Sprague Word

The future and more from Richard Sprague

Archive for August, 2004

Posted by sprague on August 31, 2004

The NY Times reports on a Study that Questions Value of Big Doses of Heart Drug.

A test of several thousand patients compared Zocor with a placebo and found that aggressive treatment (80mg) after a heart attack didn’t do much.

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Posted by sprague on August 29, 2004

The New Scientist reports an experiment conducted by Article: Language may shape human thought?| New Scientist: “Peter Gordon, a psychologist at Columbia University”, that apparently shows that language shapes thought, at least in the ability to tracks numbers.

Pirahã is a language with a counting system that only includes the concepts “one”, “two”, and “many”. In the experiment, seven speakers are asked to do various tasks that require memory of numbers beyond three and they fail regularly.

I’m not a linguistic determinist, which is the term this article uses for people who believe language shapes thought. I think Benjamin Whorf was wrong, and this experiment may contradict that. So I’d like to see more details before taking this research seriously.

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Posted by sprague on August 28, 2004

Slate has an article about Vitamin D that I respect for its balance and reasonable look at the issues, pro and con.

It concludes that Americans generally need more Vitamin D than they’re getting, and the best protection is to get 10 minutes of sun exposure a couple times a week.

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Posted by sprague on August 13, 2004

The Centers for Disease Control says the Flu Shot Last Year Proved Effective:

A study of more than 1,300 people in Colorado, including more than 300 who were confirmed by a laboratory to have influenza, found that the vaccine worked about 52% of the time for healthy adults and 38% of the time for those with previous medical conditions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

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Posted by sprague on August 6, 2004

WSJ.com – Gene Machines [subscription required] lists several companies involved in gene sequencing:

* The 454 Life Sciences unit of Curagen

* Helicos BioSciences, a tiny company in Cambridge, Mass

James Golden, an analyst with Life Science Insights, a market-research firm in Framingham, Mass is quoted.

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