Archive for the 'Health' Category

[H]eroin and synthetic opiates kill one American every 16 minutes

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Cincinnati Enquirer: Seven Days of Heroin – this is what an epidemic looks like. “The Enquirer sent more than 60 reporters, photographers and videographers into their communities to chronicle an ordinary week in this extraordinary time.”

Link via MetaFilter.

Communicating with the help of an fMRI

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

The Guardian Long Read: How science found a way to help coma patients communicate. “After suffering serious brain injuries, Scott Routley spent 12 years in a vegetative state. But his family were convinced that he was still aware – could a pioneering ‘mind-reading’ technique prove them right?” By Adrian Owen.

“In recent years, thanks to the invention of fMRI, we have made extraordinary breakthroughs in understanding the mental life of people trapped in the grey zone. We have discovered that 15% to 20% of people in the vegetative state, who are widely assumed to have no more awareness than a head of broccoli, are in fact fully conscious, even though they never respond to any form of external stimulation. They may open their eyes, grunt and groan, and occasionally utter isolated words. They appear to live entirely in their own world, devoid of thoughts or feelings. Many really are as oblivious and incapable of thought as their doctors believe. But a sizeable number are experiencing something quite different: intact minds adrift deep within damaged bodies and brains. We have even figured out how to communicate directly with such people.”

Link via MetaFilter.

See also the BBC Panorama documentary ‘The Mind Reader – Unlocking My Voice’ in which Prof. Adrian Owen communicates with several vegetative state patients using fMRI.

A friend I knew since kindergarten was in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for almost 15 years after a car accident. She passed away this spring.


Saturday, August 26th, 2017

NPR: Having A Best Friend In Your Teenage Years Could Benefit You For Life.

“”[They were asked] how much trust there is, how good communication is and how alienated they feel in the relationship,” says Rachel Narr, the lead author on the study and a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Virginia. Each year, the original participants were also given questionnaires to assess levels of anxiety, depression and self-worth.
Those strong relationships are paying dividends in adulthood, the study found. When the researchers evaluated the participants at the conclusion of the study, the ones who had close, emotional links showed improvement in their levels of anxiety, depression and self-worth. In other words, they reported less depression and anxiety and more self-worth at 25 than they had at 15 and 16.”

I’m still friends with my best friend from kindergarten, 37 years later, and also a group of friends from highschool, most of which I’ve known for 30 years now. We live all over the country now, but try to get together at least once a year, and it’s always great to see them and catch up.

Who said Donald Trump doesn’t get anything done? <\Sarcasm>

Friday, August 25th, 2017

The Washington Post: What Trump has undone.

“President Trump has repeatedly argued that he’s done more than any other recent president. That’s not true, as measured by the amount of legislation he’s been able to sign. It is true, though, that Trump has undone a lot of things that were put into place by his predecessors, including President Barack Obama.

Since Jan. 20, Trump’s administration has enthusiastically and systematically undone or uprooted rules, policies and tools that predated his time in office. Below, a list of those changes, roughly organized by subject area.”

“People lined up for the polio shot like it was an iPhone!”

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Vaccines. (YouTube, 27:14 min)

“The benefits of vaccines far outweigh the minuscule risks, but some parents still question their safety. John Oliver discusses why some people may still feel uncertainty about childhood vaccinations.”