Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, May 16, 2014

News of the Day and various items

A reader asks if I have discussed prescribing Xanax to elderly people here. Actually I don't think I have, although I have discussed antipsychotic prescribing to elderly people. Advanced age is definitely a counterindication for benzodiazepines, one study even finding an increased risk of dementia, although this study is small and I haven't seen a meta-analysis. Still, elderly people metabolize benzos more slowly, so they get higher plasma concentrations, and they are therefore at higher risk for the usual side effects such as drowsiness. However, I also tend to think that belonging to the species Homo sapiens is also a counterindication. Finally, benzos have considerable potential for producing dependency.

As for searching my blog, I can do it myself with my credentials but I don't know if there's a way for the general public to do it. But if you have any requests, I'll consider them.

In other news, tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the first legally recognized same sex marriage in the U.S. At the time, many of us were concerned that it had been brought about by judicial fiat, not the legislative process. However, as soon as people noticed that in fact, nothing bad happened -- fire and brimstone did not rain down upon the Commonwealth, other people's marriages were unaffected, and restaurants and caterers made more money -- it suddenly became fine with people. And that's what's been spreading all over the place. Once it's familiar, and all the horrific consequences manifestly fail to appear, what the heck, why not?

In less happy news, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been indicted on 2 more murder charges, unrelated to the murder for which he is already awaiting trial. Why do I bring this up? He played the entire 2012 season after he allegedly murdered 2 strangers out of mild pique, apparently, over an interaction in a bar. Here's what he said to a reporter 11 days after the murders:

“Aaron, was your summer as crazy as Gronk’s?
“Um, more private,” Hernandez said to the delight of the crowd surrounding him. “But I still had some fun.”
Like what? Can you give us some examples of the fun you had?
“That’s still private but…” Hernandez said to more laughter. “Next question.”
 As it happens, he had already shot at least one guy, non-fatally, while he was on the Florida team, and there was a whole lot of other crap the Florida coaches new about, but they hushed it up. The guy's a total psycho thug but it's okay, he's a star athlete. We have some serious warpage in our culture.

Finally, it so happens I have met Jill Abramson, she is married to my buddy down the street while I was growing up. (Haven't seen Henry for years now.) Billions of people are discussing this, causing a serious depletion of electrons, but I will just say that in case you didn't know it, the NYT is owned by a hereditary dynasty and while no doubt working women face similar crap at all levels, another lesson here is that this is what you get when you live in a plutocracy.

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