Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Appropriate postings

I was thinking of doing a posting on the behaviour of some children and their parents in cafes but then I heard about the disaster in Christchurch , New Zealand, and what I was going to write seemed so small and petty. My heart goes out to those who have lost the ones they love in such awful circumstances. I am ashamed of our Prime Minister being so concerned by the death of just one Australian while almost 80 other loved people have died. The thought of dying alone and slowly under rubble is a heart breaking one. I wish I could have been there to hold each person's hand as they had slipped from life. But it was not to be. I would be no use in a rescue situation as I have no skills that would help. I can just hope those in Christchurch and around the world find some comfort with others and peace sometime in their hearts.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Assessing Medical information - some journals

There are many journals out there that have free content. Some are just too darn hard to understand but the summaries of the articles may be enough for the information you are seeking.

The Lancet :
One of the major medical journals in the world. Published since 1820.

British Medical Journal :
Can register for some free content. They practice continuous publication - articles appear on before being included in the print issue. Published since 1840.

Medical Journal of Australia :
The online archive has information from 1996. You have to register with the site and not all articles are available but it has some good clear information with an Australian focus. The journal itself has been published since 1914.

Libraries can obtain copies of articles for you - but be aware that inter-library loans can be expensive (they were about $20 when I left 2 years ago). The state libraries will have copies of a lot of journals and you can go into university libraries without actually being a student at the university - just don't try to borrow any books!

Any questions - just ask.

Assessing Medical information

Out there on the internet is an enormous volume of medical information. A large percentage of that is to put it crudely - crap. It is not only inaccurate but downright dangerous. Some of these sites take advantage of people who are desperate - the ones selling dreams of a better life if you only use their product or sell the $1000 pill that will cure your cancer. These are known as "wallet extractors".

With a little knowledge, you can avoid being caught out by the sharks out there.

So, first, be very wary. If it sounds too good to be true - it is. Be skeptical.

As a suggestion, start with Quackwatch.
Covers unproven and scientifically questionable claims of alternative health therapies, vitamin peddlers and other health frauds.

I would suggest you start with reading "25 ways to spot it" (Quackery that is) and "Ten ways to avoid being quacked".

If you do a Google search on a condition there will be thousands of hits. Don't just go to the first one and expect that to have the answers. It just means more people have visited the site than any other. Is the site associated with a specific medical practice or medical professional? Does it have lots of advertising on the page?

Stick with the government health sites for basic information .
Try HealthInsite
or Better Health Channel
these can lead off to more sites and you have a better chance of the information being reliable.

Now onto the more intensive information...

is a massive database - about 20 million citations - for biomedical literature from Medline, life science journals and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites. You may not be able to read the entire article you are interested in but usually the summary gives you the information you need.

One thing you need to may sure of when reading articles from journals is that the journal articles have been peer reviewed. This means that the article was sent to other experts in the field for examination before publication. This doesn't always mean the researchers who have written the article are telling the truth but it gives a better chance of them being found out before publication! The journal should state this somewhere on the site.

Always check who is publishing the journal. Many organisations publish they own journals - hospitals and such - but there are sneaky sods who are pushing their own agendas - be wary!

Next : a few journals...

Medical information and misinformation

When I left the Cancer Council about 2 years ago, I had intended to do a talk somewhere on assessing medical information but being basically a lazy sod, I never got around it to. So, I do intend to put some information up here. That's when I have done the research again...stay tuned.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Birthday thoughts

I have a birthday coming up.

A question for you all:
On my birthday I will be:
a) Flying to a private island and being looked after by young men young enough to be my grandsons,
b) Going out and raging till dawn then throwing up in the gutter on the way home,
c) Eating a huge dinner at an expensive restaurant,
d) Pretty much what I do most days.

I'm sure the answer is quite obvious.

I don't see the point in treating myself to a meal on my birthday : I can do that any day of the year. I don't see the point of buying myself something special for my birthday : I can that any day of the year. I don't have the money to do that anyway. I don't have a partner or children to treat me to expensive gifts or take me to lavish meals. I don't actually mind that much either. Unless I'm having a party, I don't expect others to remember the day.

The main point I'm trying to make is: its just another day.

I bought some new cake trays today. I might make some cake just to try them out. Or I may not. Whatever.

Coffee qualifications

Last night I did a short course - "Prepare and serve espresso coffee" at Hospitality Training Australia restaurant in North Melbourne. And yes, I did pass. This college runs courses for the hospitality industry at about a third of the price that TAFE's run the same courses.

Now, I treated this as a job in a real cafe. I dressed accordingly. Wore closed shoes, tied my hair up, took of my jewelery (so nice to put my rings and bracelets on again this morning!). There were 10 people in the class. I won't say anything about the clothing except to say most cafe owners would make them go home and change before work! One lad had thongs on. Two girls were dressed in skimpy summer dresses and strappy shoes. Two of them didn't even drink coffee! How could you rate the coffee you make if you don't drink it?

I made two cups of coffee and was able to drink one and it wasn't too bad.

Sometimes I feel so damn old.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Life continues...

I'm not happy with sitting still for long. Last week I decided to take down the wardrobe walls in the bedroom I'm in (I was driven to move rooms by two lots of building works and the Bogan child). Should have been an easy job, but no. The stupid original electrician for the house, instead of running the power for the garage from the closest point chose instead to run the wire from the other side of the room, through the back of the wardrobe in the next room (which extends into the room I am sleeping in now) and into the garage. This means I can't currently removed the wooden uprights from the back of the wardrobe. Of course, I ran out of vacuum cleaner bags so I couldn't finish the job in two days. I'm still finding little bits of plaster all over the house. Now I just need to put up a shelf in the original bedroom to hold things. Such is life. I suppose the good thing is the job only cost me a trip to the tip and some vacuum cleaner bags, so total cost so far about $20. Now to save to get the job finished by professionals (and not the lazy sods doing the building next door - don't use Richard Evans Pty Ltd as a builder)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Well what do you know!

Many,many years ago I had a blog. When I went to start another today - there was the old one. I suppose somewhere along the line I would have gotten an email to say this was happening, but it was obviously lost in time. So, although I am really rotten at blogging, it looks like I can just continue the old one....