The Oransky Journal

Interesting stuff that doesn't fit on Embargo Watch or Retraction Watch

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Disease-mongering, vaseline, and cocaine: The medical journal penis news for February 4, 2013

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j sex medOh, the things you learn in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Here’s a sampling of recent studies.

The authors of “Fournier’s Gangrene Associated with Intradermal Injection of Cocaine” explain:

We sought to highlight the effects of cocaine use within the penis and emphasize the different effects that may ensue.

Disease-mongering comes to masturbation in “Impaired Masturbation-Induced Erections: A New Cardiovascular Risk Factor for Male Subjects with Sexual Dysfunction:” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

September 11, 2001: A day in my life, 11 years later

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A 9/11/12 memorial to those Rescue One firefighters who died on 9/11. Their station is a few doors from my apartment building.

I’m not sure what prompted me to write this today, as opposed to the other ten September 11ths that we’ve observed since 2001. Mine was not even a minor September 11 story. I did not lose any close friends or family in the attacks. It’s the stories of those who died, those of their families — such as this one in yesterday’s Stamford Advocate, just to highlight one example — are the ones to pay attention to, as are those of the first responders who sacrificed everything. In contrast, this is my personal blog, and this was an opportunity to put down my thoughts. I’m planning to treat this as a work-in-progress, filling in and correcting details as needed, and doing some rewrites, so I look forward to feedback.

On the night of September 11, 2001, we got to the front of the line at Mama Buddha, on Hudson Street in Greenwich Village, just as they were taping a sign to their window saying they needed to close for a while. They seemed to be the only restaurant open for blocks. They’d been jammed with customers for hours, and the staff needed a break.

They looked at me, sweaty and wearing hospital scrubs, and then quietly asked how many in my party. I didn’t really think about why they were letting us in despite the sign, just said it was four or five. It was only as we were being seated that I realized I was being faced with an Ethicist-worthy question. Do I tell the hostess that I hadn’t actually been working at the hospital, as the staff obviously assumed from my scrubs, but had shown up only to be gratefully told I wasn’t needed?

We decided to stay. We were hungry, we weren’t taking food away from legitimate rescuers – the crowd looked to be locals who didn’t want to sit in their apartments – and I had tried to volunteer, after all. We figured we’d leave a big tip.

We did, and then we dispersed to various parts of Manhattan, me to Hell’s Kitchen, my friend Gady and the others to their hotels. We weren’t sure what was in store the next day, but we knew we’d need some rest. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Penis amputation and self-castration from marijuana-induced psychosis: Really?

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In February, I covered a case report about a transsexual woman who castrated herself when her insurance company wouldn’t pay for the procedure. Today, I have a sort of follow-up, about two self-mutilation cases that doctors are ascribing to a completely different reason: Pot-induced psychosis.

In one case, titled “A case of self amputation of penis by cannabis induced psychosis,” a group of doctors at Aligarh Muslim University in India

…present a case of a 35-year-old male who self mutilated his penis due to dependence on cannabis for the past few years that led to a condition called cannabis induced psychosis.

Here’s the authors’ evidence for why marijuana was to blame: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

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Wanted for a clinical trial: Women who can urinate while lying on their backs

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I’ve brought you news of a woman giving birth in an MRI for science, which followed a description of an orgasm in an MRI and a couple having sex in such a device. (These studies, it should be noted, all involved different people.) Today I bring you the story of researchers who filled an obvious void in this research: A study of women peeing while in an MRI.

The study, “A Preliminary Report on the Use of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging with Simultaneous Urodynamics to Record Brain Activity During Micturition,” was published last week in the Journal of Urology. Micturition, as you probably guessed, is a synonym for urination. What caught my eye was this, from the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm

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What’s a previvor? Cancer advocacy group that coined term objects to how I used it at TEDMED

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When I posted my TEDMED talk last week, one of the terms I highlighted from it was “previvor.”  Here is how I described that term in my talk:

Previvor is what a particular cancer advocacy group would like everyone who just has a risk factor but hasn’t actually had that cancer to call themselves.

Yesterday, I received a letter from Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), the advocacy group that coined the term, expressing concerns about how I had used it. (I’ve made the whole letter available here.) FORCE wrote that they intend previvor to describe people with “a very high risk for a deadly disease like cancer.” And in a different version of the letter that they posted online, executive director Sue Friedman wrote: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 12, 2012 at 9:34 am

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Pre-games, previvors, and pre-death: My TEDMED talk on what medicine can learn from Moneyball

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That’s me with one of my favorite artists, Jill Sobule — and her mom! — backstage at TEDMED (courtesy TEDMED)

In April, I was given the chance to speak at TEDMED 2012, a remarkable gathering of health care leaders, patients, and entertainers, among others, in Washington, DC. It was, as my friend Scott Hensley of NPR put it:

…a way for people who care a lot about health care to get together and make some headway on thorny problems.

In other words:

The smart kids from the cafeteria have grown up and become cool, a geeky kind of cool.

In short, it was a non-stop smorgasbord of ideas, inside and outside of the Kennedy Center auditorium.

TEDMED has just posted the video of my talk, which you can watch below (post continues afterward): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 5, 2012 at 10:56 am

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Happy birthday, Dad: My eulogy for Stanley Oransky, May 16, 1941-August 27, 2010

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Stanley Oransky

The middle of May can be wrenching for my family. My brother David, who died in a car accident in 1995 at the age of 17, was born on May 12. Mother’s Day usually comes around that time — this year it was the day after what would have been David’s 35th birthday — which is understandably a tough juxtaposition for my mom.

And today, May 16, 2012, would have been my father’s 71st birthday. He died in August 2010.

I’ve been thinking about Dad and David a lot in recent months, wondering how David’s kindness and wisdom, which belied his age, would have developed as he got older, and wishing I could let both of them know how much I miss them. So inspired by Steve Silberman and David Kroll, in honor of my father’s birthday, I’m posting the eulogy I gave at his funeral: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 16, 2012 at 8:18 am

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Veterinarians, please don’t take your dog’s thyroid medication

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You may remember the flap over then-presidential candidate Al Gore’s pronouncement that his mother-in-law’s arthritis drugs cost more than those he was giving his dog.

But one veterinarian may have taken the “I’ll just use pet drugs instead” idea a bit too far.

In the American Journal of Medicine, SUNY Stony Brook’s Harmeet Singh Narula reports on the case of a “33-year-old veterinarian with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism” — that’s an autoimmune disorder that causes low thyroid hormone levels — who showed up to the doctor’s office with “mild anxiety, jitteriness, and insomnia.”

Lo and behold, her thyroid hormone levels were high. But why? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Grin and bear videos

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With all of the interest in bear videos today, thanks to the “floating bear” photo, I thought I’d post videos I took of bears last summer in Northampton. Scroll down for all three.

A bear cub climbs up a tree: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

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PR person calls to check if you got a press release? Here’s how to respond

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Photo by doktorspinn via Flickr

Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably seen at least one exasperated rant about PR folks who haven’t bothered to figure out what Reuters Health is interested in, and insist on calling to check whether I’ve received an emailed press release.

When I got a call like that earlier this week, I decided to crowdsource the response I’d give the next time it happened. Here are the results: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized