Day: February 25, 2005

Psychedelic medicine:

Mind bending, health giving. As a close follower of the research in the area, I find this New Scientist review of the current renascence of interest in the psychotherapeutic applications of psychedelic drugs hits all the high spots.

Panning for Hope

Sam Smith: “Today the major business of Americans earning more than minimum wage is selling false or faulty dreams to each other. As with Willie Loman and the Yellow Brick Road, this only takes you so far. Then it’s time for something different. One of the reasons Dean did as well as he did because, like him or not, he was real. It was an astounding change from the spinoids who dominate politics, media, and what passes for thought in Washington. As more people weary of fraudulent semiotics, their willingness to rebel may grow.

…The red state myth is the latest form of self-abuse by liberals. In 39 states Democrats are either comfortably ahead or could win by changing the minds of just five percent of the electorate. Further, the number of states solidly Republican has been declining since 1972, not surprising since the party’s strength has been based on unsupportable economic, social, and environmental ideas.
If the Democrats would stop worrying about the red-blue business and start being nicer to people in the red states, they will be on their way to a far more successful politics.” [via robotwisdom]

Platelets Pose Infection Risk in Transfusions

“Americans who receive blood platelet transfusions are probably at a higher risk of contracting potentially deadly bacterial infections than previously believed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report published Thursday.

Doctors are often unaware of the threat, the agency reported, citing a survey of infectious-disease experts last year and a subsequent investigation into two transfusion-related deaths.” (New York Times )

Alarming, Alarmed or Alarmist?

Scientists Outline Research on a Rare Case of AIDS: “In a special symposium arranged to deal with the issues raised by the New York case, Dr. Ho presented his case to thousands of the world’s top AIDS experts at the Hynes Convention Center. He said it was unique not only among all those the Aaron Diamond Center had ever seen, but also among all the cases cataloged in the laboratory at Los Alamos, which collects data of the gene sequences and other molecular biology information of H.I.V. isolates from around the country.

He said that while it was still not known whether the New York case was isolated or part of a cluster, alerting the health department was the right thing to do. ‘That is a decision we stand by today,’ he said.

Some scientists and members of gay rights groups have criticized the disclosure as premature and unnecessarily alarmist, but there is little doubt that the strain of H.I.V. was resistant to three of the four licensed classes of antiretroviral drugs used to combat the AIDS virus.” (New York Times )