jrtom: (Default)
http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/11/02/a-piece-of-their-mind/print/

This is fascinating. I wish them well; they're going to have an interesting life, and often not in a good way.
jrtom: (Default)
from a random comment in [livejournal.com profile] naudiz's LJ:

http://figent-figary.livejournal.com/23878.html

From this entry I learned that you can apparently die from alcohol _withdrawal_ in some cases. (This surprised me quite a bit.)

The 'voice' of the narrator reminds me somewhat of what I imagine Dad's voice might be like in a similar context.

I also find the material regarding Malina (an intern that is often detail-oriented...on the wrong details) to be a good cautionary example for myself, as I sometimes have similar tendencies...*rueful smile*
jrtom: (Default)
http://scienceblogs.com/drcharles/2007/06/some_toothpaste_from_china_fou.php

which does a pretty good job of explaining the problem and its history (apparently a similar concern caused the FDA to be created in the first place)

and the FDA report, which lists the toothpaste brands that have been identified to have this additive:

http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01646.html

(If this sort of thing keeps happening, I wonder whether China is going to continue to maintain its favorable trade imbalance. First pet food, now this...)
jrtom: (Default)
The most interesting part is that they apparently believe that existing knowledge regarding how this should be done is fundamentally mistaken (i.e., not an improvement on existing methods, but a new paradigm).

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18368186/site/newsweek/
jrtom: (Default)
http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2007/5367.html

I'm not sure how much is novel here, and I haven't looked at the article itself. However, the idea that drugs should be judged by relatively objective criteria--the amount of damage that they do to the user, the extent to which they induce dependence, and the concomitant effects on society--is so straightforward and rational as to be positively revolutionary. *sardonic smile*
jrtom: (Default)
from [livejournal.com profile] fdmts:

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials

A couple of choice quotes:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a medical intervention justified by observational data must be in want of verification through a randomised controlled trial.

...

It is often said that doctors are interfering monsters obsessed with disease and power, who will not be satisfied until they control every aspect of our lives (Journal of Social Science, pick a volume).


The responses (scroll to the bottom and click through) are also worth reading, although some of them are rather pedantic.
jrtom: (Default)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6229799.stm

I really don't know what to think about this.

I'm generally against surgery that doesn't provide some necessary medical function...but "necessary" can be slippery.

The parents have acknowledged that their child is never going to be mentally more than three months old, and I find myself wondering what I would do if I knew that I was going to have a child with that condition--or if I found out that I already had one (i.e., it wasn't apparent before birth). Especially considering that we all went through that period (of being three months old) at one point.

I don't think that there's anything that could be done with this situation that I'd be satisfied by.

Update: Here is the website that the parents have put up: http://ashleytreatment.spaces.live.com/

Something that occurred to me after the initial flurry of comments (that's come to mind in analogous circumstances before): since Ashley (the child) is expected to have a normal lifespan, her parents are implicitly committing someone else--her siblings, other relatives, the state--to taking care of her once they're gone. This complicates the moral issue still further.
jrtom: (Default)
Wired: http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/blind_pr.html

Describes the experiences of, and the research concerning, people who are unable to recognize people's faces, either due to injury or a possibly-congenital brain condition--while being able to recognize other types of objects without difficulty.

If you read (and were interested in) Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, read this article. Fascinating stuff.
jrtom: (Default)
http://www.obesitymyth.com/excerpt.html

http://www.bigfatblog.com/columnists/archives/001240.php

Hmm. I should probably read more about this.

A thought that has occurred to me in this context: as long as we have death, there will always be a leading cause of it. (This is true of any phenomenon, of course.) This is kind of obvious when you put it that way, but what this means is that it's not entirely obvious that something being "the leading cause of death"--which obesity-exacerbated health issues might even be--should mean that we all have to drop everything and do all that we can to reduce that risk.

I do get the feeling that the author might be confusing a couple of things here. It may indeed be the case that the mortality rate among overweight people and thin people is the same for a given level of exercise. This doesn't necessarily mean that being overweight can't make some health issues worse, or give you a greater risk of acquiring others.
jrtom: (safe cat)
from Quinn Norton (hi, [livejournal.com profile] tildequinn at Wired: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71797-0.html

Open source prosthetics. Gotta like it.
jrtom: (Default)
So I've had an MRI now, and I have the preliminary report.

To summarize, apparently there's nothing wrong with my knee (that an MRI can detect, anyway).

Which is a relief, because that must mean that it's not hurting when I run (or walk for too long, or sit in certain positions) and doesn't occasionally buckle under me for No Reason.

It's not like I was looking forward to surgery, but at least it would have provided me with some measure of assurance that it would actually fix the problem.

*sigh*
jrtom: (Default)
So next week, I'm helping my friends get ready for their wedding (including moving stuff), and the week after that I'm looking at houses. Also, next week, I am speaking at both the wedding and reception, and singing at the former.

This, of course, explains why I have picked up a cold that has caused me to lose most of my voice, and why a week and a half ago an old knee injury got bad enough to cause me to consult a doctor, who told me that I probably have a torn meniscus, and may require surgery. In the meantime, walking or standing for more than a few minutes at a time is somewhat awkward and painful, and sitting down doesn't help much either.

*sigh* Couldn't these things have waited a couple of months?
jrtom: (Default)
I wear a wrist brace on my right wrist to deal with an ongoing repetitive stress injury. Assuming for the moment that this will continue to be necessary--i.e., that I'm doing at least some of the right ergonomic things otherwise, etc.--I'd like to find a wrist brace that fastens using straps and buckles, i.e., does not depend on Velcro. (It should also have other characteristics, e.g., a metal brace extending from the middle of the palm along the inside of the wrist. But those are easy to find.)

Velcro is great stuff. But it was never meant for extended use under stress; the loops de-loop after time, and I have now found it necessary to use paperclips to keep the straps from coming loose. (Which doesn't work as well as I'd like.)

Any ideas?
jrtom: (Default)
somewhat macabre reflections on brain death and the nature of self )
jrtom: (Default)
Not much to report, really. The place that performed my LASIK surgery did the exam, which, ironically enough, meant that I spent about 1.5 hours more coping with the appointment (half an hour travel, an hour spent waiting), and got a less thorough evaluation than my usual optometrist would have given. (They didn't check my eye pressure, for instance, nor did they dilate my pupils so as to get a good look at the interior--and I wasn't impressed with how they checked my astigmatism.)

However, it seems clear (heh) that I can see 20/20, and have a decent crack at 20/15 (I got 4 out of the 5 letters correct with each eye, and 5/5 with both, with some effort). Not sure how much astigmatism I might have (see above). I still experience the halos around quasi-point-sources of light when my eyes are dark-adapted, but they're less pronounced, I think. I think that my night vision may be just a little bit worse (acuity, not contrast), but that's really hard to evaluate.

All in all, it's turned out well. Now I just need to hope that presbyopia fails to rear its ugly head for a couple of decades, so that I can get some use out of my factory-rebuilt eyes before they start deteriorating again. :P :)

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