Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dental Spas

"At her dental appointments, Deann Romanick sips green tea and takes in the scent of lavender and the sounds of New Age music. She gets a free paraffin hand wax treatment, blankets, a warm neck pad and video eyeglasses in which she can watch "Seinfeld" episodes while the dentist works on her teeth."

"I was totally afraid of the dentist," she said. "Now I go to the dentist every six months and I just can't wait."

"Going to the dentist shouldn't be this bad thing," said Dr. Kimberly Baer, who did Ms. Romanick's dental work. "It should be like going to get your hair done."

At the Dentist's Office, X-Rays, Root Canals and, Now, Pampering in the NYT

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Science Friday: Prescription Drug Ads on Television

"Only two countries, the United States and New Zealand, allow prescription drug ads on television. Thanks to those ads, you've probably heard of the little purple pill, can name two sources of cholesterol, and have a whole list of medical conditions in the back of your mind. But is a little knowledge a dangerous thing?"

"While some doctors say that the advertisements bring uninformed but very determined patients who simply must have Drug X into their offices, others say that allowing drug ads on television encourages people to talk about their health and may bring otherwise undiagnosed problems to light."

Listen Here. [Note: the link for the show is in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.]

Outsourcing guinea pigs

According to the BBC:

"India's outsourced call centres are well known, but not its outsourced patients. By 2010, some estimate there will be two million patients in India on clinical trials. An entire industry has sprung up, specialising in recruiting patients and managing experiments. And a BBC investigation into the conduct of these trials has found that some patients are unaware they are being experimented on at all. "

See "Drug trials outsourced to India," and a trailer for the BBC documentary.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Outsourcing birth

Here's an article from the LA Times about Indian surrogate mothers.

Jane Maienschein Speaks at the U

Jane Maienschein

will be presenting: "The Embryo Project: A Virtual Laboratory for Understanding Developmental Science and its Contexts"
Thursday 27 April Part of the IT Distinguished Women Scientists and Engineers Lecture Series 1:30 in Tate Laboratory of Physics, Room 133.


"From Transplantation to Translation: Stems Cells in History"
Friday 28 April: 3:35 p.m. Room 131 of the Tate Laboratory of Physics
(refreshments at 3:15 p.m. in Room 216).

Jane Maienschein is the author of "Whose View of Life?"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The monkeys read Nietzsche

See Dance Monkeys Dance

Wheelchair Unbound

Harriet McBryde Johnson, a disabled lawyer from South Carolina, visits the Holocaust Museum.

"Then I see the wheelchair. It's similar to other prewar wheelchairs I've seen, but there's something unusual about the frame. Is this a tilting mechanism? A fancy suspension system? Looks like fine German engineering. I like vintage wheelchairs. An obsolete Everest & Jennings drive belt hangs in my office as a bit of nostalgia, like an old wagon wheel in a barbecue shack. I have an urge to jostle the chair, to see what that frame does. The sign mentions a German institution. So, no single owner. But even in institutions, people manage to bond with chairs. A state-owned chair may be occupied by the same person every day, parked beside that person's bed at night."

See "Wheelchair Unbound" in The New York Times Magazine.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Little Bit Of JibJab

"The Drugs I Need"

Go ahead and giggle.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Amy Laura Hall at the U

This Friday, April 21: Duke theologian Amy Laura Hall will give a talk titled "Human Mistakes and Mishaps: Disability, Children, and Atavism During the Center of Progress. It will be in 2-122 Molecular & Cellular Biology Building (MCB).

Monday, April 17, 2006

Grading health journalism

Gary Schwitzer has launched Health News and Review, which gives grades to health stories in the media based on accuracy, balance and completeness. It is modeled on Media Doctor, an Australian project that inspired a similar website in Canada.

I'm O.K., You're Biased

"When doctors refuse to accept gifts from those who supply drugs to their patients, when justices refuse to hear cases involving those with whom they share familial ties and when chief executives refuse to let their compensation be determined by those beholden to them, then everyone sleeps well. " In the NYT.

Read it here

Friday, April 14, 2006

Side Effects at the U

Side Effects, an independent fiction film about a drug rep, directed by Kathleen Slatter-Moschkau (a former rep for Johnson and Johnson) will be shown in Moos Tower 2-620 on Monday, April 17, at 5 pm. Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau will be here to answer questions after the film.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Recreational Genomics

I found a topic!

"Genetic tests, once obscure tools for scientists, have begun to influence everyday lives in many ways."

"It may be only natural then that ethnic ancestry tests, one of the first commercial products to emerge from the genetic revolution, are spurring a thorough exploration of the question, What is in it for me?"

"Prospective employees with white skin are using the tests to apply as minority candidates, while some with black skin are citing their European ancestry in claiming inheritance rights.
One Christian is using the test to claim Jewish genetic ancestry and to demand Israeli citizenship, and Americans of every shade are staking a DNA claim to Indian scholarships, health services and casino money."

NYT Article

Sunday, April 09, 2006

More symptoms to ADHD coming your way...

"Overly Wired? There's a Word for It"
"The frenzy of our wired world, he argues, is giving nearly all of us the symptoms of attention deficit disorder. To conquer the enemy, he says, we first need to name it."
So he has come up with the following suggestions, among others:

¶Screensucking, which he defines as "wasting time engaging with any screen — for instance, computer, video game, television, BlackBerry." He goes on to use his new word in a sentence: "I was supposed to write that article, but instead I spent the whole afternoon screensucking." That concept hits particularly close to home.

¶EMV, or E-Mail Voice. This, Dr. Hallowell writes, is "the unearthly tone a person's voice takes on when he is reading e-mail while talking to you on the telephone." Researchers at M.I.T., he tells us, have developed a program that can electronically measure how engaged people are in a conversation, giving scientific certainty to your suspicion that you are not being listened to.

And more!

British Rethinking Rules After Ill-Fated Drug Trial

From today's NYT:

"Although tests of TGN1412 in monkeys showed no significant trouble, all six human subjects nearly died."

"...the British government announced it was convening an international panel of experts to "consider what necessary changes to clinical trials may be required."

"In statements this week, both Parexel and the drug's manufacturer, TeGenero, emphasized that they had complied with all regulatory requirements and conducted the trial according to the approved protocol. But they declined to answer questions e-mailed to them about the specifics of the science involved. "

Thursday, April 06, 2006

More on VNRs

Today's NYT, "Report faults video reports shown as news": "Many television news stations, including some from the nation's largest markets, are continuing to broadcast reports as news without disclosing that the segments were produced by corporations pitching new products, according to a report to be released today by a group that monitors the news media."

Here's a link to the report by the Center for Media and Democracy.

Merck loses another one

Delivering a sharp blow to Merck, a New Jersey jury found Wednesday that the company had not properly warned patients of the dangers of its drug Vioxx and had caused a heart attack suffered by John McDarby in 2004. The jury awarded Mr. McDarby, who had taken Vioxx for four years, $3 million in compensatory damages and Irma, his wife, an additional $1.5 million. Read about it here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Another drug trial accident....

Another drug trial accident: a healthy volunteer had to go to the hospital because a reaction to the drug makes his face "look like elephant man"...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Eating Disorders and Semantic Contagion

I've been thinking about the idea of semantic contagion and when I read this article on The Anorexic Challenge, it occured to me (from reading the article and in my own experience) that part of the contagious element involved with eating disorders is semantic, especially within cliques of teenage girls.

"The fantasy of achieving a "bikini-ready" body on a deadline is an intoxicating incentive, according to those who have experienced and observed the behavior. And in a school setting, in which tightly knit groups of young women are all vacationing together, diets easily become competitive or, as Dr. Maine put it, contagious."