Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

I can say this now, because it is 2007 in some parts of the world. The picture above is from Sydney, Australa (*waving to HP*).

I've finally caught up on my rest. I don't want to bore you with all the details, but it was just crazy at work last week. Great to have a weekend off to catch my breath.

On a day like today, one cannot help but reflect back on the year that was and the year that will be. Even though it's really cheezy to say, but it is a time of hope. A time to kind of give yourself a clean slate to start again.

Some are really into this new year's resolution thing. I admit that sometimes I make them and sometimes I don't. There's this columnist that says Forget New Year's Resolutions. But, for me, here we go.

Physical health: I know. I'm one of the many people who make this resolution. But, I really think that I can do it this time. Or, maybe it's the guilt of all those sweets that I consumed at holiday time. Hmm....

Mental health: Why do I feel like I'm confessing all my sins? Anyway, I could do a little better at dealing with stress. Usually, when I'm at work, I have no problem reaching for the M&Ms or whatever chocolate is around - especially last week when things were really busy. Finding a better way to deal with this will help. How to do this? I'm still working on that.

Better blogging: Yes, that's right. Even though you see links to all my fave posts in the sidebar, I really believe that my best blogging will be in 2007. Or, I'll completely lose my mind and write the worst posts ever. You'll have to stay tuned and find out. Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve and New Year's Day!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Still here

I know that there have been reports that I've been trapped at Denver International Airport all week. Wouldn't that be an interesting story? I feel bad for those people out there. Who wanted a white Christmas?

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I'm still around - just swamped at work this week. Although, I was one of those millions who tried to use my iTunes gift card earlier this week and found a slow server. Finally was able to get some music.

Sorry about the boring update. I'm going to get some rest this weekend and hopefully be back to normal blogging next week. Happy New Year 2007!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Grand Rounds

I'm going to be working a lot this week. So, I want to apologize up front if I have a sparsity of posts over the next few days. The docs in our group take turns working the holidays throughout the year, and this is my year for the Xmas/New Year's stretch. Also, I've gotten lots of spam comments the last few days. So, I'll be moderating comments until I think the spam has slowed down. Sorry. And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Grand Rounds 3.14 has went home for the holidays. If you have never heard of Grand Rounds before, it is a group of medically related posts brought together in one place every Tuesday. The final Grand Rounds of 2006 is up an running at Blogborygmi. Thanks to THE MAN, Nick Genes, for including my submit under the "levity" section.
Dr. Anonymous is upset about me being named Time magazine's Person of the Year (and here I was, thinking you were the choice). He proposes something else -- something that can be part of us, and yet, is distinctly not us...
Nick was also a little reflective talking about those medical bloggers who have stopped blogging and those bloggers who took some time off and now are back. If you have never checked out Grand Rounds before, I would encourage you to check it out this week. This is the best the medical blogosphere has to offer! It's Grand Rounds!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

On this Christmas holiday, Mimi Lenox is asking bloggers around the world to re-post their peace globes from the original blogcast for peace from November 7, 2006. This was a great idea, and I'm happy to be a part of it again.

In other news, I tried again to switch to the new Blogger, but was again rejected with the same message I received the first time from Blogger beta. Oh well, maybe something can be figured out for people like me who are having problems switching.

Finally, some time today, I will have had my 50,000 visitor to the Doctor Anonymous blog. I cannot believe it took only six months (plus one week). Are you the 50,000th visitor? Let me know. I mean, hey, YOU are Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Happy holidays from all of us here at Doctor Anonymous!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Do they know it's christmas

This is the 1984 video of the song by Band Aid. Found it on YouTube. I forgot how many stars (at the time) were on this song. How many can you name? I'm on call this long holiday weekend. So, I'll be around the blogosphere seeing what's going on. Don't forget to put up Mimi's Peace Globe on Sunday. Safe travel to those of you going out on the road, in the sky, or out at sea, or wherever you're at. Happy Holidays!

A Blogger's Story

There is an interesting concept that just started out there today in blogland. It is a soap opera story with the main characters being bloggers - Hmmmmm...
Ok folks here goes… ways back in the blog a thon days.. Cathy and I discused doing a soap with all these bloggers… now well I think I am going to do it and it will work like this.

If you want to partisapate let me know. You will be a part of the story as well as writting the story. Anything goes.. know that up front cause like.. Don’t want people getting offended ok.
Apparently, this has been talked about for a while by Wolfbaby and Cathy. Well, today, the first installment has been posted over on Dreaming and Believing.
Wolfbaby cleaned the bar top to a polished shine then looked around the new place with pride. It was almost opening time and soon all of her blog world friend would come to see the new meeting place. What an idea they had all come up with. A jointly owned and operated restaurant and bar to allow all the blog owners to safely meet debate and create. There was a safe haven for everyone. A library room for those who loved to read and write. Along the walls of the place were cubbies for painters to paint. Plenty of tables for people to eat and talk. Lots of good food and drink for everyone to enjoy. This was a proud moment for all of them. As the time drew nearer to open the doors for the first time Wolfbaby grew giddy at the thought of meeting all her friends in person. As she opened the door to greet her friends Wolfbaby wondered how this joint endeavor would turn out.

One year later...
How's that for a teaser? Read the rest of this episode on the post called WolfDen Soap Part 1. (Post your comments over there) Like I told them, I've a lover and not a writer. LOL! So, I volunteered to be in the story but not write anything. We'll see how the esteemed writers treat my character...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holiday personality

Your Holiday Personality is Fun

You're all about the celebrating. Whether you're partying hard or singing along to Christmas music, you're totally enjoying the holidays.
Make your own Christmas ornaments. Create a holiday mix for all your friends' stockings. Run around your neighborhood late Christmas Eve ringing bells.

Welcome back to holiday week here at Doctor Anonymous. Here's another personality test for you. Take the test yourself and post on your blog!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gift cards

Since this is the holiday season, why not talk about gift giving. Back in October, I talked about the whole thing of re-gifting. And, that seemed to generate some discussion.

I have to admit that I'm horrible at picking out gifts for people. I dread going to the mall and trying to figure things out. When I was introduced to the gift card, my life changed dramatically.

I know some people are offended by this gesture, but for me, it says, "Hey, I know what ever I get for you, you're going to return anyway, and get what you really want. So, why not cut to the chase. Here's a gift card."

I was talking with one of my co-workers here at the office. She thinks the gift card thing is totally insulting and saw on television the idea of plastic surgery, er, cosmetic surgery, gift cards. What? Huh?

I did a little research on this and found an article in USA Today talking about giving the gift of plastic surgery. Hmmmmm....
Tina Baldwin, 48, of Newfield, N.J., was thrilled this fall when her husband gave her an early holiday present: any cosmetic surgery she wanted. She chose liposuction.

As others like Baldwin gear up to look their best for the holiday season, cosmetic surgery centers nationwide are offering gift-giving specials, where anything from wrinkle-reducing Botox injections to breast implants can be credited to the gift giver.
I would imagine some people would like to get plastic surgery as a gift from someone. But, I would also imagine that others may have a problem with this....
The gift giver may also offend the recipient, says Zachary Gerut, a Long Island plastic surgeon and assistant clinical professor at Albert Einstein Medical Center in New York. He says it's not uncommon for a husband to bestow the gift of a breast implant upon his wife this time of year. "Why don't you just insult the poor lady and be done with it? It's like telling someone they have bad breath," he says.
So, as you're making your final checks of your list to see who has been naughty and who has been nice, don't forget to factor in the plastic surgery gift card for someone your love. If that's too expensive for you, then there's always the Olive Garden. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dr. A's person of the year

In case you haven't heard yet, Time Magazine's Person of the Year is YOU. That's right, YOU. I know, you're asking yourself, Huh? In my opinion, Time has reached a new low here. In an effort to offend no one, they took the easy way out and named everybody, er, YOU. That's pretty pathetic if you ask me.

Time has assured itself that this annual distinction is now irrelevant. It's like me naming a person of the year. So, why not! If Time Magazine can make itself look important, then I'll do the same.

My person of the year is not actually a person. In addition, there is not even an agreed upon name of this "person." Now, before you think I'm going to do a spirituality post (not that there's anything wrong with that), here are the many names that have been used for my "person": Bug, Bacteria, Virus, Germ, Infection....

Well, you get the idea. In 2006, the population of the world has gotten to know more about microscopic organisms than ever before. For example, ripped from recent headlines....

E.Coli: Forget about bagged spinach from California. That story is so three months ago. Now, the big thing is the infection raging through Taco Bell restaurants. Oops! I forgot, the CDC has now announced that Taco Bell is now safe to return to. I know that because in watching TV on Sunday, at least twice an hour, the president of Taco Bell had an announcement asking people to come back. I wonder how much that cost. Probably pennies compared to the revenue lost over the past few weeks. Anyone remember Chi-Chi mexican restaurant? They had an outbreak in 2003, not with E.coli, but Hepatits A. Chi-Chi's went out of business soon after that.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa: This is a bacteria usually found in water and soil. It may not sound familiar, but if I say this bacteria closed the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units at a Los Angeles hospital two weeks ago, then it may ring a bell. Five babies were infected and two babies died from this bug.

MRSA: The long name is "methicillin resistant staph aureus." This is a big and bad sounding name, and this bacteria usually is. This is a bug whose victims are usually elderly patients with extended hospitalizations. In this story from the UK, hospitals there are finding a more powerful strain of MRSA, meaning it is more difficult to treat. As bacteria get exposed to more and more powerful antibiotics, the bacteria adapt and become more and more powerful. A dangerous trend.

This virus first made it's mark on the scene on cruise ships. Remember hearing about cruise ship illnesses? This was norovirus at work. Now, it had made landfall - namely at Olive Garden restaurant in the Indianapolis, Indiana area. Almost 400 people in that community have been affected. One wonders how much that's going to hurt that business not only locally, but nationally as well.

Finally, I've already had my flu shot rant this year. I'm also upset about the media hype over flu shot surpluses. But, that's a rant for another day. What will 2007 bring? Well, in addition to all of the above, bird flu is still on the radar screen. What new bugs are on the horizon? We'll have to see. Congrats to Dr. A's person of the year! Don't forget to wash your hands....

Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds 3.13 is now up and running over at Nurse Ratched's Place. I love the title and theme this week: It's Christmas Grand Rounds, Charlie Brown! Thanks to Mother Jones RN for including my submit this week:
And speaking of eating Christmas goodies over the holidays, Dr. Anonymous writes about websites that take us into the world of anorexia and bulimia, and gives us his opinion about an aritcle that was written about these websites.
Grand Rounds goes home next week to Blogborygmi (say that fast three times). What a Christmas present that is, Charlie Brown! Dr. Nick Genes, the founder of Grand Rounds, will be taking the reigns for the December 26th edition. For now, enjoy the best the medical blogosphere has to offer this week. It's Grand Rounds!

Monday, December 18, 2006

My geek profile

I was tagged by that Super Steno Girl. Gee thanks! By the way, this is a great new blog just started on December 1st. Check it out if you can. As for my geek profile, unfortunately, no surprises here, ugh...

Your Geek Profile:

Academic Geekiness: Very geeky!
Internet Geekiness: High
Movie Geekiness: High
Music Geekiness: Moderate
SciFi Geekiness: Moderate
Fashion Geekiness: Moderate
General Geekiness: Moderate
Gamer Geekiness: Low
Geekiness in Love: Loser

The Nose Knows

Ah, to be a college student again. Those were the days. Partying a lot, going to class sometimes, and having that occasional "interesting" experience. Now, before any of you out there jump to any conclusions, the experience I'm talking about is taking part in a science experiment.

Today, the Chicago Tribune describes a study involving the sense of smell...
If the results are surprising, that may be because no one ever had tried putting a bunch of college undergraduates in a field wearing blindfolds and sound-muffling headphones, then had them crawl in the grass after a scent like pigs hunting for truffles.
Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley found that "most of the students could follow a 30-foot trail of chocolate perfume and even changed direction precisely where the invisible path took a turn."

Here's how they did the experiment (I'm not joking)...
To create a scent trail, the scientists soaked a line of string in the chocolate scent and embedded it in the grass. The people were set loose on the ground about 9 feet away from the trail, then had to find the scent and follow it.
Some people out there are probably saying, "Hey, it's Berkeley, that's the crazy stuff that they do out there." Some other people may think this is a fraternity stunt. But NO! This is in the name of science, by George. Here's how the article is trying to tie this in to scientific experimentation....
By revealing how noses locate smells, the scientists hope to lay the groundwork for electronic noses that could detect hazards such as land mines. Their work, published online Sunday in the journal Nature Neuroscience, was funded in part by the Army Research Office.
That's our tax dollars at work! I don't know if I buy that explanation. But, just you watch. Next summer, there will be a movie about this experiment and someone (probably from Berkeley) will make tons of money. Maybe another one of those lame American Pie sequels. Happy Monday!

Six-month blogiversary

Yup, that's right, boys and girls! Doctor Anonymous been around for six months. I can hardly believe it! Thinking back, I didn't even know if I would get through the first week, or even the first month.

It's fun looking back at old posts - especially on occasions like this. I'd have to say that the entire Blogaholics Anonymous thing really got me started. Granted, this is not an original idea, but I'd have to say that was definitely the spark to get things rolling.

Over the past six months, I'd have to say that there were three points where I got a lot more noticed. First, when Moof highlighted me on her blog in June, I remember getting a lot more traffic that I'd ever seen. She's always been great to me, especially when I first started answering all my naive blogger questions. I even asked another question over this past weekend and she got back to be right away. Thanks for everything, Moof!

The second most significant point in the past six months was when I was named Bestest Blog of the Day by Bobby Griffin in September. Especially, if you have been only blogging for about a month or so, get involved with Bestest Blog. You won't regret it. Thanks Bobby!

The third point was the entire Grand Rounds experience, which for me was almost the entire month of November. When Dr. Nick Genes contacted me to host that blog carnival, I had no idea how much exposure I would get and the people that I would meet along the way. For the medical bloggers out there, if you ever have the opportunity to be the GR host, definitely take advantage of it. Thanks Nick!

People have asked me how I've kept on going for six months. First and foremost, your blog should be for YOU and not for us. Write what YOU want to write about and not what you think we want to read about. Just like in the real world, people in the virtual world know when you're not being genuine and trying to "fake us out."

Adding a little piece of yourself goes a long way. Sure, I'm "anonymous" in that people don't know my name or what I look like. But, whether you like it or not, your personality will show through. If people connect with it, they'll be back to read more.

The second piece of advice I'd give is don't be afraid to write about things out of your comfort zone. Sure, when you started blogging you wanted to tell the world about medicine, or being a patient, or science, or sports, or news, or entertainment, or whatever. Don't be afraid to mix it up with different topics.

If you're starting out, don't be afraid to try to add a picture, or audio, or video to your blog. Try different types of posts, like interviewing a fellow blogger. Trying something out of the ordinary will keep things fresh as a writer and we'll enjoy that as a reader.

Finally, I'm the first to say that I'm obsessed with my numbers and my stats. I mean, just look at my sidebar. It's easy for me to say, but to keep your sanity, don't get too hung up on how many visitors you get on a daily basis. It doesn't matter how many people see your blog. It matters how many come back again and again to see your blog.

Speaking of that, thanks so much to all of you who come back again and again to read my blog. I never knew how much fun this all would be. I don't know if I'll be around in another six months, but it will be fun along the way!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Never Question Mr. Nibbles!

You gotta like that YouTube. I saw this very funny commercial this morning, did a quick search, and BOOM there it is. Here is my favorite holiday commercial of the moment...
And, even though the commercial is not exactly the same, here is another version of the Mr. Nibbles commercial on the YouTube site....
Is Christmas really next week? What is your favorite holiday commercial?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Why Beta Why?

I'm having trouble sleeping tonight. So, I'm thinking, why not blog?

After days of going back and forth, I finally decided to make the switch to Beta Blogger, UGH! I felt it was really affecting me making comments on blogs. And, maybe it was preventing others from commenting on my blog. So, I took the step to make the switch.

When I was thinking to switching to Blogger Beta, I had this flashback to my blog post number one on June 19, 2006 called: Does this thing work?
I've got to admit off the bat that I'm no techno-expert. This entire sign on process was kind of traumatic. Is this what this blog is going to be about -- whining? Hope not. I'm glad just to be up an running. Don't worry, this sparse blogspace will be filling up soon. Just as soon as a figure out what to talk about...
Ah.... Memories.... Anyway, I heard that the side bar may be affected by switching. So, I made sure I saved the links of where all the third party stuff came from. I even printed out my front page, in case I had to re-create my sidebar on my new beta site.

Finally, I got through the first page of Beta registraton. I paused and took a big breath before clicking on making the move. Optimistic that everything would be ok, I clicked to the next screen hoping to see my new site. Unfortunately, I saw the following message.
Could not switch you to the new Blogger: Thanks for your interest in the new Blogger in beta! Unfortunately, we cannot switch your Blogger account at this time, because one or more of your blogs cannot be moved. Please see our help article for more information.
What! Blogger, you've been bugging me for MONTHS to get me to switch over. I've been hearing stories, both good and bad, about switching. Many of my blog friends have been bugging me to switch. I made the decision and went through the process, and this is what I get? How do I switch to wordpress?

After about half an hour, I think I've calmed down a little now. The good news is that I think the comment problem has been resolved (hopefully). I'm going to try again to check out my favorite blogs and comment. Feel free to comment here and let me know if this thing is stll working. I'm still thinking about wordpress...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Let The Games Begin

Thanks so much to those of you who nominated me for Medgadget Medical Weblog Awards. I really appreciate it! Who knew I would go from no blog at all to being considered one of the best blogs of 2006.

Now, if you don't tell anyone, I'm going to give you some insight here that you won't get on other blogs. I'm very flattered to be nominated for best overall medical blog of the year. But, at this point in my blog life, I think I'm minor league compared to some in that category.

So, even though as of this second, there are twelve other blogs in the Best New Medical Weblog category, I think I will concentrate my efforts there.

How am I going to do that? Well, here's the way I see it. It is three weeks until the polls open over there on Medgadget. I have three short weeks to earn your vote for Best New Medical Weblog of 2006.

Don't think your vote counts? Think again. In reviewing the rules over there, there will be a new voting system. Yes, there are nine judges (*waving at judges*) and they will have their say. But, your vote counts just as much! So, I have some work to do in the next three weeks to convince you and to convince them that I'm worthy of your vote.

What I'm going to say next is definitely politically incorrect. But, ever since my first day of blogging, I made a committment to myself that since I was going to blog anonymously, I must be open and honest with my readers. Today is no exception.

The politically correct thing is to say "Gee Whiz, it's just an honor to be nominated." No other blog out there is going to say this but me ==> I'm definitely out to win this award. Don't take that the wrong way. I'm not saying that out of a sense of entitlement, just because I've been blogging for almost six months.

Over the next three weeks, I'm going to work as hard as I can and blog my heart out to earn your vote beginning on January 3, 2007. For my blog friends out there (and you know who you are), if you have any advice along the way, please let me know.

I know I sound like one of those nasty politicians running a campaign. I'm just a blogaholic trying to reach for a goal that I never thought was possible six months ago. With hard work and your help, we can try to get there together. Let the countdown begin! Twenty days to go until the Medgadget polls open!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Quick news stories

Obese Kids To Be Offered Surgery: The government in the UK is sending the ultimate message of accountability for your actions by offering surgery "as a last resort" to obese children. Richard Watts, campaign co-ordinator of the Sustain's Children's Food Campaign, said: "Instead of expensive and unpleasant surgery, we should look to improve children's diets by protecting them from junk food adverts before 9pm and making cookery lessons in school compulsory." DUH!

Of course, you could do something obvious. No, not encourage exercise. That's too easy. You can ban certain foods, like trans fats. Apparently, that's the fad now in the United States. Cities like Cleveland, Ohio are following the lead of New York City. Oh well. Maybe that will help the obesity problem in kids.

Longer Colonoscopy Time
Ups Detection: According to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, you have to ask your doctor if they spend more than six minutes doing their colonoscopy. The study stated that those colonoscopies more than six minutes found more abnormal growths than those less than six minutes. DUH!

What the study didn't show is the potential increase complication rate with more biopsies taken and increased time under anesthesia. Stuff like this is always left out of media stories. I wonder why. Hmmmmm.....

Gliding Mammal Lived More Than 125 Million Years Ago: Scientists found a fossil of what they're calling a "gliding mammal." The mammal was probably nocturnal and dined on insects. It was similar in size to a modern flying squirrel.

You're wondering, why did I pick this story? You know, I don't really know, other than I really liked the picture. What do you think? Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Blogger problems

Imagine that? I'm not even in the dreaded blogger beta. Lots of difficulties with my sidebar this morning. So, I'll be fiddling with this thing this afternoon. Hopefully, I won't accidentally delete the entire blog. I'll be right back after these commercial messages. Thanks for stopping by today!

Update (2pmET): I have a question. Don't worry, I turned the comments back on. I figured some stuff out, but still having some problems.

Is my footer in the right place on your screen? On my firefox screen, it's beneath my profile. Gimme some feedback on this. For all you template gurus out there, if you could help me move it in the right spot, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Update (6:30pmET): Still can't figure out the footer thing, but that's ok. I'm glad I didn't mess up my entire template. I'm going to be adding things back to the sidebar in the next few hours. Please let me know if you see anything funky going on on the sidebar or on the footer. Hopefully, I'll have a more "normal" post tomorrow. Thanks for all of your help!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

James Kim: Blame the victim

Warning: This is an irk alert...

The people on the west coast of the United States probably have been following this story closer than I have. And, I wasn't going to mention anything about the tragic story of James Kim and his family. But, I read a story this morning that really put me over the edge.

For those who may not know, James Kim and his family (wife and two young daughters) were stranded in the mountains of Oregon for approximately a week. I believe on day five or six of their ordeal, which included hearing helicopters but unable to get their attention, Mr. Kim decided to venture out to try to rescue his family. His family was eventually rescued, but he was not.

The first set of media stories portrayed him as a hero - which is what he was. Initial stories called him "Superhuman." As I did more research, I found out he was a senior editor for Cnet.Com. And, I remember seeing this guy doing reviews for computer and electronic stuff. Great guy. He mentioned his daughter a lot when he did his video reviews for cnet.

Now, the media stories are shifting. The story that really got me going this morning had this to say about the Kim family...
When we finally reached the spot where the Kims' car stopped after a long, winding journey, our traveling companions -- Sgt. Joel Heller, Josephine County Sheriff's office, and John James, owner of the Black Bar Lodge -- both had the same exact thought: Why did the Kims continue down such a desolate path when they so clearly did not know where they were going?
This just fires me up! I mean, this family was lost. It was obvious that they have never been there before. It was snowing. The signs were not clearly marked. Even with all these facts, they are blaming this poor family? I don't get it.

For the rest of the article, I was waiting for the passage saying, "We're raising these questions because we do not want this tragedy to happen again to another family." The tone of the article remained on the Kim family.

I know I shouldn't let the media bother me like this, but I think of the two little girls that are left behind. When they read about their brave father in 10-20-30 years, what will their reaction be when they come across stories like this essentially blaming their father for getting the family lost and leaving them behind? In my view, media stories like this are irresponsible. That's my 2 cents worth.

Nominate Me!

I have no shame. And, when you read this post, you'll see why. HA!

Yesterday, Medgadget announced the opening up of nominations for their 2006 Medical Weblog Awards. This is their third annual event. And, according to their website, "These awards are designed to honor the very best in the medical blogosphere, and to highlight the diverse world of medical blogs."

There are seven categories, but the one I'm most interested in is Best New Medical Weblog (established in 2006). To be honest, I don't think this blog really fits into any of the other categories. Oh BTW, there's a new category this year for Best Patient's Blog. So, for you DA readers who have patient blogs, you can play, too.

Anyway, this is where I'm asking you, the Doctor Anonymous reader, to help. If someone, anyone, would nominate me for Best New Medical Weblog - I'd really appreciate it! I'd nominate myself, but that seems kind of lame to me. Plus, the judges may not take to kindly to self-nominations.

Speaking of the judges, some of them look familiar to me. I think I may have put them in the bottom section of my Grand Rounds 3.09 posting last month. So, they may not like me too much. Oh well. We'll have to see what happens. If nominated, then I'll be shamlessly be seeking your vote from January 3-14, 2007.

What's interesting is that you can only vote once - period. Not once an hour - not once a day - just once - period. I wonder how they'll monitor that. But, hey, they're Medgadget. They can figure it out. But, first thing is first - the nomination. Thanks for your consideration....

Update: To help generate some controversy, the grand Empress Bee herself has obtained some totally illegal pictures of me (LOL) in her post called "They Are Coming Out." Your curiousity piqued yet?

Another Christmas Meme

It looks like Cathy gave me by Christmas present early in the form of a meme. The interesting part is that I did not recieve the dreaded "You've Been Tagged" e-mail message. That's a new strategy (thanks Ipanema - HA!). Here we go!

1. Hot Chocolate or Egg Nog? Absolutely hot chocolate.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Neither - The elves wrap the presents and Santa's personal assistants put them under the tree.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored lights on tree. Too lazy to put lights on house.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope. Bums me out too much.
5. When do you put your decorations up? When I finish my Christmas cards. Usually in mid-December. Just put some decorations up last weekend.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? All Christmas desserts. My patients usually bring in bunches and bunches of stuff for me and my staff this time of year.
7. Favorite Holiday memory? Midnight mass with my family. One of the few times all year we're able to get together as a family.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? In high school, Santa at the mall was arrested for DUI. Many kids around here bummed by that....
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? When I was growing up, ABSOLUTELY NOT! Mom would have none of that. She would allow us to open one present after midnite mass, but the rest was for Christmas morning.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? When I was a kid, it was a fun family activity that we did in one afternoon - probably just after Thanksgiving. Now, it takes me a couple of weeks to decorate the tree.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love to watch it snow, but hate to drive in snow.
12. Can you ice skate? Once - never again. Nothing tragic happened, just embarrassing.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I admit I was a spoiled brat growing up (some people would say that has never changed). My love for electronic stuff started when I was a kid.
14. What's the most important thing? The reason for the season - The birth of the Savior.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Like the rest of the year - anything with chocolate is my favorite.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? My parent's years of piano lessons comes out once a year when I dig out the Christmas music and play some carols. Granted, it's still the same grade school music, but it's always fun to get the family gathered together.
17. What tops your tree? Sponge Bob Square Pants. Just kidding, it's an angel that lights up.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? I have to be honest. The whole gift thing really stresses me out. But, there's always one or two gifts that I find for a friend/family that I really look forward to giving. And, I look forward to that moment.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? See my Christmas Song Meme.
20. Candy canes, Yuck or Yum? Gotta love the candy canes!

Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds 3.12 is now up and running over at Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments. GR is up early this week. Thanks to the bloggers over there for including my submission this week. I really appreciate it.
A recent AAP report on advertising and children drew our ire. It also drew the ire of Doctor Anonymous, and he discussed his reactions in a great post that led to some healthy comment discussion.
On a quick glance, I counted 36 links (unless you count My Three Shrinks as three separate posts instead of one). Well done. However, I couldn't leave a kudos comment over there because the verification characters wouldn't come up on my firefox. Oh well, Kudos to AAaDT for their work this week.

Look out! Next week, GR journeys to Nurse Ratched's Place. But meanwhile, enjoy the best the medical blogosphere has to offer - It's Grand Rounds!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pro-ana and Pro-mia sites

Someone sent me a link to an article from Newsweek entitled "Mixed Messages." It talks about websites taking us into the world of anorexia (called pro-ana sites) and bulimia (called pro-mia sites). Here's a sample of what they say:
Drink ice-cold water ("your body has to burn calories to keep your temperature up") and hot water with bullion cubes ("only 5 calories a cube, and they taste wonderful"). When a food craving strikes, give yourself a manicure ("applying extra layers of slow-drying polish. It will keep your hands occupied").
The article goes on to outline the debate that is occurring on whether these sites are good or bad. Those in favor of the websites state that the internet is a huge support group for these (in general) troubled teens who visit it. Others say that these sites promote and glamorize this type of lifestyle.

It's a pretty balanced article and I encourage you to check it out. The question comes back to this: Can a website CAUSE a change in behavior, especially in younger people? Here is one point of view from the article:
The pro-eating-disorder sites feed into anorexics' competitive nature, says eating-disorder specialist Dr. David S. Rosen, a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Michigan. "They're constantly trying to be the sickest, the thinnest, the most unhealthy. If you go to a Web site where people are describing their eating habits, their vomiting practices, if you're in the throes of a serious eating disorder, no matter how that information was intended when it was put out there, it may be a challenge to eat less, to take more diet pills, to weight less. That's where the harm is."
Here is another point of view:
Could the sites somehow lure a completely healthy girl into becoming an anorexic? "You've still got to have some sort of predisposition," says John Levitt, director of the eating-disorders program at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates, Ill. "It's a little bit difficult to believe they went there and were pure." Most patients "don't need the advice," he says. By the time he sees them, they already know the tips and tricks. But, he says, "if you have a predisposition for something, you get reinforcement for it."
I have never been of the opinion that media (whether it be violent movies, certain video games, certain types of music, etc.) has a causal relationship with a person's behavior. People should be accountable for their choices and actions. For parents, they should be accountable for supervision of their children and teens.

But, this article does make some compelling arguments to make me think. I haven't changed my position. But, as I alluded to in Direct to Kid Advertising, it seems like it's getting more and more challenging for parents to de-program their kids from the media message saturation.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I'm not talking about the first nighttime shuttle launch in four years. This was great to see on television. I would love to see this live and in person.

But, I digress. I'm talking about the countdown to my six month blogiversary. I can't believe that it's coming up next week. To be honest, I didn't think I would make it this long.

Thanks so much to all of you for continuing to stop by and occasionally leave comments. Forgive me over the next week as I may look back a little bit, to reminisce, and to reflect. It's that holiday spirit, I guess.

Finally, thanks to those of you who sent notes when I was feeling ill. I really appreciate it. I guess all the handwashing in the world can't totally prevent getting a cold this time of year around here. I'm feeling better - Just in time for me to be on call for the Christmas holiday. Oh well...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Heart Attack Grill

Now, we here at Doctor Anonymous are not afraid to cover the hardest hitting news stories out there in the internet....

There's a huge controversy occuring in Tempe, Arizona over a restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill. Surprisingly enough, the controversy is not over its menu which includes things like quadruple bypass burger and flatliner fries.

The waitresses call themselves nurses and what they're wearing is nothing that I've ever seen in a hospital. You'll see in this picture from the Heart Attack Grill what I'm talking about.

Nurse advocates are outraged by this establishment. Not only do they dispute the way that the waitresses are dressed, but also that they're not real nurses. You're going to think I'm making up this next quote, but it's right from the Associated Press article.
"Nurses are the most sexually fantasized-about profession," said Sandy Summers, executive director of the Center for Nursing Advocacy, based in Baltimore. "We're asking people, if they're going to have these fantasies, please don't make it so public. Move these sexual fantasies to other professions."
Is this the best soundbite that this person could come up with? Keep your sexual fantasies private and not make them public? Doesn't make sense to me. But, oh well....

The restaurant is soaking up all the publicity. There's a section on their Heart Attack Grill Website devoted exclusively to 'the controversy over nurses.' They even have a theme song.

There are two problems that I have with this. First, I can't believe that I didn't think of this idea first. HA! Second, the only thing I would add is sexy male "chippendale" waiters and call them doctors. I mean, you're ignorning an entire demographic who also go to restaurants!
Courtney Chapman, a 20-year-old waitress at the grill, said she found nothing wrong with the uniform or the stares she gets.

"They definitely look at us, but they're guys," she said. "If our butts are coming out the bottom of our skirts, and our boobs are coming out the top of our shirts, we're kind of asking for it."
That about sums it up for me. So, if I'm out in Tempe any time soon, I'm going to have to check out the Heart Attack Grill. By the way, how's the food there? HA!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Direct to kid advertising

How upset do you get when you see drug ads which say, "Ask your doctor about..." This just burns me up sometimes! I see both sides of this in that patients come in and ask me about their medical conditions. But on the other hand, they sometimes demand to be placed on what they saw on television.

In the marketing world, they call this "direct to consumer" advertising. This has definitely transformed the sales of prescription medications. OTC manufactures have also followed suit. (What's that product you apply directly to the forehead? AHHH!)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published a report stating that children and adolescents are constantly exposed to advertising on television, and even in schools. If adults can be lulled into these ads, think of the effect on children.
"Advertisers have slowly but steadily infiltrated school systems around the country," the [AAP] committee [on communication] writes. "The '3Rs' have now become the '4Rs,' with the fourth R being 'retail.' Ads are now appearing on school buses, in gymnasiums, on book covers, and even in bathroom stalls," notes the AAP.
I defninitely agree with this. In doing more research on this, I found an article from the Palm Beach Post talking about marketing to kids for toys and video games.
Nine times. That's the average number of requests a kid has to make before Mom and Dad cave and buy a toy, according to a national survey commissioned by the Center for a New American Dream, a Maryland-based consumer group.

That's if Mom and Dad are lucky. One of every 10 kids ages 12 to 13 cheerfully reported he asks his folks more than 50 times for something he really, really, really wants.
Then, there's this article from USA Today talking with James McNeal who wrote a book about direct marketing to kids.
Last year, marketers spent $1.4 billion per month marketing to children — 15% more than the year before, McNeal says. "I call it 'surround selling.' "

Mattel Brands President Neil Friedman says Mattel will spend half its ad budget — estimated at $460 million by Advertising Age — in the fourth quarter.
The American society makes such a big deal of people like drug dealers and predator teachers preying on innocent children. In my opinion, there is another group who should be included in this outrage.

Frankly, advertising, as an industry, should be ashamed of itself. To target those in our society who are most vulnerable to slick marketing techniques is deplorable. Parents are put in the precarious position of trying to de-program their kids from the daily onslaught of these brainwashing messages. They're using your kids to help their bottom line. What do you think about that? Happy Holidays....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Now, I failed miserably at NaBloPoMo last month. For all of you who succeeded (and didn't win any real prize), there's this reward for you. HA!

So, anyway, I'm a glutton for punishment. I ran into another blogging challenge over there on the Frectis blog. The challenge is easy - Post every day from December 1st through January 1st (sound familiar).

I guess there are two tiers to Holidailies. The top tier registration is closed and they're enforcing daily posts. If not, then you're demoted to the lower tier which they are affectionately calling the "home game" version of Holidailies 2006.

So, the underachiever blogging self signed up for the Holidailies at Home. If you haven't checked it out over there yet, I encourage you to do so. Lots of great writing and reading over there.

Speaking of which, I'm still considering accepting Cathy's challenge of writing a post ending with the line, "I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them." Hmmmmm. I don't know if I have the creative juices for that. Still thinking...

Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds 3.11 is now up and running at The Antidote: Counterspin for Health Care and Health News. The host is Emily Devoto. No theme this week. Thirty-seven links are divided into nine categories. Here's my contribution:
Dr. Anonymous briefs on this week's new research findings on chemo-brain - now there's evidence of a neurologic basis for the phenomenon; with luck, the findings could spur further research to understand and address the problem.
Thanks Emily for including my submit this week. Next week, Grand Rounds moves to Anxiety, Addiction, and Depression Treatments. Experience the best the medical blogosphere has to offer this week. It's Grand Rounds!

Monday, December 04, 2006

McDonald's Children's Hospital

How was your weekend? Mine was wonderful and relaxing, thanks for asking! A time to just take a break. Until, this morning when I read the news....

Here's a question, how often have you seen McDonalds or other fast food restaurants somewhere in the hospital? How about if you have ever been at a children's hospital?

In a study recently released, researchers in Pittsburgh are very upset about this. The article is in today's Washington Post and is entitled, "Fast Food at Kids' Hospitals Causing Worry."
The researchers queried 200 pediatric residency programs in 2002-03. About 30 percent, or 59, had fast-food restaurants in their hospitals. McDonald's alone or in combination with other fast-food restaurants were located in 22.
The article goes on to say that this sends a mixed message to parents, especially with the growing problem of childhood obesity in the United States (no pun intended).

Now, I totally agree that childhood obesity is a problem. But, do hospitals serve McDonalds in patient rooms? I don't think so. Who buys the fast food for their children? Oh yeah, that's right! The families of children buy the fast food.

Now, I know what you're going to say. "Dr. A, if fast food wasn't IN the hospital, then it wouldn't be a problem." Are fast food places the ONLY places to get food in the hospital? How about parents taking their kids to the hospital cafeteria? I'm sure a children's hospital would choose healthier food for their own cafeteria, right?

Here's are some facts that are left out of the above article. I did a quick search of the website for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Did you know that as of 2004, more than $400 million in grants worldwide have been distributed to benefit children. How many times have you heard about the Ronald McDonald House helping someone you know?

Also, I did a quick scan of the sponsor lists for charities like St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, the Children's Miracle Network, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Did you know that they have sponsors like Anheuser-Busch, Wal-Mart, Dairy Queen, and Coca-Cola? Oh no! This is definitely sending the wrong message to children! C'mon, gimme a break.

In my opinion, this Pittsburgh study is another attempt to attack fast food establishments and give parents a free pass on the care of their own children. So, according to this article, the solution is simple - If you want to solve the problem of childhood obesity, go to the hospital cafeteria!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Condom Olympics

After my last two posts, here is something a little lighter today. Question: How are you observing World AIDS Day? Here are two examples...

A Canadian community is holding the condom olympics which organizers call a "light-hearted face on a very serious issue." Events will include blowing up condoms, condom relay races, shooting condoms, and condom volleyball using flyswatters to keep blown up condoms in the air. Laurel Petty, the city's AIDS Community Action Project coordinator says said this, "It will be a fine evening brainstorming with the kids."

If you haven't had your fill of condoms (*cough*), then get on a plane to Thailand. Because there, you will be trying to make history with a Guinness World Records attempt at the "longest condom chain". I'm not making this up. Here's the quote:
Participants at the "Condom Chain of Life" festival will link 25,000 condoms and will be led by UN Aids special representative Mechai Viravaidya, a national Aids activist formerly known as "Mr Condom", who was named a 2006 Time magazine hero for his groundbreaking HIV prevention efforts. The attempt will take place at 7:30pm inside the King Rama VI entrance to Lumphini Park.
I just want to go on record right now, and place my rubber stamp of approval (*cough again*), to these two projects. Now, before you throw stuff at me, don't get me wrong. I realize that AIDS worldwide is a considerable concern.

But, the condom olympics and the condom chain of life? Pleeze! Will hyped events like these have an overall positive effect over time to advance the cause of worldwide AIDS education? I guess time will tell.

Update: Just when you thought you had enough condom talk, I saw this item at MedGagdet this morning. The title of the article is Spray On Condom = Instant Lovin'. No joke! Check it out.