Consider two numbers: 800,000 and 21.

The first is the number of medical research papers that were published in 2008. The second is the number of new drugs that were approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year.

That’s an ocean of research producing treatments by the drop. Indeed, in recent decades, one of the most sobering realities in the field of biomedical research has been the fact that, despite significant increases in funding — as well as extraordinary advances in things like genomics, computerized molecular modeling, and drug screening and synthesization — the number of new treatments for illnesses that make it to market each year has flatlined (pdf) at historically low levels.

And before anyone jumps to pin the blame on the F.D.A., it’s important to note that it’s not just new drug approvals that have declined — new drug applications have, too. Last year the F.D.A. received just 23.


Here are the conditions treated for those 23 drugs:

 Multiple Sclerosis (384,000 people in the US)

 Pompe disease (90 patients in the US have this)

 NAGS Deficiency Hyperammonemia (320 patients per year diagnosed)

 Dupuytren’s Contracture (21,100 people in the US have this)

 Osteoporosis (416,000 people in the US)


 Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation

 Varicose Vein

 Schizophrenia (430,000 people in the US)

 Breast Cancer (1.35 million people in the US)

 Pneumonia, Skin and Structure Infection

 Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (about 1 million people in the US)

 Postcoital Contraception

 Cervical Dystonia, Blepharospasm, Glabellar Lines (about 30,000 people in the US)

 Diabetes Mellitus Type II (about 25 million people in the US)

 Prostate Cancer (965,000 people in the US)

 Gout (385,000 people in the US)

 Gaucher Disease (10,600 people in the US)

 Reduction of Excess Abdominal Fat in HIV-Infected Patients with Lipodystrophy (5000 people in the US)

 Allergic Conjunctivitis (425,000 people in the US)

Following up on my recent chicken pox vaccine post:

The number of babies who died in the entire United States in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 with varicella as the underlying cause was zero.

Remember, we don’t even vaccinate kids younger than one, so any benefits they are seeing are from herd immunity. This is an aspect of immunization which is discussed too rarely. You don’t just vaccinate your kids to protect them; you vaccinate them to protect all children. And when other children get vaccinated, they are protecting yours. 

Vaccinate your kids.


Photo of my goddaughter by me. Thanks Kevin!

Hey my company is in Vogue Living’s “Being Human” edition, highlighting “design that puts people first.” Yeeha…

Pediatrician and Preventive Medicine specialist Jay Parkinson believes quality health care requires good design and community engagement. It’s a message he is bringing to consumers and the medical industry worldwide through The Future Well; the design and consultancy firm was launched last year by Parkinson and partner Grant Harrison. The duo use their blog and speaking engagements to articulate their philosophy of better health care through social solutions. Recently, The Future Well collaborated with the British National Health Service on the transformation of Saint Charles, a 150-year old hospital campus in London, by introducing programs to facilitate better community health. It’s as simple as eating fresh whole foods, being more active, and removing toxins from your home. Visit

I don’t know about that last sentence, but all the rest rings true!

So it looks like the combination of cocaine and alcohol has taken another musician’s life. Here are the facts about combining cocaine and alcohol:

In 74% of cocaine-related fatalities in the United States, another drug, usually alcohol, had been co-ingested. The addition of alcohol to cocaine increases the risk of sudden death 25-fold.

Cocaine is the most frequently reported substance associated with drug abuse or misuse deaths. Cocaine is reported in 39% of such drug deaths, ranging from 8-70% in various areas.


Amy Winehouse at my studio in 2007 #2

Fast Food founders & longevity

Ray Kroc (McDonald’s) at age 82
Jimmy Dean died at age 81
Taco Bell founder Glen Bell died at 86
Sonic founder Troy Smith died at 87
Hardee’s founder Wilber Hardee died at 89
Baskin-Robbins founder Irvine Robbins died at 90
Carl’s Jr. founder Carl Karcher died at 90
Frozen french fry mogul J.R. Simplot died at 99
Murray Handwerker, credited with making Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs into a well-known national chain, died at 89


Chickenpox Deaths Plummet With Help Of Vaccine

I’ve said this many times before, but for anyone who questions vaccines, please, please reassess your views. Vaccines save lives. It’s as simple and beautiful as that.

Ever since the chickenpox vaccine became routine for kids back in 1995, deaths from the virus, also known as varicella, have been dropping. A study in the journal Pediatrics out today tells us just how steep that drop has been…In the 12 years after the one-dose vaccination program was launched, deaths from varicella dropped 88 percent overall compared with the prevaccine years.

Chickenpox Deaths Plummet With Help Of Vaccine