Saturday, September 01, 2007

Journal Club and All Abstracts Submitted

Yesterday we had journal club. It has by far been my favorite class each week for the entire summer. This week's articles were one on whether Americans meet calcium requirements (the authors concluded that we don't) and a second one on whether treating people with prehypertension would help prevent them from progressing to full-blown hypertension (the authors concluded that it does). The first article on calcium requirements was particularly funny because there is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium. This is because we don't really know how much calcium people actually need. So it's kind of difficult to know whether the problem is really that people don't consume enough calcium, or just that the authors' admittedly arbitrary choice of a threshold was simply too high.

The second article was really interesting. I hadn't appreciated how progressive hypertension is. Normal blood pressure should be 120/80 or less. People who fall in the range above that but below full-blown hypertension, which starts at 140/90, are considered to be prehypertensive. The other sad thing is that most people become hypertensive eventually if they live long enough. So yet again, I am finding out that the key to good health is to stay young.

Yesterday afternoon, I finished my abstract for our school presentations, which will be the week after next, and submitted it. Today I got my abstract done for the conference I'm attending next month and submitted that too. I still have to make up my powerpoint slides for school and a poster for the conference, but things are finally winding down a little. We had a patient yesterday also, but it was another control.

Today is September 1, and a new, controversial CCF policy of refusing to hire smokers is going into effect. I've seen several people decrying it on the internet as discriminatory and overly invasive, so it will be interesting to see how things turn out. At this point, I'm not really sure how I feel about the policy. I can see some validity in the arguments for both sides. Plus, the arguments on both sides have been so extreme that it's hard to know what the actuality will really be like. I suspect the policy won't be as helpful in promoting health as the proponents claim, nor will it be as horrific a violation of privacy as the detractors are warning about.

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