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Archive for March, 2007

Saturday, March 31st 2007

Postnatal HIV Transmission

Exclusive breastfeeding may be the best option for HIV+ women and their children in subsaharan Africa.

Doctors today call for UN guidelines to be changed following research showing that exclusive breastfeeding protects the babies of HIV positive women from becoming infected with the virus that causes Aids.

Guidelines from Unicef, the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS say the best option is to bottle-feed the babies with formula milk…Where exclusive bottle-feeding is not possible, mothers should exclusively breastfeed, they say.

Call me surprised. The worst of all worlds is ‘mixed’ feeding,

Research in the medical journal the Lancet today shows that is the worst of all worlds. Babies of mothers with HIV who receive a mixture of milk and solid foods are 11 times more likely to become infected than those who are exclusively breastfed. Those who are given formula milk as well as breast milk are nearly twice as likely to become HIV positive.


I’m Pretty Sure This Is What They Really Meant By “Mixed” Feeding

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Saturday, March 31st 2007

Safest To Cover Bets Of The College Football Year

Apparently Jim Harbaugh is in the know.

“Perhaps the reason it’s been up and down here [at Stanford] is that no one has stayed here 20 years,” Harbaugh told Dodd. “… Charlie Weis is going to do that at Notre Dame. [Jim] Tressel at Ohio State. Pete’s doing it. He’s only got one more year, though. He’ll be there one more year. That’s what I’ve heard. I heard it inside the staff.”

Pete Carroll might leave. The rumors have been too rampant for me to worry about it anymore. But it is hard for me to buy that Jim Harbaugh, of all people, is the one with inside information. Even if his info turns out to be accurate and precise, why in the world he would randomly volunteer a quote like that before he’s even coached a single game in the PAC 10 is beyond me.

Pete Carroll wasn’t too happy,

“If he’s going to make statements like that, he ought to get his information right,” Carroll said. “And if he has any questions about it he should call me.”


This Is A Man Who Used To Boss Around Ed Orgeron…
Why You Would Want To Anger Him, I Have No Idea

Around the blogosphere it has been picked up by Deadspin, The Wizard of Odds, and of course Conquest Chronicles.

Finally, Dennis Dodd (CBS Sportsline writer) is reporting (via AOL Fanhouse: USC) that the copy of the UCLA Football Spring Guide he received explicitly predicts a 20 point victory by UCLA over USC this year.

Uh, whether Carroll is at ‘SC in coming years or not, I think we can say for this year that Stanford and UCLA are going to get their asses kicked.

Saturday, March 31st 2007

Broken Ribs


Sweet, I Can Finally Put My Photoshop Skills To Use

Saturday, March 31st 2007

The Patient Who Won't Talk, The Patient Who Won't Be Quiet

The directive interview is beaten into your head when you’re first learning to do a patient history. You ask pointed, direct questions in a pretty standard order.

That is lovely until you get to the patient who doesn’t feel like elaborating.


Yeah, I’ve Seen A Lot of Patients Who Apply Lipstick While In The Hospital Bed

I shouldn’t be so hard. I’m pretty tight lipped myself.

So I probably have more sympathy for the “non-elaborators” than for those on the other end of the spectrum. This is the patient with just crazy tangential thought. He starts off talking about his back pain and the next thing you know the stats from his junior year in high school playing tailback or about the time he bit into a piece of rotten fruit when he was nine years old.

For those who stumble across this post: which do you think is the most difficult to deal with for an inexperienced medical student?

Saturday, March 31st 2007

Can We Please Get Off The Conspiracy Theories?

Fueled by Iran taking 15 British sailors and marines hostage, there’s more conspiracy theories sweeping the internet about how this show down is going to go down.

One of the problems with the internet’s creation of this kind’ve “social news” is that it fails (more often than traditional news) all sorts of criteria for responsibility. That is the trade off for enabling the citizen reporter, for globalizing media, for increasing transparency.

You take the back waters of the internet with a grain of salt (or two or three).

With that being said, as we’ve seen even the “mainstream” media can get swept up in the hysteria, but I doubt you’ll ever find Glenn Beck staking his career on predicting the date and time for the American attack on Iran. *rolls eyes*

Arab sources report the positioning of a Patriot anti-missile battery in Bahrain this week; they say occupancy at emirate hotels has soared past 90% due mostly to the influx of US military personnel. They also report Western media crews normally employed in military coverage are arriving in packs. Thursday, March 29, General Khaled al-‘Absi, Bahrain’s chief of air defense operations disclosed that new alarm networks had been installed and air defense systems upgraded to handle chemical, biological and radioactive attacks.

Moscow sources have predicting that a US strike against Iranian nuclear installations codenamed Operation Bite has been scheduled for April 6 at 4 AM until 4 PM local time. Friday is a holiday in Iran. In the course of the attack, about 20 targets are marked for bombing; the list includes uranium enrichment facilities, research centers, and laboratories. Missiles and air raids will conduct strikes designed to be devastating enough to set Tehran’s nuclear program back several years. The US attack plan reportedly calls for the Iranian air defense system to be degraded, for numerous Iranian warships to be sunk in the Persian Gulf, and for the most important headquarters of the Iranian armed forces to be wiped out. Massive air attacks with the goal of annihilating Iran’s capacity for military resistance, the centers of administration, the key economic assets, and quite possibly the Iranian political leadership, or at least part of it.

It doesn’t help when anonymous mid level foreign “sources” stir the fire, as some no name Russian intelligence bureaucrat did earlier in the week.

If I was a betting man I’d take the field (or even better, no attack at all) against April 6th at 4 A.M. But hey, maybe Government Dirt really has the scoop…breaking a story this big would make the authors like Woodward and Bernstein, only they’re writing from their parent’s basement with the curtains drawn tightly and tin foil wrapped around their heads.

Saturday, March 31st 2007

I Was Always Jealous of Doogie Howser

A seven year old Indian surgeon?

This real-life Dexter became obsessed with medicine at an early age. He memorised medical books and witnessed surgeries, experimenting on animals at home in Himachal Predesh. “We went to the poultry farm, bought a live chicken, he dissected it, and after, we ate it for dinner,” says his mother, Raksha Kumari Jaswal. As word of the young prodigy spread, villagers flocked to their home, seeking advice or just a glimpse of the boy. He was idolised and revered as a god, much to his discomfort. But Akrit did begin to treat some of the hordes who gathered on his doorstep.. He consulted his textbooks, discussed the cases with established doctors and prescribed medicine for more than a thousand people – including a man suffering from a brain disorder.

Akrit first gained celebrity status at the age of seven, when he successfully performed an operation to separate the fused fingers of a girl a year older than him. He taught students ten years his senior and became India’s youngest-ever Indian university student.


Sweet Microsoft Paint Skills

Okay weird enough. It gets worse though. His father has left the family and doesn’t want them to contact him until his young son finds a cure for cancer.

This is “stage parents” run amok. Not only do the actions of the parents raise all sorts of ethical questions, but the apparent caving of the government to allow this child to basically practice medicine is disgusting. No matter how much of genius he is, this kid is self educated and beyond a mere lack of training he doesn’t appear to have the maturity or level headedness to be performing even minor operations on others.

Just from the brief piece,

Akrit is falling over himself to impress; [Dr.] Mustafa suspects that the boy misses the influence of his father, and is used to never being contradicted.


Akrit Describes His Father Telling Him: ‘Cure Cancer Or Don’t Talk To Me’

While this kid’s talent may be remarkable, I hope no readers are applauding what is basically exploitation of this kid.

[I, sci: Pass Me The Scalpel, Mummy]
[Oprah Winfrey: Akrit As Child Prodigy]

Friday, March 30th 2007

Difference Between A Normal Person & A Scientist

Difference Between A Normal Person And A Scientist at XKCD.

Via Reddit.

Thursday, March 29th 2007

Scandal, No Show Contracts, New Jersey?

The only surprise here is the fact it involves a health science university.


A Symbol Of Pride?

The University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey system has had some problems of late. We should note that the system, along with other health science schools, is comprised of two allopathic medical schools and an osteopathic medical school.

First, the system had criminal charges leveled for double billing Medicare for certain services between 2001 and 2004. As part of a deal with the Justice Department they got a Federal Monitor to watch over their doings. Yikes.

Of course, it doesn’t get much better. The Federal Monitor gets there and lo and behold he finds creepy things still going on. A Senior Dean at the school of Osteopathic Medicine is found to be trying to steer catering contracts to friends and filling for reimbursement he isn’t entitled to. Just generally unethical stuff.

How could it end there however? Now the biggest scandal has “broken,” although if I remember correctly Health Care Renewal has been ranting on the going ons at UMDNJ for some time (I’m sure a search through their archives will turn up more than enough juicy details). In anycase, the “breaking” story involves a powerful State Senator who had a no show position at UMDNJ in order to boost his entitled state pension when he retired. In return for that, and probably other kickbacks, he steered appropriations to the university.

Now he and the former Dean of School of Osteopathic Medicine have been indicted.

The indictment said [State Senator] Bryant had received “a stream of corrupt payments and other financial benefits” from the school in return for his “using his position as a state senator to take official action” to benefit it.

Mr. Bryant has been the subject of investigation for more than a year after a federal monitor of the university found that Mr. Bryant held a no-show job at the university to increase his pension while steering millions of dollar to it.

In January, he applied for an $83,000-a-year pension from the state.

Yikes.

*EDIT*

Oh yeah. Health Care Renewal is all over this. Their front, most recent, post has a bunch of backlinks. However, for a sampling here’s a post on when the Senator Bryant – UMDNJ story broke and here is a relatively early post on the no bid contract scandals.

Health Care Renewal is clearly the best resource on the web for this story.

Thursday, March 29th 2007

Why Does Nothing Ever Come Of These Everyday Miracle Compounds?


So How Many Of These Green Tea Potato Chips Do I Need To Eat?

Green tea is apparently already tied to protecting your heart, slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s, and potentially can fight the development of cancer.

[C]hemicals in the tea also shut down a key molecule which can play a significant role in the development of cancer.

The molecule, known as the aryl hydrocarbon (AH) receptor, has the ability to activate genes – but not always in a positive way.

The researchers, from Rochester University, found that two chemicals in green tea inhibit AH activity.

Now however, playing into the post below about HIV prevention, a compound in green tea may block the virus’ entrance into CD4+ lymphocytes.

Once EGCG has bound to immune system cells there is no room for HIV to take hold in its usual fashion.

However, experts said the joint UK and US work, which appears in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was at a very preliminary stage.

Researcher Professor Mike Williamson, of the University of Sheffield, said: “Our research shows that drinking green tea could reduce the risk of becoming infected by HIV, and could also slow down the spread of HIV.

“It is not a cure, and nor is it a safe way to avoid infection, however, we suggest that it should be used in combination with conventional medicines to improve quality of life for those infected.

“Future research is also currently under way in order to determine how much effect can be expected from different amounts of tea.”

My question is what sort of funding is even available for this?! I understand looking for potentially useful compounds amongst the everyday but this is being presented as having realistic utility as some sort of public health campaign.

What?! “Get circumcised, use a condom, and, oh yeah, drink lots of green tea.”

Should a voice even be given to these sorts of discoveries? You know the ones I mean: “Chocolate helps the heart, sleeping with a sheep wool blanket helps allergies, dandelions can prevent male pattern baldness, etc.”

Thursday, March 29th 2007

Snip, Snip

Following more impressive figures on circumcision’s ability to help prevent HIV infection the World Health Organization is recommending it as a frontline therapy for all males in high risk areas.

The World Health Organization recommended Wednesday that circumcision immediately become part of the frontline strategy to combat AIDS — a move that the group said could save millions of lives.

The recommendation were presented by WHO and United Nations officials after an international meeting on AIDS and circumcision this month in Montreux, Switzerland.

They were based on recent studies from Kenya, Uganda and South Africa that found circumcising heterosexual men reduced their risk of HIV infection by about 60%.

The benefit would be greatest in countries with widespread epidemics and low rates of circumcision, such as those in southern and eastern Africa, the WHO said.

“If we had a vaccine this effective, people would be very enthusiastic,” [Dr. Maria J. Wawer] said.