Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Note: Apparently 'retardation' has been given a new name. Bostonians will now have to use the phrase "You are wicked intellectually disabled."
Read or listen at Marketplace.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Judith Warner "started out thinking, from talking to people and reading blogs and newspapers and magazines, that overambitious parents and unfeeling doctors were pressuring children to succeed at all costs and callously using drugs to help. Then she talked to more people, particularly the parents and doctors who were giving children the drugs, and she read more blogs and newspapers and magazines. She had her epiphany and changed her mind. Actually, the children had real problems, and the parents and doctors were trying to help them."
Alison Gopnik warns of the dangers of preferring stories to science in her Slate article on Judith Warner's new book, We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Fresh Air interview is here; Blumenthal's article is here.
The title was too good to change - and the article can be found here. Maybe bottles of little pink pills will soon be available from our friendly neighborhood pharmacy rep. It's not like disease mongering has ever resulted in a blockbuster pharmaceutical before...
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
“What Do NASCAR Drivers, Glenn Beck, and the Hitmen of the NFL Have in Common?”
The answer? Each of them shows how risk is becoming a sort of luxury good. It’s a program about safety measures, the Peltzman Effect, and (mis)conceptions about danger (including, yes, fatal shark attacks."
Freakonomics Radio launches its inaugural podcast. Read more here.
Monday, February 22, 2010
"A Colorado family and an Arizona nonprofit are fighting in court over who gets the head of a woman who died this month, along with a $50,000 annuity she left behind". The article can be found here
A Massachusetts jury has convicted a mother of second-degree murder for overdosing her 4-year old child on powerful drugs intended to keep the child quiet. Dr. Larry Diller wants to know: why aren't prosecutors going after the doctor who prescribed the drugs? Read more in his blog post, "Mother Guilty of Murder -- Pediatric Bipolar Disorder Innocent."
Sunday, February 21, 2010
According to the AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America): "The PSA features two cyclists riding on a tandem bicycle representative of the two main causes of asthma symptoms. When the lead cyclist pedals solo she struggles but when the second cyclist begins to peddle, the journey becomes much easier. Their ride together is symbolic of managing asthma more effectively by treating both main causes of asthma symptoms when one medicine is not enough to prevent symptoms."
According to this article in The Lancet, treating your kid's height as a disease can have unexpected consequences. The medicalization of height just wouldn't be complete without the prescription of drugs that cause miscarriage and breast cancer. The article is free, but may require a sign in for access by new users.
Since August, many other pharmaceutical companies have followed the path of Pfizer (and of, notably, Johnson and Johnson: @JNJComm being one of the first pharma Twitter accounts, created in February, 2009, and currently boasting a total of 3,136 followers. By anecdotal comparison, George Clooney only has 1,330 followers. And for some reason, @GSKUS (Glaxo Smith Kline's Twitter account) is following Ashton Kutcher and Mandy Moore.).
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Do they accept IOUs?
In other news, need a kidney? Let's just print one out!
"In the U.S., for example, the most basic prostheses can cost between $1,000 and $2,000. Given Haiti's cheap labor, prosthetic-assembly plants could feasibly produce them for sale at half that price." (From the TIME article, "Haiti: What to Do with a Nation of Amputees")I don't know - things will reveal themselves in time (or not), but a desperate, poor country full of amputees sounds like a money-making opportunity to me...
When it became evident that the GlaxoSmithKline diabetes drug, Avandia, was causing people to have heart attacks, "G.S.K. executives attempted to intimidate independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize or misrepresent findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk, and sought ways to downplay findings that a competing drug might reduce cardiovascular risk,” says a U.S. Senate report. Read more on the front page of The New York Times.
Good news for citizen muckrakers: 241 unsealed documents from litigation against AstraZeneca over its illegal marketing of Seroquel have been added to the Drug Industry Document Archive at UC San Francisco. They join documents from the Vioxx and Neurontin lawsuits. All of these documents are searchable by keyword.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Today I ran into a classmate friend who was purchasing a regular Coke from a vending machine.
Friend: Hey, I've got some extra change here, would you like a Coke for dinner?
Me: No thanks, I do not drink pop at all.
Friend: Aww, don't you want diabetes someday?
Friend: It's what all the cool kids have.
Me: This sounds like something I'd hear at a party freshman year of college.
I guess I just never really cared for the smell of "smokable items" or the excessive sugar in soda. However, I really do think that by and large, I avoid both vices because I don't like spending money and both just seem to be very expensive habits with very little return on investment. How much does a pack of smokes cost these days? Somewhere around $6-7, right?
And how much does a 20 ounce bottle of Coke from a vending machine cost? Close to $2? And how much do both habits cost society in the long run? It is kind of scary to think about from both a financial standpoint as well as just general morale.
Frankly, my big vices are dark chocolate and coffee, but I usually brew the latter at home with minimal cream and sugar, and the former is only a treat when I have accomplished an important task. I readily admit those too, are bad, but hey, I'm getting antioxidants out of the deal, right? At least that is what I tell myself...
"Stephen Davies, a synthetic biologist and venture capitalist who served as a judge at the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, compares the buzz around the field to the advent of steam power during the Victorian era. 'Right now,' he says, 'synthetic biology feels like it might be able to power everything. People are trying things; kettles are exploding. Everyone’s attempting magic right and left.'
The New York Times explores do-it-yourself genetic engineering.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Should we clone Neanderthals? The bioethicists have their say in Archeology. "Bernard Rollin, a bioethicist and professor of philosophy at Colorado State University, doesn't believe that creating a Neanderthal clone would be an ethical problem in and of itself. The problem lies in how that individual would be treated by others. "I don't think it is fair to put people...into a circumstance where they are going to be mocked and possibly feared," he says, "and this is equally important, it's not going to have a peer group. Given that humans are at some level social beings, it would be grossly unfair."
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
"But now, patient after patient was walking away. They did not want that kind of surgery. They wanted surgery by a robot, controlled by a physician not necessarily even in the operating room, face buried in a console, working the robot’s arms with remote controls." How marketing is driving the demand for robotic urology, reported in the New York Times.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Using a leaked document from BlueCross BlueShield, Timothy Noah of Slate explains how a Texas insurer denies health insurance to miners, professional athletes, anyone who is overweight, or any patient who suffers from one of 143 conditions on its Automatic Decline List.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
"Far fewer children would get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. "Binge eating disorder" and “hypersexuality” might become part of the everyday language. And the way many mental disorders are diagnosed and treated would be sharply revised. These are a few of the changes proposed on Tuesday by doctors charged with revising psychiatry's encyclopedia of mental disorders." Read about it in the NY Times.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Take a cruise to the Bahamas with transhumanists and bioethicists.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
"It occurred to Anne Mitchell as she was writing the letter that she might lose her job, which is why she chose not to sign it. But it was beyond her conception that she would be indicted and threatened with 10 years in prison for doing what she knew a nurse must: inform state regulators that a doctor at her rural hospital was practicing bad medicine." Read more in the Times.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Listen here to a segment of the WBUR show, "The Connection," on word-of-mouth marketing.
According to Wikipedia, it is marketed as "Love Herbs from Sweden."
The love herbs listed in this concoction look suspiciously familiar as the ingredients in Red Bull, Monster, or Rock Star. But hey, it is imported from Sweden and costs $17.95 on Amazon.
Nexcite even has its own Facebook group. Therefore, it *must* be important stuff.
Where do bioethicists get their moral authority? "Ask almost any hospital physician about this and you will get, in reliable sequence, an eye roll, a sigh, and then an earful of anecdotes about swaggering bioethicists posing as arbiters of right and wrong," writes Sally Satel in the Hoover Institution's Policy Review.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Honestly, this makes perfect sense to me. Call me a "cynic" and you would be correct.