Saturday morning coffee [December 14 2013]

“Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them.” – Lou Holtz

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….


Frozen was #1 at the box office last weekend, with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire coming in second. I haven’t seen either movie. and don’t plan too. Not my speed. I suspect The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will take over the #1 spot next week. It likely won’t do as well as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but it should be enough to put it on top.

Did you know that coffee is actually a fruit? Yep, coffee beans are the pits of berries – “coffee cherries”. Does that mean I’m drinking fruit juice when I’m killing off a pot of coffee?

ASHP Midyear was this week in Orlando, FL. I wasn’t able to take in any educational sessions, but I did manage some time to roam around the exhibit hall from time to time. Made some new friends, had some great conversations, and had the opportunity to explore some new products. IV room technology continues to gain in popularity, as does RFID technology. I’ll try to post more details on my thoughts in a few days.

How amazing is this? A pen that lets you draw live cells onto damaged bone:

Found a couple of new and interesting websites this week:

  1. SURFACE PRO ARTIST – My kind of site, all about tablets, inking, etc.
  2. – Yep, that’s right, a site dedicated to all things pencil and pencil related.

Looking for the Microsoft Surface User Guides? Just follow this link. Speaking of Surface Tablets, I’m still quite pleased with mine. I’m heading to Los Angeles today to pick up a Type Cover at the Microsoft Store.

I’m not a James Bond fan, but I have enjoyed the newer movies with Daniel Craig in the role of the world famous spy. Turns out James Bond, the character, is an alcoholic. “The level of functioning as displayed in the books is inconsistent with the physical, mental and indeed sexual functioning expected from someone drinking this much alcohol,” wrote a team led by Dr. Patrick Davies, of Nottingham University Hospitals, in England. His team analyzed the famous spy’s alcohol consumption and found that it was more than four times higher than the recommended intake for an adult male.” Funny. (via MSN)

My wife recently purchased an Xbox One. It’s pretty cool and has basically become our media center in the living room. Voice control people, voice control. Here’s a quick video from the Xbox team.

I continue to enjoy my Moto X, and this week things got just a little bit better with an update to the Moto X Touchless Control app. The update lets me speak my PIN to unlock the phone as well as search for my phone by simply saying “Where’s my phone”; if the phone can hear me it emits an obnoxiously loud pinging noise.

Looks like I’ll have to wear sunscreen a little longer. According to NASA the hole in the ozone layer won’t heal until 2070. Bummer.

This is awesome. Apparently there’s a monkey day, a holiday created just for guys like me. From the Detroit Free Press, “A few years back, my art school roommate Casey Sorrow wrote on the calendar that December 14th was “Monkey Day” and we have been throwing wild monkey parties ever since. Since then, the joy of Monkey Day has spread so that it is now celebrated by many people around the globe.” I have a great story behind why I, along with all the pharmacists I was working with at the time, started calling each other monkeys that do monkey work. It’s pretty funny. Note to self, write up that story and post it.

Last week I mentioned an article touting fewer emergency department visits for patients with diabetes that use mail order pharmacies. Well, this is a different week, and according to this article “A recent study of millions of Medicare Part D prescription drug event (PDE) data has found that community pharmacies provide 90-day medication supplies at lower cost than mail-order pharmacies and that local pharmacists substitute lower-cost generic drugs more often when compared to mail-order pharmacies.” Take it with a grain of salt as the “study” was funded by the National Community Pharmacy Association.

I saw a great Tweet this week by @PharmaFactz showing a great visual summary for the mechanism of action (MOA) for anti-cancer drugs (image below). Additional information regarding the MOA for these drugs can be found at the UC Davis ChemWiki.


I spent about two years working as an inpatient pharmacist in pediatrics. A year of that was in a critical care pharmacy satellite that was responsible for a pediatric ICU (PICU) as well as a neonatal ICU (NICU). As a pharmacist you tend to use a much smaller group of drugs with neonates than you do with any other population. Even so, many of those drugs have never been studied in that particular population. According to an article in MedPage Today: “More than 15 years after the FDA began requiring pediatric drug testing, only a handful of the hundreds of drugs commonly used in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) have received neonatal labeling. Among 399 drugs commonly used in community NICUs, 96% did not have sufficient labels for dose, safety, and efficacy in neonates, Matthew M. Laughon, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues reported online in JAMA Pediatrics.” What impact does that have on the care of neonates? Not much, really. It’s more of an interesting side note at this point.

I found myself in an interesting conversation this week about what drugs were used to carry out lethal injection. I really had no idea, but had heard that it was some cocktail of drugs that caused sedation and/or pain control, along with a paralytic, and ultimately something to stop the heart, i.e. cause death. So I did what every red-blooded American would do in a similar situation, I Googled it. From the Death Penalty Information Center: “Most states use a 3-drug combination for lethal injections: an anesthetic (either pentobarbital or, formerly, sodium thiopental), pancuronium bromide (a paralytic agent, also called Pavulon), and potassium chloride (stops the heart and causes death).” And there you have it.

MedGadget: “Here’s a video of an amputee wearing a prosthetic hand with a sensor on the forefinger, while blindfolded and wearing headphones that block any hearing, pulling stems off of cherries. The first part of the video shows him doing it with the sensor turned off and then when it’s activated.” – This is absolutely amazing.

A team at the University of Washington (UW) have discovered that “genomes use the genetic code to write two separate languages. One describes how proteins are made, and the other instructs the cell on how genes are controlled. One language is written on top of the other, which is why the second language remained hidden for so long…The UW team discovered that some codons, which they called duons, can have two meanings, one related to protein sequence, and one related to gene control.” First Pluto and now this. My elementary school education is becoming obsolete.

This time of year is bittersweet. On the downside of things the college football season is all but over. On the upside, we still have a truckload of bowl games left. I’m disappointed that Alabama lost to Auburn and won’t seek a third straight national title, but I’m thrilled that Ohio State lost to Michigan State; the Buckeyes were pretenders. The BCS Title Game is a bust this year with Florida State and Auburn, so I’ll turn my attention elsewhere. It’s too bad the BCS ruined New Year’s Day and moved several of the heavy hitters to games after January 1st.

That’s it folks. I’m getting ready to head out the door for a road trip to Los Angeles to visit my daughter at UCLA and pick up a Type Cover for my Surface tablet. Have a great weekend everyone.

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