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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

    ''Once you tell people there's a cure for something, the more likely they are to pressure doctors to prescribe it.''
    -Robert Ehrlich, drug advertising executive.

    "Opinions are like sphincters, everyone has one." - Chris Rangel

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    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Been Away: I've been away for a few days at a conference in the mountains of Virginia. It was a conference given by pediatricians, who are always enjoyable company. Next to family physicians, they're the specialty I most like to be around. As a group, they are laid back and unpretentious. They tend to focus on the practical rather than the esoteric, and their conferences are generally very family friendly. This one, given by the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Virginia, was no exception.

    Some of the things I learned:

    The March of Dimes concentrates their efforts these days on reducing premature births, having succeeded in elminating polio (from this part of the world, anyway.) I was a little confused, though. According to the speaker, the two biggest contributing factors to preterm birth are multiple gestations (often from fertility treatments) and a prior history of preterm birth. Lesser factors are things like race, stress, socioeconomic factors, etc. Yet, their campaign seems to be centered on targeting Hispanics, even though the percentage of preterm births is lowest in areas with large Hispanic populations. Hispanics are a large presence in Texas and Arizona, no doubt, but it looks like the biggest problem lies in the South. One factor could be inadequate prenatal care, but none of the indicators seem to have a good correlation to the premature birth rate of various regions, a pattern which suggests that there are probably many small, unrelated causes rather than one huge targetable cause.

    I learned that King Tut had acne, and that for about $250 you can get this device to boil your pimples into oblivion. No one new how well it worked, though.

    And, that top tethers and latches add a lot to infant and child car seat safety. More notes on proper installation can be found here. It's been a long time since I've had to install a car seat, but I always found them somewhat difficult to secure tightly. Judging from the crash test videos they showed at the conference, the top tether seems to do a lot to minimize forward motion of the seat, and therefore, the child. Who knows what they'll come up with next.

    posted by Sydney on 4/24/2006 08:14:00 AM 1 comments


    "The March of Dimes concentrates their efforts these days on reducing premature births, having succeeded in elminating polio-"

    Pardon my cynicism, but my experiences in 30 years of radiation therapy research has been that many of the groups like the March of Dimes are long on collection, but short on effect. I see lots of adds about giving, but darn few aimed at educating mothers, pushing prenatal care, etc.

    Salk and Sabine cured polio, not the march of dimes. Given that, you never want to collect for something easy to cure, (you source of revenue dries up when it is cured.)

    Come on now, why hasn't the March of Dimes continued to fight Polio in the places in the world where it still is rampant?

    Pick on something where you can get pictures that help you collect, where the causes are muddled and complex, and "cures" are difficult to define.

    By Blogger Frank Borger, at 10:35 AM  

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