A short post for Friday:
The Times published a short piece on ginger this Tuesday, on whether or not it relieves morning sickness. The conclusion is that it’s less effective for nausea in pregnancy than in seasickness and chemotherapy treatment.
When I was getting chemo, I received a gift of ginger tea. It didn’t help at all. Now, if I even sniff that stuff, I want to throw up.
Curiously, I have no problems with ginger in food. I use the fresh ingredient all the time.
No explanation -
Related Posts:On Genetics, News, Cancer, and Educating DoctorsHow Much Do You Want Your Doctors To Say About Risks of Treatment?Oh, No Methotrexate!A Good Outcome from Celebrity Chef Paula Deen’s Message about Diabetes?More on DCIS
A surprise lesson arrived in my snail mailbox today: the April 28 issue of NEJM includes a fascinating research paper on a probable cause of leprosy in the southern U.S. New, detailed genetic studies show that armadillos, long-known to harbor the disease, carry the same strain as occurs in some patients; they’re a likely culprit in some cases.
Dr. Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, who identified the bacteria causing leprosy
For those who didn’t go to med school: Leprosy is a chronic, infectious disease cause by Mycobacterium leprae. In my second year we were told to refer to the illness as Hansen’s disease. We learned that some people are more susceptible to it than others, possibly due to inherited immunological differences, a point that is reiterated in the current article.
The World Health Organization reports there are under 250,000 cases worldwide every year. Here in the U.S., Hansen’s disease is
See more New Findings on Leprosy and Armadillos
Today Scientific American shared this bit from its 50-year archive, by the mathematician Sherman K. Stein, recounting an interview with the composer George Perle on a theory of rhythm developed in India over 1000 years ago:
While reading about this theory,’ he said, ‘I learned my one and only Sanskrit word: yamátárájabhánasalagám.’ I asked him what it meant. ‘It’s just a nonsense word invented as a memory aid for Indian drummers.… As you pronounce the word you sweep out all possible triplets of short and long beats.’
Sounds like onomatopoeia, or something similar in ancient Indian music parlance. But I’m no drummer, and I don’t know Sanskrit.
It’s got me wondering about the thousands of ancient, hard-to-spell-or-say terms, not rooted in Greek or Latin, for complex medical conditions doctors use today, about which we have so little knowledge.
Related Posts:Reading and Hearing ‘Bang the Drum Slowly’How Much Do You Want Your Doctors To Say About Risks of Treatment?I Hope My Doctors Aren’t Blogging Too MuchDo Adults Need Physicians to Tell Them to Exercise?Cyberchondria Rising – What is the Term’s Meaning and History?
(and, on bias in education)
On the bus last week I was reading the latest New Yorker and came upon a short, front-end piece by Ian Frazier on Mary Jane Seacole, a Jamaican nurse who tended wounded soldiers in the Crimean War. As best as I can recall, I’d never heard before of Florence Nightingale’s colleague.
Wiki Commons image
From Two Nurses:
Florence Nightingale strongly disapproved of Mary Jane Seacole, but that did not stop either of them. The former invented the profession of nursing and became famous for her work on the battlefields of the Crimean War. The latter grew up in Jamaica, knew native remedies learned from her Jamaican mother…supported herself by selling jams, pickles, and spices after her husband’s death, travelled widely, and offered to nurse soldiers in the Crimean War with Nightingale. Turned down, Mary Seacole went to the Crimea anyway. She paid
See more Who Was Nurse Mary Jane Seacole?
A few days ago I read that Dr. Lazar Greenfield, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan, resigned as the president-elect of the American College of Surgeons over flak for authoring a Valentine’s Day-pegged, tacky, tasteless and sexist piece in Surgery News. The February issue is mysteriously absent in the pdf-ied archives. According to the Times coverage: “The editorial cited research that found that female college students who had had unprotected sex were less depressed than those whose partners used condoms.
From Pauline Chen, also in the Times:
It begins with a reference to the mating behaviors of fruit flies, then goes on to discuss studies on the menstrual cycles of heterosexual and lesbian women who live together. Citing the research of evolutionary psychologists at the State University of New York, it describes how female college students who had been exposed to semen were less depressed than their peers who
See more Dr. Greenfield is Human
There’s so much medical stuff I’d like to write on today. The thing is, it’s almost Passover. I’ve just got a few hours to finish readying our home for the holiday.
And so this will be the topic for today’s ML, on home-making:
Part of the Passover preparation is, in my mind, like spring cleaning: we scrub surfaces in the kitchen, pantry and elsewhere; we shake out all the rugs and vacuum or sweep extra carefully; we go through old foods and decide what’s worth keeping or should be discarded. We remove all bits of bread, and then set a minor flame (I use a match) to, symbolically and really, burn the last crumb.
I’m reminded of the spring of 1987, when I spent the second half of Passover in a small apartment in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where I followed an endocrinologist in his rounds and learned about so-called tropical diseases:
See more Passover Preparations, and Good Housekeeping
The author learned a new word this weekend while attending the annual meeting of the Association of Health Care Journalists in Philadelphia.
In a richly-informative session on ethics of clinical trials, one of the speakers, Dr. Jason Karlawish — a bioethicist, geriatrician and Alzheimer’s researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, taught me a new term: theranostic (alt. spelling: theragnostic).
The neologism calculatingly brings together the concepts of medical therapy and diagnosis. This goes beyond biomarkers, he explained; theranostics are novel tests or diagnostic markers that would identify patients who, as defined, benefit from a particular therapy.
The first international conference on theranostics will be held in June, he told the audience.
Related Posts:News on Niaspan, Cholesterol Drugs and BiomarkersReview: Dr. Eric Topol’s Creative Destruction of MedicineNIH Sponsors New Website to Help Patients Understand Clinical TrialsNEJM Reports on 2 New Drugs for Hepatitis CWhat is the Disease Control Rate in Oncology?