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Tanning Bed Warning

This is a story from Tech Times that hits close to home for me. That’s because I used to own a tanning bed in my 20’s and I bought into the propaganda that tanning beds were much safer than the sun.

The title of the article summarizes the study discussed. Melanoma And Indoor Tanning: Teens Who Use Tanning Beds Likely To Develop Skin Cancer Before Age 40.

A study that included adults between 25 and 49 years old has found that women who used sunbeds or tanning beds in their teen years have greater risk for developing melanoma at a young age. The University of Minnesota studied the possible link between the use of tanning beds and melanoma cases among men and women who were younger than 50 years old.

The findings of the study showed that women who used tanning beds as teens and during their 20s have up to six times of an increased risk for the deadly skin cancer, compared to people who did not tan indoors.

For their research, the University studied data on 681 individuals had been diagnosed with skin cancer. This data was then compared with those in a research control group of volunteers.

The data from the study showed that the women in their 30s had more than three times of a risk in developing melanoma if they tanned indoors. The risk is more than two-times higher in women who are in their 40s.

The article attached above shows more specifics on the study. But, it’s a reminder that just because people say something is safe… doesn’t mean that its safe. Even if the government does not warn us with some regulation.

And for pic o’ day, A photo of lack of planning?. Have a great weekend.


OxyContin in Kentucky

In a story that sounds more like, “We thought you were making a pain pill… not heroin”,  The makers of OxyContin have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Kentucky Attorney General, that claimed that Purdue Pharma had misled the public about their powerfully addictive drug. (

The lawsuit was filed by the state of Kentucky back in 2007. It alleged that Purdue Pharma was “marketing the prescription painkiller as not addictive because it was a pill that, when swallowed, slowly released the drug over 12 hours.” However, users soon discovered that it was as addictive as heroin.

The state of Kentucky claimed that medical costs across the state began to rise because of the effects to those that were now addicted to the drug. This particularly became a problem in the eastern part of the state where injured coal miners were regularly prescribed the medication. So, the Kentucky Attorney General filed suit.

In response to the lawsuit, Purdue Pharma agreed to take that form of OxyContin off the market, and replaced it with a newer 2010 version, where it claims that such issues have been resolved.

The manufacturer of the drug will also pay $24 million to the state of Kentucky over the next eight years. That’s to be used to assist with addiction programs within the state.

Of course, here’s the part that probably is no surprise to you. In entering into the settlement, Purdue Pharma admitted no wrongdoing. And I conclude the blog with what the company spokesman said in the news release about the settlement:

The company entered into the settlement to allow it to “focus on bringing innovative abuse-deterrent medicines to patients and our other efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and overuse”. (shaking head!)

And for pic o’ day, this just seemed to be down that same “responsibility alley”:


A Judge’s Injury and Lesson

It’s a reminder that life’s circumstances can change in a moment without any warning. And so it did for a North Dakota judge. A story of recovery and of overcoming adversity. (

It all started when Judge John Irby was playing some noon basketball. He and another player went for the basketball, at the same time. The other player’s hand hit Irby’s right eye, rupturing it,  and causing total vision loss permanently. The basketball also hit the judge’s left eye at the same time that the player’s hand hit the right eye.  The basketball caused a detached retina in his left eye.

Irby: “I knew right away it was bad, boom, lights out,  right away.”

After two months, the judge is back on the bench. He has lost sight in his right eye, and still has reduced vision in his left eye. He hopes to be able to see better in the left as time goes on.

With the help of court staff and coworkers, Irby is hearing cases again with the assistance of technology.

Judge Irby told the reporter that he has done things like, “Changing the computer contrast so I don’t fight glare, and change the computer mouse from white to black so it got easier to track that.” A lighted magnifying glass also helps him see when the computer glare affects him. In addition, they have installed a larger computer monitor up at his desk.

The judge says the whole experience has given him a renewed appreciation for those who live with disabilities every day.  And, he was reminded that, “I work in a great place with great people.” Sometimes it’s hard to see the glass half full but out of a difficult circumstance comes a reminder of good.


And a great Pic o’ day from Ashley D…


Brain Damage and Healthy Living

This is a blog with good news!

Unfortunately, we see a lot of clients who suffer brain and head injuries from the trauma of a crash. Sometimes their injuries don’t get better. Their brain damage can only be managed.

That’s why, when I saw this article relating to brain damage and Alzheimer’s,  titled  Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed for first time, (here) I thought that it was important to post.

This doctor is seeing results relating to medications, healthy eating, sleeping habits and other recommended healthy living ideas to implement. In the study, they are seeing some reversals in the brain damage effects of Alzheimer’s. So, I thought I would post the suggestions of the healthy living.

I always enjoy posting some good news in the blog! The healthy lifestyle items seeing results in the study:

  • eliminating all simple carbohydrates, gluten and processed food from her diet, and eating more vegetables, fruits and non-farmed fish
  • meditating twice a day and beginning yoga to reduce stress
  • sleeping seven to eight hours per night, up from four to five
  • taking melatonin, methylcobalamin, vitamin D3, fish oil and coenzyme Q10 each day
  • optimizing oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush
  • reinstating hormone replacement therapy, which had previously been discontinued
  • fasting for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime
  • exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes, four to six days per week


And for pic o’ day, here is my first “holiday pic” that was recently sent. A nod to the wise men is funny! Gold, myrrh and…


The Next FDA Commissioner

Conflict or Qualified? The NY Times just did a story on the recent Presidential nominee to head the FDA. The title of the article tells the summary of the story, F.D.A. Nominee Califf’s Ties to Drug Makers Worry Some.

The article starts out with a meeting in May 2014, and presentation that Dr. Robert M. Califf gave to a group of biomedical researchers,  pharmaceutical lawyers and industry experts.

His PowerPoint slides showed the importance of speeding up the pace of biomedical innovation by transforming research. Near the end of the presentation, one slide was put up that indicated one barrier to that pace: Regulation.

At the time, no one reacted to that one slide. Now, it has garnered some attention because this Cardiologist/nominee will potentially be the “Police Chief” of medications that get approved and make it to our pharmacies.

He is a renowned clinical researcher who is unquestionably qualified to lead the agency. On the other hand, he will be in charge of an agency that regulates what is responsible for about a quarter of every dollar that we spend.

This agency is now facing such issues as whether/how to regulate electronic cigarettes. Dr. Califf’s previous job was heading up Duke University’s research center, which received more than 60% of its funding directly from pharmaceutical companies. Does that make him too close to them and create a conflict; or does his familiarity with the industry make him more qualified to regulate it.

Dr. Califf personally received $215,000 as a consultant from drug companies from 2009-2015. As a side note, several years ago Frank Luntz did research on the term drug companies and advised them to start calling themselves pharmaceutical companies. Drug Company sounded bad to the public. More on that in his book Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear.

“Pharmaceutical Companies” have always been known to have great ties to government while employing powerful lobbyists. In 2002, the Homeland Security Act that we all knew was going to make us safe as it was signed into law… also contained a provision buried deep in the legislation that protected Eli Lilly and a few other big drug companies against  lawsuits by parents who believed that there children had been harmed by thimersol.


    So, the question really remains, when is regulation protective and when is it too restrictive? Let’s hope that Dr. Califf knows the balance. As one professor who worked with him observed, “How does he think? We won’t know until we see how he behaves.”



And for pic o’ day, a bit of surveillance:


How About a Cup of Coffee

For years, car manufacturers fought regulations that would require them to include airbags in their cars. “Too expensive” was one of their reasons. It wasn’t until 1968 (wiki) until cars had to be equipped with seatbelts. Even then, they were initially only lap belts. Of course, those were the days when car-makers were selling cars that were so low to the ground, they were basically lawn mowers with seats. Not a lot of safety consideration.

Now there is a lot of thought and testing that is going into making a safe football helmet. I suppose the NFL won’t get too serious unless they think that their product is threatened by either less TV viewers, or less parents who are willing to allow their kids to play in youth leagues. Remove the interest; impact the dollars; and the NFL will certainly make safety more than a talking point.

For now, I can’t do much to impact those two things but I can give you something to think about… as it effects “your thinker”. provides benefits and statistics on daily coffee drinking. Of course, because I am such a coffee fan, I decided that this article needed to go right into the blog. Some of this is even cut and paste.

The latest news about coffee is that it may lower the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Researchers presented data at a Neurology seminar that suggests that coffee consumpion may help because of how its properties impact inflamation.


       Researchers enlisted 1,629 Swedish patients with MS and compared them to 2,807 individuals without it. In addition, the researchers compared 584 California patients to an additional 581 healthy participants of the study.

Their findings: In the Swedish group, consuming at least 6 cups of coffee a day lowered the risk of MS by 33 percent. The American group showed researchers a suggested finding that consuming four or more cups of coffee a day also lowered the risk by 33 percent.

That’s one of those studies that makes you go Hmmm. Also, researchers at Pittsburgh Medical Center have released some additional findings on coffee. This  medical facility has also been in the forefront of brain injury research that includes concussion studies.

According to Leslie Bonci,  their Director of Sports Nutrition, coffee appears to help prevent Parkinson’s disease and help control the tremors in patients who have already been diagnosed with it.

So, with that in mind, the article referenced above also provides the following health benefits from drinking coffee:

1. It protects the liver from a disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis, as well as possibly counteracting the harmful effects of drinking alcohol, according to a 2014 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A separate 2014 study from researchers at the National Cancer Institute found people who reported drinking three cups of coffee a day were less likely to have abnormal enzymes in the liver, indicating improved liver function. The researchers tracked 27,793 men and women, age 20 or older.

“That doesn’t mean you should drink a lot of alcohol and then have coffee to protect your liver,” Bonci says.

2. It increases the amount of sex hormone binding globulin, which in turn lowers the risk of diabetes. There are scores of studies on coffee and diabetes and the results are consistent: Coffee drinkers have lower diabetes risk. “And this isn’t a caffeine effect,” Bonci says. “But rather an effect of the antioxidants and polyphenols, which are plant nutrients, some of which are unique to coffee.”

3. Moderate consumption may lower the risk of heart failure, according to a review of five studies. The key is moderate: about two cups a day.

4. It possibly protects against certain kinds of cancer. “There have been studies looking at coffee lowering the risk of various cancers,” Bonci says. “That’s hard to tease out. But there does seem to be evidence that people who drink coffee have a lower risk of liver and prostate cancer.”

5. It helps athletic performance. Caffeine boosts endurance so you can exercise harder and longer, studies show. To get a rough idea of an effective “dose” for you, take your weight in pounds, divide it in half and multiply by three, says TODAY nutrition and health editor Madelyn Fernstrom. If you weigh 200 pounds, that would be 100 x 3 = 300 mg, about the amount in a large coffee.

Perhaps too much of a good thing is too much. For now, I’m glad that my morning coffee appears to be beneficial.



And for pic o’ day, this one made me stop and think…and agree:

car alarm

Pop Goes the Soda

There are some products that just seem to be bad for us. For instance, does a soda seem like a good thing despite what Coca-Cola might advertise? I am blogging on this because of a recent study on dark sodas. Just to keep an eye on it. A blog to maybe think about, the next time the waitress says that we have “Pepsi products”. (yes,  this last sentence gives me an excuse to post this)

Sit and worry

So here’s the warning. This applies even if you are trying to stay trim by drinking Diet Coke. Ok… maybe not trim.

So, back to the study on Soft drinks. (  People who consume one or more cans of soda per day are at a higher risk of cancer. That’s because of an ingredient, 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) that is formed during the manufacture of certain sodas. It gives a caramel color to the soda.

According to the senior author of the study, “soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes”. Basically, the study is saying that these manufacturers are adding this to make the drinks dark, for marketing purposes.

There is something being done about this. Consumer Reports has petitioned the FDA to set limits on the amount of this carcinogen that can be added to these drinks. Currently there is no limit and no warning. According to the Consumer Reports spokesman, “This new analysis underscores our belief that people consume significant amounts of soda that unnecessarily elevate their risk of cancer over the course of a lifetime.”


And for pic o day:

Got em all

Blame Alvin the Cat

You’ve heard the old excuse  “I don’t have my homework because the dog ate it”. Well, how about the cat?

My previous blog (here) discussed a Roanoke lawyer who missed a statute of limitations over 2 dollars. Now, a  lawyer in the D.C./Virginia area has also failed to file a timely response to a summary judgment motion in Federal Court. His excuse is  part of his court filing that includes Alvin the Cat.

The ABA Journal and describes an attorney’s court filing on February 10, in an attempt to get a judge to excuse his failure to file a timely response and to grant him an extension to now file.

The lawyer’s initial problems started when he contracted both gout and pneumonia in January. He found himself bedridden, according to the filed pleading, with severe pain and coughing. He wisely went to the emergency room where they gave him painkillers.

Over the course of the next few days, he was taking Percodan and Percocet as well as steroid indomethacin. The lawyer describes that the medication caused him severe gastrointestinal disturbance that required perpetual hobbling to and from the restroom, generally interfering with the level of concentration need to oppose a motion for summary judgment.

Then the lawyer went on to describe a series of events that, combined with his illness, really made it impossible for him to work. This included the next section of his brief that was titled Alvin the Cat.

With his court deadline bearing down on him, his children came home from school on January 30, and became worried because no one could find their longtime house cat, Alvin. A missing cat search began throughout the house, only to end in the finding of Alvin in the closet… dead.

With all the kids tremendously upset, the lawyer promised to bury Alvin the next day. In addition, his court pleading notes that after all the emotion of the search, he was just too exhausted to work on the pleading that night.

The next day, there was a ceremony and funeral for Alvin. There was also a discussion “at the funeral” about the nature of life and death and where Alvin had gone after his death. This took a great deal of time. Unfortunately, it got worse.

As the lawyer was digging the hole to bury Alvin, his shovel hit his foot the wrong way, triggering another painful bout of gout. This was a Saturday night too filled with pain to perform legal work. Then Sunday, he apparently rested.

He was back to work on Monday; but as he read his previously prepared work on his pleadings, they did not look as good as they did while on pain killers.  

The next roadblock was the emotional issues that his roommate was going through. The lawyer again was distracted by his work because he needed to provide legal and emotional support concerning the state of the man’s failed marriage.

The attorney concluded his extension request by summarizing his plight in stating that For reasons wholly unclear, that morning he was in need of counseling concerning the state of his marriage to the point where I was concerned for his immediate well-being. I think Alvin’s funeral and ceremony with the kids triggered something. In any event, we spoke for several hours, following which plaintiff’s counsel was exhausted and his foot was on fire.  

The attorney explained to the ABA Journal that the reason that he was so explicit in his detailed explanation was that he felt that honesty was the only way to make the Court understand what had happened. He felt that his events fell outside the typical reasons of why deadlines get missed.

The Judge probably will rule against the extension. In the meantime, the least we can do is have one final thought of Alvin.

And for pic o’ day, this is one that I didn’t get posted after Christmas. But for this blog, it just seemed apropos:


Consent to Bad Treatment

      You walk into a doctor’s office and they hand you a clipboard and pen. Then, they  ask you to fill out the forms. At the end, you usually find a form called a Consent Form that basically advises you that you are consenting to a whole bunch of stuff when you receive treatment from the doctor.

The big question is whether that consent is binding on you if you sign it. Well, the Virginia Supreme Court, in a dental malpractice case, now tells us that it’s not. You are not consenting to malpractice. The case is styled Fiorucci v. Chinn (McClanahan) No. 131869, Oct. 31, 2014; It originated in the Alexandria Circuit.Court.

The facts of the case showed that during trial, the defendant dentist (through his attorney) sought to introduce the risk of surgery discussion that took place before the dental procedure .

During the trial, the circuit court judge ruled that the risk of surgery discussions between dentist and his patient were not relevant. The Judge would not allow that evidence to be presented to the jury.

The Supreme Court agreed with the trial court judge in ruling that Plaintiff’s awareness of the risks of the extractions was not a defense against his claim that defendant deviated from the standard of care in misdiagnosing the condition of plaintiff’s wisdom teeth or negligently performing the surgery. Evidence of the informed consent discussions was neither relevant nor material to the issue of the standard of care.

The case now affirms that just because we sign that form doesn’t mean that we are saying that we are ok with negligence. Something to think about the next time that they slide that clipboard to you through that little window.

And for our pic o’ day… a bit of medicine:



Needing Direction

December is a month of assessment and a month of planning at the Firm. It’s a good time to chart direction for the new year.

As I listened to Dr. Sherouse preach yesterday, he told about a study that confirms the notion that when we don’t know where we are going; That we walk in circles instead of a straight line. So, I decided to look for that study. One of the easy benefits of the Internet.

ABC News reported on the study that proves that humans do walk in circles when they are lost.  According to a group of scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, their experiment confirms our human behavior.

The researchers outfitted nine people with a global positioning tracking system. Then, some of the group was dropped off in a forest in Germany and other mini groups were dropped in the Sahara desert. They were told to walk in a straight line.

When they were able to use the sun or moon as guidance, there was some semblance of walking in a straight line. The findings of the study showed that our brains accumulate faulty signals about the body’s position in space. As a result, we do not have an “inner GPS system”.

Based on the study, the researchers found that it was “a reminder the we don’t have an innate sense of direction… you have to have navigation tools”. They walked in circles despite being told to walk in a straight line.

After hearing the sermon (thanks Pastor!) and then finding the study, it made me want to be more dilligent in planning. We all need direction to be successful! It doesn’t just happen.

And for pic o’ day, my mom sent me two for the blog today. One for the coffee and the second for Christmas!

coffee                   lights

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