Friday, April 18, 2014

Gateway prescriptions



I don't know if drug dealers do this anymore--probably not--but they used to give you the first shot free to get you hooked.

According to Karen Kaplan (LA Times, Apr 16, 2014), now, docs hand out "free" samples--but according to the JAMA on Dermatology, this benefits the drug companies, not the patients.

In fact, Kaiser, the VA, the US Military and many private clinics forbid this.

Yet, in 2011, $6.3 billion in freebies were handed out.

Stanford took at a look at this when it came to acne medicine. A quarter of prescriptions came with a free sample.

Surprise--the free sample ones were the ones most often prescribed later.

Also, the free samples didn't save patients much.

The free samples, JAMA concluded, belong not in the doctors' closets, but their dust bins.

I would add to this that sometimes the older, cheaper drugs are as good or even better.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Even a burp can spread disease

We are burpers in our family. Big time. Gross, huh? My brother can burp all the way to the letter H.

Now I learn than not only do coughs and sneezes spread pathogens--so do belches.

All of these create clouds of "invisible gas"--charming, what? The smaller particles in the cloud actually travel further.

Who says? MIT!

What about this deal called coughing into your arm crook? Nah--you need to use a tissue then wash your hands.

And by wash, they mean WASH. Twenty-seconds and every inch.

At least try to do something. Especially if you eat chili--BA-RAWP!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Coconut fat revisited

Laura Johannes, WSJ, Apr 1, 2014, writes that saturated fat from coconuts may be healthy.

It might even protect against Alzheimer's. ((In mice anyhow.)

But a spokesperson at the Dept of Ag says maybe in moderation--it's too soon to give it a thumbs-up.

Coconut oil has 12 gr of saturated fat per tablespoon--butter has 7. These are medium chain fatty acids--supposedly "better" than long chain.

South Pacific Islanders live on the stuff and have less heart disease. But they are also more active than Americans and eat a different diet. Plus, I think of many of them as being quite hefty.

I like coconut shampoo. What do you think? Like anything else, I am sure this can be overdone and turn into a big oopsie.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bullets are the least of it

University of Buffalo epidemiologist John Violanti, PhD, says police officers are exposed to many deadly forces. Their life expectancy is significantly lower than the general population's.

Job-related stress is a big one.

And then there are the toxins--meth labs, dead bodies, lead exposure from firearms, noise, radar, blood-borne pathogens, and even fingerprint powder, which can cause lung disease.

And how about biting dogs, obesity, PTSD, high blood pressure, and suicide? Not to mention plain old heart disease.

The hours are irrregular, sleep can be a stranger. Many officers drink, too.

You know those scenes in TV where the "perp" jumps out of a window and runs and the officer also runs...I once asked a cop if this was common--these foot races.

Very, he said.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Advice for sports dads

Gordon Marino is a professor of philosophy at St Olaf College and trains boxers. He had some advice for dads in the Apr 4-5, 2014, WSJ.

He says there is nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting to live through your kids. His athletic career ended with an injury, so he started with the sports with his sons when they were young.

Although neither lad made it to the show, he says his obsession had upsides. Still, when his son scored six touchdowns and he cried--he saw his son's realization that this meant an awful lot to dad.

You need to be realistic, he advises. Kids develop at different rates. One of his sons was great in Little League, but didn't shoot up in his growth spurt and then had to pitch 60 feet. He was so adamant with the boy that eventually the youngster quit baseball.

Be honest with yourself, he tells dads. This may mean more to you than to your kid. Develop some other hobbies.

My dad did this--put his skeet shooting hopes on my brother--who went all the way to the Oly tryouts but did not qualify. Dad was furious and my brother was crushed.

Sports are supposed to be fun!