Archive for October, 2008

A refreshing perpective from a mental health medicine prescriber

October 31, 2008

I went to a seminar called ‘Mental Health Medications’ a few weeks ago and I thought it would be a good thing to summarize some of the ways the presenter tries to help her patients with medicine. Her name is Fran Miller RN, MSN, BC and I think she lives in Indiana.  I thought she was great and perhaps it will be helpful to readers to know that their are credible professionals out there that approach patients and medicine the way she does.

She always takes the time to explain to patients the theories of how medicines work and interact with other substances like alcohol which compete for your liver’s function.  She was careful to emphasize that these are theories and not ‘facts’, which is very rare to hear. She helps them understand the symptoms of their illness, the role of medicine in treatment, risks and benefits of medicines, risks of relapse, importance of healthy lifestyles, setting realistic goals to increase healthy lifestyles.

 These are the kind of things she says to patients :

     “We have to come up with a long term plan.”

        ” We are going to go low (initial dose) and slow (dose increase). Low and slow.” She always keeps in mind that adding another medicine also involves adding another set of side effects and risk.

         “You don’t have to put up with side effects.”  Imagine that! With meds that have a risk of weight gain, she weighs the patient every appointment. If they gain more than 10 pounds, she’ll change meds.

 She tells patients, ” You shouldn’t feel your medication , just be able to look back and notice a change.”  So many patients I see make this mistake of trying to ‘feel’ their meds. At best, if they are feeling something right away, they are side effects and placebo.

  Relapse rate  x5  if medication is discontinued without presecriber supervision. High rate of relapse within 5 years. Takes longer for patient to bounce back. Medication may not work as well. May need higher doses and/or additions of other meds. Many times, after relapse, patients do not return to previous level of functioning. Very demoralizing.

 “I keep searching. I never give up. I consult and refer as often as necessary.”

She pays a lot of attention to hormonal issues, which she feels is seriously neglected in psychiatry. ie. estrogen is essential for serotonin.

 She waits for patients to express this feeling,one way or another,

  ” I want to take this medicine.”

I think she rocks!


Obama and the politics of crowds

October 31, 2008

This article, by Professor Fouad Ajami,  is well worth reading in its entirety.


 Some excerpts below.

As the late Nobel laureate Elias Canetti observes in his great book, “Crowds and Power” (first published in 1960), the crowd is based on an illusion of equality: Its quest is for that moment when “distinctions are thrown off and all become equal. It is for the sake of this blessed moment, when no one is greater or better than another, that people become a crowd.” These crowds, in the tens of thousands, who have been turning out for the Democratic standard-bearer in St. Louis and Denver and Portland, are a measure of American distress…

It was no accident that the white working class was the last segment of the population to sign up for the Obama journey. Their hesitancy was not about race. They were men and women of practicality; they distrusted oratory, they could see through the falseness of the solidarity offered by this campaign. They did not have much, but believed in the legitimacy of what little they had acquired. They valued work and its rewards. They knew and heard of staggering wealth made by the Masters of the Universe, but held onto their faith in the outcomes that economic life decreed. The economic hurricane that struck America some weeks ago shook them to the core. They now seek protection, the shelter of the state, and the promise of social repair. The bonuses of the wizards who ran the great corporate entities had not bothered them. It was the spectacle of the work of the wizards melting before our eyes that unsettled them.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late Democratic senator from New York, once set the difference between American capitalism and the older European version by observing that America was the party of liberty, whereas Europe was the party of equality. Just in the nick of time for the Obama candidacy, the American faith in liberty began to crack. The preachers of America’s decline in the global pecking order had added to the panic. Our best days were behind us, the declinists prophesied. The sun was setting on our imperium, and rising in other lands.

A younger man, “cool” and collected, carrying within his own biography the strands of the world beyond America’s shores, was put forth as a herald of the change upon us. The crowd would risk the experiment. There was grudge and a desire for retribution in the crowd to begin with. Akin to the passions that have shaped and driven highly polarized societies, this election has at its core a desire to settle the unfinished account of the presidential election eight years ago. George W. Bush’s presidency remained, for his countless critics and detractors, a tale of usurpation. He had gotten what was not his due; more galling still, he had been bold and unabashed, and taken his time at the helm as an opportunity to assert an ambitious doctrine of American power abroad. He had waged a war of choice in Iraq.

This election is the rematch that John Kerry had not delivered on

I like this article, but I disagree that this is a done deal for Obama.  Over the last  month, McCain has pulled off a diverse but coherent strategy –  by pointing out how different he is from Obama in myriads of ways.  Obama’s responses are getting stale. Always the same attempt to link McCain with the Bush years. The same old glowingly optimistic promises.  It isn’t working anymore. I think people are waking up.  I think McCain will win.

Thanks to TMR again.

McCain wins 7th grade mock election

October 29, 2008

We live in RI, a very liberal state, so I was surprised to hear that my daughter’s class voted for  McCain over Obama – 9 votes to 8. The teacher voted for Obama so if you include her it was a tie. I am not sure of the results for the whole school.

They gave the kids an information sheet on the candidates. I looked at it and it seemed accurately written, though  in the teacher’s edition explaining issues, which I got from the school librarian,  there were 80 lines written expounding Obama’s platform, compared to 67 for McCain.

My daughter thought there were more positive things written about Obama on the info sheet. I asked her if  perhaps it seemed more positive to her because maybe she just liked Obama’s ideas more.

She said, ” I guess I think he promises too much.”

Then she asked me who I was voting for. I thought she knew I was a McCain supporter already.

 Her mother really dislikes Obama, according to G, but doesn’t like McCain enough to vote for him either.

Are your fitter than my 7th grade daughter?

October 29, 2008

My daughter did a pretty sophisticated fitness test at school.  She is 5’1″ and 80 pounds, though she was 77 lbs at the time of the test. Her body mass index was considered to be very low, and she has been working successfully to gain weight.

So here are her results:


One Mile Run:  9:55 (she came in first in her class for the girls)

Abdominal Curl-Up (sit up)         – 40

Push Up –     16


She exceeded norms in the last two categories.

Spreading the wealth – unintended consequences

October 28, 2008

Bar Stool Economics
A light hearted way to poke fun at the tax system. 
(Reena sent me this)
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.
“Since you are all such good customers”, he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20”. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his “fair share?”
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
“I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got $10!”
“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!”
“That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”
“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. T
The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

Cool free music and other media

October 28, 2008



  I like Ghostly Swim.

What’s wrong with ACORN?

October 28, 2008

I found a website dedicated to reports on what is wrong with ACORN

Is your physician giving you placebos?

October 27, 2008

Good article:

An even more complete list of Obama’s lies

October 27, 2008

This is from TMR (see blogroll).   

So is Barack Obama a liar? Absolutely:

Barack Obama has lied every time he claimed to be able to give a tax cut to 95% of Americans. Barack Obama has lied about being willing to meet with John McCain over public financing for their campaigns. Barack Obama has lied about agreeing to 10 Townhall Meetings with John McCain. Barack Obama has lied about John McCain’s record regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (and his own role in the mortgage crisis.) Barack Obama has lied about his friendship with PLO operative Rashid Khalidi. Barack Obama has lied about his connections to ACORN. Barack Obama has lied about launching his political career in Bill Ayers’ house, and the entire nature of that relationship. Barack Obama has lied when he said he didn’t hear Jeremiah Wright spewing hatred, after claiming to have gone to Trinity Baptist Church “every week“. Barack Obama has lied about what little executive experience he has, the results of those efforts, and so on. The words and actions of Barack Obama never match up.

The impact of temperature on our capacity for kindness

October 27, 2008

Short interesting read.

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