Friday, October 8, 2010

Musings on baseball

As I watch games on the 2010 playoffs, there is no doubt in my mind that the defensive players, specially the pitcher, has a definite advantage. These may end up being a series of low scores, nail bitter games. What a treat that would be.

For the most part of the 90's and the first five years of twenty ten, the batter has been the most influential player. Some people may wonder if this sudden change is the result of better drug monitoring and use/abuse prevention.
You could argue that "juiced" up batters would become better in all the aspects and intricacies of hitting a ball hurled at you 100mph or more. There is no doubt in my mind that performing enhancing drugs improve not only the muscular aspect but also the whole neuro-muscular apparatus. From your pupil down to your toes, all reflexes are on and in cue. So, it is not surprising to see that the pitchers are accomplishing more now that the batters are in a level playing field and the fact that they have been, in a way, trained by the juiced batters to become better pitchers. It would seem then logical to understand the current state of affairs in the everlasting battle between the pitcher and the batter.

Which begs another thought. Is it fair to compare the batting statistics of modern day players to the old timers, the pre steroid era?
In the old days ( or so I have been ) told, the preferred outdoor entertainment for kids all over the country was baseball. That environment would certainly extract the top of the cream, you had more selection and sort of a breeding ground for big league players. ( ie. like the Dominican Republic now and Puerto Rico in the seventies, eighties and nineties ). They were athletes in the plenitude of physical conditioning, so much so that even after partying for a good portion of the night, would wake up and stomach such physical activity performing at a superior level.

Nowadays, there are too many things distracting our children so the abilities are not developed at an early age and the selection becomes less "select", thus decreasing the level of play. Those aptitudes and abilities were considered a very important part of the cultural life in America.

The real cheating done by the "juiced players" is not having the cojones to dedicate themselves from a very early age to baseball and in trying to catch up they adulterated themselves and the sport.

So the answer to my question is simple. There is no way to compare the pre-steroid era with the current one since they are not in the same playing field.

Friday, September 24, 2010

thoughts on memory, muscle, exercise and preservation herein.

Today I have had sort of an insight about memory. When people think about memory, this act of thinking is in a way a fundamental aspect of the same. The other interesting thought has to do on how we may lose it.

It occurs to me that the first memory to go may be muscle memory. Muscle memory is that physiologic state in such cells, which role is to maintain posture and coordinated movement.

So, based on this unproven hypothesis about muscle memory, it would be intuitive thinking that preserving, promoting or stimulating muscle memory is fundamental in the protection of other memories in our bodies.

After all, other physiological systems also have memories, that is, a cyclical rhythm of a similar function with some self awareness. Or could you say, the interaction which makes this an interaction of self awareness.
Further down the scale, the continuous ionic interchanges that makes this possible, electrons moving very slowly, the slowest of the energy potentials, of the voltages registered (EKG's EEG's etc), there is a similar memory and so on and so on. By now you get the point.
Perhaps we also have encoded memories in our DNA, and when a set of genes get in motion, ( another memory ), the genetic unraveling of a transmitted life experience?

But back to the muscles, they constitute the most beautiful part of the human skeleton. It is skeleton in motion, protecting and transporting the more "sophisticated" physiological entities. For that same reason it is important that the higher centers stimulate our skeletal system and the end result of this interaction is called exercise.
Bottom line my dears is that exercise is fundamental in preserving memory.

Friday, September 10, 2010

As we were listening to music musing about education, all of the sudden a beautiful piano piece magnificently emanated from my new speakers. And the conversation turned to how kids learn music, talked about patterns, learning to recognize them in daily life. The tempo, the timing of different notes at different times, two cerebral hemispheres, two channels all working in unison. Creating this amazing thing called music. Different sound waves, the bass with its slow vibrations, hitting your brain at a slower tempo, at the same time you hear the mid range, bit more brisk, then the high notes. Do you hear the different frequencies at the same time? Don’t think so. The high frequencies get to your brain quicker and the low ones later. Everything together, in harmony makes for a beautiful thing.. It is kind of massaging your brain. What do you thing happens in your brain if it is not an amazing transmission of them same waves through your neurons?

Back to learning patterns……… Why make it so difficult ? It is at the same time complex and simple. When taught creatively it leads itself to more creativity coming from students themselves. They then feel comfortable, and enjoy the learning in a constructive context and way. They will take it to another level. This makes them ready to tackle further complexities.

My youngest son Gabe once told me about being fond of mathematics. This may not be exactly the quote but what I got and to this day remember of it. When asked why did he do so well in math, I recall his response: Dad, math is like building a structure, you start at the base and keep building on it one piece at the time. Then I said to myself, gee, I didn’t realized that it was that easy! You keep building in a pattern and this pattern leads to a new one and so on. That way you add to the structure. When you look back at what you built, you don’t look at the pieces but at the whole. Then…. Keep building. If you like this “pattern” you will be good at math. This same concept could be applied to the visual arts. Those kids who learn visually you would expect to do well in plastic arts if taught creatively. And the same thing could be said about any learning subject. Kids will get there at their own pace. It is about teaching them to learn on their own.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

As the year its end nears
Its time to declare
How fine have we fared
This past O nine year.

Gustavo his labors
Have found a location
In Vintage Solutions
He fixes some networks
So he set into motion
And found some new neighbors.

Gabe school did he finished
Good grades with two majors
How fine that endeavor
Ann Arbor he left
To Beantown he came
The Brown Jug he cherished
No more his fervor.

A fine juris doctor
Cavier is becoming
The bar is awaiting
No problems I forsee
As he is such good questor.

And Juani content
To make such much progress
A lot of success his future awaits
To such a great gent.

Dul, the love of my life
Am lucky, she is glad
I made her my wife.
Now that she’s moved
In Bluebonnet Lane
There is a new rule.

For myself there is not much to say.
All is well, there is health and money for rent
And so I m content
Its better than wealth.

So I conclude our story to tell.
Am happy to say two thousand and nine
Has been a fine tale.

The birth of our Lord
Lets all celebrate
To family and friends I truly do wish
In twenty and ten, health, joy, love and peace.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Well, much has been said about the impending health care reform. Unfortunately, little has been heard or has been published from the medical community itself. It is a shame.

After following the pros and cons arguments there are a few things that I belive are fundamental to the issue. No matter what the politicians say, health care cost are NOT going to fall. All could be attempted is to decrease the rate of expense growth.
There is a simple fact that is inescapable. Our population is getting older and with age comes increase in utilization of medical resources. So, as a jibaro used to say: "They(the pols) are thinking of pregnant birds" This is a literal translation of a puertorrican adage.

Let the actuarians calculate the staggering costs of caring for an increasing aging population and decide how much we are willing and able to commit in a fiscally responsible manner. Then allocate the resources to get more bang for your buck.

The recent published guidelines on mammography also illustrate a point.

In order to catch as many breast cancers as possible you have to cast a wide net. I remember from my training days working at the coronary care unit, we were having a discussion on the accuracy and the diagnostic acumen of the ED docs in cases of suspected cardiac ischemia. We concluded that a doctor who admits mostly patients with a later confirmed cardiac ischemia is likely to be missing some and sending home patients who needed observation. So, it is better to admit patients that end up not having ischemia so that you won't miss the real ones.
In an age of limited resources, is this acceptable? Or should we streamline the system to make it more efficient and less costly at the expense of missing diagnoses? And when a 42 y/o female mother of three, with no risk factors, vegetarian, non drinker, non smoker, physically fit, gets breast cancer that could have been diagnosed earlier with a mammogram not performed because of guidelines, who do we blame?
All this decisions carry a cost either monetary or in human life.

And still there will be breast ca missed and MIs sent home. There is a limit to everything.

Is it not this the meaning of "Shit Happens"?

It will kind of neat for my math whiz kid to design a formula that defines the limits on diagnosis.
All will be needed are the variables used in making a decision, say to admit or not admit to the CCU, find out the limits of the variables and then determine what is an "acceptable" rate of misdiagnosis. I wonder if you could use calculus formulas for this. Double, triple derivatives?Then again there is uncertainty........ Could you adjust for that?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I have been told to listen

I have been told to listen by my soon to be wife.

It is funny that she says that since listening is all I do at work. Being a physician requires you to listen and a good listener makes a good doctor. Often I find myself telling my patients that my function for the most part is like a computer, the output depends on the input. My role is to analyze information provided to me and create sort of a picture of the patients problems which is the first step in finding a solution. The more detailed the information the better the picture and the chances of me being of help relieving symptoms.

At home, however, things tend to be somewhat different.

Frequently you could see me on top of a soapbox dispensing insights and advice about her job as an assistant principal and about the shortcomings of the school district and the school where she works. And really what she needs is a sounding board, someone that patiently listens to her gripes, sort of a punching bag taking the punches product of her frustrations and tribulations. She doesn't need advise nor insights just an ear, a friendly nod and perhaps some supporting comments. This I have found hard to do being trained as a problem solver.

So I have decided to create a blog to deposit all of those thoughts and use it as a release valve and who knows, it might be found useful by some lonely soul who may find him or herself in the same predicament.

I don't expect to get many hits from followers of my ramblings but at the very least this leaves an electronic imprint of the neuronal discharges that end up as my thoughts. And given Google's function as a repository of information and should the electronic impulses that generate this documentary survive for posterity, who knows if it will be useful to future cyber-anthropologists. At the very least it might help making me a better listener.