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September 2012
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October 2012

Gas chromatography: Not recommended for area monitoring of ethylene oxide in SPD departments

Our friends at Interscan have just posted a lengthy (ca. 1100 words), but informative technical brief on the pitfalls of using gas chromatography to monitor EtO in hospital settings.

The article, typical of the Knowledge Base content the company offers on its website, is pretty much non-commercial, while explaining key concepts in gas detection. Included in the piece is a detailed history of EtO exposure regulations, dating from 1968 to the present.

Give it a spin.

Farewell to Sandy

Here in Fairfax County, VA, Sandy brought mostly lots of rain and some brief episodes of high winds.  Our friends in NY and NJ were not so lucky, however.

Thousands have lost power.  Trees are down, and in some cases crushed cars in the process.  Without power, of course, they are also without heat, and even if this isn't the middle of Winter, it's not exactly warm these days, either.

Our prayers go out to them---and to the crews working to make things right again.  Just one more reminder of the very thin line between comfort and misery.

Going soft on RSV: How NOT to save money on health care

That's the title of my latest HND piece. "RSV" stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and this common pathogen can be devastating to preemies. The good news is that there is a drug called Synagis® that prevents infections in this high-risk group.

The bad news is that as part of a ludicrous (and brown-nosing) cost-cutting measure from December 2009, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thought that it was throwing a bone to its insurance company paymasters, by severely restricting the eligibility requirements for third party coverage of the drug. Notably, their recommendations are long on eyewash, and short on actual data.

In fact, a study has just been released which shows that Synagis®, used in accordance with the original (pre-December 2009) guidelines is cost-effective, if not cost-saving. After all, you can burn through the supposed cost savings on the drug within a day or two in intensive care.

Maybe that's why the trade associations of doctors who actually care about preemies opposed the AAP action. Make no mistake, untold billions of dollars are spent each year on expensive pharmaceuticals—especially for the elderly—in cases where cheaper and just as effective drugs really do exist. The massive over-prescribing of proprietary psychotropics is but one example.

Tragically, the current situation typifies our badly broken American health care system. Medicaid or private insurance can be billed hundreds of thousands or more to keep a preemie alive in the NICU, but helping them make it through their first two years at home is apparently a big problem.

To those (including the moronic policy wonks behind Obamacare) who still don't get it, lack of insurance is surely NOT the biggest problem with our system. Just ask the parent of a preemie who has insurance.

Maybe you don't care about preemies, and maybe you don't care about other affected groups that lack political clout. My question is: Who will be your protector, when the bell tolls for you?

Read the complete article.

Alex Cross

It would be tempting to dismiss this one as being about as good as a made-for-TV movie, or even better...about as good as a direct-to-video entry made in Michigan.  Tyler Perry tries, but he can't overcome the half-baked dialog and weak script.  Not that the action sequences are anything to write home about, either.

Matthew Fox plays an interesting psycho serial killer.  Too bad he's also supposed to be a top-notch professional hit man.

Read my complete review.

Where diabetes and Alzheimer's meet

As if diabetes—in all of its multiple forms—weren't bad enough, it is now becoming quite clear that dreaded Alzheimer's might just be another form of diabetes. Inasmuch as abnormal insulin metabolism has been implicated in cardiovascular disease—as well as breast, colon, skin, testicular, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers—such a notion is worthy of serious consideration.

Why not call it..."Type 3 diabetes?" My latest HND piece explores this topic, going back to good ol' Alois Alzheimer, himself. Not comforting at all is the finding that Type 2 diabetics have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer's, and those on exogenous insulin have four times the risk.

Read the complete article.

The late George McGovern

Perhaps, those who identify as "conservative" and are praising this lifelong leftist do so out of respect for the dead. Many of these commentators seem to be unaware that McGovern was a delegate for Henry Wallace in 1948, and would continue to espouse many positions similar to those of Progressive Party leader and Communist sympathizer Wallace. Indeed, McGovern was unaffected by the fact that Wallace himself disavowed these positions after North Korea invaded the South in 1950.

McGovern is remembered for opposing the War in Vietnam, but here again, many forget that he supported it for quite awhile, and did vote for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. It has been suggested that he was more enchanted by the organizational tactics of the 1960s far Left, thinking—disastrously incorrectly as it would turn out—that he could ride the street protests against Vietnam to the White House. His comparison at the time of Ho Chi Minh to George Washington was in incredibly poor taste, but accurately reflected his beliefs.

While he never had a chance at becoming president, his bizarre choice of Thomas Eagleton as a running mate, a man with a known history of mental illness, and his quick reversal from "Behind him 1000%" to throwing him under the bus a few days later, reflected his feckless attitude. To be fair, Eagleton was hardly his first choice, but McGovern had burned plenty of bridges even within the Democratic side.

Few obits recall that McGovern became president of the Middle East Policy Council, which—to be kind—is a pro-Arab, if not blatantly anti-Israel group. McGovern's record of anti-Israel positions went well beyond what could be charitably termed "constructive dialog."

Frankly, despite his later incarnation as a "war hero" (His skills as a pilot did save his life and that of his crew, but I'm not sure how that is heroic), it is difficult to escape the fact that he was little more than an anti-Semitic and mostly anti-American politician who was coddled by the elite media for far too long.


Yes, this latest version of the found footage horror movie—and a dark one at that—could have been better.  But, once you get past the slow first act, and the "stinger" scare stuff, it's really not too bad.

Replete with snuff film footage, demon references and red herrings, the biggest shock ends up being where the final reveal of this pic takes you.

Read my complete review.


It’s not green to be pro-bacteria

My latest HND piece explores how the clueless Greenies and their fear entrepreneur brethren are bringing out the long knives against...triclosan. Yes, triclosan, a wonderful antibacterial that has been proven safe for more than 40 years. In fact, best-selling author Paul Alexander has just published a book entitled Pandemic: The Story of People vs. Germs, exploring this very issue.

It is truly amazing how the nonsensical pronouncements of idiot Greenies have persisted all these years, especially if you look at the legacy of St. Rachel Carson and exactly what the banning of DDT accomplished. Perhaps millions of dead Africans is what they really meant by improving the environment. After all, the early environmental movement was certainly not shy when complaining about how many (poor) people there are in this world.

I also cite a more recent example involving what happens when you decide to stop chlorinating water. And, surprise, surprise, they spun that tragedy away from their miserable selves, just like they did the massive malaria outbreaks caused by the banning of DDT.

Read the complete article.

Latest stupid vitamin D study

In keeping with a long-held tradition of stacking the deck on studies involving non-pharmaceutical agents, this latest effort published in JAMA does not disappoint.  One or both of the following scams are ALWAYS in play...

  • Using a cohort that is too sick to benefit from the therapy
  • Using an inappropriate dose or dosage schedule

In this case, the dosage and the schedule were both issues.  I mean doesn't everyone take their Vitamin D once per month?  Yes, you read that correctly. 

Participants were randomly assigned to receive an initial dose of 200 000 IU oral vitamin D3, then 200 000 IU one month later, then 100,000 IU monthly (n = 161), or placebo administered in an identical dosing regimen (n = 161), for a total of 18 months.

The researchers chose a monthly dosage pattern to assure compliance, and that's interesting, isn't it?  So much crummy "science" is based on self-assessment, and these guys are at least admitting that such methods could introduce error.

The authors pose the question "Would the results of our study have been different if we had given participants vitamin D, 3300 IU/d, as opposed to 100,000 IU monthly?"  Only they don't answer it.  Besides, even if the dosage pattern didn't matter, 3300 IU per day is not exactly a high dose.

Most people take at least 5000 IU/day, and lots more if they feel sick.

You can bet, though, that the dosage details will not be mentioned in most press accounts of this study.  Keep taking your Vitamin D!