So who is or is not going to pay for contraception under Obamacare? And this is a religious question?
The truth of the matter is that even though the United States has promised religious freedom from the very start, they have not done a very good job, historically, of delivering on this promise. Read more on Whose Birth Control is it, Anyway?…
I used to say I was not a political animal. Pharmacology has become political. Not my fault; that’s for sure.
Marijuana has suffered a legal setback. This has not been covered by a lot of the media. I had a heck of a time finding it. Read more on Rescheduling of Marijuana Suffers Legal Setback…
I’ve got my outrage in motion and I’m blowing the whistle on one of the dirtiest tricks the big pharmaceutical companies play on us.
They have a technique called “Seeding Trials” that masquerade as drug testing (clinical trials) but are really nothing more than marketing surveys they can use to get around government regulations about promoting their drugs for alternative uses (also know as “off-label” uses).
But I’m printing this news in my private newsletter — not in my public blog.
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I worked in prison situations, where inmates complained about everything and sometimes I even agreed with them. Invariably, some older world-weary inmate would say: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” When spoken by a muscled, or at least strong and/or angry looking inmate, I have seen that shut people up. Let’s try this one when it’s time for troops to deploy: “Don’t appear, if they ain’t got the gear.” Read more on Look Mom, No Gear…
At some time in our lives, we all need to be told we’re good or shown the way. A simple story about giving kids from Oakland’s toughest neighborhoods a chance to rise above the violence in their communities strangely touched me and compelled me to write. As I do this, I am not that far from Oakland. I have heard enough to tell you that the culture of violence described is not exaggerated. Patients who see me for marijuana permission are happy and delighted they do not have to drive there.
So there are children who grow up in a culture of violence. I see adults. Not too long ago, I was seeing adults for social security evaluations in Los Angeles. Many of them had been caught in crossfire, perhaps shot on their way to the supermarket or even in front of their own homes. They told me they did not know why or by whom, and sometimes they still had bullets in them somewhere. Other times it was just a memory that so overwhelmed them that the quality of their post-traumatic stress disorder was like the sort of thing that you see in Vietnam veterans. Read more on It Takes So Little…
Nobody, but nobody, including a president of the United States, can tell a doctor what to ask about in an assessments.
Assessments are supposed to be in the strictest confidence, for openers. Anything else would be against the rules of medical confidentiality. Patients have a right to be seen alone. The doctor has a right to decide what needs to be said.
I can imagine the 2nd ammendment rights activists bursting a blood vessel if doctors are reqiured to survey patients about the guns they own and how they use them. The requirement to have doctors do this would be — most everyone will agree — anti-American.
This being said, a question about firearms is and should be standard psychiatric practice. When you are dealing with suicidal patients, which happens all too often in psychiatry, and the patient says that he or she is thinking about this, then it is absolutely essential to know if that
Somebody was quoted as saying that gun buyback programs are like trying to empty the Pacific Ocean with a bucket. Yes, this is nuts, and stupid. Most of all, this is the showy crest of a wall of anti-intellectualism that threatens to down our previously mighty country.
People are very excited about gun buyback programs right now. Me, I never owned a gun. Although, some people have told me I should given the dangerous situations I too often turn up in. As I say this, I look down at a scar on the inner aspect of my left elbow. A scar I sustained when a drunk in a northern French emergency room attacked me with a piece of broken glass. It is, of course, paler and harder to find than when a young surgeon colleague came from home to close it with tiny little faerie-like stitches. No guns around, of course. I learned before that scar, early in my French training, that if you owned a gun — and especially if you didn’t feel very secure with it — it was likely to be turned about and used on you. Me. The owner. The “good guy.” Read more on The Cockeyed Logic of Gun Buybacks…
When I lived in Boston, I remember walking by the reflecting pools of the Christian Science Monitor building. My parents said it was a wonderful newspaper but it was somehow “heavy” or scholarly, so they did not want to dig into it every Sunday. Although, they seemed happy to skim the issues I would bring home after my journeys to downtown Boston.
Recently, they ran a piece about how New York is going underwater. Not that New York City is alone; there are plenty of cities that are slowly drowning. There seems to be no sense of urgency whatsoever. On the travel website above, for example, there is only a go-visit-it-before-it-is underwater kind of feeling. I suppose it would be really nice to get some views under your eyelids before they disappear. If nothing else, this situation ought to serve to confirm that global warming is real science and not a political construct. The polar icecaps are melting and sea level communities are sinking. It might sound slow, but it is really quite fast, and things need to be done.
First, we need to applaud Mayor Bloomberg of New York City. Last I heard, he was a Republican, and most Republicans believe that global warming is more Democratic propaganda than science. All these storms upon the earth are sinking us pretty fast. Bloomberg has appointed a commission to look at what this will do to New Yorkers. I don’t necessarily believe that commissions actually work, but he is at least trying to do something. That gets him points in my book. Read more on They Should Only Sink…
Topic: Research Fraud
For someone who has been a part of many clinical trials, I will be the first to admit that I have very little training in research design or statistics. Oh, the hours I’ve spent surreptitiously curled up on the sofa of a doctors’ lounge or my own apartment, thinking that somebody paid somebody a lot of money to write “science” so I could figure out how and why I would know things. It pretty much worked. There were a few mentions of statistics at my delightfully thorough prep school, but there was not so much as a word at medical school. The research types were always hanging around medical school settings — their brains rented and services bought by the medical side of things — as they did not make much money. We did receive some wonderful instruction from clinicians as to how to evaluate research literature and decide how to apply it to our practices.
I have a vivid memory of an endearing shy and spindly instructor during a course required for incipient biologists at Boston University. He had Jewish afro hair, coke bottle bottom glasses, and a more than passing resemblance to a young Woody Allen. Oh, how he despaired that we were mostly going to be money-chain doctors as opposed to truth-chasing scientists. I remember that once, and only once, did he reach fiery intensity in that class. “Nothing will be published unless the probability that it actually shows what it is supposed to show is greater than 19 out of 20, that means p>.05. But nobody wants to admit what that really means.” Oh, how silent we were, on the edge of our chairs. Read more on Research Fraud Isn’t Reported To The Public…
I am happy — really happy — with something the state of California has done. It is a very, very good thing. They have become the first state in the nation to ban therapy that tries to turn gay teens straight. I am armed with subjective histories. My heart, if not my brain, goes to them first. My first private office in California was in San Diego and just happened to be near the center of the alternative lifestyle community of that fine burg. I heard tear-stained stories from gay guys whose parents had “suggested” therapy of this sort. One man, who saw me for treatment of a physical pain syndrome, told me how his parents wanted and believed in a heterosexual son. He cried as he told me about their “Christianity” and their desire for him to father a family. They would even try to encourage him on dates with girls when he felt “less than nothing.” Curiously enough, I remember him as being part of one of the most highly committed and long lasting dyadic relationships I have ever known. He had a loving male partner who brought him to every appointment and waited in the waiting room. When I approach a situation, I do not start with subjective data, however emotional. I look farther.
I know that the searchers of the human genome for markers for homosexuality have come up empty. This seems to mean that homosexuality is probably not genetic. It does not mean it is not biological. Last time I tuned in, people seemed to believe that homosexuality — at least in males — seemed related to stress during pregnancy. I was still back in Europe when I read that the largest number of gay males ever born in a similar set of circumstances were the male children born to women who had been incarcerated in concentration camps. Read more on Good for California! “Straightening Out” Gays Is Now Illegal…