Population medicine


Obamacare treats not for the patient in particular, but for the patient on average, globally, or in the abstract

This isn’t a problem specific to the ACA; it’s endemic in national health systems all over the world, all of which are more or less in the thrall of pharmaceutical companies who control and produce most of the research that determines population medicine.

The problem with the pharmaceutical companies sponsoring research however is twofold:  1, they control who gets into the study and define the outliers; and 2, most of these studies are not appropriate for population generalizations because they are small in size or short in length.  Oh, and I guess this makes it threefold:  any results that are not favorable to their drug will never see the light of day.

Now controlling who gets into the study is related to the outliers in that, if in the pretrial part of the study, people who have adverse reactions right away will be eliminated from the study.  So people who might give a truer picture of the drug’s ill effects will have been eliminated right off the bat.  And outliers are defined as people who have reactions that are supposedly really rare and do not give a true picture of the overall study results.  For instance, take Celebrex.  It’s a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, in the same class as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.  Pfizer, the manufacturer, said its drug was better than those others because it didn’t hurt the stomach.  Well, as it turns out, that was not the case at all.  The reason they were able to claim that is because, if you read the link above, you will find that they only released the first six months of a year’s worth of data.  Most of the stomach problems developed in the second half of the study; because of this they were able to deceive regulators, medical providers, and the public at large into believing this drug was safer.  They altered the study’s parameters to hide crucial data related to side effects, and they explained “poor results as the result of ‘statistical glitches.'”  ***statistical glitches is researcher speak for outlier***

Perhaps the worst offender in this is Merck.  Their drug, Vioxx was taken off the market because of the substantially increased risk of a heart attack while taking it.  This was defined as an outlier in their results – which means they knew there was an increased risk before this drug ever went on the market.  Yet they chose to define a statistically increased risk as an outlier, dump all the data related to the people who had had a heart attack during the course of the study, and publish results that were very positive toward their drug.  Of course, they also paid for a study to be published that was favorable to their product without disclosing their financial relationship and were subsequently sued.  Multiple times, in multiple countries.

Regarding study length:  In the case of Celebrex, they released results related to only six months of what ended up being a six year long study.  How can one make a decision about a medication’s safety or efficacy when the study hasn’t even been completed?  Where are the critical thinking skills for those who are in charge of approving a drug?  Where are the critical thinking skills for those prescribing the drug?  The public doesn’t have the general ability to decide if a study is good or not, they rely on the government to determine a drug’s safety and effectiveness, and they rely on their providers to prescribe drugs that have benefits that outweigh the risks.  They are being seriously failed on both accounts.

Unfavorable results are related to both of the above drugs.  Data that showed there was substantial risk for certain groups of people in both cases was simply hidden.  In many cases, studies are never published at all – their data is simply buried and never sees the light of day.

So why is any of this relevant?  Well, guidelines are created based on the cumulative results of published studies.  And guidelines are what are forced on providers in order to make sure they are adhering to the standard of care.  Standards of care are based on population medicine, not on individual people.  They don’t allow for individual preferences, variability in response to a drug, differences in financial circumstances or lifestyles, religious prohibitions, or any other individual determinants of a person’s ability (or desire) to adhere to a given regimen.

If we can’t rely on the results of studies, we can’t rely on guidelines that are created from them.  And this is a big problem when reimbursement, and even licensing is predicated on adhering to guidelines.  In a local to me case, an Arizona cardiologist is under investigation because he advocates non-guideline based recommendations for his patients.  This is a huge problem.  If a physician can’t read research and make decisions for his practice, but is expected to blindly follow guidelines or face having his license revoked, how can one trust one’s medical provider that they are doing the right thing for you, the patient?

In an even more insidious fashion, the powers that be (government in collusion with the pharmaceutical and insurance companies) are requiring (here in the States anyway) that a provider have an NPI.  That’s a national provider number.  And it has to be printed on all prescriptions or the pharmacist will not be required to fill them.  So what?  Well, if you don’t follow the guidelines, and you don’t accept the insurances the government wants you to — because you prefer to offer your patients advice that you feel is healthier and safer for them as an individual — you can have your provider number yanked even if your license is not revoked.  Either way you can’t fully care for patients and are out of business.  I wish I had links for you for this one, but I don’t.  I don’t even remember where I read this, but trust me when I say this is indeed going on.

Population medicine.  Peak medicine.  Grasping for financial straws.  And you, and I, the little people suffer.

Medicine – science or religion?


Originally posted on Dr. Malcolm Kendrick:

[Never admit that you are wrong]

Medicine has always occupied an often uncomfortable space between science and belief. I remember when I started medical school the Dean of the medical school welcomed us to the main lecture hall. He told us how wonderful it was that we had chosen to become doctors, and waffled on for a bit about how we were the chosen few. He finished his speech with these words, which etched themselves into my brain… ‘Welcome to the brotherhood.’

Of course the parallels between medicine and religion have always been obvious to anyone who has eyes to see. The patient consultation as confessional. The use of long latin words that the patient cannot understand. The rituals and incantations of medicine have clear parallels with religion. Or would that be the other way round. You could go on and on.

It is easy to understand why many aspects…

View original 929 more words

Have you ever realized after the fact that maybe you just shouldn’t be doing it anyway?


That’s how I feel about my career.  I have banged my head against a wall, struggled for so long, only to be denied at the last.  I’ve realized I just wasn’t supposed to be doing this to begin with.

I knew I wasn’t meant to do this when I was still in school.  It’s taken this long to really get it through my head that the entire field is exactly the same, from basic to advanced, and not meant for me.  Why I kept on I don’t know – Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing and expecting a different result.  I guess I thought getting my master’s degree would make it all different.  Not so.  Just more of the same.  And more.  And so, by Einstein’s definition I was insane.  I think I’ve finally come to and become sane.

When Mr. TF gets a job in his chosen field, I will resign my position.  I will not renew my license when it comes due.  After all this I have come to realize that some things are just not worth it.  This is one of them.

I’m listening now Universe.  What do the Gods have to say?

Harvard Trained Immunologist Demolishes California Legislation That Terminates Vaccine Exemptions


thetinfoilhatsociety:

I am NOT anti vax. As I’ve stated a multitude of times before. I AM common sense, pro-informed consent (and by that I mean FULLY informed, not given a one page sheet with basically nothing of note on it produced by the CDC), pro-parents’ rights. This being said, there is nothing to argue with in the 6 numbered items and I completely agree. I wish more people knew this.

Originally posted on Aletho News:

State of the Nation | April 23, 2015

SOTN Editor’s Note:

The following open letter by a PhD Immunologist completely demolishes the current California legislative initiative to remove all vaccine exemptions. That such a draconian and cynical state statute is under consideration in the ‘Golden State’ is as shocking as it is predictable.  After all, it was mysteriously written and submitted shortly after the manufactured-in-Disneyland measles ‘outbreak’.

The indisputable science that is employed by Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD ought to be read by every CA legislator who is entertaining an affirmative vote for SB277.  Dr. Obukhanych skillfully deconstructs the many false and fabricated arguments that are advanced by Big Pharma and the U.S Federal Government as they attempt to implement a nationwide Super-Vaccination agenda.

When the California Senate refuses to consider authoritative scientific evidence which categorically proves the dangerous vaccine side effects on the schoolchildren, something is very wrong. Such conduct by the…

View original 2,668 more words

It was the best of times it was the worst of times.


I went to my graduation for my masters degree today. While I was there I received a phone call from a friend that I do not let go to the voice mail, she is too important in my life. She was calling to tell me that another mutual friend had passed away that morning. This woman was a powerful, beautiful, spiritual woman who had touched my life in a meaningful way.

I feel shamed that I was resentful of going to my graduation, only agreeing to appease my family. She would have slapped me silly had she known my feelings and been completely in the right.  I feel shamed I wasn’t present for her more. I had little to give her but she was amazing and in wish I would have learned a little of what she had to pass on which was a lot.

I can only hope I become a little as strong as she before it’s my turn to take the long journey.

As it is the comfort is that one of her godchildren is caring for her earthly remains having recently become a mortician.

Such a loss.

Makkin Belt


IMAG1052

In the Shetland Islands, knitting is known as ‘makkin.’  Hence the name for my belt.  You see, most production knitting used ergonomic methods that allowed women (and men, and children) to knit quite quickly, with even tension, and allow knitting while walking or caring for family tasks.  In the Shetlands, this involved a knitting, or makkin belt.  It’s worn with the large part on the side, and a double pointed knitting needle (pin, as they’re known in the UK) is inserted into the belt at an angle that allows the needle to remain stationary and enables the hands to maintain a more ergonomic position for a longer period of time.  It also keeps the wrists more or less out of the motion of knitting, which greatly reduces the risk of over use injury.

I purchased the leather, the awl set, the leather needle, and rivets at my local leather shop.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I could only get one of the rivets to stay and “grab” the belt so it’s sewn at the other end.  It was a lesson for next time.  The belt was already made, purchased at the thrift store for something like 50 cents.  It’s stuffed with a surprisingly large amount of tulle, as horsehair – the traditional stuffing, while available – was extremely expensive.  I know, it’s not especially pretty, but I’m hoping it will be functional.  ETA:  I used graph paper to sketch out the basic shape and traced it onto the leather.  It’s approximately 8″ long, and 3″ wide.  I used the 1/8″ diameter awl bit to make the holes for the lacing.  I ‘eyeballed’ the holes both for the lacing and for the needles; I didn’t have a tiny awl for small diameter needles so I used a T pin and made those holes; the larger ones are made with a hand punch awl of an unknown diameter.  They are randomly placed on the surface.

I have noticed lately that knitting causes me to have pain at the base of my thumb near where it joins the wrist whenever I knit for more than an hour or two – even if I am a good doobee and get up and stretch every hour.  I currently have a very large collection of circular needles that I’ve accumulated, because I find they are easier to carry around and use wherever I go. The alteration in my style when I use them, however, causes the pain due to my wrists turning more to flick off the stitches.

I have decided that if I am ever going to be a production knitter I need to become MUCH faster than I am.  I’m no slouch right now, but I really want speed without sacrificing quality.  When I knit with single point needles, I have always naturally braced one against the crease of my thigh or into a pillow next to me, which allows me to knit faster and more ergonomically.  I have no idea where I first learned this, but my paternal grandparents were from Ireland so I may have seen Irish style knitting at a very young age and simply copied my grandmother without realizing it (she passed away a long time ago, I have no real memory of her other than her asking me if I understood – in Gaelic).  Using a knitting belt is a natural extension of my instinct, that will allow me to knit in other places than my couch – and to take it with me anywhere I go.  I did try lever knitting, where the needle is held under the arm, and that hurt my wrists very badly very quickly.

This is a video of Isolda Teague using a knitting belt.  It is probably the most clear in the placement of the belt and the use of the needles that I have seen.

I haven’t tried it out yet, but I am anxious to do so on some sort of project that can be appropriately hidden (like socks) until I get the hang of it.

I suspect that in times to come, when hand made becomes a necessity once again, this will be a good skill to know and to pass along.  And I have enough leather left over to make another belt as well.

Peak Music


I was sitting outside during my lunch break last week.  There was one of the housekeeping staff also outside on lunch; he was listening to music.  As I sat there, I heard songs from the Velvet Underground, Suicidal Tendencies, Def Leopard, and more.  Now, this wouldn’t be surprising except that this young man was just that – maybe 24 or 25.  I was stunned, and after hearing a bit of this, I commented on it.  I said something to the effect that he wasn’t even alive when most of that was popular and I was amazed that he listened to ‘oldies.’  He replied that it was what he grew up listening to, and he likes it better than what passes for music on the radio anyway.  We had a (from my point of view anyway) good talk and even discussed the Ramones and how, as a former punker, my kids were exposed to the same sort of music and one of my sons has the complete collection of the Ramones’ music.  He laughed and said he has it too.

Then, I was at the grocery store yesterday, walking back to my borrowed truck with my bag of purchases.  A young man who couldn’t have been more than 17 was cruising slowly past the front of the store with the windows rolled down, obviously driving his parents’ car, and equally obviously looking for someone.

THIS was blasting out the open window.  I started laughing.  For the second time in just over 8 days I heard music that I grew up listening to, coming from not middle aged listeners like myself, but from young people who *theoretically* should have their own music to listen to and identify with.  I turned to the middle aged man sitting smoking a cigarette at the table on the sidewalk and remarked on it.  I said something to the effect that this kid isn’t much older than I was when this came out!  The man laughed and agreed, and shook his head.

Having listened to some of the newer stuff on the radio I have thought that I was the problem – that I just couldn’t relate to this new stuff because I’m old and I don’t get the references or something.  I remember my mom getting that way, and Mr. TF has shared a story about driving his father somewhere as a teen – dear FIL finally turned to Mr. TF and asked “who ARE these screaming a$$holes?” when forced to listen to some 80’s hair band for too long.

I’m now thinking that maybe young people, particularly those who play an instrument even a little, just don’t care for the modern stuff any more than I do.  I can’t think of more than one or two people I know under the age of 30 who even listen to the radio – they are all either listening to 70’s era punk, or 80’s or 90’s era stuff.  Or they are listening to indie music that defies being stuffed into a single genre.

Have we come to peak music too?  I suspect we may have, if these young people are any gauge.  More than anything it tells me we are on the downslide of our current civilization. (and off topic, I want to know why spelling civiliSation is wrong).

What do two wrongs make?


Every religion has its behavioral standards. Some of these include behaviors of the mind; the Ten Commandments for instance include physical behaviors – thou shalt not steal – as well as mental behaviors – thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s … Buddhism has its Eight fold Noble Path, Asatru has its Nine Noble Virtues, Wicca has its Rede; all deal in part with making sure motivations and actions are for the betterment of oneself and/or one’s community. Of course, some of these also deal with rules for approaching ones’ God(s) and with proper worship and sacrifice, it IS religion after all, but in the main these, to me at least, deal with proper mental orientation producing proper physical behavior.

I’ve been thinking about this recently and trying to examine motivations vs. actions in whether an action can be wrong in the lens of religion, morality/ethics or the law even when the motivation was pure. Is it in fact possible to act from pure motivations and still err in behavior? Meaning, can one do the ‘wrong’ thing for the ‘right’ reasons? And is it acceptable to be punished for one’s wrong action even when the motivation was pure? If one does act from pure motivation and commits a wrong action, is the punishment that ensues just? Or is it always that wrong actions come from mixed or impure motivations? Is it error that produces the wrong action, or lack of knowledge?

And what about the other person(s) who were involved and the fact that they were committing wrong (and possibly illegal) actions with patently wrong motivations: does this person deserve karmic retribution? Justice? Punishment? Or is their wrong action ‘cancelled out’ by the wrong action of another?

Consider for instance telling a lie. In Christianity, this is always considered wrong. I was brought up not as a Christian, but I was involved in it when I was younger. I was brought up in a family that valued honesty for the simple reason that even poor people can possess honesty as a form of wealth that cannot be taken away. In Asatru however, this doesn’t necessarily apply, if another person has lied (and been caught in it) to you. There’s a standard of behavior one is expected to uphold, as a general rule, but if the other person violates it, one can choose to behave honorably or not based on one’s own assessment of one’s situation. Now, I’m not Asatru, but this is how I interpret it.  And I believe that telling the truth, being honest, is a value that is central to my life.  I may be many unpleasant things, but a habitual liar is not one of them.

Take Thor for instance. He dressed up as a woman, as a bride, to be wed to a giant. He went through with the ceremony. This is a pretty big lie!! But he did it to get his hammer back, and to prevent a larger wrong. His wrong actions were in response to another’s wrong actions, and the motivation was at least in part pure: to save another from a bad marriage, and to get back what was his and wrongly kept from him. Does that mean two wrongs make a right? Or have they cancelled each other out? Does the fact that Thor is a God mean the same rules do not apply? Or is this to be taken as an example for the people of Asatru in dealing with others who do not have the same standards?

I know there are many questions in this post. I have recently been through a great deal due to a ‘wrong’ action that arose from pure motivation. My motives, I believe, were pure, but I let my frustration with the other person’s illegal and unethical behavior, and apparent immunity from consequences get the better of me. Not only that, but I acted from incomplete knowledge and this in itself was critical to what followed. Does allowing emotions to be involved mean I did not have pure motivation? Or was it that I had incomplete knowledge and therefore could *not* have pure motivation? How does one go about making sure motivation is pure before acting?

I have been punished physically, mentally, legally, financially. The punishment continues for a currently unknown amount of time; it may be up to a year before my punishment will end. All of this because someone stuffed a ballot box, repeatedly denied the right to free speech at public meetings, and intimidated people. The back story is that this same person cost a neighborhood association their non-profit status from illegal activities and has a pattern of rights violating behavior. In addition, there have been irregularities in the financial accounting, the potential use of the association for illegal land transfers or zoning changes, and more. Nevertheless, this person and this board remain in power to do what they will, and I remain the one punished. I have been questioning my motivation as a result and have spent a lot of time pondering these questions.

This is a poor way to end a post, but I welcome thoughts on this subject.

Doug Ducey is an ass.


I may, or may not, end up updating this particular post with appropriate links, but right now I am so angry I just have to post.

Doug Ducey is the governor of Arizona.  He ran under the guise of bringing fiscal responsibility to our state.

The new budget passed is a travesty.  He says we can’t afford to fund teachers, higher education, social services.  But apparently we CAN afford to fund the building of NEW private prisons that will be run as FOR PROFIT enterprises and we will see only a FRACTION of the revenue brought into them, all the while our taxes go TO those prisons to fund the staff and maintenance.  W. T. F. Doug.

If they wanted to REALLY do something they could legislate that school administrators make a maximum of 10% more than the teachers AND that they have to keep their offices INSIDE the schools they are administering – and superintendents must ALSO be inside one of the schools, or maybe in a rentabox type trailer on school grounds.  NOT in lush separate buildings at a hard to reach location.

If they really wanted to do something they would do the same with the higher education schools.  It’s ridiculous when a nursing instructor with a Master’s degree makes so little he/she still has to work part time as a nurse in order to make ends meet.  And again, the administrators should be making a MAXIMUM of 10% more than the faculty.

I won’t even go into the problem of the school sports programs and the corruption there.  I worked as a tutor for some of the football players when I was a student at U of A.  O.M.G.  Well, first you have to learn to read and write English before I can tutor you.  And no, I am not going to do your work for you.  Obviously I didn’t last long at that job. That was more than 20 years ago; I can only assume it’s even worse now.

So let’s cut social services.  OK, I agree, there are a lot of moochers out there.  But if you’re cutting school budgets, that means students suffer.  If students suffer, they’re not getting an education.  And if there are no social services available to keep them off the streets/get and keep a job?  They become criminals.  And then they end up in the FOR PROFIT PRISON SYSTEM.  Oh, I get it.  We’re paying back our for profit prison buddies who got us into office, not serving the citizens who have to pay the damned taxes for this shit. 

WTF Doug Ducey.

Yay.


Several things.

1.  I did very well on my final exam, which was a mock board certification test.  I bettered my score on the initial mock certification test at the beginning of class by 11 points – both of which were passing scores, but I wanted to do much better for my second test.

2.  I had official transcripts emailed to the Board of Nursing on Friday Feb 20th.  They received them, according to the school (meaning they actually opened the email) yesterday, Feb 25.  They still have not acknowledged receiving them on the website.

3.  I sent official transcripts to the certifying body on Feb 25.  They acknowledge it and have it posted as of today.

4.  Which means, between 3 and 4, I will have paid for a temporary certification for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON at this rate.  Because as soon as I get the authorization to test, I plan to schedule my exam.

5.  My truck got stolen from a public library parking lot in broad daylight on a weekday!!!!!  THANK YOU TO OUR SOUTH OF THE BORDER FRIENDS….YAY OBAMA AND HIS DACA’S.  It was found the same night, sans tires/rims/exhaust system/splash guards on the front end, clutch burned out, transmission possibly trashed, steering column and ignition system trashed.  ETA and one of the running lights duct-taped to the body.  It’s at the shop now, hoping they will not total the vehicle if the cost to replace all of that is too high.  I called Discount Tire this morning, they gave me a quote of $1290 for replacement tires/rims of exactly what I had.  The insurance company is questioning the rims/tires, wanting a receipt.  We keep telling them, WE BOUGHT IT THAT WAY.  Good thing I have a photo of the truck with the rims that I texted to my son or we would be screwed. 

6.  I have other things going on right now, stress upon stress.

7.  I just have to have faith that this is going to make us stronger in the end.  And that fighting for ‘right’ will win out over evil in the end.