liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
It's the day after the election. We're probably doomed. And [ profile] ghoti has provided that well-known antidote to bad news: KITTENS! So I recommend you should all go and look at teeeeeny new-born kittens until you feel enough better to figure out what to do next.

I am not refraining from posting about the election because I have awesome self-control, but rather because I have no time. And I want to come at least close to the [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw challenge I've set myself. Hence, kittens.

brief medical stuff; contains breathing trouble; tl;dr: I'm fine, just sore )

Many thanks to everybody who send supportive messages here, on Twitter or by text. I felt really cared for.
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
I went to Prof Chew-Graham's inaugural lecture this week, and it was really interesting so I want to write it up. Prof Chew-Graham is a professor of what's called "Primary Care Sciences", which basically means studying how GPs work. Inaugural lectures can be a bit odd, because they're public events and are meant to be pitched to a general audience, but they're a celebration of someone being made a professor so the subject matter usually has something to do with highly specialized and technical research. Anyway I found Prof Chew-Graham's talk really fascinating; just the list of stuff she's researched in her illustrious academic career brought up some really thinky issues.

I'm not going to transcribe the whole talk; a lot of it was biographical. But I do want to talk about some of the themes that Prof Chew-Graham brought out, because they're really interesting and I think relevant to several of you. Basically she had some really interesting observations about the relationship between medical professionals, particularly GPs and practice nurses, and patients who have long-term medical problems that can't be explained or treated adequately, notably mood disorders and chronic pain conditions.

doctoring )

I hope I've been respectful in bouncing ideas around sparked off by Prof Chew-Graham's lecture. I don't myself have any chronic illness, mental illness or disability, so this is speculation coming from a place of ignorance. I am very much open to be told that I'm talking offensive nonsense here.
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
Some friends of mine have a young baby who is just about approaching the age where the NHS starts its vaccination schedule. They've been reading anti-vax stuff on the internet and it's scaring them.

I have told them that vaccination carries much less risk than the diseases it prevents, and that such risk as there is is about acute adverse reactions to the vaccine, not long-term vague "developmental / behavioural issues", which is a lot of what the scaremongers are talking about, I think partly because that kind of thing is difficult to comprehensively disprove. And most certainly not autism. I have linked to what I consider to be accessible lay information, and to technical research findings from impeccable scientific sources, backing up my view that vaccination is extremely safe.

My friends are not completely convinced because they say that the pharmaceutical industry is motivated by profit rather than health. They are aware of stories of negative trial results being suppressed, of contaminated vaccines and of testing unsafe vaccines on vulnerable populations without proper consent. I can't deny that those things have happened and continue to happen. I've resorted to saying, look, the entire scientific and medical consensus is that vaccines are safe, nobody in the mainstream doubts that at this point. If you're going to doubt extensive peer-reviewed research evidence because Big Pharma and profit motives might have corrupted the hospitals and universities carrying out the research, why pick on vaccines? That line of argument means that no possible medical treatment whatsoever is safe.

I know that a lot my skeptic-inclined friends make a hobby of marshalling arguments against the anti-vax conspiracy theorists. Here's your chance to actually put this into practice in real life. Can you help me save a tiny baby's life by reassuring its parents about their anxieties?

further background )



Sep. 25th, 2013 11:25 am
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
I think working in a medical school may have irrevocably messed up my interactions with doctors.

medical, but minimally disgusting )
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
I've got drawn into a couple of discussions about cancer marketing on Facebook recently. Facebook is utterly useless for having any kind of actual discussion, so I'm moving my long-winded thoughts to here.

cancer is bad, mmkay? )
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
Everybody already agrees that the Daily Mail is a terrible newspaper, and Melanie Phillips is a terrible journalist. However, her recent article about the Liverpool Care Pathway hits a new low of deeply, deeply irresponsible journalism with very real social effects. I'm not going to link to the article, but the title pretty much says it all: No Care Pathway – killing people doctors deem worthless

As a result of this lazy, ignorant, misleading article, there has been considerable discussion of the issues of end-of-life care. I started discussing it on Twitter with [ profile] nanayasleeps, and realized that what I wanted to say about it doesn't really fit on Twitter. [ profile] nanayasleeps linked to Tom Chivers' response to Phillips excrementally awful article, which is reasonable enough in itself, but people seem to be interpreting it as contributing to a debate about the decision to cease life-prolonging medical interventions. That's not actually what the Liverpool Care Pathway is about.

discussion of dying in the medical environment )

So there you go; no matter what your moral views are on this extremely delicate issue, it's got to be better to have the facts available rather than horrible, utterly misleading scaremongering.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
So I saw a sexual health nurse this week. some gynaecological discussion, not too gory )

So the question is, should I insist on sterilization even though I know it will mean a fight (and possibly paying for it to be done privately)? And even though I do take seriously the relative medical disadvantages of that option? It's the greater effectiveness of the coil that makes me lean towards accepting that option even though I would rather have something more permanent. I suppose a compromise is to agree to have a coil fitted, and if it goes wrong in some way, then ask for sterilization as a back-up plan. Or, well, revisit the issue in a few years' time and see if the medical consensus has changed, as well as me being older so less likely to be regarded as flighty and expected to change my mind about having kids any time.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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