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November 30, 2005

BehindTheMedspeak: Should you sanitize your toothbrush?

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All of a sudden it seems nearly every other catalog I receive (and that's a lot of catalogs — trust me) is flogging the new VIOlight UV–light toothbrush sanitizer (above).

From one:

    The warmth and moisture of your bathroom is an ideal incubator for bacteria.

    As a result, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association, "contaminated toothbrushes not only harbor, but also transmit, both viruses and bacteria that cause systemic and inflammatory diseases."

    Worse, according to this report of the Surgeon General: "Research findings have pointed to possible association between chronic oral infection and diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke... and other major maladies!"

Why am I less than impressed by the above?

For several reasons.

1) What's in your mouth is by far the most dangerous group of microorganisms you'll ever encounter. Why do you think that a human bite is the one most dreaded by ER physicians? It's because a bite from a person is far more likely to cause a life–threatening infection than one from a dog or other animal.

2) I don't take issue with contaminated toothbrushes harboring all manner of microorganisms — but far worse lie in wait within your mouth. What are you supposed to do: go to the tanning parlor and wrap your lips around a UV bulb?

3) It's gum disease — gingivitis — that's the vector for systemic infections. Flossing is what keeps gums healthy, not UV–light–treated toothbrushes.

VIOlight got a big boost when Brendan Koerner featured it in his weekly column, "The Goods," on page two of the New York Times Business section on January 16 of this year.

Then, just a couple weeks ago it appeared again in the Times, featured as an example of superior industrial design.

I don't argue with that, only with the usefulness of the device.

Call me a Luddite but I think I'll stick to my Glide floss and pass on the VIOlight.

If you demur, so be it; you can get the battery–powered portable version (top) for $29.95 here.

November 30, 2005 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Xantrex XPower PowerPack 400 Plus

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Now that's what I call a serious name.

From joehead Tony Wood in Chicago comes this useful item in response to my post of October 29 relating the sad but true tale of my dead battery — and car — in my driveway.

I suggested that a device you could plug into the wall and connect to your car to jumpstart it would sell millions.

This device is basically a powerful battery that can do a whole lot of things, among them jumpstart your car.

The only thing that makes it less than ideal, from my perspective, is that because it's a rechargable battery it has to be first charged before it will work.

And it requires 30 hours to fully charge from your home's electricity.

That's a long time to wait.

I'd like a device that requires no charging but simply converts your home's electrical power into a car–battery–compatible format for an instant jump anywhere you can find a socket.

But this will do nicely in the meantime.

$124.95 here.

[via Tony Wood]

November 30, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Meet Daniel Boulud

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Anyone who cares about and loves food recognizes Boulud as one of the world's greatest chefs.

He's going to be at Macy's New York City Herald Square store (in the Cellar Kitchen) tomorrow, Thursday, December 1, to share cooking techniques and recipes and meet and greet some of his legion of adoring fans.

The announcement in yesterday's New York Times noted that "Seating is limited."

For more information and to RSVP, call 212-494-4000.

Not later, or when you get a moment — right now.

Or else you're gonna be on the outside looking in.

Here's a link to an interview with Boulud.

Here's another.

His website is here.

November 30, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nutcracker Bottle Opener

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Say what?

That's what I thought too as I read the copy for this item.

Nutcrackers are a dime a dozen but not when they double as bottle openers.

Yet there it is in the picture (above): "Opens Bottles!"

I wonder if they're still usable afterward — for drinking, not in a bar fight.

What kind of an establishment do you think I'm running here, anyway?

Sheesh.

$11.99 here to find out for yourself.

Hey — don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.

"As Seen On TV" — so you know it must be good.

November 30, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Hair' is the Hat

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That's the headline for the story by Norman Grindley in the Jamaica Online Star about the astounding, amazing, scintillatingly great hairstyle (above) of one Darain Housen of Somerset, St. Thomas, Jamaica.

"The 'hat' has shocked and awed everyone, including policemen, tourists and judges," wrote Grindley.

Read the story for yourself below: it's superb.

    'Hair' Is The Hat

    Darain Housen has not taken off his hat for the last 20 years.

    He bathes, he sleeps and does everything possible in it.

    It is a perfect fit.

    But unlike other hats, his is not made of cloth but from the very hair on his head which is why it cannot be removed.

    Housen has been sporting his "natural hat" hairstyle for the last 20 years.

    The 40-year-old barber who lives in Somerset, St. Thomas said he came up with the idea after some of his friends decided to wear hats to a party but he could not find one to wear.

    "Mi an dem fi go a di party but di three of them had caps an' mi had none so mi get two mirror one behind mi and di other in front of mi an' mi trim mi hair like a cap an' go a di dance," said Housen.

    Housen said his hairstyle created such a stir that he got a crate of beer to share between he and his friends.

    "Dem did love it," he said smiling.

    "Mi friends an' some of the girls said I win di hairstyle contest and buy mi a box a Guinness," he said.

    Housen said the morning after the dance he clipped the rough edges and then for six months he kept growing the "peak" but since then he has not made major changes to his "hat."

    The "hat" has shocked and awed everyone including policemen, tourists and judges.

    It has even caused him to flirt with some danger.

    Housen said that he was once stopped by a policeman while coming from a dance early one morning who insisted that he removed it.

    "Him shine di light pon mi an' look. When him see it seh a mi real hair him frighten an' seh mi mus come check him a di station di following morning. When mi go him shake mi han' an' seh mi have talent an' mi fi keep it up," he said.

    On another occasion Housen said he was ordered by a judge to take off his "hat" while on jury duty.

    "A di policeman have to tell him seh is mi hair. Him congratulate mi an' tell mi seh mi have talent," he said smiling.

    Housen said people from all over the island have taken photos with him but while he has become quite an attraction he has never charged a fee to touch his hair or have a photo of it taken.

    There is no doubt about Housen's fame as when The Star was searching for him in order to do the interview the team only had to mention "the man with the hair hat" and we were pointed to where we could find him.

    The barber does not have a permanent shop but instead moves through communities in northern St. Thomas cutting his customers' hair.

    He said he has had requests from other persons to cut their hair in a similar style but the texture of their hair has not made it possible.

    Melbourne Horne, Housen's friend for the last 13 years said the barber once sported a felt hat.

    "When mi jus' know him is a felt hat him did a beat. So, nex ting mi know him change to dis type a hat. Di only ting him do now a colour di front in a yellow or some other colour," he said.

    If at some stage he loses his hat Housen says he would be quite uncomfortable.

    "I would a feel light without it because a long time mi have it so mi would a feel a way without it," he said.

******************

Pure genius.

[via J]

November 30, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Scrabble — Michael Graves Edition

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From the world–class architect comes this stylish version (above) of the classic game.

Faux–ivory tiles, cherry–stained tile racks and metallic scoring pegs.

The good news: a nice price — $24.99 at Target.

The bad news: it's sold out online.

So if you want one you're gonna have to go the old–fashioned route and visit a store and hope there's one sitting on the shelf.

But perhaps it's not the game so much as the fact that it's a Michael Graves that makes you want it.

In that case there's some good news: Graves also created versions of Monopoly (below, $24.99)

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and Chess and Checkers ($49.99)

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for Target.

You will note that Monopoly is now sold out online — but once again, there might be one on the shelf at your local Target.

Chess and Checkers is available, though, as well as the just–added Michael Graves Backgammon Board (below).

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It's $49.99 here.

November 30, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: 'Many injections failing to reach buttocks muscle'

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Above, the headline over a story in yesterday's Washington Post about a startling new study that demonstrates that today's big butts (above) cause standard–size needles to fail to reach the buttocks muscle.

No joke: researchers from the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Dublin, Ireland on Monday reported, in a presentation in Chicago at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, that standard needles were too short in 23 of 25 women "after what was supposed to be an intramuscular [IM] injection of a drug."

The scientists tracked the course of the injected drugs with CT scans.

Said the Post story, "Two–thirds of the 50 patients in the study did not receive the full dosage of the drug, which instead lodged in the fat tissue of their buttocks."

Women fared far worse than men in terms of how well the injections did what they were intended to: only 8% of the dose administered made its way to the target muscle.

Dr. Victoria Chan, the study's lead investigator, pointed out that painkillers and contraceptives, not just antibiotics, are routinely administered via this route.

This may explain some of those contraceptive failures, as well as why patients sometimes don't seem to get pain relief after IM morphine or Demerol.

The buttocks have, up until now, been thought to be an excellent location for IM injections because there are relatively few major blood vessels, nerves and bones that can be damaged by a needle.

Besides receiving less than the intended drug dosage, patients whose injections end up in fat can suffer infection or irritation, sometimes chronic and quite difficult to treat.

More importantly, this study may help explain why vaccinations sometimes fail to provide the immunity they should: the active agent never makes it way into the body proper to stimulate the immune system to create the antibodies required for protection from disease.

Tell you what: this study has already changed the way I practice medicine.

How?

Because from this day forward, whenever a patient has an order for IM narcotics in the recovery room (essentially 100% of my patients) I'm going to specifically tell the recovery room nurse to inject it into the quadriceps muscle (front of the thigh) — not the buttocks.

There's no downside that I see from this altered route: even if the study proves to be invalid patients will still get the intended medication.

Primum non nocere is what it's all about.

This is a very important piece of work by Chan and her colleagues — assuming it holds up under further scrutiny.

Such confirmation will include a study of blood levels of medications given via the buttocks vs. other muscle groups, verifying that when the buttock route is used, less drug is absorbed into the systemic circulation for subsequent transport to the desired end organ.

November 30, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Garlic Express

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It takes hours to roast garlic in a conventional oven: who's got the time or patience?

This specialized electric roaster does it in 27 minutes flat.

"It roasts up to three medium bulbs at a time on a terra cotta baking ring, delivering the same delicious results as the slower method."

Take it with you on the road and have a mouth–watering treat no matter where you happen to be staying.

Just plug it in and push the button — when the garlic is roasted, the machine turns itself off automatically.

"Removable handle so you won't need an oven mitt to lift it in and out."

"A 'brick' insert prevents scorching and speeds cooking."

Non–stick roasting chamber.

Cord storage on underside.

Removable roasting cup.

Cord length: 32".

Measures 7.25"H x 6.75"L x 6.63"W.

In terracotta or white.

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$29.95 here.

November 30, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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