Category: Correspondence

Is “unconfound” a word?

It is now. Benson Hausman, MD, forwarded this study from BMJ Open Access concluding that cannabis use  in concert with tobacco and/or opiate use causes the cardiovascular system to age. This could be a boon to the Prohibitionists, generating headlines like “Pot Link to Heart Damage.”  Albert Stuart Reece and colleagues at the School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences at Western Australia University gathered data on 1163 patients at a Brisbane addiction clinic —only 11 of whom were “cannabis only” smokers. The authors unconfound many confounding factors by statistical analyses that leave your correspondent more confounded than ever....

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Another look at “The Gene Myth”

We recently quoted the definition of reductionism provided by Elijah Wald and Ruth Hubbard in “Exploding the Gene Myth.”  Asked if their line had changed since the book was published, Wald replied: Ruth was the scientist, so I would not try to speak for her, but it’s safe to say our basic position on reductionism has not shifted — the idea that people are their genes is simply wrong. We’d also note that there continue to be rah-rah stories that don’t stand up to examination — just a couple of weeks ago my local paper had a story about...

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Cannabis and Cardio Risk (MRIN)

More Research is Needed, according to this paper published January 23 on the website of Annals of Internal Medicine: Associations Between Marijuana Use and Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Outcomes: A Systematic Review  by Divya Ravi, MD, MPH; Mehrnaz Ghasemiesfe, MD; Deborah Korenstein, MD; Thomas Cascino, MD; and Salomeh Keyhani, MD, MPH Background: Marijuana use is increasing in the United States, and its effect on cardiovascular health is unknown. Purpose: To review harms and benefits of marijuana use in relation to cardiovascular risk factors and clinical outcomes. Data Sources: PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library between 1 January 1975 and 30...

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MBC Won’t Prune its Diseased ‘Decision Tree’

The agenda for the upcoming meeting of the Medical Board of California (MBC) —to be held at a hotel near the San Francisco Airport January 18-19— makes no reference to further discussion of the board’s recently adopted ” Guidelines for the Recommendation of Cannabis for Medical Purposes.” I emailed MBC Executive Director Kimberly Kirchmeyer as follows: At the previous meeting a plan was made to discuss at this meeting the wording of an “Agreement” between patients who receive cannabis approvals and the physicians issuing such approvals. But I don’t see such a discussion on the agenda. Am I missing...

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A most revealing lede

There’s a serious error in David Leonhart’s op-ed in the New York Times bidding farewell to 2017: I expect that future historians will look back on it as one of the darker non-war years in the country’s history — a year when the president lied constantly, America’s global influence suffered… How do Leonhardt and the Times’s editors and fact-checkers and style book define “non-war?”  The Pentagon acknowledges that US military personnel are fighting seven wars (in concert with US contractors) and maintaining bases in more than a hundred foreign countries. We, the people, spent countless billions in 2017 on...

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