Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yo Doctors

Doctors less likely to bond with overweight patients
In a small study of 39 primary care doctors and 208 of their patients, Johns Hopkins researchers found that patient weight played no role in the quantity of physicians' medical questions, medical advice, counseling, or treatment regimen discussions. But when it came to things like showing empathy, concern and understanding, the doctors were significantly more likely to express those behaviors in interactions with patients of normal weight than with overweight and obese patients, regardless of the medical topic being discussed.
Obese patients may be particularly vulnerable to poorer physician-patient communications, Gudzune says, because studies show that physicians may hold negative attitudes toward these patients. Some physicians have less respect for their obese patients, which may come across during patient encounters.
Gosh golly, say it ain't so.
This is the part that gets me though-
"If patients see their primary care doctors as allies, I think they will be more successful in complying with our advice," says Gudzune, whose practice focuses on weight-loss issues.
What makes you believe we aren't complying with your advice?
The fact that we do not succeed in losing weight?
Your disrespect seems to be based on the assumption we are insincere or incompetent.
You might want to think about that.  What if we aren't?

Brain Eating Zombies of the Day

Kenneth Mackie et al.

Key Shift in Brain That Creates Drive to Overeat Identified
The switch involves receptors that trigger or inhibit the release of the orexin A peptide, which stimulates the appetite, among other behaviors. In normal-weight mice, activation of this receptor decreases orexin A release. In obese mice, activation of this receptor stimulates orexin A release.
Using mice, this study found that in obesity, CB1 cannabinoid receptors become enriched on the nerve terminals that normally inhibit orexin neuron activity, and the orexin neurons produce more of the endocannabinoids to activate these receptors. Activating these CB1 receptors decreases inhibition of the orexin neurons, increasing orexin A release and food consumption.
Well that explains the effects of medical marijuana.  In mice.  Maybe.  But more orexin production does NOT explain obesity in humans, as evidenced by the fact that Narcoleptics - who have no orexin- have an extremely high incidence of binge eating and obesity.   Geez louise, do your homework...
An emerging idea, Mackie said, is that this network is reset during obesity so that food consumption matches maintenance of current weight, not a person's ideal weight. Thus, an obese individual who loses weight finds it difficult to keep the weight off, as the brain signals the body to eat more in an attempt to return to the heavier weight.
Yes, well I will have to tell him he's wrong about that.
There is no frakkin set point.  We just get fatter, period.

For the Record

I am half Scottish/English and half German.

Miserable and Annoying.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Cause and Effect

Austerity is hurting our health, say researchers
Austerity is having a devastating effect on health in Europe and North America, driving suicide, depression and infectious diseases and reducing access to medicines and care, researchers said on Monday.
Yes, well, go figure. 
This is really only remarkable because  it doesn't seem to be hurting the health industries much.
Go figure.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

Very long.  Better than ever.  My heart belongs to Matty.

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever
All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings – in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation's GDP – are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it's increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system...
The banks found a loophole, a basic flaw in the machine. Across the financial system, there are places where prices or official indices are set based upon unverified data sent in by private banks and financial companies. In other words, we gave the players with incentives to game the system institutional roles in the economic infrastructure. Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption.
You think banking has subjective opinions, arbitrary definitions and self serving financial incentives underlying the system?
Try Psychiatry

Liars and Criminals

US sues Novartis in NY again
The U.S. government sued Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. again on Friday, saying it paid kickbacks for a decade to doctors to steer patients toward its drugs, sometimes disguising fishing trips off the Florida coast and trips to Hooters restaurants as speaking engagements for the doctors.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan came two days after the government brought a similar lawsuit against Novartis, which is based in East Hanover, N.J. The first lawsuit said the company paid kickbacks to pharmacies to switch kidney transplant patients from competitors' drugs to its own. In the second lawsuit, the government accused the company of using from 2001 through 2011 multimillion-dollar "incentive programs" that targeted doctors willing to accept illegal kickbacks to urge patients to use the company's drugs.
"And for its investment, Novartis reaped dramatically increased profits on these drugs, and Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs were left holding the bag," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

And We Have a Winner

The circle of insanity is now complete.

Scientist thinks eating boogers may actually be good for your health 

The bacteria are now running experiments on themselves.

Save the Date

Even though it's vague.

Narcolepsy selected for FDA’s Patient-Focused Drug Development Initiative

Patient-Focused Drug Development: Disease Area Meetings Planned for Fiscal Years 2013-2015
Narcolepsy: TBD, approximately September 2013

Looks like I'm going to Silver Spring, Maryland in the fall.

Good Stuff

Newfound hormone holds hope for diabetes treatment
The hormone, called betatrophin, triggers the growth of pancreatic "beta" cells lost or ineffective in diabetes. Insulin is produced by beta cells in the pancreas.
In the journal Cell, a team led by Harvard's Peng Yi reports that betatrophin can produce a roughly seventeenfold increase in these cells, and its increase may partly explain the rapid growth of these cells seen during pregnancy to feed developing fetuses in mammals, including people.
My husband wants some right now.

(And an increase in insulin production explains the onset of Narcolepsy in some pregnant women.  Huh.)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tick Tock

Doctors Denounce Cancer Drug Prices of $100,000 a Year
Prices for cancer drugs have been part of the debate over health care costs for several years — and recently led to a public protest from doctors at a major cancer center in New York. But the decision by so many specialists, from more than 15 countries on five continents, to join the effort is a sign that doctors, who are on the front lines of caring for patients, are now taking a more active role in resisting high prices. In this case, some of the specialists even include researchers with close ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The doctors and researchers, who specialize in the potentially deadly blood cancer known as chronic myeloid leukemia, contend in a commentary published online by a medical journal Thursday that the prices of drugs used to treat that disease are astronomical, unsustainable and perhaps even immoral. They suggested that charging high prices for a medicine needed to keep someone alive is profiteering, akin to jacking up the prices of essential goods after a natural disaster.

It's currently about $75,000 dollars a year for Xyrem.
A generic chemical they prescribe to chronically sick children.  Not a designer drug.  Not terminal illness.

The clock starts now.   I'm waiting for Narcolepsy Network to Raise some freakin Awareness of this.

After it is Approved

Is when they find out how it really works.

Diet As Effective As Surgery For Diabetes Patients
"For years, the question has been whether it is the bariatric surgery or a change in diet that causes the diabetes to improve so rapidly after surgery. We found that the reduction of patients' caloric intake following bariatric surgery is what leads to the major improvements in diabetes, not the surgery itself."

Just thinking

Xyrem now costs over $5000/ month.
I never, ever got anywhere close to making $5000 a month.   And then I was unemployable.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Their Vision of Your Future

Binge Eating Curbed by Deep Brain Stimulation in Animal Model
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a precise region of the brain appears to reduce caloric intake and prompt weight loss in obese animal models, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, reinforces the involvement of dopamine deficits in increasing obesity-related behaviors such as binge eating, and demonstrates that DBS can reverse this response via activation of the dopamine type-2 receptor.
Ooh, brain surgery will make doctors even more money than stomach surgery. 

Funny thing though-  amphetamines-  which depressed and fat people seem to find very effective in easing their symptoms-  actually reduce D2 receptor activity.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fun with Obsession

PBS is airing a three-part mini series called "The Blechley Circle".

Four former Blechley Park codebreakers attempt to solve a murder mystery.   It's a rainbow spectrum of OCD.   Ha.

The first one aired a couple days ago, maybe you can pick up a repeat before the next one...

Nobody could have predicted

Study Links Autism With Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy
A cautiously worded study based on data collected in Sweden has found that “in utero exposure to both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (S.S.R.I.’s) and nonselective monoamine reuptake inhibitors (tricyclic antidepressants) was associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders, particularly without intellectual disability.”
This is the second study in two years to associate antidepressant use during pregnancy with an increased incidence of autism in exposed children. An earlier, smaller study in California also found a modest increase in risk. The Sweden-based study could not (and did not) exclude the possibility that it was the severe depression, rather than the use of antidepressants, that created the association, but the smaller California study (which considered only S.S.R.I.’s) found “no increase in risk” for mothers with a history of mental health treatment in the absence of prenatal exposure to S.S.R.I.’s.

Quote of the Day

"I wanted the pain to stop."

Sgt. John Russell, who killed five of his fellow soldiers at a mental health clinic in Iraq.

Yo Doctors

Blame Yourselves.
This is ALL Your Fault.
This is what happens when we follow your advice.

(gosh I love weeping before 7am.)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yo Obesity Doctors

Impact of Obesity in Children with Narcolepsy.
To evaluate the impact of obesity on clinical and sleep characteristics in a population of narcoleptic children.
Data from the children diagnosed with idiopathic narcolepsy in the National Reference Centers for Narcolepsy were collected between 2008 and 2011. Clinical and electrophysiological characteristics were compared between obese (body mass index [BMI] greater than P97) and nonobese children.
The 117 children (65 boys, 59 de novo patients) had a mean age of 11.6 ± 3.1 years on diagnosis. Cataplexy was present in 81%, DQB1*0602 in 91%. Mean BMI was 23.2 ± 5.2 kg/m2 and BMI z-score was 2.9 ± 2.6. Obesity was found in 60% with a similar prevalence in treated versus de novo patients and in patients with and without cataplexy. Sleepiness and cataplexy started earlier in obese children. Obese narcoleptic children had lower sleep efficiency, higher apnea hypopnea index and respiratory arousals index (RAI) than nonobese children. BMI z-score was positively correlated with RAI. Obese children were more tired and missed more often school than nonobese children.
Obesity affects more than 50% of narcoleptic children, mostly younger at disease onset, and has a deleterious impact on sleep quality as well as on school attendance.
The obesity rate among narcoleptics is TWICE the normal population.  And it would be higher if you found and removed all the narcoleptics...
You think you might want to research that???

Here's some more evidence of dose dependent glucose effects-
Narcolepsy and pregnancy: a retrospective European evaluation of 249 pregnancies.
Weight gain during pregnancy was higher in narcoleptic patients with cataplexy. More patients with narcolepsy-cataplexy during pregnancy had impaired glucose metabolism and anaemia. 

The Guinea Pig Generation

Tons of good research in this article but it boils down to this:

Who Needs Antioxidants? No One.
Perhaps the most damning evidence against the Free Radical/Oxidative Stress Theory of Aging is that after 60 years of intensive research into antioxidants, with billions of dollars spent looking for nutrients that can retard cell aging, not a single antioxidant compound has been found that can extend human life. In fact, in a shocking number of human trials, antioxidants (beta carotene, Vitamin E, Vitamin A) have actually increased all-cause mortality.

ht Andrew Sullivan

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Are you effing kidding me?

Texas fertilizer company didn't heed disclosure rules before blast
The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate - which can also be used in bomb making - unaware of any danger there.
Nobody tracks where that stuff goes?   And I have to limit myself to 3 ounces of mouth rinse to get on an airplane?  And show picture ID to buy Sudafed?   Where the hell is all that Homeland Security money going?

Shit is fucked up and bullshit.

Quickie Correlation

Growing Number of People Get Too Much Sleep
Most people you know probably talk about not getting enough sleep, but the percentage of U.S. adults who sleep for more than nine hours a night is actually on the rise, a new study suggests. Between 1970 and 2007, the percentage of survey participants who reported sleeping for more than nine hours over a 24-hour period increased from 28 percent in 1985 to 37 percent in 2007, the study found. The trend was seen in participants' reports of both their weekday and weekend sleep habits. What's more, the percentage of people who slept for less than six hours a night decreased, from about 11 percent in 1985 to 9 percent in 2007, the researchers said.
U.S. Sugar Consumption On The Rise
Daily consumption of added sugars in the U.S. averages 3.2 ounces (15.8 percent of daily caloric intake) and has increased substantially since 1977-1978, when added sugars contributed only 10.6 percent of the calories consumed by adults, according to a new study in JAMA.
(The study also points out that consuming higher amounts of added sugars is associated with lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and higher levels of triglycerides, which are important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Brain Eating Zombies of the Day

Gerald Haeffel and Jennifer Hames

Risk Factor for Depression Can Be 'Contagious'
Within one month of arriving on campus, the roommates completed an online questionnaire that included measures of cognitive vulnerability and depressive symptoms. They completed the same measures again 3 months and 6 months later; they also completed a measure of stressful life events at the two time points.
The results revealed that freshmen who were randomly assigned to a roommate with high levels of cognitive vulnerability were likely to "catch" their roommate's cognitive style and develop higher levels of cognitive vulnerability; those assigned to roommates who had low initial levels of cognitive vulnerability experienced decreases in their own levels. The contagion effect was evident at both the 3-month and 6-month assessments.
Most importantly, changes in cognitive vulnerability affected risk for future depressive symptoms: Students who showed an increase in cognitive vulnerability in the first 3 months of college had nearly twice the level of depressive symptoms at 6 months than those who didn't show such an increase.
Their hypothesis is "negative thinking" is "contagious" during major life transitions, when "social environments are in flux".   And they believe this data supports that flying ass monkey.

How about a little Occam's Razor:   Depression is caused by an infection and living with someone who has it is a good way to catch it.
Not to mention- people often change their diet, exercise and hygiene when their "social environments are in flux".

This is basic epidemiology.  Just because you don't know what it is- doesn't require you to make stuff up to explain it.

How Deep it Goes

training for years
planning for months
traveling for days
running for hours

collide in an instant.

marathon runners.
mass murderers.
police, fire, medics.

What I See

Charles Pierce gets it: 
It is Columbine.  It may be Columbine with a thin overlay of politics. It may be Columbine with Jihadist YouTube videos instead of rambling diaries. It may be Columbine extended over a greater geographical area. But, for the moment, it looks like a couple of young people who went completely off the twig and decided to kill a lot of people.
Actually it seems more like the DC Snipers.  I don't know how the younger brother got involved, he is described as quite stable by people who knew him-  but the older one clearly shows manic tendencies.    Increasing righteousness and aggression.  But this is the clincher:
John Allan, owner of Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts Boston, said the older brother, Tamerlan, was an accomplished amateur boxer, competing in the national Golden Gloves competition.
“He was the best boxer in Boston,” said Allan, who remembers helping in a competition three years ago. “He smoked all the professionals.”
Self Injury is the hallmark behavior of someone with a psychoactive immune response.

And this is probably what pushed him over the edge-
...the older brother did so well in the Golden Gloves several years ago that he could have qualified for the US Olympic trials, but he may not have been eligible because of a paperwork problem. 
This is not jihad-  this this the revenge of a intensely frustrated athlete.  Destroying other people's happy endings.

Good to Know

Fluoride also seems to reduce the virulence of strep pyogenes (strep throat).
So don't forget to use both-  anticavity and antibacterial mouth rinse.

Read the book.

As I was saying

High-Salt Diet and Ulcer Bug Combine to Increase Risk of Cancer
Numerous epidemiologic studies have shown that a diet high in salt is associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer. Now Timothy L. Cover and colleagues of Vanderbilt University show that high dietary salt combined with infection by the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori greatly increases the risk of cancer.
Microbes cause illness.
Diet affects microbes.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Root of the Problem

Effective treatment is not as profitable as ineffective.

Hospitals Profit From Surgical Errors, Study Finds 
Hospitals make money from their own mistakes because insurers pay them for the longer stays and extra care that patients need to treat surgical complications that could have been prevented, a new study finds. Changing the payment system, to stop rewarding poor care, may help to bring down surgical complication rates, the researchers say. If the system does not change, hospitals have little incentive to improve: in fact, some will wind up losing money if they take better care of patients.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Predictable, really.

FDA blocks generic version of crushable OxyContin
Manufacturer Purdue Pharma's patent on the original drug was set to expire Tuesday, and activists, lawmakers and doctors worried that cheaper, easily crushable generic versions would flood Kentucky and exacerbate the state's already devastating drug-abuse problem.
"I think (this decision) saves lives," said Karen Kelly, president and chief executive of the Eastern Kentucky anti-drug organization Operation UNITE. "Preventing this from hitting the streets is a major victory."
The FDA decision is also a victory for Purdue Pharma, because generic companies now must develop their own non-crushable formulas before putting an OxyContin version on the market. OxyContin has long been one of the nation's top-selling prescription painkillers, with sales of more than $2.8 billion last year, according to prescription tracker IMS Health
Yes, well, there are other options.
Like not rewarding these assholes for their fraudulent reporting practices and the resulting public health clusterfk and handing them another monopoly...
It's insanity in a pill.  Pull all of it off the market.   Or make the new version generic.  That would be somewhat equitable.

Nap Time

Things I found at the thrift store today:
An androgynous siesta person.   I love it.
A cheapass nap blanket from Jazz Pharma.  They apparently give out a five dollar blanket to make up for the thousand dollars of profit they make off each patient every month.   They could at least give you a down pillow and comforter.  Maybe a mattress, too.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Standard Operating Procedure

Brain Development Is Guided by Junk DNA That Isn't Really Junk
Specific DNA once dismissed as junk plays an important role in brain development and might be involved in several devastating neurological diseases, UC San Francisco scientists have found.
I swear, almost everything I was ever taught has been disproven.
Even I knew this was ridiculous though-  just because they didn't know what it does- doesn't mean it's not doing anything.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Do e-readers inhibit reading comprehension?
Research suggests that the devices can prevent readers from wholly absorbing longer text.
I noticed this a decade ago.   Always used to remember exactly where something was written in a book.   I wonder if the unintended consequence might not be better though.   Maybe not remembering every detail about arbitrary information will lead to new types of creativity.
This of course is predicated on good electronic indexing and search engines.   The ability to find the fact if you have to.

Grocery Store Solutions

What Does Your Birthday Have to Do With Immune Disorders?
Researchers in the UK studied 50 babies born in London in May and 50 babies born in November between 2009 and 2010. They sampled blood from the newborns’ umbilical chords and recorded levels of vitamin D and a specific type of immune cell known as autoreactive T-cells. T-cells are the white blood cells that battle pathogens like bacteria and viruses, but autoreactive T-cells are aberrant versions that mistake the body’s own cells as foreign and attack them as they would an unwanted infection.
The researchers found that babies born in May had vitamin D levels that were 20% lower than those in babies born in November, and almost double the amount of autoreactive T-cells. They speculate that vitamin D may be important in some way in educating T cells about how to recognize self cells; this occurs in the thymus, and errors in the training could lead to higher levels of the destructive T cells.
Vitamin D3 supplementation is cheap, easy and seems to be highly effective for almost everyone.   And they can't patent it.   Let's get on this, people.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Circle of Insanity

Lindsay Lohan's Rehab Center Will NOT Allow Her To Take Adderall

But I'm guessing they will give her gluten and fruit juice every morning.
I predict wicked tantrums.  She'll be lucky if she ever gets out.

Things that haunt me

Lawyer: Girl saw details online of sex assault
Fifteen-year-old Audrie Pott passed out drunk at a friend's house, woke up and concluded she had been sexually abused. In the days that followed, she was shocked to see an explicit photo of herself circulating among her classmates along with emails and text messages about the episode. And she was horrified to discover that her attackers were three of her friends, her family's lawyer says. Eight days after the party, she hanged herself.
Passing out just ain't what it used to be.  There were no cell phones or internet when I was 16.  The humiliation of the gossip nearly killed me anyway.   April Johnson was the first person in my entire high school to talk to me after three months of ostracization.  I will never forget that.  She's the reason I'm still alive.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Old Song of the Day

Rigorous Righteousness.

sorry about the ad.

Quote of the Day

We know little about the human settlement of the Austrian, Swiss, and French Alps, which goes back to prehistoric times. But we really ought to consider how it was that people who farmed and raised livestock moved into the wild, impassable valleys of the High Alps, where to begin with they could at best eke out a hard, meagre, and risk-filled existence. The most likely explanation is that these people preferred an uncertain life in the wilds to subjugation by more powerful neighbours. Despite the uncertainty and the danger, they chose freedom. I often like to play with the idea that the Swiss and Tyrolean tradition of freedom, in particular, goes back to those days of the prehistoric settlement of Switzerland.
- Karl Popper,  from All Life Is Problem Solving

High Tech Lullabye

Synchronized sounds sharpen sleep
In the study, the researchers exposed the sleepers to light rhythmic noise both in sync and out of sync with their brain's oscillations during deep sleep. The in-sync sounds appear to have strengthened the brain rhythms, the researchers found, while also strengthening memories: volunteers were better able to retain word associations they had learned the night before. The out-of-sync sounds didn't have any effect. 
Huh. I thought that's what snoring did. IntraCranial reverberation.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lady Parts

Women better off without bras: French study
Women should forget everything they've been told about bras. According to a new French study, published on Wednesday, wearing a bra does nothing to reduce back pain, and the chest supports actually cause increased breast sagging.
Personally, I think they restrict lymphatic flow.   And they pinch the nerves in the shoulders and chest.  Especially in overweight women.   They give me back/neck pain.
I really haven't found a great alternative though. I imagine there might be a strap configuration that would be better.   Hell, they can make noise cancelling headphones, why isn't there a bounce cancelling t-shirt?

I would like to point out the long term commitment of the researcher to this project.  Go figure.

Totally Off-Topic

I have no idea who runs this website, but it has the best pics.

VietNam builds awesome dragon bridge.

Jello Brains

Brains as Clear as Jell-O for Scientists to Explore
Scientists at Stanford University reported on Wednesday that they have made a whole mouse brain, and part of a human brain, transparent, so that networks of neurons that receive and send information can be highlighted in stunning color and viewed in all their three-dimensional complexity without slicing up the organ. 
Very cool.   Animated slide show too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I know, you're not shocked either

Doctors Not Informed of Harmful Effects of Medicines During Sales Visits
The majority of family doctors receive little or no information about harmful effects of medicines when visited by drug company representatives, according to an international study involving Canadian, U.S. and French physicians. Yet the same doctors indicated that they were likely to start prescribing these drugs, consistent with previous research that shows prescribing behaviour is influenced by pharmaceutical promotion.
The study, which had doctors fill out questionnaires about each promoted medicine following sales visits, was published online today in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. It shows that sales representatives failed to provide any information about common or serious side effects and the type of patients who should not use the medicine in 59 per cent of the promotions. In Vancouver and Montreal, no potential harms were mentioned for 66 per cent of promoted medicines.
"Laws in all three countries require sales representatives to provide information on harm as well as benefits," says lead author Barbara Mintzes of the University of British Columbia. "But no one is monitoring these visits and there are next to no sanctions for misleading or inaccurate promotion."

Suspended De-animation

The man who could bring you back from the dead
This British doctor specialises in resurrection and insists outdated resuscitation techniques are squandering lives that could be saved.
"Most doctors will do CPR for 20 minutes and then stop," he says. "The decision to stop is completely arbitrary but it is based on an instinct that after that time brain damage is very likely and you don't want to bring people back into a persistent vegetative state. But if you understand all the things that are going on in the brain in those minutes – as we now can – then you can minimise that possibility. There are numerous studies that show that if you implement all the various resuscitation steps together you not only get a doubling of your survival rates but the people who come back are not brain damaged."
In Parnia's ideal world, the way that people are resuscitated would first take in the knowledge that machines are much better at CPR than doctors. After that, he suggests, the next step is "to understand that you need to elevate the level of care". The first thing is to cool down the body to best preserve the brain cells, which are by then in the process of apoptosis, or suicide.
I think he's on to something.  This could critically alter critical care.

(And my personal opinion is that memory is stored in the astrocytes. Neurons communicate the signal.  Astrocytes store the information.) 

The Root of the Problem

Why I do not publish in Journals or use online research tools in any way:

Because sooner or later Elsevier will own it.
Elsevier (giant for-profit scholarly publisher) buys Mendeley (free citation manager and discovery tool)

Making my small public domain protest to thwart our Galtian Overlords. 

Old Song of the Day

Ahhh, memories.

He played this live at my college.   Recorded this live album there.
I went to school in Normal Illinois.  Seriously, I did.  Well, sometimes. I did sleep through one semester.
He also had the band bring sheet music so they could play "Lead a Normal Life" for us.  Pretty cool.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Zombie Mummies

Neolithic Iceman Ötzi Had Bad Teeth: Periodontitis, Tooth Decay, Dental Damage
The three-dimensional computer tomography reconstructions give an insight into the oral cavity of the Iceman and show how severely he was suffering from advanced periodontitis. Particularly in the area of the rear molars, Seiler found loss of the periodontal supporting tissue that almost extended to the tip of the root. While Ötzi is scarcely likely to have cleaned his teeth, his abrasive diet contributed significantly to a process of self-cleaning.
Nowadays periodontitis is connected to cardiovascular diseases. Interestingly, the Iceman also displays vascular calcification, for which -- like in the case of the periodontitis -- mainly his genetic make-up was responsible.
 Arthritis, tattoos, wandering around the mountains, getting in fights...

(and he died in the spring with a belly full of einkorn wheat.  Since wheat is harvested in the fall, this suggests that his culture stored grain and was dependent on it for most if not all of the year.)


Maggie Thatcher was your typical righteous maniac.
And so were all the righteous rockers.

Think of this as a teachable moment.
Her fate awaits us.

Surfin' Medline

This hasn't been published yet, but the abstract is up.
A Retrospective Survey of Childhood ADHD Symptomatology Among Adult Narcoleptics.
Joint prevalence calculations of childhood ADHD symptomatology in the Narcolepsy Group were more than 8 to 15 times greater than expected. Among NG, those individuals with a greater score on the WURS, indicative of childhood ADHD symptomatology, also had shorter sleep onsets on the Multiple Sleep Latency Test, a common objective measure of sleepiness. Conclusion: It appears that self-reported childhood ADHD symptomatology history among adult narcoleptics is common. 
It's self reported, subjective data, but when the full article does come out, let's see if they make the next correlation:

Test those people for strep antibodies.

And for the supergeeks-
An orexinergic projection from perifornical hypothalamus to raphe pallidus increases rat brown adipose tissue thermogenesis.
Apparently orexin directly stimulates brown fat production.    Free full text available.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Upon further reflection

On the commencement page of the zombie site I say this:
 "My experience is unusual.  Even for a narcoleptic my progression is pretty extreme."
And you know, it's true for people older than me.   I am sicker than most people my age.   They all seem to be getting the symptoms I did ten years ago.

But it's not true about you younger folks.   They have had you on low fat diets since you were in grade school.    And some of you are deteriorating much faster than I did.

I have women in their late twenties and early thirties telling me they are starting to lose their memory.
Think about that.   If you can.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

And so it goes

Sadly, prayer doesn't help either.

Matthew Warren commits suicide.
Rest in peace, young man.

This is Why

Because I have seen the end game.   And it terrifies me.

Rest in Peace dear man.   World Class Everything.
Thanks for fighting the good fight.

Red Nosed Reindeer

Olfactory dysfunction affects sex life    clearly "mature" content.

Apparently, people with impaired sense of smell have less sex partners that better smellers.
Now I can think of a lot of ways a lack of detectors might affect behavior, like via HLA immune molecules, which seem to be olfactory triggers.   And any other number of ways.
But I would just like to make sure you know that olfactory dysfunction preceeds a number of types of devastating neurological diseases.   Like Alzheimers, and Parkinsons.   And narcoleptics seem to have it too.   And alcoholics.  And you got Apnea?   Yeah, you.

Olfactory dysfunction is a symptom of chronic low level infection.
Herpes, strep pyogenes, strep pneumonia, and staph aureus all can colonize the sinuses.
Take care of it.  Wash your nose with saline.   Switch to e cigarettes.   Take vitamin D.

You don't want those nerves to die.   They are a direct interface to your brain.   You kind of need them.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Foxes and Henhouses

As Walgreen Plays Doctor, Family Physicians Bristle
Walgreen's is now providing new services that include “assessment, treatment and management for chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma and others, as well as additional preventive health services.” ...
But some physicians are upset by the expansion, saying it will further splinter an already fragmented health care system and therefore harm quality and patient safety.
Walgreens, for example, has formed various affiliations with large hospital systems and doctor-led clinics across the country to create patient-care protocols and other programs. Walgreen has also formed and is joining with larger providers to create accountable care organizations, which organize a collection of medical-care providers to care for a group of patients.
ACOs work to keep patients healthy and out of the more expensive hospital setting. If ACOs are successful and reduce costs, the providers in the organization divvy up the savings with the health plans that are paying them.
This is not about better or more consistent care.  Those doctors are worried about the revenue they are losing.
And it's not about saving money either-  it doesn't save anyone anything.   It just gets pocketed by someone else.  Thus this very fascinating public squabble.   Expect more of this behavior.  (See the ADA.)

I am all for low cost clinics for health maintenance.  But the truly scary part of this one is the conflict of interest.  A drug distributor is now helping write protocols for sick people. 

World Class Obsession

Boy, 17, builds DNA testing machine in his bedroom to find out why his younger sibling has ginger hair

Yo UK.  Heh.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

Some days I can't tell if I'm dreaming. 

Seattle police return marijuana taken from street dealers

One Step Forward

Discovery in Neuroscience Could Help Re-Wire Appetite Control
They established that a population of brain cells called 'tanycytes' behave like stem cells and add new neurons to the appetite-regulating circuitry of the mouse brain after birth and into adulthood.
Lead researcher Dr Mohammad K. Hajihosseini, from UEA's school of Biological Sciences, said: "Loss or malfunctioning of neurons in the hypothalamus is the prime cause of eating disorders such as obesity."
I just want to say it's a metabolic disorder, not an eating disorder.  (And one set of tanycytes do seem to connect to the lateral hypothalamus where orexin cells are.)
But then there's this-
"The next step is to define the group of genes and cellular processes that regulate the behaviour and activity of tanycytes. This information will further our understanding of brain stem cells and could be exploited to develop drugs that can modulate the number or functioning of appetite-regulating neurons.
Drugs drugs, druggy druggy drugs.   It's always about the drugs.

I spent about a minute searching and found this:

In adult mice, tanycytes give rise to hypothalamic regulatory neurons in response to a high-fat diet.
Now, I'm not saying that's applicable to humans, but it does seem those cells are diet sensitive.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Correlation Games

Laser Therapy Switches Cocaine Addiction On and Off in Rats
Rats addicted to cocaine lost the craving when researchers used laser light to stimulate a specific part of their brains.
The same team of scientists also used the laser technique to trigger new cocaine addictions in rats. They say the therapy -- which targets the prefrontal cortex of the rat brain -- could point the way to a new method of treating the addiction in humans.
"When we turn on a laser light in the prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex, the compulsive cocaine seeking is gone," study co-researcher Dr. Antonello Bonci, adjunct professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a university news release.
Guess which neurotransmitter stimulates the prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex.

I'm Shocked, I tell you

Urinary Tract Infections 29 Times More Likely in Schizophrenia Relapse
The study comparing UTI rates in 57 relapsed hospitalized patients, 40 stable outpatients and 39 healthy controls showed that 35 percent of the relapsed patients had UTIs versus 5 and 3 percent, respectively, of the other groups.
While it's too early to know which comes first, the UTI or acute schizophrenia relapse, the association means relapsed patients should be tested for a UTI, said Miller, corresponding author of the study in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Relapse can produce delusions and symptoms that can impede good hygiene and adequate hydration, increasing the risk of UTIs. However Miller, who pursued the study because he's seen improvement in patients' psychiatric condition simply by treating them with antibiotics for a UTI, said UTIs could be the trigger.
It's amazing what happens when you treat sick people for their actual illnesses instead of blaming them for their mental symptoms.

(and for some reason Charlie Sheen suddenly comes to mind...)

oh and this post too.

Orexin in the News

Is a Better Sleeping Pill on the Way?
These new medications -- known as dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORA) -- target a more specific region of the brain than popular sleep drugs such as Ambien and Lunesta, promoting sleep without affecting learning and memory (also called "cognition"), according to the new research.
"We've shown that these compounds improve sleep at doses that don't impact cognition," said Jason Uslaner, lead author of a study published in the April 3 issue of Science Translational Medicine.
DORA-22 did not lead to the same mental impairments as the other three drugs. Rhesus monkeys and rats performed just as well on memory and attention tasks shortly after being administered DORA-22 as they did on an inactive placebo.
Yes well that's very nice and all, but the cognitive effects of orexin depletion don't manifest for a couple decades. And monkeys can't tell you they want to commit suicide.

Dr. Siegel agrees- this drug will likely cause depression in patients using it.
Siegel noted that orexin antagonists are now being developed by several drug companies for use as sleeping pills. The current work suggests that these drugs will alter mood as well sleep tendency.

Hopefully someone will get a clue before it's approved and a bunch of unsuspecting people kill themselves. Like Chantix.

Monday, April 1, 2013

It's a travesty for sure

A.D.H.D. Seen in 11% of U.S. Children as Diagnoses Rise
Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children. 
They are worried about overdiagnosing.  I am more concerned with mis-diagnosis.   I actually think these numbers are low.   I think the overall streptococcal autoimmune rate is about 30%, it's just that boys have more typical hyperactivity symptoms (girls get cranky and gain weight). 
They are also worried about overmedication.  I am more concerned with mis-prescribing.   A little less sugar and little more antibacterial mouth rinse is probably what those kids need.  Treat the problem, not the symptoms.

Tweet of the Day

From PourMeCoffee-
All humans seem to be evolving is a greater sense of outrage. Why can't we get wings or night vision? This blows.

Big Win for Our Side

Novartis denied cancer drug patent in landmark Indian case
The Indian supreme court has refused to allow one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies to patent a new version of a cancer drug, a decision campaigners hailed as a major step forward in enabling poor people to access medicines in the developing world.
Novartis lost a six-year legal battle after the court ruled that small changes and improvements to the drug Glivec did not amount to innovation deserving of a patent. The ruling opens the way for generic companies in India to manufacture and sell cheap copies of the drug in the developing world and has implications for HIV and other modern drugs too.
Campaigners were jubilant. A ruling in favour of Novartis would have reduced access to the drug for the poor, said Jennifer Cohn, of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). She added: "The fact that India says patents are to reward innovation as opposed to small changes does stay true to the concept of what a patent should be."
I am jubilant too..  Funny what happens when health of their people is a real concern of  a society.