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Alcohol eases chronic pain?

July 31, 2015

People suffering chronic pain from fibromyalgia display less disability and experience less pain if they are moderate drinkers rather than teetotalers, according to a recent study out of Aberdeen (cite). American physician Lynn Webster, who wasn’t involved with the study, says of drinking: “It’s an odd way to suggest that chronic pain be treated. I can’t imagine that any physician will suggest alcohol as a therapy.” A limited imagination. Now me? All the usual qualifications of observational studies apply. And I’m a bit suspicious of any study involving alcohol and British subjects, done by Scottish epidemiologists.

Sighting across the grain

July 30, 2015

hemmingways_lionToo many people mistake their own squeamishness for a moral sense, and run with every cause of their cult or clan. Though that could be in reference to the controversy over Planned Parenthood making fetal tissues available for medical research, I am thinking of the furor over the killing of a lion for sport. At the height of that, I am glad to see someone wrote a defense of trophy hunting.

The rich are an easy target. I’m less concerned with their hobbies, than I am with the cultural lens that wealth creates.

Update: The view from Zimbabwe.

Update 2: My outrage is better than your outrage.

Ignorance of the law…

July 29, 2015

Is sometimes enforced by the state suing those who would publish its law. Shame on Georgia! And two cheers for Carl Malamud!

Artificial sweeteners not so bad?

July 28, 2015

Aaron E. Carroll, who teaches pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, gives a more benign picture of diet soda than some recent takes on them. Quite timely, since it’s the dog days of summer, when my diet coke consumption peaks.

Abortion in retrospect

July 27, 2015

Paola Dragnic almost died because of Chile’s authoritarian laws banning abortion, and has written an account of that. Perhaps the scariest part of that article is reading the comments, where pro-lifers argue with each other whether abortion should be available when the mother’s life is at risk.

Researchers at the UCSF School of Medicine looked at responses from women in the years after an abortion, and found that their “predicted probability of reporting that abortion was the right decision was over 99% at all time points over three years.” Which I find surprising, given the prevalence of anti-abortion religious views, something that does not seem much to deter the decision to have an abortion, but that seems likely to affect whether it is viewed as “right” in retrospect. The obvious problem, as with many such studies, is that only 69% of participants were retained at the three-year mark. Would religious guilt cause women to drop out?

Sidecar for the family

July 22, 2015

Homsany_cropped_1Fellow sailor Michael Homsany is featured in a WSJ article on small families turning to sidecars for transportation. Michael and family recently fled Fiji’s military government, crossing the Pacific in a small sailboat to American Samoa. So their son has lots of fun rides. The photo shows Michael and family from a few years back.

Little law at sea

July 20, 2015

From the stranding of stowaways off West Africa to the trapping of Romanian sailors in Truro, England, this newsstory of the underbelly of modern shipping is dry sensationalism. As sea stories should be, right?


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