Friday, December 30, 2005

Patch Adams

The meeting brought together some 9,000 psychologists, social workers and students, along with many of the world's most celebrated living therapists...
In the opening convocation, Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams - the charismatic therapist played on screen by Robin Williams - displayed on a giant projection screen photos from around the world of burned children, starving children, diseased children, some lying in their own filth.
He called for a "last stand of loving care" to prevail over the misery in the world, its wars and "our fascistic government." Overcome by his own message, Dr. Adams eventually fell to the floor of the stage in tears.
Many in the audience of thousands were deeply moved; many others were bewildered. Some left the arena.

This guy is bizarre.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

PTSD in Combat Veterans

There has been a dramatic increase in PTSD claims for Vietnam Veterans:
In the past five years, the number of veterans receiving compensation for the disorder commonly called PTSD has grown nearly seven times as fast as the number receiving benefits for disabilities in general, according to a report this year by the inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs. A total of 215,871 veterans received PTSD benefit payments last year at a cost of $4.3 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 1999 -- a jump of more than 150 percent.
Experts say the sharp increase does not begin to factor in the potential impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, because the increase is largely the result of Vietnam War vets seeking treatment decades after their combat experiences.

I recommend reading the whole article; there is a good discussion about the large number of Veterans who are not being treated for their PTSD, as well as a discussion about the financial implications of a diagnosis of PTSD for an individual Veteran sometimes leading to exaggeration of symptoms or an unwillingness to get well (which is often unconscious)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Disclosure for Medical Bloggers

Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei writes (via Shrinkette):
I encourage all science and health bloggers to write a post answering the following 10 questions posed by The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health:
1. Who runs this site?

Michael Rack, MD
2. Who pays for the site?
The site is provided free by Blogger. I get about 15 cents a day from google adsense for this site and sleepdoctor combined. I often work on this site on "company time" (East Mississippi Medical Center)
3. What is the purpose of the site?
To provide medical information and commentary to doctors, medical students, and patients. I also publish this site to gratify my ego.
4. Where does the information come from?
Some of the info comes from what I learned in medical school, residency, and in my medical practice. Other information comes from various newspapers and industry publications.
5. What is the basis of the information?
See #4
6. How is the information selected?
I link to interesting articles I see on-line, often in the New York Times. I sometimes comment on what I read in other medical blogs.
7. How current is the information?
It is fairly up to date
8. How does the site choose links to other sites?
I try to link to reliable information- medical blogs with good reputations, notable newspapers.
9. What information about you does the site collect, and why?
I check google adsense several times a week to see how many visitors there are and how much money I have made.
10. How does the site manage interactions with visitors?
Visitors can leave comments to each post. I try to answer each serious comment. In the near future I will try to learn how to delete spam comments.

Theater owners want cell phones blocked

The UPI reports:
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The National Association of Theater Owners wants the Federal Communications Commission to allow the blocking of cell phone signals in theaters.
John Fithian, the president of the trade organization, told the Los Angeles Times theater owners "have to block rude behavior" as the industry tries to come up with ways to bring people back to the cinemas.
Fithian said his group would petition the FCC for permission to block cell phone signals within movie theaters.
Some theaters already have no cell phone policies and ask moviegoers to check their phones at the door, Fithian said.
The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association -- a Washington-based cell phone lobby that is also known as CTIA-the Wireless Association -- said it would fight any move to block cell phone signals.
"We're opposed to the use of any blocking technology, because it interferes with people's ability to use a wireless device in an emergency situation," CTIA spokesman Joseph Farren told the Times.

As a physician who does a combination of private practice, clinical research, and state hospital hospital work, I am on 24 hour/7 day a week call. This is very light call, and on most days I am not called at all. However, I need to be available pretty much all of the time. A policy such as the one the National Association of Theatre Owners proposes would make it more difficult for a physician in my position to lead a normal life.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Get a Life

A man obsessed with Paris Hilton has created a holiday shrine to her:
See Paris Hilton in all her seductive splendor, striking a provocative pose for passing motorists and spreading hot Christmas cheer in a chilly Rhode Island winter.
Blown-up images of Hilton and strings of pink Christmas lights adorn the front lawn of a home in a middle-class neighborhood of this city, part of a head-turning holiday display that pays homage to the famed hotel heiress.
The over-the-top pictorial is the work of Joe Moretti, a 38-year-old designer who was arrested last year for trespassing on Martha Stewart's property in Maine.

From Dell News, via Snopes

Richard Pryor dies

Richard Pryor, the caustic yet perceptive actor-comedian who lived dangerously close to the edge both on stage and off, died Saturday. He was 65.
Pryor died shortly before 8 a.m. of a heart attack after being taken to a hospital from his home in the San Fernando Valley, said his business manager, Karen Finch. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

From the New York Times