I think we’d all agree that kids have tough choices to make at every turn, and this includes what they eat and drink. A thick, sloppy sandwich served with fries and a sugary soda, or a salad of mixed greens and vegetables from every color of the rainbow with a side of vinaigrette. Yeah, I get it.
But c’mon, does anyone really think that creating junk food laws for kids is going to help? Read more on Making Criminals of Overweight Children…
It’s always convenient to have somebody else to blame, but I’m afraid that doctors are mostly to blame on this one. They call them “hospital acquired infections” and they are killing patients who should otherwise be just fine.
Like this writer’s father, who walked into a ritzy New York academic hospital with what used to be called “walking pneumonia.” He went on to die of – you guessed it – a “hospital acquired infection.”
Walking pneumonia is basically an infection of the lungs that may cause a cough — or even a painful cough — and makes it hard to breathe. Typically, it does not hurt the patient’s general well being enough to make her or him an invalid, a hospital inpatient, or certainly not an intensive care inpatient. This guy’s dad should have easily made it home. Read more on Medical Science Develops Harmful Products…
I was a 2nd year resident in neurological surgery when there was news that a single neuron could link with a single computer wire and messages could travel from the one to the other. Nobody in my doctors’ lounge seemed to care.
He told me about an idea which long before that had been both funded and forgotten. The idea had been one of a prosthetic frontal lobe. Frontal lobe of the brain, among other things, tells people what is “appropriate” socially. The one example I will never forget is the physician who (inappropriately) peed in his pants on rounds, and ended up having a frontal lobe tumor. So the idea was that somebody who had a hunk of frontal lobe excised to get rid of the tumor, or presumably some other kind of illness, could have a teency-tiny computer to hold in their hand that would do some frontal lobe kinds of things that they no longer could.
The attempt to develop this happened on the east coast, presumably sometime after Noah’s flood, and the funding dried up just like that great flood did.
Of course, another possibility is that men do not much care where and when they pee. I doubt this, since I had a patient in Oklahoma who had purchased a fair amount of real estate in his life and thought it necessary and appropriate to “mark” it in the same way a dog marks his territory. Yes, it involved peeing in public, but the fellow had no known frontal lobe pathology at the time.
Ah, those Oklahoma men. Read more on Maybe Those People Who Annoy Can Get A Prosthetic Brain…
Why can’t science be fun?
I mean, sure – I’d love to see cancer cures, and schizophrenia cures and even more on the promising telomeric theory of living forever. But sometimes, we learn a lot of things that seem – if not useless, then inconsequential –and they prove invaluable later on in ways we can never predict.
Would you like to know in advance if a pop song is going to be a big hit? I’m sure some people would. Believe it or not, that has been the topic of recent research. Okay, so it is a small study. Who would fund further research on this one? There is a certain part of the tender adolescent brain (remember, our brains don’t get completely myelinated until age 28. That means we do not have all the fatty-insulation around the nerves to conduct impulses) that reacts in a very interesting way to music. Based mostly on animal studies, the ventral striatum seems to be associated with emotions that generate behavior. This differentiates it from the dorsal striatum, which has mostly sensorimotor control. Makes sense. Although they are similar, these two different types of behavior are slightly different. Sometimes we decide what we want to do by what we feel physically. If it is too cold, we go for a jacket. The sensory input probably goes through at least a couple of brain centers, like thermoregulation. Read more on Using Science To Predict Pop Music Hits…
This is the quotation that was next to my picture, smiling and cuddling an electron microscope, in my high school yearbook: “Seek truth and do not part with it…” Yeah, I can’t be the first person who had that idea in mind at least a little bit when considering a research career.
There is a truth about the universe that is being revealed slowly. It takes us a while to get things right. I remember telling some people who thought religion and science were at odds with each other that perhaps whatever deity you believe in will only reveal what people will understand.
If an apple falling on Isaac Newton’s head was God’s way of revealing the laws of gravity to him, it was probably because the work of Galileo had already paved the way for this knowledge to be revealed. For the TRUTH to be revealed. Yet Newton was not ready for genetic recombination. Now, most scientists I know would accept that as universal truth. But, as Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise in “A Few Good Men,” — ” You can’t handle the truth…” (from the script by Aaron Sorkin). Read more on There Is Science and Then There is Military Science…
The death rate is down and the life expectancy is up. “Nothing but good news,” says the statistician.
Perhaps our prevention programs and treatments are working. Statistics are unwieldy things, but these are so general, the news of less death and more life can only be seductive. I want to look at it closer. I want to look at the differentiations among groups, which I doubt have changed. If you ever wondered about women living longer than men, both in the African-American race and the Euro-American races, you should have seen my waiting room the day I encountered a soft spoken and personable but physically-challenged African-American man. He was surrounded by obviously smitten females bearing gifts. Two of the three young ladies offered him homemade baked goods and made a point of telling the third she did not have a chance because she only had a dozen store-bought doughnuts. Read more on Why Do Some People Live Longer Than Others?…
I Am A Doctor, But I Don’t Play One On TV
Personality-wise, the cranky and inconsiderate title character of the hit TV series House, MD are mirror opposites. I actually LIKE people – especially people who need help (patients).
Obviously many people enjoy this series, since it is one of the highest rated. But for me, the challenge is to out-diagnose him.
In case you’ve never watched, the formula for each episode is a seemingly straight-forward illness, which (of course) is the wrong diagnosis. The rest of the show is slapping another diagnosis on the patient, and testing the patient, which makes the patient worse. Read more on Being Locked-In May Not Be So Bad For Everybody…
The first known account of this plant, known by Latin (Carolus Linnaeus) nomenclature “Sceletum tortuosum allegedly dates back to Jan van Riebeeck, Dutch founder of South Africa. He appears, also, to have seen the first recorded comet that passed through that distant place, so we know he was educated enough to be a scientific dilettante at the very least. He has earned, rightfully, a lovely place in the history of South Africa. I am not knocking such status, mind you. I think few people would be clever or concerned enough to be scientific even at dilettante level in our day and age — thinking of even the cleverest of politicians. I am somewhat more concerned about what the South Africans seem to be excited about. Read more on African Drug Being Developed For Antidepressant…
Sometimes the most accurate answer is “maybe.”
Sometimes if there is a lot of scientific data about something, and someone wants to know what is real and what is not real, what is dangerous and what is not dangerous, you can look at all of the data and come up with something complex .
Perhaps something is dangerous in some situations, not in others — watch this and not that.
This is science for adults, not Beakman’s World — as much as I love his show. I admit, I’m out there shouting “I love science” at the top of my lungs right along with Dr. Beakman.
But this is more serious. It is also not politics, not a love-have question. Not a “get every atom of this compound out of here” plea, nor a “it is safe and just fine so let’s stop worrying” answer, either.
The compound I’m talking about is Bisphenol A, known as BPA. Depending on who you believe, it was first synthesized in either the late 19th or early 20th century, from acetone and phenol. This makes the basis of a “thermoplastic,” one of the easy-to-work-with plastics that is used for containers you see everywhere. Read more on Pass The Bottle — But Be Careful!…