Tuesday, December 11, 2007

EtAOK: Journal Impact

So for you fans out there of my ramblings, you may have noticed I don't drink. I've actually blogged before about it. Multiple times.

Anyway, the other day I was driving to an interview somewhere and heard a radio ad that reminded me of the whole issue. They were selling a supplement that was "red wine extract pills with no alcohol." So it obviously peaked my interest as knowing what it is in red wine that isn't in vodka is obviously what gives red wine its FDA/AMA stamp of approval over, say, moonshine.

Now I call this update journal impact because I'm all too aware of what journal impact factor is and what it means. So if I were to, hypothethetically of course, cite a study published by FASEB (that's the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) I already know that it doesn't carry the same weight as something in, for example, The New England Journal of Medicine.

That said, the FASEB came out just recently and talked about what exactly it is in red wine that makes the difference. Turns out it's "polyphenols". There's a decent summary you can read about it here. After being tortured through organic chemistry anything with the word "phenol" in it just sounds dangerous, but apparently there's an exception to every rule. You can now buy polyphenol supplements on eBay (not that I am in any way, shape, or form endorsing this product. I personally think most supplements are garbage even more overpriced than the proven pharmaceuticals they "replace" - all without that pesky FDA who is always trying to stamp out American ingenuity).

One thing that's helped me support the belief that alcohol is heart unhealthy is the fact that the mormon population overall has a lower rate of heart disease compared to non-mormon countparts. In the off chance you're reading this and aren't mormon and don't know anything about mormonism, mormons are pretty well known for their abstinence from, among other things, alcohol.

Well, it turns out that it's the abstinence from one of those other things that seems to play one of the biggest factors. While I know that Deseret News is also not exactly a high impact journal, the story actually was broken across the AP wire and showed up on most credible news sites today (i.e. MSNBC, CBC, The London Free Press, etc). The study showed that fasting may actually be more cardioprotective than all that other stuff. Traditionally the first Sunday of every month is "Fast Sunday" worldwide in the LDS church. On fast Sunday, those whose health permits abstain from a meal or two and are encouraged to donate the money saved from not eating those meals to the Church's Fast Offering fund, which is specifically used to to provide welfare to the poor. While the study certainl by no means proves that fasting is cardioprotective, it certainly is suggestive.

But I still think alcohol is not good for the heart.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Questions: The Interview Process Part 2

If you know anything about me, you know I'm in the middle of interviewing all over the place for residency.

I'm not even half way done, but I don't think I can stand to hear one more person ask me, "Do you have any questions?" Because if I say no, then I look disinterested. And if I say yes and repeat the same question I just asked three other people at whatever place I am that day and then I look like a zombie totally zoned out as I hear the same answer repeated almost verbatim back to me.

Maybe I need to cancel some of these prelim/transitionals when most of the schools I applied to provide their own.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Watching Football with the Folks

I've waited to post this to wait for the relative excitement to die down. I was back home for the Thanksgiving holiday and my parents' home was filled with relatives. Two in particular are complete and utter BYU football fanatics. Having attended BYU, I understand. I do think it's a little ironic considering the fact that neither went to BYU, and neither did any of their children. In fact, one graduated from the hated rivals - the University of Utah. I digress. Anyway, so Thanksgiving was nice. And then came the Saturday after. The TV had to be dibbed days in advance for this game and the DVR was set to record "The Mountain" - the crappy station that broadcasts nothing but Mountain West athletics. BYU was playing the University of Utah.
There is a long tradition of heated games between the two. For example, last year the game came down to the final play. BYU trailed by 4 with time enough for one final play. You can see the rest below.

So after taking it to them in their own house, the Utes were particularly set on taking the W this year. That and the winner of the game actually stood to take the conference title for the year. It was a big game this year. Like Kansas v. Mizzou big. And I was interested in the outcome so I had to watch, despite my better judgement.

It was a very defensive game with both teams struggling. The 4th quarter started at a score of 9-3 BYU. And in fits of passion, I can still hear one person yelling "Get 'im! GET 'IM" as we watched the Utah quaterback scramble away from poorly excecuted tackles. The other of this dynamic duo spent most of the time talking about how much BYU was going to miss their missed field goals and TD opportunities. All I could think was, "Duh". It was kind of like when John Madden says things like, "You know, the team that gets into the endzone the most is going to win." Real men of genius.

And then Utah scores a touchdown. 10-9. Less than 2 minutes to go. In comes another family member who starts trying to lead high-school-esque chearleader cheers. I'm practically boiling over to tell them all, "You know that they can't hear you, right?" or "You know I passed first grade math a long time ago, right?"

BYU has the ball and then after a bit of poor playing it's fourth and long. Like 20 something yards long. And the pull out a 40 yard pass to keep themselves in the game. And then it happens. What annoys me the most about the BYU uber-fan dynamic duo is the way they talk about the officiating. If their team loses, it was always the officials fault for making calls that weren't really there or missing crucial penalties that would have saved BYU. During this particular game, there were a few questionable no-calls for pass interference and personal fouls that went both ways actually. But on this particular drive all the flags came out. After completing the impossible on fourth and twenty, BYU went on to have a both a pass interference and personal foul call go their way. The thing is, on replay they both looked pretty identical to stuff BYU had gotten away with earlier. In fact the BYU no-calls in some ways looked worse. And after getting over 30 yards extra from questionable calls, BYU was able to ram home a rushing touchdown followed by a two point conversion to win the game. Despite their poor clock management. I digress again.

Anyway, it's pretty clear to me that Utah should've won the game, but didn't. And I'm a BYU fan. But if you bring up the questionable calls to the dynamic duo, they argue tooth and nail that the calls were fair throughout the game. Of course - the Lord's team won. (For those of you not immersed in Utah culture, some on the more extreme side of the religious scale feel that BYU is "the Lord's University" therefore making BYU football, "the Lord's team." See picture at top of page. And who's that kid tackling Jesus?)

So I guess the point of this post is two-fold. 1 - I hate watching football with certain family members because the endless stream of inane commentary. 2 - BYU should've lost the game but managed to win with lop-sided penalties in their favor. Sorry Emma G*.