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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 34,491

Journal Archives

Man seeks restraining order against God

Mr Shoshan claims he was treated 'harshly and not nicely' by the deity

"An Israeli man has petitioned for a restraining order against God, claiming the almighty has been particularly unkind to him over the years and that the police are unable to do anything.

The man, named by Israeli news site NRG as David Shoshan, represented himself at a court hearing in Haifa, a port city in the north of Israel. The report noted that God was not present to defend himself.

The court heard God had been particularly unkind to Mr Shoshan, treating him "harshly and not nicely", though no specific details were given about what exactly had happened to make him feel this way.

Mr Shoshan claimed he made several attempts to contact police to report God’s alleged crimes, and that patrol cars had been sent to his house on 10 occasions.



OK, then.

Are medical errors really the third most common cause of death in the U.S.?


"It is an unquestioned belief among believers in alternative medicine and even just among many people who do not trust conventional medicine that conventional medicine kills. Not only does exaggerating the number of people who die due to medical complications or errors fit in with the world view of people like Mike Adams and Joe Mercola, but it’s good for business. After all, if conventional medicine is as dangerous as claimed, then alternative medicine starts looking better in comparison.

In contrast, real physicians and real medical scientists are very much interested in making medicine safer and more efficacious. One way we work to achieve that end is by using science to learn more about disease and develop new treatments that are as efficacious or more so than existing treatments with fewer adverse reactions (clinical equipoise).
Another strategy is to use what we know to develop quality metrics against which we measure our practice. Indeed, I am heavily involved in just such an effort for breast cancer patients. Then, of course, we try to estimate how frequent medical errors are and how often they cause harm or even death. All of these efforts are very difficult, of course, but perhaps the most difficult of all is the last one. Estimates of medical errors depend very much on how medical errors are defined, and whether a given death can be attributed to a medical error depends very much on how it is determined whether a death was preventable and whether a given medical error led to that death.


I’ll conclude by giving my answer to the question that all of these studies ask, starting with the IOM report: How many deaths in the US are due to medical errors? The answer is: I don’t know! And neither do Makary and Daniels—or anyone else for sure. I do know that there might be a couple of hundred thousand possibly preventable deaths in hospitals, but that number might be much lower or higher depending on how you define “preventable.” I’m also pretty sure that medical errors, in and of themselves, are not the number three cause of deaths. That’s because medical errors rarely occur in isolation from serious medical conditions, which means it’s very to attribute most deaths to primarily a medical error. That number of 250,000 almost certainly includes a lot of deaths that were not primarily due to medical error, given that that’s 9% of all deaths every year.

Here are some other things I know. I know that the risk of death and complications is a fairly meaningless number unless weighed against the benefits of medical care, a point that Harriet Hall made long ago, noting for example that an “an insulin reaction counts as an adverse drug reaction, but if the patient weren’t taking insulin he probably wouldn’t be alive to have a reaction.” I also know that Makary’s suggestion that there should be a field on death certificates asking whether a problem or error related to patient care contributed to a patient’s death will be a non-starter in the litigious United States of America, promises of anonymity notwithstanding.



A very thorough piece that covers the topic and the evidence base over the past couple of decades. Contexts are important here, so reading the whole piece is truly a worthy endeavor.

Alleged Medical Expert Mike Adams Attacks Respected Cancer Doctor


"When it comes to explaining medical science and exposing dangerous medical scams and practices, the Science-Based Medicine blog is tops (full disclosure–I was one of the early bloggers at the site and I’m personally a fan). The team of bloggers are well-recognized doctors, researchers and communicators, many from top institutions. Dr. David Gorski, the managing editor, is a highly respected breast cancer surgeon and researcher at Karmanos Cancer Center, a nationally recognized NIH Comprehensive Cancer Center. Steve Novella, the founder of the blog, is an Yale neurologist, well-known for helping educate the public and other doctors about science and medicine.

Naturally, this puts these folks in the crosshairs from time to time. I’m not nearly as prolific as either of them, and I receive a respectable volume of hate mail. I’ve had critics try to pad online doctor rating sites with negative reviews. But I’m busy, I’m well-respected, and I’m good at what I do. And, importantly, I’m in private practice, which gives me a great deal of freedom to say what I want.

While I’ve had some pretty unpleasant run-ins with some pretty crazy people, nothing compares to what Dr. David Gorski appears to be going through. One of Gorski’s frequent targets of criticism is a guy named Mike Adams who fancies himself some sort of “Health Ranger.” I don’t know what that means, exactly, but his website Natural News, which calls itself “the world’s top news source on natural health,” is a cesspit of conspiracy theories and very bad health advice. Beyond the fact that it promotes unproven and often dangerous medical practices, Adams’s tone is so paranoid and abrasive, he makes Ted Cruz seem like a teddy bear.


If you read carefully and follow the links, you see that Dr. Gorski is not the subject of any investigation but the one in Mike Adams’s own head. Adams’s writes that he himself has pestered the FBI to look into Gorski for…”reasons”? Making it seem as if a well-respected surgeon is the subject of a federal investigation is a dangerous road to go down.



Anyone who uses Mike Adams or his web page, Natural News, as a source should be helped to understand the reality that this person is not ok.

Thank you.

How Is Trump Any Different Than Anyone Else On Any Social Media/Debate Forum?

He's not. Well, ok. He's worse than your average poster on social media/debate forums. Or so I claim, and, yeah, I'm too lazy to bother supporting my claims with evidence. Sorry.

1. He's less likely to be able to support his arguments than average.

2. He's less likely to understand science of any kind than average.

3. He's more misogynistic than average, although his popularity seems to be brining his level down toward average a bit, unfortunately.

4. He's more racist than average, although, again his popularity seems to bringing his level down toward average a bit.

5. In an age of narcissism, he excels at the trait, winning first prizes week after week.

In other words, why would your average Freeper d-bag kowtow to such a bozo?

Oh, because he was born with money? He's not the first, so....

What is happening? What is REALLY happening?

94% of surveyed elite US universities require vaccines for enrollment


"Data presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting indicated that 94% of 129 surveyed top-ranked universities in the United States have pre-matriculation vaccination requirements and that 46% of these universities disallowed philosophical exemptions.

“We were interested in how nonvaccination in early childhood could affect the adolescent population,” Ada Fenick, MD, associate professor in the department of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “Jurisdictional requirements (states and the District of Columbia) vary for preschool, school-aged, and college attendees, but parents of small children rarely consider the effect of their actions on their child when college-bound.”

While national vaccination requirements have increased, university requirements have not been assessed recently, according to Fenick and colleagues. They noted that this is important because a high prevalence of well-educated, high-income families who are vaccine-hesitant often send their children to elite universities.

The researchers sent a survey to the top 200 universities, according to U.S. News & World Report, with questions on vaccines required for enrollment and other queries pertaining to medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions. They also inquired about the university’s response to noncompliance as well as legal requirements designated by their state.



This is hopeful news.

Happy Nurses Day To All The Nurses Out There! (Please Add Your Toast!)

Thank you for all that you do for your patients and their families!

HPV Vaccines Effective But Ethnic Disparities in Access Still a Problem for US, Study Reports


"Access to first- and second-generation human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines that are expected to lower the risk for HPV-associated cancers in all racial/ethnic groups is the main finding of the recent study, “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Human Papillomavirus-Associated Cancer Burden With First-Generation and Second-Generation Human Papillomavirus Vaccines,” published in the journal Cancer. However, screening and timely diagnoses, together with wide access to treatment, are essential to effectively eliminating current racial disparities.

HPV-associated cancers vary according to racial and ethnic group, showing in the U.S. a significant higher incidence in Hispanics, blacks, American Indians, and Alaska Natives when compared to whites.

A research team at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reported that HPV vaccination is expected to decrease HPV-associated cancers in all racial/ethnic groups, to reduce the incidence disparity gap. Scientists used mathematical modeling to investigate how alternative HPV vaccine coverage would impact incidence of six HPV-associated cancers in different groups of people.

“As expected, we found HPV vaccination would reduce the overall disease burden for all racial and ethnic groups,” Emily Burger, the study’s first author and a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Chan School’s Center for Health Decision Science, said in a press release.



How to Watch the Rare Transit of Mercury Across the Sun on Monday


"On Monday, a very cool astronomical event will occur: The smallest planet, Mercury, will appear to move across the face of the Sun. This relatively rare event, called a transit, happens on average only about 13 times per century.

Mercury is small, but big enough that with the right equipment it will appear as an inky black dot silhouetted against the Sun, moving slowly across its face. In the article below I’ll detail the important times of the transit, how to watch it, why this event is rare, and just why it’s so interesting.


Looking at the Sun without proper equipment is very dangerous. Like, “blinding yourself badly and perhaps permanently” level dangerous. Never look through a camera, binoculars, a telescope, or any kind of optical device at the Sun unless it has been set up to do so safely by someone who knows what they’re doing.*


But don’t despair! Lots of observatories are doing live webcasts of the transit:



Check out the list of webcasts at the link!

Leopards in Decline, Losing 75 Percent of Their Historic Range


"The global population of tigers has experienced an increase this year after a century due to extreme conservational efforts. However, another big cat, the leopard, is not doing as well as its striped cousin.

"Leopards' secretive nature, coupled with the occasional, brazen appearance of individual animals within megacities like Mumbai and Johannesburg, perpetuates the misconception that these big cats continue to thrive in the wild-when actually our study underlies the fact that they are increasingly threatened," said Luke Dollar, a co-author and the program director of the National Geographic Society's Big Cats Initiative, said in a statement.

According to the study published in the journal PeerJ, a new comprehensive study of leopards revealed that the iconic big cats have lost 75 percent of their historic range, from 35 million square kilometers (13.5 million square miles) to approximately 8.5 million square kilometers (3.3 million square miles) throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia. To make matters worse, only about 17 percent of the existing range of leopard is legally protected.

For the study, researchers analyzed more than 1,300 sources on the leopard's historic and current range. Upon reviewing all the available data, the researchers discovered that four leopard subspecies, which include the Javan (P. p. melas), Persian (P. p. saxicolor), Indochinese (P. p. delacouri), and Sri Lankan (P. p. kotiya), are at the verge of extinction.



Belle Gibson, disgraced 'wellness' advocate, facing legal action over cancer claims

Disgraced so-called wellness advocate Belle Gibson, who claimed to have cured her own cancer through alternative medicine before admitting she did not have the disease, is facing legal action.

"Consumer Affairs Victoria said it was preparing to take Ms Gibson to court following an in-depth investigation into alleged contraventions of Australian consumer law.

Ms Gibson claimed she was diagnosed with malignant brain cancer and told she only had a short time to live.

She built a social media empire around the claim that she cured her illness with nutrition and holistic medicine, launching a smartphone app and a cookbook, — The Whole Pantry — through Penguin publishing.

Ms Gibson admitted in an interview with the Australian Women's Weekly last year that her diagnosis was not real.



Well, that's a start.

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