

LATIMES article

Delinquent youth are at risk of early violent death in adulthood, regardless of race, and females are especially vulnerable, a study released Monday suggested.
 Girls detained by authorities had nearly five times the rate of violent death as females in the general population – in part because of low rates of violent death for females in general, the researchers said.

Karen Kaplan “Our findings are shocking,” said Linda Teplin, lead author of the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, and a professor of psychiatry and behavior sciences at Northwestern University’s medical school. The researchers interviewed 1,829 people ages 10 to 18 who were detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago from 1995 to 1998. The participants were followed for up to 16 years later, using death records.
The comparison group is the overall population of Chicago’s Cook County. The juveniles who took part had not yet had their cases adjudicated – and so were not convicted at that point.  Of the participants, 111 died, 75 of those as victims of homicide. Of the 75, 68 were killed with firearms. Death rates of Latino males were nearly five times the general population, and Latino females died at more than nine times the rate of the general population. The rate for African Americans was 4.5 times that of whites. At 25 to 29 years of age, the male death rate was still more than twice that of the general population.

there is a bias here: There are probably more middle class blacks in Chicago city limits than middle class Hispanics, so they would lower the rate. I suspect if you limited the comparison population to certain neighborhoods, it would be higher in Blacks than reported.

Of course, middle class blacks living in borderline neigborhoods are often victimized by gangs too.

and if you peruse the CDC webpages, most of these murders are gang/drug related.

Which is why Drudge's headlines about the central American drug gangs funneling into the US under the "Dream act" amnesty of Obama is so dangerous.

And I suspect a lot of these "under 18" kids are in their early 20's, just like the "teenagers" who made my son's life miserable in Junior high, where they claimed to be only 15...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Spanish Flu? We haz that

MomJones asks 

"Is it Madness to rebuild a Flu Virus That Wiped Out 50 Million People?
 Because this scientist just created a novel strain that's dangerously similar.

hey, when someone can build it in his garage, why worry?
and, of course, there have been several accidental outbreaks from those high tech research labs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Headline of the week

Guys, your smartphone is ruining your sperm

Exactly how much the cell phones are contributing to lower-quality sperm isn’t clear yet — the researchers note that how long the phones are kept in pockets, as well as how much EMR the phones emit (most are legally required to stay below 2.0 W/kg) are also important things to consider when figuring out an individual’s risk. But the lab-dish studies do show that sperm are affected by the exposure, and that provides enough reason to investigate the possibility that cell phones may be contributing to lower-quality sperm and potentially some cases of infertility. 

actually  the sperm count has been going down for over 50 years, but if you check the count in people in rural farms eating organically, the count is almost as high as it was in 1930.

So I figure it might be the pesticides and plastics, the same things that cause metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Also, has anyone checked if birth control hormones present in the sewage run off get into the water supply?

as for electromagnetic waves: They decrease logarhytmically, so an inch or two might negate the problem here. But what about those living near microwave towers?

I remember back in 1971, when I had a patient die of lymphoma. He was in the USAir force, and his wife informed me that he and six guys treated with him all worked with microwaves or radar. Then you have the head of the CIA dying of brain lymphoma (almost an unknown disease before HIV hit: making some docs wonder if he had a double life...but now we wonder if he was using cellphones or if the microwaves etc. at CIA headquarters caused it.)

Something else to ponder: When I was in medical school, we still saw stomach cancer but part of the differential diagnosis was lymphoma of the stomach. Since that time, in the 1960's, I haven't seen a stomach cancer (thought to be due to smoked or dried meat/fish: It still is very common in Japan). But in the 1990's I saw two cases of stomach lymphoma. Of course, I worked in rural areas with Native Americans, who aren't exposed to as much pollution (except for the lead thanks to the power plants down wind).

Anyway, all this worry about the sperm count makes me think of "Children of Men". Quite a sad movie...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The fault in our stars

The latest cancer flick is getting good reviews

But the review writer doesn't see why they stuck Anne Frank into the story: Uh, duh:  It is actually a story that closely parallels the diary of Anne Frank: the story of a teenager who attempts a normal life in the face of death.

LINK  this teenager found a lot of it rings true:

Toward the end of the year, Hope picked up The Fault in Our Stars. She couldn't put it down.
"My mom kept telling me to stop smiling when I was reading it," she said. "A lot of stuff they talk about is extremely accurate to how a bunch of cancer kids feel."
ah but why is it popular among teens?

and no, it has nothing to do with the old flick "love story"

I enjoyed the book, and was impressed that in the movie ads, the girl is pale and slightly maybe they got the medical part right.

it ain't just the Philippines

The western hemisphere is now discovering the joys of Dengue Fever and the Chikungunya virus cdc report.

 With the recent outbreaks in the Caribbean and the Pacific, the number of chikungunya cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States from affected areas will likely increase. These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in other parts of the United States. Chikungunya virus infection should be considered in patients with acute onset of fever and polyarthralgia, especially travelers who recently returned from areas with known virus transmission. Chikungunya virus diagnostic testing currently is performed at CDC, three state health departments (California, Florida, and New York), and one commercial laboratory (Focus Diagnostics). No specific treatment, vaccine, or preventive drug is available for chikungunya virus infection. Treatment is palliative and can include rest, fluids, and use of analgesics and antipyretics (1,3). Most patients' symptoms improve within 1 week. In some persons, joint pain can persist for months (2,3). The best way to prevent chikungunya virus infection is to avoid mosquito bites: use air conditioning or screens when indoors, use insect repellents, and wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Persons infected with chikungunya virus should be protected from mosquito exposure during the first week of illness to prevent further spread of the virus.

awhile back, Sidney was hospitalized with what they thought was dengue fever, but his tests were negative. I suspect it is this virus, which is also present in our area. 

Obama's clean air rules

I used to wheeze when I lived in the big cities of the US, or visited them. Nowadays, the only time I use my inhaler is visiting Manila. So the clean air rules will help. However, in rural areas, people heat with wood stoves, so if the electricity rate goes up, that means more use of wood stoves, which pollute the outside air while bringing in fungus etc. to cause asthma in their kids. So it's not going to help everyone.

gay gene: back to the future

in the past, the theory is that homosexuality in men was developmental, while the Catholics thought it was an inborn weakness, similar to the inborn weakness toward promiscuity (read . sociopathy) and alcoholism. So now the UKTelegraph reports that it's a gene, but not completely and environmental influence is part of the mix. So does that mean the high amount of estrogen like chemicals in the environment not only contribute to metaabolic syndrome and low sperm counts, but make more boys decide they are gay? And if it is "environmental" as in family/culture, does that mean being seduced at age 10, as 20 percent of gay teenagers say tyey were in a cdc survey, means that these boys are more likely to be gay? Lots of taboos out there. Oh yes: I was ranting about the new meme about the stigma against single mothers being blamed on church people. But strangely, checking out western websites on the problem in Asia, they say the same thing (those darn buddhists). Hello: The problem is that single women have trouble making money and caring for their kids. Now that most moms work outside the home, and other single moms get welfare, that isn't seen as a problem, but in the days when women had few choices to work except for prostitution to support a child out of wedlock, you can see the problem.

well, duh

NYTimes proclaims that DNA tests show a Saudi man caught MERS from taking care of his sick camel.

Well, since the virus was known to be in camels, that proves animal to human transmission.

The real problem is that it now has human to human transmission, which means it could result in a major epidemic.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

experimenting on black babies


similar to the (under reported) meningomyelocoel study in Oklahoma, where parents were given "non treatment" decisions that resulted in dead kids. Most of them were black babies too.

Or the Red Lake Strep study, where again the untreated risked kidney disease (six patients ended up with acute GN and two of them ended up being dialyzed when I worked there in the 1990's)

this is why minorities won't sign "end of life" agreements that agree to stopping everyghing.