Category: Heart disease

Results being “due to” causes somehow doesn’t imply causality

So, last week I had the pleasure of enjoying this delicious meal while exploring some backstreet neighbourhoods in Muscat, Oman. See can you guess what the green stuff is…


Here’s a closer look…


And here it is listed on the menu:

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“How to Not Die”

Good news everyone. I’ll be giving a keynote at next month’s Psychology, Health, & Medicine conference in Limerick.

Here’s the abstract:

How to Not Die: What we really know about stress and heart disease

Everyone knows that stress increases blood pressure, and nearly everyone knows that such fluctuations in blood pressure constitute a risk factor for disease.

Indeed, demonstrating this empirically has been psychology’s most impactful contribution to the health sciences: it has influenced public policy, changed medical practice, and saved lives.

Such links have conventionally been discussed in terms of sustained elevation by stress of cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) such that disease onset becomes inevitable. However, the stress-CVR association is not that straightforward.

At least four anomalies exist: (a) elevated CVR is not always bad; (b) deflated CVR is not always good; (c) individual differences suggest that CVR might in fact be a secondary outcome of risk mechanisms; and (d) laboratory models tend to ignore the role of stress habituation.

This lecture will attempt to show how recent studies help resolve these anomalies by corroborating a unified, more nuanced, model of stress-related cardiovascular ill-health. Tips on not dying will be incorporated.

So there. You’ll need to register now.

Oh, by the way, anyone with any tips on how to not die, please get in touch…

Po Chai Pills: May contain stuff, etc.


So I got me some of them reasonably famous Po Chai Pills here in Hong Kong. The name means “protective aid” pills, but you won’t be able to tell much from that. And the box info deploys the standard ass-covering elusiveness that alternative medicine types have been perfecting over the years: it says that the stuff “is good for relieving” (note, not “is a cure for” or “will relieve“) the following:

fever, diarrhoea, intoxication, over-eating, vomiting and gastrointestinal diseases.

Yep, they’re saying it’s good for relieving intoxication. As opposed to hangovers. Good luck in court with that one.

The ingredients include a hodge podge of common traditional Chinese medicine bits and pieces, including poria, pogostemonis, and, erm, semen coicis (don’t worry, it’s just a plant seed). Worryingly, the ingredients list ends with an “etc.”

Continue reading “Po Chai Pills: May contain stuff, etc.”

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