From rant (WTF?)

THE TIME TO SPEAK UP IS NOW

On Sunday, August 2nd 2008, in Santa Cruz, California, a firebombing destroyed David Feldheim’s car. The smoke from the fire filled the first floor of his house, so he and his wife, along with their 6-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son, had to drop a ladder from the window of a second floor room to escape. Dr. Feldheim has no criminal record. He isn’t affiliated with organized crime, or even a member of some contentious political organization. Instead, the attack on he and his family was instigated because Dr. Feldheim uses mice in his research on how the brain develops. Animal…

ON NATUROPATHY, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, AND THE SANCTITY OF SCIENCE ITSELF

Regarding Bill 179 – whereby graduates of Canada’s two naturopathy schools may be given drug prescribing rights by the Ontario legislature. Please read this for further information (Nov 25th, 2009) – – – The science-based community is always at a disadvantage in these sorts of outcries, because we’re limited to the evidence, and we can’t just make stuff up. There’s a lot to respond to. 1. With 23,000 doctors in Ontario, and fewer then 1000 naturopaths, the argument that granting naturopaths prescription rights will ease the burden on the healthcare system is a bit silly. 2. The assertion that the…

WHITE COAT, WRONG TIME

Imagine you’re at Starbucks. You’re halfway through a co-worker’s order (“half sweet, no foam, saffron-scented, opium-spritzed, …”) when two men wearing coveralls come in. You hear them talking about a car they’re fixing. Their garb has grease on it, various stains of indeterminate origin. They saunter up to the till, place their orders, and get their drinks before you because the trainee taking care of your order is running to the Starbucks across the street to find more panda blood for your co-worker’s beverage. Tapping your foot impatiently, you notice that the two guys in coveralls have parked themselves in…

A GIANT LEAP FORWARD: CAREGIVERS OF ADVANCED CANCER PATIENTS BECOME ANXIOUS AND DEPRESSED.

(In reference to this paper) – – – In a recent issue of Biological Psychology, Ratnakar, et al., sent shock waves through the scientific community when they concluded that “family caregivers of advanced cancer patients undergo anxiety and depression associated with stress.” Making yet another daring leap, the intrepid authors suggested that “these changes might have health implications, warranting appropriate stress management counseling for them.” Their novel conclusions, which could never have been obviously anticipated, will undoubtedly turn the field on its side. It appears the textbooks need revision, or do they? Conventional wisdom tells us that caregivers of advanced…

THE GREAT FAIR MARKET VALUE DEBATE

So the question gets asked about fair market values of assets, and why we don’t record all our fixed assets on the balance sheet at their market values (we use their original cost if you’re really interested in knowing). It’s a good question, and it strikes right to the heart of the relevance versus reliability dichotomy. On the one hand, we want information to be relevant. Relevant information is decision useful information. On the other hand, we want information to be reliable. Wild guesses aren’t so good, even if the thing you’re guessing about is the financial equivalent to “life,…

SCRUBBED (WHITE COAT, STILL WRONG TIME)

Read the first installment here Today, I encountered a surgeon at Starbucks. His scrubs and lab coat weren’t surprising and neither was his flashy that’s-right-I’m-a-funky-surgeon bandana. In this neighbourhood (I work and live by Vancouver General Hospital), I guess we all become somewhat inured to this practice. What did make this particular instance surprising was the fact that yon scrubber was also wearing blue surgical booties over top of his shoes. Small twigs and grit sullied their bottoms. The heels were looking frayed. It had rained yesterday, so they were even a bit soggy. Was the surgeon simply trying to…

WHITE COAT, WRONG TIME

- FROM THE ARCHIVES – Imagine you’re at Starbucks. You’re halfway through a co-worker’s order (“half sweet, no foam, saffron-scented, opium-spritzed, …”) when two men wearing coveralls come in. You hear them talking about a car they’re fixing. Their garb has grease on it, various stains of indeterminate origin. They saunter up to the till, place their orders, and get their drinks before you because the trainee taking care of your order is running to the Starbucks across the street to find more panda blood for your co-worker’s beverage. Tapping your foot impatiently, you notice that the two guys in…

THE ANTI-VACCINE DISEASE: RANT OR REASON?

In a recent bacterial pathogenesis lecture, my class was shown a short video on whooping cough, a sometimes-fatal childhood disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. Children no older than 2 years old were unable to breathe, taking desperate breaths in between painful coughing fits, mucus covering their faces. We had been studying the creation of ideal vaccines with the pertussis vaccine as an example. After the video, our professor mentioned in passing that an outbreak of whooping cough had occurred in Britain due to parents opting not to vaccinate their children because of a possible but rare link between…