March 28, 2010

Health Care Providers on the Health Care overhaul

Health Providers and the Health Care overhaul

Photo by Michael O’Leary for The Herald
"Family nurse practioner Cheryl LaFlore provides an ear exam for 6-month-old Malyki King-Perez at the Providence Everett Healthcare Clinic."
What can I say?  I just love this picture!  A robust baby just as weirded-out as I am by what it's like to have to go have the doctors work on you to get you back in order.  There are many very detailed stories out there but the photo said a lot to me - how precious a life is, for one (outside of my over-identifying with that wonderful expression).

Sharon Salyer writing for The Herald-Net in Everett, Washington explores health care provider reactions to the new changes coming.
' Parents who get a new job won’t have their kids turned down for health insurance because of an ongoing medical problem.

Young adults, such as those just out of college who often can’t afford to buy individual health insurance plans, can remain on their parent’s plans until they’re 26.

And customers won’t be charged co-payments for preventative care, such as checks for diabetes.

These are some of the changes health care professionals say families will see most quickly from the national health insurance legislation passed by the House of Representatives on Sunday. '
The changes won't take place for at least six months after Obama signs the full bill.

The uninsured will have to wait longer.  The next set of federal health care provisions go into effect in 2014.  Until then the number of people without
health insurance will continue to grow.

An excerpt
' Many people agree on pieces of the legislation, such as whether everyone should have health care, he said. And many agree that insurance companies should not be allowed to dump people because of serious health conditions.

“When you ask people if they want health care reform … there’s thousands of pages in this bill nobody has ever read, written by somebody with a vested interest,” Raney said. '
Read various reactions, at the linked-article, by providers and others affected by the changes.

Oh, from the Comments area - while I can't confirm this is really from the baby's relative, here is what I just saw there:
' This baby is as adorable as is perfect picture implies.
  I am his great grandmother, and thank goodness our system currently assists young families with the health care for their children. But unfortunately his grandmother currently needs surgery. She recently lost her job, now has no health insurance. Needs her gallblader out, and has bleeding that needs addressing with a test prior to surgery.

  They tell her to come back when she has health insurance. They will only help her if her life is in "imminent danger". And without the test to determine the cause, they can't say she is in danger! This is the part of our health care reform that needs fixing NOW, not in four years!
Jenall Brister | Mar 24, 2010 9:51 am '
Others note that some (or much) modification is in order because when you've lost your job and then you need to buy health insurance at a time without income, you might be subsidized when it's determined you qualify -- but where does the rest of the payment come from when jobs are scarce and the NY Times has an article about the people in job lines who will not have a job for several years?  There'll need to be work on this.  What's to be done for the next 4 years before some of this even comes into effect.

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April 24, 2009

EARTH, Disney presents - for Earth Day

Went to see this beautifully filmed movie today, literally awe-inspiring. Caution: sometimes the predators win, as we know, and it's not super sugar-coated.

If you're on fast Internet, click on "HD" at lower right of video for higher-definition video.

Opened at theaters on EARTH DAY April 22nd 2009

At Youtube, when clicking on "(more info)" button, you'll see the following text and a bit more:
'This amazing new [Disneynature] film is from award-winning British producer/director Alastair Fothergill, whose credits include the Emmy and Peabody award-winning "Planet Earth" series (BBC and The Discovery Channel) and "The Blue Planet."

Follows the epic migratory journeys of four animal families [polar bears, African elephants, humpback whales, birds] as well as the earth's journey around the sun and the massive influence it has on all life on the planet, from the Arctic spring to the Antarctic winter."

We follow them, via stunning cinematography work, over the course of a year.

  Over the credits at the end of the film, there were some explanations and examples of how they got some of that footage and I'd love to see a video on the making of the film, which began its life as the BBC Series "Planet Earth" shown on Discovery Channel and is, itself, available on DVD sets.  The theatrical release of Earth is still in the theaters but this DVD can be preordered.

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April 03, 2009

Desperately seeking Leonardo da Vinci

Possible newly discovered Leonardo self-portrait< in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, near Potenza, goes on display there in April and May.

Experts say it's not a self-portrait by da Vinci while others point to the da Vinci trademark carving on the back, in Latin, "Painted by" -- written in reverse as was his wont.  Not ultra convincing, as anyone could do that.  Strangely enough, The Times (UK) article treats it as a da Vinci self-portrait though there is no proof of that.

Also in March, a 600-year old terracotta bust "discovered under a pile of rubbish in an Italian palazzo may be by Leonardo da Vinci, art historians said today."  Originally attributed to Verrocchio, some point out that Leonardo worked in his workshop during those years.

Then there's a Reuters story from Milan about the unbinding of da Vinci's 12 volume Atlantic Code.   With some 2,000 designs held in the 12 volumes, "...they weren't visible," said Father Buzzi.  The article closes with "Last month Italian experts said a sketch obscured by handwriting for five centuries in one of Da Vinci's notebooks may be a youthful self-portrait."
  Of course.

To take it to a fine extreme, see the Oregonian article about readers seeing "Leonardo in the bones" -- "Chip Ettinger and his wife, Amelia, say the vision of Leonardo da Vinci on an anatomical drawing by the old master jumps off the paper." And many of The Oregonian's newspaper and online readers who saw the story on agree.
 Actually, it does resemble a Picasso-like fragmented face of Leonardo if you squint, or cross the eyes :-)

  Possibly of more interest to da Vinci enthusiasts is a book not due in the U.S. until September '09 - The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior: The Intersecting Lives of Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped>, by Paul Strathern.

'In 1502, Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli spent the autumn together at the court of Cesare Borgia, the notoriously brutal and ruthless Duke of Romagna.
... Leonardo, at that time Italy's finest military technician, was Borgia's chief military engineer ... [Strathren] re-examines the lives of the three men in the light of this interlude: how it affected their careers and influenced the development of their thought ... a portrait of a fascinating trio, and an insight into the apparent paradox of why such turbulent times produced an outpouring of humanist sentiment almost unparalleled in the history of the West.'

I did get to visit "The Mind of Leonardo" exhibit in Florence but didn't get decent photos.  Interesting exhibit though, so I have links to it there.  Admirers of Michelangelo's David might enjoy the gallery I did for that sculpture, though.

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April 01, 2009

Queen Nefertiti and Facial Interpretation

After seeing the Yahoo news article on this, I went to see Scientific America's uniquely large images of the scans being distributed today of the inner limestone layer of this famous sculpture, which is a more detailed rendering of the Queen's head, overlaid by the stucco representation we have known all these years.  The Scientific American image captions struck me as strange in their interpretation of the differences.  So I commented there, asking :
'Why does the caption for the inner face say "the creases of the mouth in the inner layer, which are softer than those etched in the top layer" -- when the pictures show more, and deeper, creases by far in the inner layer?  The creases as shown in these images look considerably more smoothed out in the outer stucco layer.  Add that the cheekbones were made more prominent in the outer layer, an almost imperceptible 'bump' on the nose was removed, and all this indicates to me a sort of early 'photoshopping' equivalent of the Queen to add back the bloom of youth.  The inner layer as shown in these pictures seems to me more realistic in detail, and to a modern eye could represent someone for whom age was marking the years. Fascinating story.'
Then I went to National Geographic's news area, and the quick evaluation there, as shown in the title chosen, is the opposite of Scientific American's writer.  National Geographic:
'Nefertiti's Real, Wrinkled Face Found in Famous Bust? March 30, 2009—Researchers may have finally come face-to-face with the real—and wrinkled—Nefertiti, thanks to sophisticated CT scanning technology.

A carefully carved limestone face in the inner core of the Egyptian queen's famous bust (above, right) has emerged in new images, a new study says...'

A bit blunt and I wondered if the National Geo writer was male, but it was written by Christine Dell'Amore.  Scientific American's captions may be modified a bit later on, but they were a real puzzlement.   That one could look at these two layers and decide that the outer layer was likely a more realistic rendition and that a hint of maturity may have been added, even, is a bit bizarre.

But an amazing find.  The inner layer's image is more human, to me.

The Independent, which also has a detailed account of how the German archeologists took the incredible find out of Egypt (the conflict continues), points out that the inner limestone core was a "facial cast, which would have been taken directly from the queen's face..."

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March 30, 2009

"Polypill" made from 5 drugs may cut heart & stroke disease

The WebMD article I just read is upbeat about a new 5-in-1 pill that may be effective without costing much.  Is that even thinkable in today's world?

  WebMD's Charlene Raimo writes:

A "polypill" combining five heart drugs -- three blood-pressure-lowering drugs, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug, and aspirin -- is safe and works as well as any of the medications alone, researchers report.

The single capsule, taken just once a day, has the potential to slash the average person's risk of heart disease and stroke by about half, says study researcher Salim Yusuf, MD, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

"Since each component of the polypill can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by 25%, [it's reasonable to expect that] you can get at least twice that improvement with five components," he tells WebMD.

"Also, the drug will be inexpensive, as all five of its components are available in generic form," says James Stein, MD, a heart specialist at University of Wisconsin.

Other experts recommend, instead, changed lifestyle approaches and remind readers that a combination pill may not have the same effect on all groups of people.

See full story here.

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January 05, 2009

Some of us can all get along ...

"Neilingding Island, China. Three months ago, the macaque was born on the island, but strayed from its mother. Luckily, it was taken in by work staff in the protective station and made the acquaintance of the pigeon. More than 2,000 macaques live on the island."

"Dema, a 26-day-old male endangered Sumatran tiger cub, cuddles up to 5-month-old female orangutan Irma at the Taman Safari Indonesia Animal Hospital, on Feb. 26, 2007 in Cisarua, Bogor Regency, West Java, Indonesia."   Both were rejected by their mothers and are being looked after by staff at the Animal Hospital.
See many more at the Animal Kingdom's Odd Couples page at

Yosuke, the lost parrot, knows his place

I've noted a lot of oddities for the blog but haven't gotten to them for months, having been overwhelmed by political oddities, so here's one to start.
Wandering Yosuke (to the left) gave up his ID and street address to a probably kindly vetinarian.
"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to [local policeman Shinjiro] Uemura.  The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs.
With the police he wasn't as forthcoming.
"I tried to be friendly and talked to him, but he completely ignored me," Uemura said.
Maybe this singing parrot is distantly related to my other favorite parrot, SNOWBALL, dancing this time to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust."

Here's the story of Snowball as told by Irena to the NWI Times. Don't miss his dance to the Back Street Boys, apparently his favorite group.

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