Book Heaven

Where the world of books and life intersect

Location: South Amboy, New Jersey

I am deeply involved in trying to solve the discrepancy between being interested in zen and trying to acquire all the things I've been accumulating

Monday, July 25, 2005

Changing Priorities

In my recent book recovery efforts after the leak in my basement, I came across a collection of men's magazines that I forgot that I still had. Of course I was unable to bring myself to throw them out (I am working on this shortcoming) but a curious thing happened. I suddenly was wishing that the magazines had been ruined rather than the several years of xerox copies of The New England Journal of Medicine and The Journal of the American Medical Association that I had diligently assembled only to see them damaged bythe elements and subsequently tossed out by my wife -- I was still trying to "rehabilitate" them.

If you haven't read these august medical journals you're missing out on a lot. I admit that I'm kind of addicted to them. Sometimes you find out that stuff you thought was good and other times things kind of even out when supposedly bad stuff turns out to be beneficial. Some good news: the July 6th, 2005 JAMA seems to conclude that habitual coffee consumption is associated with a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes (doesn't help me since I rarely drink the stuff). Bad news: vitamin e doesn't seem to be as great as it seemed to be -- it either seemed to have no cardiovascular protective effects, or, worse yet, people with higher vitamin e levels seemed to have higher c-reactive protein levels, a marker for the dreaded inflammation now thought to be a culprit in heart disease. The NEJM also has nifty case studies where doctors try to troubleshoot ailing patients. Read one or two of these and you'll wonder how anything is ever diagnosed (and these guys at Mass General are the cream of the crop).

If you've ever wondered about that guy who goes for a checkup and is pronounced fit as a fiddle only to drop dead outside the doctor's office, wonder no longer. It ain't always a blood clot. You can read about it in the May 12th, 2005 NEJM in the article entitled "Heart Rate Profile during Exercise as a Predictor of Sudden Death." Now those are two really frightening words. The greatest risk of sudden death seems to be in people who exhibit three things -- resting heart rates above 75 bpm, people who can't increase their heart rate by 89 beats per minute during exercise, and people with recovery rates of less than 25 bpm after one minute of rest after exercise.

Still, even with all that bad stuff, I'm looking forward to the day when I can have online access to these two essential (at least for me) publications. Stay healthy and eat your salmon!!!


Blogger Bill said...

Remember when Woody Allen wakes up in Sleeper and finds out that everything he thought was bad for him is really good for him? When you find a journal with that information, let me know.

6:39 AM  

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