Assorted Links

Thanks to Dave Lull and Alex Chernavsky.

13 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. As I understand it, heart disease rose from ca 1920-60 for reasons no-one understands, and has fallen since then for equally inscrutable reasons. (That doesn’t stop medical men claiming the credit for the fall, of course.) Some people have discerned the pattern as resembling that of an infectious disease.

    As for diabetes, some of the rise will just be an artefact of changing the blood sugar threshold used in the definition of diabetes, and some – at least in Britain – will be an effect of economic incentives: our doctors are now paid a bonus for diagnosing diabetes. There’s nothing in the Guardian article to suggest that the diagram that has got the journalist’s knickers in a twist shows age-corrected figures, so a third effect will be that diabetes is partly a disease of ageing, and we are an ageing society. Now, I ask myself, why do people lie – for that is effectively what they are doing – when they cite figures uncorrected for these effects. Why do they lie?

    Seth: I have no doubt that diabetes is increasing adjusted for age. For example, childhood diabetes is rapidly increasing. Because of the connection with obesity — which is obviously increasing, corrected for age — the increase in diabetes is not surprising. I hadn’t realized the heart disease pattern suggests an infectious disease but lately I have been seeing more and more evidence that points that way.

  2. Regarding lighting, I recently came across this program called f.lux which adjusts the color of your computer monitor based on time of day to more closely resemble natural light cycles. I found the default changes a bit too much, but at moderate settings it seems great.

  3. “I have no doubt that diabetes is increasing adjusted for age.” That statement sounds plausible to me: but then why must it so often be accompanied by lies? Because suppressing mention of the three effects I mentioned is lying: “suppressio veri”.

  4. Why do you wish to draw our attention to unnecessary wisdom about tooth extractions?The

    Seth: The larger problem of too much medicine is important, I believe.

  5. By the by, I have long joked that Americans have a life expectancy below that of (say) Britons or Germans because Americans get too much dental treatment. Many a true word …

  6. I ignored the advice of several dentists when I was in my 20’s who insisted I needed to have my wisdom teeth extracted – mostly because their warnings about future problems were so vague and they couldn’t give me any actual numbers as to what my chances were of developing a problem, it always seemed as if they were relying on one or two individual horror stories they had seen among hundreds of patients rather than the actual likelihood of something occurring.

  7. When I was in my late teens, I was told that I would probably need to have all four wisdom teeth removed. I naively agreed to it. When I had the first two removed, I experienced very unpleasant complications. First, i had an allergic reaction to the pain medicine. Then, the bleeding wouldn’t stop, and I had to return to the oral surgeon for additional sutures. The anesthetic didn’t work well for the second suturing, and I experienced a fair amount of pain during the procedure.

    I still have the other two wisdom teeth. They have not caused me any problems. And, to their credit, none of my subsequent dentists have made an issue of it over the years.

  8. Thanks for the link. It looks as though juvenile type 2 is very rare, though definitely increasing.

    Have you read a book called _Diabetes Rising_? It claims that diabetes has been increasing for the past century, and there isn’t any theory which explains the increase.

  9. Article from earlier this year from the Chicago Tribune stating that diabtes rates among US teens
    have doubled in the last decade

    The “good” news was that teen obesity rates had stabilised at 20%(!) (another 15% overweight)
    Of course, their dietary advice is to eat “healthier” including, of course, more whole grains and low fat dairy.

    I am increasingly of the opinion that these American health officials are causing the epidemics they are observing.

    They also seem to still be of the opinion that obesity is causing diabetes, and therefore people should eat low fat, and whole grains, to avoid obesity.

    which they have been saying for decades now…

  10. “diabtes rates among US teens
    have doubled in the last decade”

    I dare say, Paul, but how big would the increase be if you allowed for the redefinition of what constitutes diabetes, and for the changing incentives for diagnosis (including that common incentive, fashion)?

  11. @ Dearieme,

    That is a good question, and I’m sure there is some fuzziness about the definition, especially for “pre-diabetes”.
    What can’t be argued is the shocking increase in overweight/obese teenagers in recent decades, so I’d wager that, regardless of the definitions, the actual incidence of diabetes has likely matched that rate, if not exceeded it.

    Given the links to things like sitting and diabetes, I expect modern teen behaviour – lots more time in front of a screen of some sort and less outside doing something – can only make it worse. It seems to be worst amongst black, latino and native american people – who also happen to be the poorer end of town. I suspect a combination of genetic susceptibility, and diet – eating even more cheap carbs, junk food etc – is at work here.

    We can argue about the definitions, but I don’t think there’s any debate that there is an increasing problem.

    After all, that’s why the name was changed from “adult onset” diabetes to “type 2 diabetes”…

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