Tag Archives: risk

When health was something we could simply “forget about”


I came across the following sentence in The Positive Thinkers, a book originally published in 1965. It strikes me as a good example of how the meaning of health has changed. (emphasis added)

Health is ordinarily regarded — when it is “regarded” at all, for ordinarily the point of being healthy is to be able to forget about it — as a means to other things; healthy men are those able to pursue their ends.

Health is hardly something we’re able to forget about today. We live in a culture where it’s commercially profitable to constantly remind us of widespread, proliferating risks. The conscious, highly intentional pursuit of health is a mark of social status for which we expect to be admired and envied. We “regard” it all the time. Read more


Medical screening, overdiagnosis, and the motives of for-profit hospitals

Image by @spleenal (Nigel Auchterlounie), who blogs at Spleenal
Image by @spleenal (Nigel Auchterlounie), who blogs at Spleenal

[I don’t seem to be able to display that image anymore, but here’s a link to what I’m talking about.]

This superb graphic was created to dramatize what’s happening these days in the UK, where the National Health Service is being ruthlessly privatized. Here in the US, for-profit medicine is so taken-for-granted that we barely notice it. It’s true, we hear a good deal about conflicts of interest involving pharmaceuticals. Doctors get paid — in one way or another — to increase the profits of Big Pharma, a practice that is detrimental to the financial and/or medical interests of their patients. We hear less about scaring healthy patients into using doctors and services that increase hospital profits (also known as fear mongering). So it was nice to see a recent opinion piece in JAMA that discussed precisely this. Read more


When healthy eating becomes unhealthy

healthy-eating-orthorexiaMeghan O’Rourke, poet and author (Halflife: Poems, Once: Poems, The Long Goodbye: A Year of Grieving), has written a wonderful piece for The New Yorker on living with a chronic illness. It’s called What’s Wrong with Me? I had an autoimmune disease. Then the disease had me.

For years O’Rourke experienced symptoms that she tried to attribute to her latest source of stress. Doctors were unable to offer a diagnosis, a situation that tends to suggest the suspicion that the symptoms may be all in your head.

She writes: “I was ill for a long time — at least half a dozen years – before any doctor I saw believed I had a disease.” Eventually, after she received a label for her symptoms (autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease), she connected to the online community of chronic disease sufferers. There she found not only a great many individuals with similarly frustrating histories, but an abundance of home-grown advice for the relief of symptoms.

A more or less definitive diagnosis for a disease that is only vaguely understood may at least confer some legitimacy on one’s status as a patient (for an historical perspective on diseases that do not fall neatly into diagnostic categories, see Robert Aronowitz, Making Sense of Illness .) The individuals who suffer, however, are still very much on their own when it comes to recovery and the alleviation of symptoms. Thus the home-grown advice.

Orthorexia and healthism

What I’d like to focus on in this post is one small part of O’Rourke’s narrative: her attempts to alleviate her symptoms through a growing obsession with the selection and control of the food she ate. It’s not difficult to find media stories and blog posts that put a positive spin on (what amounts to) an excessive preoccupation with healthy eating. It’s rare, however, to find an experiential account that recognizes the obsessive pursuit of health as itself unhealthy.

A classic discussion of the latter is Steven Bratman’s Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa – the Health Food Eating Disorder. In O’Rourke’s case, of course, she was not simply eating to be healthy. She was seeking relief from very real and disturbing symptoms. That’s not quite the same thing as orthorexia, although both provide the health food consumer with an opportunity for reflection. Read more


On healthism, the social determinants of health, conformity, & embracing the abnormal: (4) The abnormal part

Abnormal psychologyContinued from parts one, two, and three.

A year ago, when I decided to call my declining rate of blogging a ‘sabbatical,’ I wrote down some questions to explore while I took time off to read.

How did we find our way into the dissatisfactions of the present – the commercialization of medicine, the corporatization of health care, the commodification of health? Does understanding the path we followed offer any insight into finding a better direction? Was the increasingly impersonal nature of the doctor-patient relationship inevitable once medicine became a science? Or was it only inevitable once health care emphasized profits over patients and the common good?

At the time I thought I would read primarily in the history of medicine, and that was how I started. Appreciating the historical context of medicine is important for understanding both how medicine ended up where it is today and what medicine could become. “The texture and context of the medical past provide perspective, allowing us to formulate questions about what we can realistically and ideally expect from medicine in our own time,” I wrote.

Now that I’ve become more familiar with the social determinants of health, I’m less optimistic about the future. The problem is not simply that the corporatization of health care has increased dissatisfaction among both doctors and patients. The problem is that our focus is so narrowly limited to health care systems that we fail to see the larger issue. As one metaphor puts it, doctors are so busy pulling diseased patients out of the river, there’s no time to look upstream and ask who’s throwing the bodies into the water. Read more


On healthism, the social determinants of health, conformity, & embracing the abnormal: (3) Connections

Continued from parts one and two, where I defined the terms used in the following diagram of my blogging interests. Click on the graphic for a larger image.

Blog topics and their connections

If I had written the previous two posts a year ago, I would have realized how much my interests were intertwined. I guess I wasn’t ready to do that. Anyway, in this post I catalog some of the connections.


~ Healthism and psychological and physical conformity: Healthy lifestyle campaigns promote an ideal way of life that encourages individuals to alter their behavior and appearance. Although it’s true that we would all be better off if we didn’t smoke, that doesn’t make anti-smoking laws any less authoritarian, i.e., requiring conformity (see the section on anti-authority healthism in this post). The fitness aspect of healthy lifestyles promotes the desirability for both men and women of acquiring (i.e., conforming to) specific body images.

“Self-help is the psychiatric equivalent of healthism.” That’s a slogan I made up. I’m not sure yet if it will stand up to scrutiny. Certainly the self-help industry encourages self-criticism, which leads to a preoccupation with those aspects of personality currently considered undesirable. Read more


On healthism, the social determinants of health, conformity, & embracing the abnormal: (2) Economics & the socio-political

Continued from part one, where I discussed the first three of my six interests: healthism, medicalization, and psychological and physical conformity. Click on the graphic below to see a larger image.

Blog topics and their connections

The social determinants of health

Social determinants of health (often abbreviated SDOH) refers to unequally distributed social and economic conditions that correlate with unequal and inequitable distributions of health and disease. Presumably there is a causal relationship between the two, not merely a correlation. Definitively identifying the causal mechanisms, however, is difficult. A great many things influence our health (including things we’re not even aware of yet), and it can be difficult to isolate and scientifically study some of the ones we strongly suspect, like poverty, isolation, or a sense of being socially inferior.

The medical model is the preferred framework in modern westernized societies for explaining the distribution of health and disease. It emphasizes risk behavior (smoking, diet), clinical risk factors (blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels), genetics, health care access and quality, behavioral change, and patient education. One common characteristic of the medical model’s explanation of health and disease is that causes are located in the individual (behavior, genes), not in the individual’s economic and social environment. Read more


On healthism, the social determinants of health, conformity, & embracing the abnormal: (1) Bodies, minds & medicine

It’s always hard to be sure about these things, but I think the reason I decided to take a ‘sabbatical’ from blogging last July was that I was interested in too many seemingly unrelated topics. Writing about all of them left me feeling like I never got to the ‘meat’ of any one of them. And I couldn’t convince myself to focus on just one or two things, since that would mean abandoning the others, which I was unwilling to do.

Now that I’ve taken the past year to read and reflect, I find – duh! – that my interests are not as unrelated as I’d assumed. In hindsight, I should have realized this long ago, but, alas, I did not. I’m writing this post to clarify to myself what I now see as the common threads that connect my interests.

Here is a diagram that groups my interests into six categories. (Click on the graphic to see a larger image.)

Blog topics and their connections

Four of the six categories relate to all five of the others. The two outliers (neoliberalism and medicalization) are not as directly related as I feel the others are. Read more


Overdiagnosed and overprotected children

Helicopter parentsThere’s been much discussion for years now on whether children are overmedicated for behavioral problems. A very thoughtful report was just published by The Hastings Center: “Troubled Children: Diagnosing, Treating, and Attending to Context.” It asks the underlying question: Are increased rates of diagnosis and treatment with drugs appropriate or are healthily children simply being labeled as sick and given drugs to alter their moods and behavior? (The report is available online as a PDF file.)

With that on my mind, I was struck by a comment from Tanya Byron, an English psychologist, writer, and child therapist,

[W]e have to really listen and think about why a child is telling us something. The behaviour of children and young people is fundamental to a well-functioning society, because they can tell us what is going on more honestly than we tell ourselves.

If there really is an increase in mental disorders among children, what does this tell us? If there isn’t, what does giving psychopharmaceuticals to four-year-olds tell us about ourselves? And could we be honest about what it says?

Stigma: We are afraid to lose the competition of life

Byron also made a good point about the stigma of mental health: (emphasis added in the following quotations)

[I]t would be helpful if we could accept that mental illness and physical illness all lie on a continuum, and sometimes bits of our physical body don’t work very well, and sometimes bits of our mental body don’t work very well – and that that’s OK, and it’s actually not an indication of failure. If you break your leg, you are not going to suddenly be seen as less successful than you were before you had broken your leg. So why do we have this stigma around mental health?

… We are scared of people seeing us as somehow not the person they thought we were, as if life is a competition and the only way that you win it is by being completely invincible and robust and never being fragile or vulnerable. That is just ludicrous. That is why I like kids: because they remind us that life really isn’t like that.

On not letting children be children

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The tipping point for motor car casualties

From The Journal of the American Medical Association one hundred years ago:

An alarming increase in the number of street accidents from the recent development of motor traffic is shown by the report issued by the Highways Protection League. In 1905, thirty-five persons were killed and 1,557 injured by accidents due to motor traffic, while 118 were killed and 6,323 injured by horse traffic. In 1909, 163 persons were killed and 6,579 were injured by motor traffic, while 123 were killed and 5,589 were injured by horse traffic.

Horse carriage traffic Easter parade
Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue in 1900. There are at least two motor cars.
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The downside of overly aggressive cancer screening

False positive mammogramOne more follow-up on overly aggressive cancer screening (see Screening for cancer and overdiagnosis and Creating an epidemic of cancer among the healthy). A recent study found that false-positive results of breast cancer screening create anxiety and undermine the patient’s quality of life for up to a year.

Here’s an excerpt from BusinessWeek:

“Common sense tells us that early detection of breast cancer is good, and most screening programs have been successful in reducing breast cancer deaths,” lead author Dr. Lideke van der Steeg, of the department of surgery at St. Elisabeth Hospital in Tilburg, said in a journal news release.

“However, while some women truly benefit from early detection, others experience harm and unnecessary anxiety. The women who received false-positives in our study experienced a significant reduction in their quality of life, especially if they were prone to anxiety, and the effects of this lasted at least a year.”

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Creating an epidemic of cancer among the healthy

Siddhartha Mukherjee Tthe emperor of all maladiesFollowing up on Dr. H. Gilbert Welch’s comments on the new blood test for cancer – that overdiagnosis may lead to an epidemic of individuals who mistakenly believe they have cancer – here’s a description of the climate that’s created when we try to scare people into believing they have cancer. It’s from a review of The Emperor of All Maladies, a new book on the history of cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Writing in The New Yorker, the author of the article, Steve Shapin, explains optimism surrounding the drug Gleevec, a new type of cancer drug that targets a known cancer gene. Gleevec has been quite successful in the treatment of leukemia. (emphasis added) Read more


Screening for cancer and overdiagnosis

Screening for cancer: OverdiagnosisEarlier this month scientists announced a test that can detect a single cancer cell in a blood sample. Although some news reports were realistic – BusinessWeek commented that “researchers still aren’t sure what these circulating tumor cells (CTCs) actually mean” – most greeted the news as a revolution in the fight against cancer, promising early, non-invasive detection.

Dr. H Gilbert Welch offered a more sober opinion. Welch is the author of Should I Be Tested for Cancer?: Maybe Not and Here’s Why. While it’s commonly assumed that screening saves lives and that more screening is always better, Welch’s book helps patients (and the medical profession) understand that the implications of cancer screening are more complex.

More medical care leads to more screening

As Welch points out, medical care is a much more prominent part of our lives today than it was in the past. There are a number of reasons for this. Read more


The future of advertising unhealthy products

Advertising in Tokyo (Shinjuku)Before it gets too far into the New Year, I want to point out an interesting article in The Guardian on 20 predictions for the next 25 years.

There are predictions for vaccines: No more AIDS, no more malaria, no more measles and rotavirus in developing countries. Neuroscience: “We’ll be able to plug information streams directly into the cortex”. Health: We’ll feel less healthy. (emphasis added)

Life expectancy is rising about three months each year, but we’ll feel less healthy, partly because we’ll be more aware of the many things that are, or could be, going wrong, and partly because more of us will be living with a long-term condition.

Being more aware of what could be wrong with us, and believing (and thus feeling) we’re less healthy as a result, has been going on since the advent of advertising. This proces has been greatly accelerated, however, by electronic mass media and now the Internet.

But the prediction I found most interesting was about advertising, offered by Russell Davies of Ogilvy and Mather. (emphasis added) Read more


Updates: Commercialization of infidelity, medical rivalry, conservatives on climate change, football concussions

Some interesting things I found today that relate to previous posts. Emphasis in quotations has been added by me.

Re: Are married people happier? Are parents?

Ashley Madison websiteAn amusing discussion by Will Davies on the economics of selling infidelity. Ashley Madison is a discreet dating service for people who are already in a relationship.

Of course infidelity is as old as fidelity. But it is interesting to consider what happens once it is administered and economised. Firstly, it must surely become considerably less fun, as its taboo is lifted. I don’t doubt that there are people many years into marriage who seek out infidelity in a mundane way, to rival the search for other consumer goods; they may be the initial target of Ashley Madison. But beyond these people, infidelity is being parcelled up as safe and predictable, for those who presumably did their best to steer clear of it, until (for whatever unforeseen reason) they couldn’t resist it. Like hipsterism, the promise of administered infidelity is to have one’s cake and eat it, to experience the rush of living on the margins without any of the risks that once went with that.

Source: the creative destruction of marriage (potlatch) Read more


Prescription drug abuse and the Osbournes

Legal drug abuse car crashI remember a scene from The Osbournes where son Jack, recently released from drug rehab, talks about finding a few stray particles of OxyContin dust in his pocket. He immediately consumed them as if his life depended on it. The craving was overwhelming. His description made the feeling of addiction palpable.

Some facts and statistics:

Physicans and other healthcare professionals abuse legal substances at the same rate as the general public.

• The number of emergency room visits for the abuse of legal, prescription drugs now equals the number of visits for illegal drugs. The number of visits has doubled in just five years.

• Unintentional poisoning from legal drugs is the leading cause of (unintentional) death among people between 35 and 54 years olds.

• Twenty percent of high school students have taken prescription drugs that weren’t prescribed for them. More students have used legal drugs than have used cocaine, methamphetamine, or ecstasy. They attend “pharm” parties. College students use Ritalin and Adderal to improve their grades.

• When celebrities die suddenly and unexpectedly these days, we’re treated to a laundry list of their prescriptions (Michael Jackson, Brittany Murphy, Corey Haim).

There’s no breathalyzer for DUI of legal drugs

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Should I stop taking calcium?

Calcium supplement pillsI generally resist changing my behavior in response to health news. Whatever research findings are touted this week could be contradicted by next week’s latest study. But I stopped taking calcium last week after reports of a correlation between calcium supplements and an increased risk of heart attacks.

Given the millions of women who faithfully take their daily calcium pills, this news reminded me of the 2002 announcement about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). After reassurance from physicians that HRT was the way to go, turns out HRT increased the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, and strokes. With HRT, adverse effects began to show up after five years. With calcium, it’s 3.6 years.

Both incidents were complete reversals: Take it, it’s good for you … oh, wait a minute … don’t take it, it’s bad for you. Both affect a large number of people, especially women. Both were a bit of a shock for the public, I fear.

This isn’t news

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The oil spill: Why did it happen?

Oil spill birdThere’s a nice piece in The Atlantic on risk-taking behavior – something that applies to many aspects of life, not just how we treat the environment. (Emphasis added)

How do such management disasters occur? The easy answer is, there’s a financial incentive for going forward, and a financial disincentive for holding back. Program managers are rewarded for meeting budget and schedule milestones and obtaining results. Safety generally works in opposition to all that.

In addition, risk is always theoretical until an accident occurs. It’s harder to argue for something that hasn’t occurred before, and might never occur at all. So safety sometimes gets short shrift against more tangible commercial gains and public image. … But the reason we’re so bad at risk management goes far beyond that. …

[E]ven when we’re dealing with known risks, we do a poor job of managing them. For one thing, humans have a propensity to alter our behavior in ways that negate attempts at risk management …. When seat belt laws got passed, people started driving more aggressively. Likewise, when there’s a safety or back-up system in place, people are often willing to push further into riskier territory (like drilling five miles beneath the ocean). And we often misconstrue luck (at having nothing go wrong) for proof that an activity actually contains an acceptable risk — a belief that gets stronger the longer we go without an accident. What’s more, risk taking is tangibly encouraged and rewarded in American culture and business. Just look at the bonuses given out on Wall Street, and the way we idolize entrepreneurs and the risk-taking entrepreneurial spirit.

More people are injured in crosswalks than when jaywalking because they assume they’re safe. Wearing a motorcycle helmet may encourage riskier driving. Doctors worry that if a genetic test tells you you’re not at risk for a disease, you might indulge in unhealthy behavior.

We know this is human nature, but will we be able to put this knowledge into practice?

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Scientists confront political attacks on climate change

three-polar-bears-climate-changeThere’s a wonderful letter (PDF) in Science signed by 255 members of the National Academy of Sciences. It’s titled “Climate Change and the Integrity of Science,” and it’s not simply about climate change. It argues that politically motivated attacks on climate change threaten the very integrity of science.

As the lead signer points out, since it’s unusual to get 255 scientists to agree on anything, the endorsement of this statement by so many scientists is important and significant.

Here are some excerpts that address political issues and the attacks on scientific integrity:

We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular. All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts. There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything. When someone says that society should wait until scientists are absolutely certain before taking any action, it is the same as saying society should never take action. For a problem as potentially catastrophic as climate change, taking no action poses a dangerous risk for our planet. …

Many recent assaults on climate science and, more disturbingly, on climate scientists by climate change deniers, are typically driven by special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence. …

We also call for an end to McCarthy- like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them. Society has two choices: we can ignore the science and hide our heads in the sand and hope we are lucky, or we can act in the public interest to reduce the threat of global climate change quickly and substantively.

It’s about time someone other than a columnist said this. I certainly hope this statement receives the wide publicity it deserves.

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Are you distracting a driver?

Are you ever just a little bit nervous when someone calls you while they’re driving? Maybe you should be. Distracted driving takes two.

These public service ads are from Bangalore, India. Without the text (“Don’t talk while he drives”), they simply seem shocking. But they certainly accomplish their intent of getting your attention and making a point.

Bangalore distracted driving ad Read more


Asbestos, anyone?

I live in a building constructed in the 1950s, with asbestos in the ceilings. As is true for some schools, it’s safer to leave it alone than to disturb it and put all those fibers into the air.

Hat tip to a relatively new blog, Medicina – Videos, consejos [advice], material de lectura relacionado a la medicina, which seems to have quite a few posts on mesothelioma, most of them in English.
Related posts:
Where were the melamine whistle blowers?
The persistence of melamine
Melamine, cadmium, and Heidi Montag
Is it safe to take Tylenol?
Not just peanut butter: What’s happening to our food supply?
Paging Dr. Frankenstein
To make more money


(Links will open in a separate window or tab.)

Video: Old Promotional Film For Asbestos, Medicina, April 17, 2010


Why are there no new antibiotics?

antibiotic-resistance-mrsaWithout new antibiotics, we’re at the mercy of antibiotic resistant bacteria – MRSA, Clostridium difficile, Acinetobacter baumannii, etc. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies lack a financial incentive to develop new antibiotics.

One reason is that most patients get better when they use antibiotics. Many are prescribed for only a few weeks. It’s much more profitable for drug companies to develop medications that will be used by large numbers of people to suppress the symptoms of lifelong conditions: acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions.
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A brief history of antibiotics


* 2000 B.C. – Here, eat this root
* 1000 A.D. – That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
* 1850 A.D. – That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
* 1920 A.D. – That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
* 1945 A.D. – That pill is ineffective. Here, take this penicillin.
* 1955 A.D. – Oops….bugs mutated. Here, take this tetracycline.
* 1960-1999 – 39 more “oops”…Here, take this more powerful antibiotic.
* 2000 A.D. – The bugs have won! Here, eat this root.
— Anonymous

From the World Health Organization, “How Resistance Develops and Spreads” (emphasis added):

Twenty years ago physicians in industrialized nations believed that infectious disease were a scourge of the past. With industrialization came improved sanitation, housing and nutrition, as well as the revolutionary development of disease-fighting antimicrobials. Populations living in those nations were not only enjoying an unprecedented decrease in mortality and morbidity, but a corresponding increase in life expectancy. …

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Gonorrhea bacteria: The next superbug?

Bad Bugs No Drugs

After chlamydia, gonorrhea – also known as the “clap” — is the second most common bacterial STD (sexually transmitted disease). It’s easily transmitted. Women have a 60-80 % chance of becoming infected after a single sexual encounter with an infected male partner. Left untreated, the disease not only causes unpleasant symptoms – painful urination, urethral and vaginal discharge, projectile urination – but can lead to sterility.

Superbugs are bacteria that have become resistant to multiple antibiotics. The organism that causes gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) is very versatile and quick to develop resistance.

A few decades ago, gonorrhea became resistant to penicillin. Tetracycline is no longer effective. The disease is rapidly becoming resistant to the fluoroquinolone family of broad-spectrum antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin). Currently, doctors use cefixime or ceftriaxone to treat gonorrhea, but there are now signs of resistance to these drugs as well, particularly to cefixime.

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Global challenge: 10 new antibiotics by 2020

Bad Bugs No Drugs

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has issued a statement challenging global leaders to develop 10 new antimicrobial drugs by 2020.

The time has come for a global commitment to develop new antibacterial drugs. Current data document the impending disaster due to the confluence of decreasing investment in antibacterial drug research and development concomitant with the documented rapid increase in the level of resistance to currently licensed drugs. Despite the good faith efforts of many individuals, professional societies, and governmental agencies, the looming crisis has only worsened over the past decade. …

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Where were the melamine whistle blowers?

When Texas nurse Anne Mitchell accused a doctor of unethical conduct, she had no idea how much trouble was in store. First of all, her complaint was anonymous, and second, she believed she was doing the right thing. When she was accused of harassment and faced a ten-year prison term, her reaction, according to the New York Times, was: “It was surreal. … I said how can this be? You can’t go to prison for doing the right thing.”

The relationship between nurses – a predominantly female occupation – and doctors – still dominated by males in the more highly paid specialties – has not always been an easy one. Nurses have less power, not to mention fewer financial resources, which makes it less safe to blow the whistle.

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Whistle blowing: Nurse Anne Mitchell vs. Dr. Arafiles

Source: TriCity Herald It takes courage to blow the whistle on a fellow employee. The workplace is a social community. When we stand up and accuse someone of wrongdoing, we alienate ourselves from that community. The whistle blower, of course, also faces very concrete fears: job and income loss, the threat of retaliatory prosecution, and… Read more


The persistence of melamine

Following the 2008 discovery in China of melamine-laced milk – an event that left six babies dead, 300,000 sickened, and over 50,000 hospitalized — the Chinese government ordered all contaminated products to be burned or buried. The government was not directly involved in the destruction, however. That was left to those who had produced and… Read more


Melamine, cadmium, and Heidi Montag

Source: Reuters Melamine in milk is in the news again. Is this totally inexcusable or what? Products from three Chinese companies were removed from shelves in southern China after they tested positive for melamine. Products included not just milk, but candy that used milk as an ingredient. Two of the companies had been cited in… Read more


Daily Dose: Celebrity health; Livestock antibiotics; Transplants

The body as machine Source: The Daily Mail Inventor spends Christmas with his perfect woman – a £30,000 custom-made fembot (The Daily Mail) “Inventor Le Trung spent Christmas Day with the most important woman in his life – his robot Aiko. … Her touch sensitive body knows the difference between being stroked gently or tickled.… Read more


Daily Dose: Palliative sedation; E. coli in tenderized meat

There’s a long article in Sunday’s New York Times on palliative sedation. I’ve also listed some older stories on the subject and an educational site. Aging, end-of-life, and death Source: The Why Files Hard Choice for a Comfortable Death: Sedation, (The New York Times) “Among those [end-of-life] choices is terminal sedation, a treatment that is… Read more