walk a-musing

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Breast Cancer Campaign - Wear It Pink


People come up with such heart warming and interesting campaigns. October is Breast Cancer Campaign month. The campaign's mission is to raise funds for research into understanding breast cancer, so as to improve diagnosis and cure. There are various ways to support the charity and wearing pink is one of them.

V's school is participating in the campaign. It is a boys' school. Every boy who donates money to the cause will wear a pink item of clothing tomorrow - a shirt or tie or socks. V has obviously donated, but he could not get a pink shirt in any of the shops. Men do wear pink shirts here but I suppose few boys do. So yesterday we brought some baby pink dye and coloured an old white school shirt pink.

Wishing the campaign all success..............

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trick or Treatment

I just finished reading Trick or treatment? by Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh. it is a book about alternative medicine 'put on trial'. Based on the results of various rigorous tests the authors show that practically every alternative medicine is hocus pocus. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.

Alternative medicine, particularly homeopathy, is of great interest to me - mainly because I have seen too many near and dear ones suffer because of a blind faith in it. Whenever there are discussions/arguments with friends about the subject, I bring in chemistry, Avogadro number, homeopathic superdilution, and insist that no active ingredient would be left in the so called medicine. Does not impress anyone. The argument is always, "I have personally seen it work". My counter argument that there is no evidence that the result was due to the medicine alone, it could be the placebo effect, or the body healing itself, and that I not only have seen it not work but have seen it actually cause harm because of delay in seeking conventional medicine, always falls on deaf ears. Now I can quote the huge body of evidence from this book and talk about evidence based medicine, randomised controlled trials and even Cochrane Collaboration (about which I only heard from this book) and see how it goes. I will pass the book to friends and ask them to read it.

I love coincidences. The day after reading the book I received an invitation to participate in just such a randomised controlled trial conducted by a nearby university. I immediately accepted it. If Barry Marshall could get himself infected to prove that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria, the least I could do is participate in a trial to prove or disprove the efficacy of some treatment.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tea by moon light


I get up at 5.30 every weekday morning. I make myself a cup of tea and sit reading a book, with Classic FM playing in the background. On some days I don't bother with the book, I just sit with my tea in the dark for about 15 minutes listening to the music before I start the day's work.

It has been raining the last few days so it is really dark at that time of the day. But today it seemed unusually bright outside. Perhaps there were no clouds, but the sun couldn't be up so early? I opened the curtains to see why. It turned out to be the bright moon in an otherwise clear sky, illuminating the garden! It was so beautiful! If it had not been cold, I could have gone out and sat on the patio. I was still quite content behind the glass, enjoying tea by moonlight!