Tag: medicine

Blood Types and Groups from A to Z


Blood is the essence of life. It forms an important part of our culture. If it bleeds, it leads. Blood is thicker than water. Blood will have blood. The word carries spiritual significance. But what do you actually know about blood?

“Bloody Blood Groups!” by Hugh Graham explains blood. Graham is a Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Science, and a leading Biomedical Scientist in Haematology and Blood Transfusion.

Joe Selvaggi talks with professor of psychiatry Dr. Ryan Sultan about the findings of his recently released study on the effects of cannabis on the mental health of American adolescents. Dr. Sultan’s work shows a substantial correlation between cannabis use and negative mental health outcomes.


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Cordyceps mushrooms have emerged into the mainstream recently thanks to The Last of Us on HBO. The show has its proponents and detractors but the science fiction angle of a fungus causing zombie-like aggression does have some grounding in reality. Cordyceps reproduce in ants by infecting them and hijacking their nervous system causing what are […]

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Joe Selvaggi talks with senior health care fellow Dr. Bill Smith about his new book Rationing Medicine: Threats From European Cost-Effectiveness Models to Seniors and Other Vulnerable Populations, and the book’s cautionary warning against embracing European standards for valuing life-saving therapies.

Dr. William S. Smith is Senior Fellow & Director of Pioneer Life Sciences Initiative. Dr. Smith has 25 years of experience in government and in corporate roles. His career includes senior staff positions for the Republican House leadership on Capitol Hill, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Massachusetts Governor’s office where he served under Governors Weld and Cellucci. He spent ten years at Pfizer Inc. as Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy where he was responsible for Pfizer’s corporate strategies for the U.S. policy environment. He later served as a consultant to major pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies. Dr. Smith earned his PhD in political science with distinction at The Catholic University of America.

Then and Now: What My Great Grandmother Saw


Great Grandma was born in 1900 and died in 1998. What would it have been like to witness these advances in medicine, technology, and opportunity for all?

  In her early years  By the end of her life 
  Expansion and Development: The American West was dominated by miners, ranchers, and cowboys who wouldn’t hesitate to use guns to defend themselves and rode horses right into the saloons.  A hub of innovation and wealth, the West is irrigated, tame, and high-tech, with fantastic freeway systems. 
  Education for the Masses: Schooling was basic, and students were still taught in one-room schoolhouses. Not many advanced beyond grade school.   Most students are encouraged to go on to college and beyond. Schooling for the wealthy looks similar to education for the middle and lower classes. Scholarships and loans abound for both the ambitious and not so ambitious.  
Travel: Continental train travel was just beginning. Horses were still the norm, and roads were rough. Travel by land or sea took weeks.   We board a plane, watch in-flight movies, reach our destination in a matter of hours, and consider an overnight delay to be a huge failure of the system. We all own efficient, fast vehicles. 
Air and Space Technology: Flight had not yet been invented.   Supersonic jets, moon landing, the launch of the International Space Station  
  Quality of Daily Living: The majority of our ancestors still sustained themselves on farms or in factories, going barefoot in the South and getting hookworms, supporting large families, and laboring with cooking and cleaning. Refrigerators and indoor bathrooms were slow in coming. Daily bathing and showering was not a thing.   Most people expect to own their own homes, enjoy modern appliances and daily entertainment, have access to more mass-produced and affordable goods. The way is paved for politicians to use the lack of in-home Internet as an example of poverty in the US. Most people take hot showers or baths every day.  
Medicine: Diabetes was a killer. The first open-heart surgery was decades away. Years of agonizing trial and error lay ahead to pave the way for advanced life-saving surgeries. At least we’d stopped bleeding patients and knew about germs.  Heart, liver, and kidney transplants. Diabetes as a manageable disease. Standardized care and efficiency. We all know someone who wouldn’t be here without modern medicine.   
Mysteries of Life: There were painstaking fruit fly experiments to isolate inherited traits and recognize patterns in genetics.  We began to sequence worm genomes. Human eggs could be fertilized outside the womb.  

Not Your Typical Texas Western


Sandip Mathur was born in India. He became a doctor there with specialist training in London, England and Houston, Texas. In Houston, he and his wife realized they loved Texas. They wanted to stay. He needed a Permanent Resident Card, the green card permitting an alien to legally remain and work in the United States. To get one he agreed to practice medicine three years in an underserved rural community.

“Cowboys and Indian: A Doctor’s First Year in Texas,” by Sandip V. Mathur, tells the story of his experiences. He, his wife and his two daughters ended up in a small West Texas town, two hours from Abeline, Texas.

The book follows his first year of practice at Hotspur (the fictional name Mathur gives the county where he moved). The experience defined culture shock. The Mathurs had always lived in cities with populations over one million people. Hotspur had less than 10,000 people in a 5000 square mile area. They were Hindi in a deeply Christian town. They were traveled. Most in Hotspur thought Dallas was a long journey.

Some Doctors Will Fight … for Me, Anyway


In a dramatic five-minute phone call, the game of telephone with office staff has been ended.

My hematologist said that of course, he would have no problem writing my exemption letter.  While vaccines are great and all, not everyone can have them and he agrees that it would be a bad idea for me.  Of course, he could never prove exact causality, etc, etc.  He recalled investigating hypercoagulability, the various tests, all of them being negative for any other reason.  All of that being true, he agreed to write the letter.

Dogma Masquerading as Science Undermines Public Trust


“I believe in science, Donald Trump doesn’t. It’s that simple, folks,” Joe Biden tweeted during the 2020 election campaign.

Even by Biden standards, that was a deceitful remark. Not only did his opponent spearhead the unexpectedly efficient development of the Covid vaccine, which has been the cornerstone of pandemic suppression ever since, but the Biden administration has already done the most damage of any in memory by politicizing “the Science,” thus weakening its credibility.

Real science isn’t some facts approved by experts but a philosophical framework for acquiring and evaluating knowledge that originated in the Enlightenment. Science emphasizes reason, observation, and methodical analysis rather than loyalty to the teachings of authorities.

Battlefield Medicine from Ancient Egypt to Modern Afghanistan


Medic! That cry on the battlefield means a soldier is wounded. It also means someone will almost always respond, a normally-unarmed battlefield medic. This is the known and expected outcome of that call. But where did battlefield medicine start and how did evolve?

“Battlefield Medics: How Warfare Changed the History of Medicine,” by Martin King, tells that story. He starts at the origins of battlefield medicine and traces its progress through the present. He also shows its impact on all modern medicine.

The story starts in Ancient Egypt. Pharaoh’s armies had an organized medical service. The treatments of the day were limited to first aid, herbal medicine, and a lot of prayer. Surgery was rarely attempted. Dissection lay in the future.

ZDoggMD: A Voice of Pandemic Pragmatism


For those of you who never read anything I write and don’t bother to look at my handle, I’m a nurse.

In the bedside nursing community right now, it is hard to find anyone who is a moderate on anything COVID-related.  There are people (mostly) vehemently for lock-downs, masking, mandatory vaccinations and then there are the other people that believe that there’s a conspiracy, the vaccines are inherently evil, the vaccines change DNA and are designed to control society.  In between, in the silent corners of the break-room (appropriately socially distanced, of course), there are the moderate people.

Science in Crisis


I have an uneasy feeling about how things are going.

Years ago I was involved in clinical studies that examined the effectiveness of treatments for acute stroke. I participated in four of these. Each one took years and enrolled thousands of patients. We were one of hundreds of centers worldwide that did this work. All in all dozens of different medications for the treatment of acute stroke were tested. The idea was that people who had a stroke would receive one of these medications, and this would reduce the disability the stroke caused. They were supposed to work in various ways — reducing toxicity, reducing inflammation, inhibiting oxidation, etc. — all of them having been tested in labs and found to work in tissue cultures and animals prior to being tried in patients. At the end of it, not a single one of these medications worked when they were tried on human beings.

The Equality Act Will Guarantee Inequality for Almost Everyone


‘Every American deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. With today’s vote, the House has again affirmed that LGBTQ people should enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as all other Americans,’ said Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who led the push for the bill.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? The truth is that every American does not deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; rapists, murderers, illegal immigrants, and many Leftists have not earned respectful treatment, for starters. And the Equality Act H.R.5, which was passed by the House 224 to 206 votes on February 25, is not only deceptive but opens the door to abuses of the rights of most Americans.

The Equality Act, no matter what it says, is not intended to make sure that everyone has equal rights. Specifically, it would very likely show favoritism toward LBGT groups, and discrimination against religious groups, girls and women, businesses, medical professionals, and others. The Heritage Foundation describes the bill in this way:

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Pulse oximetry works on the principle that oxygen levels in the blood can affect the transmission of light through the tissue. It is also known that skin color also impacts the transmission of light. Forty years ago (when I worked on early university development of oximetry technology), it was common practice to calibrate the oximetry […]

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You may have read my posts over the last six weeks talking about my mysterious medical issues. I lauded the medical system and its practitioners; in spite of some glitches due to the corona virus, people were kind and attentive. Now I feel as if all that is out the window. Preview Open

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Testing… Testing…


If I were a certain sort of woman, I’d blame it on The Patriarchy. If I were another sort, I’d blame it on A Culture Insufficiently Supportive of Life. (And, if I were a very specific sort, I’d do both.) Instead, it was the understandable result of The Powers That Be in our neighborhood hospital system not having leeway to make more fine-grained distinctions in a crisis. Which is how pregnant women, who aren’t permitted to receive any in-person prenatal care right now if they have the least little sniffle but no negative lab result for Covid-19, must go through a lengthy, frustrating, and high-exposure screening process to see if they qualify for Covid-19 testing, while the nonpregnant may simply waltz – or rather drive – through safer, low-exposure Covid-19 testing in about 15 minutes.

If you’re pregnant, though, the screening process might take hours, during which you hear, at each step along the way, that you may be ineligible for the lab anyhow – and that’s just your time spent at the walk-in screening center. It doesn’t count the hours (days) you may have spent trying to find a walk-in screening center that hasn’t run out of swabs for the day, and finding out whether you’re even eligible to visit it.

American Emergency Medicine Works


This is both a brief story in itself and preface to another tale, “Strategic Logistics Work.” The point of observation: the Valley of the Sun, Maricopa County, the population center of Arizona. The time: summer 2018 and last weekend, March 21-22, 2020.

Foreshadowing: It was a normal summer Saturday afternoon in 2017. Which is to say, it was a dry heat in the Valley of the Sun. I was out for a 2.5-mile brisk walk when I got the urge to sprint. Nevermind that I had not done a wind sprint over a year, I just had the urge. Pulling up at the end of a 200-yard dash, I noticed something was a bit odd. My heart rate was not slowly dropping. I got indoors, sat down, and drank water. No change. In fact, I was getting increasingly light-headed, even with my head down, so I had someone dial 911.

The fellows in the ambulance were quickly on the scene. I had had a complete cardio workup the summer before, and had been pronounced fit as a fiddle. Now the lead paramedic was coaching me through something called a vagal maneuver.

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One of our Resistance Library readers reached out to us recently and shared a BBC article that they found interesting. They said it reminded them of our piece Prescription For Violence: The Corresponding Rise of Antidepressants, SSRIs & Mass Shootings and thought it supported some of the connections made there.   They’ve been linked to road rage, pathological gambling, and […]

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But Wait, There’s More!


You have to go looking for this kind of news. You might find it online, but won’t find it printed in the paper. If a local TV station heads out for some brief coverage, you can be certain they will heavily edit any interviews so they can maintain a sense of decorum. After all, we can’t discuss what really happens out there. Our local crime story continues:

“When I saw it on the news, I’m like, ‘If this guy’s that nuts, would he do something like that?’ And evidently, he did.”

Maybe, Baby


If you knew you only had a 1% chance of surviving tomorrow, would you consider that a death sentence? What about 2%, 5%, 10%… at what point would your odds of survival be good enough you wouldn’t feel doomed? And what if you had to purchase your fairly slim chance at survival by risking the life of another? When would you do it? What balance of risk would just barely escape counting as doom?

What if you were the other whose life was risked on the slim hope of avoiding someone else’s death sentence? When would that hope be worth it, and when would it be a forlorn one? How effective must our efforts to lift another’s doom be in order to merit the price?

Should We Just Let Them Die?


I just logged onto our computer system at work to see what our patient list is looking like and if there have been any emergency surgeries this weekend. I noticed something peculiar about the bed assignment of one of our young patients. I opened a nurse’s note to discover that just two days after we operated to repair one of the heart valves that had been damaged by this patient’s IV drug use, the patient was discovered using IV drugs while in the bathroom.

Of course, they deny any wrongdoing but the evidence is overwhelming. I have no idea how this young person’s life will turn out after the follow-up visits are done, but I can say the chances are they will end up like so many of our other patients that require open heart surgery because of their drug use — dead.