dress in costume and act
out ancestral wars
embody concepts and live
the consequences
go to fancy restaurants
and steal fish forks
take relationships to the
next level, break up
make up, feel sorry
keep asking
and asking till my tongue
becomes a question
mark and quotes my ears


"Relaxed" guidelines and breast cancer awareness

I'm glad Hadassah is encouraging women to start annual breast exams at 40 and not follow the new "relaxed" guidelines. "Relaxed" is what I would call "evidence-based," but never mind.

The reason, shared with us by Allison Hoffman in Tablet's The Scroll, is that "Ashkenazi Jewish women are about five times likelier than everyone else to have the genetic abnormality that can lead to breast cancer." Perhaps Hadassah and the Susan G. Kornen Breast Cancer Foundation ("who has given Hadassah about $335,000 in grants for breast-cancer awareness") would care to explain to those Ashkenazi Jewish women why they are recommending annual breast exams that lead to unneeded biopsies and unjustified cancer diagnoses. Or maybe Ashkenazi Jewish women just don't care about those things?

One wonders if we need just as much awareness of false positives, the danger of unjustified diagnosis, and the unintended effects of massive screening programs as we do awareness of breast cancer. Maybe those of us who care about justifying medical interventions on the basis of evidence should come up with walks and ribbons and foundations too.


Nofrat Frenkel in and out of the spotlight

I appreciate the piece by Nofrat Frenkel in the Forward, but it is hard to square with what was said in her name on a Conservative e-mail list I subscribe to:

Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 10:47 AM
[Shefa] Women of the Wall (WoW)

On Shabbat I spoke with Nofrat Frenkel and she asked to clarify:
1) She was not arrested. She was detained for questioning.
2) She did nothing that is not regularly done at WoW service. She has no idea what caused the police to suddenly intervene.
3) She would like the issue to drop out of the spotlight, so the police close the case without a trial and her (future) license to practice medicine is not jeopardized.
A good week to all,

I suppose it wouldn't be the first time that someone in the spotlight, for reasons not of her own choosing, is unsure whether she wants to be there.


A shocking statement in the medical literature

"Treating patients to lower than standard BP targets, 140-160/90-100 mmHg, does not reduce mortality or morbidity." (So says this Cochrane Review.)


What Google Translate calls my Yiddish blog

Hello Bargar

Language, talk, Ride On Flaflarii

A ray of sunshine

My house has many windows
I boarded them all up
Desperation's everywhere
Nighttime always stops

When a ray of sunshine
Hit my bedroom floor
Then for safety's sake I had
To board up my front door


When evidence-based medicine rules the land...

...and every provider everywhere knows exactly how to apply population-level data to the patient in front of them, and what recommendations to make, there will be times (to the chagrin of me and every evidence acolyte) when the patient says no.

Even worse, that patient might be right.