Monthly Archives: May 2009

Cocaine and Addiction

I chanced upon this article. Its subject is the advisability of legalizing marijuana. It’s at the usual level of coherence that typifies public discussion of the subject. It sees no conflict between an individual’s right to engage in behavior that harms only himself and society’s right to stop him, indeed to lock him up for…


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Drowning in a Sea of Similes

Before turning the last page, I’ve been trying to reread some of the masterpieces of literature that I was force fed as a youth when ill equipped to digest them. The past few months I’ve been chewing on French literature. I started small (in length not quality) with Stendhal and Flaubert. The Rossini crazed Stendhal…


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Recording of the Week: Roberto Sierra "Fandangos"

Born in Puerto Rico in 1953, Roberto Sierra studied with György Ligeti in Germany. He currently is professor of composition at Cornell University. His music has been played by many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras. Recorded in 2008 by Albany Records the disc begins with Sierra’s 2002 composition Fandangos. Mainly based on a fandango…


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Licorice and Hypokalemia

I’ve been asked about licorice and hypokalemia. So here’s the short answer. The adrenal cortex make two classes of steroids – glucocorticoids (cortisol) and mineralocorticoids (aldosterone). Steroid hormones initiate their effect by activating an intracellular receptor. I’ll limit my discussion to the effect of aldosterone on the principal cell of the cortical collecting tubule. There…


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Cola and Hypokalemia

Belonging in the same category as “Repeatedly Banging Your Head against a Brick Wall Can Cause Headaches” is the report “Excess cola can cause super-sized muscle trouble“. Briefly, the article describes a paper soon to be published from Greece which reports two patients who developed hypokalemia associated with drinking huge amounts of cola soft drinks….


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Reality Strikes

The May 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine contains an article, Picking the Right Poison — Options for Funding Health Care Reform, that sets a new tone for the journal. It looks at health care reform through a clear lens. Funding universal health care is going to cost a lot of money. Be…


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Recording of the Week: Gubaidulina Offertorium

Born in Chistopol in the Tartar Republic of the Soviet Union in 1931 Sofia Gubaidulina is a composer now living in Germany. She has a large reputation among a relatively small number of lovers of contemporary music. Her music has been championed by Gidon Kremer who is the soloist on this recording of her violin…


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Follow-up

Recently I posted an article I wrote in 1997 – We Lose Money on Every Car We Sell But Make It Up In Volume or The Accountant Ascendant. In it I mentioned that a study (published in 1996) concluded that the CPI was underestimating the true degree of inflation by 1.1%. Now another report concludes…


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A More Efficient Medical System

I was going to call this “Brooklyn Bridge Still for Sale”, but thought that I might be besieged with offers so I changed it to the more prosaic one above. Our troubles with the high cost of medical have been solved. The American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and the American Hospital Association are…


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Acute Kidney Injury and Clinical Outcomes

A paper in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Acute Kidney Injury Predicts Outcomes of Non–Critically Ill Patients, examines the effect of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) on the clinical out comes almost 6000 patients at a community teaching hospital affiliated with Yale. AKI was deined as an increase in serum creatinine of at least 0.3mg/dL over 48…


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