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Sunday, November 13, 2016

How the FDA Manipulates the Media │ Unnecessary Imaging Scans Still Being Run by Doctors │ Avoiding Dental Check-Ups Nearly Doubles Risk of Pneumonia

The living room and T.V. were mine alone last evening ─ my younger brother Mark stayed with his girlfriend Bev at her home.

Now, although I do not recall precisely when it was that I got to bed, I know that it was after midnight.  I had gotten caught up in trying to learn about ─ and find video footage of ─ the Miesha Tate fight against Raquel Pennington at UFC 2005 earlier that evening.

I really like Miesha ─ I will miss seeing her.  She announced that she was going to retire after suffering that loss.

She's a beautiful and courageous young woman.  I hope that she finds success at whatever it is that she next tackles.



My first break in sleep of any consequence had me use the bathroom around 5:00 a.m.  And it may have been something like 7:22 a.m. when I later checked the time and decided to rise for the day.

It was lightly raining, and pretty much has continued to do so as I type this at 2:02 p.m.

Mark came home and showered, and then spent time reading and drinking a couple of coffees.  Early in the noon-hour he retired to his bedroom, but he must have changed his mind about napping.  I soon heard him brushing his teeth.

And then before the noon-hour was done, he left without a word.  I thought that perhaps he only went out on an errand, but he has not returned.

If he commences his drinking this excessively early, it does not auger favorably where my evening T.V. enjoyment is concerned.  He descends into what can only be described as a state of belligerent senility once he is back home.

Is this the third consecutive day in which my youngest step-son Pote has not gone to work?  It is certainly the second at very minimum, and I don't much like it.  But at least he is presently alone ─ his girlfriend must have had to work, if not he.

His older brother Tho has been away since Thursday evening, probably staying at his girlfriend's home.

I have been trying to text my wife Jack (who is over in Thailand) for some information I need, but she has not responded.

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There is an article in the Scientific American reporting upon how America's FDA controls the media so that the only information that gets published concerning certain releases by that federal agency, are exclusively the details that it wants known.

The method is termed a 'close-hold embargo,' and in essence it involves just inviting press representatives to the scoop whom the FDA knows will maintain silence until a specific date (and sometimes even a specific time of day) has arrived; and then what will be published is exclusively variants of the data the FDA released to the journalists.

The journalists are not allowed to get commentary or opinions from any outside medical authorities ahead of the embargo, and thus have to publish the scoop blindly.

Just because a science or medical journalist reports upon that field does not mean that he or she is a scientific expert who can readily identify flaws in the information or data that the FDA releases.  And since the journalist is not allowed to approach anyone else in the scientific community, what the FDA is doing is tantamount to writing its own news stories.

But as Scientific American notes, many other entities beyond the FDA do this, too.

Even if they all deny it.

None in the coterie of favoured journalists dare say anything, or he or she will be uninvited when the next story is building behind the scenes ─ and all future stories.  

ScientificAmerican.com

I rather like a nota bene that followed the detailed article:  This article was originally published with the title "How to Spin the Science News."

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An in-depth analysis was done of medical personnel with America's Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the context of low-back pain and whether imaging scans such as MIs and CTs are still knowingly being done unnecessarily.

Spoiler alert:  Boy, are they ever!

Of course, this sort of thing extends across the entire medical industry, and not just that one department.

Here are a couple of reports about the study:

TheGlobeAndMail.com

Medscape.com
Most VA clinicians agreed with the CW [Choosing Wisely] recommendations against ordering imaging for nonspecific LBP [lower back pain], but several perceived barriers may prevent clinicians from following the recommendations in practice. Clearly for these clinicians, knowing is not enough. Reduction in low-value diagnostic testing for LBP will require efficient patient education interventions to address patient demands within the limited time constraints of clinicians. Furthermore, greater attention to referral requirements is needed to assure that clinicians are able to follow evidence-based recommendations, while still being able to refer patients to specialty clinics. We will not be able to eliminate inappropriate imaging until the barriers such as those identified by the clinicians respondents are addressed.
Of course, there are also those medical professionals who just want that added income, and will never stop running unnecessary testing.

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According to CDC.gov (Deaths and Mortality), the paired illnesses of influenza and pneumonia killed 55,227 Americans.  When I visited that webpage, it said that it was last updated on October 7, 2016.

The influenza vaccine is constantly being pushed, as you surely must now.  And 55,227 deaths are definitely a lot.

However, I found this  statement at another CDC.gov webpage titled Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States: CDC Study Confirms Variability of Flu ─ the quote was at the very bottom of the article:
Does CDC think that influenza causes most P&I [pneumonia & influenza] deaths?

No, only a small proportion of deaths in either of these two categories are estimated to be influenza-related. CDC estimated that only 8.5% of all pneumonia and influenza deaths and only 2.1% of all respiratory and circulatory deaths were influenza-related.
So, not quite 4,695 deaths were from the flu.  It doesn't even deserve to be listed among those leading causes of death.

Who would that scare into getting a flu shot?  

No one in their right mind, I would hope.

But let's keep our focus on pneumonia ─ believe it or not, an analysis has found that folks who don't regularly bother with dental check-ups have nearly twice the risk of developing pneumonia as do those who get a check-up every six months.

Here are a couple of reports about the study:

ScienceDaily.com

FoxNews.com

And here are a few random points I took from the study presentation:
  • Despite antibiotic therapy, mortality has not dramatically improved since the 1950s.
  • Oral hygiene has been increasingly associated with systemic health issues, including endocarditis, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and pneumonias.
  • Many pneumonias are the results of aspiration of oral secretions into the respiratory tract.
  • Pneumonia risk appears to be decreased in those who customarily attend routine dental check-ups, consistent with existing data that good oral health is protective.
  • Access to dental services may happen despite lack of insurance (ie via charity care) or may not happen despite having insurance.
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The rain has been coming on stronger at times as the day has advanced ─ it is supposed to get quite heavy overnight.

Now here to close out today's post is a journal entry from 41 years ago when I was 26 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting the small affair in a house located on Ninth Street at Third Avenue.

My bedtime the evening before this entry was 7:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, November 13, 1975

I didn't sleep as long as I would have liked, and was up by 3:00 a.m.

I performed a dozen laps, finishing in a progressively heavier rain.  

I should explain that my calves are sore because every 4th lap is done mainly on my toes.

A couple police cars were hanging about the school; and as occurred a morning or two ago, just as I was nearing home, a police car cruising up 3rd Ave and turning down 9th St sighted me, or so it seemed, and stopped, beginning to back up only to probably lose sight of me as I ducked into my place.

Day 24 of the postal strike.

I checked Woodward's for the onion flakes Marie wanted me to get, but they didn't appear to have the particular kind; so I blew $6.79 in all on a Doctor's Coat.

I stopped in at the library before coming home in a newly begun shower.

I'm beginning to feel pretty darn friendless having to keep my lousy hours as a means of facilitating my fitness program, such as it is; if I could only move somewhere with an inside personal bath, and a high ceiling on a ground floor so that I could work out with my weights.

Maybe tomorrow's 9:00 a.m. welfare appointment will allow me to further this end, even if I must compromise the official attitude re my social adjustment and, by extension, mental health.

The Merv Griffin Show featured body builders at the tail end:  Bill Grant and David Dupre, both unknown to me, and the fabulous 5'5" Franco Columbu; Franco blew up and burst a hot water bottle, but Don Rickles and Merv and George Peppard to a lesser degree, wasted so much time clowning around that he had no more time to perform; visible props were a metal rod, quite thick, and a barbell George was able to lift to a press position.

I would have liked to have seen Franco's full act.

Bedtime is 7:00 p.m.
I would run my laps at New Westminster Secondary School's track.  

Woodward's used to be where the Royal City Centre Mall is now on Sixth Avenue.  My father Hector's girlfriend Maria Fadden must have wanted me to try and find a specific brand of onion flakes.

I have no idea why I wanted whatever was a "Doctor's Coat" ─ I don't remember the garment.  

Concerning my room, the ceiling was very low ─ I was unable to extend my arm straight above my head.  And I only had a shower that was a cubicle located outside of my room, and nearby in the basement.  More than once I was trapped in the shower because someone had come downstairs to use the laundry facilities that were there ─ laundry facilities which I was not allowed to use. 

I vaguely recall that episode of Merv Griffin ─ Franco Columbu and the hot water bottle, anyway.  I also remember that Merv and his regular guests were extremely irritating to me because I wanted to see Franco ─ not Merv and any of the wisecracking idiots who were Merv's regular guests.
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