Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Out with the Old 
In with the New

Party Time

Don't Do This.     Or This.

Don't Drive Glutened.   Or Drunk.  Or High.
Make it through the night.
Thanks.

Put your money where your mouth is

A number of gluten-free PWN seem to be getting this excuse from their sleep specialists:  You were misdiagnosed.

I don't think they considered the implications of that strategy- but okay, I'll play that.

1.  If Narcolepsy can be caused by gluten allergy as we believe, well then- you should test for it, doncha think?
2.  If gluten allergy can so easily be mistaken for Narcolepsy as you believe, well then maybe you should test for it and exclude that possiblility before a Narcolepsy diagnosis is determined.

Either way is fine with me.

Wolves Manufacture Sheep

Washington Post is killin it.  Another great article.
Rising painkiller addiction shows drugmakers’ role in shaping medical opinion
Over much of the past decade, the official word on OxyContin was that it rarely posed problems of addiction for patients.  The label on the drug, which was approved by the FDA, said the risks of addiction were “reported to be small.”
...
But according to a Washington Post examination of key scientific papers, a court document and FDA records, many of those claims were developed in studies supported by Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, or other drug manufacturers. In addition, the conclusions they reached were sometimes unsupported by the data, and when the FDA was struggling to come up with an opioid policy, it turned to a panel populated by doctors who had financial relationships with Purdue and other drugmakers.
Cognitively impaired and addicted customers are the very very best kind...
But pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Rest of the Story

This is the most memorable experience I had this year:

A few weeks before the Narcolepsy Network conference they sent out an email asking for volunteers. They asked for PWN to tell their stories on videotape and participation would be first come first served. I replied in nine minutes. Heh. Told them I had a great story.
It took them a while to get back to me, but I did get an appointment for Friday night at 7.

When I got there they made me sign a release saying they could use my footage.  And then they gave me a list of ten questions they would ask, and told me to think about my answers. After a few minutes we went into a side room and I sat on one side of a big conference table with two of them on the other side with the video camera.  Here's my paraphrase of what happened:

-How long have you had narcolepsy?
I've had narcolepsy and sleep disorders all my life, but I wasn't diagnosed until I was 45.

-How do you treat your narcolepsy?
I am a medical librarian and after I was diagnosed I started doing research.  I read that the DQB1-0602 gene is also associated with gluten intolerance.   I went on a gluten-free diet and my symptoms disappeared in three weeks.  Symptoms I had my entire life.  I have been in drug free remission for five years using the diet.  It's extraordinary.

-I see. So how has Narcolepsy Network helped you?
You haven't.  I have been trying for five years.  First I wrote to Dr. Mignot and sent him my research.   Then I contacted everyone on your board, and nobody responded. I spoke to your president Patricia Higgins personally and after telling me she was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance herself, she actively avoided me. I went to the conference last year and handed out information.  I now have dozens of reports of similar results from other narcoleptics.  I keep coming back because I want to find someone who will research this.

-Well thank you very much for your story...
And they turned the camera off and showed me out the door.

I suppose you can guess they haven't contacted me since.

Codified Malpractice

Army mom: Military suicides ‘out of control’
Don't read the article.   It will haunt you.   I just wanted to post this:
William Busbee had numerous drugs, or the metabolites of drugs, in his body after his death. He had prescriptions for some of these drugs from three pharmacies in three states.
Present in the body: Tramadol (pain reliever), bupropion (antidepressant), paroxetine (anti-anxiety), alpha-hydroxyalprazolam (metabolite of alprazolam, anti-anxiety/panic disorder), cannabinoids (marijuana), oxycodone (pain reliever)
Prescribed but not present: Seroquel (schizophrenia/bipolar disorder), Paxil (antidepressant), Prazosin (high blood pressure), clonazepam (anti-anxiety), ondansetron (anti-nausea), cyproheptadine (allergies), Percocet (pain reliever)
Sound familiar?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Zombies of the Year

There are a couple runner ups .  All girls this year.

Third place goes to Lindsay Lohan just for surviving. Geez Louise Woman.

Second place goes to Miley Cyrus for giving up gluten and promptly exhibiting a parade of  manic  behaviors.

But the prize goes to Honey Boo Boo for putting a face on the problem.
I'd Redneckonize those symptoms anywhere...
She shows exactly what is possible if you run into the vortex instead of away.

Congratulations Ladies.
[sigh]

Wouldn't it be Nice

If mental health care were as easy to get as say... antibiotics.

This is Why

U.S. mentally ill and their families face barriers to care

This article makes my head screech at several different frequencies.  The author is concerned about the lack of available treatment.   It's a problem, but until the Quality of that care is drastically altered, it doesn't really matter if those people get treated or not.
Dr. Paul Appelbaum, professor of psychiatry, medicine and law at Columbia University, disagrees, however. "Gun violence is overwhelmingly not about mental illness," he said. "The best estimate is that about 95 percent of gun violence is committed by people who do not have a diagnosis of mental illness."
Yeah, so?   That doesn't mean they don't have one.   That is some pretty strong evidence your system fails to recognize their symptoms.
One lesson of such tragedies, experts say, is that psychiatrists' ability to predict who will be violent "is better than chance, but not much better," said Dr. Marvin Swartz, professor of psychiatry at Duke University.
There you go.   There's some truth.   They add no value whatsoever.
No recall. No precision.

This is not about availability of care or the ability to predict violence.   This is about widespread, systemic malpractice. And a culture of plausible deniability.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bad Librarian

What the hell...   I was surfing medline links and totally forgot to do this search-

Low Vitamin D in Narcolepsy with Cataplexy
This is the first report to investigate vitamin D status in patients with NC. Results show significantly lower 25(OH)D level in European patients with NC compared to age- and gender-matched controls. Vitamin D deficiency was strongly associated with narcolepsy by an odds ratio up to 5-fold, independently of socio-demographic and clinical characteristics.
Did your doctor tell you that?

previous post 

and while I'm at it...    Vitamin D deficiency occurs in 64% of men and 71% of women with celiac disease- even on a gluten-free diet.

Brain Eating Zombies of the Year

It's hard to behave worse than Jazz Pharma.   But I'm going to give it to these guys, since they are the very core of the problem:
The American Dental Association

Dental therapists aim to fill dental-care gap
Dental Therapists are like Physician Assistants.   They can do basic limited procedures like fillings under the supervision of a dentist.  They are trying to get accredited in many states.
The 157,000-member American Dental Association opposes the use of dental therapists, because it conflicts with the group's policy that excludes team members "who work under the guidance or supervision of dentists" from "performing surgical or irreversible procedures," says President Robert Faiella.
In addition, "There's no evidence that using a new workforce model to treat decay will have any impact on the larger (oral health care) problem," he says. The ADA instead favors insurance reforms, community water fluoridation, oral health education and helping people overcome cultural, geographic and language barriers that keep them from getting regular dental care, he says.
I bet they favor insurance reforms.   They want everyone on that reimbursement train.
And fluoridation is nice for teeth, but it doesn't address gum disease which is the primary problem.
And that brings up the fact that I haven't ever seen any reality based oral care information from these people (Brush and Floss!).  I told my dentist about Vitamin D...
And then they blame their clients for the long term results.

The real reason they oppose this model is because they know if people get proper, affordable low level care, they won't require those complicated procedures that dentists need to perform to make their loan payments.  The current system insures inadequate basic care and lots of restorative work.
Practitioners who don't have huge financial obligations don't have that underlying incentive to skew the treatment recommendations that way.

Occasional free dental clinics are merely putting a generous face on the selfish status quo.

There's a reason those people are standing in line overnight:
This "Professional Organization" advocates letting a whole lot of people's heads rot out from the inside so they can keep their money making merry-go-round.

There's an app for that

Food allergies? Check your phone...
Are you allergic to peanuts and worried there might be some in that cookie? Now you can find out using a rather unlikely source: your cell phone. A team of researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has developed a lightweight device called the iTube, which attaches to a common cell phone to detect allergens in food samples. The iTube attachment uses the cell phone's built-in camera, along with an accompanying smart-phone application that runs a test with the same high level of sensitivity a laboratory would.
The iTube platform can test for a variety of allergens, including peanuts, almonds, eggs, gluten and hazelnuts.
Sounds kinda complicated, but I bet it will evolve into something really useful for patients.

One More

More Evidence Vitamin D May Reduce Autism Risk
Children and adolescents living in the United States in states with higher levels of ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure are much less likely to develop autism than their counterparts living in states with lower levels of solar UVB exposure, new research shows.
William Grant, PhD, Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center, San Francisco, California, and John Cannell, MD, Vitamin D Council, San Luis Obispo, California, found that children and adolescents living in states with higher solar UVB doses in summer or autumn had half the rate of autism as their counterparts living in states with the lowest UBV doses.
Population data isn't my favorite, but this sunshine/vitamin D correlation is well documented in other disorders.  The article is good, has other information too.
previous post

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Maniacs of the Year

Behold the power of obsession...

When it is good it is very, very good:

Nik Wallenda  Whose brain told him he could do that, and he believed it.  Effin Ay.

And when it is bad it is horrid:  

Tim Ralston.  A one man plague.  Insanity Squared.

That dastardly inflammation

Inflammation associated with higher risk of depression
Researchers for the study looked at C-reactive protein markers in 73,131 men and women ages 20 to 100 years finding higher risk of psychological distress and depression linked to higher levels of the protein in the bloodstream.
The authors noted higher levels of the inflammatory protein was associated with increased risk for being hospitalized for depression.
The finding means low-grade inflammation might increase a person’s risk of depression and may be an important target for treatment.
C-reactive protein is the product of an immune response. 
This finding is more evidence those people have an illness.
Target the cause, not the effect, please.

The Worst Book in the World

Antidepressants to treat grief? Psychiatry panelists with ties to drug industry say yes
In what some prominent critics have called a bonanza for the drug companies, the American Psychiatric Association this month voted to drop the old warning against diagnosing depression in the bereaved, opening the way for more of them to be diagnosed with major depression — and thus, treated with antidepressants.
The change in the handbook, which could have significant financial implications for the $10 billion U.S. antidepressant market, was developed in large part by people affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry, an examination of financial disclosures shows.
...
Each work group member was allowed to receive as much as $10,000 a year in income from pharmaceutical companies and hold as much as $50,000 in stock. Members could also receive unlimited amounts of money from pharmaceutical companies to conduct research.
Seriously.  All they got is antidepressants.
So they want to sell them to everyone.

It's a long article.  But it's very good.  You should read it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Good One

The Night After Christmas

Things that make me laugh

Britain is well prepared to fight apocalyptic zombie invasion 
In the event of an apocalypse brought about by an army of the undead, civil servants would co-ordinate the military's efforts to "return England to its pre-attack glory", according to a Freedom of Information request that has revealed the country's contingency plans.
The Ministry of Defence would not lead efforts to plan for such a zombie attack or deal with the aftermath because that role rests with the Cabinet Office, which co-ordinates emergency planning for the Government.
Details about the authorities' surprising level of readiness for a zombie onslaught emerged in a response to an inquiry from a member of the public.
Umm, UK darling, the invasion is over- you are already the center of the zombie vortex.   Look closer.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

More like this

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Comfort Dental offers free clinic on Christmas Eve
"Back in 1984, we had a lot of people that had an unmet need...we thought it would be a great thing to do at the same time," said Dr. Neil Norton.
Almost 30 years later, the free clinic is still open every Christmas Eve.
They do this annually in ten states.

See the Pattern

More Evidence Vitamin D Boosts Immune Response
Laboratory-grown gingival cells treated with vitamin D boosted their production of an endogenous antibiotic, and killed more bacteria than untreated cells, according to a paper in the June 2011 issue of the journal Infection and Immunity. The research suggests that vitamin D can help protect the gums from bacterial infections that lead to gingivitis and periodontitis.
Vitamin D Linked to Lower Rates of Tooth Decay
The review, published in the December issue of Nutrition Reviews, encompassed 24 controlled clinical trials, spanning the 1920s to the 1980s, on approximately 3,000 children in several countries. These trials showed that vitamin D was associated with an approximately 50 percent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay.
 Vitamin D May Reduce Respiratory Infection Symptoms
In patients with increased frequency of respiratory tract infections, supplementation with 4000 IU vitamin D3 for 1 year reduced symptoms and antibiotic use.
Vitamin D and Influenza
Recently (2006 and 2008), John Cannell and colleagues have suggested that vitamin D deficiency is a major risk factor for influenza and that vitamin D may be effective in reducing influenza incidence and severity.  In both publications, the authors concluded that physiological doses of vitamin D (5,000 International Units (IU)/day for adults and 1,000 IU/day for every 25 pounds of body weight in children) might reduce the incidence of influenza.
Streptococcal tonsillitis recurrence linked to vitamin D deficiency
These results indicate a link between vitamin D deficiency and the recurrence of Group A Strep infection.  The researchers conclude that "recurrent GAS tonsillopharyngitis in adults could be related to vitamin D levels."
Overweight Kids More Likely to Be Deficient in Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is common in overweight and obese children, especially in severely obese and minority children.
Low vitamin D levels linked to Depression
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center ... It is believed to be the largest such investigation ever undertaken.
Treating Vitamin D Deficiency May Improve Depression 
Women with moderate to severe depression had substantial improvement in their symptoms of depression after they received treatment for their vitamin D deficiency, a (very small) study finds.
follow-up post

Reindeer Games

Rudolph, The Zombie Reindeer-  By Michael Spraedlin
Sung to the tune of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

He ate Dasher, then Dancer,
Then Prancer and Vixen.
He downed Comet and Cupid
And Donner and Blitzen.
Yes, he ate them all, the most
Famous undead reindeer of all:
Rudolph, the zombie reindeer,
Caught the virus through his nose.
And if you ever saw him,
You would even say he’s gross.
All of the other reindeer
Tried real hard to get away.
But they didn’t count on Rudolph
Eating them anyway.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph, with your Zombie blight,
Who’s gonna pull my sleigh tonight?”
Rudolph instead just ate him,
Munching Santa’s brain with glee,
Rudolph, the zombie reindeer,
You changed Christmas history!

related post

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Beautiful Gift

See the Light.  Know Hope.   Dreams Come True.  

I am always extra impressed when High school kids are kind to eachother...

Students fulfill blind classmate's dream of driving   (5:17 video)   get tissues.

World Class Obsession

'I dream in Lego'   (3:45 min video)
How to make a giant advent calendar from building blocks.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I love the Internet

How do you sign “heterogeneous mixture” to a deaf person?
Deaf people are getting together and forming an ASL lexicon for science terminology.
Awesome.

The Guinea Pig Generation

Why Merck's Niacin Failure Will Scare Drug Researchers
This morning, drug researchers and cardiologists were again shocked by a big “everything you thought you knew is wrong” moment. 
This is the second time that niacin, long a mainstay of therapy, has failed to benefit patients in a large clinical trial. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health, called AIM-HIGH, also failed to show a benefit for Niaspan. Cardiologists say the result is likely to mean that the use of niacin will plummet.
 ...
Randy Thomas a preventative cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says: “I don’t think there will be much of a future for niacin.” He is disenchanted with many cholesterol-lowering drugs. The big exception, he says, are statin medications like Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, and Pravachol, most of which are now cheap and generic and have been shown to reduce heart attacks and deaths in big studies, and which are among the most commonly prescribed medicines.There is no doubt that these medicines have a big benefit for heart patients.
“As we delve into the statin therapy there are probably multiple reasons that the statins are so beneficial and lowering [cholesterol] may be just one of the reasons for benefits from statins. Anti-inflammatory effects may be another factor.”
For the record there is no evidence that the cholesterol reducing effects of statins are what make them efficacious.  They also drastically reduce the incidence of common infections.  Infections proven to cause atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Solstice Everyone

Tomorrow is a New Beginning.

Make it through the night.

Quote of the Day

As Atrios Says:
The people who are attracted to the idea of volunteering to stand around all day with a gun at your third grader's school probably shouldn't be doing it.

The Apocalypse is Here

Yo- CDC-  The zombies are here already.   They just don't know it.

All the people who are preparing for the Imminent SuperVirus on this show- the "Preppers"-  exhibit known post-streptococcal autoimmune symptoms. Like OCD.
Imagine that. 

They claim they will kill themselves if they are infected and become zombies.
I doubt that, but really folks, it's not necessary.   Just spend your tattoo money on dentistry, okay?

Update.
Holy Crap.   Guess who's buying those...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Everything old is new again

Speaking of self-injury and immune responses...

Can Tattoos Be Medicinal?  
Colin Dale, a tattooist in Copenhagen, Denmark, has mastered several traditional forms of tattooing. He has personally sewn all of Krutak’s skin-stitches and shares the anthropologist’s interest in medicinal tattoos. Last year, in fact, for the 20th anniversary of the Iceman’s discovery, Dale conducted a small test, tattooing David Schütze, a client plagued by asthma, rheumatism in several of his joints, headaches, tinnitus in his ear and a loud snoring habit, with marks similar to Ötzi’s and in many of the same spots. Dale had an acupuncturist on hand to recommend locations that aligned with certain acupuncture points. After three months time, Schütze reported that just about all of his pains and symptoms had noticeably eased, if not completely disappeared. By a year, some had returned, but nowhere near the original intensity.

previous post

Inflammation is the New Black

Big Thanks to Allyson for this article.   It's pretty good data, although I disagree with the conclusion.

There Might Be A Link Between Inflammation And Suicide Attempts
Previously, scientists had linked suicidal feelings to the kind of bodily inflammation that occurs during illness or stress, but they weren't able to explain how inflammation could translate to depression, hopelessness and a desire to kill oneself.
The new study of 100 Swedish patients finds that the higher the level of quinolinic acid in the spinal fluid, the stronger their desire to commit suicide.
"The sicker the patient, the higher the quinolinic acid," Brundin told LiveScience.
It is a neurotoxin.  But it may or may not produce depression. 

The vast majority of quinolinic acid is produced by immune cells:  microglia and macrophages. This production is increased during an immune response.
High levels of quinolinic acid are a sign of Infection or Allergy.    Those are causes of an immune reaction.
These guys are measuring effects.

This data indicates Depression is caused by an illness.

Happier Holidays

What does Christmas do to your brain?

Mine usually shuts down.   It's very dark here.
Vitamin D3 seems to be helping.   I'm taking 5000 IU daily now, and feel much better.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Worse than Nothing

Antibiotic No Better For Coughs, Uncomplicated Chest Infections Than No Medication
Amoxicillin, the antibiotic doctors often prescribe for persistent coughs caused by uncomplicated chest infections such as bronchitis, is no more effective at easing symptoms than no medication at all, even in older patients. This was the finding of the largest randomised placebo controlled trial of antibiotics for lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) done to date.
...First author Paul Little, Professor of Primary Care Research at Southampton, says in a statement:
"Patients given amoxicillin don't recover much quicker or have significantly fewer symptoms."
In fact, he adds, using amoxicillin to treat patients with respiratory infections who don't have pneumonia could not only be ineffective, but might actually harm them.
"Overuse of antibiotics, which is dominated by primary care prescribing, particularly when they are ineffective, can lead to side effects such as diarrhea, rash, vomiting and the development of resistance," he explains.
Antibiotic use is also associated with alterations in the intestinal microbiota.  They kill off certain strains of bacteria and allow others to proliferate.

Where Medical and Legal Theater Meet

French psychiatrist sentenced after patient commits murder
A French psychiatrist whose patient hacked an elderly man to death was found guilty of manslaughter on Tuesday in a groundbreaking case that could affect the way patients are treated.
A court in Marseilles said Daniele Canarelli, 58, had committed a "grave error" by failing to recognise the public danger posed by Joel Gaillard, her patient of four years.
Breathtaking.  I can't remember a psych ever being held accountable for their work.  Their "professional opinions" always elude scrutiny.

Well how about that

Celiac Disease Linked to Infections Early in Life
The team from Umeå University and Uppsala University found that having three or more infections (reported by parents) increased risk of celiac disease by 50%. Gastroenteritis on its own increased the risk by 80%.
The highest risk was seen for children who had several infections before they were six months old and who also ate large amounts (compared to small/medium amounts) of gluten, soon after gluten was introduced, and if breastfeeding had stopped before the introduction of gluten to the babies’ diet.
They apparently did not track antibiotic use.   I bet that would be significant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Correlation Games

For the record-  I have an incredible tolerance for pain.  Never get anesthetic for minor surgeries.  Never flinch.

Dopamine D1 and D2 receptor activation results in pain suppression.

 A strep antibody which may cause OCD binds to dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in the brain.

My father has Parkinson's and is on dopamine replacement medication-  he falls and injures himself quite often and never notices the wounds. 

Dental Care

Just an observation from the dental cleaning I had today-
The hygienist did a periodontal check.   This involves poking the gumline with a probe to determine the pocket depth.  They probe each tooth in six places.  I have 23 teeth so that's 138 holes she poked into my gums.

And I was not given any antibacterial rinse afterwards.

As oral bacteria have been shown to cause disease if they get in the bloodstream, one would think this would be standard procedure.  Before and after.

I brought my own, but nonetheless am having a wicked immune response.   Shivering like I have a fever.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Compare and Contrast

This is what is possible:

Robotic Arm Controlled by Brain Power
A woman paralyzed from the neck down for 13 years was able to move a prosthetic arm and hand just by thinking after only about 2 days of training, researchers reported.
After 13 weeks with the brain-machine interface, she could reach out and perform tasks 7-dimensionally with the prosthesis successfully 92% of the time.
See previous post.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Medical Theater of the Damned

This site pops up annoying ads, but I just wanted to quote this editorial:

Psychiatry is failing those with personality disorders
If doctors sent patients with angina home with nothing but a prescription for a painkiller to control chest pain, they would be sued for malpractice. Sadly, that is a fitting analogy for what happens all too often to people with personality disorders.
Not "all too often".   Always.
It's not a bug.  It's a feature.
Pretending to treat mental illness has been standard procedure since the beginning of medicine.

Nobody could have predicted

"Nancy told me he was burning himself with a lighter. In the ankles or arms or something," he recalled of a conversation they had about a year ago.  NY Daily News

Self Injury is the hallmark behavior of someone with a psychoactive immune response.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

As I was saying

The 1918 flu pandemic (the "Spanish flu") was an influenza pandemic. It was an unusually deadly and severe pandemic that spread across the world. Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify the geographic origin. Most victims were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks, which predominantly affect juvenile, elderly, or weakened patients. The flu pandemic was implicated in the outbreak of encephalitis lethargica in the 1920s.
,,,
Tissue samples from frozen victims were used to reproduce the virus for study. This research concluded, among other things, that the virus kills through a cytokine storm (overreaction of the body's immune system), which perhaps explains its unusually severe nature and the concentrated age profile of its victims. The strong immune system reactions of young adults ravaged the body, whereas the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults resulted in fewer deaths.
  
Men in their 20's were the most severely affected.

Encephalitis Lethargica seems to be a variant of Narcolepsy, and is associated with strep infection.

Crazy Idea

I am beginning to think there actually might be a zombie pathogen going around.
Some virulent form of strep or maybe a virus that's lowering our bacterial immunity.

All the susceptible people I know are suffering from runny noses and high anxiety this winter.  Friends having breakdowns.   I personally am having panic attacks and ruminating.

It's an impossible hypothesis to test at this point.   And I know it sounds grandiose and self serving.  But if you have been feeling agitated and dark, I recommend doing some basic immune system management.

This

: Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I wish mental health care were as easy to get as, say, a gun.

Good News for Doctors

We’re living longer, but sicker
“The biggest contributor to the global health burden isn’t premature deaths, but chronic diseases, injuries, mental health conditions and all the bone and joint diseases,” said one of the study leaders, Christopher Murray, director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Quote of the Day

“If you want a bunch of zombies and you don’t want to spend a lot of money and make up – you go to Glasgow. They’re all there.”    -Gerard Butler

I got nothin'

My thoughts on mass murderers are here.

Here's a couple articles that aren't so technical.

Why You Should Probably Stop Eating Wheat
A good rundown of all the ways it affects your intestines.

The Invention of an Illness
Fatty liver disease has gone from unknown to pandemic, but does it mean anything?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Worst Book in the World

Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder: The Eleventh DSM-5 Mistake
I wish I could read all of the "DSM-5 Mistakes" articles and I also wish I could go through this article and counter every point- but it really makes my head hurt.

The article he's quoting is a bit older:
Somatic Symptom Disorder could capture millions more under mental health diagnosis 
And quite a bit better.   You should read it.  Narcolepsy is considered a somatic disorder.

The problem is they both still accept the validity of the psychosomatic assumption in certain circumstances and totally miss the fact that ALL psychiatric disorders are Medical Illnesses.  Period. 

In psychology, "medically unexplained"  equals "whatever we decide".
Mind Melting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Low Carb Archaeology

The origins of cheese revealed
Scientists have analysed a collection of pottery fragments, approximately 5000 years old, that are laced with milk fat and believe they provide the earliest evidence of cheesemaking. The researchers suspect early European farmers, who had not developed the biological enzymes to process lactose, turned milk into cheese because it was easier to digest, transport and store. 
 I am surely descended from these people somehow.   Cheese flows through my veins.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wander this World

Feeling Lonely Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia in Later Life
They suggest that loneliness may affect cognition and memory as a result of loss of regular use, or that loneliness could itself be a sign of emerging dementia, and either be a behavioural reaction to impaired cognition or a marker of undetected cellular changes in the brain.
I'm going with the second option.
I'm not real fond of this experiment (lonely is a subjective definition), but it does confirm my experience.
I have always felt alone. It was unbearable when I was young.
It's ironic how the desperation makes one less likely to have friends.
And the cumulative neurological effect is to be unable to cope with people at all.

The reason I am still alive

Caffeinated Coffee May Reduce the Risk of Oral Cancers
People who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day were at about half the risk of death of often-fatal oral cancers compared to those who only occasionally or who never drank coffee.

World Class Obsession

GeekMom Zombie Apocalypse Countdown  - some books for your kids after the apocalypse.
I'm partial to A Zombie’s Guide to the Human Body: Anatomy 101 Taught by a Zombie

See links to the rest of the countdown.  She's got zombie stuff for every possible need.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Zombie Tincture

Zombie Caterpillar Fungus Could Heal Humans
A fungus that attacks caterpillars’ brains could benefit humans.
...
Scientists have found that a chemical in the caterpillar fungus, cordecypin, has anti-inflammatory properties that could lead to the development of new drugs to treat cancer, asthma, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Not bad for a parasitic fungus that turns caterpillars into zombies.
Mmm.  Sounds delicious.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

8 reasons addiction carries a stigma
2. The medical profession fails to treat addicts properly.
Can you think of other situations in which the health care system abdicated responsibility for dealing with a health care issue that afflicts such a huge segment of the population? For far too long, those people who did seek treatment, often following a crisis, found no appropriate reception from the medical community.
Um, Obesity.

And they still fail to treat either one appropriately.   They actually make it worse.
Even if we try, we fail.
Thus your other seven reasons.

Sounds Familiar

How Cat Litter Parasite Toxoplasma Gondii Influences The Brain
In one test tube experiment, they infected human dendritic cells with the parasite. Dendritic cells form the frontline of the immune system, and play a key role in triggering and adapting immune responses. Once infected, the dendritic cells started secreting GABA, a chemical messenger.
In another experiment with live mice, the researchers tracked infected dendritic cells from their initial point of infection to other parts of the brain where they continued to affect the GABA system.
The previous experiment showed increases in dopamine responsiveness.

Higher GABA= Depression
Higher Dopamine= Obsession

That'll mess with your mind.
Uh huh.

Someone to talk to

Expert on Mental Illness Reveals Her Own Fight

I wonder if she would help me put her out of business...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Worst Book in the World

Thinking Clearly About Personality Disorders
Dr. Widiger compares the process of reaching a consensus on personality to the parable of the six blind men from Hindustan, each touching different parts of the elephant. “Everyone’s working independently, and each has their perspective, their own theory,” he said. “It’s a mess.”
They cannot think outside the box.   They are the box.
A big box made of erroneous assumptions.

Friday, December 7, 2012

No kidding

Video games are designed to get you hooked.

That may be true, but an addiction to Farmville is a definite sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder.   That game sucks.
Obsessive Ebay is way better.

Correlation Games

The Season of Renewal and Suicide
Why are people more likely to kill themselves in springtime than during the holidays?
...Some psychiatric researchers believe that climatic factors are responsible for seasonal changes in the suicide rate. Some suggest that sunshine triggers suicidal thoughts, making self-harm more common in months with longer days. Temperature is also a suspect, with one study from South Korea showing a 1.4 percent increase in the suicide rate every time the mercury rises by one degree Celsius. Rain, barometric pressure, and even thunderstorms have been blamed. Although there are studies supporting each of these theories, the data are controversial. For every academic article correlating weather patterns or sunlight to suicide rates, there’s one debunking the claim with competing statistics.
Umm, maybe it's that post-flu effect.

A good question

Is your doctor getting enough sleep?

The current standard for interns is a 30 hour shift.  
What do you think?

You don't say

How a simple infection can trigger cancer
Africa has a particularly high rate of cancers caused by infection. That's the bad news. The good news is, they are - in theory - preventable using vaccines.
But in theory, some of them might be caused by the immune reaction instead.  Antibiotics and vaccines are not the answer to everything.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Things that make me twitch

Erroneous Classification.

New Mental Disorders Added to DSM-5 for Next Year
Skin-picking disorder, hoarding disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder are just a few of the new mental disorders that will be added to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) next year.
These three are all presentations of the same illness, not separate disorders.
All symptoms of infectious/autoimmune induced dopamine stimulation.
Trust me.   I have 37 blue flowered dresses.  And a bad attitude.

"Passionate" Zombies

The Walking Stupid
Long Island man arrested after shooting girlfriend over argument about possibility of zombie apocalypse like one on TV's 'The Walking Dead'.
“He felt very adamant there could be a military mishap that would result in some sort of virus being released that could cause terrible things to happen,” Detective Lt. Raymond Cote said a news conference. “She felt it was ridiculous. He’s passionate about it. And it escalated from there.”
Oh the irony.  If only they knew the bacteria were already in his head.

Zombie Zoology

Deciphering the Tools of Nature’s Zombies
Most of the research on vertebrate zombies has been carried on a single-celled parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. Like thorny-headed worms, it moves between predators and their prey. Toxoplasma reproduces in the guts of cats, which shed it in their feces. Mammals and birds can pick up the parasite, which invade their brain cells and form cysts. When cats eat these infected animals, Toxoplasma completes its cycle. Scientists have found that Toxoplasma-infected rats lose their fear of cat odor — potentially making them easier prey to catch. Glenn McConkey of the University of Leeds and his colleagues have found a possible explanation for how Toxoplasma wreaks this change. It produces an enzyme that speeds the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which influences mammals’ motivation and how they value rewards. Adding extra dopamine might make Toxoplasma’s hosts more curious and less fearful.
Well well well- more dopamine dysregulation.   I hadn't read that before.
That might explain a few people I know.

And dogs can be strep carriers too.

Brought to you by our Sponsor

Obamacare ‘Architect’ Moves on to Pharmaceutical Company
The woman who has been called the “architect of Obamacare” is leaving the White House to join the pharmaceutical industry that is set to benefit hugely from its implementation. Elizabeth Fowler, who was Sen. Max Baucus’ chief health care counsel at the time his finance committee was drawing up the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, will become head of global health policy for Johnson & Johnson’s government affairs and policy group.

Celebrate

Washington State-  The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kitchen Table Medicine

Testing for cervical cancer with vinegar

You should watch this

Sixty Minutes investigation.

Hospitals: The cost of admission
Steve Kroft investigates allegations from doctors that the hospital chain they worked for pressured them to admit patients regardless of their medical needs.
Who says medicine is inefficient?  They can automatically generate a list of every procedure you are approved for, and order them all.   That's very slick.

The Root of the Problem

Could High Insulin Make You Fat? Mouse Study Says Yes
When we eat too much, obesity may develop as a result of chronically high insulin levels, not the other way around. That's according to new evidence in mice reported in the December 4th Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, which challenges the widespread view that rising insulin is a secondary consequence of obesity and insulin resistance. The new study helps to solve this chicken-or-the-egg dilemma by showing that animals with persistently lower insulin stay trim even as they indulge themselves on a high-fat, all-you-can-eat buffet. The findings come as some of the first direct evidence in mammals that circulating insulin itself drives obesity, the researchers say.
Doctors have assumed the opposite of the truth all these decades. 
Assumed you need to reduce your fat intake and eat some more frakkin fruits and vegetables, ya lazy pig.

Not your imagination

Sleep Apnea Causes More Brain Damage In Women
"While there are a great many brain studies done on sleep apnea and the impact on one's health, they have typically focused on men or combined groups of men and women, but we know that obstructive sleep apnea affects women very differently than men," said chief investigator Paul Macey, assistant professor and associate dean of information technology and innovations at the UCLA School of Nursing. "This study revealed that, in fact, women are more affected by sleep apnea than are men and that women with obstructive sleep apnea have more severe brain damage than men suffering from a similar condition." In particular, the study found that women were impacted in the cingulum bundle and the anterior cingulate cortex, areas in the front of the brain involved in decision-making and mood regulation. The women with sleep apnea also showed higher levels of depression and anxiety symptoms, the researchers said.

More misery, more Money

Jazz Pharma Earnings Top Estimates As Xyrem Ramps
As usual, most of Jazz's sales came from its narcolepsy drug Xyrem, which provided 58% of revenue. It also continued to drive growth, rising 64% from Q3 2011.
On the conference call with analysts, Jazz CEO Bruce Cozadd said Xyrem volume rose 9% year over year, so much of the revenue growth was due to price increases. Xyrem is the only drug with U.S. approval for two symptoms of narcolepsy — daytime sleepiness and loss of muscle tone — so Jazz has been able to act like a semi-monopoly, charging tens of thousands of dollars per year for Xyrem
GHB is a drug that is about as easy and cheap to produce as alcohol...
Which explains how they pay for these lawyers:

Ruling Is Victory for Drug Companies in Promoting Medicine
In a case that could have broad ramifications for the pharmaceutical industry, a federal appeals court on Monday threw out the conviction of a sales representative who sold a drug for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The judges said that the ban on so-called off-label marketing violated the representative’s freedom of speech. ... 
The ruling, in United States v. Caronia, involved the conviction of Alfred Caronia, a former sales representative for Orphan Medical, which was later acquired by Jazz Pharmaceutical. Mr. Caronia was selling Xyrem, a drug approved for excessive daytime sleepiness, known as narcolepsy. He was accused of promoting it to doctors as a treatment for insomnia, fibromyalgia and other conditions. He became the target of a federal investigation in 2005 and was caught on an audiotape discussing the unapproved uses of the drug with a doctor who was a government informant. He was convicted by a jury in 2008.
Mr. Caronia appealed the conviction, arguing that his right to free speech under the First Amendment was being illegally restricted. The appellate court decision applies only to the Second Circuit, which comprises New York, Connecticut and Vermont, but some lawyers said that the government was likely to appeal and that the case could find its way to the Supreme Court.
That's your money and tax dollars going to fund the undermining of drug regulation- starting with the dangerous drug that doesn't even address the source of your illness.   It's gobsmacking.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blow your mind

Doctors discover fluid leaking out woman’s nose was from her brain.

and that's not even the shocking part of the story.

Current Events

I'm thinking that Royal Baby is gluten intolerant.    Not happy with Kate's diet.
If it were Harry's kid, I'd be sure.

The Worst Book in the World

DSM-V:  Being transgender is no longer a mental disorder

Arbitrary classification is not science.
In the abscence of evidence of what actually causes transgender identity (or autism and everything else they are changing), neither the original assumption nor the reclassification are based on reality.   It's ALL politics-  territory grabbing and ass covering.

The most appropriate and surely more effective thing to do is to remove all the diagnoses that are based on flying ass monkeys.  But that's all of them.
Treat people for actual medical problems and see what happens.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bwa ha ha ha ha

Now maybe someone will pay attention...

Treating Gum Disease May Treat Erectile Dysfunction

(ooh, that reminds me of this.  that might blowback on ya. snort.
and there must be a zombie reanimation joke in here somewhere too...)

The missing link?

Antibiotics Put Children at Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Their defined study parameters included the following antianaerobic antibiotics: penicillin, amoxicillin, ampicillin, penicillin/β-lactamase inhibitor combinations, tetracyclines, clindamycin, metronidazole, cefoxitin, carbapenems, and oral vancomycin. ... Antibiotic exposure throughout childhood was associated with the development of IBD, but this relationship decreased with increasing age at exposure. That is, the longer doctors waited to give children antibiotics, the more the risk of IBD went down.
Ooh, I've taken almost all of those!! Go figure.

My sister adds-  hard to tell if this is caused by the antibiotics or the illnesses.

previous post

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cha Ching

Hypocretin (orexin) cell transplantation diminishes narcoleptic-like sleep behavior in rats.
The sleep disorder narcolepsy is now considered a neurodegenerative disease because there is a massive loss of neurons containing the neuropeptide, hypocretin/orexin (HCRT), and because narcoleptic patients have very low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of HCRT. Studies in animal models of narcolepsy have shown the neurophysiological role of the HCRT system in the development of this disease. For example, the injection of the neurotoxin named hypocretin-2-saporin (HCRT2/SAP) into the lateral hypothalamus (LH) destroys the HCRT neurons, diminishes the contents of HCRT in the CSF and induces narcoleptic-like behaviour in rats. Transplants of various cell types have been used to induce recovery in a variety of neurodegenerative animal models. In models such as Parkinson disease, cell survival has been shown to be small but satisfactory. Similarly, cell transplantation could be employed to implant grafts of HCRT cells into the LH or even other brain regions to treat narcolepsy. Here, we reported for the first time that transplantation of HCRT neurons into the LH of HCRT2/SAP lesioned rats diminishes narcoleptic-like sleep behaviour. Therefore, cell transplantation may provide an effective method to increase HCRT production within the narcoleptic brain.
 Y'all can ignore me now.   Eat pastry and dream of your brain transplant...

World Class Obsession

The Autism Advantage

Over my head

Sleep Duration Affects Hunger Differently in Men and Women
The study, appearing in the November issue of the journal Sleep, tracked the sleep duration, glucose dysregulation, and hormonal regulation of appetite in 27 normal weight, 30- to 45-year-old men and women. Participants provided fasting blood draws, and they were studied under two sleep conditions: Short (4 hours) or habitual (9 hours). Short sleep increased total ghrelin levels in men but not women and reduced GLP-1 levels in women but not in men, a sex difference that has not been reported before. The results suggest that the common susceptibility to overeat during short sleep is related to increased appetite in men and reduced feelings of fullness in women.
Not sure exactly what this means, but there seem to be significant metabolic differences between male and female narcoleptics.   Maybe one of you biochemists can understand it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I have decided

If the world is going to end, I really might as well buy that new bedroom furniture.  I might not get another chance...

Another cuppa

The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like

It is also antibacterial and prevents dental disease. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Root of the Problem

A Hospital War Reflects a Bind for Doctors in the U.S.
With fewer providers competing more aggressively for health care business, doctors who sell their practices are feeling pressed to meet financial targets. 
...
Boise’s experience reflects a growing national trend toward consolidation. Across the country, doctors who sold their practices and signed on as employees have similar criticisms. In lawsuits and interviews, they describe growing pressure to meet the financial goals of their new employers — often by performing unnecessary tests and procedures or by admitting patients who do not need a hospital stay.
It's about reimbursement, not medicine.

It's the Sugar, Stupid

Diabetics With Cancer Dangerously Ignore Blood Sugar
When people with Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed with cancer -- a disease for which they are at higher risk -- they ignore their diabetes care to focus on cancer treatment, according to new research. But uncontrolled high blood sugar is more likely to kill them and impairs their immune system's ability to fight cancer.
Not to mention it impairs decision making.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Honestly...

Dumb Criminal of the Week: The Job Candidate Who Told the FBI about His Child Porn Stash

Rigorous Righteousness.  The illusion of competence.

Okay,  that's enough insanity for today.   I gotta get off the internet or my head will explode.

The Circle of Insanity

Military contemplates prosecuting troops who attempt suicide

[speechless]

Crazy Making

Behold the power of dopamine.

French court upholds GSK Parkinson's drug ruling
A French appeals court Wednesday upheld a ruling ordering pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to pay 197,000 euros to a man who claimed that its drug to treat Parkinson's turned him into a gay sex and gambling addict.
This drug doesn't kill people.   It makes them want to die.
It causes obsessive behavior and suicidal ideation.   Not to mention compulsive lying.
It's insanity in a pill.
It's a freakin nightmare.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Behold

Wow.   It's so hard to tell if he's gone over the edge or not...

A real urine sample might provide some answers, though.

That's Crazy

One in Five U.S. Adults Experienced Mental Illness in the Past Year
The rate of mental illness was more than twice as high among those aged 18 to 25 (29.8 percent) than among those aged 50 and older (14.3 percent), the report said. Adult women also were more likely than men to have had mental illness in the past year (23.0 percent versus 15.9 percent), it said.
Mental illness among adults aged 18 or older is defined as having had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) in the past year.

Zombie Jellyfish

Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?
A species that can transform itself back to a polyp at any time appears to debunk the most fundamental law of the natural world — you are born, and then you die.
...
We also know that, in recent decades, the immortal jellyfish has rapidly spread throughout the world’s oceans in what Maria Pia Miglietta, a biology professor at Notre Dame, calls “a silent invasion.” The jellyfish has been “hitchhiking” on cargo ships that use seawater for ballast. Turritopsis has now been observed not only in the Mediterranean but also off the coasts of Panama, Spain, Florida and Japan. The jellyfish seems able to survive, and proliferate, in every ocean in the world. It is possible to imagine a distant future in which most other species of life are extinct but the ocean will consist overwhelmingly of immortal jellyfish, a great gelatin consciousness everlasting. 
A real medical mystery.  Fascinating.

Up Late

Fighting the demons.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A view of the vortex

I recently offered a very sick narcoleptic man $1000 to quit eating gluten for a month.
He refused.

(sorry no, this offer is not available to everyone)

How about that

Vitamin D Linked to Lower Rates of Tooth Decay
The review, published in the December issue of Nutrition Reviews, encompassed 24 controlled clinical trials, spanning the 1920s to the 1980s, on approximately 3,000 children in several countries. These trials showed that vitamin D was associated with an approximately 50 percent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay.

Going Backward

Why finding new uses for old drugs is a growing business
'Repurposing' drugs for different ailments is cheaper than testing new ones, and small biotech firms are taking advantage.

Yeah, so?

Fast Cycling Benefits Parkinson's Patients
Cycling on stationary bikes may benefit people with Parkinson's disease, especially if they cycle hard and fast. This was the finding of a new study presented this week at a scientific meeting in the US, that describes how researchers found cycling, especially at rates above what patients would choose for themselves, appeared to make regions of the brain that deal with movement connect to each other more effectively.
Vigorous exercise lowers blood sugar and improves brain function.

My father has proven this can easily be counteracted with chocolate, peanuts and beer.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Brain Eating Zombie of the Day

Dr Alex Dregan

Smoking 'rots' brain, says study
The results showed that the overall risk of a heart attack or stroke was "significantly associated with cognitive decline" with those at the highest risk showing the greatest decline.  It also said there was a "consistent association" between smoking and lower scores in the tests.
This is a pathetic article.   All of these things have been studied in great detail.   There is absolutely no need for a bunch of sweeping generalizations.
Correlation does not imply causation.   Say it Again.  And again.

Nicotine is well documented to improve function in the frontal cortex.  People smoke because their brain is not functioning properly- not the other way around.   Nicotine use is a sign of pre-existing brain impairment.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

This is Why















Because I wanted to know what happened to this happy little girl.
How she could turn out so bitter and twisted.
That was when I was nineteen.

This is Why

Because my father's doctors are going to kill him.
And he is going to comply.

It's a freakin nightmare.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sounds about Right

Need a Lot of Sleep? An Antidote for Hypersomnia 
Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have discovered that dozens of adults with an elevated need for sleep have a substance in their cerebrospinal fluid that acts like a sleeping pill.
...
The paper describes how samples of patients' cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contain a substance that enhances the effects of the brain chemical GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid). GABA is one of the main inhibitory chemicals of the nervous system -- alcohol, barbituates and benzodiazepines all enhance the effects of GABA. In the laboratory, the size of the effect on GABA receptor function is more than twice as large in the hyper-sleepy patients, on average, than in control samples. "In some of the more severely affected patients, we estimated the magnitude of the GABA-enhancing effect as nearly equivalent to that expected for someone receiving sedation for outpatient colonoscopy," Rye says. "This is a level of impaired consciousness that many subjects had to combat on almost a daily basis in order to live their usual lives."
Well, this probably partially explains the effect of Xyrem.   It's a GABA blocker.

But I'll bet a thousand dollars whatever it is, it's related to gluten.  Either opioids or antibodies or insulin metabolism.  Been there, done that.

Update:  Cha ching.  I'm putting my money on insulin.  It seems to magnify the effects of GABA.
And for the record, I wrote to Dr. Rye and told him to look it up.

Old Song of the Day

Happy Hangover Everyone.

True Love

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Low Carb Options

Tee hee.

Happy Narcolepsy Day!

Somebody eat some mashed potatoes for me.  I made other plans.

I am thankful you're all still alive.
I assume if you're reading this you're still alive, anyway.

Be grateful.
And know hope.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

You don't say

ADHD Drugs Help Curb Criminal Behavior
Older teens and adults with attention deficit disorder are much less likely to commit a crime while on ADHD medication, a provocative study from Sweden found. It also showed in dramatic fashion how much more prone people with ADHD are to break the law — four to seven times more likely than others.
The findings suggest that Ritalin, Adderall and other drugs that curb hyperactivity and boost attention remain important beyond the school-age years and that wider use of these medications in older patients might help curb crime.
"There definitely is a perception that it's a disease of childhood and you outgrow your need for medicines," said Dr. William Cooper, a pediatrics and preventive medicine professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. "We're beginning to understand that ADHD is a condition for many people that really lasts throughout their life."
Huh. Impulse control disorders cause impulse control problems. Huh.

Gluten Free Sadness

Drat.  I really like their brown rice pasta. And I liked the company.  Tragic.

A Family Farm’s Crisis: Its Rice Contains Arsenic
Lundberg Family Farms grows rice in Richvale, Calif., about 70 miles north of Sacramento. It has 225 employees and 5,000 acres of farmland, and it contracts with about 40 other family farms to grow rice on 12,000 acres throughout the Sacramento Valley. It sells 17 varieties of rice and more than 150 products made from rice, and it produces more than $50 million in annual revenue.
In mid-September, Consumer Reports published the results of independent lab tests that found inorganic arsenic, a carcinogen, in rice and many rice products. This came on the heels of a study by Dartmouth, released in February, that showed inorganic arsenic in brown rice syrup. Tim Schultz, 51, part of the third generation of Lundberg Farms’s family owners, said the company’s response was evolving. Because there is no federal safe standard for inorganic arsenic in food, Lundberg has struggled to make sense of the information for its customers, who greeted the news with panic.
Although the government regulates the amount of inorganic arsenic in drinking water, there are no standards for food. “The jury is still out on what levels may cause health problems,” Mr. Schultz said, “but the federal standard for drinking water is 10 parts per billion. Tests on our rice show 95 parts per billion.” Consumer Reports’ tests found levels in rice ranging from about 24 to 214 parts per billion.

Reality Based Medicine

OB/GYNs Endorse Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pills
Such a move could reduce the high rate of unintended pregnancies in the U.S., doctors' group says.
Acyclovir and Metformin should be dispensed over the counter too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Microbial Whak-a-Mole

As I was saying-

Influenza Curbs Part of Immune System and Abets Bacterial Infections
When infected with influenza, the body becomes an easy target for bacteria. The flu virus alters the host's immune system and compromises its capacity to effectively fight off bacterial infections. Now, a team of immunologists at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and cooperation partners has discovered that an immune system molecule called TLR7 is partly to blame. The molecule recognizes the viral genome -- and then signals scavenger cells of the immune system to ingest fewer bacteria.
previous post

Sunday, November 18, 2012

More Fruits and Vegetables!

Diabetes rates rise dramatically, CDC reports
Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual phone survey of adults 18 and older, the investigators found that overall, the median prevalence of diagnosed diabetes went up from 4.5% in 1995 to 8.2% in 2010.
...
All told, rates increased 50% or more in 42 states, and 100% or more in 18 states. The largest increases were in Oklahoma (up 226%,) Kentucky (158%,) Georgia (145%,) Alabama (140%,) and Washington (135%.)

Despite all these studies and dire predictions, the fact that this is happening only proves there is no real incentive to solve this very simple problem.
Lap bands, insulin pumps, glucose meters- it's a freakin goldmine for the medical industry.

Interesting

Research shows gamers are better virtual surgeons than residents
The study used machines that replicate surgical procedures — suturing, passing off needles and other tasks. The participants' competency was based on such things as how much tension was placed on the instruments and hand eye coordination.
In addition to the gamer group doing better, there was an interesting finding among their subset. This group had been composed of high school students who played two hours a day and college students who played four. It turns out the high school students did the best.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tweet of the Day

“Deranged people eating other people's faces, now Twinkies will disappear. Start working on your cardio because Zombieland is happening now.” - @DaveLozo
ht Examiner.com

Crazy Ideas

Denise sent me this link.   It has lots of interesting stuff in it.

The Insanity Virus
Schizophrenia has long been blamed on bad genes or even bad parents. Wrong, says a growing group of psychiatrists. The real culprit, they claim, is a virus that lives entwined in every person's DNA. 
I'm not sure of that, but I do approve of the infection/autoimmune theory in general...

If you get to the end of the article, they conclude this:
One might expect that the disease would be associated with genes controlling our synapses or neurotransmitters. Three major studies published last year in the journal Nature tell a different story. They instead implicate immune genes called human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), which are central to our body’s ability to detect invading pathogens. “That makes a lot of sense,” Yolken says. “The response to an infectious agent may be why person A gets schizophrenia and person B doesn’t.”

Unintended Consequences

Antibiotic resistance 'big threat to health'
Resistance to antibiotics is one of the greatest threats to modern health, experts say.
The warning from England's chief medical officer and the Health Protection Agency comes amid reports of growing problems with resistant strains of bugs such as E. coli and gonorrhoea. They said many antibiotics were being used unnecessarily for mild infections, helping to create resistance.
The antibiotic resistant strains are only part of the story.  As I have said before- doctors have created subclinical strains of these pathogens by their indiscriminate use of these drugs.  Strains they do not detect with their tests.   Strains that still make us sick. 
Their solution for acute illness has created chronic illness instead.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Bright Side of Brain Damage

Rappers' Brains: Relaxed 'Executive Function' May Enable Freestyle Raps
The results parallel previous imaging studies in which Braun and Charles Limb, a doctor and musician at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, looked at fMRI scans from jazz musicians. Both sets of artists showed lower activity in part of their frontal lobes called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during improvisation, and increased activity in another area, called the medial prefrontal cortex. The areas that were found to be ‘deactivated’ are associated with regulating other brain functions.
Suppressed frontal cortex.  
Enhanced medial cortex.    

Very easily induced by-
Orexin deficiency.
Dopamine mimicry.
 
For the record, I do not feel like I "wrote" either one of my websites.   They were completely done in my head before I even started typing.   I just transcribed what was there.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Definition of the Day

Intellectual Zombies — beliefs and concepts that have been killed by evidence but that keep shambling forward nonetheless, trying to eat our brains.   -Paul Krugman

Monday, November 12, 2012

Things that make me Dance

Dopamine Agonists.
Antibodies to surface dopamine-2 receptor in autoimmune movement and psychiatric disorders. 
Various antibodies to dopamine receptors have been found and specific types are associated with specific disorders.  Booyah.

Here's a very good review article on the current strep autoimmune hypotheses.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lies of Omission

Funny, the American Heart Association didn't announce this at their conference.

Beta blockers are busted 
The 20 or so beta blockers now on the market are very widely used - almost 200 million prescriptions were written for them in the US in 2010. They are standard issue for most people with heart disease or high blood pressure. This may now change.
A large study published last month in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that beta blockers did not prolong the lives of patients - a revelation that must have left many cardiologists shaking their heads (JAMA, vol 308, p 1340).
The researchers followed almost 45,000 heart patients over three-and-a-half years and found that beta blockers did not reduce the risk of heart attacks, deaths from heart attacks, or stroke.
While this is not definitive, it's pretty damning, especially when another study - published just days earlier - found pretty much the same thing (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, vol 60, p 1854).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Have a Good Weekend!

Hundreds of pot cases dismissed
King and Pierce County prosecutors are dismissing more than 220 misdemeanor marijuana cases in response to Tuesday’s vote to decriminalize small amounts of pot.
In King County, 175 cases are being dismissed involving people 21 and older and possession of one ounce or less. I-502 makes one ounce of marijuana legal on Dec. 6, but King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg decided to apply I-502 retroactively.
“Although the effective date of I-502 is not until December 6, there is no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month.”
What a week that was.

Mary Todd Lincoln suffered from Narcolepsy















It's all there.
Sleep problems- nightmares and vivid dreams, hallucinations
Mood problems-  major depression, obsession, tantrums
Endocrine problems- short, obese.
Obvious dental symptoms.
Surely one of us.

The Circle of Insanity

Whiner of the Year.  

Anders Behring Breivik's prison conditions 'inhumane'
Anders Behring Breivik complained in a letter to the prison service that his coffee is served cold, he does not have enough butter for his bread, and he is not allowed moisturiser.
Breivik is serving a minimum 21-year sentence for the bombings and shootings in Oslo and Utoeya island last July.
The Norwegian authorities have not commented on the letter.
However his lawyer has confirmed that the details of the 27-page document leaked to Norway's VG newspaper are authentic.
Behold the power of dopamine.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gluten Free Giving

Doughnuts Pay for Man's Prosthetic Legs

His web page is here.

Correlation Games

Earlobe creases linked to heart attacks, and other questionable study findings
I have seen that article everywhere, and she does a good job of debunking it.

But I would like to point out that all of these things are symptoms of infections known to cause heart disease.   The AHA knows that heart disease is caused by periodontal infection and is doing everything in their power to obfuscate and divert attention away from that simple information their Pharma Industry Donors don't want you to know.

This is a dubious study and yet there is a reason they are publicizing it at their conference.
It is sufficiently vague to get a lot of people in to see a doctor and get some "testing".

Brain Eating Zombie of the Day

Leonard Martin

Gargling Sugar Water Boosts Self-Control, Study Finds
According to a study co-authored by University of Georgia professor of psychology Leonard Martin ... a mouth rinse with glucose improves self-control.
...Half of the students rinsed their mouths with lemonade sweetened with sugar while performing the Stroop test, the other half with Splenda-sweetened lemonade. Students who rinsed with sugar, rather than artificial sweetener, were significantly faster at responding to the color rather than the word.
..."Researchers used to think you had to drink the glucose and get it into your body to give you the energy to (have) self control," Martin said. "After this trial, it seems that glucose stimulates the simple carbohydrate sensors on the tongue. This, in turn, signals the motivational centers of the brain where our self-related goals are represented. These signals tell your body to pay attention."
Holy Crap.
This nonsense is going to be picked up on every news outlet on the planet.
There is nothing sugar addicts would rather hear.

Sugar sweetened lemonade.   The perfect bacterial trigger.
This experiment is measuring strep induced immune response, not glucose sensing.

And I especially like they way he warps "attention" into ''self-control".   They are not the same thing.
Trust me, I have no self control when my attention (read: obsession) gets too high.    

If he did his experiment using kids from Georgia-  he needs to do it again.
And remove all the students with gum disease.
I wonder if there will be enough left to test...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

But of Course

Health-Care Law Spurs a Shift to Part-Time Workers 
Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week. That is the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty starting at $2,000 for each worker. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Old Song of the Day

It's a good day for the forces of sanity.

Quote of the Day

“I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was doing the right thing.”
-Staff Sgt. Robert Bales

Bad Habits

Unholy Obsession.
Gambling-addicted NY nun stole $128,000
A nun with a gambling addiction was accused of stealing $128,000 from two rural parishes where she worked.
Sister Mary Anne Rapp was treated for a gambling addiction and is in recovery, her order said Monday, but she still faces a criminal charge of grand larceny following the thefts from the St. Mary and St. Mark congregations. She was expected to plead not guilty at an initial appearance in Kendall Town Court on Monday evening.
...Wyss said the order does not condone the conduct but continues to pray for Sister Mary Anne as she deals with her addiction.
As I said before, impulse control problems permeate every segment of society.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Go Figure

GAO: Doctors' 'self-referrals' cost Medicare more than $100M
In 2010, doctors who self-referred made 400,000 more referrals than they would have if they didn't have a financial interest in ordering more tests, GAO said. The added referrals cost Medicare roughly $109 million. GAO examined doctors' referrals for MRIs and CT scans over a six-year period. The number of self-referrals for MRIs grew by 80 percent in that time, while non-self referrals grew by only 12 percent, GAO found.
Unnecessary referrals for some tests can be harmful to patients, not just the Medicare program. Tests that use radiation — including CT scans — can increase the risk of cancer.

Sorry State of the Union

Increase Seen in U.S. Suicide Rate Since Recession
The rate of suicide in the United States rose sharply during the first few years since the start of the recession, a new analysis has found.
In the report, which appeared Sunday on the Web site of The Lancet, a medical journal, researchers found that the rate between 2008 and 2010 increased four times faster than it did in the eight years before the recession.
They correlate it to unemployment.
Which I link to less protein and less dental care.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Money for Nothing

MS drug 'rebranded' – at up to 20 times the price
A pharmaceutical company stands accused of putting profit before patients after withdrawing a drug used in the treatment of a chronic debilitating disease – ahead of relaunching it at a price predicted to be up to 20 times higher.
That's some pretty expensive lipstick on that old pig.

Reminds me of why I hate pharmas-  The CFO of my company came and gave a budget talk.   He said we were dumping millions of dollars every year into finding a treatment for Septicemia-  a deadly infection you usually get in a hospital-  because if we did find one-   "We will be able to charge anything we want for it".   He actually said that out loud in front of a lot of people.  He suggested TWENTY THOUSAND dollars per dose.   To survive an infection the doctor gave you...

Your money or your life.   That's their business model.

(for the record, I ran to the bathroom and cried and vomited.  And promptly went on a three week sabbatical.  And then I gave my notice.)