Archives for Health

Hit & Run > The Whole Foods Plan for Health Care Reform – Reason Magazine

Categories: Health, Politics and Local Topics, Rants and Rambling, and United States of America.

Reason’s Matt Welch points out what I consider the single biggest bang-for-the-buck health-care reform opportunity in his blog on Whole Foods CEO John Makey’s proposal:

“As someone who h-a-t-e-s the health care system, I’ve never understood why de-linking insurance from employment isn’t a central part of every serious crack at reform, given that a preponderance of analysts on all sides of the debate agree that the post-war linkage of health benefits to the workplace is one of the system’s Original Sins.”

Hit & Run > The Whole Foods Plan for Health Care Reform – Reason Magazine

A Measured Response

Categories: Dear God, Make It Stop! and Health.

While there have been various slapdash measures put in place to mitigate the spiraling US Influenza A(H1N1) death count — one person and counting — it’s good to see that Fort Worth ISD has been able to keep their wits about them. Their measured response to the situation? “Fort Worth ISD To Close All Schools Immediately Because of Swine Flu Threat.”

Yes, they do use the phrase “until further notice,” and then go on to say that it will probably be at least a week and a half before they re-open any schools.

Rotten Brains

Categories: Food, General, Health, neither-camelids-nor-goats, and United States of America.

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on times past.

Back in September of 1997, when the media found out about the various transmissible spongiform encephalopathies that can arise from eating neural material of infected animals, CNN ran a story specifically about the eating of squirrel brains as a delicacy in certain southern US states.

The best part is the graphic they ran along with the story, which helpfully points out what part of the squirrel one should avoid eating:


Have a pleasant new year, and watch out for those squirrels.

Chocolate as an Antitussive

Categories: Food, Health, and Science.

According to a 2004 article in New Scientist, theobromine maybe a stronger cough suppressant than codeine.

Theobromine is an alkaloid primarily found in dark chocolate.

Edit: The article did not actually say it was better than Codeine. I read that somewhere else–I forget where.

Edit 2: Anyone in the Estacado Systems office this week would tell you I was in need of such. I tried some–and it worked for a while, anyway. (Thanks, Brian!)

Monkey Chow Diaries

Categories: Food, Health, and Silly Stuff.

Or, using general insanity to get people to link to your blog.

A guy decides to eat nothing but processed primate kibble ( _for_ primates, not _from_ primates) for 5 days. If his blog is to be believed, somewhere around day 3 or 4, the monkey chow company changed their fact sheet to say for all “non-human” primates.

Another Weapon for MRSA

Categories: Health.

The antibiotic/superbug battle has always struck me a bit like the antipiracy-measure/pirate situation. Sure, the anti-piracy crowd can keep coming up with new mechanisms, but it’s just a matter of time before the pirates find a way around them.

This puts humans on the losing side of a very long battle. I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime, but I strongly suspect we’ll return to 18th-century levels of mortality from infection within the next couple of hundred years, as we continually train bacteria to become resistant to more and more attacks. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that the relatively short-lived “age of antibiotics” will form a quaint footnote in human history.

In any case, it appears that the humans may have bought a little more time yet again. The discovery of a new substance, dubbed “platensimycin,” has given us another tool against methylcillin-resistant staph (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci, and potentially a large number of other developing superbugs.

Edit: For what it’s worth, I beat Slashdot to this story by about 15 hours.

GERD: New Outpatient Surgery Options

Categories: Health.

This has apparently been around for a while (FDA approval was granted in 2003), but it just now caught my attention: there’s a relatively new device used to perform a type of outpatient surgery to fix gastroesophageal reflux, called the Plicator. Studies appear to give it a pretty good success rate (half of the successful participants were completely off heartburn drugs at the one-year mark).

It doesn’t sound like too many facilities exist for treatment at this time; however Baylor Dallas does perform such procedures. The process apparently takes between 20 and 45 minutes, and is done under conscious sedation.

Conflicting Evidence on Fiber

Categories: Health and Science.

Reuters is reporting that a recent analysis of previous dietary studies has concluded that dietary fiber has no discernable correlation to incidence of colon cancer.

The article is careful to point out that the other benefits of dietary fiber haven’t been called into doubt (and that, in fact, this analysis did turn up a reduction in rectal cancer in individuals with higher-fiber diets).