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 Friday, May 5, 2000

An active life helps to ward off Alzheimer's
"Keeping active outside work, either physically or mentally, in the midlife years may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 52nd Annual Meeting. Researchers found that people with higher levels of non-occupational activities, such as playing a musical instrument, gardening, physical exercise or even playing board games, were less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease later in life." Keep active!!!

(Posted at 04:35:20 PM EDT.)

Pallidotomy has long-term benefits for patients with Parkinson's disease
"The benefits of pallidotomy, which improves motor function in patients with Parkinson's disease, last for at least three years after surgery, a team of Emory University neurologists has found. And, unexpectedly, both sides of the body show this persistent improvement." Some good news for people with Parkinson's.

(Posted at 04:33:40 PM EDT.)

The solution to this sort of problem is simple -- use common sense. If you get something suspicious from a friend or family member, email them first asking them about it before opening it. Then, think. Don't just double-click. If it says it's a text file (ends in "TXT" as this file pretended to be), open it in Notepad in Windows. Notepad thankfully has no scripting abilities. That means saving the attachment to a temporary folder, running Notepad, then choosing "File|Open" and finding the file to open.

Want to be especially safe (or paranoid)?? Simple tell friends, business associates, and family that you delete all attachments sent to you unless they first send you a note about sending an attachment (or call you). That way you only open attachments you are expecting. Anything else you just trash and never look at.
(Posted at 11:14:37 AM EDT.)

The joke being passed around in hacker circles is that Microsoft should rename their Outlook email software to "Lookout!"!! :-)
(Posted at 11:06:25 AM EDT.)

All-Microsoft Shops Hardest Hit
Those businesses which have consistently bought into the all-Microsoft party line were the ones hardest hit by the "I LOVE YOU" virus. This virus did no harm to Apple users, and if you don't use Microsoft's Outlook email client or Web browser, your damage was much less than those who do use either. Microsoft keeps babbling on how it's a "Good Thing" that most of the vital software on your computer comes from one company. This is the clearest example of why that argument is hollow. A Windows user who used a non-Outlook email program and a non-Internet Explorer Web browser only infected themselves if they actually were silly enough to click on the attachment to open it. (There are other, safer ways to open up attachments which are suspicious. If getting a "love letter" from a friend isn't suspicious, I don't know what is.) But because of Microsoft's generous ability to allow programs to edit your computer system's very guts (the Windows Registry), and total lack of security checking in doing so, they allowed this to propegate throughout the Internet and cause millions of dollars of damage throughout the world.

(Posted at 11:04:41 AM EDT.)

Why Do Virus Writers Write?
Why do burglars break into high-security vaults? Why do murderers murder? Why do criminals in general engage in criminal behavior??? This fascination -- some would call it an obsession -- for knowing why someone does something is harmful and ultimately unknowable. People's reasons, justifications, and rationales vary as widely as the type of people themselves. Most do it, at least in part, for the infamy. And they expect to get away with it. All criminals expect to get away with it. The idea of getting caught nearly never enters into their minds.

(Posted at 10:50:28 AM EDT.)

 Thursday, May 4, 2000

Members of Congress Slam Prescription Drug Profits
"Calling the prescription drug industry's profits ``obscene,'' a group of House members and Senators urged their colleagues to act this year to control the price of drugs. The group displayed a series of charts, drawn from information published last month in Fortune Magazine's annual compilation of the top 500 companies, noting that the drug industry is by several measures the nation's most profitable. Indeed, noted Fortune editors in the issue, ``Whether you gauge profitability by median return on revenues, assets, or equity, pharmaceuticals had a Viagra kind of year.''"

It is obscene. The pharmcos argue they need the money for R&D, but anyone who knows anyone in this industry knows that's bunk. Pharmcos are big marketing spenders; that's where a lot of those billions of dollars in revenue are redirected every year.

"According to Fortune, the top seven drug companies' profits topped those of the top seven car companies, the top seven oil companies, the top seven airline companies, and the top seven media companies. The pharmaceutical company Merck alone, said Sanders, had profits higher than those of all the construction and railroad companies in the Fortune 500 combined."

Something is seriously wrong with this picture. Nothing wrong with making a profit, but when it comes to medicine, all things in moderation. That includes profits.
(Posted at 11:11:26 AM EDT.)

 Wednesday, May 3, 2000

Often missed facial displays give clues to true emotion, deceit
"When listening to or looking at others, most people don't focus on the area of the face that will display true emotions, according to a report presented during the American Academy of Neurology's 52nd Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. Researchers found that most people focus on the lower part of the face when dealing with others. However, if the person's true feelings are "leaked" to the observer, they are more likely to appear on the upper face and could easily be missed. Previous studies have also shown that the lower portion of the face (nose, lips and cheeks) is more active than the upper face (eyes, brows and forehead) when individuals engage in deceitful social interactions." How very interesting!

(Posted at 06:57:34 PM EDT.)

Pediatrics Academy Issues ADHD Guide
"The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday issued its first guidelines for diagnosing attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, hoping to prevent merely rambunctious youngsters from being overmedicated while ensuring other children get the help they need. [...] The academy, the nation's largest group of pediatricians, said it is unclear whether the disorder is being overdiagnosed, because there are such wide variations nationwide in how doctors define and treat it." The actual practice guideline is available. Warning: It's long and not very well formatted for online reading.

(Posted at 11:09:03 AM EDT.)

 Tuesday, May 2, 2000

Work/family spillover can affect health
"Grzywacz found that positive and negative spillover each exerted distinct effects on physical and mental health. That is, not only was less negative spillover associated with better health, but more positive spillover was also independently associated with better health. "These results demonstrate that health and well-being are not characterized by the simple absence of negative experience but rather the ability of individuals to maximize their potential within their environment," said Grzywacz."

(Posted at 11:43:34 AM EDT.)

NIH's BioMed Central to launch at microbiology meeting
"A new publishing house that aims to change the way scientists communicate their research findings will be launched at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) meeting in Los Angeles from 21-25 May 2000. BioMed Central will give biological and medical scientists the opportunity to publish their research findings quickly and directly online. By immediately lodging all research published by BioMed Central in the NIH sponsored PubMed Central repository, the publishing house will give free access to the latest research findings to all." A revolution in publishing at your front door.

(Posted at 11:42:19 AM EDT.)

Healtheon/WebMD results fall short of forecasts
"Internet health network Healtheon/WebMD today posted first-quarter results that fell a penny short of analysts' expectations, as a sharp rise in revenues was offset by merger costs." A penny short... A day late... Will Healtheon really make it in the long run? Only time will tell, but I think their estimate of profitability by the end of 2001 is wildly optimistic. 2002 is the earliest they will be profitable, if then (and if they're still in business by then!).

(Posted at 11:38:52 AM EDT.)

Metallica fingers 335,435 Napster users
"The heavy metal band, which is suing music-swapping company Napster for what the musicians say are massive copyright violations, says it has identified more than 335,000 individuals who were allegedly sharing the band's songs online in violation of copyright laws." And you thought you were anonymous while using Napster? Nopers. Be careful what you're sharing out there, kids.

(Posted at 11:37:04 AM EDT.)

[email protected] asks Pac Bell to can DSL ads
"The cable industry and [email protected] point out that the Internet in general is a "shared" network with highly inconsistent data transfer rates. Although the short connection between a consumer's home and the phone company facilities may provide dedicated speeds, the Internet at large does not, and any characterization to the contrary is misleading, they say." True. I also think the ads are misleading. The Internet is the largest shared network in the world. Your transfer speeds will be directly limited by the server you're trying to connect to, not some theoretical maximum computed on paper. Thought you might be interested in this debate, although it is largely moot for most people which don't have broadband access yet.

(Posted at 11:35:48 AM EDT.)

 Monday, May 1, 2000

May 3rd Is National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day
"``How shy is too shy?'' will be the question of the day on May 3rd, National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day. Sponsored by the national mental health advocacy group Freedom From Fear (FFF), the seventh annual event encourages people to learn more about anxiety disorders and their treatment."

(Posted at 11:26:47 AM EDT.)

Alcoholism Put Blacks at Greater Risk of Infection
"Long term alcohol dependence appears to have a more damaging effect on the immune systems of blacks than whites, putting them at increased risk for infection and death from a number of diseases, researchers report."

(Posted at 11:25:08 AM EDT.)

 Saturday, April 29, 2000

Researchers on Trail of Schizophrenia Gene
I usually dislike linking to stories like this, because I think they simplify the problem to an extreme. But I'll point to it here anyway, because it is important news nonetheless. "A scan of the entire human genetic sequence has identified a small area of chromosome 1 that is linked to schizophrenia in 22 families."

(Posted at 11:45:32 AM EDT.)

The site was apparently down for a few hours today. I apologize for the outage, but hey, what else is new. We're moving to a new Internet service provide by the end of May, so things should be much more stabilized at that time.
(Posted at 11:43:25 AM EDT.)

Keeping Teens' Bad News Quiet Can Compound The Problem
"When we make our teens' transgressions our secrets, however, even for the sake of family- or self-preservation, we hurt ourselves, losing out on support from others as well as their perspectives or ideas for coping." Not really a newsy article on InteliHealth today, just something that makes ya think.

(Posted at 11:22:30 AM EDT.)


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