Category Archives: Medical

blood_cells

Heartbleed, Personal

I had a bit of a health scare last week — and survived it, thanks to the wisdom of two doctors who are also friends.  Other doctors were involved in supporting roles; I appreciate them as well.

I’d been feeling bad for a while; the loss of my Lady and other factors had wrecked my digestion. Ten days ago (Thursday April 18), I had blood tests done. The results came back Monday, when the lab calling me to say that I needed to do the tests over again, they could not trust the results. I was feeling worse, and suspected that the anomalous results were not wrong. Continue reading

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Holder of Information

There are several pieces of information being held — and not disclosed — by most news services. In other cases, the news appeared and then was rushed off the stage as too big to ignore but too embarrassing to talk about.

The Abortion of News

There was a conviction of an abortion clinic operation for Medicare fraud and other offenses. The clinic’s building is co-owned by a gynecologist … who happens to be the “First Lady of Justice,” the wife of Attorney General Eric Holder. She was not charged — but unquestionably, as the landlord of the operation, she and her husband (and sister) received proceeds from the operation’s fraud. Had she been a Republican, this connection would be in the news night and day. But being an abortion clinic, it’s a darling of the Left, and being a close connection to Left-anointed figures, means that this is not a news item. When Tyrone Cecil Malloy’s conviction is mentioned locally, the clinic’s landlords are not mentioned. Continue reading

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Beef with the USDA

This is a placeholder for a developing story. Something seems rotten … and I don’t think it will turn out to be the food.

(Update: According to an article passed along by Marmoe, the place has been “indefinitely shuttered” — and there are many complaints. Not about Rancho, but about the USDA’s actions. See this story from two weeks ago.)

The FDA went after Rancho Feeding Corporation back in January, claiming that there was one day in early January during which the inspector(s) apparently didn’t properly inspect the food going out the door. Here was the way the news was phrased back on January 13: Continue reading

Killing Women

The estimable and devout Catholic Biltrix has a post up discussing abortion. It’s worth a look.  I replied there:

As a lifelong non-theist, I don’t have the “moment of conception” notion with regard to the beginning of life. For me, life is continuous for the past roughly 4 billion years, and that moment business is complicated because it can be tinkered with or even triggered artificially.

But death is not continuous. And at some point, a few weeks after conception, a human fetus has an impulse-sensing brain and a beating heart. Since we use brain death as an end-of-life measure, it seems reasonable to me to argue for brain-birth/formation/first signals as a beginning-of-life measure.

Thus, I am on your side when it comes to late-term abortions; these are indeed killing humans.

You voiced a rhetorical question: “How many women were killed by botched abortion procedures last year?” But there’s another aspect to this question, since about half of the <i>successful</i> abortions kill women, too. They’re just younger than the others.

I don’t think this should be decided at the federal level, as we don’t in general decide murder and self-defense at that level. But states can and should make these decisions, and in my state I would vote against late-term abortions, with “late” being defined as post-brain-formation.

(After my comment, another commenter put up a link to a non-theist who does argue that life begins at the moment of conception. Here is that link.)

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Obamacare “not yet a flop”

In Citizen Tom’s blog, he’s been interacting with a person using the monikers “scout” and “novascout”; I pitched in a bit:

Scout wrote:<blockquote>The problem with defunding Obamacare is that the Republicans had nothing to replace it with.</blockquote>You say the most astounding things. Earlier, you asserted that the Speaker of the House “is not particularly in charge” and implied that this position was merely “a position of respect.” This is a rather badly misfired notion; even leftist Wikipedia (and thus likely to be palatable to you) demonstrates <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speaker_of_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives”>the very substantial control and authority held by the Speaker</a> (not to mention being next in line for the President in the event of loss/disability of Obama and Biden). Continue reading

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Schizophrenic Voices

The woman who tried to breach the barricades around the White House (and perhaps the Capitol building) allegedly had a history of mental illness. You can tell that there was insanity going on: She fired seventeen shots at an unarmed person.

Well, actually, that was the police. But in any event, Miriam Carey was not in her right mind, and is no longer in her body as well.  After she slammed into the barricade, knocking down one officer, then slamming into a police care as she sped away, I can understand the officers’ excitement. They are charged with protecting President Obama, and it is a credit to their professionalism that they take this job seriously.

As many of the articles about this incident mention the mental illness and note that it was only two weeks ago that the Navy Yard killed went on his killing spree. The news media, perhaps a bit cautious, managed not to allege that the Infinity sedan was an AR-15, nor did they suggest that Ms. Carey was a conservative.  Good for them.

Mistakes were Made Continue reading

Bad health Condition: Obamacare

I just saw an article reminding me that Obamacare authorizes a surcharge / penalty for up to 50% of the insurance premium for smokers.  When companies began doing this in 2011, the New York Times was unhappy: They rolled out an attack focusing on Walmart.  They were aghast, calling it “a shift toward penalizing employees with unhealthy lifestyles rather than rewarding good habits”:

When Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest employer, recently sought the higher payments from some smokers, its decision was considered unusual, according to benefits experts. The amount, reaching $2,000 more than for nonsmokers, was much higher than surcharges of a few hundred dollars a year imposed by other employers on their smoking workers.

And the only way for Wal-Mart employees to avoid the surcharges was to attest that their doctor said it would be medically inadvisable or impossible to quit smoking. Other employers accept enrollment in tobacco cessation programs as an automatic waiver for surcharges.

“This is another example of where it’s not trying to create healthier options for people,” said Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, a union-backed campaign that is sharply critical of the company’s benefits. “It looks a lot more like cost-shifting.”

Yes, evil Walmart.  But when this article was written, Obamacare had already passed, and was already much worse: As of January, a 60-year-old smoker will be paying more than $5,000 per year more than a non-smoker.  This is, according to the Obama administration, because smokers cost so much more in medical interventions.

That struck me as odd, because I do medical cost research on a regular basis. That question is not at all “settled science,” and it took only seconds to turn up this research:

Lifetime Medical Costs of Obesity: Prevention No Cure for Increasing Health Expenditure

In sensitivity analyses the effects of epidemiologic parameters and cost definitions were assessed. Until age 56 y, annual health expenditure was highest for obese people. At older ages, smokers incurred higher costs.Because of differences in life expectancy, however, lifetime health expenditure was highest among healthy-living people and lowest for smokers. Obese individuals held an intermediate position. Alternative values of epidemiologic parameters and cost definitions did not alter these conclusions.

In other words, non-smoking, non-obese “healthy living” people had the highest medical care costs, because they lived longer. Obese people were less expensive, and smokers were the least costly in health care expenditures.

This was based on data from the Netherlands, but the general principles have applicability here.

But at least the Obama administration gets to apply a regressive health care tax on poor people — the ones most likely to be smokers and/or obese. This is the same sort of “regressive tax” punishment that the Obama-inflicted high energy costs do to poor people. The fact that assertions are made based upon poor science, or completely contrary to research, is hardly surprising from this administration. Here’s an encapsulation of their approach to behavior modification:

National obesity rates are essentially static, and public health campaigns that gently try to educate people about the benefits of exercise and healthy eating just aren’t working, Callahan argued. We need to get obese people to change their behavior. If they are angry or hurt by it, so be it, he said.

Notice that they would never take this approach with welfare — which has placed tens of millions of people in generations of poverty and crime.  It is sad — and it is expensive. When will the New York Times rage against the administration for yet another attack on the poor?

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Bath-a-Salts

While looking at another topic (check back tomorrow), I stumbled across this odd item.  Remember the “naked cannibal face-eating zombie” in Florida who was allegedly on “bath salts” as the reason for his behavior?  (Later, this was said to be merely marijuana.) I’d not heard of “bath salts” as a narcotic prior to the incident, but subsequently have heard of other (somewhat similar) “bath salt” cases in which “zombie” or “cannibal” winds up being used to describe the suspect.  (Other incidents have been supposedly based on grain alchohol, as in this report about a Chinese man.)  Still, bath salts were suddenly talked about — and I was intrigued.

Ah, but then I saw this article: Florida Governor Rick Scott had signed a bill into law in June 2011, months before the first famous cannibal incident:

Scott also signed a bill that makes it illegal to possess MDPV sold as bath salts. Those convicted could face up to five years in prison. The drugs are being sold in malls, head shops, convenience stores and other retail outlets, often near displays of energy drinks. They can be snorted like cocaine, smoked or injected.

The drug has been likened to LSD and can produce hallucinations, severe paranoia, seizures, aggression, increased blood pressure and kidney failure.

So, this problem was not new.  And in fact this drug website documents it in an article from 2009:

COMMON & BRAND NAMES:MDPV; NRG-1; Bath Salts
EFFECTS CLASSIFICATION:Stimulant
CHEMICAL NAME:3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone
DESCRIPTION:MDPV is an uncommon stimulant with a short history of human use. It is known for its tendency to cause compulsive redosing and some users report sexual arousal as an effect. MDPV has been found in products labeled as “bath salts” and “plant food/fertilizer”.

On the link above are details about the effects as well as the legal status: It was added to the federal Schedule I just last month (July 2012), and about half the states have laws on it, most dating to 2011.  The timing of this indicates that the states saw the rise of the problem a year before — but the Senate voted 96-1 to ban the drug’s components only after the widely publicized (and apparently wrong) attribution of the cannibal attacks to MDPV.

It is possible that I am immune to this drug, as I am to most (perhaps all) narcotics — but I have no intention of trying the experiment. This substance seems extraordinarily tough on its users.  (One of the many listed negative effects is “fiending” — but that’s not quite what it sounds like. The word was new to me.)

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle