Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ill-Conceived Ranking Makes for Unhealthy Debate

In the Wrangle Over Health Care, a Low Rating for the U.S. System Keeps Emerging Despite Evident Shortcomings in Study

During the health-care debate, one damning statistic keeps popping up in newspaper columns and letters, on cable television and in politicians' statements: The U.S. ranks 37th in the world in health care.
The trouble is, the ranking is dated and flawed, and has contributed to misconceptions about the quality of the U.S. medical system.
Among all the numbers bandied about in the health-care debate, this ranking stands out as particularly misleading. It is based on a report released nearly a decade ago by the World Health Organization and relies on statistics that are even older and incomplete.
Few people who cite the ranking are aware that some public-health officials were skeptical of the report from the outset. The ranking was faulted because it judges health-care systems for problems -- cultural, behavioral, economic -- that aren't controlled by health care.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Suffering, Writ Large

Photojournalism that  captures the suffering of women and children in the Congo here.

"The photography in “Congo/Women” — together with essays and video interviews online — explores the systemic violence against women, and the political and economic factors that sustain it. The images are provocative and disturbing: a malnourished child being measured in a clinic; the severed arm of a mother of three, lost while defending her children; a 70-year-old victim of gang rape awaiting couunseling; child soldiers leaning against a fence, machine guns in tow."

Science in Pictures: Honeybees, Artificial Monkeys, and a Rare Crow

Neat images here

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Missed Kicks Make Brain See Smaller Goal Post

Flubbing a field goal kick doesn’t just bruise your ego — new research shows it may actually change how your brain sees the goal posts.
In a study of 23 non-football athletes who each kicked 10 field goals, researchers found that players’ performance directly affected their perception of the size of the goal: After a series of missed kicks, athletes perceived the post to be taller and more narrow than before, while successful kicks made the post appear larger-than-life.
Professional athletes have long claimed that their perception changes when they’re playing well — they start hitting baseballs as large as grapefruits, or aiming at golf holes the size of a bucket — but many scientists have been slow to accept that performance can alter visual perception.

Findings About Veracity Of Peripheral Vision Could Lead To Better Robotic Eyes

ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2009) — Two Kansas State University psychology researchers have found that although central vision allows our eyes to discern the details of a scene, our peripheral vision is most important for telling us what type of scene we're looking at in the first place, such as whether it is a street, a mountain or a kitchen.

Cold Sore Virus Linked To Alzheimer's Disease: New Treatment, Or Even Vaccine Possible

ScienceDaily (Dec. 7, 2008) — The virus behind cold sores is a major cause of the insoluble protein plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease sufferers, University of Manchester researchers have revealed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grand Rounds is up at "Survive the Journey"

Here is the link. The theme is participatory medicine.
It includes this delightful clip from CIO Blogger, Brad Ahier...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nutrition: Lower Depression Risk Linked to Mediterranean Diet

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet — packed with fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish — is good for your heart, many studies have found. Now scientists are suggesting the diet may be good for your mental health, too.

The Young and the Neuro

In 2001, an Internet search of the phrase “social cognitive neuroscience” yielded 53 hits. Now you get more than a million on Google. Young scholars have been drawn to this field from psychology, economics, political science and beyond in the hopes that by looking into the brain they can help settle some old arguments about how people interact.
These people study the way biology, in the form of genes, influences behavior. But they’re also trying to understand the complementary process of how social behavior changes biology.

In other words, consciousness is too slow to see what happens inside, but it is possible to change the lenses through which we unconsciously construe the world.
Since I’m not an academic, I’m free to speculate that this work will someday give us new categories, which will replace misleading categories like ‘emotion’ and ‘reason.’ I suspect that the work will take us beyond the obsession with I.Q. and other conscious capacities and give us a firmer understanding of motivation, equilibrium, sensitivity and other unconscious capacities.
The hard sciences are interpenetrating the social sciences. This isn’t dehumanizing. It shines attention on the things poets have traditionally cared about: the power of human attachments. It may even help policy wonks someday see people as they really are.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Award for Humanitarian Leadership

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today announced that the Civil Air Patrol will be presented with the NBAA Al Ueltschi Humanitarian Award in recognition of the organization’s efforts to provide disaster relief for people and communities in times of crisis.
Al Ueltschi, the award’s namesake, has been widely recognized for his lifetime of dedication to philanthropic causes. He was instrumental in the development of ORBIS, an international non-profit organization dedicated to preventing blindness and saving sight. Ueltschi, who has served as ORBIS’s chairman for more than 20 years, has made a number of significant financial contributions to the organization and has been instrumental in developing many of its most important initiatives.

Monday, October 05, 2009

How Ice Can Save Your Life

My brother, who is in charge of lifeflight for the Medical College of Virginia, notes that they have been using hypothermia in cardiac arrests over the past five years...


Therapeutic Hypothermia' Can Protect the Brain in the Aftermath of Cardiac Arrest


For decades, conventional wisdom in treating patients with cardiac arrest was that if the heart stopped beating for longer than six to 10 minutes, the brain would be dead. Now a new treatment being embraced by a growing number of U.S. hospitals suggests that patients can be brought back to a healthy life even if their heart is stopped for 20 minutes, perhaps longer.
The difference is profound. In recent months around the U.S., doctors and nurses say, cardiac-arrest patients who would previously have been given up for dead have been revived and discharged to return to their families and jobs with all or nearly all of their cognitive abilities intact.


Tracing the Origins of Human Empathy

Chimpanzees' Caring Behavior Toward Others Hints at the Emotion's Antiquity; the Mystery of the Contagious Yawn


Even so, Dr. de Waal contends that empathy, sympathy and compassion are traits shared by every species with a rudimentary capacity for self-awareness. While chimps can be combative and violent, they more often comfort and help each other. Capuchin monkeys enjoy giving to others. Elephants and dolphins aid companions in need. Whales can display something akin to gratitude. Even mice appear to have an ability to sense what their cage-mates are experiencing, says a recent study by researchers at McGill University.

Key cancer spread gene found

Scientists have pinpointed a gene linked to more than half of all breast cancers.

The Consistent Smile of Barack Obama

Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama recently posed for around 135 photographs with UN delegates during a reception that was held at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Eric Spiegelman took these photos from the Whitehouse Flickr stream and turned them into a short time-lapse video.
The end-result is fairly interesting. The President has exactly the same smile in every single picture.

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

(From Avanish Kaushik via labnol)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection

Vegeterianism anyone? Actually this article highlights the exact reason why some of my friends are strict vegeterians...

Stephanie Smith, a children’s dance instructor, thought she had a stomach virus. The aches and cramping were tolerable that first day, and she finished her classes.

Then her diarrhea turned bloody. Her kidneys shut down. Seizures knocked her unconscious. The convulsions grew so relentless that doctors had to put her in a coma for nine weeks. When she emerged, she could no longer walk. The affliction had ravaged her nervous system and left her paralyzed.
Ms. Smith, 22, was found to have a severe form of food-borne illness caused by E. coli, which Minnesota officials traced to the hamburger that her mother had grilled for their Sunday dinner in early fall 2007.
“I ask myself every day, ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why from a hamburger?’ ”Ms. Smith said.
In the simplest terms, she ran out of luck in a food-safety game of chance whose rules and risks are not widely known.
Ms. Smith’s reaction to the virulent strain of E. coli was extreme, but tracing the story of her burger, through interviews and government and corporate records obtained by The New York Times, shows why eating ground beef is still a gamble. Neither the system meant to make the meat safe, nor the meat itself, is what consumers have been led to believe.
Ground beef is usually not simply a chunk of meat run through a grinder. Instead, records and interviews show, a single portion of hamburger meat is often an amalgam of various grades of meat from different parts of cows and even from different slaughterhouses. These cuts of meat are particularly vulnerable to E. coli contamination, food experts and officials say. Despite this, there is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for the pathogen.
Related Posts with Thumbnails