Inspirational Medicine

March 19, 2008

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Cancer is difficult.  In every sense of the word.  It is difficult to detect early(in some forms), it is difficult to treat, it is difficult to deal with.  Individuals and families are devastated by the effects of the disease and even by the treatment.  It is particularly heart wrenching to read stories about childhood cancers.  But it is important.  The things learned from the study of end stage cancer is often among the most cutting edge research.  People will be open to may treatment courses when the alternative is death.  While the vast majority of last minute experiments fail, and no magic cure is discovered, there are always exceptions.  Those exceptions are beautiful to read and I encourage you to read the following article.

Full Article

From a human stand point, it is always refreshing to see the triumphant story of an underdog that overcomes some great challenge.  From clinical stand point, the same holds.  Many of the greatest achievements and breakthroughs in science have been laughed at originally and dismissed too quickly.  While the antiangiogenic chemotherapy may or may not go on to play a significant role in the treatment of cancer in the future, its pioneers like Dr. Judah Folkman who change the course of history.  Taking a different approach, trying new combinations of existing medicines, and being innovative in the treatment of cancer Dr. Judah Folkman saved Melanie McDaniel.  The McDaniel family is sharing her story as a tribute to Dr. Folkman who passed away in January.


Cute and Good For Your Heart!!

February 27, 2008

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Came across this cute little article today on abc.com.

Owning a pet cat may help your heart

If you’re not allergic to them, having a cat might be great for your heart.

According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, people who don’t own a cat have about a 40 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease.

Scientists don’t know why, but say their best guess is that having a pet relieves stress and anxiety.

Sorry dog owners — researchers found no protective relationship between man and his so called “best friend.” However, that could be due to the limitations of the study, and not a conclusion about dogs specifically.


Breast Cancer Drug Approved

February 23, 2008

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In a controversial move, the FDA has approved Avastin for breast cancer.  The drug is already used in lung and colon cancer.  For the FDA to approve a late stage cancer drug it needs to either extend patient’s lives or import the quality of life.  Avastin has shown neither and so the advisory committe recommended against its use in breast cancer.  The FDA went against the recommendation of its advisory committee.  The drug does shrink tumors effectively, but there is a debate if that alone is reason to approve a drug.

If you still die in the same amount of time in the same painful way was having smaller tumors  worth whatever adverse effects or side effects come from the medicine?  There are pros and cons to the decision.  The pros are the approval will stimulate even more research and development into tumor shrinking medicines.  The decision will also be good for business, stimulating development and growth.  But there are also cons.  First there is the obvious problem if a drug does not extend life or improve quality of life what is the purpose.  Tumor shrinking is important, but only as a part of the overall picture of improving health.  But what I find to be a more glaring problem is, the advisory committees are designed to have more knowledge and to have looked at a topic more carefully to give the FDA an intelligent recommendation.  Why have them if you don’t listen to the recommendation?  I think that sets bad precedent.

Hopefully the next large study of Avastin will show marked improvement in combination with  other drugs in the treatment of breast cancer.


F**K Planet Earth

February 22, 2008

As many of you know, I got the Planet Earth series for Valentine’s Day because it is awesome.  This video is making the rounds on the internet right now.  It is an immature, profanity laced spoof of scenes from the breath taking documentary.  I warn you not to click unless you are feeling distinctly like a 12 year old boy.  I thought it was cute/funny, but that could just be because I feel a little punchy after a long day.


Big Boobs, Big Diabetes?

February 9, 2008

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal (and by recently I mean I recently found my January 31 edition). The point of the article was women with larger breasts have increase risk of adult diabetes (more properly Type II since it is increasing occurring in children and adolescents). That is an of itself is not shocking nor news, since the biggest predictor is obesity and with big bodies often come big boobs. What I found crazy is that the increased risk of diabetes occurs when the study controlled for waist size and BMI. Although, as far as I know, they did not take into consider past size or BMI.  Overweight and obese women may develop breasts earlier and to a greater extend due to increased estrogen levels, so larger breasts in some instances may correlate to a larger size person who has lost weight.

Wall Street Journal health blog

On a less serious note, let me explain the big women, big boobs phenomenon.  Fat women have large breasts, very skinny women have small breasts.  Now that doesn’t always hold, we all know lucky bitches who are skinny and have big boobs, and sadly we all know a couple unfortunate ladies who are big but small chested.  But in general we understand, boobs are made of fat, fat people have fat, and therefore there is going to be a relationship.  Now some may say this is merely the science of fat distribution, but I know the truth.  It is proof there is some sort of just force or God governing the world.  Most men are looking for a skinny woman, and that to them is more important than breast size.  But there is also a chunk of self proclaimed “breast men”.     The “breast men” will pursue larger women knowing there will be larger breasts.  This is the mate distribution system.   Otherwise only skinny women could ever find men.  By giving overweight women bigger breasts the playing field is leveled.


“Seinfeld”, Science, and Snacks

February 1, 2008

 

    Forget Temple Pharmacy School, I should have gone to Clemson University.  I could have worked on my degree with Prof. Dawson, a food microbiologist.  He conducted a study inspired by an episode of “Seinfeld”.  Any loyal “Seinfel” fans will recall the episode where George double dips his chip at a funeral reception and is caught.  The episode is credited with being the first major popular use of the term “double dipping”.  They guy freaks out and tells George, “That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!”.  Well Professor Dawson set out to investigate if that charge is true.  He was skeptical that bacteria could be transfered from mouth to chip to mouth initially.  But the research indicates that 50 -100 bacteria would be transfered from one mouth to another in each bite, if there was a cup that was exposed to “sporadic double dipping.”  GROSS.  The study will be published in the Journal of Food Safety later this year.

    Professor Dawson published a paper last year on the five-second rule.  While his findings indicate that the rule is not true and food should not be eaten from the floor even if it is there for less than five seconds, my findings differ.  (Well at least my findings of tasty food on floors).

Full Article


I’ll take the 10,000 Calorie Appetizer Please

January 23, 2008

New York City’s Board of Health is revisiting regulations in an effort to stem the obesity problem.  The board is trying to get a measure passed where people would have better access to the nutritional information of the food they consume.

 Under the rules, which officials rewrote after a federal judge struck down similar provisions in September, any chain that operates at least 15 outlets nationwide would have to display calorie content on their menu boards, menus or food tags — essentially wherever the restaurant lists the information that customers use to make their choices.

The proposal will likely be challenged in court, due to implementation problems and restaurant’s hesitation to  publish the data.  I personally support the measure.  It makes sense, you should have access to information about something you are putting in your body.  Many will argue the people choosing between the Big Mac and the Bacon-ater are not the calorie counting type, but that isn’t necessarily true.  If a person likes both, but knows one is a little better (although terrible) for them, they can make an informed choice.

More to the point it is often confusing or surprising the calorie content of meals.  People hear terrible things about places like McDonald’s but then may not associate sit down restaurants for being as bad as they are.  I know personally I feel worse when I go to a fast food drive through then if a group of us go out to a nice restaurant.

Did you know for the calories in Olive Garden’s Stuffed Chicken Marsala entree (which is not the worst food at Olive Garden) you could have a Big Mac, a Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, and a Taco Bell Quesadilla?


Watch Out Gay Boys!

January 18, 2008

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The SuperBug of the year MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is in the news again.  Now a new possible route of infection is causing a spike in MRSA cases in gay men.  You boys have to be careful.  MRSA often initially looks like a small dotted rash or allergic reaction, and people ignore it until it gets severe.  But it can be fatal or cause serious disfiguring.  The treatment must be done promptly and involves expensive antibiotics usually through IV.  Everyone should be careful in situations where they may be exposed like the gym or a hospital.  But new research indicates gay man are more likely to be infected than straight men (13 times more so in San Francisco).  So before the general public starts blaming gay men for yet another disease, be safe, be healthy, and be informed.

Here are some of the important points from a Reuters article on the topic:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A drug-resistant strain of potentially deadly bacteria has moved beyond the borders of U.S. hospitals and is being transmitted among gay men during sex, researchers said on Monday.

They said methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is beginning to appear outside hospitals in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

About 30 percent of all people carry ordinary staph chronically. It can be passed by touching other people or by depositing the bacteria on surfaces or objects.

The best way to avoid infection is by washing the hands or genitals with soap and water, Diep said.

Read the Article Here


Oprah Takes Over

January 17, 2008

Oprah is taking over the world. Or at least having a large influence on it. With millions of viewers and an ever growing audience, Oprah is talking to whoever will listen. And many are listening. Hell I don’t even watch her show, but I listen to what books I should read. But this time she is endorsing more than a book or gadget. She is endorsing Barack Obama for president. Many believe it is about seeing a black president or jumping on the rockstar like following for Obama.

But I know the truth, it is just one stop on her way to world domination. It is important to have friends in powerful places. The President of the United States is a pretty powerful position. Some have said my theories on Oprah are a little far fetched. But I’ve always know she was a conquerer. From the news, to the talk show, to the made for tv movies, to book club, to the Broadway shows, to the magazine, to the South African school and now to endorsing a presidential candidate.

But now she has gone to far!! She is getting her own tv channel. The Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN, will premier in 2009.  So you wonder why is this so terrible?  No one is forcing me to watch it.  The problem is the channel will be replacing Discovery Health Channel.  I love the Discovery Health Channel.  “Incredible Medical” is the most compelling show on television, I have been late to work in order to see the final diagnosis.  Plus shows like “Baby Baby”, “Adoption stories”, and “Babies: Special Delivery” are the only shows on television that can make me cry.

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Good Medicine, Bad Behavior

January 13, 2008

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You might be wondering where the “Good Medicine, Bad Behavior” exhibit is showing. The answer: the DEA Museum. Although it may just be my ignorance, but did anyone know there was a DEA Museum? Well I am going to a wedding in October that is in Virginia and my mom cut an ad out for this museum in case we want to go.  Hopefully we’ll check it out and then I will promptly fill you in on what exactly a DEA museum entails.

I feel like it was designed for pharmacy school field trips.

The ad reads:

“This interactive exhibit delves into prescription drug abuse and explores the history of drug abuse from period pharmacies to rogue internet pharmacies.”

DEA Museum

700 Army Navy Drive Pentagon City Arlingotn, VA 22202

www.deamuseum.org