Archive for December 17th, 2008

Momma Bears Prowl Chuck E. Cheese’s

December 17th, 2008 | No Comments | Source: Wall Street Journal

Chuck E. Cheese’s says it’s a place “where a kid can be a kid” and who can argue, but it’s also a place where adults get arrested for battery and disorderly conduct more often than you think.

The Chuck E. Cheese’s Brookfield Wisconsin franchise for example has prompted more calls to the police than any other restaurant in town, 2 years running.

Cops have had to break up at least 12 fights there since January, 2007 including a 40-person melee that spilled onto the stage reserved for the singing chicken and life-sized mouse!

“There’s a biker bar down the street, and we rarely get calls there,” local police Captain Timothy Imler deadpanned to the Wall Street Journal.

Imler blames the conflagrations on loud noise, crowded interiors and all the emotion wrapped up in children’s birthday parties these days. Oh and alcohol is served at most venues, and then there’s the phenomenon psychologists call the “momma bear instinct.”

Apparently when kids scope out the place they think “child’s play” and they’re off to the races. But adults for whatever reason see danger in all directions, like it’s the Serengeti or something. So they go into all-out child protection mode.

Like when someone cuts the line for Whack-a-Mole, for example.

“It’s part of protective parenting,” Frank Farley told the Journal. The Temple University psychologist added, “it is part of the species—all species, in fact…we do it all the time.”

To Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company, CEC Entertainment, this is no laughing matter. Some of its 538 locations have decided to halt alcohol sales, for example. There’s at least one store that posts armed security guards and the Milwaukee store has a dress code that bans gang-style apparel, not to mention knives, screwdrivers and glass cutters.

It’s “like something out of a Quentin Tarantino film,” Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski told the Journal.


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Delaying Breast Cancer Treatment

December 17th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Source: Cancer, NY Times

Nearly 20% of breast cancer patients either delayed radiation therapy or did not finish a full course of therapy following breast-conserving surgery, and they experienced worse outcomes as a result, according to a study in Cancer.

Scientists at Weil Cornell Medical College studied 7,791 patients who were at least 66 years old and had been diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer between 1991 and 1999.

They found that 16% experienced a delay in the onset of radiation therapy of at least 8 weeks following surgery, and 3% did not complete a full course of therapy, defined as less than 3 weeks instead of the usual course of 5-7 weeks.

 African-Americans were 50% more likely to delay treatment, and women living in high poverty areas were less likely to complete their treatments.

Women who delayed radiation therapy for at least 8 weeks were 40% more likely to experience a recurrence of breast cancer. Those who waited more than 12 weeks were 4 times more likely to experience a recurrence.

Patients who did not complete their radiation therapy had a 32% higher mortality.

“One of the big problems is that care has to be coordinated to avoid these kinds of delays and lack of completion, especially for patients from a lower socioeconomic status,” study leader Heather Taffet Gold told the New York Times.

That’s easier said than done.


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Cleveland Clinic Comes Clean

December 17th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Source: NY Times

The Cleveland Clinic will become the first medical center to disclose business relationships between its professional staff and the private sector.

The move is a response to increased scrutiny regarding conflicts of interest when providers enter into such relationships on the Q-T.

Cleveland Clinic also hopes to avoid the epidemic of media spectacles involving renowned physicians at other instutitions who were involved in deals that could adversely impact medical care and research.

One recent case involved Harvard child psychologist Joe Biederman, who has been accused by Congress of failing to report more than $1 million in income from drug makers including Johnson & Johnson.

Atlanta surgeons Regis W. Haid and Gerald Rodts received similar notoriety for touting Medtronic’s Infuse for cervical spine surgery, as has Emory University’s Charles Nemeroff, a psychiatrist who failed to disclose large cash payments from Big Pharma.

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley praised the move by Cleveland Clinic. “Patients deserve easy access to information about their doctors’ relationships with drug companies,” he told the New York Times.

The Clinic plans to post on the names of providers receiving more than $5,000 per year from drug and device makers.

Clinic management believes that less than one quarter of its 1,800 physicians and scientists have anything to disclose.



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