Friday, December 23, 2005

China Holds Back Important Bird Flu Samples

China is just going to have to learn to share.

Shigeru Omi, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said no viruses had been made available from China's 31 reported outbreaks in poultry this year, despite requests to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Thirty-one samples? Do they realize that we're all in this together? I understand that transparency is not in the nature of Beijing, but this is the sort of move akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Food Shortages and the Bird Flu

In a strange way its nice to know that someone out there is at least as paranoid as I am. Obviously there are many, many different things that can be obsessed over about a possible pandemic. One thing that I think is getting the short end of media attention are the anticipated problems with food.

Anyone whose gotten through the third grade (honors or not) know that food doesn’t magically appear on the shelves of the local grocery. If deliveries end because no one wants to go out and drive the trucks or even stock the shelves, think about the chaos. Its definitely time to stock up on canned goods. And don't forget a good manual opener.

Counterfeit Tamiflu

I wonder how much more of this we're going to see as people get more and more worried.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Gonorrhea By Mail

This is just one of those services the web was made for.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Another Bird Flu Death

The Web As Second Opinion

When I get the sniffles, or some of my bones creak more then usual, I jump right onto the web. Apparently I'm not the only one. Some of it has to do with just plain speed and convenience. Not every creak justifies suffering through the whole waiting room experience. (New magazines! Would it kill you!) I also can appreciate that after the appointment, I'm going to want to do a little research on my own. It certainly won’t take the place of a second opinion, but I will be more informed.

Another Vioxx Trial Over

I don't doubt that many more of the upcoming Vioxx trials will end like this. I'd imagine the lawyers for all these plaintiffs are going to be running into the same problem. Their clients aren’t exactly the youngest and healthiest population, which was in fact why they were taking the drug in the first place. If the plaintiffs were obviously healthier people with no real medical problems, who took the drug only briefly, it would be a windfall for the lawyers. They wouldn't even have to pretend to work for their fee.

Monday, December 12, 2005


And you thought the smog in L.A. was bad.


Euthanasia is the ultimate hot button issue. It can easily bring out the zealot in all of us. For some its all about personal rights, and for others, religion is the guiding factor. Its a issue that its almost impossible to be wishy-washy about. As we saw with the Terry Schaivo case it all gets very caustic quickly as both sides throw lawyers and experts at each other, and describe the other group as abusive. Its nice to see one country is at least trying to work out an answer.

Friday, December 09, 2005

H5N1 Gets Another

This is the 70th victim in Asia.

Television Ads Create Bad Eaters

This is probably not too much of a shock. Especially to anyone who has kids. The commercials that air during most children's programming is either for toys or some horrible invention that's supposed to be food (or candy). As always, it's about the money.

The institute found that children and other young people spend $200 billion a year. In 2004, children ages 2 to 15 influenced about $500 billion worth of purchases a year, compared with $295 billion in 1993. Of the things that children buy -- or have their parents buy for them -- food and beverages, especially candy, carbonated soft drinks and salty snacks, are the top categories.

The number of new food products aimed at children is growing at a far faster rate than new food products in general, and for the most part, new children's products were high in total calories, sugar or fat, the report found.

I grew up with junk food. I think most of the children in this country probably did. Probably the worst part of it is that if I had to make a choice between a beautiful apple and a bag of potato chips, I'd reach for the bag of chips. This is one heal of a evil circle.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Face Transplant Case and Ethics

I understand many of this Doctor's objections. Despite the notoriety and questions that have arisen surrounding the face transplant case, the identity of the woman involved should not be made public. And while its important for practioners to share information with other practioners, her picture shouldn't be made public without her permission. It is his quote at the end that should raise more then a few eyebrows. Or all of them really.

"The transplant is normal. She even finds her face better than before -- sweeping away ethical controversies," he said

Is he saying that just because the procedure has been deemed a success no one should question the ethics of it? Hubris is too delicate a word.