Is It Brain Worms?

Brain worms are like a tapeworm……..they demand more food…….but instead of burgers it is information and knowledge……

I often joke about having brain worms and it causes me to be doing research in my sleep…….but all joking aside there is a problem…….I have been reading reports for a month or more about this growing problem………

It started with a headache about two weeks ago. But a 21-year-old California woman soon began vomiting, and after being unable to shake the symptoms within a day, went to the hospital on June 17. Officials say she’s now dead, having succumbed to a rare infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba, reports CBS Sacramento. The unidentified Bishop, Calif., resident was initially diagnosed with meningitis, but was later flown to a hospital in Reno after her condition worsened. Shortly afterward, she went into cardiac arrest and died, prompting testing by the CDC. The cause of death has been established as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis or PAM, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. The infection is caused by Naegleria fowleri—an amoeba found in warm, still waters that, once in the body, travels to the brain and destroys brain tissue.

Incidents of PAM are extremely rare, with only 35 reported cases in the past 10 years, according to the CDC. Infections typically occur when the amoeba enters a person’s nose through contaminated water, and the fatality rate is dismal: nearly 98%. The CDC notes that there have been just three known survivors out of 133 people reported to have been infected in the US from 1962 to 2014. Officials shared few details about the woman’s exposure to the amoeba beyond saying they believe it occurred on private property and that the public is not at risk. The CDC recommends using distilled or sterile water in neti pots, properly chlorinating pools, and avoiding head submersion in still water to reduce one’s risk of infection. (This girl is the third-known survivor of PAM.)

This is scary stuff!

I apologize for being crude and cold hearted……but could this explain why most Right wing wackos seem to have a diminishing mental activity?  Whatcha think?

VA to Iraq war vet: ‘We’re not accepting any new patients’

I have been bitching about the treatment of American vets for 40 years…..this country treats our returning vets like a worn out tool to be discarded when broken……this country should be ashamed!

Recently we have heard time and time again that the VA is improving……..there have been propaganda pieces in the media to show these improvements……but my question is……just how improved is the VA system?

VA to Iraq war vet: ‘We’re not accepting any new patients’.

Kinda sounds like the same old system to me……..

Any thoughts?

Veterans Screwed Again!

All too familiar situation in our society.  In the past sagas, songs and poems were written about warriors and now they are an after thought of society……we should be ashamed of ourselves!

If you will recall back about a year ago the stories about the shoddy treatment of the Vets in the VA system…….then the outcry made the VA make drastic changes and once those were in place we were told just how effective the new system was and just how quick the Vets were getting the care they richly deserve,,,,,,any of this familiar?

I am also looking for stuff on the web mostly I am trying to verify stuff that I would like to write about…….and over the weekend I came across this piece and started my blood pressure rise…….

The number of veterans seeking health care but ending up on waiting lists of one month or more is 50% higher now than it was a year ago when a scandal over false records and long wait times wracked the Department of Veterans Affairs, the New York Times reports. The VA also faces a budget shortfall of nearly $3 billion and is considering furloughs, hiring freezes, and other significant moves to reduce the gap. In the last year, the VA has increased capacity by more than 7 million patient visits per year—double what officials originally thought they needed to fix shortcomings—but department officials did not anticipate just how much physician workloads and demand from veterans would continue to soar. At some major veterans hospitals, demand was up by one-fifth.

Citing interviews with department officials and internal department budget documents it had obtained, the Times found that doctors and nurses have handled 2.7 million more appointments than in any previous year, while authorizing 900,000 additional patients to see outside physicians. Meanwhile, there is an intense internal debate at the VA over a proposal to address a shortage of funds for a new, more effective but more costly hepatitis C treatment by possibly rationing new treatments among veterans. Agency officials expect to petition Congress this week to allow them to shift money into programs running short of cash. “Something has to give,” says an agency official. “We can’t leave this as the status quo. We are not meeting the needs of veterans.”

Once again the people that we send into harm’s way are being neglected……the country they serve is turning a blind eye to their needs.  Why Is That?

Being patriotic means that if we must send our sons and daughters to fight and possibly die….when they return they should be given any and ALL assistance they need… do anything else is an insult to the country and people….it is UNPATRIOTIC!  And may I add….COWARDLY!

The High Cost Of Health Care

Recently I was involved in a car wreck….my passenger has taken to the ER and examined that trip cost $1200 for ambulance, 500 for x-rays and CT scan and $12,000 for the use of the ER…..BTW NO one was injured, all is fine……….all I can say is thank God for insurance……but what about those without insurance, even though Obamacare was suppose to fix that problem…….does any of this sound a bit much for a bill?

Is there any price gouging?  Ya Think?

Glad you asked!

Hospital pricing is a murky business, and a study published in Health Affairs this week tries bring clarity to an ugly part of it: “price-gouging,” as study co-author Gerard Anderson puts it. Of our 5,000 hospitals, researchers identified the 50 with the highest markups, ones that charge uninsured consumers roughly 10 times their Medicare-allowable costs. “This means, when it costs the hospital $100, they are going to charge you, on average, $1,000,” Anderson tells the Washington Post. The national average, per the study, is 3.4 times. All but one of the 50 is a for-profit hospital and 40% of them are in Florida; North Okaloosa Medical Center in Crestview, Florida, tops the list, charging uninsured patients 12.6 times the actual cost of care.

Who gets hit? Most government and private insurers negotiate rates on behalf of patients, leaving uninsured patients “commonly asked to pay the full charges”; ditto those seeking treatment out-of-network and workers’ compensation insurers. The Federation of American Hospitals—a trade association for for-profit hospitals—along with a number of hospital officials call the study one-sided, note that discounts are regularly offered, and say that what’s charged isn’t typically what’s paid. FAH tells the Post the 50 hospitals flagged by the study provided nearly $450 million in care in 2012 without compensation, which “would have had a significant effect on the charge-to-cost-ratio reported, and therefore the implications of the study’s results.” Anderson’s response? “Clearly they expect someone to pay these inflated prices.”

Between the price of health care and drugs the American people are being SCREWED!

Somewhere there will be a mental midget that will retort that “US has the BEST healthcare anywhere”……all I do is smile and ask…..”at what cost”?

This is pathetic…….and anyone that cannot see how pathetic this is is just plain IGNORANT!

On The Road To Designer Babies?

Finally!  The weekend and I can kick back and do something religious….like sleep.

Did anyone see the movie Gattaca?  I believe it was about choosing what your baby will look like…a designer baby…..I am sure there have been a dozen or more movies that touch on this type of DNA manipulation…….looks like life is about to mimic art…….

Advances in DNA research are fairly common these days, but a new study out of China seems to qualify for bombshell status: Scientists there edited the genes of human embryos for the first time, reports Nature. This gets into controversial and “ethically charged” territory, notes the MIT Technology Review, because if a mistake is made at the embryonic level, the mutation could get passed on to future generations. It also raises a whole new set of concerns about “designer babies.” To dampen the controversy, the researchers out of Sun Yat-sen University did not use embryos capable of developing into babies. As they explain in Protein & Cell, they used a new gene-editing technique called CRISPR/Cas9 on 86 embryos to try to modify a gene responsible for a blood disorder. Things did not go well.

“Only 28 had the defective sequence removed, and an even tinier fraction of those ended up with the ‘pasted-in’ healthy genetic sequence,” reports Quartz. Worse, mutations were introduced elsewhere. Researchers stopped the experiment, calling the technique “too immature.” Critics not only agree, they want a moratorium on all such work. “There needs to be careful consideration not only of the safety but also of the social and ethical implications of applying this technology to alter our germ lines,” a Harvard researcher tells NPR. At National Geographic, Carl Zimmer compares the controversy to the early days of human cloning and suspects “this week will go down as a pivotal moment in the history of medicine.” This particular experiment may have tanked, but it’s not a “deal-breaker” for the technology, he writes. But, as with cloning, society may now have to make some decisions about what’s appropriate. (Read more about why some scientists want to halt gene editing in humans.)

I kinda have a problem with this…….I understand the medical side of it but this is one of those things that will quickly become a money making enterprise…….does Khan come to mind here?

The Need To Know

It is the weekend and I have found a wealth of absolute BS to fill the next couple of days…..I have said in the past that there has got to be a way to get on the list for the grant money they pass out.  I have seen some amazingly stupid research that was probably paid for by the tax payer…..stuff we really needed to know……

And then there are these studies that I was so worried that I would die before an answer was discovered…..,…

The human chin is something of a mystery to scientists. How, exactly, did we end up with a seemingly useless structure at the bottom of our face? One theory, as Smithsonian reported in 2012, is that they offer some support as we chew. Small amounts of stress can break down bone, allowing it to grow back tougher, which many thought could explain why our chins are much less pronounced as children than as adults. But new research out of the University of Iowa rejects that idea. Researchers followed a group of almost 40 subjects as they grew from age three to adulthood. Turns out those whose jaws endured the most wear and tear actually had the smallest chins, io9 reports.

So if it’s not stress on the jaw, how do we explain our chins? The researchers suggest that it could actually be the result of our faces getting smaller as we evolved. Neanderthals didn’t have chins—but they did have bigger heads than we do. While our heads shrunk over time, as male testosterone levels decreased, the chin may have remained as a sort of facial leftover. Other researchers have also pointed to sex hormones in explaining our chins, Smithsonian notes: Women may be attracted to guys with larger chins because it signals good genes, whereas smaller chins may be linked to higher estrogen, perhaps making them an attractive feature in women. No definitive answers yet, but it’s something to chew on. (Meanwhile, an injection could be available soon to fix a different kind of chin.)

Did that help explain Jay Leno’s chin?

Now that mystery has been solved there is one that has plagued me for years…..why do my knuckles pop?

Scientists equipped with an MRI scanner, a finger-pulling device, and a man they call the “Wayne Gretzky of knuckle-cracking” say they have cracked the mystery of that popping sound your knuckles make when cracked. In a University of Alberta press release, the team says their video reveals that the sound is caused by the formation of a gas-filled bubble created by a drop in pressure when the joints are separated. “We call it the ‘pull my finger study’—and actually pulled on someone’s finger and filmed what happens in the MRI,” the lead researcher says. “When you do that, you can actually see very clearly what is happening inside the joint.” The study was published in the journal PLoS One.

The bubble comes from the fluid that lubricates the joints, the lead researcher says. “If you’ve ever washed up glass plates, you’ll know they can be hard to separate when they are wet,” he tells the Guardian. “The film of water between them creates a tension that needs to be overcome. It’s similar with joints. When you pull on them, they resist at first, and then suddenly give way.” He says he started the study after a local chiropractor—who served as their champion knuckle-cracker—approached him with the theory. The researcher, an expert in spinal structure, says the findings could help explain the cause of joint problems and help doctors stop them before they begin. (Other researchers have discovered a new body part in the knee.)

Whew!  Another mystery solved before I crap out…….

Now aren’t you glad you stopped by today?

Eat Your Veggies…….

For decades there has been a movement toward eating more veggies and less meat……more recently a vegan diet has become popular one where you eat only stuff that comes from seeds… eggs, no cheese no honey, etc etc etc……….

Of course as with anything there has been study after study to produce some “facts” that will support this idea…….and now we have a doozey…….

A federal panel that helps set federal dietary guidelines is recommending Americans eat less meat because it’s better for the environment, sparking outrage from industry groups representing the nation’s purveyors of beef, pork and poultry.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a federally appointed panel of nutritionists created in 1983, decided for the first time this year to factor in environmental sustainability in its recommendations. They include a finding that a diet lower in animal-based foods is not only healthier, but has less of an environmental impact.

The 571-page report says the average U.S. diet has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use and energy use than the healthy dietary pattern it suggests — one that’s rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products and alcohol; and lower in red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and refined grains.

In its review of scientific studies, the committee highlighted research concluding that a vegan diet had the most potential health benefits.

“The organically grown vegan diet also had the lowest estimated impact on resources and ecosystem quality, and the average Italian diet had the greatest projected impact,” according to the report. “Beef was the single food with the greatest projected impact on the environment; other foods estimated to have high impact included cheese, milk, and seafood.”

With this report the meat industry went batcrap crazy…….like that would be a surprise…….

A new federal report points to the environmental benefits of a vegan diet, and the meat industry is not exactly happy about it. Industry representatives say sustainability isn’t within the purview of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, whose recommendations factor into guidelines by the federal agriculture and health departments, the Hill reports. “The same concern would exist if an expert sustainability committee were making nutrition policy recommendations,” says a rep for the North American Meat Institute. “It is not appropriate for the person designing a better light bulb to be telling Americans how to make a better sandwich.”

Indeed, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack seemed to agree in an interview last month with the Wall Street Journal, the Hill notes. “I read the actual law,” he noted. “Our job ultimately is to formulate dietary and nutrition guidelines.” But earlier this year, the committee noted a need to address the “complete challenge” in order “to ensure a healthy food supply will be available for future generations,” the Journal reported. The chair of the committee also points out that the committee outlines three separate diets, with one vegetarian-focused, one Mediterranean, and one American. “If people took the time to understand, this is not a meat-free diet and this is not [a] vegan approach,” she tells the Hill. “They’d realize this is a healthy dietary pattern with three models that offers consumers a lot of choice.” The group is accepting public comment until next month.

I will be a good boy and eat my veggies…..but I really need my meat!

Any thoughts?