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February 2012

To fix health care, first do no harm

Here's one for you...

In this piece, I consider health care reform—from a Karmic point of view. It should come as no surprise that there is plenty of bad Karma floating around in this space. My take is that as long as we are stuck in our awful "disease care" model that we insist on calling "health care," the Karmic debt will just keep increasing.

Surely, the financial debt show no signs of being alleviated, either.  

One part of the article that might surprise you is how poorly health care workers treat each other—especially how older docs treat the younger ones.  I also take a dim view on the current movement to restore the so-called doctor-patient relationship.

Read the complete article.

Strong drugs, adverse events, and keeping it real

My latest HND piece takes a hard look at the consequences of what happens when you have an un-moderated forum to report adverse events related to drugs and medical devices. It is by no means a simple matter to prove that a particular side effect—especially as it affects a single individual—was actually caused by the drug in question.

Indeed, the process of tracking side effects is much more rigorous during clinical trials, than when the drug is on the market, and this may not be a good thing.

A current case-in-point involves Gilenya, a relatively new drug for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and at present the only available oral med for this condition. Recently, a death was reported for a patient on this drug, and the case is being investigated by the FDA. As you might expect, however, the lack of a smoking gun—at least at present—hasn't stopped the blogs from going wild.

Novartis, the makers of Gilenya, have responded by releasing all-cause mortality data for the drug, which is unprecedented, and goes far beyond what is required by the regulators. Don't hold your breath waiting for its competitors to follow suit.

Read the complete article.

How not to control drug abuse: What were they thinking?

You're going to love this one.

Most of you have heard of Prohibition, our nation's wonderful experiment with banning evil alcohol, and you remember how well that worked. Evidently, everyone except government officials learned from that experiment, because they're doing it again. Only this time, it's doubly stupid.

Methamphetamine is a prescription-only legal drug, which is also widely favored as a drug of abuse, manufactured illegally. Thus, its use is controlled by prescription, and any other source of it is illegal. The illegal manufacture of methamphetamine generally requires a chemical ingredient that can be derived from pseudoephedrine, a pharmaceutical found in over-the-counter cold, cough, and allergy medications such as Sudafed, Advil Cold and Sinus, Allegra D, Mucinex D, and Claritin D.

So now, two states require a prescription to purchase these cold remedies. Of course, that will do little to control the abuse of meth, since it will simply be imported, rather than made locally. It was Albert Einstein said who that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

At the least the government is consistent, in wiping out local industry in favor of imported goods. Read the complete article.

Networking your health care

A recent HND piece examines the interaction between health records, computer networks, and security. As with most overarching federal mandates, HIPAA, HITECH, and the like are quite flawed. Big surprise.

As to security...good luck. You'll especially like the findings from a survey done as few years ago by Palo Alto Networks. As I say in the piece: "Sadly, no matter how robust the security, the most likely source of breaches tends to be from the inside, and not all of them are necessarily malicious."

And, no matter how high your estimate of employees wasting bandwidth on non-business activities, I'll bet you're wrong, based on the Palo Alto Networks report.

Read the complete article.


I'm not a big basketball fan, but it's hard to miss the Jeremy Lin phenomenon. Here's a guy who goes unnoticed for at least a year, and emerges—seemingly from nowhere—to put up more points in his first five starts than any player since the ABA-NBA merger of 1976.

Since he is Asian, the issue of race inevitably surfaces—as it sadly does in virtually all aspects of American life. Boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. observed that "Jeremy Lin is a good player, but all the hype is because he's Asian."

I doubt that "all" the hype is because Lin is Asian, and I'm not sure that praising someone for historic accomplishments qualifies as "hype" in any case. Likewise, all the "hype" over the early career of Tiger Woods occurred for reasons beyond his race.

Still, Mayweather may be onto something. Lin was a bench-warmer all last season, with the Golden State Warriors. Surely, that couldn't have been because he was Asian...

The HHS contraceptive mandate opens Pandora's box

Now that the Catholic bishops are fighting the Administration on the contraceptive mandate, it won't be long before people start to realize that violation of conscience is a concept that can be greatly expanded. I go into some detail here.

In the simplest sense, why should a virile young employee be forced to pay for some old guy's Viagra? After all, such drugs are not exactly essential for life. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Abuse of private health insurance, not to mention Medicare and Medicaid, has long been out of control.

It seems that Obama and company have turned the spotlight back on themselves, and the entire miserable history of federally-financed health care, dating back to 1965's disastrous Medicare bill.

Read the complete article.

DMSO (Dimethyl sulfoxide)

A recent HND piece examines this once-popular all-purpose remedy. As it happens, my curiosity was piqued on the subject, based on e-mail correspondence I had received regarding the so-called Toxic Lady.

My 1998 article on that subject (as linked to above) presented the findings of the folks at Lawrence Livermore Labs, and to date, DMSO oxidation to toxic dimethyl sulfate is given as the official cause of those bizarre events. No one has ever proffered a better explanation, and no one has volunteered to provide the millions of dollars necessary to re-open the case.

Let's just say that people familiar with the chemistry of DMSO find the reactions proposed by Lawrence Livermore to be a bit farfetched.

Read the complete article.


This one could have been a whole lot better.  Maybe the teenage superpower thing just can't work, even if this movie did boast a few attractive players and decent FX.  Didn't you used to need imagination to become a writer—especially a screenwriter?

Read my complete review.

Super Bowl Sunday: Pre-game rant

It seems as if the entire country—minus New England—will be rooting for the New York Giants.  But, let's develop this topic for a moment.

The extraordinary popularity of Boston-based sports teams derives from two factors:  A built-in market of six states plus a huge number of alumni, from the many colleges and prep schools located in the region.

As to this particular game, many people are simply tired of the Tom Brady narrative.  You know...Sixth-round draft choice who becomes an NFL superstar, and sets a host of records, marrying a supermodel along the way.  He also breaks the heart of a Hollywod actress, Bridget Moynahan (and knocks her up).  As to Gisele Bündchen, when she and Brady renewed their vows in 2009, two paparazzi claimed that they were shot at.

I don't know about you, but I would prefer that a first round draft choice like Eli Manning become the story instead.  It took some stones to tell the Chargers that if they drafted him, he would not play for the team.  Even John Elway would allow any team close to the west coast to draft him.

Eschewing a supermodel, Manning married his Ole Miss sweetheart, and never seems to have dated a movie star.

Go Giants!


I Remember

Fans of progressive house sent this 2009 entry to the top spot on Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay Chart.  Written by Finn Bjarnson, Joel Zimmerman (Deadmau5) and Ryan Raddon (Kaskade), the song features a soaring "B" section (also known as "build-up") and a sexy, sweet vocal by Haley Gibby.

There have been any number of edits and mixes of the tune, but a ballad version released by Haley, from her 2010 album All This Love, takes it from progressive your house.  It's sexy and sweet again—only more so, and with supernaturally perfect intonation.

The track is available for preview and purchase at her website.  Give it a spin!