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Comment: Re:hmmmmm (Score 4, Informative) 390

by BigDukeSix (#47604461) Attached to: "Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

Okay, I'll feed the AC troll.

I'm not talking about "most rashes"; real physicians have words to describe different kinds of rashes. The word that describes the rash of Ebola is "purpura." The distinguishing feature of this kind of rash is that when you push on it, it doesn't stop looking like a bruise. That is because the blood isn't contained within blood vessels that can be pressurized and allow the blood to be pushed out of the way. Because IT'S A FUCKING BRUISE.

Once blood leaves the vasculature, it is broken down into a couple of proteins. Hemosiderin is taken up by white blood cells. Biliverdin turns your turds brown (eventually). They make your bruises turn "black and blue" and eventually yellow. This takes days and is the reason why purpuric rashes don't fade immediately in response to anything.

You are conflating "hives" and "purpura." Kindly pay tuition if you want to continue.

Comment: hmmmmm (Score 3, Interesting) 390

by BigDukeSix (#47603385) Attached to: "Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola
It seems possible that a monoclonal antibody might have a dramatic effect on virus replication. Since Ebola makes one ill by direct cell destruction it might even make one feel better quickly. But the rash comes from bleeding under the skin (it's the same as any big bruise you might have had). It makes no sense that it should fade immediately from the administration of a monoclonal against the virus. I hope this drug is successful in a trial, but at least that part of the article is suspicious.

Comment: Re:Easy solution (Score 1) 453

by BigDukeSix (#45492425) Attached to: Imagining the Post-Antibiotic Future

I don't disagree with the general premise that reducing antibiotic use in livestock would be helpful in reducing the emergence of resistant strains of bacteria. I have to take issue, though, with the assertion that even eliminating entirely their use in the food industry would provide any sort of enduring solution. It would not.

The dirty little secret about antibiotic resistance that no one wants to talk about is this: resistance emerges from repeated use of different antibiotics in the same human, many of whom are not supposed to (according to nature) survive anyway. This group includes critically ill or injured people, cancer patients, patients with chronic organ failure, and most importantly old people. All of these groups have the common characteristic of impairment of immune function.

Antibiotics don't really "cure" infection. They kill enough of the circulating organisms so that the host immune system can take care of the rest. Some very good antibiotics don't kill any bacteria, they just stop replication. So if you actually wanted to create a petri dish for resistant organisms, you would take a host with poor immune system function, infect it, and give antibiotics that kill most of the bacteria and let the rest play on.

In this regard, the best possible "petri dish" is the transplant recipient. In something of a bittersweet triumph for modern medicine, the exact mechanism by which VRSA (vancomycin-resistant Staph aureus) would later emerge was predicted, carried out in the lab in an elegant esperiment which demonstrated the mechanism (plasmid exchange of the VanA resistance gene from VRE into Staph), and later confirmed when the first case emerged, in the Transplant ICU of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (ironically where transplants were originally perfected).

Biological systems have tons of complexity so there will be new drug targets in the future, but the obvious ones have been hit by now, so new drugs will be more expensive. The balanced approach would be to reduce antibiotic use on the human end, which inevitably brings up discussion of limits of care and "death panels." It is no accident that these pathogens tend to emerge in the U.S., where such discussion is difficult with our demographics, and where the entire population (doctors included) holds an almost mythical belief in the power of antibiotics. All they do (seriously) is rearrange the population of bacteria that inhabit your body. Sometimes that helps, a lot. We need to be honest about when those times really occur.

tl;dr Stop all the use of these drugs in livestock and you will only change the rate of emergence of resistance, not the fact. This problem is not going to go away.

Comment: Re:Oblig. (Score 3, Interesting) 268

by BigDukeSix (#44731045) Attached to: More Bad News From Fukushima
These are really big doses we are talking about, in the range of what external-beam radiotherapy uses to destroy tumors. When stating that four hours' dosage at this level is likely to be lethal, this means "likely to be lethal by acute radiation sickness with death occurring in days." In reality, much shorter exposures are likely to be lethal from induced cancers (leukemia and thyroid cancers being common). It will just take longer for those people to die. I suspect that most of the workers who have been on site to this point have likely had their fates sealed.

Comment: Re:A cynic's view (Score 1) 637

by BigDukeSix (#44561503) Attached to: Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault
I'd be "amazed how difficult it is to track accumulated values"? Are you fucking serious? Are you suggesting that the insurance companies that host this software don't know what patients are paying out-of-pocket down to the last decimal point? The rest of your post is just meaningless legacy code bullshit- there is simply no way that insurance companies haven't put customer out-of-pocket payments into their business models, which makes your whole point inane.

Comment: Re:Bullets but not wheel weights?: (Score 2) 780

by BigDukeSix (#44489957) Attached to: NRA Launches Pro-Lead Website
This right here is the most important point I have seen raised. It is the shooters that need to be concerned, especially when firing at an indoor range. Some small amount of lead is vaporized with every shot; you can easily smell the difference between jacketed and bare lead rounds. My city recently banned the use of unjacketed and semi-jacketed rounds at indoor ranges for this reason; nobody seems to be complaining.

Comment: Re:Missing option: no outages here. (Score 1) 398

by BigDukeSix (#43808427) Attached to: I am fairly prepared for a storm outage of ...

I envy you for that, and agree with you that power around here should be considered unreliable (else I wouldn't have a whole-house generator!). For this service I pay 14.3 cents/kwh. If I lived 50 miles further inland I could have buried power lines too, but the job is here by the coast. At least I don't really have to worry about tornadoes.

Comment: Re:Missing option: no outages here. (Score 2) 398

by BigDukeSix (#43786973) Attached to: I am fairly prepared for a storm outage of ...

I suspect your experience has less to do with "proper power supply," whatever that means, and more to do with peculiarities of the coastal geography where you live. Around here we have this thing called storm surge. Because the continental shelf is very broad and very shallow, at Cat 5 will pile up 30-40 feet of water that will absolutely inundate all underground infrastructure (imagine a tsunami that lasts twelve hours) . We do put stuff underground, but not anything important.

Comment: Re:none (Score 2) 262

by BigDukeSix (#40959341) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Position To Work For Long Hours?
It is important to change positions in the correct way. If it's your lower back that starts hurting, you should switch chairs, stand up, or otherwise change your seating position. Everyone has favorite ways of dealing with this, or you simply don't become a computer geek.

The upper back and neck are a different story. Pain in these muscle groups is related to bad arm mechanics and is only partially related to your chair selection. You also need to change the height of your keyboard and mouse relative to your shoulders, so that at least some of the time your elbows are not hanging below your wrists.

This is especially important if you use your mouse a lot. Many people, over time, start to relax their shoulder muscles such that your wrist, sitting on your desk, becomes a primary support for the weight of your arm while only the hand moves freely. The elbow and arm then pull down on the shoulder joint, stretching the shoulder ligaments and eventually stretching the 11th cranial nerve. You feel this as the awful aching pain at the junction of the shoulder and neck, as well as between the shoulder blade and spine (the trapezius muscle is the downstream target of this nerve). I have heard this called "mouse shoulder."

To combat this you should try to have your elbow and wrist supported at the same height, like on a side table. Varying your chair height then varies your arm mechanics quite a bit.

Comment: Re:I have an organ donor card... (Score 1) 516

by BigDukeSix (#39325659) Attached to: When Are You Dead?
You've been modded to +5, so at least a few other people share your belief that there are other tests that are in some way better. This reflects a typical belief on Slashdot, that the people who spent time creating a solution somehow didn't think of what took you all of five minutes. Brain death is not a subjective determination about one's quality of life after brain injury. It's meant to determine whether or not it's just the machine's that are keeping you alive, without actually killing you.

Recall that the brain may divided into the cerebrum, or "monkey brain," where all of the higher functions that make us human live; and the medulla, or "lizard brain," where all of the lower functions that keep us alive live. By the time we're talking about brain death determination, the monkey brain is gone. This is an unresponsive patient, off all sedating meds for several days, whose EEG shows at best sporadic activity (EEG will only truly flatline once the heart stops providing blood flow). You should have had an EEG before you ever get to this point.

The "wet willy" test is meant to excite the oculogyric reflex, where cold water gets the fluid in your semicircular canals convecting just a bit. The reflex makes your eyes move as part of the (lizard-brain mediated) attempt to remain standing in what is perceived as a loss of balance. The "shut off your air" part is to see if you retain the deepest held mammalian reflex, the drive to breathe, which is biochemically mediated by retained carbon dioxide.. Neither of these has anything to do with the cerebrum. If you can't do these things, you really are dead.

The fact that someone somewhere fucked up and nearly killed someone isn't really news. Nor does it really bear on the subject of whether or not "brain dead is really dead." The alternative is to waste away, unresponsive, on a ventilator, until you die of overwhelming infection. You have to set the standard somewhere.

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor

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