November 24th, 2008

President Obama

What do we need? Health-care reform! When do we need it? Soon!

This article dispels the five big myths about US health-care system. Here's a sobering thought:

"The average family of four is coughing up $29,000 a year for health care through taxes, lower wages, and out-of-pocket medical expenses."

I personally know several people who probably spend that much, all told, per person.

I wonder what it means that Hillary Clinton is soon to be announced as his nominee for Secretary of State rather than, say, Health & Human Services. (By the way, didn't I call this even before she dropped out of the race?) Does Obama not want her making as big of health reforms as she would likely push? Or does it mean he respects her opinions in all areas enough to give her what is perhaps the top spot in his cabinet?

With Obama soon to start working from the Oval Office, let's make sure he delivers on his promise to reform health care. We can't afford to maintain the status-quo of the "world's best" (Myth #1, by the way) health-care system.


Cure for the diseases of aging?

This article describes how "Cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease... all may finally be defied by a single new class of drugs, a virtual cure for the diseases of aging."

Whoah. Who cares about politics and pirates, bailouts and bastard-CEOs when we might be facing the single most world-changing piece of news since the atom bomb!

"'It's going to revolutionize western medicine,' said Doug Wallace, a pioneer of mitochondrial medicine at the University of California at Irvine."

Here's why:

"The new drugs work by stimulating enzymes that regulate the function of mitochondria. Hundreds of these structures are found in every cell in the body, ceaselessly converting glucose into usable energy. But over time, mitochondria degenerate. They lose strength and efficiency, releasing highly reactive oxygen molecules that bind easily with other molecules and wreak cellular havoc.

"A growing number of scientists suspect that the breakdown of mitochondria is among the most important causes of cell-level changes that eventually cause the body's tissues to degenerate with age. The damage accumulates gradually until hitting some critical mass of malfunction, at which point diseases arrive rapidly. That may be why so many diseases first occur during middle age, and become steadily more common afterwards.

"Repair and prevent this damage, say proponents of the mitochondrial theory of disease, and those afflictions can be averted."

Now that's news. Here's hoping that James Gunn was wrong in his The Immortals, that we will all be able to reap the benefit of drugs that stop the diseases of aging. We'll still die of old age, but at least we won't suffer the ravages of the diseases that have plagued humans since they started living past our ripeness date.