Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Root of the Problem

Senator Defends The Doctors' Cartel

Heads I win, Tails you lose.

Well of course

Are Medical Providers Jacking Up Prices Just Because They Can?

Some pretty shocking activity documented in there.

It is no longer about providing quality care.
It's about maximizing revenue.
It is about providing as many services as can be approved and extracting money every step of the way.

From sick, vulnerable people, of course.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yes, Please

I would like some more orexin cells, sir.  

Weight Struggles? Blame New Neurons in Your Hypothalamus
The idea that the brain is still forming new nerve cells, or neurons, into adulthood has become well-established over the past several decades, says study leader Seth Blackshaw, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. However, he adds, researchers had previously thought that this process, called neurogenesis, only occurs in two brain areas: the hippocampus, involved in memory, and the olfactory bulb, involved in smell.
More recent research suggests that a third area, the hypothalamus -- associated with a variety of bodily functions, including sleep, body temperature, hunger and thirst -- also produces new neurons.

I don't think this works they way they say it does.   But the fact that neurogenesis occurs in the hypothalamus is really good news.   As good as it gets.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I get it now

American Express launches FarmVille rewards card
Cardholders can earn "Farm Cash" rewards for various activities, including purchases made with their FarmVille cards at merchants. Those rewards can then be used to buy more "virtual goods," such as a tractor or a horse, within the FarmVille game, where players plant crops to grow their farms.
The goal is just to suck the lives right out of us.
Hotwire the amygdala straight to the bank account. 
Kinda like drug dealers.   Or casinos.  Feed on the souls of the defenseless.
Commendable corporate values.

This is Why

Ode to My Best Friend -- Mary Richardson Kennedy
They had four fabulous children, to whom Mary was absolutely devoted. She took parenting classes to be a better mother, and then she started teaching parenting classes herself. Conor was her prince and white knight. She brought him to the Emergency room two dozen times in his first few years because he suffered from food allergies, and she co-founded and raised millions for the Food Allergy Initiative in order to protect him and other children.
Because we are prisoners of what doctors do not see.
Rest in Peace, dear woman.
I'm so sorry.  I didn't know...

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Circle of Insanity

Genetically modified wheat trial at Rothamsted vandalised

Violence against wheat.
I could ruminate on that irony all day.

Less is More

Don’t Blame Consumption for Costs

This analysis shows what we all are experiencing- we are using less health care and it is still more expensive.

More Fruits and Vegetables!

Nearly a quarter of teens diabetic or prediabetic
Now, yet more evidence that children’s health is in dire need of attention: A new study released today shows that almost a quarter of teens have diabetes or prediabetes.
That’s up from 9 percent a decade ago, according to a study in the June 2012 issue of Pediatrics, published online today.
There is a real medical media push on obesity right now.  The whole "Weight of the Nation" nonsense and all.  And this is the perverse strategy: they are actually using their own disastrous results to expand the number of patients recommended for testing, drugs and surgery.  I need a shorthand method for the future to denote all these articles as-   Same Crap, Different Day.

SSDD, okay?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Guinea Pig Generation

All baby boomers should be tested for hepatitis C
The federal government Friday called for all baby boomers to be tested for hepatitis C, which kills more Americans each year than AIDS and is the leading reason for liver transplants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made the draft recommendation in an effort to find hundreds of thousands of people who have the infection but don't know it.
So, what you're saying is that doctors haven't been diagnosing common infectious diseases?
Imagine that.

Up late

Know Hope

Friday, May 18, 2012

Not their Imagination either

Marijuana may ease multiple sclerosis symptoms
People with multiple sclerosis have long said that smoking marijuana helps ease their painful muscle cramping. And a new clinical trial suggests they are not just blowing smoke.
Overall, the study found, measures of spasticity dropped an average of three points --about 30 percent -- on a 24-point scale when patients smoked marijuana, but didn't change after they smoked the placebo.
Yo doctors. When we tell you there are things that affect our symptoms- You Should Listen.
We notice these things because they work. We can actually feel it. Without your frakking tests to tell us so.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brain Eating Zombie of the Day

Prof Colin Baigent
NHS 'should consider giving statins to healthy people'
He calculates that lowering the threshold for prescribing statins to a 10% risk of cardiovascular disease within a decade would lead to five million more people taking the drugs. This in turn would save 2,000 lives and prevent 10,000 heart attacks or strokes every year, he said. Prof Baigent said: "Half of [these] deaths come out of the blue in people who were previously healthy".
If half of the deaths come from out of the blue- then your assumptions about causality are wrong.
Otherwise you would be able to predict them...
"If we are going to prevent that half of cardiac or stroke deaths, then we've got to consider treating healthy people. It can't be done any other way."
Wanna bet?
I'll bet you a thousand dollars there's something you're overlooking.
And your righteous certainty is a pretty good indication it's right under your nose.

(Goodness sakes alive, they're English... )

As I was saying

Narcolepsy with cataplexy masked by the use of nicotine.
(abstract only) 
This report describes a case of narcolepsy with cataplexy masked by the chronic use of cigarettes and nicotine patches. It has been described that narcoleptic smokers report relief of symptoms by smoking tobacco cigarettes.1 In addition, a case describing partial treatment of sleepiness using a nicotine patch in an adolescent with narcolepsy was recently reported in this journal.2 Our case adds to the growing literature that nicotine may be used to manage symptoms associated with narcolepsy.
Thanks for the case study. 
But nicotine can't be patented.   Nobody will pay for this experiment.

Good Morning

My kind of Science
Study suggests lower death risk for coffee lovers 
Older people who reported drinking a few daily cups of coffee were less likely to die over the subsequent 14 years than were those who abstained from the beverage or rarely drank it, according to a US study of 400,000 people. In particular, coffee was tied to a lower risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, infections, injuries and accidents, the researchers said in a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Yeah yeah, this is a correlation study.   But these things are already known:
Coffee is antibacterial.  Caffeine is safe.

Everyone's gotta believe in something.   I believe I'll have another cuppa coffee.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Just a small Quibble

This Is Your Brain On Sugar
A new UCLA rat study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning -- and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption.
Fascinating Results.  But is there some reason why this experiment wasn't done fifty years ago??
(Maybe you guys were busy measuring the effects of maternal attachment or something.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

See the Pattern

Groundbreaking $100M study aims to stop Alzheimer's before it starts
In a highly unusual move, researchers will focus this clinical trial on patients near Medellin, Colombia. Hundreds of people in one extended family were born with the genetic flaw that makes it certain they will contract Alzheimer's by the age of 50. The patients will get shots of the leading experimental Alzheimer's drug called Crenezumab to target what most scientists think is the root cause of disease: the buildup, deep in the brain, of the toxic amyloid protein. If the family members get no buildup of the protein, scientists hope they won't develop Alzheimer's.
The buildup of amyloid probably causes the symptoms (that's not certain though).  The cause of the buildup is a fundamentally different problem...

If they do succeed in preventing the symptoms, they will be able to sell their drug and avoid determining the cause indefinitely.

Brain Eating Zombie of the Day

Carson Chow
Boldly perpetuating the status quo.

A Mathematical Challenge to Obesity
Did you ever solve the question posed to you when you were first hired — what caused the obesity epidemic?

We think so. And it’s something very simple, very obvious, something that few want to hear: The epidemic was caused by the overproduction of food in the United States.
Beginning in the 1970s, there was a change in national agricultural policy. Instead of the government paying farmers not to engage in full production, as was the practice, they were encouraged to grow as much food as they could. At the same time, technological changes and the “green revolution” made our farms much more productive. The price of food plummeted, while the number of calories available to the average American grew by about 1,000 a day.

Well, what do people do when there is extra food around? They eat it! This, of course, is a tremendously controversial idea. However, the model shows that increase in food more than explains the increase in weight.
That is not controversial- it's hogwash. This is endocrinology, not economics.
Binge eating is not enjoyable.
And women do not get fat if they can avoid it.
Please explain your data in the light of decades of diet advice and weight-loss obsession.

Due to the same influence of agribusiness on government- at the same time this glucose-industrial explosion was happening, the FDA started telling people to eat less fat and more carbs. The 'unintended' consequence of this is to cause hypoglycemia in individuals predisposed to obesity.  Insulin dysregulation and the resultant food cravings explain our population's extra caloric intake and increasing weight, not supply and demand.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Walking Dead

One third of Americans sleepwalk
Although only a handful of people in the United States sleepwalk every year, a new study suggests close to one-third may do it at some point in their lives.
That's actually higher than I would have guessed.  I suppose their criteria might not be as rigorous as mine (walking while in REM sleep).
This is interesting:
Participants on antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors seemed to have a higher risk for sleepwalking, but the researchers said this could be explained by the conditions those drugs treat. Both major depression and OCD were also linked to sleepwalking.
Then again, maybe those people actually have sleep disorders and their medicine isn't helping...

I started screamwalking when I was 5.   When I was 9 they gave me an EEG, phenobarbitol and told me I'd grow out of it.   I did stop walking when I was about 13.   But by then the narcolepsy was well established...


I am beginning to believe this is how Narcolepsy progresses-

Low level gluten intolerance makes kids susceptible to infection.
The ones who are prone to strep infections start getting them around school time.
By the time they are 8 or 9-  they get treated with antibiotics.
Which kills off the the intestinal flora and makes the gluten allergy worse.
And probably creates a resistant population of strep in that individual.

Please tell me if that sounds familiar.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Zombie Mommies

How Motherhood Changes the Brain

I've never had this particular experience, but my belief is that all women have constantly changing brain physiology.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Brain Eating Zombie of the Day

“The biggest problem in all of psychiatry is untreated illness, and that has huge social costs.”
-Dr. James H. Scully Jr., chief executive of the American Psychiatric Association.  NYT
I don't think I can convey how much I love this quote-
I believe it embodies every psychological fallacy in sixteen words.
It's epic.

Crazy People

World Class Obsession. 
Surfer catches 'biggest wave ever' off Portugal (+video)

When it is good it is very very good
But when it is bad it is horrid.

Richard Mourdock and Keith Judd vs. Washington

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cha Ching

Maternal Antibodies to Gluten Linked to Schizophrenia Risk in Children
Children born to mothers with abnormally high levels of antibodies to the wheat protein gluten had nearly twice the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life, compared with children who had normal levels of gluten antibodies. The link persisted even after researchers accounted for other factors known to increase schizophrenia risk, including maternal age, gestational age, mode of delivery and the mother's immigration status. The risk for psychiatric disorders was not increased among those with elevated levels of antibodies to milk protein.
Wowie wow wow wow.
My ability to remain conscious at this moment is breathtaking...
That data is enough to make a crazy lady swoon.

IgG gluten antibodies in fetal blood.  Associated with twice the risk of mental illness.
That indicates there might be only one other factor required...
Hmmm.   I wonder what it could be?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cancer is Contagious

That is the opposite of what I was told most of my life.

One in six cancers worldwide are caused by infection
One in six cancers - two million a year globally - are caused by largely treatable or preventable infections, new estimates suggest.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases review, which looked at incidence rates for 27 cancers in 184 countries, found four main infections are responsible.
These four - human papillomaviruses, Helicobacter pylori and hepatitis B and C viruses - account for 1.9m cases of cervical, gut and liver cancers.
This data is quite compelling.
And yet, there are even more infections which cause cancer.   They didn't screen for those, though.

The Madness of the DSM

Trouble at the Heart of Psychiatry’s Revised Rule Book

He's got an odd gluten metaphor, but his thesis is the same as mine- Psychiatric illnesses are artifacts of bad classification.

Ooh, here's one on a slightly different theme:

Why Psychiatry Embraced Drugs: An Interview with Author Robert Whitaker


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Liars and Criminals

With no respect for other people's brains.
People with known brain impairments, no less.
Abbott Laboratories settles Depakote case for $1.6 billion
The first suit, filed in 2007 by former Abbott saleswoman Meredith McCoyd, accused the drugmaker of encouraging her and other salespeople to promote the drug in nursing homes and public mental health centers, where a majority of patients were covered by federal health care programs, including Medicaid.
In a release, the Justice Department said Abbott admitted that from 1998 to 2006 it "maintained a specialized sales force trained to market Depakote in nursing homes for the control of agitation and aggression in elderly dementia patients, despite the absence of credible scientific evidence that Depakote was safe and effective for that use."
From 2001 to 2006, the Justice Department said, the company marketed the drug for use in combination with antipsychotic drugs to treat schizophrenia, even though its own clinical trials showed Depakote provided no benefit.

Glory Hallelujah!

Domino's offers gluten-free pizza crust

See the future.
Dance, dance, dance...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Read Gary Taubes

He has been documenting this stuff for a long, long, time.

Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing
There is an alternative theory, one that has also been around for decades but that the establishment has largely ignored. This theory implicates specific foods—refined sugars and grains—because of their effect on the hormone insulin, which regulates fat accumulation. If this hormonal-defect hypothesis is true, not all calories are created equal, as the conventional wisdom holds. And if it is true, the problem is not only controlling our impulses, but also changing the entire American food economy and rewriting our beliefs about what constitutes a healthy diet.
Money quote: Hilde Bruch pointed out more than half a century ago, that exhorting obese people to eat less and exercise more doesn’t work, and that this shouldn’t be an indictment of their character but of the value of the advice.
 He's written books and here's his blog.

America's Growth Industry

More bad news about Americans' waistlines: They're only going to get bigger.
Already, about a third of people are obese. By 2030, it is estimated 42 percent of the population will be. The latest government data show that obesity is leveling off after big rises in earlier decades. But the new study finds even small continuing rises will add up. Duke University researchers predict that by 2030, 11 percent of people will be severely obese, roughly 100 pounds or more overweight. That's double today's rate.
They say this because they believe it's not their fault.
Patient Non-Compliance is the "cause" of obesity.

I don't believe this prediction for a second.
Nobody wants to be fat and miserable.  
In twenty years it will be well known how doctors created the obesity epidemic by advocating low-fat high-grain diets.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Olympic Level Obsession

Alabama politician Bill Johnson 'obsessed' with donating sperm

Octomom at Crossroads, Broke and Considering Porn

They believe their own distorted neurotransmitters.  They do. 
But that's not even the crazy part- 
Other people take them seriously.

Got Milk?

Drinking energy and sports drinks like "bathing" teeth in acid
What did they find? As few as five days after exposure to both types of drinks, enamel damage presented. The researchers saw energy drinks in particular caused double the amount of damage to teeth that sports drinks caused.
That's not energy they produce- it's mania.
Just look at the twitchy people who buy that stuff...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

He calls it Big Ideas

Newt Gingrich's Campaign Suspension Speech  (23 min)

Potayto.  Potahto.

Crazy is Better

I have an essay going on this topic.

Research Explores the Positives of Bipolar Disorder
The problems of living with bipolar have been well documented, but a new study by Lancaster University has captured the views of those who also report highly-valued, positive experiences of living with the condition. Participants described a wide range of experiences and internal states that they believed they felt to a far greater intensity than those without the condition. These included increased perceptual sensitivity, creativity, focus and clarity of thought.
Dopamine is a wonderful, powerful thing.
In moderation.  

When it is good, it is very very good.  But when it is bad, it is horrid.

Bad News for the Pharmas

Aspirin works as well as blood thinner in heart patients
Aspirin works as well as the blood thinner warfarin, or Coumadin, in most patients with heart failure when it comes to preventing death, stroke or brain hemorrhage, said a major international study on Wednesday.
Fish Oil
Baking Soda
We would have all been better off using our grandmas remedies.

As I was saying

Excessive Sleepiness May Be Cause of Learning, Attention and School Problems
Calhoun said researchers were surprised that most of the children studied showed few signs of short sleep when tested, nor was short sleep associated with any of the learning, attention and behavior problems. She said parents and educators are good resources for determining if a child seems excessively sleepy in the daytime and the complaint should be taken seriously. Previous research found EDS prevalent in 15 percent of children from a general population sample.
Even more than 10%.
And younger.

Narcolepsy is a progressive metabolic disorder.   The earlier you look, the milder symptoms you will find.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hyperparasitic Zombie Brains

Zombie-Ant Fungus Is Itself Infected

The research reveals, for the first time, how an entire ant colony is able to survive infestations by the zombie-ant fungus, which invades an ant's brain and causes it to march to its death at a mass grave near the ant colony, where the fungus spores erupt out of the ant's head. "In a case where biology is stranger than fiction, the parasite of the zombie-ant fungus is itself a fungus -- a hyperparasitic fungus that specializes in attacking the parasite that turns the ants into zombies," Hughes said.  
 Frak.  I probably have that too.

(gross photos here)