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St. Patrick's Day, March Madness, and Steve Jobs' Liver 129

Many Americans are probably rubbing their temples and wandering around with a bit of a post-St. Patrick's day hangover. Reader theodp writes with a sobering statistical consequence of traditional heavy-drinking holidays: "Keep in mind that this time of year has traditionally been very good to those awaiting organ transplants, including the late Steve Jobs, as Walter Isaacson explained in Jobs: 'By late February 2009 Jobs had secured a place on the Tennessee list (as well as the one in California), and the nervous waiting began. He was declining rapidly by the first week in March, and the waiting time was projected to be twenty-one days. 'It was dreadful,' Powell recalled. 'It didn't look like we would make it in time.' Every day became more excruciating. He moved up to third on the list by mid-March, then second, and finally first. But then days went by. The awful reality was that upcoming events like St. Patrick's Day and March Madness (Memphis was in the 2009 tournament and was a regional site) offered a greater likelihood of getting a donor because the drinking causes a spike in car accidents. Indeed, on the weekend of March 21, 2009, a young man in his mid-twenties was killed in a car crash, and his organs were made available.'"
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St. Patrick's Day, March Madness, and Steve Jobs' Liver

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  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:35AM (#46515239) Homepage Journal

    As someone who respects Gates' post-wealth philanthropy, finds Apple products to be over-marketed while uninteresting technically, and loves poetic justice:

    I don't think you can expect every human being in society to be personally responsible for every kind of problem that exists. There's just not enough time in your life.

  • by bigwheel ( 2238516 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:58AM (#46515381)

    GPL Sounds reasonable. In order to receive organs from other donors, you must also consent to be a donor.

  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @10:15AM (#46515451) Homepage Journal

    FWIW there are plenty of herbs which do work for specific ailments or enhance certain bodily functions, but unfortunately the real benefits of a handful of herbs are associated with a whole lot of bullcrap and hype such as homeopathy (where it is claimed a "molecular imprint" becomes stronger/more effective the more you dilute it, such that there may not even be any of the specified compount present in the vial), and is also associated with the likes of anti-vaxxers.

    The biggest problem with herbal remedies is there are few scientific studies done to back up the claims, and most of the herbal remedy vendors of course are probably very disinterested in backing such studies, and the homeopathy vendors (the makers of those little vials which have "30x"/"60x"/"240x"/etc. numbers on them) know what they're selling is false hope/snake oil/bullshit so they certainly would not back formalized peer-reviewed studies.

    But, there are herbs (garlic for example) which can help fight certain sicknesses and lower cholesterol, herbs (ginseng) which can tweak your metabolic rate, herbs (cannabis, chaparral, milk thistle, and others) which help fight cancer (NOT as a primary treatment but in addition to chemotherapy, cyberknife/radiation, etc), herbs which can increase lactation (goats' rue, fenugreek, anise, blessed thistle, fennel), and so on. But trying to sort out the legitimate from the nonsense is difficult at best due to the lack of formalized studies; one only has anecdotes to go by.

    To rely only on herbal remedies was indeed foolish in Jobs' case. As it is only 20% last beyond one year with treatment. Last week I lost a friend to pancreatic cancer - he did herbals in conjunction with chemo and lasted four and a half years after diagnosis (his prognosis was 3 months when diagnosed). He improved for a bit, then got much worse when he decided he had enough and quit all treatments (western medicine and herbal, including cannabis), then got back on after it metastasized, and then from there it was a rapid progression of the cancer.

    Pancreatic cancer is no joke - people like Steve Jobs (Apple Computer), Richard Wright (Pink Floyd), Luciano Pavarotti (Operatic tenor), Patrick Swayze (actor) all go to prove that all the money in the world can't save you.

    I lost two friends to pancreatic cancer in the last year in a half and in both cases it was partly their fault for getting false hope and quitting treatments when their tumors were down to "almost" nothing. Please don't screw around with herbals or at minimum don't rely on just herbals - see an oncologist and maybe, just maybe you'll be among the 4% that beat it. I will always wonder if my friends could have ultimately beaten it.

    Ultimately the best treatment is risk management: don't smoke, manage stress properly, eat few to no processed foods, don't overload on refined carbs, and get plenty of exercise. Preventive measures are free and far more effective than any treatment after the fact but even then it doesn't guarantee you won't get stricken with it.

  • Irony? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by linear a ( 584575 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @11:10AM (#46515875)
    Wouldn't you expect St. Patrick's day to *reduce* the overall number of livers available.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham