Monday, January 15, 2007

US woman dies of water intoxication

Ban water!

A 28-year-old woman has died of water intoxication after taking part in a Californian radio station's water drinking contest. She was in the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" competition trying to win a Nintendo Wii video game system. Assistant Sacramento County Coroner Ed Smith said a preliminary investigation found evidence "consistent with a water intoxication death".

Jennifer Strange's mother found her daughter's body at her home on Friday in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova, California, after Strange called her supervisor at her job to say she was heading home in terrible pain. "She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad," said Laura Rios, one of Strange's co-workers at Radiological Associates of Sacramento. "She was crying and that was the last that anyone had heard from her."

Earlier Friday, Strange took part in a contest at radio station KDND 107.9 in which participants competed to see how much water they could drink without going to the toilet. Initially, contestants were handed 220mL bottles of water to drink every 15 minutes. "They were small little half-pint bottles, so we thought it was going to be easy," said fellow contestant James Ybarra of Woodland, California. "They told us if you don't feel like you can do this, don't put your health at risk."

Ybarra said he quit after drinking five bottles. "My bladder couldn't handle it anymore," he added. After he quit, he said, the remaining contestants, including Strange, were given even bigger bottles to drink. "I was talking to her and she was a nice lady," Ybarra said. "She was telling me about her family and her three kids and how she was doing it for kids."

John Geary, vice president and marketing manager for Entercom Sacramento, the station's owner, said station personnel were stunned when they heard of Strange's death. "We are awaiting information that will help explain how this tragic event occurred," he said.


Flesh-destroying ulcer infection reaches NSW

The first case of a flesh-eating ulcer infection in New South Wales has been reported, prompting warnings for doctors to watch out for the disease. The Bairnsdale ulcer, which kills human skin cells, fat and blood vessels, was first diagnosed in Australia in 1948, on the Victorian coast. Infection rates in the state have more than doubled in the past three years, with 61 people diagnosed in 2006, and cases have also been declared in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Now NSW has recorded its first case - a 42-year-old man who developed the condition after sea-kayaking near the town of Eden in the state's far south.

The ulcer is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans, which is found naturally in the environment. It is not known how humans become infected with the disease, which is common in Africa, but it is believed to be transmitted by mosquitoes. A scab on the kayaker's ankle developed into a gaping wound which grew over five months before he was admitted to a Melbourne hospital last January to have the lesion excised.

Officially declaring the case in the latest Medical Journal of Australia, infectious diseases experts said it was the "first strong evidence" the disease had spread into NSW. "Australian primary care clinicians need to be aware that the ulcer may occur in NSW to ensure early diagnosis and treatment," wrote Paul Johnson from Austin Health in Melbourne.

The finding came as Australian plastic surgeons, GPs, physicians and public health experts set down new guidelines recommending people use insect repellent and wear protective clothing while in disease hotspots. Professor Johnson and his team also advised colleagues confronted with large ulcers to use both antibiotics and surgery. Other new research published in the journal suggests that in a quarter of cases the disease will still spread after surgery if antibiotics aren't used.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter? It is just about pure fat. Surely it should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.

The use of extreme quintiles (fifths) to examine effects is in fact so common as to be almost universal but suggests to the experienced observer that the differences between the mean scores of the experimental and control groups were not statistically significant -- thus making the article concerned little more than an exercise in deception


No comments: