Daily Rounds: Judge's Plea For Pot; Life-Extending Coffee; TB Lab In Chinatown; Inside Your Breasts
A Judge's Plea For Pot (The New York Times) — "Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep. The oral synthetic substitute, Marinol, prescribed by my doctors, was useless. Rather than watch the agony of my suffering, friends have chosen, at some personal risk, to provide the substance. I find a few puffs of marijuana before dinner gives me ammunition in the battle to eat. A few more puffs at bedtime permits desperately needed sleep. This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue. Being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am receiving the absolute gold standard of medical care. But doctors cannot be expected to do what the law prohibits, even when they know it is in the best interests of their patients. When palliative care is understood as a fundamental human and medical right, marijuana for medical use should be beyond controversy...Given my position as a sitting judge still hearing cases, well-meaning friends question the wisdom of my coming out on this issue. But I recognize that fellow cancer sufferers may be unable, for a host of reasons, to give voice to our plight. It is another heartbreaking aporia in the world of cancer that the one drug that gives relief without deleterious side effects remains classified as a narcotic with no medicinal value."
Can Coffee Help You Live longer? We Really Want To Know (NPR) — "When the researchers looked at specific causes of death, coffee drinking appeared to cut the risk of dying from heart disease, lung disease, strokes, injuries, accidents, diabetes and infections. Now, Freedoman stressed that the study doesn't prove coffee can make people live longer. A study like this can never prove a cause-and-effect relationship. All it can really do is point researchers in the right direction for further investigation. And even if it turns out that coffee is really good for you, scientists have no idea why. (That might be tomorrow's study.) They do know it's not caffeine — decaf was just as good in the study. But Freedman says there are lots of other candidates for the potentially protective effects."
Tufts University Seeks To Open Chinatown Lab To Study Infectious Diseases (The Boston Globe) — "The school said in a press release that the facility will allow its researchers to find new ways to prevent and treat serious infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis. A biosafety level 3 lab is defined by regulators as one in which work is done with germs that may cause serious or potentially lethal disease if the substances are inhaled. The Tufts release said lab researchers will primarily focus on tuberculosis, which is a serious health problem worldwide and in Boston’s Asian community. The infection rate in the Asian community is 20 times higher than among Caucasians, according to the Boston Public Health Commission."
Just What's Inside Those Breasts? (NPR) — "She decided to test her own breast milk and shipped a sample to a lab in Germany.What came back surprised her. Trace amounts of pesticides, dioxin and a jet fuel ingredient — as well as high to average levels of flame retardants — were all found in her breast milk. How could something like this happen? "It turns out that our breasts are almost like sponges, the way they can soak up some of these chemicals, especially the ones that are fat-loving — the ones [that] tend to accumulate in fat tissue," Williams tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Unfortunately, the breast is also masterful at converting these molecules into food in the way of breast milk."
This program aired on May 17, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.