Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Walkabout Wednesday: what you study is more important than where, and dead geese.

Blood sugar targets, what you should study is more valuable than where you study it, and dead geese. Lots of dead geese.

My health

Dr. Richard Bernstein's book was one of the first I read after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes. In this short video he explains why endocrinologists (and presumably other doctors) set ridiculously high blood sugar targets for their patients. I won't make you watch it; the upshot is simple. If one patient dies of hypoglycemia the doctor gets sued; thousands of patients suffering the side effects of diabetes is a natural outcome of the disease. So, doctors are reluctant to push blood sugar levels down to the "normal" range. I believe this. I've been fussing about getting my blood sugar, particularly morning fasting sugar, down a bit lower. I asked my GP for a prescription for Metformin to help with that. He was very reluctant to do that because he worried I might become hypoglycemic. Thing is, AFAIK Metformin can't make you hypoglycemic unless you're also taking insulin!

I've been taking Rosuvastatin (Crestor) since summer 2014 to lower my LDL particle number. So this article on side effects of Rosuvastatin is mildly alarming. So far, despite taking the statin I seem to be controlling my blood sugar levels reasonably well, nor am I experiencing any other side effects. I wish I had better information on the risks of heart disease so I could judge for myself if these tradeoffs are worth it. Right now I'm taking my cardiologist's word for it.

Your Education

More data that what you study matters more for long term economic returns than where you study it.

Also, I really like Stephanie Schutler's "story arc for scientists" guide to producing a presentation. I think it works for papers too. 

Our environment

A new report claims that Canada could get all of its electricity from renewables by 2035. The report authors included economists, who claim this is economically viable too. The key is putting a price on carbon emissions. Too bad the political will to show international leadership on this issue isn't present. 

'Tis the season for large flocks of migrating snow geese, and unfortunately some of them are dropping dead where they stand. The cause is probably Avian Cholera, and the bigger risk is that other migratory waterfowl and shorebirds could be exposed to the disease. The huge numbers of snow geese are increasing the risk of disease outbreaks for other birds.

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