Health and Medicine

Why Are Men Making Period Apps For Women?

Miranda Hall writes about her discomfort with Silicon Valley bros developing period apps.

"A few months ago, I got an invite from my friend Holly to start using Eve, a fertility tracking app for "savvy" gals who "just want to track their cycle and have fun," as the app says. An estimated 200 million people have downloaded period trackers worldwide. 
Eve says things like "Men are cute" and "Get it, girl xo," and recommends sex positions that seem more likely to end in a hospital visit than an orgasm."


This becomes particularly weird with the "partner" feature that allows any second person, although usually assumed to be your DH (short for Dear Husband on the Glow chatrooms) to "monitor" the body of his DW. A senior representative from Glow told me that "notifications are not based on gender stereotypes but rather on the role that each user has on the journey ahead." But the different tips sent to the partners are based on some pretty outdated roles.

There is no clearer evidence that Silicon Valley is far too male-centric than the fact that any of these apps are developed by mostly men.

Freezing Out Our Mothers

Nevertheless, fertility clinics across the United States quickly embraced the removal of the “experimental” designation to suggest that egg freezing was now safe for mothers wishing to save their own eggs for later in life. High-profile companies like Facebook announced that they would support egg freezing for their female personnel in order to retain valued employees. It is not uncommon for women in their mid-thirties and beyond to abandon their careers to have a family. In addition, having younger women save their eggs may prevent extensive costs associated with fertility treatment later in their lives and careers.

On first glance, it's probably pretty easy to think that this is a wonderful away to support women thriving in the workplace. When Richard Branson was asked about Facebook's new policy he responded:

The Downside of Life Prolonging Technologies

As an ICU physician, I’ve used technologies like breathing machines and feeding tubes to save lives that would have been lost just a few decades earlier. But I’ve also seen the substantial costs, both human and financial, of some medical advances. Many patients die protracted deaths while being kept alive by machines—which, research shows, they would not have chosen had there been adequate communication about their options beforehand.

It's a difficult subject, but advances in medicine have some potential quality of life downsides. In an obsession with doing anything we can to save people, often people are left paying exorbitant amounts of money to live a painful existence.

How Many Pops Does It Take to Make an Addict?

The longer a person uses opioids, the greater the risk of forming a deadly addiction. But just how long does it take to switch from being a short-term user—say, while you’re dealing with pain after a surgery—to a long-term, potentially problematic user? A few weeks? A month?
According to a new study, that transition could take just a matter of days.
When patients get an initial opioid prescription that’s just a one-day supply, they have about a six-percent chance of being on opioids for a year or longer. But if that first prescription is for a three-day supply, the probability of long-term use starts inching up. With an initial five-day supply, the chance jumps to about 10 percent. With a six-day supply, the chance hits 12 percent. With 10-day’s worth, the odds of still being on opioids a year later hits roughly 20 percent.

I've posted previously about being careful with medication and to use it only when necessary. This reinforces the importance of that advice. 1 out of every 5 people gets addicted to opiates after a simple 10 day prescription.

A Pain in the Back

“For acute back pain, the analogy is to the common cold,” Dr. Deyo said. “It is very common and very annoying when it happens. But most of the time it will not result in anything major or serious.”
Moreover, invasive treatments can cause real problems. These include finding things in scans that look like abnormalities that really have nothing to do with the pain, getting patients hooked on powerful prescription drugs, or taking on the risks of invasive surgeries.
Patients want cures, and doctors and insurance companies are primed to try shots, pills, and advanced treatments. But we should all stop “medicalizing” this problem, Dr. James Weinstein, a back pain specialist and chief executive of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System told the Times. “I know your back hurts, but go run, be active, instead of taking a pill.”

The US really needs to stop advertising prescription medicine to the general public. To paraphrase one of the favorite things a doctor ever shared with me: "If I'm about to die, western medicine is the best in the world. But if I'm just in some pain or have a chronic issue, surgeries and pills are only going to make it worse." These commercials just serve to support the hypothesis that any ailment is serious and should be immediately treated with drastic methods.

You Are Not Your Own Doctor

The findings, published in the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, suggest that taking antibiotics while abroad may be far more dangerous than most travelers know. After all, it’s common for world explorers to preemptively pack antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, for common ailments, like travelers diarrhea, the authors note.
But the findings make a lot of sense, the authors argue. “Antibiotics appear to play three vicious tricks on travelers,” they conclude:
"Firstly, they disrupt intestinal colonization resistance and make space for newcomers; secondly, they only favor colonization by bacteria resistant to the antibiotic taken; and last but not least, [because] resistant bacteria [tend] to be co-resistant to other antibiotics, users end up selecting the most resistant bacteria from the surroundings."

Last year the FDA finally banned a large portion of the chemicals used in antibacterial soaps from being used in over the counter soaps. Unfortunately, I’m not sure many people even heard about this happening. This is a major issue, if you are not in a hospital or being prescribed antibiotics by your physician, DO NOT USE antibiotics. If you are prescribed them, complete the whole dosage, whether or not your symptoms persist. We absolutely need antibiotics to work in our quest to promote human longevity and if we want them to work we need to stop abusing them immediately.

What Was That?

The audiometric data allowed researchers to pick out high-frequency audiometric “notches”— basically dips in a decibel vs. frequency graph that shows a participant’s ability to hear standard frequencies, tested using an audiometer. Those dips indicate deterioration of a person’s hearing; previous research has linked their existence to noise-induced hearing loss.
Overall, 24.4 percent of people in the survey had notches in the graphs for one or both of their ears. That percentage represents 39.4 million people in the US.
Males were nearly twice as likely as females to have a notch. Older people in the survey were more likely to have notches, too, which squares with well-established data showing that the risk of hearing loss increases with age. But the young weren’t in the clear: of the 20 to 29-year-olds surveyed, 19.2 percent had notches

Broken System is Broken

Pharmaceutical company Mylan made big news last year when the Federal Government started investigating them for price gouging Medicaid for EpiPen.

“Since Mylan bought the rights to EpiPen in 2007, it has raised the price on 15 separate occasions, bringing the current list price to $608 for a two-pack up from about $50 a pen in 2007. That’s an increase of more than 500 percent, which easily beats inflation."

Circulation Regulation

Big news for people with trypanophobia. The first example I'm aware of for "in vivo" monitoring of an animals blood stream. This means that no blood needs be discarded with the added benefit that in theory virtually the entire blood stream could be analyzed in a few minutes. As this technology scales to humans and various data points the impacts will be astonishing.

The Paperfuge

This type of invention is truly remarkable. Highest chance to absolutely change the world for those who most need the support, with the inherent goal of the work being that it won't pay out well. People always talk about how capitalism promotes invention and often feel that its true without qualifications. This sort of work is a reminder that some of the best inventions directly attack the concept of a profit.

Counting Your Eggs

The work paleontologists do absolutely blows my mind. When you think about the absurdity that they are counting the exact number of days a dinosaur was developing in its egg 65 - 100 million years ago. This isn’t the first time we’ve used counting rings to discover something astounding about the Hadrosaurus. We’ve also learned that she was an early grower, reaching her full size in 12-13 years. This is in stark contrast to the famous T. Rex, one of her primary predators, who would take a much longer 30-35 years to reach adulthood. 

All of these numbers are so striking to me, its clear how specially evolved these creatures had become. Primates and other mammals we consider highly intelligent such as elephants and whales are pretty much the only creatures with such long develop cycles in the modern era. The Hadrosaurus was also the first dinosaur in which we discovered evidence that the young were born so immature that they required having food brought to them in their nest. Their societies had a large breeding ground, known as Egg Mountain, where hundreds of females would lay 30 or so 4 kilogram eggs each. 

So we have a warm blooded animal which lived in a large community and deliberately cared for their young. All of this behavior sounds so advanced and not at all what we typically think of finding from reptiles. If only we could get more answers around how they communicated. With such a strong sense of community and attachment to parents, it seems pretty reasonable these animals had some fairly advanced communications methods, again, not something we associate with reptiles.

Daddy Issues

This story is just so startling. 26 couples who have suddenly learned they may not be the biological father of their children. Per norm, Ars Technica’s comments are some of the only ones still worth reading on the web in 2017. One of the more interesting facts I learned from the comments was around the lack of punitive damages in Dutch courts. Thus the most a couple could sue the clinic for would be a refund on their procedure, possibly another free procedure, as well as covering other associated costs with the situation such as legal fees or mental health support. My initial gut instinct, as another commentator soon added, was that this seems like the exact sort of scenario where punitive damages seem appropriate. On some level, getting a refund when such a complex mistake with such long reaching ramifications occurs feels a bit inadequate.

After some more thought, I’ve basically completely reversed my opinion. Let’s break this particular scenario down and then zoom out. In the event that the unlikely scenario occurs and the paternity ends up being a surprise, you have effectively created an adoption. There’s certainly an aspect of this in which the mothers DNA is still involved and the fathers isn’t, although with the frequency of divorce and remarriage among the parents of my generation, an astounding percentage of kids I grew up with lived in this scenario, although possibly a bit more emotionally complex since they mostly actually knew their biological father.