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"The Secret Museum" Exhibition Opening, Observatory, This Saturday, April 10, 7-10 PM

Posted: April 6, 2010 at 9:37 pm








This Saturday, April 10th, Observatory in Brooklyn, New York will be hosting the opening party for my new exhibition "The Secret Museum." Full details follow. Hope to see you there!

Exhibition: "The Secret Museum"
Opening party: Saturday April 10th, 7-10 PM
On view from April 10th-May 16th
Admission: Free

An exhibition exploring the poetics of hidden, untouched and curious collections from around the world in photographs and artifacts, by Joanna Ebenstein, co-founder of Observatory and creator of Morbid Anatomy.

Photographer and blogger Joanna Ebenstein has traveled the Western world seeking and documenting untouched, hidden, and curious collections, from museum store-rooms to private collections, cabinets of curiosity to dusty natural history museums, obscure medical museums to hidden archives. The exhibition “The Secret Museum” will showcase a collection of photographs from Ebenstein’s explorations–including sites in The Netherlands, Italy, France, Austria, England and the United States–which document these spaces while at the same time investigating the psychology of collecting, the visual language of taxonomies, notions of “The Specimen” and the ordered archive, and the secret life of objects and collections, with an eye towards capturing the poetry, mystery and wonder of these liminal spaces. In tandem with this exhibition, Ebenstein has organized a 2 week “Collector’s Cabinet” at the The Coney Island Museum, which will showcase astounding objects held in private collections, including artifacts featured in her Private Cabinet photo series of 2009.

To download press release, which includes sample images, please click here.

ASSOCIATED LECTURES AND EVENTS
Congress for Curious People at the Coney Island Museum
2-day symposium exploring the idea of collecting curiosities in the 21st century as well as the politics, history, and changing methodology of collecting and collections. Also on view will be “The Collector’s Cabinet,” an installation of astounding artifacts held in private collections. A week of themed lectures at the Coney Island Museum will precede the symposium:

The Saddest Object in the World
An Illustrated Meditation by Evan Michelson, Obscura Antiques and Oddities, Morbid Anatomy Library Scholar in residence
Date: Monday, April 12th
Time: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: * Coney Island Museum, Brooklyn

Taxidermy in the Fine ArtsRobert Marbury of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists
Date: Tuesday, April 13th
Time: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: * Coney Island Museum, Brooklyn

A Brief History of Automate
An Illustrated Lecture and Demonstration by Mike Zohn, Obscura Antiques and Oddities
Date: Wednesday, April 14th
Time: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: * Coney Island Museum, Brooklyn

A History of Taxidermy: Art, Science and Bad Taste
An Illustrated Presentation By Dr. Pat Morris, Royal Holloway, University of London
Date: Thursday, April 15th
Time: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: * Coney Island Museum, Brooklyn

Charles Wilson Peale and the Birth of the American Museum
An Illustrated Presentation by Samuel Strong Dunlap, PhD, Descendant of Charles Wilson Peale
Date: Friday, April 16th
Time: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: * Coney Island Museum, Brooklyn

Museums, Monsters and the Moral Imagination
An Illustrated lecture with Professor Stephen Asma, author of Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads and On Monsters.
Date: Thursday, April 22
Time: 8:00 PM
LOCATION: * Observatory, Brooklyn

Experimenting with Death: An Introduction to Terror Management Theory
An Illustrated Lecture by Michael Johns, Former Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wyoming
Time: 8:00 PM
Date: Friday, May 7
LOCATION: * Observatory, Brooklyn

You can find out more by clicking here. You can get directions to Observatory by clicking here. You can find out more about the "Congress for Curious People" by clicking here. You can get on our mailing list by clicking here can join Observatory on Facebook by clicking here.

Image credits: Images 1-3: Tim Knox and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Collection, London. Image 4: Archives 2009-015, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. Image 5: Natural History Museum Store-room; Image 6: Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Rouen, Store-room; Image 7: "Femme à barbe," Musée Orfila. Courtesy of Paris Descartes University.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Ofquack to regulate herbal medicine?

Posted: April 6, 2010 at 8:17 am

The attempted regulation of herbalism looks doomed to failure with a clear difference of opinion between government and practitioners, the latter prefer statutory regulation which has been rejected as an option by government.

Last week the Department of Health (DoH) recommended that the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC/Ofquack)  regulate herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture.  Minister for Health, Andy Burnham, said:

“Emerging evidence clearly demonstrates that the public needs better protection, but in a way that is measured and does not place unreasonable extra burdens on practitioners.

“I am therefore minded to legislate to ensure that all practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal medicines to members of the public in England must be registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

The CNHC have expressed their pleasure at this announcement:

CNHC is pleased to be asked by The Secretary of State for Health to register practitioners supplying herbal medicines to members of the public in England.

The Council already registers a significant range of practitioners in complementary healthcare who meet its standards and is well positioned to expand its public protection role in this way. Since 2008 CNHC has established its reputation as a regulatory body with robust and effective standards for registration and fitness to practise. It has positive and collaborative links with the statutory healthcare regulators.

This is probably regarded as good news by the CNHC, they have had a well documented struggle for funding and have trouble attracting some of the more popular forms of quackery.   Regardless of this, the CNHC are not fit for purpose, they have recently told sceptical blogger Simon Perry that they will not consider his complaints for the next 6 months:

I began making complaints to the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council about reflexologist members who happily promote their bogus treatments despite the fact that there was not a jot of evidence to support them.

The CNHC has now informed me that for the next six months, they will no longer be processing any complaints that are similar to the ones I’ve submitted. By similar, I take this to mean complaints regarding practitioners who mislead their clients by making unjustifiable or false statements, including practitioners who have already been cautioned by the CNHC for doing it before.

The CNHC was set up under the aegis of Prince Charles’ Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH) to be a self-regulatory body for alternative health, now it is one that is not prepared to regulate.  However this is not unexpected.  Organisations purporting to regulate quackery rarely do so beyond upholding the doctrines and articles of faith of the respective field of quackery, managing risks to consumer health are generally not a priority.

It would be a concern for those with an interest in exposing the practices of alternative medicine if the CNHC were to regulate herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.  This, despite the recommendations of Andy Burnham, is unlikely to happen for two reasons.

1) The government is unlikely to exist in its current form within a month or two.  A general election is expected early in May and the Labour party are unlikely to win, if they are to remain in power it will be in a coalition but it is more likely that the next government will be formed from the Conservative party.  None of the major parties have a clearly stated policy on the regulation of alternative medicine, nor is it likely to be a major election issue, so the Department of Health’s current proposals are likely to be mothballed for some considerable time.

2) Herbalists  and TCM practitioners do not want CNHC regulation.

This latter point is the most important.  The European Herbal & Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTMPA), the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM), the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM), and the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) amongst others in the alphabetical smorgasbord that represents the various denominations of herbalism, have all campaigned for statutory regulation.  Their intent was to be regulated by the Health Professionals Council (HPC), a more serious organisation than the CNHC, that regulates practitioners in proven fields of health.  This statutory regulation would confer protected status on their profession, restricting the title of Herbalist to those regulated by its rules.

By and large these organisations are disappointed with the DoH’s announcement:

the CNHC (the proposed regulator) was formed to regulate complementary health practitioners on a voluntary basis, and as currently constituted, is not equipped for statutory regulation.

the government seems to have failed to deliver its promise, and has changed its mind from HPC as our regulatory body to CNHC. We would like to demand an explanation from the government on what ground it has changed its mind, as CNHC is only a voluntary body with no statutory power. From the rather short DH press release which lacks details, we doubt whether the government still wants to introduce statutory regulation, or decides to go for an alternative.

Herbalists should be regulated like other statutory regulated healthcare practitioner or, the public will lose access to properly regulated herbalists and a wide range of herbal medicines. The Government must give detailed assurances that the legal and structural basis of statutory regulation is fit for purpose or it will betray the millions of people who regularly consult herbal practitioners. So far the Government has singularly failed to provide these guarantees.

As the CNHC is voluntary these organisations have no need to insist that their members sign up, in fact as they are holding out for statutory regulation it is unlikely that they will be willing to express any support for the CNHC, to do so would undermine their campaign.  This will damage the CNHC’s longterm viability, no new members means no new funding sources, and with the homeopaths mired in infighting the herbalists represent their last decent chance of acquiring new members in the medium term.

This is good news for those that are concerned about poor practice in alternative medicine.  The collapse of the CNHC will further damage the reputation of alternative medicine.  Hopefully a new government will take stock of the intransigence of the herbalists, the infighting of the homeopaths and the inability of the CNHC to regulate and instead apply a more robust external form of regulation for quackery.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Video: Why submit your research to the BMJ?

Posted: April 6, 2010 at 8:17 am

The BMJ has produced a short video to help you find out about getting research published there. It includes interviews with published authors and clips from some of the short films that accompany important research articles.

Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow on Twitter and Buzz, and connect on Facebook.


Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

The two current heavyweight world boxing champions both have PhDs, believe or not

Posted: April 6, 2010 at 8:17 am

Believe or not, but the two current heavyweight world boxing champions both have PhDs... The two researchers are the Ukrainian heavyweight boxers and brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko.

Wladimir Klitschko, called "Dr. Steel Hammer"(born 25 March 1976, Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan), currently holds the IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine world heavyweight titles. His older brother, Vitali Klitschko, is the current WBC world heavyweight champion.
In the summer of 1996, Klitschko finished Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky Pedagogical Institute (Ukraine) and was accepted in the postgraduate study program of Kiev University. On 18 January 2001 in a conference hall of Kiev University of physical science and sports, Klitschko presented his doctoral dissertation and was awarded a Ph.D. in Sports Science. Klitschko speaks four languages: Ukrainian, Russian, German and English.
Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.
Vitali Klitschko, called "Dr. Ironfist", (born 19 July 1971 in Belovodsk, Kirghiz SSR, Soviet Union (now Kyrgyzstan) is a Ukrainian professional heavyweight boxer and the current WBC world heavyweight champion. He has the highest knockout percentage (94.9%) of any heavyweight boxing champion in overall fights.
Vitali is the first professional boxing world champion to hold a Ph.D. In 1996, he graduated from the Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky Pedagogical Institute (Ukraine) and was accepted into the postgraduate study program at Kiev University. On 29 February 2000, he presented his doctoral thesis on "talent and sponsorship in sports" at the Kiev University of Physical Science and Sports, and his Ph.D. in Sports Science was conferred.
Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow on Twitter and Buzz, and connect on Facebook.


Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

World Health Organization reference values for human semen characteristics

Posted: April 6, 2010 at 8:15 am

BACKGROUND

Semen quality is taken as a surrogate measure of male fecundity in clinical andrology, male fertility, reproductive toxicology, epidemiology and pregnancy risk assessments. Reference intervals for values of semen parameters from a fertile population could provide data from which prognosis of fertility or diagnosis of infertility can be extrapolated.

METHODS

Semen samples from over 4500 men in 14 countries on four continents were obtained from retrospective and prospective analyses on fertile men, men of unknown fertility status and men selected as normozoospermic. Men whose partners had a time-to-pregnancy (TTP) of ≤12 months were chosen as individuals to provide reference distributions for semen parameters. Distributions were also generated for a population assumed to represent the general population.

RESULTS

The following one-sided lower reference limits, the fifth centiles (with 95th percent confidence intervals), were generated from men whose partners had TTP ≤ 12 months: semen volume, 1.5 ml (1.4–1.7); total sperm number, 39 million per ejaculate (33–46); sperm concentration, 15 million per ml (12–16); vitality, 58% live (55–63); progressive motility, 32% (31–34); total (progressive + non-progressive) motility, 40% (38–42); morphologically normal forms, 4.0% (3.0–4.0). Semen quality of the reference population was superior to that of the men from the general population and normozoospermic men.

CONCLUSIONS

The data represent sound reference distributions of semen characteristics of fertile men in a number of countries. They provide an appropriate tool in conjunction with clinical data to evaluate a patient's semen quality and prospects for fertility.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Economic consequences of overweight and obesity in infertility: a framework for evaluating the costs and outcomes of fertility care

Posted: April 6, 2010 at 8:15 am

BACKGROUND

Overweight and obesity are an epidemic in Western society, and have a strong impact on fertility. We studied the consequences of overweight and obesity with respect to fecundity, costs of fertility treatment and pregnancy outcome in subfertile women.

METHODS

We searched the literature for systematic reviews and large studies reporting on the effect of weight on both fecundity and pregnancy outcome in subfertile women. We collected data on costs of treatment with ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization, as well as costs of pregnancy complications. We calculated, for ovulatory and anovulatory women separately, the number of expected pregnancies, complications and costs in a hypothetical cohort of 1000 normal weight, overweight and obese women each.

RESULTS

In our hypothetical cohort of 1000 women, compared with women with normal weight, live birth was decreased by 14 and 15% (from 806 live births to 692 and 687 live births) in overweight and obese anovulatory women, respectively, for ovulatory women it was decreased by 22 and 24% (from 698 live births to 546 and 531 live births), respectively. These outcomes were associated with an increase in the number of complications and associated costs leading to cost per live birth in anovulatory overweight and obese women were 54 and 100% higher than their normal weight counterparts, for ovulatory women they were 44 and 70% higher, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Overweight and obese subfertile women have a reduced probability of successful fertility treatment and their pregnancies are associated with more complications and higher costs.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith


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