You are viewing mwshook

Tired of ads? Upgrade to paid account and never see ads again!


Just in case anyone has forgotten, Ringo is awesome.

Breast Cancer: Deja Vu

I think I should copy and paste the below article, change the dates, and submit it to JAMA as original research.

(Emphasis mine)

News Media Coverage of Screening Mammography for Women in Their 40s and Tamoxifen for Primary Prevention of Breast Cancer

Lisa M. Schwartz, MD, MS; Steven Woloshin, MD, MS
JAMA. 2002;287:3136-3142.
Context In the late 1990s, 3 events pertaining to breast cancer prevention received considerable attention in the US news media: a National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus panel recommended against routine screening mammography for women in their 40s (January 1997), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) subsequently reversed the recommendation (March 1997), and an NCI-sponsored study demonstrated the efficacy of tamoxifen in the primary prevention of breast cancer (April 1998).
Objective To examine how the major US news media covered the potential benefits and harms of 2 breast cancer preventive strategies.
Design and Setting Content analysis of US news stories reporting on the breast cancer prevention events. We used Lexis-Nexis to search for print news stories in the 10 highest-circulation US newspapers and requested transcripts from 3 major television networks to obtain all relevant news coverage in the 2 weeks following each event.
Main Outcome Measures Attitude toward preventive strategy (encourage, neutral, discourage); level of uncertainty about benefit and how benefits and harms were presented.
Results Twenty-seven stories about the NIH consensus panel, 24 about the NCI reversal, and 34 about tamoxifen appeared in high-profile news media within 2 weeks of each event. Sixty-seven percent of NIH consensus panel stories left the impression that there was a lot of uncertainty about whether women aged 40 to 49 years should undergo screening, but 59% suggested that women should probably or definitely be screened. Only 4 stories suggested that women faced a genuine decision about what to do. The level of uncertainty reported was substantially lower following the NCI reversal (21% suggested a lot of uncertainty), and most stories (96%) suggested that women should be screened. In contrast, tamoxifen stories highlighted uncertainty about what women at high risk should do (62% suggested there was a lot of uncertainty), and none left the impression that women should definitely take the drug (24% suggested they probably should). Sixty-five percent of these stories suggested that women faced a genuine choice and would have to weigh the risks and benefits themselves.
Conclusions Most news stories favored routine use of screening mammography and urged caution about using tamoxifen. Almost all noted the potential harms of each preventive strategy; however, the negative aspects of tamoxifen received greater emphasis. Whereas taking tamoxifen was presented as a difficult decision, having a mammogram was presented as something women ought to do.


The Clark County Health Department (the county where I work), was giving out free swine flu vaccines to health care professionals yesterday.
So I took the MAX to the Expo Center, and then rode my bike over the Columbia into Vancouver.

It seems they were expecting a bigger turnout than they got. There were about 20 volunteers, but only 3 people getting vaccines. I got the squirt up the nose and rode on back. (after getting lost at the Jantzen Beach Supercenter for half an hour)

So, my nasal passages are full of live attenuated H1N1 viruses!


Why does the phrase "a wingless, blunt-body manned vehicle that would reenter on a ballistic path" take me back to my childhood in Huntsville?

Who's Afraid of the Flu?

The best article on the swine flu that I've seen yet.

But H1N1 has also homed in on the weaknesses in our heads — hovering in the blind spots where our risk analyses break down, just beyond the view of our mind's eye. What is the defense for the mind games of a virus?


Whether it (the vaccine program) works will depend partly on science and partly on our ability to navigate the shadowy negotiations going on inside our heads.

People's reaction to influenza has always intrigued and frustrated me. Some view vaccines as sinister poison foisted on them by a paternalistic government. Others view vaccines as foolproof magic bullets that will protect them against respiratory illness of any kind. Often the latter become cynical when they get a cold during flu season, and see the flu shot as a waste of time.

Product Plug

Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Made in Oregon, aged 2 years. Good stuff.

Tour De Lab

Missy and I did a fairly grueling pub tour today. It was the Tour De Lab, and stopped at the three Lucky Labrador Pub locations. It was a benefit for a local animal shelter/hospital.

We went up the highest hills I've ever tackled on my single bike, and we've never done anything like this on our tandem.

tour de lab
I'm pretty happy with how we did. We only had to walk the bike once, on the very last hill. It came up by surprise, right as we turned from a stoplight, after we thought we were done with hills. The tandem's actually a pretty good hill-climber. I figured we'd be the slowest people on the road, but we passed quite a few people.

This was one of the most exhausting things I've done. We had a problems at the end, that I was almost two weak to restart the bike at a green light, and I was having trouble keeping the bike (and Missy) vertical when stopped. But we think we're doing pretty well, after 5 months of tandeming, we've not fallen over.  We have the bike pretty well customized with new saddles and handlebars. As tired as I was, my knees, back, elbows and wrists feel absolutely fine. That probably means it fits me pretty well. I think Missy needs some small adjustments.

We were having a lot of problems with shifting down into the smallest chainring. I'll have to look into that in the near future.

The ride was more of an accomplishment than actual fun. We'll probably stick to flatter stuff in the near future.
We're really happy with getting the tandem for our anniversary. It's much more versatile, efficient, and useful than 2 bikes, and is tons of fun. And kids always like it when we ride by.

Health insurance is an oxymoron

From ZDnet

There are three layers in what you call “health insurance.”

  • Certainty
  • Likelihood
  • Remote chance

Insurance brokers are bookies, not bankers. They deal with chance. They don’t deal with certainty.


The question is not who to tax, or whether to tax. The question is how to tax  — publicly, privately through forced savings, or as we do it now, through bookies?

Orwell Diaries

For the last year or two, I have had the Orwell Diaries on my LJ friends page. Basically, it's a publication of George Orwell's personal diary in blog form, with a 40-year time shift.

Mostly it's been semi-interesting stuff about some travels in Morocco and quaintly boring stuff about his chickens and vegetable garden. But in the last few months, pressure has been building as Germany's military buildup has quickened. His charting of the political mood in the UK is fascinating. I also didn't realize that Germany and the USSR were allies at the start. The British were scared witless by this (and rightly so). I don't even want to imagine how the war would have went with the Soviets on the Axis side. But I guess in 1939, it was all the Brits could think about.

Yesterday's post was quite dramatic, with threatening moves toward Poland. This got me thinking, when did Germany invade Poland? Holy Crap! In four days.

Apparently they had Soviet help. Why didn't I know this?

Here's the LJ feed, if you want Orwell on your friends page.