Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Medical marjuana doesn't work for anxiety or depression, duh

Dizzy Wright, possibly medicating his anxiety and depression.

"A comprehensive review of dozens of clinical trials that have tested medical marijuana for 10 conditions finds that there’s very little reliable evidence to support the drug’s use. The review, by an international team of researchers, was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.  
Patients who use medical marijuana to treat chronic neuropathic pain or cancer pain would probably have the least to fear from an FDA review. The JAMA study considered 28 studies involving 2,454 patients and concluded that there was “moderate-quality evidence” from at least a dozen studies showing that cannabinoids – chemicals in marijuana that produce pharmacologic effects inside the body – reduced pain in such patients by modest amounts.  
However, trials testing the pain-relieving effects of medical marijuana in people with fibromyalgia, HIV-associated sensory neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other conditions did not show that it worked
The other condition for which medical marijuana proved useful was muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis. After assessing 14 studies with 2,280 patients, the JAMA authors determined there was “moderate-quality evidence” to support its use in these patients, although many of the studies reported improvements that weren’t quite big enough to qualify as statistically significant. 
The findings were even weaker for other conditions.  
The researchers found “low-quality evidence” that medical marijuana could relieve nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy, that it could stimulate appetite in people with HIV to help them gain weight, that it could help people with insomnia and other sleep disorders get more rest, and that it could reduce the severity of tics in people with Tourette syndrome. 

The JAMA authors also examined studies of medical marijuana to treat depression, anxiety disorder and psychosis, and to reduce eye pressure in glaucoma patients. There was no reliable evidence that cannabis was useful in any of these cases.
One of the things the studies showed most clearly is that people who use medical marijuana had a “much greater risk” of side effects, including serious problems like kidney, liver and psychiatric disorders. The most common adverse effects included dizziness, confusion and disorientation, according to the JAMA report.  
The results show that something is amiss in the 23 states (plus the District of Columbia) that allow the use of medical marijuana, according to the authors of an editorial that accompanies the JAMA review.  
The authors, from the Yale University School of Medicine, lamented the fact that state approval of medical marijuana had been based on “low-quality scientific evidence, anecdotal reports, individual testimonials, legislative initiatives, and public opinion." 
“Imagine if other drugs were approved through a similar approach,” they wrote. 
To win FDA approval, drug makers typically have to show that a medicine works in not one but two randomized clinical trials. But for most conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment, “the evidence fails to meet FDA standards,” according to the editorial.




Monday, June 29, 2015

To say that the Confederacy was not pro-slavery is either delusional or dishonest

I'm sure Benedict Arnold didn't think of himself as a traitor either. Nor Marcus Brutus or Cassius. "Patriots" all. Judas Iscariot at least had the decency to hang himself in shame.

"The case against Lee begins with the fact that he betrayed his oath to serve the United States. He didn’t need to do it. The late historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor demonstrated that 40 percent of Virginia officers decided to remain with the Union forces, including members of Lee’s family.
As the historian Allen Guelzo emailed me, “He withdrew from the Army and took up arms in a rebellion against the United States.” He could have at least sat out the war. But, Guelzo continues, “he raised his hand against the flag and government he had sworn to defend. This more than fulfills the constitutional definition of treason.” 
More germane, while Lee may have opposed slavery in theory he did nothing to eliminate or reduce it in practice. On the contrary, if he’d been successful in the central task of his life, he would have preserved and prolonged it. 
Like Lincoln he did not believe African-Americans were yet capable of equality. Unlike Lincoln he accepted the bondage of other human beings with bland complaisance. His wife inherited 196 slaves from her father. Her father’s will (somewhat impractically) said they were to be freed, but Lee didn’t free them. 
Lee didn’t enjoy owning slaves, but he was considered a hard taskmaster and he did sell some, breaking up families. Moreover, he supported the institution of slavery as a pillar of Confederate life. He defended the right of Southerners to take their slaves to the Western territories. He fundamentally believed the existence of slavery was, at least for a time, God’s will."

See also: Robert E. Lee's Oedipal Complex

Sunday, June 28, 2015

As Kingfishers Catch Fire -- Gerald Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)


As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fly Me to the Moon -- Julie London (1964)

Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars

 In other words
Hold my hand
In other words
Darling, kiss me
Fill my heart with song
And let me sing forever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words
Please be true
In other words
I love you
Fill my heart with song
And let me sing forever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore

 In other words
Please be true
In other words
I love you

Friday, June 26, 2015

Should the Jefferson Memorial come down?

I think that the difference is that, while Jefferson owned slaves, he was not a traitor (or, if you prefer, rebel). I am a bit concerned for VMI's statue of Stonewall Jackson, however. It is a state college. If they take down the Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee statues at University of Texas, Austin, then why wouldn't the same arguments apply to re-locating the Jackson statue?

Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

LA Times
"This week, the Jefferson Memorial was drawn into the national debate about race following the shooting deaths of nine people in a predominantly black church in South Carolina last week. It joins other public statues depicting Southern or Confederate figures, including Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, that some are arguing represent the country's racist past and should be removed.
CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield [She's still around?] this week questioned whether the Jefferson Memorial should be taken down because Jefferson owned slaves. "There is a monument to him in the capital city of the United States. No one ever asks for that to come down," Banfield said."

Dallas Morning News
"UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves announced Tuesday that he will convene a committee of students, faculty and alumni to “discuss the future of the Jefferson Davis statue” and present him with recommendations.
Gregory Vincent, vice president for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, will lead the committee and expects to make recommendations this summer concerning the Davis statue and potentially three other Confederate-affiliated statues on campus."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Terror Management Theory: The Worm at the Core

Chronicle of Higher Education
"In a new book surveying that work, The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life (Random House), Solomon, Greenberg, and Pyszczyn­ski argue that fear of death drives our actions to a much greater extent than people realize. "The terror of death has guided the development of art, religion, language, economics, and science," they write. "It raised the pyramids in Egypt and razed the Twin Towers in Manhattan. It contributes to conflicts around the globe. At a more personal level, recognition of our mortality leads us to love fancy cars, tan ourselves to an unhealthy crisp, max out our credit cards, drive like lunatics, itch for a fight with a perceived enemy, and crave fame, however ephemeral, even if we have to drink yak urine on Survivor to get it."
But how could they test Becker’s other claims, about the death-denying functions of our beliefs about reality? They settled on an experimental model in which some subjects would be reminded of their mortality while others would not. If terror-management theory were correct, they reasoned, then people who got the death reminders should more intensely cling to their culturally acquired beliefs.
In their first experiment, the psychologists had municipal-court judges in Tucson set bail in what looked like an actual case involving a woman cited for prostitution. Half of them first filled out a questionnaire designed to remind them of death. It consisted of two questions: (1) Please briefly describe the emotions that the thought of your own death arouses in you; and (2) Jot down, as specifically as you can, what you think will happen to you as you physically die and once you are physically dead.
The results were striking. Judges not reminded of their mortality set an average bond of $50, the typical amount. Those who had thought about death set an average bond of $455. Hypothesis confirmed. "The results showed that the judges who thought about their own mortality reacted by trying to do the right thing as prescribed by their culture," the psychologists explain in The Worm at the Core. "Accordingly, they upheld the law more vigorously than their colleagues who were not reminded of death.""

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Occupations with the Lowest Suicide rates

"Welcome aboard! Why so glum? No matter, you'll soon take heart out on the open sea!"

1. Ship Captains, Mates, Deckhands [lowest]

2. General Office Clerks

3. Advertising and Sales Managers

4. Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides

5. Dishwasher Occupations

6. Logging Occupations

7. Health Care Support (Assistants, Drivers, Aides)

8. Supervisors, Food Preparation and Service Occupations

9. Cooks, Chefs, and Bakers

10. Boilermakers and Operational Engineers

1 From Moby-Dick: "Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship."


2 I suppose Bartleby was an outlier

3 Why Don Draper didn't end up killing himself?

4 and 7 Short-term employment, mostly by females, who are at lower risk for suicide

5, 8, 9  There seems to be something protective about working with food, or at least in a kitchen

6 and 10  Really manly men don't die by suicide? Or does the work/drink kill them before they get a chance to kill themselves?

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/NOMS/