Posts by Rob W

  • Hard News: But seriously, drug policy, in reply to Kay,

    Thanks Kay, but you are muddling the water here. There is some interesting data that pharmaceutical cannabinoid extracts can help control (what is a tiny number of) kids with severe intractable epilepsy, but that's a pretty unusual scenario. AFAIK there are no decent trials that show the medical benefits of smoking cannabis exceed the harms, but I'd love to be corrected.

    And I have already stated I don't think it should be criminalised.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: But seriously, drug policy, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would certainly agree with him that supplying cannabis to people under 18 should be an offence.

    Except that doesn't really work that well for alcohol currently :-(

    I'd like to see small amounts ignored or decriminalised, much like getting a parking ticket or speeding. Maybe one day, when we get our societal structure and supports in better shape we can look at doing that for all drugs, but IMO there's too many unhappy, unsupported folk out there, where more drugs are only likely to make things worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: But seriously, drug policy, in reply to Ross Bell,

    This sort of observational study is problematic, as you cannot attribute causation. For example does this study show that:
    a) Daily cannabis users are more likely to drop out, commit suicide and use other drugs?
    b) Kids with serious social problems who are dropping out, depressed and using drugs are more likely to use cannabis daily?
    Big difference in where you might intervene.

    I also think the whole medical marijuana argument is hugely overstated. In my 25+ years as a medical doctor I've never once sat there and thought, "Gee, I wish I had some marijuana to give this person". The benefits are small, if any, mainly confined to pain and nausea control in those with terminal illnesses, and there are other effective medications available. Given the likely role of smoked cannabis in lung cancer, I just don't see the point, and I'm not aware of any quality data showing the benefits exceed the risks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: On the Waterfront,

    And the wharves *are* usable public property.

    How so? They're locked and won't let me walk through them. That's *usable public*?

    You can't walk through Eden Park when there isn't a game on, for instance.

    Eden Park is owned by the Eden Park Trust - it's not public property. IIRC the trust deed basically says it's purpose is to serve Auckland cricket and rugby associations.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: On the Waterfront,

    The acquisition has laid the ground for further development afterwards. Why do you have envisage the most pessimistic and unappealing scenario possible?

    I don't understand where all the naysayers and doom-merchants are coming from. Anything that turns those eyesores of car laden wharves into usable public property has got to be a good thing.

    There were questions over cost and time scale, sure. But having that facility there, instead of throwing hundreds of millions at a rugby ground in the middle of a suburb, would have been brilliant.

    Exactly. I still miss the idea of a central city stadium. Mallard's idea would not have been my choice but I cannot understand why the visionless Auckland City leaders refused goverment cash to build an asset for Auckland.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: Only in a relative sense,

    It's not unusual for NZ Sauv blanc to get pronounced "tinned asparagus"and "tinned peas" notes with age which can render them virtually undrinkable, but it normally takes 5-10 years, and even a bad 2006 should still be drinkable.

    Most likely cause here is that the wine has been "cooked" by heat exposure - left somewhere in intense fulll sunlight, and ruined.

    Most good suppliers/wineries accept faulty wine back from a retailer without complaint and credit the retailer, so it is unusual for any decent retailer not to replace or substitute the wine for another. I refuse to purchase again from stores who won't exchange virtually full faulty bottles. And I would have thought a local wine shop in Pt Chev would do almost anything to avoid annoying a local resident - surely that where their bread'n'butter sales come from?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: The drugs don't (always) work,

    Hmmm, placebos

    Actually doctors love them, but for a placebo to be truly effective you can't *know* it's a placebo.

    I tried to get at this in an earlier post. This analysis had a huge placebo response; bigger than expected. So there may be something about the placebo/control arms that is unusual.

    Firstly, it's difficult to enrol and treat seriously depressed people in a clinical trial without very strong observational protocols to ensure that they don't get worse/commit suicide etc. These observational protocols may well act as a de facto form of counselling or CBT. This may imply the trial is really drug vs counselling.

    Secondly, generally entry into these trials is optional, so those entering are a self-selected group who are hoping the new drug will be more effective than older therapies. This belief may lead to a bigger than expected placebo response.

    Lastly all the people entering the trials have had their mood disorder 'recognised' or diagnosed which in itself can be therapeutic.

    With all these phenomena, it's not hard to see how a control arm of diagnosis, enrolment, and observation could well have some therapeutic value, especially in those with mild depression.

    Many of the trials analysed here were very short - 6w or so. It's generally accepted that antidepressants take 6w to work properly, and are maximally effective from 3m onward. Another confounding influence.

    Most of the trials of SSRIs have been done with a comparator of an older antidepressant. These tend to show that the SSRIs are equally or slightly less effective but have significantly less side effects. SSRIs are also much much safer in overdose.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: The drugs don't (always) work,

    To really understand this metanalysis, you'd need to look at all the trials they include. There are often ethical problems with giving depressed people placebo medications, ie no treatment at all, and you'd need to read how each trial treated the placebo arm - it wouldn't surprise me if those people were carefully monitored and received support/input which may explain the very strong placebo effect, and would lessen any difference between the groups. After all it's well proven that cognitive therapy can be as effective as SSRIs in selected people.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report

  • Hard News: Some things you may not know,

    Now I'm confused. I remember the old paper copies of Rip it Up from '77 or '78, while Orange Juice's lovely album 'You can't hide...' came out the the early 80's and I think the next one they called Rip It Up. Anyway, well after Rip It Up started.

    Didn't Little Richard have a song Rip it Up?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report