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Archive for May, 2006

Wednesday, May 31st 2006

End of FP?

Duke closes it’s Family Medicine residency. Kind’ve sad.

H/T Kevin, MD

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Wednesday, May 31st 2006

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

New York City is trying to distribute its message to illegal immigrant populations that hospitals will not ask or record their immigration status if they come in for treatment.

Tuesday, May 30th 2006

AIDS Growth Slowing

The U.N. Aids program says the new infection rate for HIV is slowing.

The progress against AIDS in some regions represents dividends from a surge in financing since 2001, when the United Nations pledged its commitment to stem the epidemic by 2010. That declaration called for countries to report regularly on their responses to AIDS. This week, the General Assembly will review the progress that 126 countries have said they have made.

Sunday, May 28th 2006

A Year

I’ve been blogging for over a year (May 27, 2005 – May 28, 2006).

Sunday, May 28th 2006

HIV From A Stab Wound

A teenager went on a stabbing rampage in Berlin, and one of the victims was HIV+. Now all those stabbed after that victim are getting prophylactic anti-retroviral drugs.

“The chance of an HIV infection through a knife wound is three in 1,000. The prophylaxis can reduce the risk by another 80%,” he said.

I’ve mentioned it before, but long ago. One of the worst stories I heard during first was the FP doctor helping run an HIV clinic. She came in and talked to us during our medical ethics class. Che contracted HIV from a needle stick. It was a terrible story as well, because she had gone over to the home of a patient who had been sent home for hospice (a decision she didn’t agree with) to check his CD4 count one last time, and there was no sharps container in the home so she stuck the used needle in a bag and took it back to the clinic.

She reaches in for the vials when she gets back and the rest is obvious.

Friday, May 26th 2006

Why Does Healthcare Cost So Much?

Previously I argued that perhaps we’re putting the chicken before the egg…or something like that, excuse the screwed up analogy. In anycase, perhaps healthcare in this country is ‘worse’ and yet costs more because we’re a comparatively unhealthy country. Indeed there’s some evidence for that.

Now, thanks to Kevin, M.D., I’ve had a little look at the breakdown of who, based on costs, consumes the most healthcare.

1% of all Americans consume, in terms of cost, more than a fifth of all healthcare. These are the sickest Americans, and you might imagine that very accute diseases or trauma might be contributing to massive one time costs. But, what is more remarkable is that of those roughly 2.5 million Americans of which 22% of healthcare expenditures are made for, more than 25% of them were in the top 1% of all healthcare consumers the previous year. These are chronic patients, consuming hugely disproportionate healthcare resources year after year.

Healthcare largely doesn’t cost more in this country because the system is poor or ineffective. It costs more because this country is unhealthy.

Thursday, May 25th 2006

Can Greg Garber Write Anything But Fluff?

The social perception of lacrosse.

Thursday, May 25th 2006

Cloaking

A cloaking devide which works like water flowing around a pencil.

Two separate teams, including Professor Pendry’s, have outlined ways to cloak objects in the journal Science.

These research papers present the maths required to verify that the concept could work. But developing an invisibility cloak is likely to pose significant challenges.

Both groups propose methods using the unusual properties of so-called “metamaterials” to build a cloak.

“Water behaves a little differently to light. If you put a pencil in water that’s moving, the water naturally flows around the pencil. When it gets to the other side, the water closes up,” Professor Pendry told the BBC.

“A little way downstream, you’d never know that you’d put a pencil in the water – it’s flowing smoothly again.

“Light doesn’t do that of course, it hits the pencil and scatters. So you want to put a coating around the pencil that allows light to flow around it like water, in a nice, curved way.”

Thursday, May 25th 2006

HIV Origin

The source of the AIDs epidemic has been found. The direct Simian Immunodeficiency Virus that gave rise to HIV in humans has finally been found in west Africa.

Scientists have long suspected that HIV had its in origins in wild chimp populations. But previously SIV had been found only in some captive chimps.

The virus was found in chimpanzees in southeastern Cameroon, where SIV infection rates were as high as 35 percent in some chimp populations.

Further genetic analysis linked these chimps to the source of the main strain of HIV-1, the most prevalent form of HIV. The team’s findings are to be published tomorrow in the journal Science.

“Eventually the virus ended up in a major metropolitan area, which would either be Kinshasa [Democratic Republic of the Congo]or Brazzaville [Republic of the Congo],” Hahn added. “That’s where we believe the AIDS pandemic really started.”

“We now know there are more than 30 species of monkeys across Africa which have their own forms of SIVs,” said Sharp, who was also involved with the new study.

Wednesday, May 24th 2006

Cancer & Marijuana

An AP story reports on a recent paper presented at the American Thoracic Society meeting which found no increased lung cancer risk for heavy marijuana users.

Previous studies showed marijuana tar contained about 50 percent more of the chemicals linked to lung cancer, compared with tobacco tar, Tashkin said. In addition, smoking a marijuana joint deposits four times more tar in the lungs than smoking an equivalent amount of tobacco.

“Marijuana is packed more loosely than tobacco, so there’s less filtration through the rod of the cigarette, so more particles will be inhaled,” Tashkin said in a statement. “And marijuana smokers typically smoke differently than tobacco smokers — they hold their breath about four times longer, allowing more time for extra fine particles to deposit in the lung.”

He theorized that tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a chemical in marijuana smoke that produces its psychotropic effect, may encourage aging, damaged cells to die off before they become cancerous.