Our system needs many fixes, but when it matters most, there’s no better place to get sick.
The most tedious allegation that critics of the U.S. health-care system make is that we spend exorbitantly for poorer results compared with socialized systems in other rich countries. It underpins the Democrats’ ongoing mission to expand Medicare and levy price controls on prescription drugs.
But these critics distort the truth. If a person is going to get sick — and we all are at some point — there’s no better place to do so than the United States.
Government-run systems simply guarantee equal access to long waits for care.
Take Canada, where I grew up. Patients face a median wait of nearly six months between getting a general practitioner’s referral and receiving treatment from a specialist. While the average emergency-room wait time in the United States is about 40 minutes, ER wait times in Nova Scotia averaged two and a half hours this summer — the highest they’d been in four years.
Detractors of the U.S. health system also tend to ignore evidence that mitigates the United States’ poor performance on some health metrics.
For instance, the United States ranks last among the Commonwealth Fund’s eleven rich countries in life expectancy. But the unpleasant truth is that Americans kill each other at a rate seven times higher than in other high-income countries. And no health-care system in the world can revive the dead.
It’s not just homicides. We’re twice as obese as other rich countries. We die in car crashes and from drug overdoses at nearly four times the rate of such peer nations as Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
There’s also wide regional variation in health outcomes throughout the United States. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that “the life expectancy of Minnesota, a state comparable in size and demographics to Sweden or Denmark, has more similar population health outcomes to these countries than Minnesota has in comparison to Mississippi.”
Then there’s infant mortality, where the United States routinely ranks lower than our peers. Yet countries report births differently around the globe. France counts only the babies born after the 22-week mark, while Poland imposes a one-pound, two-ounce threshold.
In contrast, the United States reports every live birth. And our doctors work to save more premature babies than in any other developed nation. Thanks to superior care and medical technology here in the States, most of those preterm babies survive. And the Herculean effort we undertake to rescue babies that other rich countries don’t even count as live births skews our infant mortality rate higher.
Randy Cassingham gave a heads-up about this sort of technology on his page. Here’s some more of the same.
I may be looking into this, since having one form of cancer is no guarantee against developing another.
Galleri, which is not covered by insurance, costs $949 and must be ordered by a licensed health care provider
Galleri looks for signals present in the blood stream that may be associated with cancer at the time of a blood draw.
The test uses next-generation sequencing and machine-learning algorithms to analyze methylation patterns of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in the bloodstream, which can carry cancer-specific information. DNA methylation is a process used by cells to regulate gene expression. If a cancer signal is detected, Galleri will pinpoint where in the body the cancer is coming from to help health care providers determine the appropriate next steps for patient treatment.
Source: New blood test detects cancers
Continue reading “Puberty Blockers”
If informed consent is one of the pillars of clinical bioethics, puberty blockers fail the test, according to a leading psychiatrist and constitutional lawyer writing in the magazine Commentary. Paul McHugh, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, and Gerard V. Bradley, a law professor at Notre Dame, argue that neither young people nor their parents can possibly understand what they are missing by delaying puberty, one of the most mysterious aspects of human physiology.MercatorNet.com
Friday, I got a PICC line installed. I was told the procedure would take 45 minutes, and technically, it did.
This did not, however, count the set-up and the follow-up. It took about an hour to assemble the mise en place, and then after the line was in, it took another hour for a chest x-ray and to generate the appointments for the weekly dressing change.
However, the line seems to be accomplishing its purpose. Right after the line was installed, it was used to draw blood for my lab tests, and today it was used for the infusion of my monoclonal antibodies. I decided to accept the offer of a PICC line the day it took five tries to get a working IV started. Today, no tries at all because there was a line sticking out of my arm. No need to make new holes.
Alas, there are entities in Kaiser that aren’t allowed to hook up to the PICC. So over Thanksgiving Weekend, I’ll probably have to take myself to a clinic lab, and they’ll have to make a fresh hole in me. Hopefully, after the veins have had a rest, it’ll be easier for them. (Actually, they haven’t had much trouble with a blood draw.)
The PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line is a catheter that’s installed into a vein, and then threaded up to the superior vena cava. This spot is chosen because it’s nice and wide, and when strong drugs are injected, there’s time for some dilution to occur before they reach the wall of the vein. I’m under the impression that the current drugs, a monoclonal antibody and a bone-strengthening agent, aren’t that nasty. But they’ll be diluted anyway.
And so with this, my exploration of 21st Century medicine continues.
Here’s a study on how Ivermectin can be “repurposed” to treat cancer. I’m going to be interested to see if any of the mechanisms of action apply to myeloma. I intend to call a specialist for a second opinion on my case, and I may run this past him if he has time.
Drug repositioning is a highly studied alternative strategy to discover and develop anticancer drugs. This drug development approach identifies new indications for existing compounds. Ivermectin belongs to the group of avermectins (AVM), a series of 16-membered macrocyclic lactone compounds discovered in 1967, and FDA-approved for human use in 1987. It has been used by millions of people around the world exhibiting a wide margin of clinical safety. In this review, we summarize the in vitro and in vivo evidences demonstrating that ivermectin exerts antitumor effects in different types of cancer. Ivermectin interacts with several targets including the multidrug resistance protein (MDR), the Akt/mTOR and WNT-TCF pathways, the purinergic receptors, PAK-1 protein, certain cancer-related epigenetic deregulators such as SIN3A and SIN3B, RNA helicase, chloride channel receptors and preferentially target cancer stem-cell like population. Importantly, the in vitro and in vivo antitumor activities of ivermectin are achieved at concentrations that can be clinically reachable based on the human pharmacokinetic studies done in healthy and parasited patients. Thus, existing information on ivermectin could allow its rapid move into clinical trials for cancer patients.PubMed
There are lots of people dismissing Ivermectin as “horse medicine”, which therefore can’t be any good for humans. I’m seeing memes on Facebook that are making this point in a number of ways.
I chose this meme because I commented on it, and wound up in a comment string that at least four people found interesting.
Welcome to Uncommon Sense, I’m Randy Cassingham.
Thanks for listening or reading, and yes, it’s been awhile! So the first thing is, I’ve definitely not abandoned the Uncommon Sense podcast. I’m just fitting it in where I can. But it is true I didn’t expect a four-month pause!
….This Is True Podcast
But I did say I’m going to start right now, so let’s delve into specifics with something that’s already been announced, but as far as I could tell none of the other attendees at the conference had heard of yet, and it got several of them pretty darned excited.
That has to do with a breakthrough regarding cancer. What kind of cancer? All of them.
August 22, 2019 is the day I had a stenosed aortic valve replaced. The procedure used was a TAVI, or transcatheter aortic valve implant. Think of the implant as a stent with a pig valve in the middle of it. It’s introduced through the femoral artery and threaded up to the location of the bad valve. Once there, it’s expanded in place, crushing the calcified valve out of the way. The pig valve takes over immediately, and the hardware used to place it is withdrawn.
Sweden, arguably one of the most politically and socially liberal countries in the world, has nonetheless taken a giant step toward protecting gender dysphoric minors and their mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine reported on Wednesday that the Astrid Lindgren’s Children’s Hospital—an arm of the one of the most renowned hospitals in Sweden, the Karolinska University Hospital—recently released a policy statement that included new guidelines for the care of youths with gender dysphoria under the age of 16.
The guidelines, which took effect April 1, are profound: They contradict many of the assertions of the transgender lobby, which encourage parents and children to accept that cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers are normal, healthy treatments for minors with gender dysphoria and should be pursued with little hesitation.
MICROBIOME NEWS: Fecal transplant turns cancer immunotherapy non-responders into responders.
Researchers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) demonstrate that changing the gut microbiome can transform patients with advanced melanoma who never responded to immunotherapy—which has a failure rate of 40% for this type of cancer—into patients who do.
I wonder what other cancers this might apply too.