There's a captivating story that leads off this article, and it presents an almost euphoric sense of the potential for "ehealth" to expand and prosper. However, (and maybe it's me) as you read further you see that ultimately we're talking about healthcare systems buying up smaller physician's practices and the result is the creation of what seems like a cottage industry of leviathan healthcare systems. I'm no doctor, and I never played one on television but if your medical information is, say, oh, maybe----WRONG in one system---it's wrong all over the place.


But it's important to note that----and sentiments are expressed along these lines---that it's a brave, new world that doesn't quite have a healthcare roadmap at this point. Feel free to e-mail me and say a word or two. 


Alonzo LaMont

Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:

Honest. She did. I offered Ellen the hard cash, but she said "No, I'd rather wear the T-Shirt". Sometimes it goes that way. People can't put a pricetag on a Welch T-Shirt. Ellen Dicks sent us some FEEDBACK, and here she is sporting new attire.


How many of us would do the same? Ellen works over in Public Health, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology---and now----deep down----I know the entire Department is jealous.


Sometimes life is just so unfair............


Send us some FEEDBACK (the link is on Welchweb), and you too could have the opportunity to take home one million dollars.

I was kidding about the million bucks. What? You knew? What gave it away?


Alonzo LaMont

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While we may applaud the newfound medical protocols that come our way, I have two very distinct examples of what could be called the hi-brow and low-brow of recent discoveries. NPR had a story (thanks Carrie Price for sending my way) about a DIY DNA testing.

For a few hundred bucks and some spit you can receive a forecast about a variety of predictions for your individual health. We'll call this the high road. Now let's venture onto the Jerry Springer version of DNA medical outcomes. Yes, it's a "who's your Daddy truck". Folks, we are taking modern medicine to the people. Taking all the guesswork out of your nocturnal to speak. Why wait for a talk show invite, when you can break out your plastic, offer up a swab and pray for the best?

The point of both articles is crystal clear. Aside from the convenience of both services, there's perhaps a moral question that's been raised by bigger brains than I. Just because we can, should we? For all the wonderful reasons why it could be good to know your future health patterns, how will we react to actually knowing so much about ourselves? If your child gets tested, (hopefully not for the "Who's your Daddy Truck), and you're armed with a certain set of predictables----would you ho-hum the results, or would you invest in a pre-emptive strike to make him/her more perfect? We give them plastic surgery if they sneeze the wrong way, what would we do if your child's health forecast was cloudy and not sunny? Perhaps the real question is "what would you be willing to do---and how far would you be willing to go?" 


Alonzo LaMont

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CommComm posted on August 9, 2012 19:45

Perhaps you've already heard this story. Hunkered down in the article it mentions that since 2007, 90,000 youth have had plastic surgery (not all related to bullying). I posted a similiar article in FB that looked at how much (that increasingly over-used) "self-esteem" has become both culprit and cure-all for all things related to hurt feelings. Heavens to Betsy----hurt feelings are now officially the end of the universe. So go get a face change. That's what self-esteem is tied to correct? Beauty. It seems not a day goes by when some commentator isn't rhapsodizing about someone's self-esteem, or someone's RENEWED self-esteem. Will beauty give people self-esteem? Evidently. It's already well-chronicled. So many lucky teens, so much self-esteem.

Almost by osmosis, beauty and self-esteem have become tied at the hip. If you're thinking that strength of character, perserverance, or sense of achievement have jumped ship---you'd be right. The message seems to be that this isn't their domain anymore. Because when your worth is defined chiefly by your looks----well----game over. Take your ball and go home. 

Bullying is no joke. And unlike when other generations grew up, you can't go home and leave it on the playground. The Twitterverse won't let you. However, is it asking too much not to seek out the available extremes? The solution to what life throws our way doesn't always involve breast augmentation or rhinoplasty. Hurt feelings happen everyday. Judging by the multitude of ills, anxieties, allergies, phobias, depressions and suicides that plague teenagers these days---(google up "teens and self-esteem, behold a cottage industry) chances are that if I can buy you some self-esteem, could be you're not really getting your money's worth. This topis has generated a plethora of responses---others say this much better than I.


Alonzo LaMont 


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How many times have you heard it said about a musician, or an artist that they "sold out". Ohhhh, the horror. The Indignity. Is this not the worst condemnation that could be ever be applied? Our contemporary version of "selling out" seems to have been invented by the Woodstock Generation, (at least they seemed to popularize the concept), and it's the official scarlet letter for any young artist. A wider lens reveals that throughout history there have been a zillion examples of artists, or enterprising individuals with a concept, a business, or just the germ of an idea---who was faced with an offer they just couldn't refuse. Putting food on the table is a pretty strong motivational tool when it involves the decision-making process.

I just read an article (the article is in the current edition of "Adventure Cycling", but you can't get it---so I wiki'd it up---scroll down to "Company History") about the creator of the "Clif Bar," Gary Erickson, who turned down a $120 million dollar offer from Quaker Oats in 2000. One Hundred and Twenty Million Dollars. Why? He didn't want to give away the identity he'd established. For 120 mil, I'd keep the check and go establish me a couple more identities. However, the perception of selling out was perhaps not what we thought to begin with. Don't take my word for it, from the sounds of things Hopkins is re-inventing the discussion to fit the changing world of academic research. As the article states, science and industry are fast becoming best buds. Maybe you've got a different take? Let me know.


Alonzo LaMont

Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:

Admit it, "personalized medicine," and "medical marijuana" have become the medical buzzwords du jour. Not a day goes by when I'm not seeing the splashed headlines of one or the other. Usually they're attached to something that reads like "the science supports this...." or "the science supports that..."

I've picked out these two because in a broad sense, they may well be linked-up in the not-too-distant future. The grandeur of personalized medicine evokes Julie Andrews twirling on that Austrian mountaintop belting out "the hills are alive with the sound of personalized medicine". It has a utopian zing that puts a glide into your healthcare stride. Ahhhhh, if only we all could be singled out for our own special care, and treatment. No more buying off the rack. We're getting medicinals from the Dolce and Gabbana Specialty Store. But not so fast says Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. As you cruise down this article, you'll see his objections, which practically wolf howl against several of the major prevailing theories. Others have weighed in on the pros and cons, and ultimately they point the finger at that pesky "Big Data" as the key witness (as the case moves forward). 

And in this corner, here comes medical marijuana --- bidding to be a cornerstone of personalized medicine. I posted this on FB, but the image of the storefront weed shop deserved more attention.  One of the pro-weed claims is that it helps certain mental health issues. Here's what helps mental health issues----the less drugs in your body the better. That's my simple, humble take on the matter. Are we that far from one of those "ask your doctor about.....(CUT TO)....(slumped over millenial, earphones attached, head nodding, music vaguely in distance)..."about getting stoned?" I realize this has turned into a hot button topic. Just ask Oakland and Los Angeles (which seems to have multiple personalities regarding the issue). 

Regardless of how it all plays out, what's worth noting is that doors have been opened that may not get closed anytime soon. Sequence my genomes, give me my weed and tell my smart phone if a heart attack is coming my way. The real discovery seems to be how big data is turning into small (individualized) data that's morphing into that pretty red sportscar we can't wait to drive..................................just because we can.


Alonzo Lamont 

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This is so much fun. I should show up with a Grand Sweepstakes Winner check. But since I don't have one----I show up with the next best thing. Samata Kakkad was nice enough to put on our shirt. Of course, her friend provides all the moral support this august occasion deserves. And just like that it happens. A Photo Op is born. 

I know, I know----you're kicking yourselves for not getting one. But you still can! How?! Click on the FEEDBACK link on WelchWeb, and send us some FEEDBACK. We enter your name in our monthly raffle and you have a chance to win.

"But what if my FEEDBACK is all bad?"

Don't matter!

"But what if my FEEDBACK is not nice?"

Don't matter!

"But what if my FEEDBACK only talks about my big tabby cat named Cherokee Moon Kitty?"

You won't win.

So keep on the straight and narrow. Share some FEEDBACK, and you could be living the dream. We've got another winner this month (we always pick 2), we're just trying to track him down. Stay tuned.



And now I finally caught up with Andres Quintero. I cornered him outside of the School of Public Health. Andres has hit the medical school ground running and since time was of the essence, I brought T-shirt, he brought himself and away we go.



 And this is Andres after I told him to ditch the bag. There's only one star in this film and obviously it's that darling lil Welch T.

This could be you. "No it can't". Yes it can. Hit that FEEDBACK link. Tell us what you think about our new Website. We're listening, so what do you have to say?   

Alonzo LaMont

CommComm posted on July 17, 2012 22:10

I switched my Doctor a while back (actually my Doctor retired from Doctoring, go figure). Of course my new Doctor requested my medical records from my old one. Let's review: new Doctor wants records from old Doctor. I know it's not a complicated request, but in this case, entire Civilizations have been built with less agravation. My old Doctor's office couldn't seem to manage sending my records along. So it was the tag-team trio of my new Doctor, wife and yours truly that ultimately entered the patient records arena. We made calls. We made more calls. We implored. We questioned. (And we offered our two cents).

A variety of organizations (look at the "Solutions" section in that article) and individuals have chimed in on situations related to the triangulation of Patient/Doctor/medical records partnerships. It's been at least five months since my records were requested. I've even paid a bill sent by a company that says they transported my records. Have my records arrived? New Doc says no. The quest goes on. New Doc says she'll get to the bottom of this. At this point, maybe it's ok that I'm starting out fresh. Who needs those old records anyway. Too much backstory and new Doc might want me to get some surgery, or suggest some horse pills or mental therapy (way too late for that).

I'm starting to embrace the idea that mayhaps my records are somewhere written down by hand, and nobody ever put them into a computer. Maybe they didn't "go digital". Why didn't they? And was that a bad thing?  JAMA thinks the computer is the heavy-handed "third-party" who gets in the way of patient/Doctor engagement. We'll see how this all plays out. But for now, just the process itself has bonded me to new Doc in a way that old medical records never would.

Moral of story? Never underestimate the power of someone who cares.

Alonzo LaMont      

Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:

Many thanks to Robin Sinn, from the Scholarly Communications Group (SCG) up at JHU-Eisenhower Library, for sending me another point of view that falls pretty much on the heels of a FB post I put up on Dissertation (author) rights and how easy it is to sign them away. Here's the original story. 

Kevin Smith, who works with the SCG at Duke University, applies a bit of a smack-down, and more than a little share of "ownership levity" for potential authors who face similiar circumstances. I believe the chief principle is the same for most intellectual rights situations: "buyer beware". This is the same reason artists are encouraged to seek legal assistance before they sign off on any transactions. Before the ink is dry, you've given away the farm and find out all you actually own is your name and a few ears of corn.

The other night, watching the piracy behind the relocation of the Barnes Foundation ," you couldn't help but witness the genuine article that we traditionally refer to as "ownership" being ransacked by the driving will of those more, shall we say, "monetarily empowered". It's a classic case of what can only be viewed as a classic swindle. While the stakes are magnificently higher in "The Art of the Steal," it does provide a context for observing the sharks in the water.


Alonzo LaMont    


Posted in: Hopkins Community  Tags:
CommComm posted on July 9, 2012 19:54

Since we never seem to lose interest in ALL THINGS REFWORKS, I'd like to add this little ditty from Ivy Garner, our resident RefWorks Guru. 

"For all  “new” and "current" users of Refworks. Refworks just recently released an updated version of Writencite3, called Writencite4.

However, due to numerous complaints regarding the operation and functionally of  the newest version, (WnC-4), all Refworks users are advised to continue using the earlier version (WnC3) until further notice"

Questions? Comments?

Alonzo LaMont

Posted in: Hopkins Community , Technology Updates  Tags:

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