Morning Ed: Health {2016.07.21.Th}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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57 Responses

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    Regarding the homicide study, I don’t think we can extrapolate from a single county. The overall national violent crime rate has fallen by about two thirds since the early 90s, yet this claims that the murder rate, adjusted for improvements in trauma care, should have doubled. It seems likely that this county is non-representative.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      I’m having similar problems with people making claims that violent crimes have risen as cops and policing have come under verbal assault. (Sad I have to specify that, but it’s been a bad week or two there).

      How can you tell it’s not just random noise? The crime rate (violent or otherwise) bounces around a fair bit, influenced by everything from local economic conditions to temperature. You need a few years worth of data to detect trends.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Morat20 says:

        In theory, you could look at the variance in crime rate and use that to determine the odds of a certain number of crimes in a certain time period happening due to random variation, and then see if the current spike exceeds some suitable probability threshold.

        In practice, people are probably extrapolating from a handful of incidents overhyped by a sensationalist media. But that’s only happening on one side, of course.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          There’s also the weirdness of “violent crime” spiking, but non-violent crime (burglaries and such) not spiking. Which screams “statistical noise” because, historically at least, you see all crime rise and fall in tandem.

          It’s not like murder is the new black, and all the thieves decide to take up strangulation because they don’t want to be passe.Report

          • Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to Morat20 says:


            Murder and other violent crime is often entirely disconnected to criminality (i.e. lack criminal intent). If you drilled down on the data, it might interesting to see how much of the violent crime corresponds to increased open firearms carry laws, and cultural and political fragmentation. How much of “violent crime” is murder and assault unconnected to other criminal behavior.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

              I think it’s more likely statistical noise. Crime data IS short-term noisy, especially if you look at individual cities or counties. You can get huge jumps month-to-month but see steady averages over year to year.Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to Morat20 says:

        Peter Turchin has posted data suggesting a certain subset of homicides, random killing rampages, has increased ten-fold since the 1960s. Link to first post in series. I’ve thought the trend was particularly interesting in light of the overall trend of violent crime decreasing. And I wouldn’t expect it to track other types of crime, since the motivation behind indiscriminate killing is different than crime for monetary gain or domestic abuse.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to PD Shaw says:

          I didn’t dig into it, but does Turchin differentiate between spree killings where the target is ambiguous, versus mass killings, where the target(s) are specific and may involve collateral deaths?Report

          • PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            He does not count mass killings in which people know each other, or have some ascertainable connection. For example, if husband kills wife, children, and then himself. Also, not included is gang warfare.

            What he is counting is violence based upon the ‘principle of social substitutability.’ The victim is targeted because of what they represent to the killer. That may seem ambiguous and inexplicable, but he sees it as political.Report

  2. InMD says:

    Regarding e-cigs, why is it that our society manages to turns everything into an entrenched interest? Combined with the various strains of modern puritanism out there it’s no wonder we can’t get to a better, even if imperfect, place for public health.Report

    • Damon in reply to InMD says:

      Maybe because of that damn Puritan self righteous “you should do what I think because it’s good for you” attitude to common today? The only way to counter that is to entrench.Report

      • InMD in reply to Damon says:

        The implication of the article is that, because public entities who conduct anti-tobacco research are funded by tobacco taxes and settlements, they have an interest in people not switching to smokeless alternatives. It creates an alliance of the entrenched interests and the puritans. Its the worst of all worlds.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to InMD says:

          It creates an alliance of the entrenched interests and the puritans.

          Bootleggers and Baptists.Report

        • Damon in reply to InMD says:

          Nice. An unintended consequence of the tobacco settlement. Typical. Thanks for the clarification.Report

        • Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to InMD says:

          A good part of this, I think, is the moral approbation that has come to be associated with smoking (and with smokers). Maybe it’s just a California thing, but since laws against public smoking have become commonplace, there’s a lot of moral righteousness directed at smokers (they’re weak, they’re selfish, etc.)

          The California Department of Health uses funds from the tobacco settlement to show ads in theaters and on TV that condemns vaping as exactly equivalent to smoking.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to InMD says:

      “why is it that our society manages to turns everything into an entrenched interest? ”

      The FDA would have banned cigarettes long ago if they could have managed to do it. They certainly aren’t going to approve a new recreational inhalant.

      And it is, after all, their job to act this way. They aren’t doing anything other than exactly what they’re supposed to do. If you say “is it safe to breathe this stuff”, then of course they’re going to say “no”.

      Now, you might say “why do they get to make the decision, why isn’t it my own decision”, and the response is “move to Somalia if you hate government so much, you racist”.Report

  3. Mo says:

    Regarding the sleep study, there’s a lot of horsepucky there. Long term sleep deprivation will kill you, sleeping 6 hours a day will not.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Mo says:

      Yeah, they compared two days to two weeks. Two weeks of sleep deprivation… a different story.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Mo says:

      Regarding the sleep study, there’s a lot of horsepucky there. Long term sleep deprivation will kill you, sleeping 6 hours a day will not.

      Though I think you need to work for the state government to be able to sleep 6 hours a day.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Mo says:

      “Eating bacon as bad as being shot”

      A new study has found that subjects who ate six strips of bacon daily for fifty years ended up dying at a rate 30% higher than the control group. This was the same increase in mortality as found in the group that was shot from 50 yards away with a 22 caliber rifle as they approached the nutrition lab on the first day of the study.Report

  4. Oscar Gordon says:

    Sleep study: I love the implied absolute, that everyone must get 8 hours. Most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep, and it is bad to try & force yourself to go on less on a consistent basis, but not everyone needs that much. Some people only need 6, some even less.

    That smart thing is to see how long you sleep naturally & use that as your target.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      It also fluctuates by age. Teenagers need a LOT more than adults. (There’s also embedded biological rhythms too. Among other things, America generally starts high school way too early. 14-18 year olds aren’t worth crap before about 9:30AM, no matter when they went to bed. Any class before that isn’t going to be retained well).Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Morat20 says:

        I used to sleep 9-5 back in high school, no problems.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

        Yep, and I’ve known seniors who get by on just 2-3 hours.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Oh, people get by on all kinds of crazy things.

          I knew a guy who got by in university on very short hours of sleep, working close to full time while he studied close to full time. He also fell asleep in class a lot.

          He got by in that he had friends, got his degree, didn’t lose his job, and didn’t die in a car accident caused by falling asleep at the wheel – which I think is a far cry from saying he was thriving or acting at his full intellectual potential.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

            I mean senior citizens, not high school or college seniors. As we get older, if you are not ill, the amount of sleep needed tends to drop.Report

            • dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Yeah, I’m speculating that they might be on better form with 4-5 hours, but be doing as well as a high school student who gets 7-8 hours but would do better with 10.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Morat20 says:

        One of the things that being an independent work from home contractor did for me was allow me to go on a “sleep till I wake up” rhythm most days. There’s obviously an upper limit to that, so I can’t stay up till 4 am and hope to sync up with colleagues, but waking up naturally instead of being jarred awake by an alarm is enormously more refreshing. The interesting thing is that once I settled into a cycle, I really didn’t end up sleeping all that much more on average.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      The thing I notice about society though is that it seems built on making sure that it is relatively to extremely hard to get that amount of sleep.

      This seems to be another area where human thought seems hellbent against going for the science and research. IIRC studies show that human productivity is 40-50 hours a week max. After that work product and work quality goes into decline and sometimes steep decline. People make mistakes around hour 10-12 or more because they are just tired and not resting properly.

      Yet we seem to like or love the idea of people doing 12-14 hour days, 5 days a week or more.

      I used to work for a firm that wanted attorneys to work 65-75 hours a week. We did not even do billable hour work. I found it incredibly hard to make those hours. I could do 12-13 hours on Monday-Wednesday and then I would crash on Thursday and Friday because of exhaustion and only make 9-10. Maybe 11 if I really pushed myself.

      The only time I really made it up to 65 overs a week was when I needed to travel cross-country because the firm would do things like make me fly to Chicago and then Boston and then drive to Western Mass (3 hour drive) to save money. So I got to put travel time on my schedule.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Where it comes from is the folks on the right side of the curve. Those people who only need 4-6 hours of sleep (or less), either because they are older, or just wired that way. They are either in charge and do not understand that they are on the right side of the curve, or the people in charge see such workers and fail to understand they are on the far right side of the curve.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Older or extremely younger. When I was 24 or 25, I was a temp legal proofreader and sometimes called to do the graveyard shift. Usually in the late afternoon and after being up all day. I would be sort of grogy for a day or two after but I was able to do these all nighters back then. I don’t know if I could do it now at 35.

          Other aspects are older forms of management. My girlfriend and her friends always were amazed at how “old-school” that firms management structure was (this is probably typical of law firms). Law is one of those weird careers where people tend to stay employed at the same place for decades (moving up the ladder) or they switch every 5-6 years or so. The firm I worked for tended to have people who were their for decades or moved in and out quickly.

          Other fields tend to like the long hours more than others. I think it is also a psychological thing and wanting to see who can do the endurance contest. Sort of like white-collar iron man.Report

      • El Muneco in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I’m kind of shocked that my new workplace actually seems committed to not only not requiring sustained overtime, but not even endorsing it. There’s one workaholic, but much after five the only other person you’ll see often is the guy who timeshifts by an hour. And the engineering manager actually sent someone home because what they were working on would keep until the next day.

        But still they seem to be getting stuff done. Odd that.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to El Muneco says:

          My company (a big one) won’t carry over vacation year to year (but are very generous with it) because they want to encourage people to use it.

          I get about twice as much vacation as my co-workers from another, similar sized, large corporation.

          And , from what I’ve been told, HR and management gets on your butt if you end the year with more than a day or three of unused leave.

          They have a rather interesting sick leave policy (it’s effectively unlimited, but with automatic transitions to short-term and long-term disability, but it’s audited for patterns. I habitually schedule doctor’s appts on Friday afternoons and I’ve never been even asked about them), because they don’t want you to come to work sick and if you’re so sick you’re out more than two weeks they’d prefer you focus on getting better than getting back to work.

          Between that and their education benefits, they have solid employee retention and high productivity.Report

  5. North says:

    I’m still staggering around after yesterday’s political developments. Cruz flat out refuses to endorse which blows up yet another day at the convention and then Trump says in an interview that he wouldn’t necessarily stick to the current strict understanding of the US’s Nato commitments.

    Predator Satiation is a phenomena were a species overwhelms the ability of its natural predators to consume it through sheer numbers. I’m beginning to wonder if the GOP is piloting this as some kind of new political strategy. Throw out so many garbage fire debacles that they overwhelm our ability to capitalize on or absorb them.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    Maybe having less white and gray matter is correlated with being a better cook.

    As for the poop transplants, I thought that studies were determined to not be particularly repeatable?Report

  7. According to some research, being who are overweight have less grey and white matter in the brain, leading them to make poorer food choices. I’m not sure I like where this goes.

    It’s why you never see overweight computer programmers.Report

  8. Autolukos says:

    Ted Cruz is a uniterReport

  9. notme says:

    Attacker in Nice plotted for months with ‘accomplices’

    Gee, I thought he was just a mentally unstable loner.Report