Thursday, December 31, 2015

Look back to 2015 (3)

September 21, 2015
Time Bomb, a simple and excellent card game of suspicion

Some days ago, I played it again with my friends. It was very exciting time. Also, I could meet creator of this game.

September 24, 2015
Japanese military policy amended

This decision is historic. But most citizens look indifferent to the matter. We Japanese have been accustomed to long-lasting peace.

September 27, 2015
Volkswagen emission scandal

Volkswagen had to decide a drastic restructure of employees and resource for the restoration of its reputation. Its stock price looked overcame the bottom line. An attention must be paid to its movement.

October 18, 2015
Oscar Pistorius will be released in this month.

As predicted, South African Court granted bail to him. He will remain under house arrest while waiting for sentencing on the next April.

The New York Times: Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail Ahead of Sentencing

October 29, 2015
New York introduces taxation for guns?

National Riffle Association and relevant groups seem to be willing to fight with the regulatory agency. They sued Seattle as violating human rights.

Dairy Times: NRA, gun rights groups sue Seattle over taxes on guns and bullets

I do understand their opinion, but do not think equipping guns will make them happy.

November 14, 2015
Carnage at the Bataclan etc. in Paris

This incident may be the most tragic case in this year, I think. I also know there are many other terrors in the world. I sympathize the citizens in Paris, nonetheless.

By the way, Paris was also the center of a historic conference of world climate. It is another problem to be weighed.

November 27, 2015
Russian military jet was destroyed by Turkey

Russian state media said that the black box retrieved from the jet destroyed by Turkey was seriously damaged so that it has not been readable yet.

CNN: 'Black box' on downed jet damaged, Russian state media says

The black box is equipped in all airplanes and records the course of the plane automatically. Through the analysis of the black box, we can know why and how the plane fall down. The  damage of the black box makes it difficult for Russia to investigate the real situation at the time the jet was destroyed.

December 6, 2015
"The Archangel and the Song of Doom," A fascinating TRPG session

Now, I am planning to create another scenario of a TRPG. It is my pleasure.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Look back to 2015 (2)

In the mid of this year, I was very exhausted.

May 15, 2015
Cooperative computer gaming makes you prosocial

Recent years, attempts of utilizing computer games for the treatment of mental disorders became popular in some countries. I have heard about the game for depression and AD/HD. It is unsure this challenge will result in success. I hope the development of new treatment strategies.

May 17, 2015
Flight meals

Recently, I ate a flight meal produced by the Ore-no brand that is famous in Japan. It was very delicious.

May 20, 2015
Mental Disordered Offenders have become being well recognized in Japan

This is one of my research themes. I would like to write an academic article on this issue.

May 21, 2015
UK toward deflation

The situation in the UK remains unstable. The Bank of England seems to watch the situation calmly for a while. I am not sure the decision of BoE is successful.

HeraldScotland: UK crawls out of deflationary territory but BoE seen in no hurry on interest rates

June 9, 2015
The second chance

I am now struggling with another problem with me. It is fortunate that I can deal with my own flaw.

July 26, 2015
Can Bitcoin be an alternative in euro crisis?

The price of Bitcoin rose rapidly later in this year. But the currency is still unstable.

July 24, 2015
Nikkei buys Financial Times

Some readers of Nikkei are afraid that it will dominate Financial Times improperly. I am not worrying about it. Rather, I am concerned if Nikkei has enough money to maintain Financial Times for a long time.

August 1, 2015
Debris likely to be of the missing Malaysia aircraft was found

The debris found on Reunion island was identified as a part of the missing Flight 370. However, the search for the whole body is still ongoing. The true reason for falling is also in the mist.

Daily News: Search for Malaysia Airline Flight 370 to continue till June 2016

August 5, 2015
Solanezumab, challenge to Alzheimer's disease

I have no idea of the process of the clinical trial of Solanezumab. Eli Lilly is confirmative of its prospection.

The Street: Eli Lilly (LLY) Stock Price Target Raised at Leerink

August 28, 2015
The mystery of British-style curry

I found that a journalist had written about British-style curry in a journal. He identified the origin of British-style, to conclude that it declined soon after the invention. Thus, Japanese curry is the successor of old British-style curry.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Look back to 2015 (1)

In this year, there were many things to have remembered, both officially and personally.

January 8, 2015
Charlie Hebdo shooting case

After the incidence, Charlie Hebdo restarted the publishing. I am not sure its taste has been altered, but it seems to keep the stance mocking Islam and other ideologies, according to the media.

In my opinion, excessively aggressive expression ignites the fury of someone. We should be aware of the adverse influence of agitating public emotion. There is no doubt that the terror or violence is never justified even if after being inflicted a provoked, nonetheless.

January 14, 2015
Afternoon Tea in London

After returning the home, I have never enjoyed afternoon tea. There are many things to do other than tasting the tea. But I feel I need to have a precious time again at the cafe.

January 26, 2015
Anti-austerity won the election in Greece

After several conflicts, the economic status of Greece seems to be on the way to recovery. The jobless rate was decreased in youth. EU is going to decide to carry out the next bailout program. On the other hand, some reporters say the pessimistic prospect.

Friday, January 30, 2015
Skymark bankrupt

Finally, ANA Holdings won against Delta Airline in the competition to decide the way of restoring Skymark. It has been the main partner of Skymark, sending two directors into Skymark. Skymark's original idea that it should be the third party in the airline industry in Japan was collapsed. Nonetheless, it is fortunate for Skymark to survive this peril.

February 16, 2015
One-third of Londoners is teetotaller

I got drunk at Greece recently, leading to missing some fun. Since this incident, I have been a teetotaller. Alcohol is harmful rather than enjoyable for me.

March 27, 2015
German Airbus crashed in France

Germany seems to introduce random testing of pilots to examine whether they take alcohol or drugs. German pilots' union is opposing this policy.

Thanhnien: Germany plans spot drug tests on pilots after Germanwings crash

In my opinion, a regular medical check is necessary for some professionals, such as pilots, not to lead to a serious accident. It is problematic that it is impossible to detect seriously ill pilots and keep them away from the work. Letting them take a rest and proper treatment is essential for both themselves and the company. Some forcible ways are often inevitable, because some mental disorders get rid of our sound decision making. Of course, it should be strictly avoided that they are banned from the job for the diseases.

March 11, 2015
Too thin new Mac Book with Retina Display

I hesitated to buy Mac Book, and decided to choose the next Mac Book Air. I miss the release of the next Mac with a retina display.

March 10, 2015
US ambassador injured in South Korea

This incident did not result in the deterioration of the relationship between the US and Korea, fortunately. However, several factors interfered the complicated relationship between the US, Korea, and Japan. Very recently, Japan and Korea reached a historic agreement on the treatment regarding comfort women problem. I hope the mutual relationship will be more improved.

April 29, 2015
Brain Teaser in Apple

For unknown reasons, this entry became the most popular article in my blog. Many thanks to the readers.

April 24, 2015
Atomic power plant to restart in Japan

Recently, another power plant was permitted to restart by the court, which decline the counterclaim. Some plants will be prepared to generate the power in Japan.

Technically, atomic power plants are never completely safe during idling, although it costs many resources. So, it is not rational that most plants are hibernated. In my opinion, every power plants should be properly utilized, to wait for the development of plants using renewable energy. It will take several decades, I guess.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sequels in December 2015

December 17, 2015
Discussion about two verdicts regarding women's rights in Japan

There are several opinions for these two verdicts. The government is going to amend the legislation about the term women are prohibited to remarry. But, shared sir name policy is still supported by many Japanese. I guess it will take another decade till Japan accept separate sir name style.

December 14, 2015
Consumption tax exemption determined in Japan

The government decided that newspaper should be also exempted to the consumption tax hike. Some people criticize it suggesting the media will be not able to keep the eye on politicians critically because they are benefited by this policy. I think the media can maintain their critical stance on the authority even if they are subjected to the exemption. But, newspaper will no longer survive in Japan, to begin with.

December 12, 2015

Donald Trump is still continuing aggressive comments on the media. It is unsure whether he will be banned from Republican Party. I expect Americans to make a rational decision, even if there are something to be of value in Trump's thoughts.

December 10, 2015
Craig Wright is the creator of bitcoin?

It is now doubtful that Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. His history is covered with several uncertainty. Even if he is a liar, the true Nakamoto will not come out. It makes the identification more difficult.

Financial Times: Doubts grow over Craig S. Wright’s connection to Satoshi Nakamoto

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The end of Christmas in Brunei

Christmas has been terminated, at least in Brunei.

The Sultan of Brunei introduced the ban on Christmas last year. Since this year, anyone celebrated Christmas publicly could face up to five years’ incarceration.

Independent: Brunei bans Christmas: Sultan warns those celebrating could face up to five years in jail

Most people in Brunel are Muslims. So, the government do not like to let citizens celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians are allowed to celebrate Christmas privately, but have to alert the authorities in advance.

In Japan, some people, mainly who have no partner, report “the notification of the end of Christmas” as a joke, because Christmas is deemed as a day to make love with the sweetheart. It is rather funny that most Japanese who are not a Christian celebrate Christmas. In contrast. The government of Brunei looks serious.

Muslims adhere strict religious commandments. It is understandable Muslims dislike Christmas. But, I wonder that the prohibition of celebrating Christmas is necessary to maintain Brunei.

In the 17th century, Japan government banned Christianity, fearing that its ideation of equality would oppose the hierarchical society of Japan. The banning had been continued for a couple of centuries. As a result, Japan was delayed in the development of modern industry.

Every thought has more or less exclusiveness. However, excluding too many things will lead to the decline.

Swedish case of children abuses by a daycare worker

In Sweden, a series of children abuse cases were revealed, recently.

A 40-year-old dare care worker had continued to abuse several toddlers sexually. He raped four children and assaulted 20 children, according to the media report. The victims were one to three-year-old.

HindustanTimes: Sweden: Daycare worker raped 24 toddlers, sent to jail

If the report is true, his act is obviously evil. Sexual assault is sometimes difficult to be proven because the defendants usually insist that the victim gave consent in advance. But, in the present cases, toddlers have no ability to consent.

Sweden has the strictest legislation in the world in identifying rape. Julian Assange was charged in Sweden for not using a skin during sexual intercourse. On the other hand, the maximum sentence for rape is limited to seven-and-a-half-years. It looks strange for Japanese. In Japan, the maximum sentence for rape is 20 years incarceration.

However, the longer sentence does not guarantee the prevention of recommitting. The defendant seems to have pedophilia. Proper treatment is necessary to reduce the risk of reoffending.

In Japan, I heard the news that a nurse in a kindergarten had physically abused toddlers for some months. The suspect said that she was very tired so that she was almost unconscious about what she had done. If her comment is true, there is something behind the incidents. She might have been depressed or exhausted due to the burden of labor. It is doubtful that harsh punishment has the power to alter her attitude, although children abuse is never permitted.

Friday, December 25, 2015

George Osborne on the Star Wars credit

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the UK, was credited in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Independent: Star Wars: George Osborne criticised after being given The Force Awakens credit

Star Wars series is world famous films originated by George Lucas describing a Sci-Fi epic history of the galaxy. The series was terminated coincided with the release of the sixth film “The Revenge of Sith.” But, Walt Disney bought the right of production from Lucas, and the seventh episode came into launch recently.

I have not seen it, but have already bought a preserved ticket. I am not an exception of the people expecting the quality of this film.

Star Wars fans seemed to be surprised to find the name of Osborne in the end credits of the film. Indeed, Osborne committed 25m GBP of taxpayers’ money to support the film. It looks a great contribution. However, it is unusual that a politician’s name is credited. The name of Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture and the digital economy also appeared on the screen.

It is unsure whether they asked Disney to include their names on the credit. Osborne is well known as an enthusiastic fan of Star Wars.

In my opinion, it is not inappropriate for the publisher to list the name of politicians on the credit. The choice of the producer and relevant persons should be respected. On the other hand, the politician whose name was credited can be suspected to have committed some improper acts in the work, such as giving facilities with unlawful ways. Politicians should be fair to everyone. It seems very annoying that biased decision was suggested. If I were a politician, I would request the producer not to list my name as a contributor.

Some audiences booed the name of Osborne on the screen. Albeit he did contribute to the film, he is deemed as a dreadful cost cutter. I sympathize him.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Christmas in Japan

Merry Christmas!

Japanese are fond of celebrating Christmas as well as people in Western countries. Every avenues are decorated with illumination.

It is a question why Japanese, few of which are Christians, are happy to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. We Japanese just celebrated the birthday of the Emperor of Japan on 23rd Dec.

Anyway, the more celebrating something we are, the more we become happy.

Let's say Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Japanese are lazy?

Today, I met some of my old friends. They are all medical doctors, but are work at different places each other. It was interesting and fun for me to listen to them about their condition.

In the meeting, we discussed the characteristics of Japanese people. Japanese are considered as industrious in general compared to people in other countries. Rich evidence suggests it, and many Japanese agree with it. However, one of my friends denied this idea, hypothesizing that Japanese are obeying the discipline, or authority’s opinion. He said Japanese are rather lazy unless being supervised.

His idea is a little extreme, but somehow worthy to be considered. Another friend referred an example of professional athletes. Japanese athletes are deemed to conduct long-time exercise regularly. But some athletes moved to the US, such as Major League players, were surprised to the intensity of the training of American professional athletes, according to him. Thus, American athletes are eager to train themselves, even without any obligation, for improving their performance, as well as Japanese.

After all, Japanese is less likely to be autonomous, based on this discussion. Japanese people adhere to the rule of the community they belong to. But it is not a result of their own thoughts, but is derived from their fear of being excluded from the community. Therefore, there are many meaningless rules in Japanese society.

Being autonomous is sometimes tough. I think some Japanese underestimate its value. They criticize the persons who do not obey the rule of the organization. But it is more important to rethink the pros and cons of each rule than to adhere it without any insight.

Japanese are generally obsessive to adhere to the rule. On the other hand, we ignore the rule in many regions. They are paradoxical at a glance. Actually, we are aware of the meaninglessness of excessively strict rules, consciously or unconsciously. Setting a rigid rule and forcing to obey it often damage the creativeness. It is one of the disadvantageous tendency of Japanese, I think.

My past entry: The only reason I am afraid that Japan can hardly improve (1)

My past entry: The only reason I am afraid that Japan can hardly improve (2)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Netflix's socks watch you asleep

Watching movies at home is fun, but sometimes exhausting. You may have an experience of falling asleep during the movie. You have to roll back the movie to the scene you missed. Searching the scene is often annoying. But, a couple of socks will resolve it.

Netflix, an Internet movie provider, developed a pair of socks which can sense your status. When you fall asleep, the movie will stop in line with the sensor attached on the socks.

International Business Times: These Netflix socks pause the TV when you fall asleep: How to make your own

Internet movie services such as Netflix, as well as Hulu, offer unlimited series of movies for a fixed monthly cost. Many users keep the service streaming the movie. So, you are more likely to fall asleep while using a streaming service, compared to watching a single blue-ray movie.

The socks trace the movement of your legs. Instead of stopping streaming, the socks can also be a trigger to tune the volume of the movie up, so that you hardly fall asleep.

Firstly I saw the news, I guessed it was a hoax. However, Netflix looks serious.

These socks are a kind of wearable devices. I had imagined that such devices had multiple functions like iWatch. But simple tools have particular advantages. They are unlikely to be broken. Malfunction of the device could be troublesome. You would feel annoyed when the movie suddenly stopped while watching.

On the other hand, there is a more cool way to check the audience’s attention. A webcam can trace your eyes’ movement. If you close your eyes, the webcam can identify that you felt asleep. Samsung’s Galaxy S series had equipped the function with which the display keeps working as far as you look at the display. A similar function will be introduced to the television, soon.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Norway gives Halti to Finland?

Some Norwegians seem to be considering a lovely gift to its neighbor.

Bjorn Geirr Harsson, a retired employee of the Norwegian Mapping Authority, launched a social media site for discussing the border between Norway and Finland. They are not claiming the strengthened watching, nor the historical evidence of having owned larger land. Their intention is to give a mountain to Finland.

Independent: Norway wants to move its border 20 metres left – so it can give Finland a mountain

According to them, the border line between Norway and Finland needs to be shifted by only 20 meters, for the Halti to belong to Finland. If the amendment is realized, Halti will be the tallest place in Finland, whereas Norway has several peaks other than it. A mountain is not valuable in itself. But potentially many Finlander would be fond of walking on the mountain, leading to a rise of sight-seeing services.

Campaigners intend to give the mountain as a celebration of Finland for the 100th anniversary of the independence in 2017.

This suggestion sounds fantastic, in double meaning: splendid and unfeasible. Indeed, the value of Halti differs among the both countries. Thus, it can be subjected to trade. If it is implemented, it will strengthen the bond between both countries and will be a strong message to people being afraid of the terror of crimes by immigrants. This deal is beneficial for the both countries not only economically but also politically.

However, many people may hesitate to give the land to other states. Land, even if being useless, is a symbol of each nation. In addition, amendment of the borderline costs lots of money and time. I think the it is unlikely that the Norwegian government will take this idea into consideration, unfortunately.

Japan is surrounded by the sea. It makes Japan a stable and unique nation. I had never imagined the idea to give a land to a neighbor. Cool idea!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Shot by police to death, US, UK, and Japan

Gun control matter has been an important issue for decades in the US. It is not limited to the criminals with guns, but also cases in which criminals are shot by the police.

Recently, Independent reported that the fatal shooting case by the police last month in the US is more than those in 95 years in the UK. Thus, 78 people were shot to death by police in November 2015, while only 51 people have been killed since 1920 in the UK.

Independent: US police shot more people dead last month than British officers did in 95 years

These data should be cautiously interpreted. The population of the US is five times in the UK. The crime rate is also different. Nonetheless, it is no doubt that criminal in the US is highly likely to be shot by police compared to the UK.

In Japan, it is extremely rare that the criminal is shot by police. Over a decade ago, a man running by a car after the theft was shot to be dead by police. The shooter was prosecuted, but was pronounced not to be guilty. There are a few other cases in which the criminal was shot to be dead, but each of them was extraordinarily terrible. It suggests the safety of Japanese society.

On the other hand, not a few people insist that criminals should be more harshly punished. I hardly understand their opinion. There is no evidence that harsh punishment can reduce the crime rate. It is obvious that fear of death is no more prevention from crimes, considering the current situation in the US.

On the contrary, Europe is being examined. In some EU countries, providing the proper level of education and welfare resulted in the reduced rate of perpetrating. But, they are exposing to the risk of terrorism by ISIS or other extremists. Their ideology is far from acceptable. It should be considered that, however, some of such terrorists were influenced by extremism because they were suffering from serious poverty. We have to choose which should be provided to the criminals, punishment or welfare.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The complex harm of alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most controversial substances in the history of human. Since the ancient era, it has been deemed as a gift of the gods. On the other hand, it was sometimes hated by authorities because of its effect on human mind.

Whether taking alcohol is beneficial or harmful is also frequently discussed. There is evidence suggesting that people taking a small amount of alcohol regularly live longer than those never taking alcohol. However, it seems that alcohol is basically poisonous on human body and mind.

The adverse effects of alcohol is widely reported. It damages your liver, heart, and brain. Excessive taking of alcohol is occasionally fatal. Besides the acute intoxication, chronic use of alcohol can cause irreversible damage on your health.

The Telegraph: What alcohol does to your body after the age of 40

This article referred above emphasize the increased risk of taking alcohol among aged people. It is true, in my opinion. The ability to neutralize alcohol is gradually declining as you are aging. One day, you will be not able to feel happy while drinking without a hangover. At this time, you can no more enjoy drinking. If you do not realize it, you should be dependent on alcohol.

It is noteworthy that many patients with alcohol dependence have clinical depression. They are willing to drink for reducing their depressive thought and forgetting the guiltiness and hopelessness for a while. Alcohol works like as antidepressant. But its effect is only limited and temporal. As a result, they become not able to quit alcohol.

As not mentioned in the article above, alcohol brings you dementia. Korsakoff's syndrome is frequently seen in the patients having been exposed to alcohol for a long time. They show serious memory lapse and cognitive impairment. As they cannot recognize their own symptoms, confabulation is typically observed. Korsakoff's syndrome is difficult to be cured. The prevention of the onset is crucial.

I cannot drink at all. So, I do not understand the happiness of drunkenness. Whereas admitting some benefits of taking alcohol, I recommend you to set a limit of drinking, to keep temperate drinking activity, not to destroy your future.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Does prolonged life make us happy? Yes, according to a British study

An ambitious study was conducted in the UK. It aimed at clarifying the true value of prolonged life.

This research was funded by UK Medical Research Council. British people who were over 65-year-old were interviewed for the evaluation of their cognitive function and activity of daily living. Two decades after, another survey with the same protocol was conducted. Based on these results, the researchers calculated the life expectancy of the 65-year-old persons, as well as how long would they live without physical or mental impairments.

The Lancet: A comparison of health expectancies over two decades in England: results of the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study I and II

It means that, ultimately, whether we have benefited from modern medicine. Even if prolonged live is achieved thanks to the development of medical science, it seems not beneficial for us when we will have to spend acquired time with severe cognitive impairment or poor physical status.

The result is rather relieving. In both men and women, the term without impairment has been increased, as well as life expectancy itself. We need not fear to face bedridden or demented life due to prolonged life.

However, our worry about aging is not limited to the health problem. In Japan, increasing senior citizens are suffering from poverty. They are not absolutely poor, but are struggling for maintaining their daily life. The financial crisis is one of the major problems in Japan. Perhaps due to this issue, some people do not want to live a long life. It is a sad thing, I think.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Discussion about two verdicts regarding women's rights in Japan

Recently, a couple of important decisions regarding women’s rights were carried out by Supreme Court in Japan. Interestingly, each verdict are somehow conflicting with each other.

The first verdict said that 6-months rule is violating the Constitution. Article 377 of the Civil Code prohibits women from remarrying before six months have passed since she divorced. This regulation is considered to prevent the infant of the woman from the uncertainty of his or her father.

Men are not restricted by the law regarding remarrying. Therefore, some women have been claiming that this article is discriminating against women. Some years ago, the government planned to shorten the prohibiting term from 6 months to 100 days, but the amendment of the law has not been realized due to the opposition of some conservative politicians.

At this time, the Supreme Court determined that the 6-months rule is violating the Constitution in which men and women should be equally treated. Following the decision, the diet is demanded to accelerate the discussion of revising the legislation.

On the other hand, another verdict committed that Article 750 of the Civil Code is valid. It regulates that married couples have to use either the wife’s or husband’s surname. Thus, the wife or the husband is forced to change her of his own surname. In real, most wives, and quite a few husbands, change the surname, because of traditional value of Japanese culture. You can imagine that changing surname is stressful, especially you have several social activities. This regulation is also deemed as discriminating and hindering women’s activity.

In Japan, selective separate surnames policy is discussed. In this scheme, each couple can continue to use the original surname, if they want to do so. This scheme seems to meet everyone’s need at a glance, but there will be several issues regarding consistency of conventional legal systems. In addition, some people who have conservative thoughts are opposing it, warning the risk of destroying the bond of family.

In my opinion, the both regulations are out of date. Japan was requested to amend the uni-surname policy by Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in the UN. I think not a few Japanese will feel strange when separate surnames policy is approved for a while. But it will last only temporally. Indeed, a couple of centuries ago, most Japanese did not have a surname.

The 6-months rule is nonsense. Nowadays, it is not difficult to identify the father of an infant using DNA examination. To begin with, it is not guaranteed that a baby is the son or daughter of the father. Not having sex with a man other than the husband is not ensured by the law, but by the mutual trust between the couple. On the contrary, it is highly unlikely that the wife is given a baby with the ex-husband just after divorce, because she seems not to be willing to have sex with the husband who is going to be separated.

Japan is approaching a turning point. Several issues should be reconsidered, many of which are to be amended. We should be open-minded for the better future.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

You should avoid text messages ended with a full stop

You may utilize text messages for contacting your friends and family. What do you reply to such a message, “Shall we go for a dinner tonight?” You will type “Sure.” Or, “Sure!” There seems to be a great difference. Jumping to the conclusion, you should avoid using a full stop (".") for a short reply, according to a new study.

Eurekalert: Study: Text messages that end in a period seen as less sincere

The Washington Post: Study confirms that ending your texts with a period is terrible

The Guardian: Science has spoken: ending a text with a full stop makes you a monster

This experiment was conducted by the researchers at Binghamton University. Participants were requested to read some pairs of messages, to assess the sincerity of the responder of the messages. The massages included text messages with and without a period. Handwritten notes were also examined in the same way. As a result, participants perceived the replies ended with a period as less sincere. In contrast, no difference was observed in the sense of evaluators for handwritten texts.

ScienceDirect: Texting insincerely: The role of the period in text messaging

What made a difference of the perception is unclear. The authors emphasized the lack of nonverbal information in the text messages. You can express your expectation or excitement with your face, tone of the voice, or gesture. On the contrary, a simple word “Sure.” brings the receiver only the content of your answer. It may give the reader some callous impression.

Handwritten messages, regardless of the period, gave the receiver the same impression as if it was typed without a period. It is understandable that you can imagine the emotion of the writer when the message was written by hand. Handwritten messages are frequently used in a celebrating message such as Christmas or birthday, for contributing to a heartwarming experience. With or without a period does not matter in these contexts.

On the other hand, it is still uncertain why omitting the period is better in digital messages. In this experiment, messages without a period provided the preferable impression to the reader. In my hypothesis, texts without a period look a little incomplete. Such an impression may notify the reader that the sender is human, not a computer.

By the way, Japanese, especially younglings, are very accustomed to sending digital messages. They frequently include “emoji” in their texts, to avoid giving an inorganic impression.

Like that: “Sure! (^^)/”

So cool.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

UN hesitates to ban the capital punishment

UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) seems to have abandoned the attempt for the abolition of the capital punishment and the prevention of torture.

An official bid for re-election to the UNHRC is no more presenting about these two issues. Although, strengthening human rights, ending violence against women, promoting freedom of religion and taking action on sustainable development were mentioned, there was no commitment that the government was opposing the capital punishment or torture.

Independent: Death penalty and torture omitted from Foreign Office re-election bid to Human Rights Council

It is simply an amendment of the description in a site of UNHRC, but suggestive. It is possible that the UK government was concerned about the status of Middle Eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in which capital punishment is frequently carried out. While the intention of the UNHRC is unclear, I think this hypothesis is worthy to trust.

Capital punishment is still dominantly used in some countries, including China, Japan, and some states in the US. Although the EU has identified it as a cruel act, it has not been a global concept.

Indeed, approximately 90% of Japanese approve the capital punishment. In the UK, I was sometimes asked why Japan still keep this policy from European researchers, with full tone of doubtfulness. I, myself, believe Japan should abolish the capital punishment, but my opinion is in the minority, unfortunately. I guess people in Middle East countries are far less likely to accept the abolition of the capital punishment.

Therefore, extinction of the capital punishment seems too ambitious at present, whereas the EU is going to ban life sentence. Middle East is an important region for the EU in the view of geopolitics. It is rational not stimulate those countries recklessly.

Life imprisonment is inhuman, ECHR says

On the other hand, torture to prisoners seems no more acceptable. It is based on the human rights, thus, all human should be respected regardless of their thoughts or behaviors. Recently, it was revealed that CIA had been conducting torture to foreign spies. The real world remains unequal and pitiless.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Consumption tax exemption determined in Japan

In Japan, a remarkable agreement was achieved in the ruling parties about taxation policy, recently.

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito Party made a decision that all types of foods except alcohol would be subjected to the exemption from expecting rise of consumption tax rate. It will be came into force on April in 2016. The tax rate will be raised from current 8% to 10% in general items.

The Asahi Shimbun: Ruling coalition agrees on exemptions for sales tax hike but fails to settle revenue loss

Hiking the rate of consumption tax is an extremely troublesome issue in politics. Ex-ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) submitted the bill to hike the rate in 2012. It was approved in Diet, but it became one of the reasons DPJ made a historic defeat in the next general election, leading to give up the administration.

My past entry: Consumption tax will be raised

After that, LDP attempted to raise the tax rate based on the legislation, but to fail, due to a broad criticism by, not only citizens, but also some politicians in LDP, and even DPJ which had drawn the vision. Abe administration decided to postpone the raising, with a dissolution of House of Representatives.

My past entry: Consumption tax election by Abe is absurd

As expected, LDP won the election, and the tax rate was fixed for a while. However, the second postpone seemed unrealistic, because the financial situation in Japan is in peril. Abe administration had to carry out the hike with minimizing the damage to citizens’ life.

Consumption tax has regressivity. Thus, poor people have to pay the tax for each purchase at the same rate as rich people. It makes poor people’s life difficult, because they cannot compress the expenditure anymore. To resolve this problem, most countries adopt some exemptions.

Firstly, the government planned to refund money to people with low-income. If it is realized, subjects would not need an extra cost after hiking tax, theoretically. But, the procedure of calculating the amount of refund was too complex to be carried out. Also, Komeito Party strongly opposed to this idea. Finally, the LDP abandoned this plan.

Next, it was discussed that some categories of items should be exempted from a tax hike. Many developed countries adopt dual tax rate policy. In the UK, foods, as well as clothes for children, are exempted from VAT, while luxury goods are subjected to VAT by 20%. In France, the newspaper is also exempted.

LDP and the government were afraid of reduced revenue from raised consumption tax. If fiscal situation is not improved, hiking will be meaningless. The administration hesitated to adopt many things to the exemption. Firstly, only fresh foods were considered to be subjected.

However, Komeito Party strongly resisted to this idea. Indeed, poor people tend to consume processed food, since fresh food tend to be expensive in Japan. It insisted that processed food should also be included in the exemption. At last, the LDP accepted the request of Komeito Party.

It is unclear if this decision is the best. First of all, exempted foods will be still subjected to current tax rate (8%). The effect to aid people with low income will be limited. On the other hand, the total cost of exemption will be 1 trillion JPY (8 billion USD) per year. Hiking the tax has a risk to suppress the economic activity. It is doubtful that the government can gain the adequate amount of budget to compensate expanding cost for social security.

JapanToday: Sales tax hike exemption may put fiscal reform efforts at risk

In my opinion, the combination of raising consumption tax at a rapid pace and complete support to poor people would be preferable. Anyway, a historic decision was made. We have to watch the coming situation carefully.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Complex relationship between happiness and prolonged life

De you feel happy? I hope so. Then, do you think feeling happy is beneficial for life extension? It is difficult to answer. Previously, as well as expected by many people, a happy life was considered to reduce the mortality. However, a recent study denied this idea.

The Guardian: Happiness doesn't make you live longer, survey finds

This survey was conducted by Oxford University to prove the direct association between happiness and mortality. Approximately 720,000 women were subjected to the analyses in this study. The result shows no direct relationship between happiness and prolonged life.

The Lancet: Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The prospective UK Million Women Study

Of course, being ill causes mortality, as well as unhappiness. And, an unhealthy lifestyle is also associated with unhappiness. After adjusting for such confounders, however, happiness was not associated with mortality. The researchers examined several factors of happiness potentially influenced the result. None of the factors was proven to affect the mortality rate, after all.

This study seems to have proven that the saying “Laugh and grow fat” is incorrect. In Japan, there is a saying with a similar meaning, “Warau kado niha fuku kitaru.” These proverbs can be trusted, for our common sense. Indeed, some studies suggest that smiling steadily brings you better health, through activating the immune systems. So, how can we interpret the discrepancy of these findings?

It is possible that, although happiness can make you a little stronger, its effect is minimal. A more approvable explanation is that a happy person has room to promote his/her physical health. In contrast, when you feel depressed due to some tough surroundings, you may be not able to care for your own lifestyle.

There is another issue that happiness is hard to be measured. The authors of the research accepted it. It is very vague whether you feel happy or not. Even if earning much money, some people feel hostile to others. Ordinary life is preferable for some people, while other seek excitement. You can be jealous of others when you know your neighbors are far richer. The score calculated with some self-measurement tools adopted in the study is merely an operational standard.

This study did not deprive us of our dream, but told us an simple fact. You should pursue your happiness, regardless of your physical health.

Trump leaves from Republican to ban Muslims?

Donald Trump may be going to leave Republican Party.

He has been the first candidate of Republican Party in the US Presidential campaign. He was popular, even infamous as his aggressive attitude. Recently, he claimed that all Muslims should be banned from entering the US. His statement was broadly criticized, being deemed as a racist’s one. After that, he suggested being going to leave from Republican Party.

Independent: Donald Trump threatens to leave Republican Party amid global outrage over call to 'ban Muslims from US'

It is not for the first time that Trump’s exit is suggested. He has made extreme opinions repeatedly so far. Each time he was attacked by criticism, some people expected him to leave from Republican Party, or to be dismissed from the candidates by the Party. However, his leaving will cause serious damage to Republican Party, as most of his voters would follow him instead of other candidates. It will only be an aid for opposing Democrat Party. Therefore, Republican Party is hesitating to exclude him.

It is interesting that Trump seems to believe in his ideas seriously. Objectively, his opinions look ridiculous. He referred a foreign policy conducted by Franklin Roosevelt in 1941. But it was over a half century ago. Now, banning all Muslims from entering the US is far from realistic, let alone the ethical issue. His other statements are also unfeasible.

My past entry: Donald Trump aiming at President

For performing a balanced and constructive discussion, proposing an extreme opinion is somehow valuable. I do not think that Trump’s ideas are meaningless at all. Indeed, not a few people will be happy if his policies are realized. However, his dream is still fantastic, and problematic in ethical and political point of view. I understand the need of Trump as a politician. At the same time, it is an extraordinary situation that Trump is the first candidate of Republican Party.

Anyway, the Presidential race is approaching the turning point. I prospect Trump will leave from Republican Party, and the next President will be Clinton.


Friday, December 11, 2015

US resident doctors are depressive, a meta-analytic report

Approximately one-third of US resident doctors is depressive, according to a study recently published.

Mata et al. at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Harvard Medical School conducted a systematic review to gather the evidence regarding prevalence rate of depression among resident doctors. The result of a meta-analysis suggested that 28.8% of the subjects had some depressive symptoms.

JAMA: Prevalence of Depression and Depressive Symptoms Among Resident Physicians. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

The high prevalence in resident doctors has been suspected since some decades ago. The US government repeatedly amended the working standard of residents not to spoil them due to overwork. However, the psychiatric status of residents seems to be worsening, according to the authors.

This study is a systematic review with meta-analyses. Thus, the authors did not gather raw data from the doctors. Its reliability depends on the original studies evaluated in this article.

I am doubtful about the preciseness of previous reports, to be honest. If one-third of residents were really depressive, many hospitals in the US would be out of control. I guess some studies emphasized the severe environment around the residents. Also, depressive symptoms were identified in a casual way (e.g. “Do you feel you are depressed occasionally?” Most residents would say yes to this question.) in some studies. The results of such studies should be biased.

Similarly, some US studies overestimate the prevalence rate of mental disorders, I think. According to a report, one-fifth of US citizens has PTSD. Even considering the situation of gun control in the US, I hardly believe that one-fifth of citizens is suffering from the flashback of some fatal accidents.

Nonetheless, it is true that standing as a resident doctor in the US is quite tough. I respect them.

In Japan, the situation is similar, but not so serious compared to the US. The working environment of resident doctors in Japan has been improved in these decades. I hope everyone can work with minimal stress.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Craig Wright is the creator of bitcoin?

Satoshi Nakamoto was identified, maybe.

Satoshi Nakamoto, a person with a Japanese-like name, is considered as the inventor of Bitcoin. Nakamoto published an original paper regarding blockchain. After that, several supporters started to create the system of administrating bitcoin. Bitcoin was launched in Jan 2009. But, nobody knew who Satoshi Nakamoto was.

Many people have sought to identify Nakamoto. Some people guessed he was Japanese American, according to his name. Another hypothesized that Nakamoto was an officer in NSA considering his exceptional skills and unclarified carrier. Some people were suspected as Nakamoto so far, but none of them were identified as so.

Craig Steven Wright, a 44-year-old Australian, committed that he was Satoshi Nakamoto recently on Skype.

Wired: Bitcoin’s Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Is Probably This Unknown Australian Genius

It is quite easy for everyone to mimic Nakamoto. Indeed, there seem several examples of the mimicking case. However, strong evidence suggests Wright is Nakamoto. He posted some entries on his personal blog, which were concurrently matching the development of bitcoin. In addition, some emails and personal information of Wright were leaked by a hacker. They also indicated that he is the founder of bitcoin.

The BBC: Bitcoin creator 'is 44-year-old Australian', claims Wired

By the way, the police entered Wright’s home yesterday, just after the identification of him as Nakamoto. The police said that this investigation was not relevant to bitcoin. Wight is an entrepreneur so that he is involved in several enterprises in Australia.

The Guardian: Reported bitcoin 'founder' Craig Wright's home raided by Australian police

It is possible that Wright is simply suspected to be evading tax. But the consistency of the commitment of Wright and raid by police seems suggestive. Some people suspect Wright is hoaxing for some intention.

If Wright is truly Nakamoto, he possesses one billion BTC, corresponding five billion USD. I wonder if these bitcoin is to be taxed.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Diagnosing a psychosis with big data: IBM’s challenge

Psychoses, including schizophrenia as a representative example, tend to develop in adolescents’ mind. Early detection and proper intervention are crucial for the better prognosis of psychotic patients. However, an exact diagnosis is often difficult.

To address the variance of diagnostic criteria, Robert Spitzer and his colleagues in American Psychiatric Association established an operationalizing diagnostic criteria, the DSM. Although DSM had been traditionally used also before Spitzer, it was scrapped and entirely revised. Now, DSM-5, the newest version of DSM, gives us relatively reliable and valid standard of psychiatric diagnosis.

So, has the diagnostic methodology evolved in recent years? There are still several controversy on this matter, unfortunately.

Recently, IBM entered the labyrinth to seek the goal.

It is well known that some mental symptoms appear in the prodromal state of psychosis. They include thought disturbance, cognitive deficit, hypersensitiveness, and incoherence in the flow of thinking. The researchers in IBM is seeking some particular patterns suggesting such symptoms in their natural conversation. Specifically, patients are asked to reply some open-ended questions. Their answers are recorded. The content of their speech is assessed based on some special algorithms. Finally, the program detects unnatural thought or flow of thinking in the records.

IBM: Word Analysis Proves Effective Pre-Psychosis Diagnosis

This attempt is fascinating. We, psychiatrists, do an interview with patients in the daily clinical work. Through the conversation, we sense the oddness or abnormalities in the patients, aiding us to diagnose them. Some symptoms are easy to detect, but others are hardly identified. Sometimes we feel difficult to explain why we diagnosed the patients as so.

Examination with a computer includes no vagueness. It will contribute to the precise diagnosis. On the other hand, many patients cannot be identified that they need psychiatric help. In such cases, clinical practitioners tend to get in touch with the patients so that they can intervene the patients when it is required. Computer diagnosis cannot deal with patients who are in the grey zone.

For the reason above, I do not think that the computer diagnosis will replace psychiatrists until the near future. In contrast, diagnostic criteria for some mental disorders will be sophisticated using this digital diagnostic system. Current criteria are described by Spitzer and relevant clinicians. But with big data, more specific symptoms mentioned in natural conversations will be identified. I think it is possible.

Therefore, I am not afraid that the computer will get rid of psychiatrists’ chairs soon, but the DSM-6 will be written by the computer.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The fear of super salmonella

There is another news about medical science, but this one is rather terrible.

A species of antibiotics-resistant salmonella seems to be born. A patient was reported to be infected by this horrible bacterium in Denmark.

Salmonella is a pathogenic bacterium frequently seen in animals. Chicken and eggs are sometimes contaminated with salmonella. If you take it, you will suffer from fever and diarrhea. Salmonella is vulnerable to the heat. So you can eat fried eggs safely. I was cautious to eat raw eggs in London, because British people tend not to eat raw eggs, different from Japanese. Fortunately, I had never encountered such infections there.

As same as many other bacteria, salmonella can be extinguished with some antibiotic drugs. When you are attacked by some bacteria, the immune system in your body will work, firstly. And then, the physician will plan to prescribe some antibiotic drugs to you if the infection is serious. Thanks to the development of antibiotics, there are few people killed by infectious diseases unless the patient has some compromised status, in developed countries.

However, this kind of salmonella newly detected may have resistance to all types of antibiotics. It is quite problematic. It means there is no way to save compromised patients with all means.

But this situation is not an unpredictable result. The human history is described as the battle between antibiotics and bacteria. The more scientists developed a newly antibiotics, the more bacteria evolved themselves to gain the resistance to such drugs. MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a mutated species of Staphylococcus firstly detected some decades ago. It can survive most of the antibiotics. After the detection of MRSA, physicians working in the hospital were told not to use antibiotics recklessly not to create further strong bacteria. However, it is difficult to avoid using antibiotics completely, especially in the treatment of elder patients. Thus, treatment-resistant bacteria were gradually increasing.

This new salmonella is resistant to colistin, a strong antibiotic drug. Because of its toxicity, colistin is seldom used in the clinical setting. On the other hand, colistin has been used in livestock to protect them from infection. Then, the continuous use of colistin can be a cause of the birth of superbug.

At present, colistin-resistant salmonella is not observed in many regions. However, if it causes an outbreak, many patients would be victimized. We should be cautious, not only in the clinical use of antibiotics but also in their use in animals.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Metformin may be a panacea, true?

Immortality is the ultimate dream of human being. It seems ridiculous, but some researchers are serious to pursue the way of the eternal life. Recently, one possibility attracts great attention. It is not a panacea, but a traditional anti-diabetic drug.

Metformin was seen in the scientific literature in 1992 for the first time. It is categorized to biguanide class of anti-diabetic drugs. Its effect of reducing the blood glucose level is strong, but for the risk of causing lactate acidosis, the prescription should be cautiously done.

Recent news suggests that metformin has an effect of prolonging the life in the mice experiments. Furthermore, it may delay the progression of several diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. These facts indicate that metformin includes a substance to prevent the body from aging.

There are similar rumors all around the world. However, something is different at this time. The Food and Drug Administration in the US approved the implementation of clinical research to prove the effect of metformin to boost longevity.

The actual efficacy has yet to be examined. There is limited evidence whether metformin is an elixir. But if the outcome of sophisticated studies is positive, it will be a great impact.

The reason is not its amazing effect, but its inexpensiveness. Metformin’s price is around only ten cents per tablet. You can easily continue to take it for a decade for low cost, as far as your doctor approves it. Note it, there are some fatal adverse effects in metformin. I never recommend you to get it in an illegal way. However, I am afraid some doctors will be willing to sell the tablets in the black market in the future.

For a while, we should be aware of the actual value of metformin. Even if the result is disappointing, we will learn something about it from the studies.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

"The Archangel and the Song of Doom," A fascinating TRPG session

Today, I did a TRPG session in Tokyo.

TRPG, or Table-talk Role Playing Game is a type of party games. In the session, you play a character you created, and live with other characters in the world the Game Master (GM) provided. The GM create a scenario in which some fields, towns, dungeons, and friends and foes. The players, collaborating with the GM, occasionally competitive with the creatures the GM controls, pursue the principal goal in the scenario.

I have had TRPG as my favorite hobby since childhood. But recently, I seldom have an opportunity to take the seat on TRPG because it takes a long time for both playing and preparing for the scenario.

My past entry: Table-talk RPG, my favorite

Indeed, I revised a scenario I wrote a couple of decades ago. It took some years. Woo! The title of the scenario is "The Archangel and the Song of Doom."

As a result of today's play, I was completely satisfied. There were four players participated in the session. They were very kind, and showed great playing. There are a few flaws in my scenario suggested by the players. Even considering them, all looked delighted, fortunately.

The very best benefit of TRPG is that all participants can become the winner. I was rewarded to have seen the smiles of the players. Many thanks for the players, and the time shared with all.

Someday, I want to publish the scenario. And then, it will be translated into English. It is my dream.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

A suicide case of a girl with electro-hypersensitivity

Sad news. An Oxfordshire schoolgirl seemed to have taken her own life.

Interesting is the reason for the suicide. She was suffering from electro-hypersensitivity, so-called Wi-Fi allergy. She felt ill when she stayed near to an electromagnetic wave. Her parents amended the home situation to be free from Wi-Fi, understanding her complaint. But the school could not do so.

International Business Times: Teenage girl who was 'allergic' to WiFi took her own life in a cry for help over rare condition

An electromagnetic wave has a potential to harm the human body. But its dangerousness depends on the magnitude. Staying near to high-voltage radio tower for a long time is not encouraged. Of course, all modern devices which make the wave meet the safety standard. Previously, some cellphones were suspected to interfere the function of an electronic heart pacemaker. But nowadays, it has been proven that such a risk is minimal.

However, it is likely that a few people are too vulnerable to the electromagnetic wave. The modern life is surrounded by an electromagnetic wave. We can no more stand without the benefit of electronic devices. I imagine the agony of the patients.

Fortunately, electro-hypersensitivity is extremely rare. And, there are more patients who describe themselves as so, but really not. I saw some patients feeling sensitive to the wave, but none of them were finally diagnosed as electro-hypersensitivity. Some patients have a delusion in which they are harmed by the electromagnetic wave. They are treated as a patient with delusional disorder.

Following these situations, many physicians are skeptical about the existence of electro-hypersensitivity. Indeed, I did not believe this disease a decade ago. But recent findings suggest that there are actual patients being harmed by the usual level of the electromagnetic wave.

According to this article, it is unsure the poor girl had really electro-hypersensitivity. The amount of, and the dependency upon, electricity is rapidly increasing in the current situation. According to the theory of allergic reaction, the more frequently we expose a substance, the more likely allergy to the substance is induced. We have to be aware of the pros as well as cons of the electricity. Pray for the girl.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Zackerberg's philanthropic donation

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, became a father. And he committed in front of his first daughter to give up most of his estate.

According to his post on Facebook, Mr. & Mrs. Zuckerberg decided to donate the 99% of their shares of Facebook, more than 400 million USD.

Sydney Morning Herald: Mark Zuckerberg promises Facebook shares worth over $60 billion away to charity

Their contribution will be sent to Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. It will be structured as a limited liability company (LLC), to provide the aids to curing disease, learning support, building strong communities, and so on.

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not an NPO. Some people criticized Zuckerberg as he would intend to avoid taxation. He replied that Chan Zuckerberg Initiative should be an LLC to keep a room for political activity, different from NPO. Also, he explained that his profit for selling the stock should be taxed.

The New York Times: Zuckerberg Defends Structure of His Philanthropic Outfit

I understand Zuckerberg’s intention. It is not easy to utilize a considerable amount of donation with flexibility. LLC is a fascinating figure of foundation for his donation. Some years ago, Son Masayoshi, the CEO of Softbank, also donated 1 billion JPY (100 million USD at the time) for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011. But he had to establish a new organization to manage the money. His behavior was misunderstood by some people disliking him.

Zuckerberg’s act should be appreciated without a doubt. On the other hand, it is not rare for a billionaire to donate most of his or her fortune. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett also carried out the similar thing. In the Western culture, there seems an ideology of the "nobles obliges." In addition, taxation system in the US may encourage them to give away their money rather than sparing. Instead, few Japanese make a donation. Or, if done, they hesitate to reveal their act. An interesting difference.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Cheap prostitute in Greece, study found

Prostitution is considered as one of the oldest occupation. In spite of the moral conflict and societal discrimination, it has still been alive in the modern society.

Recently, a shocking report was released about the price of sex. According to a survey conducted by Gregory Laxos at Panteion University, some women in Greece offer a half-hour sex session for only two euros.

Hindustan Times: Greek girls selling sex for the price of a sandwich: Study

In Greece, Eastern Europeans were dominant in the sex industry, previously. But they were replaced by Greek girls recently. They seem not to request much money for having sex. And providers of cheapest sex is rising.

It is an unbelievable result. I could not find the original research paper. The Times seems to have introduced the content of the study for the first time.

The Times: Greek students sell sex for food

Greece is suffering from the long-lasting recession. Job rate is still low, and there are many young women seeking a permanent occupation. It is not irrational that some of these women are asking for money for their body. Nonetheless, some euros is not suitable for half-an-hour of sexual relationship with a stranger.

Greek Reporter: Author of Study on Greek Female Sex Workers Denies Cheese-Pie

In Japan, prostitution by young women is also a big problem. However, I think these women are categorized into two groups. On one hand, not a few girls feel solitary. They want a connection with others, even if it is a sexual relationship. They tend to offer sex for a low price. On the other hand, some women have to make money quickly for their own life. They calculate the amount of money to be needed.

The Greek cases are different from Japan’s. I am afraid the issue of poverty and joblessness is so serious in Greece. Anyway, I cannot believe this result.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Complete insomnia due to levofloxacin

Some days ago, I reported my health problem in this blog. After a struggle, my status became considerably good.

My past entry: Headache and sore throat

However, I made a mistake that brought me an annoying symptom. For your interest, I will write about it.

I had been forced to stay on the bed for a couple of days because of a serious headache and sore throat. I had to be absent on Monday. Also, I felt cold a bit, although without fevered. I was afraid if I would not get recovered even in the next day.

The cause of 90% of pharyngitis is a viral infection. There is no specific remedy against viruses, other than few exception like influenza. Therefore, I had not taken any medication for these days.

However, I suspected that my bad status was attributed to bacterial infections, considering the severe and long-lasting symptoms. Then, I decided to take a pill.

I chose a 500mg tablet of levofloxacin. Levofloxacin is an antibacterial drug belonging to fluoroquinolone type antibiotics. It covers several categories of pathogenic bacteria as a counterstrike. In a clinical setting, I should be cautious to prescribe levofloxacin to patients because of the risk of creating antibiotics-resistant bacteria. But, I did not hesitate to use it, since I seldom take pills. First of all, I had to go to my office for clinical work the next day. After all, I took it at 9 P.M.

What happened?

I could not sleep at all that night. Never! On the day, I went to bed at 1 A.M., because I overslept on the morning. I was tired, and guessed I would easily go to sleep. However, I felt no sleepiness at all. I seldom experience insomnia. It was terribly surprising.

According to the theory of the good sleep, I had to leave from the bed when difficult to sleep. But I was exhausted due to a headache, and could not get up again. Instead, I continued to lay down on the bed, thinking some silly things, turning over my body again and again. Finally, I felt miserable, and I noticed I was depressed.

My past entry: Five essences for beautiful sleep

I got up at 6 A.M., on the next morning. I did not take even one minute of sleep. It was the first experience for me.

Refusing sleep, or stay up late at night is sometimes fun. Sleep deprivation is considered as a treatment option for depression. But the inability to sleep while tired is nothing other than a torture. I understood how terrible insomnia is.

Levofloxacin causes insomnia. It is one of the adverse effects of this drug. I underestimated its risk.

I will never take, or prescribe a 500mg tablet of levofloxacin at night.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

OTC drugs in the US & Japan

Very recently, I saw an article in the New York Times warning the use of OTC drugs in the US.

The New York Times: Over-the-Counter Medicines’ Benefits and Dangers

OTC, or Over The Counter drugs are available without permission by the physician. There are huge varieties of OTC drugs in the US. You can buy painkiller, laxative, and even some tranquilizers.

In spite that you can easily get ones, OTCs are not so benign to your body. Maladjusted usage could be fatal, as the article mentioned. I completely agree with the opinion.

On the other hand, very few drugs are available as OTCs in Japan, as I wrote in the past. The situation has not been amended. Until recently, merchandise of drugs via the internet had been illegal in Japan. And still now there are very few types of drugs are available without the prescription by the physician.

My past entry: Drug stores without drugs

The situation is very different in the both countries. There are some reasons for it.

Firstly, the US government is strongly eager to reduce the medical cost. If a drug is categorized to the OTC drug, it means that consultation and prescription fees regarding the drug will be no more required.

Secondly, many patients are also fond of buying the OTC based on their own assessment. It is due to the American culture in which self-decision is respected.

In contrast, Japanese patients tend to visit hospital frequently. They usually trust the physician's judgement more than their own sense. In addition, Japanese public health insurance enables us to consult a physician with relatively low cost. It is funny that some OTC drugs are more expensive than prescription drugs with equal effectiveness because of the health insurance system. It is quite rational few patients want to a drug on the drugstore in Japan.

The Japanese government is as well expanding the range of OTC drugs. However, medical associations are strongly opposing to this policy. They claim that OTC drugs sales cannot guarantee the safety of the patients. But the other reason against OTCs is the fear of decreased amount of patients visiting the hospital. Many Japanese hospitals belong a private sector. Thus, lessened patients mean shrunk income level directly for them.

In my opinion, neither the US nor Japan is the best. For example, SSRIs should not be the OTC drugs for their risk. Even psychiatrists can underestimate the toxicity of these drugs. On the other hand, Japan has excessively strict policy against painkillers, I think. Some years ago, the government planned to relax the regulation regarding the selling of poultices, but it was cancelled accepting the opposing voices by physicians' associations.

Medical drugs are highly specialized remedies to defeat diseases. But they are for the patients, not physicians.