Thursday, April 21, 2005

3 Small Items From The World of Health

From, the none-less-surprising news that Health Savings Accounts, the Bush Administration's jaw-droppingly ill-conceived privatized answer to the rising cost of health coverage, will do pretty much jack for the aforementioned millions of uninsured Americans. Think of all the time and money they could have saved on research if they had just fucking asked me.

And from all over the damn place, the somewhat-more-surprising intelligence that obesity may actually be significantly less deadly than previously shrieked. Given the terrifying prevalence of obesity in the States, this, if true, can only be brilliant news. I do really wonder, though, about the data behind the strangely vague claim that being somewhat overweight 'lessens risk of early death'. This sounds to me very much like what in the study report will have been a statistical observation, sans aetiology, and which the ever-credulous popular health press is pleased to interpret as 'Flab Proven Armor Against Reaper's Scythe!' My personal jury is out, pending further data.

A propos of which, a slightly older bit of terrifying medicaliana: it appears that a new strain of MRSA has broken out in California, which was picked up outside of hospital and which causes necrotizing fasciitis, aka flesh-eating disease. I bring this up because NF is the only case I can remember in my life where the lurid name and scare status accorded by the media are in fact barely commensurate with the actual terror of the disease itself. NF is a scary-ass Stephen-King-inspired horrorshow of a bug, and we must all pray we never get it through any wild and imprudent behavior such as, oh, walking in a field while we have a cut. I am very, very scared of necrotizing fasciitis.

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