Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I've heard about shit like this . . .

That is, a postdoc sabotaging a colleague's experiments. In fact, the specific tactic of pouring alcohol into the other guy's cell cultures is a cliche. These sorts of stories made me reluctant to embark on a conventional academic career path. The moral of the story, other than "some people are total schmucks," is that the perch on the lower rungs of the scientific career ladder is horribly tenuous. Thanks in part to the volatile fortunes of federal research funding, there are too many Ph.D.s for the available decent academic jobs. So we get this sort of nihilistic hypercompetitiveness.

I'm happy to say, however, that my own experience has been the precise opposite. Everybody helps and encourages everybody else. But that's probably a function of the culture established by the leadership of the places where I have worked.

On another subject -- the paper on which this news story is based is not available on-line yet, but that's okay, you'll probably get more out of the story than the journal abstract anyway. For the most part, you should avoid over the counter medications entirely. As the study shows, you probably don't know what's in them, they probably aren't doing you much good if any -- particularly if we're talking about cold remedies -- and you could very well be OD'ing on acetaminophen.

The distance between a therapeutic dose of acetaminophen (AKA tylenol) and a dose that's toxic to your liver is very narrow. Did you know that the only reason they put acetaminophen in Vicodin is to discourage junkies from taking it because the FDA counts on them to know it's poison? It's true! If you have osteoarthritis or other pain, talk to your doctor and get on an NSAID diet that you can tolerate, or whatever you and doc decide on. If you have a cold or a flu-like illness, drink ginger tea. But I say, stay away from the brand names, and know what you're taking.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff! A few years back I stopped taking pain meds or cold meds in general as much as possible, simply because they were expensive and I didn't find they made much of a difference at all. As much green tea as I wanted and lots of water seemed to do the trick. Of course, if I ever get sick, I stick to my MD's recommendations - no brainer.