Category Archives: health

is obesity a problem?

I started this post as a reply to the OrgTheory thread on obesity but it got long enough I decided to move it here. With all due respect, I think the claim that “obesity is not the problem” is overstated. I suspect that this overstatement is due in part to medical sociology’s tendency to infer […]

the contraception mandate and path dependency

There’s much conversation about the so-called conscience issues with the contraception “mandate” under the new health care reform act. The Immanent Frame carries a useful set of statements by scholars on the topic. Kevin Schultz is of course correct that the whole matter is trumped up for election-year politics. Essentially they’ve carved out whole new […]

blood pressure, the slavery hypothesis, and social construction

My wife is a physician, and like many doctors was taught in medical schools that African Americans are susceptible to hypertension, and particularly salt-sensitive hypertension, as a result of genetic selection through conditions during the middle passage. I raised this possibility in chatting with Liana Richardson, a postdoc here at UNC, about her very interesting […]

obesity and life trajectories

This morning NPR had a story about this study, which followed high-school grads to age 40. It uses “growth mixture models” (I’m not sure what these are) to identify two latent classes: one of “normative,” gradual growth in weight from normal weight at high school graduation to higher weight at 35 or 40, the other […]

50th anniversary of the pill

Happy birthday, The Pill! (Also, May the Fourth be with you–I’m sorry; I couldn’t help myself.)

coakley, brown, and health care

I’m not sure how to call today’s Coakley/Brown race in Massachusetts, largely because of the difficulty of predicting turnout and, even more so, the reactivity of polls based on turnout predictions. But I’m intrigued by the thread around talk radio and the ‘net that health care reform is “dead” if Coakley loses.

perils of astroturf

Earlier this week I (and, as it turns out, many other North Carolinians) received a postcard from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina: (The rest of the mailing is after the break.) I, like many others, was infuriated that a nonprofit–which, apparently BCBSNC is–was using either my premium dollars or my tax dollars, […]

frontiers of polling and interpretation

Today’s NYT features, on the front page nonetheless, a story under the headline “Poll Finds Frustration on War and Health Plan.” Note that on the website they’ve changed the title to “In Poll, Public Wary of Obama on War and Health.” There are several interesting, problematic elements to the poll and the way it’s presented.

overheard: love in the time of h1n1

“I love you, I miss you, and I can hardly wait until you’ve been without a fever for at least 24 hours.”

the egalitarian u.s. health care system?

Tyler Cowen writes: Since old, high-bank-account white males have lots of social status and power, [believers in egalitarianism] cannot bring themselves to regard those males as holding very poor overall endowments. Cowen claims that the poor old rich white guys’ supposedly “poor overall endowments” arise from the impairment of their human capital at the more-or-less […]

misfortunes highlight how lucky i am

Husband broke his foot on Sunday. Not playing hockey, but having brunch. Unfortunate. We went to the urgent care clinic, which is free (fortunately), because we live in Canada (fortunately), because I got a tenure-track job here (fortunately). While at the clinic, Husband got an x-ray and an air cast (cool!), and he also picked […]

goodbye, dad

I am out at my parents’ house in California this week, working through some tough times again. My father’s battle with Alzheimer’s came to an end, and as usual, Alzheimer’s won. Memorial services for my dad will be tomorrow. I am so thankful that I arrived in time to see my dad one last time, […]

if not thankful, glad

It’s not Thanksgiving up here, and perhaps that’s for the best. I was so sick with a stomach virus that I had to cancel my undergrad class on Thursday, although my grad class could carry on without me. I have been various degrees of horizontal since Wednesday, and every time I feel better, I eat […]

check your poop lately?

The Ontario Ministry of Health has a new public health project that encourages people to screen themselves for colorectal cancer. Ontarians over 50 can get a free home-test kit to check for blood in their stool, an early sign of the disease. Testers collect samples of their own poop for three days in a row, […]

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