Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Have a Slow, Quiet Friday the Thirteenth

Also to be posted on ResearchBlogging.org when they relaunch the site.
 

 

Superstitious appears to be common among medical people, so this may be seen as offensive. If you doubt me, comment that it is slow or quiet and see how many respond negatively, while they do not receive any criticism for their superstition-based complaints. Rather, people will make excuses for coddling the superstitions of those who are entrusted with the lives of patients.

The evidence does not support their superstitions.

One study did appear to show that women die in motor vehicle collisions more often on Friday the 13th, but that appears to be due to a lack of understanding of statistics by many who cite the article.
 

An additional factor is anxiolytic medication, used by significantly more women than men in Finland (7), which has been reported to reduce attention span and worsen driving performance (8). . . . Why this phenomenon exists in women but not in men remains unknown, but perhaps the twice-as-high prevalence of neurotic disorders and anxiety symptoms in women (7) makes them more susceptible to superstition and worsening of driving performance.[1]

 

The author suspects that those people with conditions that could be diagnosed as neuroses or anxiety disorders may be disproportionately affected by superstition.

In other words, superstition is not an external force affecting you. You are doing it to yourself.

The sample size was national, but still small, and was not able to adjust for many possible confounding variables, so the study would need to be replicated using a much larger data base to be useful.

In other superstition news – the next apocalypse, in a long line of predicted apocalypses, is going to be this Sunday – the 15 of October, 2017, according to David Meade. Meade twice previously predicted that a magical planet would hit the Earth and kill us all. This time he claims that his calculations are accurate, because that was the problem with his previous calculations – inaccuracy, not that they were a superstition deserving of derision.

If you are superstitious, and feel that your neuroses/anxieties will cause you to harm others, or yourself, you may want to stay home today and Sunday – perhaps even until you are capable of grasping reality.

Of course, we would never base treatment on superstition in medicine.

Amiodarone is the go to antiarrhythmic drug for cardiac arrest and ventricular tachycardia, but there are much safer much more effective drugs available. We have our own prophets misrepresenting research results to make it seem that using amiodarone for these is a good idea. The research says these preachers are wrong. The next guidelines will probably promote the superstition and reject the science.[2],[3]

Ventilation during cardiac arrest has been shown to be a good idea only for patients who arrested for respiratory reasons. We do a great job of identifying these patients. We have our own prophets misrepresenting research results to make it seem that providing ventilations for these is a good idea. The research says these preachers are wrong. The next guidelines will probably promote the superstition and reject the science.[4]

Medicine is full of superstition and superstitious people.

Why?

Too many of us believe the lie that, I’ve seen it work.

I have also written about the superstition of Friday the 13th here –

Acute coronary syndrome on Friday the 13th: a case for re-organising services? – Fri, 13 Jan 2017

The Magical Nonsense of Friday the 13th – Fri, 13 May 2016

Happy Friday the 13th – New and Improved with Space Debris – Fri, 13 Nov 2015

Friday the 13th and full-moon – the ‘worst case scenario’ or only superstition? – Fri, 13 Jun 2014

Blue Moon 2012 – Except parts of Oceanea – Fri, 31 Aug 2012

2009’s Top Threat To Science In Medicine – Fri, 01 Jan 2010

T G I Friday the 13th – Fri, 13 Nov 2009

Happy Equinox! – Thu, 20 Mar 2008

Footnotes:

[1] Traffic deaths and superstition on Friday the 13th.
Näyhä S.
Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Dec;159(12):2110-1.
PMID: 12450968

Free Full Text from Am J Psychiatry.

[2] The PROCAMIO Trial – IV Procainamide vs IV Amiodarone for the Acute Treatment of Stable Wide Complex Tachycardia
Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

There are a dozen links to the research in the footnotes to that article. There are also links to other articles on the failure of amiodarone to live up to its hype.

[3] Dr. Kudenchuk is Misrepresenting ALPS as ‘Significant’
Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[4] Cardiac Arrest Management is an EMT-Basic Skill – The Hands Only Evidence
Fri, 09 Dec 2011
Rogue Medic
Article

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Since the World is Ending Today, What Should We Do?


 

Oh no! It is the end of the world, again. What should we do?

If the end of the world causes you anxiety, you are probably already prescribed some anti-anxiety medicine. I recommend that you follow the directions on the label and stop annoying less anxious people. Avoid combining your sedatives with other sedatives (alcohol, heroin, propofol, . . . ) and find a way to distract yourself from what you do not understand.
 

Lunar activity is said to mark the END OF TIME, with some religious groups believing it to be a sign of the JUDGEMENT DAY.[1]

 

The end of times has probably been predicted since before writing was first used to record anything. There is one consistent thing about these predictions. They have been completely wrong. Eventually, one will be right, but that will probably be something we learn about from scientists, who will be the first to observe evidence of any problems.

What do scientists predict about the super moon? It will appear a little bit bigger and brighter than most normal full moons. That will be the only noticeable difference from a normal full moon.
 

Lunar activity is said to mark the END OF TIME, with some religious groups believing it to be a sign of the JUDGEMENT DAY.[1]

 

We are still waiting and none of the predictions have come true. None of the predictions are any more likely than any other predictions.
 

But what about he tsunami caused by a super moon?
 

Supermoons have been proven to cause sea levels to rise as the gravitational pull of the Earth’s closest neighbour increases as it gets closer.[1]

 

That is not true.
 

The relative amount of influence is proportional to the object’s mass and distance from the earth.[2]

 

The difference in distance will be tiny.

Here is what the distance will be from our planet to the super moon.
 

Aug 10 5:46 PM         356,922 km         221,796 mi         Closest for this year [3]

 

And here is what the distance was for the full moon on January 1, 2014.
 

Jan 1 9:01 PM         356,945 km         221,811 mi [3]

 

Only 15 miles different.

There is one important thing to understand about a 15 mile difference in the distance between the moon and us. It is not something that humans can notice without machinery to measure the distance.
 

Jul 28 3:39 AM         406,547 km 252,634 mi         Farthest away this year [3]

 

That is a difference of 30,838 miles between the farthest and closest distances. That is a 12% difference. The difference between the 2nd closest full moon and the super moon is 15 miles.

15/221,811

Or 1 our of 14,787. If this is seen by some as prophetic, important, or ominous, it is because those describing the problem lack all sense of perspective.

Some people are claiming that this is important, because they have no idea what they are commenting on, or they are trying to profit from the gullibility of others, or . . . .

But the moon being this close is unprecedented!
 

Jan 30 8:59 AM         356,606 km         221,600 mi         Closest for this year[4]

 

That was the closest distance between the moon and the earth in 2010. 221,600 miles. Today’s end of the world distance – because it is so incredibly close – is 221,796 miles or 196 miles farther than it was in 2010. So much for unprecedented. So much for scary.

If you think that the minuscule difference in distance was enough to cause a disaster, you seem to have the same problem with perspective as the prophets of doom.
 

If this were indeed the case, we would expect to see a correlation between rate at which earthquakes occur and the perturbations to the gravitational field. The dominant perturbation in the earth’s gravitational field generates the semi-diurnal (12 hour) ocean and solid earth tides which are primarily caused by the moon (due to its proximity) and the sun (due to its large mass). No significant correlations have been identified between the rate of earthquake occurrence and the semi-diurnal tides when using large earthquake catalogs.[2]

 

No valid mechanism, no perspective, and no evidence?

The only thing useful out of this is as another example of frauds taking advantage of the vulnerable, but we have no shortage of examples of that. We don’t even have a shortage of people defending the frauds.

Footnotes:

[1] SUPERMOON LIVE: Beautiful lunar event could trigger ‘END OF DAYS’
By: Nathan Rao
Published: Sun, August 10, 2014
Sunday Express
Article

[2] Can the position of the moon or planets affect seismicity?
Earthquake FAQ
Berkeley Seismological Laboratory Outreach Program
Article

[3] Moon distances for UTC
timeanddate.com
Information page

[4] Moon distances for UTC
timeanddate.com
Information page

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Friday the 13th and full-moon – the ‘worst case scenario’ or only superstition?


 
Today we get hit with a double whammy – Friday the 13th and a full moon. This will not happen again until August of 2049.

Is there anything about Friday the 13th, or the full moon, or the combination that would make today worse than usual?

Let’s look at the evidence.

The last combination of Friday the 13th and a full moon was in October 2000. Somebody decided to compare patient volumes by category against other full moon days and also against the average volume.
 

One of the oldest superstitions is about Friday, the number 13, and a full moon. There exists a very popular belief in the relationship between the number 13 and Friday as well as the moon’s phase and the incidence of bad luck. Among the emergency department “folklore” belongs the theory that shifts on such dates are always busy ones.[1]

 

We compared the number of overall admissions divided into medical, nontrauma-related surgical emergencies, mild and moderate trauma, multiple injured patients, and attempted suicides, on the full moon days and nights from February 2000 to Friday, October 13, 2000 with the average admission rate per day during this period.[1]

 

Here are the numbers.
 


 

Nothing unusual there.
 


 

Still nothing unusual.
 


 

A higher number of non-trauma surgical emergencies on Friday the 13th with the full moon, but this is the only one category. Does anything else suggest a connection?

Trauma will clearly show the power of this double hex day to do harm.
 


 

That seems to be beneficial. That can’t be right.
 


 

That, too.

This is downright depressing.
 


 

Worse than depressing – even the suicides were not increased.
 

The data analysis showed no significant difference between Friday the 13th of October compared with our average full moon admission rate (Table 2).

Even fewer trauma patients were seen on this day compared with other full moon days and nights. Furthermore, the present study could not show any difference in the admission rate on days with a full moon, compared with a normal day, disappointing once again a lot of believers in “hospital folklore.”[1]

 

It isn’t proof, but there is plenty of other evidence against full moon superstition and others.

Maybe someone will collect data on the volumes from today and compare them with normal days and with normal full moon days.

I have written about full moon superstitions before.
 

Blue Moon 2012 – Except parts of Oceanea – Fri, 31 Aug 2012

2009’s Top Threat To Science In Medicine – Fri, 01 Jan 2010

T G I Friday the 13th – Fri, 13 Nov 2009

Happy Equinox! – Thu, 20 Mar 2008

Footnotes:

[1] Friday the 13th and full-moon: the “worst case scenario” or only superstition?
Exadaktylos AK, Sclabas G, Siegenthaler A, Eggli S, Kohler HP, Luterbacher J.
Am J Emerg Med. 2001 Jul;19(4):319-20. No abstract available.
PMID: 11447523 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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Blue Moon 2012 – Except parts of Oceanea

ResearchBlogging.org

Tonight is a Blue Moon and a Friday the Dyslexic 13th Full Moon.

As conspiracy theorists say, That can’t be a coincidence!

Of course it can be a coincidence.

The next Blue Moon is in 2015, unless you are near the International Date Line, in which case the Blue Moon is not this month, but at the end of next month (and then in 2015).[1]
 


Click on images to make them larger.
 

Does anything special happen during a Blue Moon?

There is more light, but they are really only uncommon.

The full moon does not have an influence on our lives, except to annoy the superstitious, to provide more light, and to give me another reason to throw some light on the lunacy of full moon superstition.


Image credit.
 

“Have you university types ever looked at whether dog bites happen more around the full moon? It’s a well known fact that they do.”[2]

They could accept the old farmer’s tale or they could examine it. It appears that even though the farmer seems to be set in his belief, he is still open to evidence.

The influence of the full moon remains one of the more resilient popular explanations of a wide range of mostly traumatic or bizarre events. There is a pale reflection of this in epidemiology—recall bias—where those affected by a rare or severe disease are more inclined to associate unrelated non-disease exposures to the disease.[2]

This is a lighthearted look at the numbers of admissions for dog bites and whether there is any association with the full moon.
 

The beginning of the dates is the first full moon, although it is not marked. There is no peak at the beginning of the chart, so this was not done to mislead. It might be because there were so many days with very few dog bite admissions at that full moon.

Results
Altogether 1671 accident and emergency admissions for dog bites occurred during the study period (938 males, 733 females), representing an overall mean admission rate of 4.58 per day. Figure 1 shows 18 peak days (notionally >10 admissions/day), with the maximum peak centring on the New Year break (the highest peak (24) occurred on New Year’s Day 1998). Full moons coincided with none of these peaks.
[2]

There were 12 full moons, but none of the excessive dog bite days were at the time of any of the full moons.

None.

If there is any causal relationship between the full moon and serious dog bites, the occurrence of the peaks should be greater than predicted by chance.

By my calculation, there is just over a 64% chance of any of these 18 peak dog bite days and any of the full moons occurring together by chance in that one year period. A longer time period would be better for making this clear, but there does not appear to be any suggestion of any association between full moons and admissions for dog bites.

Overall, full moon days were associated with slightly lower mean admissions (4.6 compared with 4.8 per day).[2]

During the study, there were fewer serious dog bites during the full moon, than at other times.

As the plot of dog bite admissions and full moons clearly shows, more caution with dogs might be exercised over Christmas and especially at New Year—irrespective of the full moon.[2]

It may not be a good idea to try to make friends with strange dogs on those days.
 

Correction (8/21/2013 20:08) – Here is an article that shows I was wrong about the two full moons in a month definition of a full moon.

What’s a Blue Moon?
The trendy definition of “blue Moon” as the second full Moon in a month is a mistake.

Sky & Telescope
by Donald W. Olson, Richard Tresch Fienberg, and Roger Sinnott
July 27, 2006
Article
 

Footnotes:

[1] How often do two full moons happen in the same month?
EarthSky.org
Friday, August 31
Article

[2] Barking mad? another lunatic hypothesis bites the dust.
Chapman S, Morrell S.
BMJ. 2000 Dec 23-30;321(7276):1561-3.
PMID: 11124174 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from BMJ

Chapman S, & Morrell S (2000). Barking mad? another lunatic hypothesis bites the dust. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 321 (7276), 1561-3 PMID: 11124174

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2009’s Top Threat To Science In Medicine

ResearchBlogging.org













Science-Based Medicine, has a post by Dr. Val Jones – 2009’s Top 5 Threats To Science In Medicine.

I do not disagree with the list except, and what would one of my posts be without an except, the number one threat to science in medicine is much more of a problem. Our science education in grade school is where we fail our children. Before they even become adults, they are exposed to all sorts of magical thinking.

Full moons, speaking about something bad increasing the chances it will occur (a jinx), believing that something natural is safer than something manufactured – just because it is not man made, or just a belief in the stereotypical mad scientist bringing about horrors by using the scientific method of inquiry.

That is what science is. Science is a method of inquiry. Science is a tool we use to find out how the world works.

We see something that makes us think. Most people may form an opinion, but not look at this with a method designed to minimize the effect of our biases. And we all have biases.

It seems that there are more patients during a full moon. With a full moon falling at 19:15 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) this past New Years Eve, this must have been a horrible night of death and destruction. Or was it?

We formulate a hypothesis.

The full moon causes accidents and/or illnesses, or makes accidents and/or illnesses even worse than they would be if there were no full moon.

We figure out what we need to control for to limit our variable to just the possible influence of the full moon. So, let’s look at a study that investigated the effect of a full moon on something that would be very difficult to misinterpret.
 

We postulated that on full moon days there would be more available moonlight, thus influencing individuals’ activities, and in turn, the propensity for cardiac arrest.[1]

 

Interesting. They are not really assuming that the cause of an increase in cardiac arrests would be due to some mystical property of the moon, but that it would be due to more moonlight. fortunately, it does not matter what the actual cause would be for an increase in cardiac arrests, if they set the experiment up properly.

What do they need to do?
 

This study was a retrospective analysis of a computerized billing database of ED visits.[1]

 

The study population consisted of CPR (CardioPulmonary Resuscitation) occurring daily at a cohort of seven hospital ED in northern New Jersey, USA, during the period of 1 January 1988 to 31 December 1998, comprising 4018 days over 11 years. Consecutive patients seen by an emergency physician were included. Emergency physicians see 80–95% of all ED patient visits and the vast majority of cardiac arrest patients. Private physicians see the remainder of the patients.[1]

 

Their theory was that the increased moonlight would lead to more activity; more activity would lead to more cardiac arrests; thus there would be more cardiac arrests during a full moon.

Did the investigators prove their hypothesis?

According to their table, which does not reproduce well, there is no increase in cardiac arrest incidence during a full moon. They actually recorded a decrease, but the difference is not statistically significant. The reported statistically significant difference in incidence of cardiac arrest is this. During the new moon, there is less likely to be a cardiac arrest treated by an emergency physician.
 

There were 2370233 patient visits in the database during the 4018-day (11year) period of study, with 6827 having the primary ICD-9 diagnosis of cardiac arrest.[2] Table 2 contains the time series regression results. Full moon days were not significantly different from other days (P=0.97). We had an 80% power to identify a difference of 4.5%. However, on average 0.12 fewer CPR occurred on new moon days than on other days (P=0.02). This translates into an average of 6.5% fewer CPR (95% confidence interval 1.3–11.7%) on new moon days than other days. In addition, the results for the potentially confounding variables are presented in Table 2.[1]

 

I left part of their original hypothesis off of the initial quote. The stated objective of the study is –
 

Objective
To determine the effect of the phase of the full and new moon on the variation in the number of daily cardiopulmonary resuscitations.
[1]

 

In the discussion, they elaborate on their purpose –
 

Our results show a small but statistically significant decrease in the incidence of CPR with new moon days. We speculate that this may be secondary to a decrease in activity because of less available light on these days, as it has been shown that increased activity is a risk factor for sudden death[39]. Our initial rationale sought to identify and determine the size of any effect on the occurrence of cardiac arrest and its attempted resuscitation (‘CPR’) by lunar influence as a potential insight into an aspect of the occurrence of cardiac arrest. In addition, we sought to identify patient volume variation by lunar cycle potentially to allow for staffing modifications; however, the effect identified did not warrant this.[1]

 

This –
 

We postulated that on full moon days there would be more available moonlight, thus influencing individuals’ activities, and in turn, the propensity for cardiac arrest.[1]

 

Becomes –
 

We speculate that this may be secondary to a decrease in activity because of less available light on these days, as it has been shown that increased activity is a risk factor for sudden death[39] [1]

 

They have found a way to stick with their initial hypothesis by reversing it.

More moonlight does not appear to lead to more cardiac arrests. Why this lack of correlation does not need to be explained is not in the paper. However, the correlation between fewer deaths during a new moon is something that they feel needs to be explained. Haven’t they just misappropriated a Willy Wonka quote? Strike that. Reverse it. Willy Wonka was reversing the meaning of what he was saying. That was the reason he needed to reverse the order.

The authors have not really changed the meaning, only the way they express it. More light/less light leads to more activity/less activity. This leads to more/fewer cardiac arrests.

While I do not dispute the results of this study, I do have a problem with the way they get from Point A to Point C. They seem to travel there by way of a study that shows that more activity leads to more cardiac arrest. Actually the study is of vigorous exertion, not just more activity, but the authors seem to have interpreted the study as couch potatoes live longer. The vigorous exertion study did show –
 

As expected, the base-line level of habitual exercise significantly attenuated the increase in the risk of sudden death that was associated with an episode of vigorous exertion in both the primary analysis and the three sensitivity analyses. Habitually active men had a much lower risk of sudden death in association with an episode of vigorous exertion than men who exercised less than once a week; however, the most active men’s risk remained significantly elevated during and after vigorous exertion in all analyses.[3]

 

There is no suggestion that these episodes of vigorous exertion occurred less frequently during the time of the new moon. According to the hypothesis of the full new moon study, the effect of the new moon should only be at night, when it would make a difference in the amount of available light. This might make more difference in rural areas, than in the suburbs, and more of a difference in suburbs, than in cities, due to the wonders of electrical lighting.

Is there any evidence to support this string of conclusions? I don’t think so.

That does not mean that this hypothesis is incorrect, just that their way of getting there is not supported by the information provided.

One very nice part of this study is the brief review of previous studies and whether they seemed to support, or refute, a connection between various activities and the full moon, but this post is already too long. I will write about other full moon research elsewhere.

Another problem is the way they define a full moon –
 

We identified full and new moon days that occurred during the study period from the United States National Oceanographic and Aeronautic Administration website. Using this information we created variables for full and new moon days to be used in a regression model of daily CPR, described below.[1]

 

So. What is their definition of a new moon, or a full moon? They have not made that clear, but it appears to be limited to one specific day during each lunar cycle.

Using NOAA’s (United States National Oceanographic and Aeronautic Administration’s) website, I found a page that identifies new moons, full moons, and other phases by entering the time period I want to look at. The problem I see is that there is not much detail about how they used this information, or if they were using the same part of NOAA’s website.

Why no discussion of this?

Why no discussion of their definition of new moon and full moon?

If their hypothesis is one that depends on the available light, why does the day before a new moon not count, or the day after, or two days before (or after)?

However, if they are looking for a mystical connection between the full moon and bad events, a case can be made that the full power of the full moon would be on one specific date.

If they are claiming that they are examining the effects of the amount of moonlight, how much difference is there in the amount of moonlight from one day to the next? Where is your cut-off? Why?

I think that their conclusion should be that they find no apparent mystical connection between the full moon and cardiac arrests treated by emergency physicians. Their attempts at explaining their results wander into narrative fallacy, which I have written about here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

As I have stated before about the way we should look at explanations for scientific results –

Bet that the explanation is wrong.

This is one of the failures of our basic education of students. We do not make this clear to them. Yes, this was where the post started, with the failure of science education in the grade schools.

The media report that a certain study means X, even though the authors of the study may not have suggested that this is true. It is later found that the conclusion popularized by the media is wrong. The blame goes, not to the reporters misrepresenting the science, but to the science. We need to avoid creating explanations that are unsupportable and likely to be found to be in error. We need to stop telling fairy tales. We need to stop talking to media members, who spin research results with misleading explanations.

We have people graduating from high school, but unable to recognize the difference between good science and bad science. Unable to look at a study and determine if there is something there that is meaningful. This continues through college, and even medical school. Number 3 on the list was – Academic Medical Centers, so I am not the only one critical of these ivory towers. The top threat to science in medicine is the lack of understanding of what science is. We fail before the students ever get started. This lack of understanding is due to a lack of education in grade school.

We need to change how we teach science. Some do it well, but the debates on scientific topics in the media suggest that few have been well taught. The ignorant mobs are trying to keep themselves in scientific debates for which they are not even remotely qualified. We need to make it so that more are qualified.

We need to improve our basic science education, because we cannot rely on people from other countries coming here to do the science that we have become too ignorant to handle. Eventually, the destination of smart foreign-born scientists will not be the United States. We do not develop enough of our talent. We remain a scientific power because import talent. We do the same thing with grape pickers and day laborers. These seem to be the jobs that we will no longer do for ourselves. Scientist and day laborer are both looked at as undesirable. We need to change this.

It is in the earlier grades that the problems of bad science education are established. After that point it is a much more difficult task to correct this creeping indoctrination in magical thinking.

I think that this is the number one threat to science in medicine. All of the others only contribute to this.

Magical thinking is a form of corruption. As with other types of corruption, it usually does not start with a cannonball into the deep end, but a gradual acclimatization to more and more corruption. At some point, critical judgment is only a fond memory.

There must have been a time, in the beginning, when we could have said – no. But somehow we missed it.Tom Stoppard.

We can still fix that problem in education for those in grade school.

Footnotes:

[1] Effect of lunar cycle on temporal variation in cardiopulmonary arrest in seven emergency departments during 11 years.
Alves DW, Allegra JR, Cochrane DG, Cable G.
Eur J Emerg Med. 2003 Sep;10(3):225-8.
PMID: 12972900 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

[2] ICD-9 code definition from the study above

The physicians’ billing department assigns codes according to the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, and Clinical Modification [International Classification of Disease (ICD)-9 codes]. Patients were included as CPR if they contained any of the ICD-9 codes listed in Table 1 as one of their three primary diagnoses.

Table 1
International Classification of Disease 9 codes
427.4       Ventricular fibrillation
427.41     Ventricular fibrillation
427.5       Cardiac arrest
798.1        Death instantaneous
798.2      Death occurring less than 24h from onset of symptoms
798.9       Death unattended

[3] Triggering of sudden death from cardiac causes by vigorous exertion.
Albert CM, Mittleman MA, Chae CU, Lee IM, Hennekens CH, Manson JE.
N Engl J Med. 2000 Nov 9;343(19):1355-61.
PMID: 11070099 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from NEJM.

Alves, D., Allegra, J., Cochrane, D., & Cable, G. (2003). Effect of lunar cycle on temporal variation in cardiopulmonary arrest in seven emergency departments during 11 years European Journal of Emergency Medicine, 10 (3), 225-228 DOI: 10.1097/00063110-200309000-00013

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T G I Friday the 13th


This is the third Friday the 13th of this year.[1] Numerologists and other superstitious people probably will attach some meaning to that. There is none. For many people, Friday is the end of the work week. For that reason it may be different from other days – more drinking and other celebratory behaviors that do not mix well with driving, digestion, consciousness, et cetera. For me on the other hand, Friday is the beginning of my work week. It is not the beginning of my pay week, just the beginning of several days of consecutive work. The beginning and end of the calendar week are arbitrary.

For similar reasons, calendars begin and end at points that are largely arbitrary. there is no predictive value beyond the expected astronomical events – solstices, planetary motion, and such.

Full moons, 13ths, Fridays, . . . do not predict luck, or anything else. Fridays do result in more drinking and thus more accidents and general stupidity, but that has to do with the end of the typical work week falling on Friday, not with anything more than that.

This does not stop a bunch of people from believing that the end of an old calendar, from a civilization that has little current presence, is predicting the end of that civilization, the world, or whatever.

Arguments supporting this dating are drawn from a mixture of archaeoastronomical speculation,[3] alternative interpretations of mythology,[4] numerological constructions, and alleged prophecies from extraterrestrial beings.[5][2]

Translated into English, that means that they are all anti-science people. People who do not understand reality. Although, I love the use of alleged to describe the ET prophecies. If they hadn’t thrown that in there I might have considered this to be a fact.

But, What if they are right?

Maybe they are right. The simple way to find out is to look at the other otherwise unforeseeable events predicted by the same method.

And the calendar predicts . . . nothing. surprise.

What about Nostradamus? Did he have anything to say about 2012?

Nothing there, either. Not that one should be used to contradict the other, since both are examples of fairy tale reasoning.

For anyone planning to commit suicide because you believe the world is ending, psychiatric help is available. However, if you do decide to provide a graphic demonstration of your stupidity kill yourself, put me in your will. That is Rouge Medic Rogue Medic. It’s not as if you expect that anyone else will get any of this stuff and I did recommend psychiatric help, so I am trying to help. Maybe I should set up a tip jar thingie with pdfs of wills already filled out except for the name of the sucker gullible fool dearly not-yet-departed.

What this really needs is a Mystery Science Theater 3,000 2012 version. Maybe this will be as unintentionally comic as The Day After Tomorrow or 10,000 BC. Here is a link to a review of 10,000 BC by Lawdog. Maybe he will do something nice for 2012 if he is feeling masochistic and desperate for blog fodder. If you like explosions and are turned off by thinking, this may be just the movie for you. Hmm. Maybe I should have started with that. Reach out to a whole different audience of semi-literate reader. Oh well, too late now.

If you want to watch an apocalyptic film, waiting for The Road is probably a much better idea. Cannibalism for Thanksgiving. That probably makes more sense than you will find in all of 2012.

Happy Friday the 13th.

Footnotes

^ 1 Friday the 13th
Wikipedia
Article

^ 2 2012 phenomenon
Wikipedia
Article

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Happy Equinox!


The equinox is a much less common celestial event than a full moon and we all know just how crazy things become during a full moon.

If the volume and severity of patients presenting to the ED are based on the mystical effects of the monthly full moon, the predictable union of the 13th day and Friday, or the utterance of the words slow or quiet – then why not the equinox?

Why do we believe that there is any God willing to punish these future patients for the sole purpose of teaching someone in EMS the evils of the words slow and slow?

What kind of godforsaken lunatics do we have in EMS?

It is as if Dr. Deborah Peel has joined our ranks.

Here are only some studies showing the lack of effect of a full moon –

Trauma and the full moon: a waning theory.
Ann Emerg Med. 1989 Jul;18(7):763-5.
Coates W, Jehle D, Cottington E.
PMID: 2735596 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Abstract

The full moon and ED patient volumes: unearthing a myth.
Am J Emerg Med. 1996 Mar;14(2):161-4.
Thompson DA, Adams SL.
PMID: 8924138 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Abstract

Effect of lunar cycle on temporal variation in cardiopulmonary arrest in seven emergency departments during 11 years.
Eur J Emerg Med. 2003 Sep;10(3):225-8.
Alves DW, Allegra JR, Cochrane DG, Cable G.
PMID: 12972900 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Abstract

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