You can only hope that the very preliminary peace efforts in Afghanistan bear fruit before long. But for evidence that the United States is letting its claim to greatness, and even common decency, slip through its fingers, all you need to do is look at the way we treat our own troops.
The idea that the United States is at war and hardly any of its citizens are paying attention to the terrible burden being shouldered by its men and women in uniform is beyond appalling.
We can get fired up about Lady Gaga and the Tea Party crackpots. We’re into fantasy football, the baseball playoffs and our obsessively narcissistic tweets. But American soldiers fighting and dying in a foreign land? That is such a yawn.
I would bring back the draft in a heartbeat. Then you wouldn’t have these wars that last a lifetime. And you wouldn’t get mind-bending tragedies like the death of Sgt. First Class Lance Vogeler, a 29-year-old who was killed a few weeks ago while serving in the Army in his 12th combat tour. That’s right, his 12th — four in Iraq and eight in Afghanistan.
In so many fields, owing to the Internet-driven democratization of knowledge, we learn that that the power associated with hoarded knowledge has been abused, and the position of leadership – the priesthood – associated with the acquisition of knowledge has been leveraged to manipulate and deceive. “Everything you know is wrong!”
David Freedman has a great article in the Atlantic about medical deception, called “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science,” which focuses on Dr. John Ioanniddis’ dedication to exposing bad science in medicine.
He’s what’s known as a meta-researcher, and he’s become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies—conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain—is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed. His work has been widely accepted by the medical community; it has been published in the field’s top journals, where it is heavily cited; and he is a big draw at conferences. Given this exposure, and the fact that his work broadly targets everyone else’s work in medicine, as well as everything that physicians do and all the health advice we get, Ioannidis may be one of the most influential scientists alive. Yet for all his influence, he worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to change—or even to publicly admitting that there’s a problem.
At e-Patients.net, Peter Frishauf writes a response to the Atlantic article, called “Fixing those Damn Lies.” How do we fix them? The Atlantic piece discusses Ioannidis’ suggestions to change the culture of medical research, and reset expectations. It’s okay to be wrong in science – in fact, it’s almost a requirement. The scientific method is about testing and proving hypotheses – proving can be “proving wrong” as well as “proving right.” Either way, you’re learning, and extending science.
Frishauf also mentions how medicine and science should embrace the Internet “and figure out a way to better incorporate patient self-reported and retrospective data in trials,” which is one goal of participatory medicine. He also suggests “giving up on tenure-tied-to-the-peer-reviewed-literature, and embracing a moderated form of pre and post-publication peer review,” something that came up in discussion when I spoke at the Central Texas World Future Society Tuesday evening. (More about this in an earlier e-Patients.net post by Frishauf.)
Knowledge is not a citadel or ivory tower, but a network that we could all be working, challenging, and improving.
Thirty-six years ago, Ray Anderson bootstrapped a carpet company called Interface. He maneuvered it though the challenging years, and by the 1990s he was a major player, which also meant he was a preeminent contributor to the take/make/waste production system of the carpet industry. “We were digging up the earth and converting it to pollution,” he says.
Anderson devoted his company to “Mission Zero,” a vow that within five years it would “only take from the earth that which can be replenished by the earth, take not one fresh drop of oil in an oil-intensive industry, and do no harm.” The results: Greenhouse emissions declined 82 percent, fossil fuel use dropped 60 percent, water use declined 77 percent, while sales increased 66 percent and profits doubled. Interface realized $400 million in “avoided costs” in pursuit of zero emissions, which paid for the entire transformation.
Anderson’s green business model is classic: Costs come down as innovation–inspired with missionary zeal–goes up, products become better, talent is attracted to your company for its moral and emotional enterprise, and the marketplace perceives the good that you do as reflective of the goods that you make. Most important, Anderson’s real-life model presents an irrefutable challenge. As he says, “If something exists, it must be possible.”
I = P x A x T1 is Paul & Anne Erhlich’s Environmental Impact Equation where Impact = Population multiplied by Affluence multiplied by Technology. The revised equation is I = P x A / T2.
EXTRACT GOOD: Gone from their repertoire are difficult or time-consuming maneuvers, such as routinely hanging bags of intravenous fluids. On the ground, medics no longer carry stethoscopes or blood pressure cuffs. They are trained instead to evaluate a patient’s status by observation and pulse, to tolerate abnormal vital signs such as low blood pressure, to let the patient position himself if he’s having trouble breathing – and above all to have a heightened awareness that too much medicine can endanger the mission and still not save the patient.
EXTRACT BAD: But something has happened in the usually smooth communication between dispatch center, aircraft and hospital. No ambulance pulls up to the helicopter. Reece and Helfrich wait. They wait. The pilots radio the dispatcher that they’ve arrived with a critically injured soldier. Reece and Helfrich, helmeted and inaudible, gesture wildly to people outside the emergency room door to come over. Two other patients have also recently arrived. But that’s not the problem. There’s an available ambulance 100 yards away. But it doesn’t move.
Phi Beta Iota: What has been done in TACTICAL combat medicine in the ten years of constant war has been nothing short of sensational and inspiring. NOTE that it is not just technology, but HUMAN enhancement. This has NOT characterized the rest of the US military nor the rest of the US Government which has the added disadvantage of not having the funding nor the education-intelligence-research mindset needed to enter the 21st Century.
Our government and food industry both encourage more “personal responsibility” when it comes to battling the obesity epidemic and its associated diseases. They say people should exercise more self-control, make better choices, avoid overeating, and reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed food. We are led to believe that there is no good food or bad food, that it’s all a matter of balance. This sounds good in theory, except for one thing…
New discoveries in science prove that industrially processed, sugar-, fat- and salt-laden food — food that is made in a plant rather than grown on a plant, as Michael Pollan would say — is biologically addictive.
Phi Beta Iota: This is a HUGE story that merits more emphasis at The Huffington Post. It is a perfect example of a newly-discovered “true cost” of the industrialization of agriculture which IS a contradiction in terms. It is a perfect example of government complacency, ignorance, and ultimately irresponsibility. This is precisely what public intelligence in the public interest is about.
– availability of information; – availability of opportunities and resources; – skills and abilities; – dependence on cooperation with others.”
In addition, in a review of more than 100 additional studies on procrastination, the following additional items were found to likely to influence procrastination:
– the nature of the task, and
– the context of the issue.
It is these last two issues that the authors raised as primary reasons for procrastination, especially regarding embedding sustainability research and practices in supply chain operations and management. The authors found that “the nature of the task”, because it’s often complex and requires many internal and external stakeholders, and therefore tends to “generate conflicts”. Also, the roots of supply chain management and related research are generally grounded in operations management and operations/logistics. Therefore, the researchers noted that environmental and social aspects of supply chain management are foreign, “out of context” and not wholly integrated into supply chain management and research. I would also argue that dependence on others is a key issue as well given the widespread, outward facing challenges associated with supply chain coordination.
Phi Beta Iota: Public Intelligence addresses this in two ways. First, it harnesses cognitive surplus while also integrating education, intelligence, and research to MAKE the information available to BOTH the public and the enterprises in question. Second, when the public sees an enterprise that is NOT making use of the information, the public begins to buycott (Jim Turner’s term) that enterprise. Public Intelligence is going to shape markets starting in 2012 and starting with Health. See Summit ’11.
Your iPhone or iPad can get me sick around this time of year. That’s because it’s flu season, and every time you sneeze into your hands and wipe it all over your touch screen device, you could be passing on a virus when you decide to share it with someone else. So unless you’re immunized for the season and you keep a small bottle of Purell with you at all times, I’ll be checking out your gaming high scores from afar, thank you very much. I don’t need your Angry Birds to give me swine or bird flu.
Phi Beta Iota: The full story is a very professional concise account with integrated quotes from solid sources. We have read elsewhere that the hotel telephone is the single greatest disease vector when traveling. Tip of the Hat to Marc.
Phi Beta Iota: This is an inspiring story in the context of unlimited wealth and no attention to the needs of the five billion poor–another example of multi-million dollar innovation for the one billion rich when the five billion poor need a two dollar fridge or a single shirt that can shed rain. This is also a hugely impressive example of how good Berkeley is getting at propaganda–this is one of the slickest academic shorts we have ever seen. The beneficiaries are rightfully estactic but the question must be asked: what could this investment of talent and money have done for millions who would then create infinite wealth to allow for a hundred of these advanced projects to flourish?
Friday, November 12, 2010 from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (ET)
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is the Foundation Sponsor for HealthCampDC which takes place on Friday November 12th, 2010.
HealthCampDC is the latest in the HealthCamp un-conference series addressing the Transformation of Health Care to a participatory model with active patient engagement through the use of Social Networks, Open Standards and Web 2.0 Technology. This is part of the Health 2.0 movement towards participatory health care inspired by the definition that Ted Eytan and others (including patients) evolved for Health 2.0:
Health 2.0 is participatory Healthcare
Enabled by information, software, and community that we collect or create, we the patients can be effective partners in our own healthcare, and we the people can participate in reshaping the health system itself.
Join Physicians, entrepreneurs, bloggers and others who are passionate about improving Health Care at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield’s DC offices (at 840 1st St, NE, Washington, DC 20002) on Friday November 12th, 2010.
“We want to make Chinese medicine more acceptable to Western consumers,” Zhang says.
So does Beijing. In August, China‘s health ministry launched a government-backed industry-university alliance to promote traditional Chinese medicine in the global market. As the number of foreign countries already using such medicine rises, exports of TCM are now worth almost $1.5 billion a year, says Wang Guoqiang, director of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
. . . . . . .
One of the world’s oldest medical systems, traditional Chinese medicine views the body as a network of interconnected systems and energies. There is a focus on remedying underlying causes rather than treating symptoms. Presenting it in a scientific manner is a challenge.
. . . . . .
China wants to more than double its foreign student numbers to 500,000 in 2020, from a record high of 240,000 in 2009, according to the Ministry of Education. Some 13.5% of foreign students study medicine, while about 60% study Chinese.
Phi Beta Iota: Our highly classified information, from the Special Compartmented program Oscar Sierra, is not to be confused with the direct channeling from God done by Tea Party candidates. The Chinese think strategically. They are huge. Between exporting knowledge and exporting lusty unmarried men unable to find a bride in China, they will have no trouble at all competing with Brazil, India, and Indonesia for biological and intellectual control of Earth in 2150.