Posts Tagged ‘medicine’
A two-decade study of dietary components and human physiology have led the CDC to conclude that, “the all-too-common assumption that the human body is somehow incapable of properly processing gluten – principally wheat gluten – has no scientific basis and rests solely on the documented increasing wussiness of Read the rest of this entry »
Bayside, NY (AP) – A biannual convention of researchers and people diagnosed with the Tourette Syndrome motor disorder erupted into chaos yesterday when a group of attendees began yelling obscenities at one another and disrupting the proceedings.
The Tourette Syndrome Association, headquartered in this Queens neighborhood, was holding its gathering to share updates on research into the origins, pathology, and treatment of the condition, which affects up to four percent of the population. It is typically associated with muscle tics, often including the sudden making of sounds by the mouth. One of the less common features among sufferers is coprolalia, or a tendency to spout rude words and phrases. In this case, they involved an escalating series of sexual and fecal expletives applied to the speakers, the audience, and one another.
According to eyewitnesses, three or four of the attendees apparently had that symptom of the disorder, and reacted loudly and obscenely in turn to certain announcements. Lisa Matlin, one of the association directors, attempted to ignore the yelling and continue her remarks from the podium, but the three shouting attendees got progressively louder and more offensive, forcing Ms. Matlin to wait until the three could be removed from the room. As they were removed, the offending individuals unleashed a barrage of curses and threats, colorfully likening the others present to the waste and seminal emissions of various large, malodorous animal species.
Even among those assembled, who are most accustomed to providing an understanding, tolerant environment for coprolalia sufferers, the outburst was unusually difficult to stomach. Sidney Rudolph, whose eleven-year-old son Trevor exhibits the tendency, acknowledged that he had never heard anyone so vividly and continuously compared to painful, lewd acts with power tools. “I couldn’t help but get angry,” he recalled afterwards, “especially since adults with coprolalia have usually managed to remove themselves from difficult situations when they feel a verbal tic coming on, There was something really problematic about the way these guys handled this.”
Indeed, according to Wesley McInnis, who is both a clinical researcher and who lives with the syndrome, the three men, who have not been identified, might well have exaggerated or completely fabricated the severity of their apparent conditions. “It’s suspicious to me that three grown men, none of whom any of us have met at previous conferences, would all show up and exhibit the same rare symptoms, precisely the ones that would generate the most intense reaction,” he said. “Who would think of sticking around long enough to have people hear you wish them raped by marauding pieces of frozen excrement?”
Dr. McInnis added that the societal view of Tourette Syndrome has long focused excessively and wrongly on the small minority of sufferers who also exhibit coprolalia, when in fact the overwhelming majority of people living with Tourette Syndrome are affected solely by non-verbal tics, and are able to conduct otherwise normal lifestyles.
“%$%# bastards,” he said. “I hope they get *&^ed with a *&^ing !#$@er.”
“Oh, sorry about that,” he quickly added. “I just blurt things out sometimes.”
Atlanta, August 23 (AP) – The Centers for Disease Control has announced new findings in orthopedic research, noting that nearly half of the vertebral fractures among mothers occur subsequent to their child treading upon a crack in the pavement or the space where one piece of flooring meets another.
In a paper to be published in next week’s New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC team outlines its analysis of hospital orthopedics department statistics, which the study says indicate a close correlation between offspring crack-stepping and maternal spine fractures. The study authors did caution that the time interval between the stepping and the breaking has not yet been defined, but that the team currently believes it ranges from fractions of a second to several years.
“The implications of this study are obvious,” noted the lead author, Dr. Mo Thergus. “Beyond mere aesthetics and road safety, proper maintenance of road, sidewalk, and flooring surfaces can now be understood as a bona fide public health concern.”
Houston-area physician Allie Oxenfree, who was not involved in the study, agrees. “My orthopedic clinic sees a good number of back injuries among mothers, and one of my first questions is always, ‘Has your child been stepping on cracks recently?’ It’s been anecdotal for some time, and it’s good to see the CDC doing real clinical research to pin down this important injury factor.”
Others would like to see more research before they are prepared to accept the link between crack-stepping and back fractures. “We saw the same rush to judgment when alligator purses were linked to the likelihood of a doctor-nurse team paying housecalls,” said Lucy Steamboat, currently the head of pediatric orthopedics at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York. “But it turns out the sample size for that study was small, and it involved only fourth-grade girls with a sense of rhythm.”
Bethesda, MD (AP) – The National Institutes of Health has released a new study linking parenting failures with children who suffer from allergies.
Covering research spanning more than two decades, the most recent study reviews and analyzes more than 600 surveys and clinical initiatives involving children living with at least one parent. It catalogs the steep documented rise in the incidence of allergies among children and correlates it with the manifest decline in parenting competence since the Baby Boomer generation’s children began having children themselves.
To ensure that the correlation actually indicated causation and that the link was not the result of third factor, the researchers investigated the prevalence of bad parenting before and after the documented increase in children’s allergies. They found that bad parenting practices increased by a significant margin several years before the spike in allergies.
Certain environmental allergies had always been relatively common, such as hay fever and, to a lesser extent, some dietary allergies, such as dairy or nuts. But in the seventies, eighties and nineties, as exposure to disco, cable television, George Steinbrenner, bell-bottoms, the British royal family, platform shoes, Prince, My Little Pony, the 1972 Presidential campaign, Mike Tyson, the acting in the MacGyver series, and myriad other evils increased and parents failed to adequately shield their children from those malignant influences, the incidence of allergies began to rise. It increased steadily through the nineties and into the first decade of the twenty-first century as parent continued to knowingly allow their children prolonged encounters with such harmful forces as Lindsay Lohan, Dubstep, a New York Rangers Stanley Cup, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey flavor ice cream.
Today, nearly one in four children suffers from an allergy of some kind. According to the NIH report, “this phenomenon can only be attributed to the atrocious parenting exhibited over the last several decades.” The report noted that outside the US, where the aforementioned pernicious influences are much less intense or prevalent, allergy rates are much lower. “In other developed countries, such as Israel or most of Western Europe, the frequency of life-threatening allergic reaction to peanut butter is close to nonexistent,” the researchers noted, pointing out that, for example, Keanu Reeves films and anchovy pizza remain only mildly popular in those locations.
The NIH has yet to formulate public policy guidelines as a result of these findings. Harvard University Professor of Public Policy Barkeen Guptha Wrongtree explains that a good number of the officials who would have to approve, implement, or oversee such a policy are themselves part of the problem, not least because of their own demonstrated failings as parents.
Geneva, Switzerland, July 30 (AP) In an unexpectedly ambitious proposal, the World Health Organization announced this morning that it has formulated a plan to completely eliminate AIDS by the end of this calendar year, simply by no longer referring to it as AIDS.
If adopted by enough countries, the WHO plan could change the face of worldwide public health, eliminating one of the most virulent scourges of the last three decades. By the simple and quick step of changing the name of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome to something else, governments and health workers in such devastated areas as Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia can conceivably reach the point where there is no longer a need to fight AIDS.
“The most effective solutions to complex problems are usually the simplest,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan at a press conference to announce the bold new initiative. “And we can achieve, with this extremely simple measure, what the world has only achieved once before – the complete eradication of a communicable disease.” She referred to smallpox, which, in 1980, was declared eliminated. It thus became the first disease to be removed from the human population through human efforts.
Chan spoke of the funds that could be freed up to focus on research and treatment of the world’s myriad other health concerns. “In just a few short months – weeks, even, if our constituents act with sufficient alacrity – we could already be in the post-AIDS era. The hundreds of millions of dollars that go each year toward finding a cure for AIDS can now be directed toward other worthy ends,” she continued. “We are on the cusp of a revolution in health care and in public health policy.”
In developing the new policy proposal, WHO researchers noted that they were inspired by the way in which American society has confronted its racial tensions. Whereas in the nineteenth century it was common for white-negro relations to be the context for intense animosity and outright violence, by the middle of the twentieth century, the society had apparently outgrown that problem, which was well timed: the country now faced an equally troublesome white-colored divide.
The challenges and discrimination affecting the colored population have all but ceased in the intervening years, however, and the WHO was impressed by how thoroughly the US has moved beyond its troubling treatment of colored people. The latter case was cited specifically in the WHO proposal as an example of how crucial timely solutions can become; as the century progressed, the US found it more and more necessary to address racial issues with the African-American community. That demographic is not listed in earlier social literature, indicating that once again, American society freed up the necessary resources to grapple with discrimination against African-Americans by a timely elimination of its need to fight discrimination against colored people.
The precedents are not restricted to social history. In 1993, musician Prince was rechristened The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, meaning that the world would no longer be subject to any more new creations from Prince. However, in 2000 he began to be referred to once again by the former name, illustrating the commitment that the WHO must demonstrate if it is to spearhead the elimination of AIDS by changing its name, according to Barkeen Guptha Wrongtree, Professor of Public Health Policy at Harvard.
“The WHO and its regional subsidiaries must really stick with the nomenclature shift, or the consequences will be disastrous,” he explained. “I mean, it’s not on the same level of disaster that the return of Prince represented, but it’s still pretty bad.”
Washington, DC (AP) – Responding to growing concerns over access to methods of birth control, the National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines to you today, assuring you that just being yourself would provide all the protection against pregnancy that you will ever need.
A report entitled Useful Guidelines for Libidinal You (UGLY) gives an analysis of the effectiveness of this method. According to UGLY statistics, just being yourself prevents pregnancy and most sexually transmitted diseases, topping even the latex condom in effectiveness. The condom is 98% effective in preventing pregnancy and STDs such as herpes and HIV, while being yourself achieves 100% prevention.
The NIH cautions that just being yourself works to prevent pregnancy only for about 84% of the population. The other 16% are both actually physically attractive and have a personality that does not make others cringe. For that segment of the population, existing methods of birth control and infection prevention remain the recommended procedures.
The NIH report’s conclusions are already enjoying a surprising level of bipartisan support, given the historic acrimony over birth control and other reproductive issues between Republicans and Democrats. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has already welcomed the report, praising it for its candor in touting methods that do not rely on access to abortion or manipulation of the menstrual cycle, methods that make religious conservatives uneasy.
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) also praised the NIH, saying that the UGLY method shows unique promise in his home state, where rudeness and antisocial behavior have long since come to define the local ethos. “New York can be the front line for implementing this strategy,” suggested Schumer. “We’re talking about a state – and especially a city – where making eye contact is generally considered grounds for homicide.” It should be no problem, said the Senator, to let the hostility and awkwardness play its natural role of keeping the population in check.
New Jersey Governer Chris Christie, a Republican, lauded the potential for tremendous savings. “Condom distribution programs cost money, and they’re always a political hot-button issue,” acknowledged the 2016 presidential hopeful. “But who can argue with social programs that actually save money and don’t pit conservatives and liberals against each other?” added the overweight, abrasive man.
Years ago New Jersey actually began a publicity campaign to foster such down-home birth control methods. The earliest successful measure, though limited, provided the environment for Aaron Burr to kill Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Already in the early nineteenth century the Garden State had secured a reputation as a backwater, lawless place, and the two combatants agreed that Weehawken made a suitably unpleasant location to fight to the death. It has not changed much in the intervening two centuries.
More recently, New Jersey played host to The Sopranos, a hit HBO drama involving realistic mobsters, emphasizing the petty, ugly concerns that characterize not only the life of a mafia boss but of every inhabitant of the state outside Princeton. A few years later, the reality TV series Jersey Shore introduced the typical New Jersey characters to viewers nationwide, allowing the state’s residents to bask in the disgust and contempt that has always made New Jersey notable.
The state’s efforts received an unexpected endorsement this past fall when the Nets, formerly of New Jersey, relocated to Brooklyn, demonstrating that some places are even less welcoming than New York.
Chicago, IL, April 24 (AP) – S, an infant born early last week, is already dreading the lifetime of hearing about the discomfort and trouble he caused his parents in the day leading up to his birth.
“I can’t wait for it to kick in,” remarked the nine-day-old, grimacing at the thought, or possibly at nothing. “You’d think world events, or actually amusing things, would make better fodder for conversation, but no, it’ll be decades before discussion of my mother’s experience with me peters out.”
His mother is expected to regale friends and acquaintances with the 34 hours of labor preceding S’s delivery by suction in the wee hours of last Sunday. After the postpartum period, when talk of the labor and delivery is typical of any birth aftermath, the mother’s relatively unusual travails will continue to be described when she wishes to contribute to a conversation about childbirth, or when she wishes to half-jokingly explain her child’s tendencies or behavior.
S’s fears are well founded, says Columbia University cultural anthropologist Beth Nossentrik. “The difficulty of a labor and delivery is a reliable predictor of the number of times the experience will be brought up in conversation,” she explained in a telephone interview. “For each additional hour of labor, a mother can be expected to tell her story an average of eleven times per year in the first four years, with the number gradually decreasing – unless she subsequently has more children, in which case the number actually increases by two until four years after the last child is born.”
According to Nossentrik, other factors can add to the number of times the narrative is rehashed. In this case, she says the fact the labor went on that long without a Cesarean Section being performed has the potential to add anywhere from six to eight occasions for relating the story over the next two years, and twice per year on average after that.
Chicago-area family therapist Hedda Schrinker concurs. “The statistics are pretty robust in that regard,” she said in an e-mail. “Mothers tend to want to share the unusual aspects of their childbirth experience. What I would also add is that the numbers tick up again slightly when she is about to become a grandmother, and do not really come down again,” unless she eventually suffers a stroke or other debilitating condition that removes her ability to communicate coherently.
S’s parents also feature the additional augmenting factor of friends in multiple far-flung places who will need the story repeated to them individually, as they will not be in position to hear it collectively. Shrinker has attempted to reassure S that his situation is not unique, and that many other perfectly dysfunctional parent-child relationships have weathered this sort of repeated rehashing.
“He kind of whined when I said that,” admitted Shrinker. “It reminds me of when I had my second daughter…” she began.
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Cambridge, MA (AP) – Researchers at Harvard have found what they consider convincing proof that it is just fine for complete strangers to make unsolicited contact with the protruding midsection of a pregnant woman.
In a paper to be published next month in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of physicians presents the evidence in favor of people you don’t know from Adam up and touching your pregnant belly. “It’s a life-affirming experience to encounter a mother-to-be, and the healthiest possible reaction is to invade the personal space of that mother,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Leonard Asperger. “Such women have already had several months to adapt to the notion that their bodies are not exclusively their own, and having complete strangers give them an appreciative pat or stroke is just the thing to bring everyone together in a warm moment.”
The study, which observed the social effects of 1,023 visibly pregnant women over the course of six years, cataloged over 4,000 individual incidences of stranger-belly contact. It found that invariably, the mood in the immediate vicinity of the contact improved, as indicated by the number of smiles and the increased heart rate of the pregnant woman. If the contact persisted more than a second or two, the cardiovascular benefits to the pregnant mother were even more in evidence, and if the mother’s romantic partner or sibling was present, those benefits extended even to them.
“The adrenalin increase associated with the touch of the stranger has myriad positive health benefits. The increased pulse can often help during gravidity, when many women experience drops in blood pressure,” the study says. “A consistent regimen of being in an environment where strangers feel welcome to touch the protruding abdomen can help in reducing the need for medication to combat the hypotension.”
According to the researchers, such locales include, but are not limited to, train stations, bus stops, waiting rooms, supermarket aisles and Park Slope, Brooklyn. They observed that the demographic most likely to touch a pregnant stranger’s belly was people over the age of 50. Approximately the same percentage of men and women could be counted on to engage in such impromptu contact.
Asperger intends to follow up the study with an investigation into the positive impact generated when strangers offer unsolicited criticism or advice regarding someone else’s parenting.
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Atlanta, Ga (AP) – The Centers for Disease Control announced a the results of new research into the causes of malignant tumors today, and revealed the striking news that a principal factor in occurrence of the disease is whether or not the patient has uttered the word “cancer” out loud.
In an article to be published in next month’s New England Journal of Medicine, CDC researchers present data documenting about 4,500 cancer patients of various varieties. Of those patients, approximately 4,494 had uttered the word audibly sometime during their lives, and subsequently developed malignancies.
The discovery has both alarmed and excited oncologists and researchers. Forrest Forthetreez, the study’s lead author, said that if the study’s data are accurate, under current circumstances tens of millions of Americans are at grave risk for the disease. “But that’s only half the story. It also turns out that folk wisdom has been way ahead of medical research, and that there’s already a widespread practice to whisper the name of the disease, or not say it at all. My mother still calls it ‘that sickness.’”
Already, the CDC plans several follow-up studies. One will look at different types of cancer to determine whether the effect varies from one variety of the disease to another. A second study will look at populations that speak languages other than English to detect any variations in susceptibility associated with using terms from those languages. A third proposed study, which has yet to receive approval for funding, aims to look for the same effect with other diseases.
If further research substantiates the findings of the most recent study, says Julia Sartan, a Sloan-Kettering oncologist in New York, the obvious course of action is a publicity campaign to educate people as to the risks of uttering the word “cancer” at full volume. “There have been successful campaigns of this kind before,” she noted, citing efforts to get parents to vaccinate children, and anti-smoking publicity. “It can take years, but the impact on public health could be tremendously positive.”
“Also,” she added, “I want to see what happens when the preventive techniques are used in conjunction with the proven ‘knock on wood’ immunization procedure.”
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Zurich, Switzerland (AP) – After more than a century of players faking injury on the soccer pitch, last week a player suffered actual physical harm during a game, and neither the game officials nor the team personnel were prepared. In response, FIFA, the sport’s governing body, has promised to develop procedures in case such an incident happens again.
In a game between Barcelona and Juventus, Barcelona striker Alfonso Peña was attempting to wrest control of the ball from an opponent, and when the latter extricated himself successfully, Peña did as professional soccer players are trained to do: he fell down grasping his lower leg, hoping the officials would find the display worthy of an infraction for the opposing player.
However, through circumstances that remain unclear, Peña suffered a bona fide fracture to his left fibia, and has been sidelined for several weeks while the bone heals and he undergoes rehabilitation. Team officials have had to scramble to meet the player’s unexpected medical needs, as emergency treatment resources for professional athletes within the various FIFA member associations seldom extend beyond massage. Realizing that the situation lay beyond their capacity to address, the referees and Barcelona personnel had to summon an ambulance.
“This was new to us,” Alejandro Muñoz, the ambulance crew chief, was quoted later as telling a local newspaper. “When you get a call to treat someone at the football stadium, your first thought is that it’s some stupid fan who fell, or got injured in a fight – but a real, live, player getting hurt? It just doesn’t happen. It was all we could do to remember that he was genuinely hurt, and not to ask him for an autograph.”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has promised an investigation, including the use of instant replay, to discover what exactly went wrong. “We do not yet know for certain whether the fracture occurred at the moment Peña went down, but that will be the preliminary focus of our inquiry,” he said in a statement released yesterday. Focusing on that moment makes the most sense, explained the statement, given that moments before, the player had been running, jumping and comparing his opponents’ mothers to women of ill repute, with no sign of impairment or discomfort. However, Sepp noted that no reasonable lines of investigation will be left unexplored.
He also said that he had assigned a task force to take the eventual results of the investigation and develop preventive procedures to ensure that an actual injury does not recur. “FIFA is not accustomed to having its players subject to rough treatment,” he noted.
Sepp declined to answer questions regarding the fate of Miskitas Tankakis, the Juventus player involved in the scrum with Peña. “Since we have not yet determined whether anyone in particular is to blame for this unprecedented event, it would be premature to speculate on any disciplinary measures to take against any possible guilty parties,” he told reporters earlier.
Peña himself has said he cannot judge whether Tankakis caused his injury. “I did the ‘wounded’ dance we always practice, but something felt wrong right after I landed,” he said during a radio interview on Friday. “I’ve never felt such pain in my life. We footballers aren’t used to pushing our bodies very far, so I had no idea what was going on. It’s a very delicate sport, football. We players are dainty.”
He said he only other time he ever felt pain anywhere close to the same intensity was seeing a matador get gored in the testicles fifteen years ago. “That still hurts when I think about it,” he said.
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Recurring depression, huh? I’m sorry. You must be having a difficult time. I know you’ve been in and out of treatment for a while, and it’s not really my place to get involved in that, but have you ever considered misguided imagery?
A good misguided imagery facilitator can help you reach some real breakthroughs especially if you’re looking to make that depression stop recurring, and simply be there all the time, the way it should. I know a girl who saw this misguided imagery specialist, and wham! She was confused as hell in no time. Really took her mind off her terminal illness for a while. And my next-door neighbor shouts much more coherently at his TV set now, after he went through a whole series of misguided imagery sessions.
You’ve probably encountered something similar before, but in misguided imagery, instead of taking the client on an emotional, spiritual or psychological journey toward a better attitude or a solution, the therapist focuses on getting you to get hung up on the nitty-gritty, the mundane, the completely pointless, so you don’t have to go through the stress of worrying constantly about mounting bills, emotional trauma, dysfunctional relationships, whatever. That stuff doesn’t matter, anyway, not when there are countless images in the real world, not to mention in your imagination, of the British royal family, the Kardashians, and the latest developments in reality TV.
And the music – you might expect a meditation-like session would feature some music, and you’d be right – everything from bluegrass to country and back again, played at twice the normal speed. It helps the brain process the images faster, so you get more efficient at it. Practice makes perfect! You want that trusty brain preoccupied with following the in-your-face, repetitive, less-than-subtle art form so it doesn’t have time to devote to the sewer that your life has become. Imagine you’re somewhere else and you never have to come back! Maybe even a place like Heaven. They might even play country music there!
I’m no expert in therapy, I know, but I do know you have to watch out for the charlatans. You want to make sure the misguided imagery therapist knows what he or she is doing. That means no one from those highfalutin universities, no way. At those places, they beat the misguided everything out of the student in no time. You need a community college graduate, or better yet, a dropout, with plenty of exposure to the new-age world. Better yet, someone who goes in for conspiracy theories, or who professes deep mistrust of anything that’s been subjected to scientific testing.
I’m glad to provide this information; no, don’t thank me. You haven’t even tried it yet. After you do, let me know how it goes. In the meantime, I’ll be at work, making these pornographic rosary beads.
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The research, which began as an examination of sports-related injuries in May 2010, soon expanded to cover a guy-inspired approach to myriad health care issues. It looked at approximately ten thousand cases of guys in pain, and for each one, determined that urging the patient to walk it off, grin and bear it, suck it up, or similar non-invasive measures, proved most effective.
Conversely, forcing the patient to submit to the emasculating experience of placing one’s welfare in the hands of a “med-school weenie,” as the report called them, invariably results in a loss of manhood from which few recover.
As a result, the CDC will introduce a set of “Play Through Pain” procedures for the treatment of injuries suffered in the course of athletic activity, in the course of manly jobs such as construction, or in the course of standing around watching such activities. The study did no look at the effects of such a course of treatment on women, but it did note an increase in pain reported by patients when a woman touched the affected area, even when, just moments before, the patient admitted no discomfort in response to being whacked in the injured area repeatedly by teammates, coworkers or opponents.
The US military has already expressed interest in a planned follow-up study, as injured soldiers account for a hefty percentage of military medical training and treatment.
Republicans in Congress have welcomed the study, as it may allow them some ammunition in pushing for reduced government coverage of medical expenses under the health care package signed into law during the last legislative session. In the same vein, the Republican National Committee is set to announce tomorrow that it has commissioned a related study to measure the therapeutic effects of channel surfing, the health care savings implications of which are vast.
Little League coaches have hailed the results of the CDC study, saying that it validates what they have long advocated. “Man up, is what we say,” according to Sid Marcus, a Baltimore-area coach of middle school softball and football teams. “You don’t need anything more than maybe an ice pack if it’s really bad, but stop being such a wuss. You think Cal Ripken didn’t feel hurt every once in a while? Lou Gherig? No pain, no gain!”
The CDC also announced that it will study the beneficial effects of administering locker-room wedgies and snapping the underwear waistbands of puny students.
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Chicago, IL (AP) – The American Medical Association, the nation’s oldest and largest professional group for physicians, released new recommendations for patients, under which failing to call to cancel an appointment the patient knows he will miss is a risk factor in cancer and other horrible diseases.
Jeremy A. Lazarus, the president of the American Medical Association, told reporters at a press conference that the organization felt compelled to issue new recommendations after a review of statistics showed a dangerous disregard on the part of patients for the physicians and other patients.
“It’s not only cancer,” Lazarus warned. “Failing to give a reasonable amount of warning that you’re not going to show up to your appointment not only puts you at risk of enmity from doctors and fellow patients; it also means you’re more likely to contract, uh, cancer, herpes, syphilis, measles, smallpox, AIDS, meningitis, and it makes you, uh…yeah, it makes you seven times more likely to catch a bad case of the flu.”
He also pointed to data showing that people who neglected to inform their doctor they would be missing the scheduled appointment were twice as likely to be bludgeoned to death by other patients using rolled-up copies of U.S. News and World Report from the waiting room.
It is unclear what percentage of Americans are no-shows for medical appointments, but the AMA released data regarding the populous states of California, New York, Texas and Florida, showing that of the approximately 19,000 missed appointments in 2011 in those states, nearly 40% were not preceded by a phone call or message alerting the medical practice or staff of the impending absence; of those patients, the AMA eagerly anticipates upwards of 80% will suffer mightily from gonorrhea, mumps, shingles, lupus, sexual dysfunction, gastric ulcers, and several other diseases they haven’t thought of yet.
“Calling ahead is one of the pillars of preventive medicine, which is what modern patient care is all about,” says Stephanie Siegel, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. “In the early years, physicians would focus more on treating existing conditions, but over the last century, we’ve shifted, fortunately, to a greater focus on preventing things from going wrong in the first place. Patients who disregard the basics of avoiding the risks have only themselves to blame” when a truck full of infected needles falls on them from a rooftop, she noted.
Patient groups welcomed the new AMA guidelines, praising the calling-ahead provision as a life-saving measure. “This AMA recommendation is an important step in making the period before a scheduled medical visit a safer experience for everyone,” said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Co-Founder and CEO of the Patient Advocacy Foundation. “It’s been a long time coming, and unfortunately, too many patients have been ill-informed regarding the long- and short-term dangers of not calling ahead, but with the American Medical Association’s unequivocal stance on the matter, we can now work on actually getting people the care they need when they need it, assuming they prefer not to come down with dysentery, Huntington’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, hypertension and maybe even a nasty case of flesh-eating bacteria.”
The AMA guidelines are not unprecedented in the industry. Just last year the American Dental Association issued similar recommendations, focusing instead on lateness. Patients who arrived less than five minutes before the scheduled appointment time were six times as likely to suffer jabs in the gums from sharp implements.
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Atlanta, GA (AP) – The Centers for Disease Control have completed a one-hundred-thirty-year study on diet and mortality, and have concluded that people who consume fruits or vegetables in any form, at any time, will die.
The study examined the lives and habits of forty million Americans as young as two months old and as old as one-hundred-sixteen years of age. The researchers checked for the presence of even the slightest amount of vegetable matter in the subjects’ diets, including leafy greens, root vegetables, and fruit.
The CDC will publish its findings in the December issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is expected to wreak havoc with government dietary and nutrition recommendations.
“It’s like a bucket of cold water in the face,” said Beth Hirschhorn, New York nutritionist and author of Seven Servings a Day. “With the data in our face for literally decades, the entire healthcare and dietary industries have dropped the ball, big-time.”
Wallace Lehmann, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic, agrees. “The field of medicine has focused so much in recent years on treating specific symptoms that we’ve lost sight of the larger picture. And in that picture, tens of millions of people are dying every year.”
Although the study authors urge caution, they acknowledge the overwhelming evidence will prompt a radical reevaluation of prevailing dietary sensibilities. “I’d recommend waiting for further study, but the fact is, no one has found anything that would sever the vegetable-death link,” noted Mort Ality, the lead researcher.
Ality noted that, ironically, scientists had long disparaged one of the oldest indications of fruit as a killer: the Bible itself identifies the consumption of fruit as the very source of human death. “We’re still scratching our heads at that one,” he said.
This is not the first such research of its kind, but the CDC study is by far the most wide-ranging and comprehensive. A 1949 Canadian analysis found a strong link between Brussels sprouts and death before the age of 124, but no follow-up was conducted until 1966, when the research was expanded to include carrots in both raw and cooked forms, with statistically identical results. That study found no difference in death rates between eaters of raw vs. cooked greens.
Already, soft drink manufacturers and animal product marketers have seized upon these results to their advantage. The American Pork Farmers Association and The Beef Council released a statement today that their new publicity strategies will stress the relative health benefits of bacon, ham, beef and other forms of mammal meat, noting that the carnivorous diet has never looked like a better choice, considering the alternatives.
The Coca Cola company is expected to tout its roster of artificial ingredients, and fast food outlets such as McDonalds, experts anticipate, will likely remove the token tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables from its standard burger toppings, instead only including them upon request.
Animal rights advocates and promoters of vegan or vegetarian lifestyles will have to reassess the merits of their health-based arguments, admitted Carrie Ohn, President of Meat Is Murder. “Our position has not changed,” she said when reached by telephone. “We will simply have to appeal to other sensibilities than health.” She conceded she did not know what she would eat, considering that nuts, seeds and other fruit were also shown by the study to be associated with every manner of human demise, including asphyxiation, car accidents, cancer and immune disorders.
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Originally posted November 24, 2010.
Subject: Infant Smith v Mr. and Mrs. Smith
If it please the court:
I am writing on behalf of my client, Infant smith, who seeks redress on the following counts:
1. On 20 October of this year, at approximately 4 p.m., Mrs. Smith knowingly and deliberately separated my client from his source of nourishment, warmth and safety, into an unspeakably harsh environment. Although my client continuously expressed his opposition to this course of action, Mrs. Smith proceeded to expel my client from the premises he had occupied for nine months.
2. While this was happening, Mr. Smith, rather than provide assistance, encouraged Mrs. Smith to continue her actions.
3. In addition to encouraging Mrs. Smith in her mistreatment of my client, Mr. Smith himself seized a pair of shears and severed my client’s metabolism from its source.
4. As a result of Mr. Smith’s act of vandalism, my client, accustomed to receiving oxygen to his cells directly, must inhale a mixture of gases through an untested and immature respiratory apparatus. This mixture of gases has been shown to contain countless pathogens and harmful substances.
5. As a further result of Mr. Smith’s vandalism, my client, accustomed to having nutrients fed directly into his bloodstream, must engage in a humiliating act called “feeding” in order to obtain nourishment: he must hold his mouth a certain way against a very specific part of Mrs. Smith’s anatomy, and repeatedly use his mouth to try to stimulate Mrs. Smith’s endocrine system to produce a substance for my client to ingest. The effort and discomfort involved in both extracting sufficient quantities of this substance and converting its components into physiologically useful materials takes a physical and emotional toll, causing my client to be perpetually tired, upset and uncomfortable.
6. Moreover, whereas before his expulsion my client could efficiently dispose of his metabolic waste products through his circulatory system, he is now forced to expel much of the waste through his own anus, which can irritate his sensitive skin. He lies at the mercy of his abusers in this respect, as well, since only they posses the wherewithal to clean the area. My client’s immature muscular system simply lacks the capacity to address this need, foisted upon him by the defendants.
7. The harsh lighting and unfamiliar, loud sounds of my client’s unwanted new environment further contribute to his discomfort and displeasure.
8. In his rightful environs, my client had no need for garments, but now risks exposure to extremes of heat and cold, not to mention the fundamental violation of his human dignity inherent in that exposure. Here, as well, my client lies at the mercy of his victimizers, as they alone decide if, when and how to garb my client. In addition to the obvious humiliation this engenders, my client has no say in the sartorial selection process.
If it please the court, my client therefore requests his immediate restoration to his previous abode, under the same conditions to which he became accustomed over the course of his entire existence.
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(Originally posted January 2012)
HAVANA, CUBA (Reuters) – Venezuelan diplomatic sources have reported that a cancerous tumor has undergone surgery in the Cuban capital to remove a dangerous Hugo Chàvez. According to unconfirmed reports, the Venezuelan president’s colon was threatening the tumor. The tumor has been incommunicado since the surgery, fueling speculation that Chàvez might still pose a danger to it.
Chàvez is not the first world leader to put cancerous colon cells at risk. In 1985, US President Ronald Reagan was excised from a polyp, and later that year had to be removed from cancerous skin cells on his nose. That surgery had to be repeated twice more when a malignant Reagan threatened other such skin cells.
In 1951, surgeons operated on a tumor in the lungs of Britain’s King George VI, hoping to prolong the growth’s life; its host went into remission and died several months later, guaranteeing the tumor permanent safety from His Highness. Similarly, in 1964 doctors successfully removed King Paul of Greece from a stomach tumor.
According to the World Health Organization, cancerous growths are at risk of harm from approximately one third of the human population, the vast majority of which never undergo treatment or surgery, especially in developing countries where the tumors do not have access to adequate medical care.
In the case of the Venezuelan President, the latter has obliquely accused the US government of infecting cancers with Latin American heads of state, a charge US officials have been quick to dismiss.
Organizations representing tumors have grown significantly and spread rapidly throughout the world, but have nevertheless come up short in rallying people to their cause. Critics accuse the organizations of devouring the meager available resources they manage to procure, with little to show for their efforts but a bloated network of cells throughout the world engaged in nothing but continued growth.
Washington, DC (Reuters) – The Republican Party suffers from Deficit Attention Disorder, the party’s physician, Dr. Hugh Briss, announced this morning. The condition causes a narrow focus on fiscal prudence, often at the expense of greater values. Deficit Attention Disorder affects approximately four of every ten American voters, depending on which political party currently has ascendancy.
Although any healthy political party concerns itself with government fiscal discipline to some degree, the Deficit Attention Disorder-afflicted party assigns it undue importance, explains Dr. N. L. Retentive, a New York political psychiatrist. “A party ends up focusing so much on the Holy Grail of a balanced budget, of cutting expenses wherever possible, that it ceases to be able to promote the values it truly holds dear,” she said in a recent interview.
The diagnosis, however, is not without controversy. Some political psychiatrists warn of the social stigma the party may suffer as a result of the diagnosis being made public. “It would have been better to keep this a private matter between the Republican Party and its doctor,” lamented Pete O’fender, a former Republican National Committee member and now a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. He allowed, however, that such a prominent figure as the GOP being so forthright about its condition might help others muster the courage to step forward, which would be a boon to the makers of drugs to treat Deficit Attention Disorder.
A number of treatment options are available to the GOP, including medication, Democrat-bashing therapy and dissing so-called “welfare moms,” but history indicates the party will most likely opt for whichever treatment rewards its contributors most richly. Already, teams of rival consultants are preparing proposals on how best to parlay this diagnosis into a conquest of the White House this November.
“It’s about time the American people had a President with the common touch,” said political analyst Donald Trump, long an advocate of candidates with less-than-wealthy origins. “Romney can really use this to his advantage, because the guy in office now certainly has little in common with most Americans.” Census data indicate that nearly half of all American births take place outside of marriage, and that nonwhites will be a majority in the US by 2050. President Obama was raised primarily by his single mother.
Trump, in particular, advocates treating Deficit Attention Disorder with Cranial-Rectal Inversion Therapy. That course of treatment has known side effects such as hair that resembles roadkill, and a near-complete loss of ability to differentiate between reality and ego-generated delusions. Some political psychologists note that Romney himself displays the latter symptom to some degree, and surmise that he is leading the GOP in the direction of the treatment Trump recommends.
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Dr. Vlad Drake seems to be a mild-mannered, almost absent-minded man, exchanging pleasantries and technical errata with colleagues and underlings at his lab in Oak Park, Michigan. Simply looking at him, the casual observer could never know that this man practically invented what we know as the modern mosquito.
In ancient times, midges and biting flies did a decent job of spreading blood-borne diseases, but in the industrial age and the humanity boom that the world has seen in the last several centuries, new methods of human population control became necessary.
Governments tried two world wars and several worldwide epidemics of disease – notably the cataclysmic influenza outbreak in the teens and twenties of the last century – with only mixed success. It reached the point that only the Soviet Union under Stalin and Cambodia under Pol Pot seemed to be the only post-WWII societies actively trying to kill off large sectors of its human population in any systematic way.
Clearly, a new approach was needed, and, bizarrely, Dr. Drake was the one to provide it. At first he didn’t intend to invent a flying insect that transmits malaria, dengue fever, West Nile Virus and many other pathogens – he was simply trying to develop a toy for his pet frog. But when the potential for disease transmission became clear, Drake shifted gears and began taking out patent after patent. Today there are 41 different genera of mosquito that account for about 3,500 different species.
That may sound like a lot, but the vast majority of them do not actually transmit disease. Those reflect the experimental prototypes that eventually led to the two flagship groups on Drake’s resume, the Anopheles genus and the Aedes Aegypti species, which together menace humanity with dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever, contributing to millions of deaths each year, mostly in African and Southeast Asia, where human population control is most crucial.
“Nazi Germany killed about thirty million people in six years, but it brought complete destruction to Germany as a result,” noted Saul Honigman, an epidemiologist at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. “But Drake has enabled the use of a tiny fraction of those resources, and, with just a little patience and intelligent placement, has given us a ridiculously cheap method for efficiently ridding the world of millions upon millions of unnecessary people.”
The genius of Drake’s invention, said Hugh Jass, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lies in its self-sufficiency. Mosquitoes do not need to be rearmed or recharged, and move under their own power. They feed on readily available plant nectar from flowers. A second element of genius, Jass noted, lies in “the mosquitoes’ ability to move vast distances while expending minimal amounts of energy, because they weigh so little.”
Drake himself deflects much of the credit, though he does revel in recounting many details of his pursuits, such as naming so many of his creations after his ex-wife, Marcia Anopheles. “As pleased as I am with my mosquitoes – and I am very pleased – I only developed a delivery system for diseases that have always been around,” he said, noting that the pathogens themselves took much more time and effort to create than his whining, flying pest. “When [David] Livingstone created AIDS in the African jungle more than a hundred years ago, that was a stroke of genius. Everyone else was trying to attack the human body directly, but he realized all you had to do was weaken its defenses and let nature take its course.” He further noted that AIDS in effect redeemed a slew of previously failed attempts at creating disease, destroying human immunity enough to allow those erstwhile failures to overcome the weakened defenses and kill the victim. “That guy really should have been awarded a Nobel” Prize for Medicine, contends Drake.
Drake is still working on developing newer versions of the mosquito, including one that can make its high-pitched whine audible from up to a hundred feet away. He foresees it being especially useful in helping landlords get rid of squatting humans.
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