Saturday, February 10, 2007

Health Topics To Watch

Readers who come to my blog for politics grumble when I cover health topics, "I could live without the information on digestion," said one man. Readers who come to my blog for health topics wonder what the heck I'm doing talking about politics, "I really don't care what happens in Washington," a friend wrote.

Well, here comes a health post where I'm giving all the health medicine for the weekend in one dose.

90% of those afflicted with the bird flu are under age 40. The researchers wonder if age confers immunity. Call me crazy, but I have another theory. Since most workers with chickens are under 40, they're the ones getting sick. Since most health workers are under 40, they're the ones getting it, too. You just don't have too many 75 year olds cleaning chicken coops. That's my theory, anyway. Not to mention, younger people aren't as interested in hand-washing, haven't been around as long immunity-wise. What if the body acquires immunity from getting the flu?

The death rate was highest among cases aged 10 to 19; 76 per cent of cases in that group died. Cases aged 50 and over had the lowest death rate (40 per cent) followed by children under age five (44 per cent) and children aged five to nine (49 per cent).

The total case fatality rate was 60 per cent.

Astronauts don't like psychologists. Men don't like psychologist and doctors, in general, either. They tend to view it like this, too:

But Santy, author of the definitive book on this issue, Choosing the Right Stuff: Psychological Selection of Astronauts and Cosmonauts, said astronauts are high achieving individuals who tend to believe they can cope with any problem and see psychological issues as signs of weakness.

"This is a group of individuals who are hardly motivated to voice psychological problems because of the consequences of doing so," she told TIME in response to an email query. "They hate doctors in general and psychiatrists/psychologists in particular because they cannot win in any interaction with them — at best they can only 'break even'."

As an aside, Dr. Pat Santy runs the blog Dr. Sanity that I reference quite a bit. She is fantastic and a very nice person, too. Plus, she's from Michigan (bonus points). I feel that it's quite a nice thing for a prominent blogger to be cited in Time this way.

Washington Post has a puff piece about HPV vaccine. It's good for you!

Gene therapy for Autism? This new research with Rett's Syndrome is very promising. Here's my question, though: What is triggering these genes to turn off? Genes are very, very responsive to the environment. Are children eating, contacting, something specific at around 18 months to 2 years that turn off the gene for socializing? Or are many genes being affected? Since my kids weren't immunized (for scientific reasons I've cited before, don't hassle me), and my one son did develop Autism, and he did seem to regress psychologically at around 18 months (no longer identifying himself or others in pictures), I wonder about this. I stopped nursing him at 18 months, did that offer some protection? Did he eat something--is there some subtle form of gluten intolerance that affects the nervous system? Did he miss some essential element that is in breast milk but not in enough quantities in table food? Like Lorenzo's Oil, or something? This is how parents of autistic children grasp at straws trying to find the cause.


Anna said...

Hey, I come for the politics and the health news.

ed bremson said...

I've been thinking about autism recently. Since your son didn't have the shots, I don't know. I was thinking about inflammation, and that led me to nitric oxide, which can be good or bad, depending on numerous factors I suppose (I was looking up all this on Google) It said there may be high levels of nitric oxide in autistic children.

Of course I don't have any answers, and very few questions, but I am inquisitive, so maybe I'll stumble across something else sometime. But I thought I would mention nitric oxide. Much of the food we eat triggers nitric oxide production (walnuts, for example) for what it's worth. Good luck.

Dr. Melissa said...

When my son was in the hospital, there was some research going on where preemies were given nitrous oxide instead of oxygen. It didn't seem too smart and the doctors even seemed nervous. I don't know the long term results.