July 22, 2007


My other post on alcohol has proven to be very popular... it's on the second page of Google if you type in "Alcohol allergy!"  :)
Here's some other facts about alcohol that you probably should know:
12-ounce bottle of beer = a 5-ounce glass of wine = a 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor = 11-14 grams of alcohol.
>60 grams per day for ~2-4 weeks leads to fatty liver (steatosis)
>80 g/d for ~2-4 weeks leads to alcoholic hepatitis
>160 g/d for ~2-4 weeks leads to cirrhosis
Drinking a six pack of beer a day can turn your liver from an efficient energy producing machine into a fatty sludge.
A beer gut might just be a superficial symptom of underlying pathology.  While steatosis is reversible, cirrhosis is not.  When your liver starts building up scar tissue, blood that normally comes from your gut is shunted to other places.  Blood waste products build up in your blood stream and you might turn a sickly shade of yellow (jaundice) or start having mental difficulties (hepatic encephalopathy.)  You might bleed into your stomach and start vomiting up a lot of blood (hematemesis due to esophageal varices.)  You might get hemorrhoids and you bleed out of your rectum.
Not pleasant.
The lesson -- if you decide to drink, drink in moderation.

July 12, 2007

Gupta v Moore on "Sicko"

Michael Moore has a new movie out, entitled "Sicko." It speaks out about the current situation of our health care system in the U.S. My class is having a summer outing to go and see the movie tomorrow, but I won't be able to make it. However, the movie is not far from my mind. I'm currently volunteering at two homeless clinics and I'm reminded almost daily how difficult it is for these people to get good, reliable health care. Having universal health care would be a great step in the right direction. In some ways, they sort of have this already, in the form of ER visits. Our country does not turn anyone away from the emergency room... but I sometimes wonder what happens in other countries with socialized medicine. Are they rejected at the door if they aren't a citizen that pays taxes? Why do a lot of companies provide health insurance supplemental to that provided by the government?

Dr. Gupta wrote a story for CNN about how Michael Moore "fudged" some of his facts. They played his piece right before inviting Moore to respond and he went OFF.

Moore is a very passionate person. He's great with theatrics too, accusing CNN of failing to do it's job in fair reporting, trashing Fahrenheit 9/11 and now his new movie, when they both will be shown to be right on the dot... he was even pushing to get them to apologize to the American public for pandering. I don't think he ever means to be deceitful and if there's anything that will rile him up... it's lies. Accusing him of lying is probably the worst button you could push. I think he speaks the truth on his facts. I also agree with an assertion by Dr. Gupta made a few days after the initial report that Moore "cherry-picks" his data. Michael Moore is a movie-maker and documentarian..ist? He is not a scientist... he doesn't spend his time publishing factual journal articles. What he has proven to be very good at though... is simply getting people to talk about important issues. :)

Dr. Gupta's reply can be read here: http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/blogs/paging.dr.gupta/2007/07/my-conversation-with-michael-moore.html
He made an admission that he misspoke on Sicko's claim of Cuba's health care cost per person as $25... when in fact, the movie said it was $251, the same value that he quoted.

One of the things I found most interesting was reading the replies on Dr. Gupta's blog.
If you admire this man, then why were you nit picking his movie? It seems to me that you should try to make his data better.

As a former overweight American, I think Michael Moore should follow the path I took and lose some weight. Obesity is the best example of preventative medicine. I appreciate Mr. Moore doing a film on our healthcare system, and agree we need an overhaul of the system. That being said, it is ridicule that Mr. Moore constantly assails the government yet thinks they are capable of running a healthcare system.

...But the most important thing is that people in those countries can buy private healthcare for a fraction of what American people do. The reason is that there is not an oligopoly as there is in the US. Another thing is that in all these countries to study to be a physician is basically free for the student.

Whoa, really? I'd like to have free healthcare and FREE HEALTHCARE EDUCATION. Now, that would be a truly rewarding public service!