The Australian scientific, cultural, political and social environment. Australia's interaction in world affairs. Current activities and happenings. All interesting things in the world. Blog also contains Funny Animal Photos. --------- After finding this blog with "Google Search", enter a key word into "Search Blog" at top of page to locate article.
New medical discoveries are pushing the cost/patient envelope as more low-end subsidized drugs are taken off the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and new $1,000 plus a week treatments are being added at the top end. Rationally, it is obvious that this will result in fewer patients benefiting.
Recently, I went to the pharmacy with a script for a medication that I assumed was still subsidized. The chemist arrogantly said drug companies are not making profit any more: you should pay the $60.00. I responded saying, how do you know anything about my finances and if you believe pharmaceutical firms need sympathy you are absolutely stupid and unfit to be in the profession.
Upon leaving the shop I thought I shouldn't have said that. However, on consideration I believe that I was right. It needed to be said. Pharmacists are a protected breed. They make millions when the government pays them full-recommended list price which it is set artificially high by drug companies. New Zealand showed that when offered an ultimatum of what a government can afford to pay the companies will buckle and sell needed medications are a lower price. Australia should also give an ultimatum so that consumers can pay a fair price.
Patent law gives drug firms a monopoly to set the market price as they see fit, whether patients can afford it or not. Economic teaching shows that a manufacturer can make more profit by holding the price high so only the wealthy can pay. Of course, if you have a prime minister who blindly believes in the market, a market that is deemed to be free and open which it isn't, this is what you get. Bend over and the PM will k... your ass!
The number of autism cases is increasing. It is largely due to new diagnostic processes. This masks the real situation, so it is not knows what the actual increase is. It appears that many people who are now teenagers were overlooked and do have autism.
Very old data are the basis of case numbers. One in 5,000 of United States citizens suffered from the ailment in 1975. These data are far too old to be meaningful. A survey in 2002 showed one in 500 were autistic. Such a disparity means an accurate investigation must be done. It jumped to one in 68 in 2012. This is absurd!
Sure, reclassification has affected the results but knowing what is really happening is paramount. Because nearly all of those with autism are supported by welfare, government needs to know actual numbers. Oddly, Penn State University in the US found no increase in attendance at special schools. Where are these people going? Are they living a life of isolation?
On closer examination is seems that they are at special schools, being moved from one mental incapacity classification to autism. Just stating that autism is not increasing is not good enough. New diagnostic methods notwithstanding, the real numbers must be identified.
Scientists are creating tiny human organs from stem cells just for the sake of it. They hope that it will make for beneficial discoveries and applications in the future. Is it a waste of public and private money? It could be. There is an opportunity cost in using resources for wasteful projects.
These tiny but useless mini-organs are called organoids. Indeed, Madeline Lancaster was messing-around" when she realized that she had grown a brain. Attempting to form embryonic stem cells from neural rosettes she accidentally succeeded. The floating milky substance floating in the culture was an embryonic brain - retina cells. A mass of different cells were found when the contents of the culture dish were closely analysed.
Organoids seem to mimic the operation of full-sized natural organs. Eye, stomach, gut, kidney, liver, pancreas, lung, prostate and breast mini-organs have been made. They do mimic some of the functions of the real thing. Unfortunately, they remain embryonic and do not keep growing to become actual copies human organs.
It seems organoids form on their own with no structural scaffolding required for them to make operational structures. Cell division simply follows the instruction written in the DNA. Their only use so far has been for testing of drugs and procedures to treat medical conditions. It is a developing science - early days.
Is coffee good or bad? People in many countries drink gallons of the stuff, particularly the United States, Italy and South American nations. It has always been said that a couple of cups a day is okay. However, people drink much more than this. Tea drinkers hide behind the myth that tea is harmless while coffee is not.
The main "drug" in both tea and coffee is caffeine. It should be noted that professional athletes can now consume as much caffeine as they wish with no fear of getting banned from athletics. This decision was made largely because policing of it was costly and a burden for administrators, not because it does not stimulate the body to improved performance.
Apparently drinking a maximum of five cups of coffee a day increases your lifespan - in Japan. Pity other countries failed to find any connection between the two factors. Japan has also claimed resistance against Alzheimer's, melanoma, diabetes and other ailments. Proof elsewhere is weak for this.
Scientists are saying the dangers of coffee is a myth. Like the beliefs that exercise causes accumulation of lactic acid and oxidants damage the body - both are untrue. Even in advertisements these falsehoods are pushed more and more. Culture, unfortunately, has inertia and it can take centuries for beliefs to change.
The greatest problem with coffee that is seldom mentioned is that the beverage is addictive, so is tea for that matter. Is coffee anything more than a comforting pleasant drink that makes for better conversation? Personally, I believe that it is not dangerous, but claims of benefits should be taken with, say, a cup of coffee.
Keeping children away from technology is impossible. Like eating sugary food and going to bed early, those days have long gone. We know computers change the brain structure of children, Humans are changing and becoming a different species. Whether we will survive another climatic challenge is unknown.
If children are denied access to the mobile phone or tablet they literally spit the dummy. You have a huge blow up on your hands. They are addicted to games that give them instance satisfaction. Developers know how to keep players "attached" to their devices.
Like food and entertainment, technology is the demon, not children themselves. Parents need to start with a set behavior pattern soon after a child is born. However, try to take devices away when he/she first goes to kindergarten and sees other kids attached to tech on their way to and from the center - good luck!
You don't see children playing outdoors much these days, Not like "when I was a lad." The world and societies have changed forever. The clock cannot be turned back. Setting boundaries for kids was permanent years ago. Once they were set that was that. Today, boundaries have to be negotiated daily as children with little impulse control try for wider room to move. Modern children know how to make deals - but on their own terms!