Wednesday, 1 October 2008

It's actually quite hard to mess with body chemistry

A brief background, without references:

Many people believe that Vitamin C taken above normal daily requirements can prevent or get rid of colds and other basic maladies. This is substantially incorrect - provided you have whatever your body wants, the rest gets pissed out anyway.

Many people also believe that megadoses of Vitamin C (in the order of several thousand times the recommended daily intake) can cure cancer. This is not only incorrect, but doses that high can lead to kidney stones as the kidneys try to piss out more than they evolved to handle, so should be avoided anyway.

Now this:
Vitamin C may blunt cancer drugs, study finds (ABC News Online).

Suck on that, alternative medicine freaks.

The best advice on diet
ever remains these seven words:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

One misplaced fear, and we have very real unpleasantness

It's finally happened.

In the UK, rates of vaccination have dropped to the point where measles has reached epidemic proportions and entire schools have closed.

In the USA, measles has slipped from "nearly eradicated", where the only identified cases were from immigrants and visitors, to several hospitalisations this year.

Now, in Australia, vaccination rates have dropped to the point where the extraordinarily painfully unpleasant childhood disease whooping cough has spiked (ABC news Online).

Here's the thing: Vaccination works. Vaccination is no more 100% safe than any other medical procedure is (people with blood clotting disorder can bleed to death after taking one aspirin tablet, for example), but it has no confirmable connection with autism, which is the fear that has lead us to this mess.

Not only are individuals at risk, but we're losing herd immunity.

What do I mean by herd immunity? Vaccination is not 100% effective any more than it's 100% safe. But if most people are vaccinated, then there are so few people who are at risk of catching any particular disease - from no protection or from protection that hasn't quite taken or isn't quite good enough - that the chance of any one of them catching it reduces to the point where it probably won't happen: herd immunity. But when the number of vulnerable people increases to the point where they're in contact with each other regularly, we have an opportunity for an infection to gain a foothold. We lose the herd immunity, and this is what is happening if parents are either afraid of vaccines or can't see the point any more.

I'm just glad that my parents were medically knowledgeable and I got all mine.

Link to ABC News Online story "'Unvaccinated kids' linked to whooping cough spike".

Monday, 29 September 2008

Does the right hand even know that the left hand exists?

It is my view that many of the problems facing the disability sector in Queensland - messy service delivery, too many sources of funding, too few funding packages availble for intensive support, a nightmarish collection of sources of assistance which lead families to breakdown point just trying to navigate them all - could be removed or rendered harmless very simply and very quickly.

Here's how:

The right hand and the left hand have to talk to each other.

Example: Housing Queensland and Disability Services Queensland are starting an initiative called 'Housing with Shared Supports' which basically means that two or three adults with disabilities share a state-owned house, and they each get a small amount of support from DSQ which, being shared, means more for reach. All good? Well, although the feedback we're getting from Housing is "This is only one option", and they have lots of forms which require everyone involved to get along, and make it easy for existing residents to veto proposed residents, and they seem to have a handle on the fact that it can actually be really hard to find three complete strangers who can live together peacefully, the feedback we're getting from families is that DSQ is saying "It's this or nothing, so deal with it."

Example: Centrelink have recently introduced a "Special Disability Trust" which enables people with a disability to have a huge (half a million and growing with indexation) trust fund in their name without affecting their pension, and people on a pension to make large contributions without affecting their pension under gifting rules (although were they got the large amounts of money to contribute, I'm not sure - this isn't very useful, it's just there). Except that these large amounts far exceed the liquid assets limit set by Housing, and said person with said disability can find themselves evicted for being too well off, have to spend their savings on renting instead of support services, go broke and reapply to Housing as a crisis situation.

Ever tried to get meaningful mental health support for someone with a different category of disability? Health need to talk to DSQ.

I could go on.

It's really sad when parallel government departments, who each receive money from the same source, can't even exchange memos.

Search This Blog