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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

the cost of healthcare

healthcare is a problem in this country, but i haven’t had the time or inclination to dig into it much… so i bounce thoughts off the surface every once in a while, and today i have a number to hang a thought on.

U.S. citizens spent $5,267 per capita for health care in 2002—53 percent more than any other country.

so, with a 40-hour week and a 50-week year, there’s 2000 hours in a working american’s life (for now i’m going to ignore non-working americans even though they count as “capita”). $5267/2000 = $2.63 per hour for health care (if you put in the rest of the “capita” it’s higher, of course).

this isn’t going to be quite fair, but with the federal minimum wage at $5.15 per hour, oddly enough, that $2.63 works out to just a shade over half (51.1%) of the minimum-wage. the reality is probably much simpler – real minimum-wage workers don’t get health care.

posted by roj at 5:54 am  

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

marburg outbreak angola

bbc news (radio) is reporting confirmation that the bad news from angola is, indeed, the marburg virus.

posted by roj at 5:24 am  

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

bhutan smoking

bhutan bans smoking

posted by roj at 11:52 pm  

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

keep the methylisothiazolinone away from your rats

a news release from the university of pittsburgh medical college suggests that methylisothiazolinone interferes with neuron development in rats.

methylisothiazolinone is “an antimicrobial agent found in many shampoos and hand lotions and widely used in industrial settings.” so, before you go shampooing your smart rats, read the label on the shampoo.

personally, i think the whole anti-bacterial anti-microbial thing is a bad idea.

posted by roj at 6:28 am  

Monday, November 1, 2004

sign up for a face transplant

ot quite in time for halloween, which is sad, really. i noticed this headline from the ap wire… Ohio Clinic Plans Human Face Transplant.

i think for now, i’ll stick to donating hair.

posted by roj at 6:36 am  

Friday, September 3, 2004

restoring hearing with mouse ears

in a previous life, i ran sound for local bands, and was pretty much constantly trying to fight the “louder is better” approach to music. i’d talk to musicians about their playing, and their sound, and all that… and once in a while the conversation would turn to volume. i may have been pretty radically conservative in my youth, but i kept trying to explain to people who love music that if they love it so much, they might want to retain their hearing for a while and not abuse it quite so much.

the thing about hearing is that it depends on little hairs in your ears to work, and those things can get bent, broken or otherwise damaged by all kinds of things – one of them being REALLY LOUD NOISES. and once your hearing is shot, well, it’s shot.

so, being a music fan, and being exposed to musicians for most of my life, hearing is a sensitive subject. so when news of people doing restore-the-hearing research, i took notice.

jeffrey corwin and stefan heller are working at the marine biological laboratory on mouse adult stem cells to grow replacement inner-ear noise sensors. for now, there’s a link right on the front page of the lab’s site, but you can see the press release as well.

i’m not sure what mouse stem cells are doing in a marine biological laboratory, but as long as they’re on a track to fix aging rockstars, i guess i won’t ask silly questions.

posted by roj at 3:42 pm  

Thursday, July 29, 2004

synthetic prion makes mad mice

Researchers have created a synthetic protein that makes mice display symptoms similar to those of mad cow disease

this is important, of course, if for no other reason than the expansion of human knowledge. but we live in a time of fear and terror, so now the clock is ticking on the “mad human bioweapon,” right?

onset of symptoms in mice is one to two years, so we’ll be ok as long as the terrorists aren’t patient.

posted by roj at 2:37 pm  

Monday, April 5, 2004

smoking ban drops heart attacks 40%

a while ago, i posted a brief comment on the news from new york on the economic impact of the smoking ban in the city.

since then, that story proved a bit controversial as smoking proponents complained that the study didn’t represent the real picture – it lumped mcdonalds in with the local bar. ok, so the economic case may be harder to make. we also recently saw much news of the smoking ban in ireland.

now we have a study based on data fom montana. it’s getting some coverage around the world. but this isn’t without controversy either (statistics are just like that, i guess).

In the first study of its kind, researchers have found that the number of heart attack victims admitted to a regional hospital dropped by nearly 60 percent during the first six months that a smoke-free ordinance was in effect in the area.

…a study conducted in a town that outlawed smoking in enclosed public places. It showed that hospital admissions for heart attacks fell by 40 per cent in the six months covered by the ban.

Every year the town of Helena, Mont., counts how many people suffer heart attacks. Every year the number stayed about the same — until the town banned smoking in workplaces, bars and restaurants in 2002.

Instantly the number of attacks among Helena’s townspeople plummeted by more than 40 per cent.

so, 40% or 60%… i guess someone should take this to the next level and compare the public-health economic impact to the retail-sales economic impact…. and pity the poor tobacco farmers.

posted by roj at 5:38 am  

Thursday, February 12, 2004

maybe it’s the flavanols

if you’ve been with me a while, you know it’s all about the polyphenyls – so you know that chocolate and red wine will save your life. those polyphenyls are just amazing. really.

but wait. maybe it’s the flavanols! the seattle times has the details.

flavanols or polyphenyls, tj knew chocolate was it. and when it comes to chocolate, i know that valrhona is it.

posted by roj at 12:54 am  

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

we are living longer than ever

ew numbers from the cdc

U.S. Life expectancy at birth:

2002: 77.4 years
2001: 77.2 years

Men, 2002: 74.7
Men, 2001: 74.4 years

Women, 2002: 79.9 years
Women, 2001: 79.8 years

2002: 77.8 years
2001: 77.7 years

2002: 72.5 years
2001: 72.2 years

what are you gonna do with your life?

posted by roj at 11:53 pm  

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