When Celebrities Should Shut the F**K Up and Talk to a Doctor

June 10, 2008

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards are fighting some more, this time their girls are caught in the cross fire.  While media whoring Richards is usually just as wrong as the womanizing junkie Sheen, in this situation I side with her.  Like a small but growing group of uninformed, reckless parents Sheen doesn’t want his children vaccinated.

I have news for you Charlie: vaccinations are safe and effective.  negative reactions are rare.  autism has not been linked to vaccines.  the biggest vaccine problems occur from improper supervision afterwards (parents need to monitor for a fever) or allergic reactions.  but more important than all the science in the world, since some parents will believe whatever they want anyway: vaccination is not just about your kids, it makes all kids safer to be in an immunized community.

And so the tool bag of the day award goes to Charlie Sheen.


Regranex’s New Black Box Warning

June 9, 2008

The FDA has moved to have Ethicon the maker of Regranex put a “black box” warning on the label.  The “black box” is the highest FDA warning level.  Regranex gel is used to treat dangerous foot and leg ulcers in diabetics.  Regranex is a medicine that is a genetically engineered form of a human growth factor that helps wounds heal faster. It is a huge benefit to diabetic patients with slow-healing wounds on their legs or feet that often result in amputation of the affected limb.

But its effect on human growth factor may make cancer cells grow quicker too. Post marketing studies showed patients may have a fivefold higher risk of dying from cancer.

“In announcing this label change, FDA still cautions health care professionals to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of treating patients with Regranex,” Susan Walker, MD, director of the FDA’s Division of Dermatological and Dental Products, says in a news release. “Regranex is not recommended for patients with known malignancies.”


Rx Drug Abuse

June 9, 2008

I saw this ad on the nytimes website tonight and figured I would share it.  While the effectiveness of ad campaigns aimed at ending teenage abuse of prescription drugs remains to be seen, I felt the ad was poignant.  It can be hard for parents to imagine their kids doing drugs at all, let alone stealing drugs from them.  But that is exactly what is happening.  These aren’t just your “bad kids” these are often the honor roll student or the star athlete.

In 2003, approximately 15 million Americans reported using a prescription drug for nonmedical reasons at least once during the year.  Also 6.1% of 16 to 17 year olds reported misusing a prescription drug in the prior month.

Hopefully with the increased media coverage of prescription drug abuse parents will become more aware and proactive.


Sex, murder, tentacles

April 6, 2008

Came across this article on CNN today.

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — Marine biologists studying wild octopuses have found a kinky and violent society of jealous murders, gender subterfuge and once-in-a-lifetime sex.

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Researchers say wild octopuses are far from the shy, unromantic loners their captive brethren appear to be.

The study by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, who journeyed off the coast of Indonesia found that wild octopuses are far from the shy, unromantic loners their captive brethren appear to be.

The scientists watched the Abdopus aculeatus octopus, which are the size of an orange, for several weeks and published their findings recently in the journal Marine Biology.

They witnessed picky, macho males carefully select a mate, then guard their newly domesticated digs so jealously they would occasionally use their 8-to-10-inch tentacles to strangle a romantic rival.

The researchers also observed smaller “sneaker” male octopuses put on feminine airs, such as swimming girlishly near the bottom and keeping their male brown stripes hidden in order to win unsuspecting conquests.

And size does matter — but not how you’d think.

“If you’re going to spend time guarding a female, you want to go for the biggest female you can find because she’s going to produce more eggs,” said UC Berkeley biologist Roy Caldwell, who co-wrote the study. “It’s basically an investment strategy.”

Shortly after the female gives birth, about a month after conception, the mother and father die, researchers said.

“It’s not the sex that leads to death,” said Christine Huffard, the study’s lead author. “It’s just that octopuses produce offspring once during a very short lifespan of a year.”