Friday, June 26, 2009

Of Bugs (or Arachnids), Cats, Dogs

Worst Summer Job EVER

Guy I knew in udergrad school was doing research in the ag college.
He signed up for a summer research project. Paid him minimum wage and all the glory of furthering important research.
Be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Do your little bit to make the world a better place.

The research was on corn. (Taxonomy for the geeks:
His job was to catalog and count spiders living on the underside of the leaves of the stalks of corn.
This necessitated lying on his back in a corn field with a big magnifying glass in hand and scouring each leaf.
All day.
Mid-July to harvest.
The hottest time of year.
In Nebraska.

Do you know how hot it gets at ground level in the middle of a corn field, under a summer sun, with no wind, and all that moisture from plants and the mud you are lying in, while counting spiders on the underside of leaves of corn stalks, in Nebraska?
Neither do I.
But I bet it gets plenty hot.
Like a sauna only smellier.
And buggier.

But this isn't about those lazy days of youth.

This is all about what happens late at night.
When the lights are off.
And nature calls.

Falls from tripping over the family pet are responsible for around 90,000 injuries each year treated in ERs.

At night, with the lights off and my chocalte-coated pointer lying in my path like some 65 pound viet cong tripwire is how I picture my neck-breaking fall.
But walking the dog is apparently a real hazard as well.

From Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, which is an awesome journal for the name alone, comes:
Nonfatal Fall-Related Injuries Associated With Dogs and Cats -- United States, 2001-2006.

Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in this country, they say.
Highlights: dogs 7.5x more likely to trip you up than cats.
Women 2.1 times more likely to be injured than men.
Years 0-14 and 35-54 are the most dangerous.

So now you know.
A 37 year old women with a boxer doesn't stand a chance.

Just doing my lttle bit to make the world a better place.

Beyond Healthy Comments

You Tube has a vid posting under "Corn Spider".
I strongly recommend you DO NOT WATCH IT.
On the other hand, it may be instructive as to the value of youtube, and/or affirm your belief in the emminent collapse of the republic.
There is profanity.

This corn biz is serious.

How to walk the dog. YouTube again.

Lightning strikes twice

I've noticed a pervasive cynical attitude when it comes to the subject of research+pharma funding.
A wheezing out of "follow the money" like Redford/Woodward's source in All the President's Men plays background.

Can't we all just show a little trust of these many committed academics and researchers?
These selfless individuals are dedicating their lives to making yours better/longer.

Well, apparently not.

In April the Institute of Medicine called on doctors to disclose funding sources in order to protect against conflict of interest.NEJM 360:2160-2163 May 21, 2009 # 21

And then there are those pesky Harvard med students protesting big pharma money influence on their education:
(Whoop, whoop. A protest I can get behind.) CONTAINS NO GOOD PICTURE CONTAINS ONE GOOD PICTURE

Now we have Senator Charles Grassely co-sponsoring a bill, the "Physician Payments Sunshine Act".
"According to Grassley, the American Medical Student Association had surveyed 149 medical schools, requesting their financial disclosure policies. Only 126 complied."
The senator wants to know why.
'"There's a lot of skepticism about financial relationships between doctors and drug companies," Grassley said in a statement. "Disclosure of those ties would help to build confidence that there's nothing to hide."'
From: Reuters Health Information US Senator Seeks Med Schools' Disclosure Policies

Good on you Mr. Grassely.

Sadly, the same Medscape page on which I found the senator's quotes had the link waaay down page.
While at the top under "Top Stories", Michael Jackson's death was link four.

Get it?
Michael Jackson is more important than research integrity.

Sure how it looks anyway.

To avoid any confusion, this is the now deceased Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) mentioned above:

And this is a picture of that other Michael Jackson:

Which brought more joy to the world?
You decide.

What? Me worry?

No need to worry.
Over 5,000 patient records were scrutinized, and the discovery?
An average of seven percent of abnormal findings were ignored.
Doesn't sound too bad, right?
Only 0.07 ignored. Only one of every fourteen.
Just an abnormal finding. Don't get all excited. Move along.

So, why did I have that test performed if you weren't going to act on the result anyway?
Arch. of Int. Med., 2009. 169: 1123-9.

Conversely, 93% were acted upon. So perhaps this is actually pretty good news.
What it really gets me thinking is a trusted second opinion is golden.
And as always, don't leave any questions you have concerning your health go unanswered.
Insist upon a full explanation of test results.

More to worry about. Or not.
Discussion on dangers of dose from radiography seem to me to have been building over the past few years.
Could just be I'm paying more attention, of course...

Lovely quote:
'Joseph M. Price, M.D., of Carsonville, Mich., wrote, "I believe that it is a rare physician ordering standard-type CT scans (such as abdominal studies) who has the slightest idea of the actual level of total radiation to which the patient is being exposed."'

And why be concerned?

Because of his further quote:
'...what particularly caught my attention was that the median dose-length product (DLP) of CCTA examinations was a little greater than the dose of an abdominal CT study, or the equivalent of 600 chest x-rays."
The above printed in JAMA, 2009. 301: 2324

Whether or not your CT is being ordered appropriately, do you really, really, really have to be exposed to the median level of radiation discussed above?

And the study says:
"As a result of the dose reduction program, patients' estimated median radiation dose decreased by 53.3% (P<0.001), href="">

Sourced from: Raff G, et al "Radiation dose from cardiac computed tomography before and after implementation of radiation dose-reduction techniques" JAMA 2009; 301: 2340-48.
Price J "Radiation doses associated with cardiac computed tomography angiography" JAMA 2009; 301: 2324.

Did that just say dose went down by half?
Yes. Yes it did.

Sure hope my radiologist follows these discussions.
And acts on them.

Why get a lame Joke of the Day, or LOL Cat of the Day, or Some-other-crappy-thing-of-the-day, when you could be enjoying
-the exciting-
Radiology Picture of the Day

Diagnostic radiation fears driving you to drink?:

Masochistic teetotaller and need more to worry about but won't drink?: