Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's Trichy: Trichomonas vaginalis

While not considered as dangerous as some other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) (like HIV), trichomoniasis (or “trich”) is a very common STD that's caused by infection with a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. An estimated 7.4 million new cases (pdf) of trichomoniasis occur each year in women and men. And like most other sexually transmitted infections (STI), the parasite is usually passed from an infected person to an uninfected person during unprotected sex.

Symptoms of trichomoniasis vary - but women are more symptomatic than men, and most of the women and men who have the parasite cannot tell they are infected. According to the CDC, about 70-85% of infected people do not show any signs or symptoms of infection. And that's why many healthcare professionals consider this STD, "trichy".

But, don't take my word for it. Listen to these guys who Run the DMC (Downtown Medical Clinic).

[original video removed by link source]

It's "trichy" because people don't realize that they're infected, and don't visit their doctor for treatment because they don't have any symptoms. Even when they do see the doctor, many providers won't test for trichomoniasis because their patients are asymptomatic. Because it often goes undiagnosed and untreated, the cycle of trich transmission continues when people have unprotected sex.

That's why trichomoniasis is often referred to as the ping-pong disease, and is also the reason why ASHA estimates of trichomoniasis infections are so much higher than CDC reports. But, the good news is that trichomoniasis is an easily treatable STI.. for now.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? First of all, become better educated about trichomoniasis.

Now that you know the facts about trich, it's up to you to know your status. Make an appointment with your local healthcare provider and specifically request STD testing, including trichomoniasis.

And last, but definitely not least - if you're going to have sex, always wear a latex condom.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Legends Of The Knight

The most important Batman tales are not in comic books, TV shows, or Hollywood movies. They are within the people for whom the Dark Knight has become a symbol. Not a symbol of fear - as he is for evil doers - but a symbol of hope.

Throughout many decades, the Caped Crusader has motivated people around the globe to overcome devastating obstacles, and to encourage young people to be a vital contributor to their community. His legacy has also been a vehicle for connecting us to each other and stirring the hero within.

The documentary, Legends Of The Knight is an inspirational film that shares the stories that Batman has uncovered within all of us, and the power heroic storytelling has to transform the world.

Legends of the Knight - Official Trailer from Brett Culp Films on Vimeo and We Are Batman

A Short Twitter Vacation

Twitter has become too addicting, and its taken over a good portion of my life. So, as difficult as it may be, it's time to put it down for a while and do something a little more entertaining with my time.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Voice Over | A Short Film

According to an ABC News blog: Tell Me The Truth, Doctor, Dr. Richard Besser says that it’s hard to imagine someone getting to adulthood without experiencing the pain of a broken heart.
It’s all part of living life and forming relationships. As painful as these experiences were, with a little bit of time, I got over them. Most people do. But on this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to answer a question I’ve been asked: Is it really possible to die from broken heart? Unfortunately, it is.

There is actually something called broken heart syndrome, the name for sudden heart failure that comes on after emotional trauma. It was first recognized by Japanese doctors in the 1990s who named it takotsubo cardiomyopathy after noting a resemblance between a Japanese octopus trap, a takotsubo, and the shape of the affected heart on X-ray.
And there are many stressors that can trigger this unfortunate syndrome later in life, most of them occurring during a period of time when you may need your heart to perform at it's maximum capacity.

So, all I have to say is - that when given the chance to prevent this type of cardiomyopathy and avoid this condition, make sure to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves early in your life. But then again, don't just take my word for it. See for yourself.

VOICE OVER (English subtitles) from Kamel Films on Vimeo.

Pharmacy Compounding During The 1930s

There was once a time during mid-twentieth century America when the neighborhood pharmacy was considered THE place to hangout, and THE place where you could find the most beautiful and eligible young women. As a matter of fact, many young Hollywood starlets were initially "discovered" while hanging out in their neighborhood pharmacy.

This was a time in pharmacy before pharmaceutical manufacturing came to dominate the profession, a time before chain pharmacies, when most pharmacists owned their own stores, compounded their prescriptions from scratch, and could concoct their own special lotions and potions as they saw fit.

It was also a time before many of Federal laws now governing patient-safety were enacted, before the nation became aware of the frequency of pharmacy errors and their potential to cause serious harm, and way before pharmacists focused on error-prevention as much as we do today.

This period of time in America might have been good for pharmacists, but it wasn't a very good time for their patients. So, I couldn't help but wonder what is was that made the youngest and prettiest girls in the neighborhood continue to hangout at their local pharmacy, even after discovering that their pharmacist might be an error-prone stooge?

That was, until I found this video from that period that explains it all.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Original Batman

I just watched the 1943 movie series, Batman - back in the day when chasing the villains, catching the criminals, and competing with other superheroes wasn't nearly as sophisticated as it is today. It was a time when imagination originated from the mind, instead of the eyes.

It was a time when character development was still in it's infancy, when movie thugs and henchmen were middle-aged white men, gas was cheap, and America's evil arch-enemies came from Asia and Europe, instead of from the Middle East. It was also a time of technological innocence.

It was a time way before the advent of computers and the internet, when apps such as TV and atom bombs were still in development, and the predominate work tools for superheroes and their enemies included utility belts, truth serum, Radium handguns, and electronically brain-controlled Zombies.

It was a time some pharmacists remember being referred to as "the good old days" of pharmacy.

And it was also the first time Batman realized that if he was going to survive in his profession, that he needed to continually upgrade his utility belt, much like technologically-advanced pahrnicists of today.

But, don't just take my word for it. Watch the first chapter in the series to see for yourself -

Watch the rest of the entire original 1943 movie series on YouTube.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Just promoting people to be themselves and express their love however they see fit. But remember, STIs don't discriminate. Make sure to cover up before sharing the love this Valentine's Day.

The Queen from Christina Choe on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Edward Hall | Night Shift Pharmacist

Before you start bitching about how the over-night pharmacist is getting paid more than you are, has a much easier workload than you do, but doesn't seem to be getting the job done, just remember that there's a very good reason why you're not working that shift. Working nights affects your sleep!

Shift work sleep disorders (SWSD) occur when people work during the night while most other people sleep. When you have to work during the time your body normally wants to sleep, you disrupt your internal body clock (circadian rhythm) which then wreaks havoc upon your entire body.

SWSD is characterized by insomnia and excessive sleepiness. People with the disorder are more accident prone, irritable, and less able to concentrate. Lack of sleep is also linked to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental disorders. And your mind starts to play tricks on you.

But those aren't the only negative health effects associated with working the night shift.

There's a good reason why it's also called the Graveyard Shift. Researchers recently conducted a meta-analysis summarizing 34 separate studies involving more than two-million shift workers, and published the results in the British Medical Journal.

Although shift work was not associated with increased rates of mortality, this study found that when compared to regular daytime workers, the risk for heart attack increased by 41 percent in those working the night shift. So, cut these guys some slack and don't push them over the edge.

Combine these known health factors with the stresses of working 7 straight 12-hour shifts (or more), an overwhelming workload, and having to work with a nurse or a technician who seems to have it out for you, then you have a recipe for disaster in the works. But, don't just take my word for it.

See how working the night shift seriously affected this poor pharmacist's life -

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Lifetime Of Pharmacy In One Song

I think this song provides a good description of how some retail pharmacists may view their career progression - from the first ten years, through the next decade or two, and then into the final cut.

[ALL original video links removed by sources]

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Making A Deal With The Devil

"The Collector" is a Canadian supernatural television drama about a soul-collector (Morgan) who gets permission from the Devil to try to save the souls of his "Clients" during their last 48 hours on earth.

Morgan Pym looks 30, but was born in 1322 AD, a monk who sold his soul to cure the woman he loved of Plague. But when his deal ended 10 years later (as all deals with the Devil do), his beloved died, and Morgan went to work for the Devil collecting souls, rather than go to Hell himself.

Six centuries later, Morgan begins to rediscover his own humanity, and makes a new deal with the Devil, which allows him to try to help his clients make amends for the bad luck caused by their bargain. Morgan and his clients are bound never to reveal the true nature of their situation to anyone else. Revealing the truth to an innocent results in both parties being sent to Hell.

Morgan often fails, but never gives up trying to prove that everyone, no matter what they've done, can earn redemption…perhaps even himself. Here's an episode from the show entitled "The Pharmacist". What kind of deal did she make with the Devil? [Part 1]

The Collector: The Pharmacist [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5]

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dose Of Reality

After a debilitating prescription drug overdose, Aaron Rubin warns audiences about the dangers of drug abuse, via the Dying for Relief series from the LA Times.

Why Do We Cheat?

Lance Armstrong’s confession has us thinking about cheating in all aspects of our lives. Cheating is a familiar story. First comes the cheating, then comes the lying about it, and then eventually comes the confession, most often because that person has been caught.

So why do we cheat? To answer that question for us is David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University and the author of Out of Character: Surprising Truths About the Liar, Cheat, Sinner and Saint Lurking in All of Us.

Source: Katie Couric Show

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sixto Rodriguez | Sugar Man

If you haven't seen the documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, then you are missing, what I think, is not only the best documentary of 2012, but the best film of the year.

Searching for Sugar Man is a 2012 Swedish/British documentary detailing the efforts of two Cape Town, South Africa fans, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out if the rumored death of American musician Rodriguez was true, and, if not, to discover what had become of him. Little did they know how difficult their search would become.

Rodriguez's music, which never took off in the United States, had become wildly popular in South Africa, but because of Apartheid, very little was known about him there. Rodriguez was considered "Bigger than the Beatles" in South Africa, but in America, no one ever heard of him or his music.

If you love a movie with a great story line, especially an almost unbelievable one, and an inspiring and uplifting one, then you'll love this true story. Sixto truly deserves what happens to him in this film.

But what I really love and admire about this documentary is the man himself, Sixto Rodriguez. He's the epitome of what I call "an honest man", someone who's fully embraced the cynic lifestyle for the freedom it allows. He could even be considered the Diogenes of Detroit.

And he's a great father. I especially love the fantastic job he's done in raising his beautiful daughters to become successful citizens, irrespective of not having any money. The film shows how much they love and admire him.

The director of the documentary, Malik Bendjelloul, whom I also tremendously admire, does a much better job of describing Sixto, his personality, his motivations, and his idiosyncrasies. Here's a recent interview with him on the Tavis Smiley show. [best description begins at minute 20]

Source: PBS: Tavis Smiley

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

I'm Just A Professional

A 50-year-old Canton pharmacist who owned and operated 26 pharmacies in the metro-Detroit area was sentenced to 17 years in prison, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.

According to the USDOJ press release -
Evidence presented at a six-week jury trial concluding in August 2012 showed between 2006 and 2011, the pharmacies billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $57 million. At least 25% of those billings were for drugs that were either medically unnecessary never dispensed. Additional amounts were fraudulently billed to private insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The pharmacies operated on a business model that paid kickbacks to physicians in exchange for writing prescriptions for expensive medications. The affiliated doctors would also write prescriptions for controlled substances, without regard to medical necessity, which would be filled at the pharmacies and distributed to paid "patients" and patient recruiters. The expensive non-controlled medications would be billed but not dispensed.

Of the 26 defendants charged in the original indictment in this case, 20 defendants have either pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial. Six defendants are scheduled for trial in June. Out of 12 pharmacists charged, 11 have been convicted at trial or pleaded guilty, with one waiting to be tried. Out of four doctors charged, two have pleaded guilty, with two waiting to be tried. (my emphasis)
I know that I've discussed this topic before, and probably will again, but if this USDOJ press release doesn't illustrate the legal consequences of difficult choices a healthcare professional faces in the workplace every day, and learning to say "NO!" when it's appropriate, then I don't now what else will.

Attempting to rationalize poor choices by saying "Everyone else is doing it.", using the excuse that "I'm just doing my job." or that "I'm just a professional following orders." isn't going to save your ass.

I understand that there a lot of inequities in both the healthcare and judicial systems, and that you may be thinking that you're in desperate financial circumstances, but the Government is CRACKING DOWN HARD on both healthcare fraud AND prescription drug abuse. Don't let our job defeat you.

Make the right choices and don't put yourself in a position that you may later come to regret.