Republican Pre-existing Condition

Thanks, gocomics.org

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Latest air pollution finding shouldn’t surprise anyone…


Click to enlargeKieran Doherty/Reuters

A smoggy day in London town…

The hearts of people who live in polluted areas are weaker than those who regularly breathe cleaner air, according to a new study which adds to the growing volume of evidence that fossil fuels are killing us.

The researchers said they found evidence of harmful effects even when levels of pollution associated with diesel vehicles were less than half the safety limit set by the European Union…

According to a UK government estimate, about 40,000 people die prematurely because of the air they breathe…

The process by which air pollution harms the body has been poorly understood. Until recently it was not known if fine particles could pass through the lungs into the bloodstream.

However, a study in which volunteers inhaled gold nanoparticles showed it was possible for this to happen with gold showing up in their blood and urine 15 minutes after they had breathed it in. The particles were still there up to three months later.

…Shouldn’t surprise anyone, that is, except heartless conservatives!

Does Trump Have Early Alzheimer’s?

Here’s the article introducing the discussion at AlterNet. It reads fairly objectively to me. Check out the article and the video.

There are plenty of folks – including me – who spotted the illness creeping into Reagan’s life. You needn’t be a neurologist to have legitimate suspicions.

And, frankly, I’d rather American voters kick this dolt out of office for his policies – policies perfectly acceptable to Republican right wing nutballs – than have him mothballed for incompetence.

Increasing Number of Psychiatrists challenge the “Goldwater Rule”

❝ Do psychiatrists who question the mental state of President Donald Trump have a professional or personal obligation to speak out if they fear his words and actions endanger the nation?

That question prompted a packed and sometimes heated panel discussion…during the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association here. The answer for many, including some prominent members of the profession, was a resounding “yes.”

❝ But a 1973 APA policy known as the Goldwater Rule tells them they can’t — not without conducting an examination of the man and receiving proper authorization or consent — lest they be found guilty of unethical behavior, face professional rebuke, and ultimately, get themselves kicked out of the association…

❝ But many in the room disagreed. Some called the Goldwater Rule nothing more than a “gag” rule, a violation of their right to free speech, especially during these particularly tempestuous first months of the administration. They want the APA to eliminate the rule, or seriously modify it, because they need to be “liberated” to speak out about the clear signs and symptoms they’re trained to recognize, and which they believe suggest the president could lead the nation into an unnecessary war.

Regardless of personal convictions – mine certainly are strong and open – the article is a good read. An historic examination of a topic critical to medical disciplines and public freedoms.

Suicide Rates Keep Rising

❝ Those of us who work in pediatric intensive care have frequent encounters with the problem of suicide and attempted suicide. It has seemed to me for some years that the numbers are increasing, and this has been shown to be the case. After years of declining, the suicide rate in our country has been increasing, now at about 125 percent of the rate of several decades ago.

This increase accelerated after 2006. Although all age groups showed an increase, the rate among women, particularly adolescent girls, took a notable jump. In 2012 suicide was the second leading cause of death in adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, accounting for more deaths in this age group than cancer, heart disease, influenza, pneumonia, diabetes mellitus, human immunodeficiency virus, and stroke combined…

❝ Actual suicide is just the tip of the iceberg, since, at least among adolescent girls who attempt it typically with drug overdose, there are as many as 90 attempts for every death. Since a large number of these attempts end up in the PICU, I’m not surprised we are seeing more and more of them come through our doors. A few other points are worth noting here. The success statistics for adolescent boys are unfortunately much higher because boys tend to use more violent means than girls, such as hanging, firearms, or automobiles.

However, although rates for boys are up slightly, they really haven’t changed much. It’s also important to realize suicide attempts are a spectrum — some are more serious than others. Many girls take an overdose and then immediately tell somebody about it. These are often called suicide gestures and can be quite impulsive. Some use the term “cry for help” to describe them. More ominous are children who carefully plan, such as by hoarding powerful drugs in secret and taking them in a setting where they won’t be found. They may leave a suicide note. I couldn’t find any data about whether these different categories are discordant in the rate increase, but I assume the two are tracking together. Finally, a child may not know which drugs are truly dangerous. I have seen very serious suicide attempts by children who take overdoses of what we know to be innocuous medications but the child does not.

❝ Regardless of what category the attempt is, of course, the child needs mental health services subsequently. These days we find a child’s text messages to be very helpful. So why the increase in adolescent girls?

I’ll give you the spoiler. Dr. Johnson doesn’t know the answer. He’s in early stages of his examination as are many others. We also happen to live in a society so screwed-up that suicide is increasing for most age groups.

You still should RTFA. He has suggestions. He has hopes. He has other scientists to help him.

3-D bioprinter can print human skin


Working prototypeUniversidad Carlos III de Madrid

❝ …A team of researchers has demonstrated, for the first time, that, using the new 3D printing technology, it is possible to produce proper human skin. One of the authors, José Luis Jorcano…head of the Mixed Unit CIEMAT/UC3M in Biomedical Engineering, points out that this skin “can be transplanted to patients or used in business settings to test chemical products, cosmetics or pharmaceutical products in quantities and with timetables and prices that are compatible with these uses.”

❝ This new human skin is one of the first living human organs created using bioprinting to be introduced to the marketplace. It replicates the natural structure of the skin, with a first external layer, the epidermis with its stratum corneum, which acts as protection against the external environment, together with another thicker, deeper layer, the dermis. This last layer consists of fibroblasts that produce collagen, the protein that gives elasticity and mechanical strength to the skin.

❝ Bioinks are key to 3D bioprinting, according to the experts. When creating skin, instead of cartridges and colored inks, injectors with biological components are used. In the words of Juan Francisco del Cañizo, of the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón and Universidad Complutense de Madrid researcher. “Knowing how to mix the biological components, in what conditions to work with them so that the cells don’t deteriorate, and how to correctly deposit the product is critical to the system.” The act of depositing these bioinks, which are patented by CIEMAT and licensed by the BioDan Group, is controlled by a computer, which deposits them on a print bed in an orderly manner to then produce the skin…

❝ Currently, this development is in the phase of being approved by different European regulatory agencies to guarantee that the skin that is produced is adequate for use in transplants on burn patients and those with other skin problems. In addition, these tissues can be used to test pharmaceutical products, as well as cosmetics and consumer chemical products where current regulations require testing that does not use animals.

I wish folks who rail against technology would look first at the intended use of the tech they hate. Nothing has to be solely useful as weapons of mass destruction. A guy named Alfred Nobel proved that for us.

Someday, a Medical Machine Will Smell Whether You’re Sick – or Not


Click to enlargeViktor Koen

❝ Blindfolded, would you know the smell of your mom, a lover or a co-worker? Not the smells of their colognes or perfumes, not of the laundry detergents they use — the smells of them?

Each of us has a unique “odorprint” made up of thousands of organic compounds. These molecules offer a whiff of who we are, revealing age, genetics, lifestyle, hometown — even metabolic processes that underlie our health…

❝ …Not every physician’s nose is a precision instrument, and dogs, while adept at sniffing out cancer, get distracted. So researchers have been trying for decades to figure out how to build an inexpensive odor sensor for quick, reliable and noninvasive diagnoses.

The field finally seems on the cusp of succeeding.

❝ “You’re seeing a convergence of technology now, so we can actually run large-scale clinical studies to get the data to prove odor analysis has real utility,” said Billy Boyle, co-founder and president of operations at Owlstone, a manufacturer of chemical sensors in Cambridge, England.

❝ Mr. Boyle, an electronics engineer, formed the company with two friends in 2004 to develop sensors to detect chemical weapons and explosives for customers, including the United States government. But when Mr. Boyle’s girlfriend and eventual wife, Kate Gross, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012, his focus shifted to medical sensors, with an emphasis on cancer detection.

Ms. Gross died at the end of 2014. That she might still be alive if her cancer had been detected earlier, Mr. Boyle said, continues to be a “big motivator.”

The shame is that our US government – supposed to be part support of our family and lives – never seems to have that concern for our health and care anymore. Yes, we got Obamacare for a little while. Shortsighted and convinced our insurance and pharmaceutical giants need as much support as individuals and families, that endeavor is currently being short-circuited by mean spirited politicians who care even less than the capitalist barons or Dark Ages priests they pimp for.

❝ Owlstone has raised $23.5 million to put its odor analysis technology into the hands of clinicians. Moreover, Britain’s National Health Service is funding a 3,000-subject clinical trial to test Owlstone’s sensor to diagnose lung cancer…

The company also is conducting a 1,400-subject trial, in collaboration with the University of Warwick, to detect colon cancer from urine samples, and is exploring whether its chips can help determine the best drugs for asthma patients by sorting through molecules in their breath.

RTFA for more examples, more individuals and firms doing good work, useful studies constructed to lead to healthier lives. Good for them.

Shame on those we put into office at all levels with the same sort of mandate – conveniently forgotten when they take their seat in power.

Safety risks found in one-third of drugs approved by the FDA

❝ Almost a third of drugs cleared by the Food and Drug Administration pose safety risks that are identified only after their approval…

The researchers said the study, which appeared in JAMA, shows the need for ongoing monitoring of new treatments years after they hit the market.

❝ To win FDA approval, medications must be shown to be safe and effective. But many pivotal clinical trials used for approval involve fewer than 1,000 patients with follow-up of six months or less, according to the study. Safety problems often crop up years later after therapies have been used by much larger numbers of patients.

❝ The researchers reviewed 222 products approved between 2001 and 2010 and followed them through February of this year. With 32 percent of the medications, they found, the FDA took some kind of action to deal with safety issues that emerged after approval.

Three of the drugs were withdrawn from the market. The FDA also required 61 new black-box warnings — the agency’s most serious safety alert, included in the drug’s packaging — and issued 59 safety communications to inform doctors and consumers about newly identified concerns. Some products had more than one boxed warning added or safety communication issued over the time of the study.

The median time for an FDA action was 4.2 years after approval…

You, too, can be a beta tester for the FDA. Betting your life on it.

Trump thinks exercise will kill you

❝ One health aspect Trump is transparent about: He doesn’t like to break a sweat. To be more precise, he thinks physical activity will kill you faster.

In a remarkable New Yorker story this week about how Donald Trump could realistically be removed from the presidency, Evan Osnos writes: “Other than golf, he considers exercise misguided, arguing that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy.”…

Trump is as ignorant his peers. Like Texas Republican Joe Barton who thinks wind is a finite resource…”wind is God’s way of balancing heat”…so, don’t use it up generating electricity.

❝ After college, after Trump mostly gave up his personal athletic interests, he came to view time spent playing sports as time wasted. Trump believed the human body was like a battery, with a finite amount of energy, which exercise only depleted. So he didn’t work out…On the campaign trail, we learned that Trump didn’t dedicate any extra time to breaking a sweat because he believes exercise is actually harmful…

❝ Let’s pause to consider how remarkably backward this is.

❝ There was a time when doctors would have concurred with Trump on this. That was the Victorian era. Back then, people worried a physical activity could cause everything from exhaustion and heart palpitations, particularly in women.

A century later, doctors’ thinking has moved on. Research now shows exercise is actually the closest thing we have to a miracle cure.

❝ Regular physical activity can “prevent dementia, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression, heart disease and other common serious conditions — reducing the risk of each by at least 30%,” according to this 2015 report on the benefits of exercise from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. “This is better than many drugs,” the authors wrote.

It also helps people live longer. “Many studies give an approximate 30% risk reduction in all-cause mortality. Smoking is the biggest contributor to early mortality and years living with chronic illness and disability. Physical inactivity, through multiple mechanisms produces an effect one-third the effect of smoking.” Overall, the researchers found, regular exercise reduces cardiac death by 31 percent.

But, for our so-called president and the chumps who believe him, exercise will kill you.