Archive for May, 2012

Bath salts, drug alleged “face-chewer” Rudy Eugene may have been on, plague police and doctors – Crimesider – CBS News

A senior police officer of the Hamburg police ...

A senior police officer of the Hamburg police on assignment at Hamburg city hall, Germany. Français : Capitaine de la police de Hambourg en faction devant l’hôtel de ville de Hambourg, en Allemagne. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bath salts, drug alleged “face-chewer” Rudy Eugene may have been on, plague police and doctors – Crimesider – CBS News.

If you’ve looked at my previous post on face eating people (just use Zombie-B-Gone), I called this one right.

People selling bath salts should be sued for truth in advertising.  They need to tell people that they will go insane, rip off their clothes and be a terrible menace to themselves and their friends until they are sedated and held down by eight police officers.  Hoo boy, what a great trip?  Why would you do that to yourself?

If I was a police officer, I would seriously be asking for maximum penalties for anyone selling this stuff.  It turns a human being into a berserker.  That’s what we need to change the name to:  Berserker Salts.  Then people at least know the kind of “high” they’ll be experiencing.

Truthfully, if you want to live in hell for a few hours, get a round trip ticket to any of the world’s slums or conflicts.  You can walk around in the slum, get beat up and shot at, and bring post cards back.  It’s just like bath salts but you can skip the whole “Satan whispering in my ear” soundtrack.


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How Not To Help Your Hypertension. Just Kill The Nerves!

English: indirect blood pressure measurement i...

English: indirect blood pressure measurement in a cat, oscillometric. Deutsch: indirekte Blutdruckmessung bei einer Katze, oszillometrisches Messverfahren (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a very disturbing article, frustrated doctors are now recommending destroying the nerves of people unresponsive to blood pressure medication.

How does it work?

Let’s let them explain the procedure first.  (From Huffington Post)

“If there was a snake in the room, all of our blood pressures would go up, appropriately so,” explained interventional cardiologist Dr. Manesh Patel of Duke University.  But sometimes those nerves stay switched on when they shouldn’t be. The hope is that destroying a small number of the nerves could calm an overactive system, relaxing arteries and lowering blood pressure.”

Ok, let me recap.  Stress causes our blood pressures to rise.  It is a necessary part of staying alive.  But in some people, this stress continues to be a problem.  Make that all people, but some of us have more resilient arteries.  So the “new” solution is to cut off the nerve response so your body cannot respond to stress by producing nasty blood pressure raising adrenaline.  Why not just severe the spinal cord and be done with it?  Probably on next year’s list of options:  “you’ll need help to breath, but boy, that blood pressure sure dropped.”

How well does this severing of the nerves work?  In small studies, it takes about 33 points off the upper range, as long as you stay on all your other medications.  And does it work long term?  We don’t know, because we’re just starting larger trials.  And we have no long term results.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, yeah, cutting your nerves will work short term in some people.  But long term you keep up that stress, and you’re going to see that blood pressure rise back up.

Heck, you know what really drops blood pressure?  A newsectomy.  Let’s do a side-by-side trial of the people who get this lovely procedure with people who cannot look at the news for thirty days.  I bet you that the newsectomy is twice as effective.

What gets me about blood pressure is that we haven’t shown that lowering blood pressure prolongs people’s lives overall.  A slight decrease in stroke risk, and yes if you’ve had a heart attack.  But take your healthy eighty-year-old with slight hypertension, and you’re not going to see any more life if you control it with six meds.

But that doesn’t matter.  For this procedure, they’re getting fourteen thousand dollars in Europe.  That means about thirty thousand here in the U.S.  So it’s going to be rolled out.

Here’s a truly radical idea.  Let’s give the patients the thirty thousand dollars.  I’m betting that would bring down their blood pressures.  It might even lead them to take a holiday or get out of the situation that is causing the blood pressure elevation.  Let’s do a study testing the procedure versus giving the patients the cash.  I volunteer for the control group!


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Forget Flesh Eating Bacteria, Avoid Flesh Eating People. Use Zombie-B-Gone!

I'm hannibal lector

I’m hannibal lector (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Report: Miami cop shoots, kills naked man eating victims face –

In a scene out of every zombie movie, a policeman shot a man who was eating another man’s face.

A whole bunch of questions arise about this scenario, which was captured on the Miami Herald‘s security cameras.  After watching the video, I realized all the action took place in the far left corner, and all you see is a police car drive up and some movement under the bridge.  Even at the end when the camera pans in closer you get a PG view of the man’s legs.

Oh, did I forget to mention the  man was naked?  All the news media have focused on that.  He was naked.  Very important detail.  I’m much more interested in why he was lunching on his buddy’s face.  I don’t care if he was wearing a bowler hat and tuxedo.  It’s the cannibalism, not the nudity, that should be reportable here.

But, given he was naked and had decided to play out a scene from Living Dead or any other zombie movie, let’s make a few assumptions about this particular individual.

One, he was probably not an escaped Hannibal Lector.  Usually that would have led to a nationwide warning.  He was someone who decided that his buddy’s face looked yummy, without a prior history of that behavior.  (How did Hannibal make it through kindergarten?)

Two, he took off his clothes in Miami.  It’s pretty hot, but chances are he was really hot.  What drug do we know combines serious hallucinations with internal heat that causes even people in Maine to shed their clothing?  That’s right,  bath salts.

So I’m making a prediction that this fellow was flying high on bath salts.  Which makes me kind of leery about being in the Miami area this weekend.  If the particular mix this guy took sent him this far off the edge, chances are more is floating around.  (There are many, many different variations on bath salts.  None of them are at all smart or “cheap.”  Going insane is NOT a cheap high.)

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What To Feed Your Paleo, Vegan, Raw Food, Fruitarian, and Vegetarian Guests.

English: Alaska wild berries from the Innoko N...

English: Alaska wild berries from the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you’re having a get together.  And you lost your mind and invited all these different dieters.  Or maybe you got back your invitations and read with an ever sinking stomach:  “we’ve gone Paleo,”  or “we’ve decided animal flesh is immoral,” or even “I’m on a true raw kick.  Would it be alright if I brought steak tartare?”  So what can you give all these people as a host without permanently damaging your friendship?  Not to mention avoiding the problem of having your guests try to kill each other as one of the skirmishes of the diet wars.  What can you feed them?

Berries.  That’s right.  Lots of berries.  Tell everyone to bring their own dish of raw meat or whatever, but provide them with clean, washed berries of various sizes and assortments.  All of the diets eat berries, and I remember thinking that berries were where Dr. Robert Atkins and Dr. Dean Ornish finally met on a common ground.

I recently did another piece on Dr. Oz’s cancer fighting foods, and I was amazed that again, all your guests with cancer would do fine having berries.  They don’t need the Noni, Goji, Hippity-Hoppity berries either.  Your standard blue, black, straw, and raspberries will work just fine.

So bring out the berries and hide the steak knives.  Keep everyone focused on the game and away from the ins and outs of what they’re eating.  If they look around at everyone else chowing down, they might even realize we’re all one big dysfunctional family after all.  Or they’ll maintain the delusional that everyone else is a paleo-raw-forager like themselves.  Whatever avoids bloodshed.

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What Is Your Real Age? Dr. Oz Wants You To Change It.

English: Hair scissor for thinning hair Deutsc...

English: Hair scissor for thinning hair Deutsch: Modellierschere (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I took the Real Age test.  It’s available from Dr. Oz’s site.

If you want to know your real age, figure out what year you were born, and figure out what year it is.  Subtract the year you were born from this year, and you have a rough estimate of your real age.

If you want a medical gimmick for your real age, feel free to give a computer program your contact information, your birthdate, and an enormous amount of personal medical information highly tailored to your previous answers.  I knew I was in trouble when the computer asked me who had diagnosed my thinning hair and I checked self rather than saying a licensed professional had diagnosed it.

The problem with any sort of computer simulation is that it only asks questions about known or reasonable risk factors.  There should have been a great deal more on family history.  If you want to know how long you’ve got, look at when all your grandparents died.  Factor in whether they smoked like chimneys or drank like a waterfall, and you have a good idea of how long you’ll live.  Knowing that I’m officially RealAge 37.7 (I like the .7) isn’t much help if all my family kicked off in their early forties.

I had an irrational urge to cheat on the Real Age questions.  What if I claimed to be a svelte female me?  Would I live longer?  What if I claimed I smoked like a chimney?  Would that age me overnight?  What difference did it make that I checked thinning hair rather than the tempting “no illnesses.”  Why did they even ask about thinning hair?  Is it really an aging factor?  Did it age me because of the “thick haired men look younger” gene?

I think they should add a section to the Real Age answer sheet where they explain what the “right” answers would have been.  How are you supposed to improve your real age if you don’t have a clear picture of what you’re missing?  Oh, that’s right.  I’ll get pieces of my “right” answers in the mail, tailored to keeping me hooked on an endless supply of pamphlets and overpriced supplements.  Even as we speak, a pamphlet for thinning hair is winging its way through the internet ether to land with a solid thud at my email door.  Now that I’ve given my health information away, all I can expect is an endless parade of people who want to fix the boxes I checked.

So what’s my real age?  It’s not 37.7.  First I take the current year, then I deduct the year I was born…

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Vitamin D Keeps You Alive Longer If You Have Heart Trouble. Another Reason To Get Out In the Sun.


Vitamins! (Photo credit: bradley j)

In a study of patients scheduled for a coronary angiography (so we assume they all had heart ailments) the doctors checked their blood vitamin D levels.  They then followed the patients over almost eight years.  22% of the patients died, most from heart issues.

When the doctors looked at vitamin D levels, patients with the lowest amount died almost twice as often as those with the highest amount.  Even those patients who died of other causes died twice as often as those with the highest amounts of vitamin D.

What caused the difference?  Lower vitamin D led to higher inflammatory markers in the blood.

What does it matter to you and me?  Experts estimate that 50-60% of older populations of the world do not have enough vitamin D.

So get your D.  Not necessarily as a pill.  Twenty minutes of sunlight will give you plenty (and keep your dermatologist happy).  Here in Maine we get all our sun in the summer, so we need a bit more.  But just a bit.

But don’t believe me.  Here’s the link to the complete study and here’s the abstract below.

Independent Association of Low Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D Levels With All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality

Harald Dobnig, MD; Stefan Pilz, MD; Hubert Scharnagl, PhD; Wilfried Renner, PhD; Ursula Seelhorst, MA; Britta Wellnitz, LLD; Jürgen Kinkeldei, DEng; Bernhard O. Boehm, MD; Gisela Weihrauch, MSc; Winfried Maerz, MD

Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(12):1340-1349.

Background  In cross-sectional studies, low serum levelsof 25-hydroxyvitamin D are associated with higher prevalenceof cardiovascular risk factors and disease. This study aimedto determine whether endogenous 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitaminD levels are related to all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

Methods Prospective cohort study of 3258 consecutive maleand female patients (mean [SD] age, 62 [10] years) scheduledfor coronary angiography at a single tertiary center. We formedquartiles according to 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitaminD levels within each month of blood drawings. The main outcomemeasures were all-cause and cardiovascular deaths.

Results  During a median follow-up period of 7.7 years,737 patients (22.6%) died, including 463 deaths from cardiovascularcauses. Multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for patientsin the lower two 25-hydroxyvitamin D quartiles (median, 7.6and 13.3 ng/mL [to convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to nanomolesper liter, multiply by 2.496]) were higher for all-cause mortality(HR, 2.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.60-2.70; and HR,1.53; 95% CI, 1.17-2.01; respectively) and for cardiovascularmortality (HR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.57-3.13; and HR, 1.82; 95% CI,1.29-2.58; respectively) compared with patients in the highest25-hydroxyvitamin D quartile (median, 28.4 ng/mL). Similar resultswere obtained for patients in the lowest 1,25-dihydroxyvitaminD quartile. These effects were independent of coronary arterydisease, physical activity level, Charlson Comorbidity Index,variables of mineral metabolism, and New York Heart Associationfunctional class. Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were significantlycorrelated with variables of inflammation (C-reactive proteinand interleukin 6 levels), oxidative burden (serum phospholipidand glutathione levels), and cell adhesion (vascular cell adhesionmolecule 1 and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 levels).

Conclusions  Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitaminD levels are independently associated with all-cause and cardiovascularmortality. A causal relationship has yet to be proved by intervention trials using vitamin D.



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Woman contracts flesh-eating bacteria after zip lining, now Venice Beach wants to add one.

Venice Beach and the Boardwalk, as seen in the...

Venice Beach and the Boardwalk, as seen in the music video for “When Love Takes Over” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Woman contracts flesh-eating bacteria after zip lining accident | Fox News.

Ok, how disturbing can one article be?  First, one of my personal nightmares is being involved with some death-defying contraption and having it fail on me.  I avoid bungy-jumping and sky diving for this reason.  But I have zip lined in the past, figuring it for a relatively safe thrill.

Poor Aimee Copeland went through one of my nightmares, having a zip line break on her, and right into another.  After she survived a zip line breaking and gashing her leg, she went to the E.R.  They stapled her up, and didn’t clean the wound properly.  The next two visits to the E.R. produced nothing, then they diagnosed her with flesh eating bacteria.

The poor woman is at death’s door.  Her family is taking donations.

Update:  As of May 11, Aimee is still in critical condition.

The above is serious, the following is meant to be humorous.

So where’s the humor?  In a sick joke sort of way, Venice Beach has decided to put in a zip line on the beach.  By announcing today they must have hired the world’s worst publicity agent, who decided to ride the “vibe” about ziplines today.

No word yet on whether the flesh-eating bacteria option will be a standard part of the the Venice ride or an extra death-defying fee.  Which raises the question:  if the Venice beach “in” crowd all get the flesh-eating zombie look will that become what’s popular on college campuses in the fall?  Just when I was getting used to piercings.

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