Saturday, March 17, 2018

When an academic conference can save lives (market for interventional cardiologists)

The Chronicle of Higher Ed has the story:
Academic Conferences May Save Lives — by Keeping Big-Name Doctors Busy

Here's the medical paper on which it is based:
Acute Myocardial Infarction Mortality During Dates of National Interventional Cardiology Meetings
Anupam B. Jena, Andrew Olenski, Daniel M. Blumenthal, Robert W. Yeh, Dana P. Goldman, John Romley,
Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018

"Thousands of physicians attend national scientific meetings annually. Within hospitals, the composition of physicians who attend scientific meetings may differ from nonattendees who remain behind to treat patients, potentially resulting in differences in care patterns and outcomes for patients hospitalized during meeting dates. A quasi‐experimental evaluation of outcomes of patients hospitalized with acute cardiovascular conditions during the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) annual meetings compared with identical nonmeeting days in the surrounding weeks found that, within teaching hospitals, patients admitted with cardiac arrest or high‐risk heart failure during meeting dates had lower adjusted 30‐day mortality compared with similar patients on nonmeeting dates"

Friday, March 16, 2018

Match Day for medical residents--NRMP results announced

Today is Match Day: later today, graduating American medical students, and quite a number of other young doctors will learn where they will work next year.

Here's one description: The Final Countdown: Match Day 2018.

Here's another:
NRMP Match Week will Reveal Future for Thousands of Resident Physician Applicants
NRMP Main Residency Match continues to grow, with 2018 Match expected to be largest in history.

And here's my all time favorite, courtesy of Hogwarts.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Last minute bidding on the New York Stock Exchange

The WSJ has the story (the url is better than the headline:

What’s the Biggest Trade on the New York Stock Exchange? The Last One
"The NYSE operates between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., but much of the action has moved to the final moments, thanks to index funds and others that flock to the day’s closing auction"
"Last year, 26% of all trading activity on the NYSE’s flagship exchange took place in the last trade of the day, up from 17% in 2012, exchange data shows. Last year, trades at the close accounted for more than 8% of trading volume in S&P 500 stocks, nearly four times what it was in 2004, according to Credit Suisse .

"While individual investors may follow the market through the day, especially in the past turbulent weeks, it is likely they own funds that track major stock indexes like the S&P 500 whose values depend on prices determined in the closing auction.

"In this auction, traders electronically send transaction orders to the NYSE, home to more than 2,000 companies that include such blue-chip names as Boeing Co. , Walt Disney Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp. The exchange’s computers match the millions of buy and sell orders, with human traders on the NYSE floor sometimes stepping in to help.

"At least $10 billion worth of shares are traded in the NYSE’s closing auction on an average day, with a final tally of stock prices typically listed by 4:05 p.m.

The “close,” as traders call it, has grown in importance as investors pour into index-mutual funds and other vehicles that passively track various stock-market indexes, including exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. "

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Drugs in sports

An editorial in The Guardian reminds me of the heyday of bicycle racing.
The Guardian view on drugs in sport: a deep corruption: "A devastating report from a parliamentary select committee shows a culture of studied evasion around the abuse of performance-enhancing substances in professional sport"
"Over in the world of professional cycling, Team Sky, founded to “win clean”, turns out to have had a terrible problem with asthma among its athletes. Sir Bradley Wiggins apparently suffered from an asthma that could only be treated with a steroid which has the side-effect of allowing endurance athletes to lose fat rapidly while maintaining muscle mass. This is legal provided a doctor has certified that the drug is needed to treat the asthma. "

Here's the parliamentary report: Combatting doping in sport

Summary: "There is overwhelming evidence of the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in sport. Some are illegal in any respect; others are legal, but are used in suspicious ways. Whether permitted for selective use or banned outright, performance enhancing drugs can have serious consequences for the integrity of sport and the wellbeing of individual athletes. The huge increase in financial rewards for successful sports men and women carries the increased risk of incentives to use drugs to cheat. Our long inquiry has relied on detailed oral and written evidence, academic research, investigative journalism, and whistleblowers, to uncover this covert and pervasive activity across different sports. The inquiry studied both agencies responsible for policing the use of performance enhancing drugs, and the programmes that, as our report will demonstrate, have used them in questionable ways. In particular, our inquiry has found acute failures in several different organisations in athletics and cycling: a failure to share appropriate medical records with anti-doping organisations; a failure to keep proper internal records of the medical substances given to athletes; and a failure to outlaw the use of potentially dangerous drugs in certain sports. All of these failures have occurred in an under-resourced national anti-doping infrastructure, which has had neither the financial means nor powers of enforcement. Some steps have been taken to alleviate this context and the failures it has permitted, but these measures have come too late. We call on those bodies identified in this report to pay serious attention to our recommendations; we cannot afford to allow these same failures to happen again."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Duke switches to random roommate matching

Is it a good idea to allow college students to choose their own roommates?  Duke University returns to administrative matching of first year roommates, with Dean Random making the match.

Inside Higher Ed has the story (and the url makes for an informative headline: 

Here's the actual (pithier) headline and subhead
Random Roommates Only
"Duke University takes away from first-year students the ability to pick their roommates. This move goes against recent trends -- and raises questions about diversity, tolerance and the college experience."

"Duke University has removed from students what has become one of the most significant aspects of matriculation at many colleges: picking a first-year roommate

"Beginning with the Class of 2022, the roommate-selection process will be entirely governed by the university, with assignments largely made at random -- a shift, officials said, meant to stem the recent movement of students self-selecting peers with similar perspectives and backgrounds to their own, fueled by social media connections made before arriving on campus."

Monday, March 12, 2018

Transplant diplomacy between China and the Vatican

The Global Times, a publication of the Chinese Communist Party, reports on further discussion with the Vatican on organ transplantation, in connection with an anticipated agreement on the appointment of Catholic Bishops in China:

China to attend Vatican organ trafficking meeting
Beijing, Holy See exchanges promoting mutual respect
By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/11 2 

"Chinese scholars will join an anti-organ trafficking conference in the Vatican on Monday and Tuesday, to share the country's experience and boost people-to-people exchanges between Beijing and the Vatican. 

"This is the second time China has been invited by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) to attend a meeting in the Holy See, as China's reforms on organ transplant have increasingly received papal and global recognition.


"In 2017, more than 5,100 deceased Chinese citizens had voluntarily agreed to donate their organs after death, saving, or improving the lives of more than 16,000 people, according to official data obtained by the Global Times on Sunday. 

"China criminalized unauthorized trading of organs in 2011, a crime for which the death penalty can be handed down in severe cases. From 2007 to 2016, 174 people were arrested in China for organ trafficking.
"China and the Vatican have no diplomatic relations. Lately there has been widespread speculation the two sides are close to a consensus on the appointment of bishops in China, a positive sign for improving relations between Beijing and the Vatican."

HT: Frank McCormick

Here's a story in the Washington Post about the larger diplomacy:
A Catholic bishop and his rural Chinese parish worry about a deal between Beijing and the Vatican   

By Emily Rauhala March 11

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Tax credit for organ donors in Maryland

The Baltimore Sun has the story:
Maryland House passes bills on organ transplants, sponsored by speaker who was saved by a liver transplant

"The Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday unanimously passed two organ donations sponsored by House Speaker Michael E. Busch, whose life was saved by a liver transplant last year.

One would provide a $7,500 tax credit for living donors to help defray their costs of donating all or part of an organ.
"Gov. Larry Hogan has announced his support for the bill.

"The second Busch-sponsored measure would treat vehicles delivering donor organs or medical personnel en route to a transplant operation as emergency vehicles. That would allow them to use flashing signals and permits them to speed or go through traffic signals if they can do so safely.

"The two bills now go to the Senate, where passage is expected."