Archive | September, 2012

How to Foster Cooperation

Recently I have came across the book titled Why Society is a Complex Matter by Phillip Ball (Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012). Chapter 8 of the book is titled Love Thy Neighbour: How to Foster Cooperation. Ball states: “Society is a collaborative effort: it works to the extent that we can get along with our neighbours, agree on common goals, and accept shared responsibilities….Yet that seems to conflict with the supposed Darwinian imperative of competition, in which every individual is out for themselves. Long before Darwin’s theory, some philosophers insisted that the only way to avoid the rapacious state of affairs that followed from humankind’s greed and desire for power over others was to impose the restraining authority of the state. Others had more faith in humanity: they felt that God had made people inherently good and rational, and that this for the most part guarantees that our relations with our neighbours are civilized.” Ball goes on to describe how to resolve the dilemma. He states: “This is the basic problem for societies based on the principle of unenforced cooperation: they are ripe for exploitation by those who put self before community… This dilemma has been recognized for centuries, but it […]

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Litigation In the National Health Service for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

An article appears in the British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery titled “Litigation in National Health Service oral and maxillofacial surgery: review of the last 15 years,” by A. Gulati et. al. (50, pages 385-388, 2012). The authors state: “Published data regarding litigation in other surgical specialties are plentiful, but to our knowledge there is little detailed analysis of claims within the specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) despite information being freely available from the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) under the Freedom of Information Act.” The authors used data from April 1995 to August 2010 from the NHSLA. A total of 318 claims were registered during this 15 years. Claims have been increasing in recent years. Of these claims 253 were closed. A total of 137 claims (54%) resulted in compensation with the rest not being successful. The authors state: “Claims were made most commonly for perceived unnecessary pain postoperatively (generally not compensated), dentoalveolar damage (to adjacent tooth or removal of the wrong tooth), neurological deficit, or soft tissue injury.” The findings were that “The total amount of compensation for OMFS claims was £5 162 637; the mean successful claim was £36 488.” The authors further state in […]

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Graduated College Students Having a Tough Time

I have previously discussed how college students today who graduate are having a tough time. See for example the post Medical School Student Costs in the U.S. are Affecting Mental Health,the post College Conspiracy and United States Hyperinflation, the post Astroturfing And How Your Thoughts Are Being Manipulated by Corporate Interests, and the post Let’s Give our Kids a Chance to Succeed. Below is a nice infographic that helps to describe the problem in more detail. Created by:

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Dental Plaque May Trigger Blood Clots

Oral bacteria that escape into the bloodstream are able to cause blood clots and trigger life-threatening endocarditis. Streptococcus gordonii is a normal inhabitant of the mouth and contributes to plaque that forms on the surface of teeth. However, if these bacteria enter into the blood stream through bleeding gums they can start to wreak havoc by masquerading as human proteins. Researchers from the University of Bristol and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have discovered that S. gordonii is able to produce a molecule on its surface that lets it mimic the human protein fibrinogen — a blood-clotting factor. This activates the platelets which then clump inside blood vessels. These unwanted blood clots will then encase the bacteria, protecting them from the immune system and from antibiotics that might be used to treat infection. Platelet clumping can lead to growths on the heart valves (endocarditis), or inflammation of blood vessels that can block the blood supply to the heart or brain. One of the researchers from the study states: “In the development of infective endocarditis, a crucial step is the bacteria sticking to the heart valve and then activating platelets to form a clot. We are now looking at […]

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The Right to Health and Information

An interesting article is written by Trudo Lemmens and Candice Telfer titled “Access to Information and the Right to Health: The Human Rights Case for Clinical Trials Transparency,” which appeared in the 2011 issue of the American Journal of Law and Medicine (vol. 38, pages 63-112). In the article the authors argue that information about clinical trials should be recognized as a fundamental component of the right to health. The authors make a mention of two controversies in recent years. The first is of GlaxoSmithKline and its use of the antidepressant Paxil for treatment of depression in the pediatric population. In 2004, the Attorney General of New York prosecuted GSK for allegedly hiding negative data, selective publishing of positive data, and use of skewed publications to promote off-label prescriptions. The second case is the mention of Vioxx in which the company used ghost-writing and had lack of reporting of data. The authors state “We want to show that a system of transparency of data that allows the free flow of information among governmental regulators, public and private scientists, patient advocacy groups, global research-related public interest organizations such as the Cochrane Collaboration, and healthcare practitioners, is an essential tool for the […]

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