Category Archives: medicine

“No root canal for you,” and a note on pain

It looks as if I don’t need that root canal after all, although I really wasn’t fearful of it, as the only thing to worry about with such a thing is the expense. I’ve had one or two before, and there’s no pain involved, and from then on the tooth is fine. But I was spared […]

Jonas Salk’s 100th birthday and the conquest of polio

I was still young when polio was a scourge of the world, and I well remember being terrified of getting the disease and having to spend my life in an iron lung, or walking with braces. The disease peaked in the summer, and we were always told to avoid public swimming pools, where you were supposed to […]

First case of Ebola contracted outside Africa

I’m still not worried that Ebolo is going to become a pandemic outside of west Africa, but this bulletin, just in from CNN, is worrisome: A nurse’s assistant in Spain is the first person known to have contracted Ebola outside of Africa in the current outbreak. Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato announced that a test […]

The only known recording of Sigmund Freud’s voice

It’s always exciting for me to hear a famous person’s voice for the first time, especially when that person was rarely recorded.  I remember when I first found out that there were lots of Dylan Thomas recordings (he’s one of my favorite poets); but I was disappointed when I heard him read his poems in a […]

More X rays: a person eating

Yesterday I said I’d like to see an X-ray movie of someone eating food. Luckily, reader Stephen Q. Muth (Butter’s staff) came through with this video (the link is in a comment on the earlier post): And we get to see the ingestion of both food and drink.

Catholics object to Ice Bucket Challenge because ALS research uses human embryos

By now everyone knows about the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC): it’s a stunt whereby people—including those George W. Bush and many celebrities—get a bucket of ice water dumped on their head to raise money for research on ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or “Lou Gehrig’s disease”), a progressive, debilitating, and ultimately fatal neurological malady. […]

Religious medical nonsense II. African Christians attribute Ebola to God’s wrath

Earlier today we learned about the American propensity to see one’s survival of a disease or an accident as a “miracle” produced by God, while ignoring what that means for those who didn’t survive. Logically, you’d see that as a sign of God’s disapprobation. And, in fact, it once was. In prescientific times, diseases and accidents were […]

Religious medical nonsense I: God gets credit for Ebola survivors

As the New York Times reports, Dr. Kent Brantly, one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the Ebola virus in Africa, and then flown to Emory University Hospital, will be discharged today. That’s good news, and much credit to the doctors, both in Africa and the U.S., who took care of him. […]

Catholic barbarity in Europe

This is a true story from a country in Europe, a country that one would normally deem civilized. The sequence of events is this: 1. A foreign woman (country unspecified) arrives in the European country, seeking asylum. 2.  The woman is eight weeks pregnant, and the pregnancy is due to a rape. 3. The country […]

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: anti-vaxer

What a comedown! Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (born 1954), son of the late RFK, senator and attorney general, has become an anti-vaxer, and a particularly invidious one.  I haven’t really followed his attacks on vax, but “Orac” (the web name of surgeon David Gorski, who’s given me permission to identify him) has, and Gorski has repeatedly attacked the […]


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