(A glimpse into my life as a Vanderbilt medical student)

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Methylene Blue and Bacon

With former President Clinton once again upstaging Kerry in the area of news coverage, the collective media mind has again become fixated on the number one killer of Americans. It turns out however, that there is more to fear from your bacon than artery clogging fat. In a shocking expose of sensational salt switching, the new drama “Medical Investigation” (which you have no doubt heard of if you saw more than thirty seconds of Olympic coverage) kicks off its first season with a classic case of mistaken molecular identity and subsequent blue New Yorkers.

I can’t speak for the entertainment value of the show, but Harold Varmus’ review of MI for the Times is one of the more amusing critiques I have read in a long time. From the title to his masterful use of sublime understatement, Varmus effectively deconstructs the premise of the show and rips into its obnoxious cast members and unrealistic epidemiologic research. (I would love to meet the producer who thinks that epidemiology makes for riveting prime time.) The most interesting thing about the article, however, is not its critique of the show, but rather the CDC article that Varmus links to at the end.

It’s a sad time for entertainment when a CDC report can generate a more interesting story than some of the more talented writers on television. I guess I should just be content that it isn’t some medically themed reality show. It is such a relief that no member of our profession would ever degrade themselves to that level. Who me? Cynical? Never!


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