News and Views

It is a requirement of the State of New York that every prescriber of medications takes a 3-hour course on opioid prescription and patient management. Despite the fact that, at several times during the 3 hours of video I felt that an opioid would be helpful, I found several concepts worth sharing. After all, the media continually is beating the drum about the opioid crisis. But what measures are being taken? Here are a few things that I learned or relearned.

 

  • I took this directly from the presentation. In 2000 deaths from prescription medications began to rise, in 2008-2010 that increase flattened out. How come? Well, the rise in 2000 was a result of our national thought leaders telling physicians that pain was a 5th vital sign [1] and that for too long...

Whole Foods is utterly shameless. I recently walked through one of the stores, found one calculated trick after another, and wrote about it. And none too kindly (See: Stupid Whole Foods Tricks).

Here is one of the crazier items that they sell.

And there is plenty more in there that is just as bad.

But, they are not content to simply fool you in the store. The company's website does a damn fine job, although you have to look a little harder to see the BS. (At least it's organic BS.)

Here's a doozy:

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Tuesday night marks the seventh straight NBA playoff game that Steve Kerr will miss due to debilitating back pain. It's been more than three weeks since the head coach of the Golden State Warriors said he had to leave the team because of the intense discomfort, and to seek additional treatment.

Despite this being the most important time for his team, Kerr is not expected to return to the Warriors bench this season, even if his juggernaut advances to the NBA Finals in June, as expected. That's how uncertain his situation is.

The lean and trim 51-year-old, whose undergone two failed back surgeries, cannot even manage sitting or standing – or a combination of both – in order to coach and travel to games, which is why Kerr stepped aside.

But during his announcement...

This new study's conclusion matches what most of us would logically take to be true – that as one's exposure to pornography increases, so do behavioral issues that are tied to sex.

While on that gut, unscientific level, the results of a survey about porn's impact on sexual behavior are not completely unexpected. But at the same time they are helpful in helping us more fully understand how exposure to graphic imagery affects (1) a young man's desire to be with a sexual partner, and (2) the incidence of sexual dysfunction that occurs from that exposure.

Researchers concluded that men aged 20 to 40 who preferred pornography were more likely to be dissatisfied with actual sexual encounters, and the more porn they consumed the more desensitized they became to human interaction...

I was thrilled to be included in the NewYorkBIO 2017 Annual Conference last week - at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle - to conduct a panel on the topic of science communication. (1) 

The mission of NewYorkBIO is to advocate for the bioscience industry in New York state, across multiple areas including companies, universities, research institutions, and others dedicated to advancing life science research and commercialization. 

The NewYorkBIO Annual Conference brings together emerging and established companies, investors, business development professionals, scientists and others supporting and advancing life science discoveries. The full agenda of last week's conference can be found...

I just read the final charges and presentment made by the Grand Jury regarding the untimely death of Penn State college student, Timothy J. Piazza. (1) Recently made public, this extensively detailed document of the fatal event culminates with the decision to pursue criminal legal action against his fraternity brothers and classmates presumed to be complicit in this tragedy.

The entire picture and occurrence is disheartening and utterly devastating - on so many levels. I am compelled to write this article as there are many misperceptions among the students, in general, in this public record that warrant clarification. If the spread of informative health and medical...

Astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared recently on Conan O'Brien's show. As usual, he was engaging, charismatic, amusing... and full of nonsense.

This has become something of a pattern for Dr. Tyson. His TV series, Cosmos, was visually striking but scientifically underwhelming. Worse, several episodes were riddled with historical errors and half-truths, as ACSH President Hank Campbell wrote for The Federalist.

When the topic isn't astrophysics, Dr. Tyson doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Conan asked Dr. Tyson about his thoughts on science and math education in the U.S., which the talk show host...

When a company fires several board members, things are not going well. That's what Whole Foods just did.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Whole Foods stores are struggling. In the 2nd quarter of 2017, sales fell by nearly 3%. This isn't a one-off result. Revenue growth has been trending downward since 2012. Then, in the 4th quarter of 2015, revenue growth hit negative territory, meaning that sales actually began to shrink. Since 2013, Whole Foods's stock price has fallen by almost 50%.

To stop the bleeding, Whole Foods brought in new board members with retail and financial experience.

What Is Going on at Whole...

The sequoia, the tallest and longest-living tree on Earth, is a wonder of creation. With its massive trunk and staggering verticality, it's difficult not to be awed while in its presence. Adding to that, it is wrapped in fire-resistant bark and it repels damaging insects, making the sequoia virtually indestructible. 

However, it needs water. A lot of it. So in the wake of the multi-year drought in the west and northwest, the question being raised is whether these forestal skyscrapers have been weakened or otherwise compromised. While there's no precise answer to that at this time, arborists are seeing signs that water depletion has had some effects.

Thayer Walker, a well-regarded journalist who wrote an extensive account on the Giant Forest at the Sequoia National Park in...

I have written before about attributing care to individual physicians who lead a ‘team’ rather than to all of the team members. CMS continues to ready the rollout of bundled care packages for acute myocardial infarctions and for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) which gives a unified payment to the hospital or another intermediary to split up among the various team members, surgeons, anesthesiologist, and consultants. Those teams with good outcomes and costs below the benchmark are rewarded, those with costs above the benchmark or with adverse outcomes are penalized. But as I alluded to in my original article, the devil is in the details of the split of rewards and punishment.

Last week, the American...