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Just the Facts

Heart Attacks ’R Us

Pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Mannheim found the perfect venue for its doctors’ conference on heart attacks in Bethesda, Maryland, last April. Not the National Institutes of Health. Instead, they booked Ruth’s Chris Steak House just down the block. Maybe next they’ll hold a conference on salmonella at a chicken restaurant.

Viagra for the Needy

Wall Street exec Alan “Ace” Greenberg donated $1 million to New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery to buy Viagra for those who cannot afford its $10-per-pill price tag. The 70-year-old chairman of brokerage Bear Stearns did not say whether he’s tried it himself but did mention that he owns stock in Pfizer, Inc., Viagra’s manufacturer.

Eli Lilly Scraps Beef and Pork Insulin

Eli Lilly and Company has discontinued its mixed beef-pork insulin products, due to declining interest in animal-derived products since the availability of human insulin. Those who switch from animal to human insulin may get better control of their blood sugars and may need a dose that is 10 to 20 percent lower because of reduced immune reaction responses to the human variety.

Japan’s Oldest Person Dies

Japan’s oldest person has died at age 114. Suekiku Miyanaga was born April 7, 1884. A vegetarian, she enjoyed singing and dancing, and played the three-stringed shamisen guitar until she was 107. Japan enjoys the world’s longest life expectancy—83 years for women and 77 years for men.

Tap Water and Miscarriages

Researchers in Oakland and Emeryville, California, found that women who drank tap water had a higher than normal risk of miscarriage. According to the March issue of Epidemiology, the risk was double for women drinking six or more glasses of tap water per day. Bottled water did not increase risk. The problem was not caused by chlorine, but exactly which part of the tap water did the dirty work was unclear. Water in other California regions was not linked to miscarriages.

Scientists Bypass Children, Focus on Monkeys Instead

Dario Maestripieri of Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Kelly A. Carroll of Berry College in Rome, Georgia, aim to find the answers to child abuse and neglect, not by observing human parents and children, but by studying what would make a captive pigtail macaque or sooty mangabey abandon her young. “Promising animal models of [child maltreatment] are already available, and new ones can and must be developed,” they wrote in the May edition of Psychological Bulletin.

The Seamy Side of Eggs

What to do with the 250 million laying hens whose egg production slacks off each year? “Render” them and feed their remains to other chickens, say researchers funded by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association of Tucker, Georgia. Researchers also found that spent laying hens can be fed to alligators, although the alligator market is not big enough to consume that many hens.

Internship Still No Fun

A survey of 1,277 doctors-in-training who had just completed their internships found that 70 percent had observed a colleague working in an impaired condition, usually lack of sleep, and 45 percent had seen another individual falsify a medical record during his or her internship year. Fully 93 percent reported at least one episode of mistreatment, 53 percent had been belittled or humiliated by a more senior resident, and 63 percent had experienced sexual harassment or discrimination.

Daugherty SR, Baldwin DC, Rowley BD. Learning, satisfaction, and mistreatment during medical internship. JAMA. 1998;279:1194-1199.

Autumn 1998

Autumn 1998
Volume VII
Number 3

Good Medicine

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