White Coat Underground

Archives for November, 2009

According to a Pew survey, 61% of Americans are getting health information online. The internet is now the third leading resource for health information after doctors and family/friends. At a recent session hosted by USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, I learned this and many other things while chatting with journalists and other bloggers.…

Are you convinced? Do I care? Do you?

I had a nice dinner last night with a group of medical bloggers and journalists (I don’t recommend the scallops). One journalist, a veteran of many years, asked me, “is your goal to convince people, or are you preaching to the choir?” It’s a simple question, one that I probably should ask myself daily but…

A crank is a crank

I’m told that mathematicians and physicists get a lot of mail from folks with “big discoveries”. These discoveries are often of the “Einstein was wrong and I figured out the Theory of Everything” variety. Many of us refer to these folks as “cranks”, a catch-all, derogatory term for people who, through their own arrogance and…

Some were surprised to read that after a pro basketball player swatted a bat out of the air, he had to have rabies vaccinations. This is not a surprise to many medical folks who have had to give rabies prophylaxis after bat exposures. Most of the few human rabies cases in the U.S. are transmitted…

Cruel and unusual

No matter how you feel about incarceration, it’s a dangerous business. Inmates have high rates of serious transmissible diseases which aren’t turned into the warden when they are released. Around 2.5 million people are held in American correctional facilities. HIV rates for imprisoned men 1.6% and for women is 2.4% (compared to about 0.4% among…

As I’ve written before, the placebo effect is a rather messy phenomenon. It usually refers to the difference in outcomes in a study that are not due to the intervention but to multiple other variables associated with being in a study. More colloquially, “placebo” often means a positive effect seen from the administration of a…

Dear Bigot

Thank you for polluting my in box with a hateful, lie-filled chain letter. It took me all of ten seconds on the internet to find the truth behind your lie and thereby discover what a tool you are. I’m sure it would have seemed natural to you that because we share an ethnic identity I…

The mainstream media is finally catching on to a disturbing story–the insertion of faith-healing and other non-scientific practices into health care reform. Health bloggers have been on this story for a while, showing us that Senate Bill 1679 currently contains language that would require support for faith healing practices: The essential benefits provided for in…

One of my dear readers just left the internet equivalent of a flaming bag of turd on my bloggy doorstep: Everybody should read this article by Dr. Russell Blaylock http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/03/What-We-Have-Learned-About-the-Great-Swine-Flu-Pandemic.aspx These are the facts folks, all information is derived from Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institutes of…

This is not a normal flu season (if you hadn’t heard). Normally, summer sees a return of flu cases to a low baseline, but not this year—this year we saw a bump in cases around April, with a consistent trickle of cases throughout the summer, and significant outbreaks at summer camps and military bases. And…