Cheese addicted middle schoolers

Cheese is a mixture of heroin and over-the-counter cold medication. An NPR story this morning covered the epidemic usage of this drug among Hispanic elementary school children in Dallas. Cheese is extremely cheap — only $1 or $2 a dose, and “well within a middle-schooler’s lunch budget.” Dr. Carlos Tirado at the University of TexasContinue reading “Cheese addicted middle schoolers”

The myth of short sleepers

I was fascinated by a piece on yesterday’s Morning Edition about sleep, In today’s world, the well-rested lose respect. A myth has been created by America’s most successful politicians, businesspeople and other luminaries that their success is in some way tied to a physical condition, short sleeping, that allows them to have more productive hoursContinue reading “The myth of short sleepers”

Healthy snacks in disguise

I am a big advocate of eating right. I participate in the No-Corn-Syrup Diet. To this end, I’m always really frustrated when marketing gets in the way of people making the right decision. Take for instance the 100 Calorie Pack by Nabisco, which come with the following message: Sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy, creamy — whatContinue reading “Healthy snacks in disguise”

Health Month 2008

Every year, Rick Webb and his fellow Barbarians take an incredible health pledge for a month to clear their systems of the unwholesome indiscretions of the holiday season. This involves no alcohol, no caffeine, no fat, and a laundry list of other rules. The fun commences after Keith Butters birthday, January 5, or the followingContinue reading “Health Month 2008”

On hypothermia

On days like today (high of 20°F in New York City), I often wonder how close I am to hypothermia. Wikipedia defines three stages of a cooling body temperature: Stage 1 (1-2°C below normal body temperature): light shivering and goosebumps (which are ineffective in humans) Stage 2 (2-4°C below normal body temperature): with strong shivering,Continue reading “On hypothermia”

Syndromic surveillance

After 9/11/01, the CDC Division of Public Health Surveillance with help from Homeland Security implemented a new program for tracking possible bioterrorist threats, known as syndromic surveillance. Instead of relying on medical diagnosis of individual doctors, the system looks for statistical anomalies across the symptoms reported in recent emergency room visits and notifies epidemiologists whenContinue reading “Syndromic surveillance”

Homeopathic insanity

Somehow I’ve come down with a cold in the middle of the summer. Is that possible? Maybe by definition is has to be the flu, or at least it goes by another name (perhaps “a balmy” or “the humid”). Anyway, in this sort of heat, the standard homeopathic remedies aren’t very appealing: chicken soup, hotContinue reading “Homeopathic insanity”