Global∑os® (GlobalEOS)
831 views | +0 today
Global∑os® (GlobalEOS)
Designing innovative global healthcare programs and mechanisms by way of strategic administrative, management, HIT and concierge services
Curated by Brian Altonen
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Applications for a New Technology, overdue in the new HIT programs

Applications for a New Technology, overdue in the new HIT programs | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
Brian Altonens insight:

The ways in which important discoveries come into medicine are sometimes unbelievable.  Medicine is sometimes too slow at changing its standards and protocols once important discoveries are made.  


For the past twenty years, this has been the case with GIS.  The current science of spatial epidemiology is a study that has the potential to completely reform managed care and better address the rising cost concerns we are now facing.  Yet, we are still not ready for these changes, or taking on GIS at full force.  


Like twenty years ago, the use of GIS remains an experimental process with most managed care and insurance agencies, and is not at all required for any annual QI or Meaningful Use reviews.  With the mining and use of Big Data now common to HIT, the industry is unprepared for this more rigorous, thorough, cost saving method of monitoring healthcare.


The following articles are examples of the application of GIS to managed care and quality assurance processes in healthcare.   







Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).   Using Geographic Methods to Understand Health Issues .  (2014/5)  Access at 


Panth, M., & Acharya, A. S. (2015). The unprecedented role of computers in improvement and transformation of public health: An emerging priority. Indian Journal of Community Medicine, 40(1), 8.  DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.149262.  Accessed at;year=2015;volume=40;issue=1;spage=8;epage=13;aulast=Panth 


Dalton, C. M., & Thatcher, J. (2015). Inflated Granularity: Spatial ‘Big Data’and Geodemographics. Available at SSRN 2544638.  Accessed at:


Lee, D. C., Carr, B. G., Smith, T. E., Tran, V. C., Polsky, D., & Branas, C. C. (2015). The Impact of Hospital Closures and Hospital and Population Characteristics on Increasing Emergency Department Volume: A Geographic Analysis. Population health management.   Accessible via 

Adams, A. M., Islam, R., & Ahmed, T. (2015). Who serves the urban poor? A geospatial and descriptive analysis of health services in slum settlements in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Health policy and planning, 30(suppl 1), i32-i45.  doi: 10.1093/heapol/czu094.   Accessible via 


Lee R Mobley, Tzy-Mey Kuo, Jeffrey Traczynski, Victoria Udalova and HE Frech. (2014).   Macro-level factors impacting geographic disparities in cancer screening.   Health Economics Review 2014, 4:13  doi:10.1186/s13561-014-0013-7.  Accessed at 


Simms, I., Gibin, M., & Petersen, J. (2014). Location, location, location: what can geographic information science (GIS) offer sexual health research?. Sexually transmitted infections, 90(6), 442-443. doi:10.1136/sextrans-2014-051695 


Angier, H., Likumahuwa, S., Finnegan, S., Vakarcs, T., Nelson, C., Bazemore, A., ... & DeVoe, J. E. (2014). Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Identify Communities in Need of Health Insurance Outreach: An OCHIN Practice-based Research Network (PBRN) Report. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 27(6), 804-810.   dos:10.3122/jabfm.2014.06.140029.  Accessed at . 


Ana Lopez de Fede, Kathy Mayfield Smith, John Stewart.  The Role of Geography in Health Care Spending and Monitoring Services Use.  A Getis-OrdGi* Statistical Hot Spot Analysis of SC Medicaid Paid Claims per Capital by ZCTA.  Policy and Research Institute on Medicaid and Medicare, Institute for Families in Society, University of South Carolina.  Accessed at 


David Moskowitz, Bruce Guthrie, Andrew B. Bindman.  (2012). The Role of Data in Health Care Disparities in Medicaid
Managed Care.  Medicare & Medicaid Research Review, 2(4), E1-E15.  Accessed at 


Peter W Gething, Fiifi Amoako Johnson, Faustina Frempong-Ainguah, Philomena Nyarko, Angela Baschieri, Patrick Aboagye, Jane Falkingham, Zoe Matthews and Peter M Atkinson.  (2012).  Geographical access to care at birth in Ghana: a barrier to safe motherhood.   BMC Public Health 2012, 12:991  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-991  Accessed at 


Michael Sparer (2012). Medicaid managed care:
Costs, access, and quality of care. RESEARCH SYNTHESIS REPORT NO. 23. SEPTEMBER 2012. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Accessed at

Paul Guttry. (2012). 21 NOV 2012 RESEARCH & IDEAS
What Health Care Managers Need to Know--and How to Teach Them . Working Knowledge. Accessed at

Peter J. Cunningham. (2011). State Variation in Primary Care Physician Supply: Implications for Health Reform Medicaid Expansions. HSC Research Brief No. 19. March 2011. Accessed at

Tomas J. Philipson, Darius Lakdawalla,Dana Goldman. (2010). Addressing Geographic Variation and Health Care Efficiency. Lessons for Medicare from Private Health Insurers
July 19, 2010 | American Enterprise Institute. Accessed at

America College of Physicians. (2010). RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITIES IN HEALTH CARE, UPDATED 2010. ACP, A Position Paper. Accessed at 


American Hospital Association.  (2009).  Geographic Variation in Health Care Spending: A Closer Look. American Hospital Association.  November 2009.  Accessed at file:///C:/Users/Brian/Downloads/twnov09geovariation.pdf 


Sylvester J. Schieber, Chairman. Dana K. Bilyeu, Dorcas R. Hardy, Marsha Rose Katz, Barbara B. Kennelly, Mark J. Warshawsky, (2009). The Unsustainable Cost of Health Care. Social Security Advisory Board, September 2009. Accessed at


Donald M. Berwick, Thomas W. Nolan and John Whittington. (2008). The Triple Aim: Care, Health, And Cost. Health Affairs, 27, no.3 (2008):759-769. Accessed at


Dummer, T. J. B. (2008). Health geography: supporting public health policy and planning. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal, 178(9), 1177–1180. doi:10.1503/cmaj.071783 Access at


Daniel Callahan, (2008). “Health Care Costs and Medical Technology,” in From Birth to Death and Bench to Clinic: The Hastings Center Bioethics Briefing. Book for Journalists, Policymakers, and Campaigns, ed. Mary Crowley. (Garrison, NY: The Hastings Center, 2008), 79-82. Accessed at

John Carroll. (2007). How Doctors Are Paid Now, And Why It Has to Change. December 2007. Accessed at

Sarah Hudson Scholle. (2007). Efforts to reduce racial disparities in Medicare managed care must consider the disproportionate effects of geography. The American journal of managed care (Impact Factor: 2.17). 02/2007; 13(1):51-6. Accessed indirectly via


Stefane M Kabene, Carole Orchard, John M Howard, Mark A Soriano and Raymond Leduc. (2006). The importance of human resources management in health care: a global context.
Human Resources for Health, 4:20 doi:10.1186/1478-4491-4-20. Accessed at



William H. Frist.  (2005).  Overcoming Disparities in U. S. Healthcare.  Health Affairs, 24, no.2 (2005):445-451.  doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.24.2.445 . Accessed at 


Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., Carrillo, J. E., & Ananeh-Firempong 2nd, O. (2003). Defining cultural competence: a practical framework for addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. Public health reports, 118(4), 293.  Accessed at 


Martin Sipkoff. (2003). Nine Ways to reduce Unwarranted Variation. Managed Care, November 2003. Accessed at


David M. Cutler, Louise Scheiner. (1999). The geography of Medicare. Accessed at


Mark Rosenberg. (1998).   Medical or Health Geography? Populations, Peoples and Places.   INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF POPULATION GEOGRAPHY 4, 211-226 (1998).


Sarah Curtis and Ian Rees Jones. (1998). Is there a place for geography in the analysis of health inequality? Sociology of Health & Illness.. 20(5), 645-672. ISSN 0141–9889.
Access at

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

The Changing Politics and Consistent Science of Vaccinations

The Changing Politics and Consistent Science of Vaccinations | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
It's fascinating how anxiously we await cures to the most horrible diseases like cancer, and yet how easily we dismiss cures to diseases when they exist....
Brian Altonens insight:

Courtesy my pre-med/med school alma mater . . .


"The Gallup survey, released earlier this month, revealed that "a slight majority of Americans, 54%, say it is extremely important that parents get their children vaccinated, down from the 64% who held this belief 14 years ago. Another 30% call it 'very important' - unchanged from 2001." That 10 percent drop should be a major concern, as should the fact that a slim majority of Americans understand how important vaccinations are.


"As a physician and medical researcher who has spent years studying infectious diseases -- and now as President of Stony Brook University, a major research institution -- I'm struck by a number of aspects of the debate and by the vital need to rebuild public support for one of the most crucial methods of improving public health."


. . . 


"The 16 percent in the Gallup survey who think that vaccinations are not even very important may, too, seem like a small percentage. But that percentage, if it goes without vaccinations, represents a large number of people in a nation our size. In the New York City area alone, WNYC radio recently found 165 schools where more than 10 percent of the students have not been vaccinated."


No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Emails: UN health agency resisted declaring Ebola emergency

Emails: UN health agency resisted declaring Ebola emergency | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
GENEVA (AP) — In a delay that some say may have cost lives, the World Health Organization resisted calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a public health emergency until last summer, two months after staff raised the possibility and long after a senior manager called for a drastic change in strategy, The Associated Press has learned.
Brian Altonens insight:


No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Confirmed: Disneyland Measles Outbreak Linked to Low Vaccination Rates

Confirmed: Disneyland Measles Outbreak Linked to Low Vaccination Rates | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
Low vaccination rates are likely responsible for the large measles outbreak that began at Disneyland in California last December, a new analysis suggests. The researchers estimated that the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination rate among the people who were exposed to measles in that outbreak may be as low as 50 percent, and is likely no higher than 86 percent. Since the beginning of this year, 127 cases of measles in the United Stateshave been linked to the Disneyland outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Because measles is such a highly contagious virus, vaccination rates of 96 percent to 99 percent are necessary to prevent outbreaks, Majumder said.
Brian Altonens insight:

How much more proof did we need? (These are several year old V-code maps.)  'Tis a shame when programs that are initiated for prevention become the last to know.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Compensation for Catastrophic Care -- its Coverage by Medicaid

Compensation for Catastrophic Care -- its Coverage by Medicaid | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |

The ability of someone who experienced a temporary disability to later return to work causes a dilemma within managed care, medicaid programs.  Returning a person to work improves quality of life, and potentially saves the federally health care system several million dollars in healthcare and special services costs per patient.


This review [based on real data] shows that most of the benefits received by returning to work are experienced by the patient, not the healthcare system.  


It takes just as long, or longer, for an individual undergoing a recovery to make whatever earnings are required to re-compensate the government for its services.   This study also demonstrated that those who do return to work are still placed at a considerable financial disadvantage, in spite of their complete return to the previous occupational setting.    

Brian Altonens insight:

In the charts above, I demonstrate the losses and savings for an individual removed from the workforce at 27 years of age, and who does not return to the workforce until 45 years of age.


During that 18 year period, this person costs the medicare system just under a half a million dollars.  When this cost is adjusted over time according to the consumer price index/inflation index rule, the true cost for health care is increased to a little more than $950,000.    


When a person in debt to Medicaid returns to work, what are the financial gains received due to such decision?  


Most of the gain attached to such decision is directed to the individual.  An individual who returns to work has the potential of compensating the federal system by way of income tax deductions.  Yet, for 18 years of MCD care, it takes 20-24 years to provide the dollar match linked to prior services (inflation not fully considered).  


Quality of life is also a major issue for individuals returning to the workforce.  The cumulative lifetime earning potential for a once-disabled MCD recipient is well below the lifetime earning potentials of the lowest pay workers within a comparable workforce setting.  


We can relate these finding to the individual who never worked, and whom instead received MCD for his/her remaining life.  The previous study demonstrated that the cost for these individuals ranges from 5 to 12 million dollars per case, for the remaining years of life.  


Most interesting to note however is that to cover the cost of healthcare to the permanently disabled, 4 or 5 highly paid middle class employees or twice as many moderately paid middle class employees, would need to be taxed for half their lifetime retirement savings to cover the costs for supporting just one MCD patient.


The inequity between these two groups--the high wage earners, versus the severely disabled with high health risks--is represented by the 8 to 18 million dollar difference between these two individuals (ranges: Medium=$5M cost for MCD vs $3M retirement savings; High Income=$12M cost for MCD vs $6M retirement savings.)

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

A $10,169 blood test is everything wrong with American health care

A $10,169 blood test is everything wrong with American health care | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
A lipid panel is one of the most basic blood tests in modern medicine. This is not a procedure where some hospitals are really great at lipid panels and some are terrible. "What we were trying to see is, when we get down the simplest, most basic form of medicine, how much variation is there in price?" says Renee Hsia, an associate professor at University of California, San Francisco who published the price data in a recent study. For this research, published in August in the British Medical Journal, Hsia and her colleagues compiled reams of data about how much more than 100 hospitals charged for basic blood work.
Brian Altonens insight:

What is a blood test worth?  Can we standardize prices or force them to be within a specific cost range?   


I recently reviewed a topic that has never been fully explored at its complete level.  There are these direct costs for caring for people that we have all heard about.  The direct costs are those related to the healthcare practice activities.  The indirect costs are other prices that are impact by a particular medical event, as well as the non-medical costs accrued by an individual due to the medical event--such as the price for an ambulance, or the long term consequences of the condition he or she is left in due to the health crisis.   


In a recent evaluation of expenses for epilepsy surgery, I found a 45 year span of life experiences related to epilepsy, including one major surgery, to cost a half million dollars from the bank, but with inflation and consumer price index [CPI] taken into consideration, this price becomes just under one million dollars.    


Not bad for 45 years of care--one million dollars ($951,576 to be exact, see ;).   

But this is the case with the best outcome assumed.     

I also evaluated costs for a normal person experiencing this type of health and change in life experience (epilepsy in need of surgery).  

Then I analyzed it again with one of the worst scenario.  None of these scenarios were deadly.  They were only long term cases, each with the same serious hospitalization procedure , but followed by increasingly worse outcomes in need of special services such as home care, long term care, etc.  

All of these cases take into consideration to other costs that epilepsy is to the taxpayer and government, in the form of Vocational rehabilitation activities, one and off throughout life since childhood, the need for medicaid and social services, repeated emergent care visits, the cost of living coverage via SSI and Section 8.  

With every possible expense covered for the most basic of cases (no other chronic disease costs were considered), the costs for the second two scenarios increased to 2.2 and 3.1 million dollars (moderate and severe outcomes, adjusted according to CPI changes).  The initial case remained the same, since in this case it constituted an example of a cure and  the ability of the individual to return to work or college.

These last costs were calculated up to age of 57.

When the same formulas were used to calculate costs for care by the time the same person reached 80 years of age, the  cost for long  term care jumped to 4.6 million dollars for the moderate case, and considerable more than 10 million dollars for the severe case.   

This study (a work in process) is posted at ;

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Tanzania albino boy loses hand in latest attack

Tanzania albino boy loses hand in latest attack | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
A six-year-old albino boy has had his right hand hacked off in the latest of a string of attacks in Tanzania against the minority, police said Sunday. The boy, Baraka Cosmas, was sleeping at home with his mother in the village of Kipenda, in Tanzania's south-western Rukwa region, when a gang of assailants stormed in late Saturday, regional police commander Jacob Mruanda said. "The gangsters got hold of the victim's mother, Prisca Shaaban, and beat her severely after she refused to hand over the boy," Mruanda said. The latest assault comes days after Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete blasted the wave of killings and attacks against albinos, whose body parts are used for witchcraft, as a "disgusting and big embarrassment for the nation".
Brian Altonens insight:

The second worst thing happening in the world right now.  Thank you to all the disgusting people in Kipenda, Africa practicing witchcraft in this fashion.  Time to introduce them to some real shamans at the headwaters of the Marañon River .

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Officials: ISIS Militants Destroy Another Ancient Heritage Site In Iraq

Officials: ISIS Militants Destroy Another Ancient Heritage Site In Iraq | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
By Ahmed Rasheed and Isabel Coles BAGHDAD/ERBIL,Iraq March 7 (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have destroyed ancient remains of the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra in northern Iraq, the tourism and antiquities ministry...
Brian Altonens insight:
Just goes to show you--you can say whatever you want on paper. The real test is whether or not you can enforce what you say, take the action needed to demonstrate you are more than just talk. If ISIS every captured the U.S., there would be no more Mt Rushmore. Yellowstone springs might be defaced and put back to ground level. Devils tower obliterated as a symbol of Hades. All the statues of Washington DC and New York City turned to dust much in the same way the swords if Allah and Lenin and Marx were removed. The White House would be deconstructed, the capital done turned into a mosque.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

The Price of Age Discrimination

The Price of Age Discrimination | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
Although age discrimination is sometimes overshadowed by media focus on other forms of discrimination, recent Gallup research indicates that American workers think it's a big problem. It could be demoralizing your workforce, and costing your company money.
Brian Altonens insight:

One of the things I've noticed as a person free from recurring seizures for 30 years is the persistence of certain forms of human behavior.  One of the disadvantages of having seizures is that your past is limited while they have control of your life.  That makes it harder to conceal any negative parts of your past, when it comes to finding work.


Even more disheartening about experiencing a disability as debilitating and limiting as serious epilepsy can be, is the Catch 22 you are in when it comes to the job application and interview process.  The law encourages you from noting your ADA issue as if it was something to take into consideration as part of the hiring process.  But as an epileptic, not every job application is worded such that you are asked to reveal your epilepsy history.  On some applications, it exists in the form of a box to check; and even if epilepsy is a part of your history at the time you apply, the general attitude you have had to face throughout your life, expressed by people in general, is that maybe you should just not check that box for your past epilepsy.  'Consciously or subconsciously, it may work against you' is a common fear often not voiced, but held within.


Now work itself is sometimes just not healthy for people with epilepsy.  Seizures are induced by stress.  It is how you manage that stress that defines whether or not you can hold that job position you are in.  Again, with or without letting others know that there may be limits to rates of performance at certain times, or kinds of performance expected of you, you are left ready to be put on the spot for not completing specific tasks in time.


The issues with epilepsy are due to its invisibility to your coworkers.  Coworkers will not say anything bad about you because you could not attend something or had to refrain from certain work related activities due to a physical disability you have.  The visually impaired are not asked to review a letter before it is sent to the client, unless the individual requesting such a task knows the coworker is capable, due to the equipment at hand.   The hearing impaired aren't asked to step down, because they could not manage the recording of monthly meetings.  Accomodations were made, that is what it's all about.


Such is often not the case for epilepsy in the workplace, especially for those who grow older and have to be more alert to the possibility of retriggering a medical past from 30 years ago, all due to human behaviors, expectations, verbal expressions.


Now it helps to approach HR about these issues should they happen.  But one needs to wonder why such events should even be happening in the first place?  That is certainly not an indicator of a health job, or work environment, or set of managers, or even sometimes coworkers.  But I don't want to sound too paranoid here--let's just question the management and HR about this.  The vibes associated with being part of the team.  The amount of ethics they adhere to when it comes to judging coworkers, or those they consider to be of lesser stature.


For quite some time, epilepsy kept college students out of medical school.  For myself I learned that all it takes is just one seizure in the academic setting, and you were essentially expelled or placed on medical leave until you could demonstrate you had the ability and agility to meet the unhealthy demands of being a fourth year MD student.  Similarly, I once talked with a recruiter for a medical school in the Pacific Northwest, and was told (it was 1990), that the visually impaired couldn't become doctors, after all, they couldn't see their patients, an important requirement for being able to pass your clinical reviews.  "Why should we trust our patients to someone who could black out!?"


Notice that ageism hasn't yet come up in any of this.  But age can be the next level of discrimination that when added to the history you are dealt with as a job applicant, become the determinant as to whether you are hired or not.  


I have noticed the following signs of ageism impacting the interviews I've had, with trying to find work.  


The first thing they note at the interview is they are impressed by your experience and want to know more about you, see how you work, see if you can fit in.


The second is they ask you there and say outrightly at the end of the day, or demonstrate by their notes on paper, that someone who interviewed you asked you to be included, just to share ideas, hope for some helpful feedback or hints on how to resolve an ongoing dilemma the company has, that they feel you could resolve (30% of such interviews are this).


The third is when they tell you they are looking to hire someone who can also share with staff his/her skills, and manage to teach other workers how to become more successful with their tasks.   They hire you to serve as some sort of mentor--two Washington DC jobs held that attitude about me, one associated with a government programs related to innovative medical GIS work, the other a team of very young workers who landed an incredible contract, but who had limited skills and experience as to what to do with that EMR data.  A third in Chicago outrightly said they wanted an older aged mentor, to teach the kids..  How rude to admit to your weakness as a national health monitoring group.


The fortunate thing about epilepsy is it makes you work harder, not just harder because of the potential prejudice that you are trying to minimize, but also because you have the potential to be a very effective worker and team member.  People who are successful with epilepsy surpass normal human potentials because of the behavioral requirements, and because they have the mindset to accomplish more than many.  Between seizures you are always catching up, if you are a student at school, or sometimes an epileptic at work.  Without seizures, you are already trained to work harder than others.  You work hard in order to claim your place in the workforce and out-compete those who possibly have a unique social advantage over you.


Some of the prejudice older people experience, people with hidden disabilities like epilepsy also experience.  Ironically, my entire life's work experience has been in healthcare, the place you'd expect to see such behaviors happen least, or at least result in better long term outcomes.  But even in healthcare, people are often people first, healers and leaders second.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

The First Decades of Homeopathy in the U.S.

The First Decades of Homeopathy in the U.S. | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |

Counts of physicians in the state listings of licensed homeopaths, from 1825 to 1862 (1863-1870 data excluded from these graphs).  The upper left figure demonstrates four years that are important to the establishment of this profession.  The upper right depicts the four major contributors to this growth in numbers.  The lower left depicts stacked, cumulative over time counts from 1825 to 1862, and the five peak years defined with this illustration.  The lower right figure depicts cumulative over time counts, by individual states.  


Period Slopes depict rates of change or rise in numbers of practitioners, per period measures.  Periods defined used the following traditional slope equation metric [m=(y-b)/x, with b defined by software], for the periods of 1840 to 1851, and 1852 to 1862.

Brian Altonens insight:

Also important to note is the fact that New York had two major peaks in licensure (1852 and 1857),  followed by Pennsylvania, Ohio and Massachusetts, which shared the growth in this profession with New York in 1857.  


From 1840 to 1850, New York had a number of smaller peaks depicting the growth of practitioners.  


The lower left figure depicts a fifth peak in growth that is historically important to the profession, 1836 +/- 1 year, when German speaking schools were opened in Allentown, PA.


The profession grew quite rapidly once the textbooks and related resources were translated into English, by various local physicians residing across the United States.


Due to the Civil War (1861, esp. 1862 on), the growth of this profession slowed briefly.  Following the Civil war, it took off and became one of the most popular non-allopathic professions, with its own schools, hospitals and teaching clinics or institutions established by the end of the 19th century.  The last official homeopathic teaching hospital closed its doors around 1935 (Portland OR).  Many of the older schools and teaching centers remain in use today as they were purchased by their allopathy competitors.  


Due to their popularity, and their management mostly by religious institutions,  homeopathic schools were at times more popular than the allopathic schools.  A typical hospital managed by a religious group had separate wards for allopaths, eclectics and homeopaths.  In 1852-3 in Ohio, the allopathic wards on occasion had to be shut down due to lack of patients when compared with the other facilities (Ref: Lancet, Western Lancet, and Eclectic Medical Journal articles for the time).  


Homeopathy is popular due to its "philosophy" and the lack of true chemical toxicity for its therapeutic agents.  Homeopaths typically utilized less aggressive methods of therapy than allopathy, and sometimes even eclectic medicine and chiropractics.  Homeopathy also avoided the use of "toxic" plants, chemicals and mineral remedies so common to allopathy.  Yet most people conferred, then as now, that this treatment philosophy is best applied to non-acute medical problems or conditions.


This is the first of several studies initiated to track the migration of homeopaths and homeopathy about the United States during its first decades of practice and growth in popularity.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

One chart that should make anti-vaccine people ashamed

One chart that should make anti-vaccine people ashamed | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
Measles was officially eliminated from the US...
Brian Altonens insight:

More than one half million measles cases per year, before the vaccine.  187 cases, in a recent year.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Is climate change key to the spread of Ebola?

Is climate change key to the spread of Ebola? | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
Ebola outbreaks may become more frequent because of climate change, scientists warn, as the deadly disease ravages West Africa.
Brian Altonens insight:

There's nothing really new to this argument.  Relating global warming to the behavior or our recent outbreak Ebola is new.  But in general, global warming, or more specifically global change, has always been on the minds of some environmental health experts.  


This recent "Voila! I think this related to global warming!" is a consequence the stubbornness most leaders and scientists have when reading alternative theories.


The global climate change, "global warming" issue (which incidentally always means some places get more extremes with the cold, at the expense of global temperature rises and melting icecaps occurring elsewhere)was defined in US history by Noah Webster, and shared at an annual meeting of the Connecticut academy of science meeting in the late 1790s.  Webster brought his theory into the limelight again in the early 1800s, when a writer published a book on the climate changes he thought were happening, based upon temperature changes in a New England mountain range (all of this is covered at my page ;).


At least two other writers noted the same thing about our first claim of global warming by Webster.  The Smithsonian even published references to it year back, due to the fact that we overlooked this part of our history.  


Back in 1793 and 1797, Global Warming was why yellow fever came to the U.S.  Years later it could be used to explain the incoming cholera epidemics.  The association of warm temperatures with excessive amounts of "miasma" and the discomforts of high humidity were often common arguments given by climatology physicians.  


But only to Noah Webster were these events were due to excessive lumber harvesting and the deforestation of the young United States ( ;).


Besides myself, review the work of Judith Curry on this same very important public health matter: ;


And in one of my earlier posting about the 2013-2014 Ebola outbreak, I make my view on this possibility quite clear: ;


I think the unfortunate these events teach us however is the lesson that leaders and experts are opinionated and stubborn, not at all critical and inquisitive like we would like them to be.  The more arguments there are, the more personalities and reputations are put to the test.  Highly polarized opinions, like those pertaining to the global warning issue, result in very biased decision making and scientific reporting.  The experts spend less time checking their facts and their history, and more time finding support for their arguments, their critiques of others, and new ways to verbalize their highly questionable hearsay.


Other contemporary new pages on the link between Ebola and the old climate change theory are:


Is climate change key to the spread of Ebola?
Katy Barnato | @KatyBarnato
Friday, 15 Aug 2014 | 5:56 AM ET ;


Will climate change worsen Ebola outbreaks?
By Angela Fritz and Jason Samenow August 5, 2014


Media Jumps To Conclusions On Ebola And Climate Change



Is climate change making the Ebola outbreak worse?
UNEP - Mon, 10 Nov 2014 10:26 GMT.  
Author: Richard Munang and Robert Mgendi



No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Developer curses at man on subway, meets him again in job interview - CNET

Developer curses at man on subway, meets him again in job interview - CNET | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
Technically Incorrect: A Python developer gets on a London subway, shoves a man and tells him to "F*** off." Later that day, the developer gets a surprise, as the man is interviewing him for a job.
Brian Altonens insight:

Here's to healthy business relationships - - - unfortunately, this kind of thing tends to happen only in the U.K.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Watch 2 magicians destroy the anti-vaccine movement in 90 seconds

Watch 2 magicians destroy the anti-vaccine movement in 90 seconds | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
Measles in Disneyland should be a wake-up call for the anti-vaccine movement. Magicians Penn and Teller show us why anti-vaccination is nonsense.
Brian Altonens insight:
Hey. It's magic. Better magic than prescribing to anti-vaccs.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Hospital germ warfare - an old malady, new chapter, and no new remedies

Hospital germ warfare - an old malady, new chapter, and no new remedies | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after their deadly fumbling on Ebola and measles, new data show the agency vastly 

underestimated the threat of a superbug raging through our hospitals and nursing homes.  

And New York City is getting clobbered hardest by this bug, Clostridium difficile, according to Lawrence Brandt, professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 

Data from a leading medical journal show that 29,000 people in the US are killed each year by C. diff, more than double what the CDC claimed three years ago. Worse, the CDC is dithering while patients die.

Brian Altonens insight:

Clostridium difficile is just one of dozens of iatrogenic conditions that are erupting or re-emerging in the health care setting.     


Older patients are more likely to be exposed to a completely new series of infectious diseases than their grandparents of 75 to 100 years earlier.      


Unlike the older diseases, the new diseases are often drug-resistant, the result of an evolving organism that many of us learned about during the early 1980s.  Population dense hospital settings are very susceptible to this problem, an important lesson we learned in military hospitals during the Crimean War. (and thus nursing was born, thanks to Florence Nightingale).        


This article lays some of the blame for C-diff deaths on the CDC.  But medical school teachings beginning more than 20 years ago, and most CME programs taught worldwide lay blame where it is due--the hygienic practices of clinicians within inpatient hospital settings.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Yes, we did overreact to Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s Ebola screwup

Yes, we did overreact to Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s Ebola screwup | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |

"And who did not?"     


This past year, we witnessed two of the major problems with Mass Media.  


The first flaw is obvious--Mass Media is biased, as noted by the overreaction to Ebola news in general, not just its reaction to  Dr. Snyderman's inability to comply with a voluntary quarantine "order" submitted to her.  Where media ,issed out on this opportunity was the chance it had to point out just how self-righteous physicians treat themselves.  Risking their lives to be out there in the battlefield, they couldn't care less if by saving lives in Africa, that gives them the right to risk the lives of several to thousands of others in their home town area, by not adhering to common sense public health regulations.  

Brian Altonens insight:

The second flaw with mass media reporting is the willing of news reporters to modify the story somewhat, in favor of whatever direction they are going with their stories.  Assign blame to the health care system--the doctors, nurses, administrators and insurance agencies--and their inability/unwillingness to care for the economically deprived. 


When mass media publishes something about a very polarized issue, like the refusal to immunize your children, the result can be an unfortunate misdirecting or misguidance of public opinion.  

In recent months, mass media has shared the news of the measles outbreak, but did little to consider the possibility that medicine and public health officials were themselves the reason this problem exists.  In fact, the anti-vaccine movement is more than a century old, and was re-awakened first by public health laws preventing certain practitioners from being able to administer vaccine, putting the public at risk in the very communities where this social movement took hold.  (see my studies of the 1960s and 1970s in licensed and accredited non-allopathy, "drugless" medical schools along the west coast).  

Because little attention was ever paid to such a localized "small movement", public health officials lost touch with the local population, and were unable to accept their errors once the recent outbreak began.  "History has been on our side" they thought.  But when exactly was the last time they evaluated true population related vaccine rates in this country.  The many reports they quoted as their means for support focused only on the insured, and employed health insured groups.  Not the forgotten low income, unemployed masses that could not afford event some basic child care for thier newborns.

The frequently quoted "Herd Theory" is an excuse for ignoring the unimmunized.  It adds a cultural statement to any arguments about the current programs, that prejudice us against the needs of the lower class.  Any epidemiologist who uses such a term is essentially pointing the finger at the victim, blaming them for "not being a part of the pack"--a pack they can neither converse with nor afford.  Other epidemiologists, population health experts quote the success of their international immunization programs, like the polio vaccine program, that is until two years ago, when it failed miserably, for many of the same reasons no less.  

The first and only successful vaccine program ever was the first Tb Vaccine program initiated by WHO in 1950 (when WHO was just 2 years old), which took just two or three years to effectively immunize more than 300 million people against Tb worldwide.  The subsequent battles again Polio, Measles, Guinea Worm, have been very slow in their progression, but for the most part steady much of the time.  Without ever reaching 100% immunized or 100% disease eradication as we hoped, such as with small pox (we hope).

People like to be themselves and unique.  Some of these people like cultures that are unique.  This means that we can never fully eradicate any disease like we did before population growth became what it is.  The number of people in the world is too big to every assign a single rule on how to live to.  Communes are going to exist.  There are always going to be isolationists who disobey rules, because they want to and believe they have the right to.  These close knit, and sometimes never immunized communities, will always be a part of US culture, if not international culture, making its way to the United States for years to come.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

The Shameful Way Our Broken Health Care System Treats The Elderly

The Shameful Way Our Broken Health Care System Treats The Elderly | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
A 91-year-old woman calls her doctor complaining that she feels dizzy. No, that's not the beginning of a joke. It's what actually happened to my mother last week when she woke up feeling 'a little sick.' And here's the punch line. She ends up at the ...
Brian Altonens insight:

One of the interesting things these postings show is where the interests lie with regard to tackling important social issues in medicine.  We work in the field of medicine and try to stay in touch with where we are about health care, our role, the potentials we have, how we might make even a small part of the healthcare system better.


But one of the most  common behaviors everyone in this profession engages in is focused on discussion, without action, talk without taking matters into our own hands.  Now it is actually impossible for a healthcare worker to take such matters--such as the way we treat the elderly--into our own hands.  The system is at fault, not ourselves.  


However, that system does have leaders, managers, directors, vice presidents, presidents, CEOs, CMOs, CIOs and CFOs.  These people are responsible for making such changes.  So why don't they?  They are the reason no one else makes a move in the current system we are bound to.  


These changes are not the responsibility of the people who design the program at the federal or national level.   They are the responsibility of the leaders of the company whom you work for.  This lack of change or improvement tells me that we haven't got the best skilled people working and playing the most appropriate  leadership roles any more.  


Instead of blaming this on the system in general, it is best the leaders take responsibility and accept what it is that they cannot accomplish.  In a few years, they will be needing the same services; hope they look elsewhere.  Their followers are also not going to care too much at all about what their demands are once they retire.  Why would they?  It's not their responsibility, as management has taught them.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Long Term Care - How much will Chronic Disease Cases Cost the System over the next 20 years?

Long Term Care - How much will Chronic Disease Cases Cost the System over the next 20 years? | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |

Adjusted costs for Epilepsy Care, estimated for a 60 year lifespan (0-59 yo), with catastrophic impact set for 27 yo and possible full recovery for 45 yo.  This baseline healthy outcomes-derived from real cost data was then used to calculate prolonged care costs for moderate and severe health risk outcomes, over the same time period, and then until retirement (assumed 64 yo), and the 0-57 true data model used to project costs for the period of 65 yo to 80 years of age, for both moderate and high risk cases.  Unlike previous reviews published for similar studies, this review applies SES, Social Services utilization, MCD, MCR, OVR, HHS, and other public assistance funding programs into the model.  Complete cost to the government and taxpayer is provided, but at a minimal level. (Health employee salaries as a time factor were not completely reviewed).

Brian Altonens insight:

I recently completed a major portion of an ongoing research project I have been involved with over the years--the evaluation of the cost of long term care to epileptics in the past, and how we can use it to predict the cost for epilepsy care for upcoming decades.


My method of analysis was quite simple.  I took the historical data for specific case(s) and then used the consumer price indexing adjustment formula for inflation to adjust all past costs to the present.  I then took the real case data, which resulted in very low risk of need for future care once the "crisis" was complete soon after the age of 45, and expanded it by creating a slightly riskier pre-catastrophic event period (no high cost events) and an ongoing post-crisis/catastrophic event period, with similar activities as those of the previous years, leading up to high cost long term care accomodations.  


This methodology is based in part upon methods used to perform a similar analysis back in the late 1990s.  I added to this technique, more data on the costs for health care visits, screenings, labs, prescription drugs, CNS testing, emergent care events, etc., etc.  than utilized in previously published studies.  I also engaged in a full cost analysis of living costs, assuming the patient had no other health condition that might impact results as a covariant.  


The emergent care event(s), and subsequent crisis for these cases was a neurosurgical process (left anteromesial temporal lobectomy, applied to this diagnosis for child and adults with the implied CPS or TLE ICD noted in the graphs above.)


For the baseline case, the surgical process is assumed to be 100% effective, performed at the midlife of the patient's life.    This lowest risk case is also assumed to recover completely from the crisis and return to education and/or work without further complications (essentially representing a "cure").  


The moderate risk case continues to experience post-surgical seizure events, although less at first, but over time requires new testing, new medications, further tests and screening, changes in therapies, etc.  


The high risk case is assumed to have ongoing debilitating conditions develop even after the surgery is completed, as the seizures recur and reduce quality of life over the next 20 years.


The costs for each of these cases up until the age of 57/58 yo were then reviewed (again. starting with real time/life costs for care data for the baseline case).  The other two were then evaluated.  


Based on changes in cost over time, and their linear versus polynomial form, a prediction modeling equation could defined for each of the moderate and high risk cases (formulas were different), to determine how much ongoing medical care for this health status would cost the system ,first by the age of 65 (retirement year, if any were still employed), and finally, by the age of 80.  


The results of this study demonstrated that the long term cost for lifetime care for a patient with epilepsy, who reaches the age of 80, but requires special housing in the later years due to long term complications, could easily reach 10 MILLION DOLLARS (much of this due to long term care demands).  


(All additional costs were not CPI adjusted for future inflation, but the prediction model equation takes much of the trend with inflation into account). 


The moderate risk cases (presumably the majority of cases in this age range), cost the taxpayer-funded healthcare system (preretirement years=Medicaid; post-retirement=Medicare) a little less than five million dollars.  


What makes this analysis different is the inclusion of costs for social services related services and intervention events, for all stages in the a patient's  life, from childhood years through college and early employment years, into hospitalization and post-hospitalization/post-surgical years (counseling, neurosurgical counseling, neurosurgical testing,  WAIS, and post-surgical occupational and cognitive speech therapy reviews were included.)


Each of these two types of patients was also assumed to receive continued MCD/MCR assistance for the rest of his/her life, including Section 8 and Food Stamps coverage, to name a few of the additional costs not fully evaluated in the older forms of this study performed back in the late 1990s.  


No early mortality was assumed for these cases.  Since people with active, ongoing epilepsy are normally assumed to demonstrate a reduced lifespan of about 10-20 years, this could be considered the one flaw in this analysis.  With such a reduction in longevity, a significant number of these two high cost groups would die off well before the age of 70.


Nevertheless, this provides a reason for engaging in more aggressive, early interventions into epilepsy care.  The recovered individual cost the system nearly a half-million dollars in real money, a little less than one-million dollars once these costs are CPI adjusted.  And such an outcome ("the cure") is an infrequent event.  


In sum, the moderate case can cost anywhere from 4 to 5 times more than the recovered epileptic.  


The highest risk cases can cost the system as much as 12-fold, according to this analyses.  Even if we cut this amount in half, we are still talking about an additional 6 million dollars in cost of care over time.


These amounts per patient by the way represent costs per year that are higher than what most individuals earn in these same age groups, were they employed.  


Each case therefore represents a reduction in taxpayer income for the country, with each dollar traded over for each dollar required of the medicaid or medicare systems.  This amount doubles for high risk patients.


This method of analysis may be applicable to other chronic disease management diagnoses as well.  Even though the reasons for these costs very, between cases of asthma/COPD, diabetes, etc., the magnitude of cost for a health crisis is still very high.  [The $50,000 surgical event noted for the baseline case, had an equal amount attached to allied health prequirements before and after the crisis event or surgery; with minor CPI adjustments, this $100,000 was essentially doubled to $200,000.]


Most importantly, the cost for caring for a typical high risk patient between 70 and 80 years of age will cost the system about a quarter million dollars per year.  


The total cost for the care of retired people with epilepsy in upcoming years has been estimated to be in the billions, with about one million people who are now eligible for this health care assistance, should they still be around about 20 to 25 years from now.


For more on this study, go to  



No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Here's An 'Anti-Vaxx Success Story' That Makes Total Sense

Here's An 'Anti-Vaxx Success Story' That Makes Total Sense | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
The parents in this spoof of anti-vaccine advocates have the perfect solution to keep their baby healthy.

Sure, it's a tad unusual, and mom and dad seem a little paranoid.

But wait for the end of "The Anti-Vaxx Success Story The Media Doe...
Brian Altonens insight:

I too have a good sense of humours.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Jail looms for mom who fled with son to fight circumcision

Jail looms for mom who fled with son to fight circumcision | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A woman who fled with her son while fighting to prevent his circumcision will face imprisonment if she doesn't return and allow the surgery to proceed, a judge ruled Friday.
Brian Altonens insight:

When culture makes a difference, as much as public health interests.    


Some evidence does suggest brisses may result in healthier long term outcomes.    


How does circumcision compare with infibulation (see, as a cultural paradigm we adhere to in the healthcare field?     


Brisses are unhealthy due to the potential spread of herpes (see by orally infected mohels (mohalim) or their female equivalents--mohalots (although the latter hasn't yet appeared in the literature).     


The culturally defined brit milah has this added risk, but not the non-Hebrew ritual practice of circumcision.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

IS destroying another ancient archaeological site in Iraq

IS destroying another ancient archaeological site in Iraq | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State militants continued their campaign targeting cultural heritage sites in territories they control in northern Iraq, looting and damaging the ancient city of Hatra just one day after bulldozing the historic city of Nimrud, according to Iraqi government officials and local residents. The destruction in Hatra comes as the militant Islamic group fended off an Iraqi army offensive in Saddam Hussein's hometown and fought pitched battles in eastern Syria in an area populated by predominantly Christian villages.
Brian Altonens insight:

There is no reason for this form of cultural cleansing, other than the desire for cultural extinction.  And this extinction, could ultimately occur, in both directions.  Killing another cultural's legacy is the first step to self-destruction, eradication of your own culture, and ultimately the denial that it will ever exist again on the face of this earth.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Obesity Is Complicated and Needs New Approach, Scientists Say

Obesity Is Complicated and Needs New Approach, Scientists Say | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
With obesity rates continuing to rise around the globe and the majority of Americans now obese or overweight, it's easy to see that we are losing the battle of the bulge. Aside from isolated areas of improvement where people are, in fact, losing weight — in a city here, a neighborhood there — no country has succeeded in reversing its obesity epidemic. In a series of six critical articles covering the health, policy, economics and politics of obesity, scientists lay out what society has been doing wrong and call for a new global action plan to meet what they call the "modest" goal of the World Health Organization: no increase in the prevalence of obesity from now through 2025. "There are clear agreements on what strategies should be implemented and tested to address obesity," said Christina Roberto, an assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, and lead author of the first report of the series.
Brian Altonens insight:

And smoking is even worse.  How much NIH $$$ did they spend on either of these great discoveries!?!


See also:

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

NY attorney general expands herbal supplements investigation

NY attorney general expands herbal supplements investigation | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Three weeks after ordering four major retailers to pull store-brand herbal supplements off their shelves following DNA tests that found little or none of the listed herbs, New York's attorney general is targeting manufacturers of the popular products.
Brian Altonens insight:

This is a perpetual problem with the herbal medicine industry.  Pro-allopaths habitually use this argument to promote laws reducing, preventing or making illegal the sale of "herbal medicines" (today we like to call them nutritional supplements, and their content is a great deal more complex).  But the naivete the allopathic profession has in general about these products and their history of regulating medicines effectively does make those who study this field see the biasness that exists of the allopathic end as well.   


I admit, counterfeits and adulterants are a continuous problem in the OTC supplement world, and there are 1898, 1906, 1915 and 1925 acts  written to help prevent the worst forms of mislabelling.     


In the late 1980s I demonstrated the lack of similarities between the same theoretical product, by showing that chemical content varied considerable between products with identical product labels.    The differences between a U.S. and Asian herbal product were even worse, due to how the products were gathered, prepared, stored and kept for later manufacturing (my xanthoxylum tlc/biq alkaloid study).  The use of alternative names enabled illegal plants to reach the US via customs in the 1990s.   


From 1993 on, a number of requirements were made to standardize plant "medico-chemical value" in units, primarily by pharma industry overseers.    But today's problems are due to the lack of adequate monitoring of content for products manufactured by other countries.   


Like cannabis, adulterants and counterfeits are always an issue with OTC herbally based nutritional supplements.  It is also likely the FDA makes some mistakes of its own, like not knowing the synonymous plant names or how to validate the right species-label name relationship.  Moreover, the statement that as much as an 80% adulteration or substitution is possible also means that the FDA may be lacking in learned reviewers--for example, exactly how many pau d'arco species are there, from which two or three plant genera?  Chances are the differences between valid adulterants and actual counterfeit substitutes is not well know by these testers--micro and macropharmacognosy is no longer taught in the pharma programs.  And molecules can lie, since test chemicals exist in numerous counterfeits, and are lacking in identically used plant pharma substitutes.  (Sometimes the chemical does not matter in this crazy industry.)   


Now we are applying DNA testing hoping to get a match.  That is possibly the reason there is such a high (80%) mismatch.  The coffee bean industry uses a different species of Caffea to produce that great aroma.  Therefore, a genetic screening of Caffea arabica might also demonstrate significant adulteration.    


The best and safest "mandrake" (if there is any) is podophyllum with etoposide, not mandragora with its tropane alkaloids.  For these we can tell the difference.  But telling counterfeits and legitimate substitutes from "adulterants" is a different issue.  DNA testing does not accomplish that for us.  And chances are, the testers here don't know the difference between the "coltsfoots" Tussilago farfara and Pestasites vulgaris, hybridus or japonicus.  Then again, who'd expect them to.  They are relying upon the computer and an incomplete DNA database to define these differences.



No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

Data Collection at Schools: Is Big Brother Watching Your Kids?

Data Collection at Schools: Is Big Brother Watching Your Kids? | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |
It’s why an increasing number of moms and dads are feeling betrayed by their children’s schools, who often collect and use sensitive data on students like a valuable form of currency. Why are they collecting all this data on our children, and what are they doing with it?" says Colorado mother of three Traci Burnett in speaking with the Gazette, a Colorado news outlet, for a story this week about kids and privacy in that state. According to EPIC’s student privacy project director Khaliah Barnes, who wrote on the topic for the New York Times in December, “The collection of student data is out of control. Students’ attitudes, sociability and even ‘enthusiasm’ are quantified, analyzed, recorded and dropped into giant data systems.” The rampant data collection, she added, “is not only destroying student privacy, it also threatens students’ intellectual freedom.
Brian Altonens insight:

The real question is 'how could you effectively regulate such monitoring?'  Even if you get the school systems and teachers to control the flow of information to some extent, once the student has "left the premises" and is now on the internet, everything and anything is up for grabs.  Students themselves know better than many parents when it comes to 'breaking the codes' and bypassing security.  

No comment yet.
Scooped by Brian Altonen!

I’m gay. And I want my kid to be gay, too.

I’m gay. And I want my kid to be gay, too. | Global∑os® (GlobalEOS) |

By Sally Kohn February 22
"I live in the liberal bubble of Park Slope, Brooklyn, where no yuppie would ever admit to wanting their kid to be anything in particular, other than happy. But more often than not, we define happiness as some variation on our own lives, or at least the lives of our expectations. If we went to college, we want our kids to go to college. If we like sports, we want our kids to like sports. If we vote Democrat, of course we want our kids to vote Democrat.

I’m gay. And I want my kid to be gay, too."

Brian Altonens insight:

Here's the problem with this new perspective on gay children and same sex parenting. Decades were spent arguing there is a genetic or biological basis for homosexuality. (Genes define the biology of us, how our body works, how our tissues function, how our brains work, where these "desires" come from within our limbic system and the related neurochemical network.)  


About ten or twenty years ago, for the most part these people finally won their argument about the "gay gene", even though no nucleic acid sequences were every found to be inarguable linked.  This of course is going to change as we realize that "nucleic acid power" is not where it's at regarding how we survive and behave.  Several new lines of drugs are surfacing that target the RNA related process and other extragenetic pathways that impact how the DNA is expressed, whether or not certain parts of it will make us become smokers, drinkers, or even different thinkers and social beings.


Now it appears as though the same sex parents want to argue once again that gay life is mostly a matter of choice, one that can be encouraged into non-biologically related children who are raised through the right parental upbringing. It is not this matter of upbringing a child that's the point or issue here.  It's this inconsistency in arguing about something that is socially changing with each generation goes about arguing its "rights" to exist, its rights to be believed in or made a part of one's personal life.


This turnaround on the "neurochemical/neurobiological" theory for partnership choice has produces much the same problems as deciding to raise any child in a way that may not be widely accepted in some social settings.  Not that such a choice is wrong.  It's just taht the public at large is often not as respectful of this alternative thinking as we would like.


However, there is a bigger impact this can have on the social movements linked to gay couples.  This change in direction for you arguments, just so you can adopt, provides the ammunition needed by anti-gay groups to now argue that they were right in the first place, there is no biological cause for homosexuality, it is purely choice and behavior related.  The lack of an ecological cause, the absence of a demonstrable change in phenotype responsible for this personal attribute, only strengthens the anti-gay movements out there.  This makes it possible for these people to say, 'See, we told you so.  It should be left up to the child as to how he/she feels about such a personal, social issue."  



No comment yet.