The “best buy” in public health for the West «

I spend over $200/mo so my family can have a common physical activity/sport we all do together (taekwondo). This in addition to the occasional mountain hikes or walks through the Biltmore estate we carry the children on. It’s the best money we can spend right now behind basic survival.

Some of the earlier epidemiological studies were done on the effect of exercise on heart attack rate in Britain. This was one of those results that passed the “interocular impact test” (smacks you between the eyes): no minuscule effect which has to be heavily powered to see.

Though done in the ’50s, those studies are as important today as ever. The Stats blog has the scoop.

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Exercise update

Well, the third part of my new year’s resolution (yeah, remember those?!) — blogging — hasn’t gone so well. Neither this blog nor my professional blog over at Realizations has gone so well, at least in terms of frequency of updating. It’s not that I don’t have things to say, but, let’s just say that I’m out either doing the things I intended to journal about or paying the price of not getting laid off in a nasty economy. I’m thankful for that problem as opposed to the other side.

After kicking around the idea for a year, I decided to get back into taekwondo. (Ok, so pun intended.) As it turns out, my wife dropped by the local taekwondo studio a few weeks ago and really liked the place, so now 3 out of our 4 family members are going. About 28 years ago, I stuck with it long enough to get an orange belt, and now I’m starting over. This will give me a chance to refine technique and unlearn some bad habits established a while back (not necessarily as part of my childhood class). It also gives me a chance to practice beginner’s mind, which I can stand to practice far more often than I do, and if I get really creative I can figure out how to apply the principles of Anusara yoga to the practice. And the black uniforms rock.

Dong-A wants you to stay up,

if you know what I mean. But, I have to give them a heartfelt congratulations on their “positive results” for their new “long-acting” drug. I’m glad they met all their “endpoints.”

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Silver-tongued execs or gullible shareholders?

Somehow this just strikes a sour chord with me. I mean, any clinical trial in the development of a drug is a gamble. The odds are worse than high-stakes poker.

The kicker: Nuvelo expects further similar suits. I smell a rat.

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After that, you will die of a heart attack

I have no idea what this is all about. With 4 grams of transfat per doughnut, I think I’ll be gagging over the toilet rather than, well, just click the link.

h/t apostropher, who else?

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While I lay here sick, I speculate on the future of my industry

Of course we are all a bit concerned about job security. So it’s been with a bit of interest that I’ve been keeping an eye on Eye on FDA and other pharma blogs to catch up on the latest of drug development legislation, industry pipelines, and anything else that might affect the industry. Granted, I’m not as jumpy as drug/biotech investors, because I’ve seen enough about how risky trials are and know exactly how little I know about investing, and considering the minefield of insider trading, I keep out of drug/biotech stocks entirely.

The thing is, translating changes in the pharma industry to changes in the CRO industry (where I work) is not straightforward. Granted, CROs depend largely on pharma companies for revenue (and on government contracts for most of the rest), so the two are related, but few news analysts ever discuss how CROs are going to react to news about pharma. Needless to say, I’ve been a little nervous about R&D budgets. However, Steve Nissen Thomson Centerwatch seems to think that R&D job cuts in pharma are going to lead to more business for the larger CROs. That sounds nice on the surface, but I keep wondering what this will mean for the smaller CROs.

In the near future, I’ll probably continue with the light posting schedule. It’s probably time for a new installment of my review of Neil Miller’s book about vaccines.

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Level-headed commentary on trans fat

Now there’s a craze to remove trans fats from food, but will that make us healthier. This balanced piece from USA Today claims the answer is yes, but only marginally. And they’re right. A Krispy Kreme doughnut without transfat is only a little better than a Krispy Kreme doughnut as it stands now, mainly because trans fats are typically replaced with blends of oils containing saturated fats. Either way, switching from fried foods to foods with mono- or poly-unsaturated fats, healthy proteins, and high fresh vegetable content is the only way to make a quantum leap to a healthier diet.

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