Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Republican Debate: "An exchange reminiscent of Abbott and Costello's Who's on First routine"

GOP debate: Mitt Romney grows foggy on contraception

By Robin Abcarian
January 7, 2012, 7:25 p.m.

It was an exchange reminiscent of Abbott and Costello’s famous Who’s on First routine. George Stephanopoulos repeatedly asked Mitt Romney about whether he thinks that states have the right to ban contraception, and Romney repeatedly replied that he had no idea why Stephanopoulos would ask such a question.

In fact, Stephanopoulos was prodding Romney about whether he believes there is a constitutional right to privacy as the U.S. Supreme Court has found in two landmark cases, 1973’s Roe vs. Wade, and 1965’s Griswold vs. Connecticut , which found that states do not have the right to ban contraception. In that case, the court cited a right to “marital privacy.”

In recent days, Rick Santorum has raised Griswold on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. He believes Griswold and Roe were incorrectly decided by the Supreme Court because, in his view, the Constitution does not contain a privacy right.

But when Stephanopoulos asked Romney about this issue, Romney seemed to have absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

“George, this is an unusual topic that you’re raising,” Romney said. “States have the right to ban contraception? I can’t imagine that states would want to ban contraception. If I were a governor or a legislator in a state, I would totally oppose any effort to ban contraception. So you’re asking -- given the fact that there’s no state that wants to do so -- you are asking could it constitutionally be done? We could we could ask our constitutionalist here,” said Romney, gesturing to Ron Paul. The audience erupted in laughter and applause.

Stephanopoulos could not be dissuaded from pursuing his question.

“I am asking you, do you believe states have that right or not?”

Romney seemed perplexed, and annoyed: “George, I don’t know whether the state has the right to ban contraception. No state wants to. The idea of you putting forward things that states might want to do that no state wants to do is kind of a silly thing, I think.”

At that point, as the audience applauded, things got a little strained.

[Read the rest of Abcarian's article HERE]

The Drexel Crowd Strikes Again (Yay, Drexel!)

The Journal of Pain
Volume 13, Issue 1 , Pages 10-20, January 2012

Changes in Plasma Cytokines and Their Soluble Receptors in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Guillermo M. Alexander, B. Lee Peterlin, Marielle J. Perreault, John R. Grothusen, Robert J. Schwartzman (All from the Dept of Neurology at Drexel, except for Peterlin from the Dept of Neurology at Hopkins)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic and often disabling pain disorder. There is evidence demonstrating that neurogenic inflammation and activation of the immune system play a significant role in the pathophysiology of CRPS. This study evaluated the plasma levels of cytokines, chemokines, and their soluble receptors in 148 subjects afflicted with CRPS and in 60 gender- and age-matched healthy controls. Significant changes in plasma cytokines, chemokines, and their soluble receptors were found in subjects with CRPS as compared with healthy controls. For most analytes, these changes resulted from a distinct subset of the CRPS subjects. When the plasma data from the CRPS subjects was subjected to cluster analysis, it revealed 2 clusters within the CRPS population. The category identified as most important for cluster separation by the clustering algorithm was TNFα. Cluster 1 consisted of 64% of CRPS subjects and demonstrated analyte values similar to the healthy control individuals. Cluster 2 consisted of 36% of the CRPS subjects and demonstrated significantly elevated levels of most analytes and in addition, it showed that the increased plasma analyte levels in this cluster were correlated with disease duration and severity.

The identification of biomarkers that define disease subgroups can be of great value in the design of specific therapies and of great benefit to the design of clinical trials. It may also aid in advancing our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of CRPS, which may lead to novel treatments for this very severe condition.


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            [less laudatory drexel associations...]