Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So I read from time to time, as I'm wont to do. Today I came across this article:

No surprise for bisexual men: report indicates they exist
Lol, the title amused me. Of course bisexual men (and women) exist! The only way the title could've been better is if it had the words "Well, duh" somewhere in it. Some may be offended that it took a study like this to "prove" or "validate" our existence, but I'm rather amused. The study does have some limits, as all studies do. It basically assess those who're "perfectly" bisexual rather than people who self-identify as bisexual but may have a skewed attraction towards either men or women.


Circumcise or don't? Quandary for parents
Fairly balanced article for something that inherently has a lot of bias. A fellow med student friend (at another med school) and I briefly discussed the article/topic. He's of a neutral opinion and would follow whatever medical recommendation would be at the time of his future son's birth (assuming he'll have a son). My opinion is basically the same as any other surgical procedure - if it isn't medically necessary right now or in the near future, then don't do it. 99% of the time, circumcision is not medically warranted (that is, there's something so wrong with the foreskin that circumcision is the only option). I then asked him if, in the future, the medical recommendation is as "neutral" as it is now, then what'd he do? He said that he tends towards conservative treatment, and hence would likely leave his son uncircumcised unless there were some very clear benefits that outweigh the risks (there aren't, as of current medical literature).


Why medicine actively and legally stifles innovation
This was a particularly interesting article. The author certainly utilized a unique health care delivery model. Definitely worth a read. I find the idea of such innovation to kind of operate outside "the system" refreshing. It's a funny thing - they tell us (the med students) to think about every possible diagnosis in the differential for a patient's disease. Then the physicians proceed to systematically dismantle almost every suggestion we come up with except the most likely/obvious ones. I can't say they're wrong in doing so because if you keep asking a med student for something "outside the box," you're going to eventually hear ridiculously rare diseases that very few people ever get and very few physicians ever see. I don't question their knowledge and clinical judgment over mine, because it's obvious that they know far more than I do (almost more than I can possibly imagine myself ever knowing!). What I do question is the system at large that seems to repeatedly fail patients and ends up producing jaded physicians. There must be some way to rectify the system and this article was one step in that direction.



Stephen Chapman said...

Circumcision is imposed on the poor child. He has no choice and that in itself is wrong in my opinion. It removes feelings and pleasures and again, the child has no say. The practice is outdated.

Mind Of Mine said...

I regards to Bisexuality, I think the study was to determine who true to a sexuality people who claim to be bisexual are.

I often wonder if it is just a term used by those who don't wish to be called homosexual, but whose encounters mean they are not fully heterosexual.

The married man who sleeps with men but no longer his wife, it is easier for him to call himself bisexual then admit that he is gay...

Anonymous said...

I really like the third article. It's always great to read about such innovative ideas in healthcare that almost seem too obvious!

Haven't said Hi to you in a while, but I'm still reading and I'm loving all the medically slanted posts.


Aek said...

Stephen Chapman: It's that removal of the element of choice that I most disagree with. That said, there are real medical reasons for having it done. It's a valid medical procedure, it's just not done as such 99% of the time . . .

Mind of Mine: You bring up an interesting point. Bisexuality is broader in the spectrum than either heterosexual or homosexual that remain largely fixed at either pole of the spectrum. That said, if a bisexual is in a opposite-sex relationship, are they functionally heterosexual? And if a bisexual is in a same-sex relationship, are they functionally homosexual? Are they just flipping between either pole? I tend to think not.

KS: Good to hear from ya! I wouldn't say his idea is "obvious," but it's certainly innovative. :-P

naturgesetz said...

It seems to me that to speak of "choice" for a child is a weak argument. Should they have a choice about being immunized? Should they have a choice about being treated for any disease? Should they have a choice about living with their parents? Should they have a choice about whether they will be educated?

It is parents' duty to make choices for their children.

That said, circumcision does seem to have minor benefits at best, according to an article in today's Boston Globe, so I think parents would be well advised to choose not to have their children circumcised, unless it's for religious reasons.

Aek said...

naturgesetz: I would argue it's a parent's duty to make educated decisions in their children's best interest. That said, where do we as society draw the lines? Should parents be allowed to pierce their daughters' ears shortly after birth? Should parents be allowed to tattoo their children if their beliefs/religion calls for it? Should parents be allowed to make the decision to have plastic surgery done to their children if it's not reconstructive? Ethics aren't exactly clear.

naturgesetz said...

What I'd suggest is that we should be extremely leery of attempts to interfere in parents' decisions. When something is clearly seriously harmful — e.g, denial of food, failure to educate, physical abuse — society should step in. But the examples you give are ones which we might want to discourage, but I think it would go too far for the government to step in and stop them.

People have to be allowed to be unwise, as far as conventional wisdom goes, IMO.

As a doctor, of course, you'll have a responsibility to advise patients (and parents if you end up in pediatrics) as to what is wise, but the decision is theirs, at least until a parent's decision becomes clearly and immediately life-threatening (I'm thinking at this point of some cases involving the children of Christian Scientist parents).

Aek said...

I never said anything about government stepping in. That wouldn't solve the underlying problems anyhow. It falls to other means of incentivizing or disincentivizing people towards doing or not doing something. Insurance is a great way to achieve this goal.