The Right to Try

“Right to Try” (Again): A history of the experimental therapy movement

 

In recent weeks and months, momentum has increased on Capitol Hill to craft “right to try” laws that would profoundly change the medical landscape. The national legislation will allow terminally ill patients more access to experimental therapies (drugs, biologics, devices) that have completed Phase 1 testing. Powerful pharmaceutical and biotech concerns have been largely quiet. The Trump administration, for its part, has underlined the issue, not only in the State of the Union Address but in VP Mike Pence’s active support.

Critics in academia and medical circles argue that the proposed “right to try” legislation would undermine public health and circumvent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight, while supporters argue that severely ill patients ought to have more freedoms to take experimental pharmaceutical products. Current reportage of the movement has rightfully referenced the HIV epidemic, the film Dallas Buyers Club (2013), and the drive for improved access to unapproved drugs in the 1980s. However, these are not the only ways to view contemporary deliberations about the nation’s drug regulatory architecture.

The right to try movement – and any legislation – embody long-standing struggles about the most appropriate treatment for public and individual health. These struggles have pitted mainstream medical practitioners against interlopers, and regulators against drug companies.  Compassionate language about desperate patients with few options has run alongside intense legal wrangling, consumer activism, and prolonged discussions about the validity of medico-scientific data.

THE FULL POST CAN BE FOUND HERE

 

And a song called ‘Try Again’!

 

Advertisements

Sara Pascoe on #Resolutions

Sara Pascoe on resolutions

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/02/we-should-all-pick-achievable-resolutions-get-through-three-days-of-dry-january-and-youre-a-hero-to-me

For me it was a slang phrase that ruined it. A man was talking, and I was listening politely because he was a friend of a friend. “Friend of a friend” is an excellent expression, it passively clarifies: “I know them … but I don’t like them”. An “acquaintance” is someone we haven’t decided if we like or not yet. An “associate” is a drug dealer. A “friend of a friend” is an idiot at a party you must tolerate because apparently I can’t fulfil all Rebecca’s friending needs and she wants gatherings to be full of people from work and their boyfriends. This one was telling me that he wouldn’t move over from Sydney because that’s where his mates are. “Bros before hoes,” he says. A saying I thought even the most hardened misogynist used ironically. Of course, I admire the sentiment, saving our loyalty for friends over those we must tolerate because our genitals want to get to know them. But I was shocked that someone would speak like this. We were in a kitchen, not a poorly written sitcom. And then I became sad as I was reminded once again about the gulf of understanding that can exist between human beings even if they have a friend in common. And so already 2018 was ruined. Fifty-two minutes in.

When did yours go wrong? I wonder if you felt annoyed for expecting anything to be different? It all started out great with hugging and music, then at 1am you saw the Uber surge price was in double figures and wept as you realised: it got me again. Hope. We think newness can save us, we don’t realise that we haven’t changed – only the date has.

US Political History: More than Trump

2018 HOTCUS Winter Symposium

The State of the State: What is American Political History Now?

9.30-11.15: Session 1

New Ways of Re-envisioning African American Political History through the Archives

‘Sex, Lies and Photography: An Alternative Civil Rights Archive’, Althea Legal-Miller, Canterbury Christ Church University

‘Reframing Black Participation in Southern Courts’, Melissa Milewski, University of Sussex

‘Writing in Opposition: Congressional Correspondence of White Backlash, 1964-1968’, Neal Allen, Wichita State University

‘“The Mau Maus are Coming!” World Affairs and White Segregationist Media in the 1950s and 1960s’, Scott Weightman, University of Leicester

Conservatives and the State in Postwar America

‘Restlessness Under Reaganism: Conservative Visions of the State and the Origins of the Culture Wars’, Karen Heath, University of Oxford

‘Competing Visions: Conservatives and Reagan and Nixon’s Vision of the State’, Tom Packer, University of Durham

‘A New Policy History of the Nixon Presidency’, Mitchell Robertson, University of Oxford

‘Intervention Out of Sight: The Reagan Administration and the US Automobile Industry’, Daniel Rowe, University of Oxford

Reinterpreting International and Diplomatic History

‘Where Transnational and Diplomatic History Meet: Cultural and Scholarly Exchanges and US-China Relations Below the Nixon Summit’, Pete Millwood, University of Oxford

‘The Israeli-American Special Relationship: Beyond Political and Diplomatic History’, David Tal, University of Sussex

‘A Field That Never Was: Intelligence and the History of US Foreign Relations’, Calder Walton, Harvard University

‘Patrolling the Beat: Police Actions at Home and Abroad, 1919-1934’, Benjamin Welton, Boston University

11.15-11.30: Break

11.30-12.30: Plenary

‘“As God Rules the Universe: Reflections on the People and the State in Early America”’, Professor Ira Katznelson, Columbia University and University of Cambridge

12.30-1.30: Lunch

1.30-3.00: Session 2

Race, Representation, and the Politics of Respectability: The Problematic Memorialisation of African American Female Activists

‘The Politics of Respectability and Gender: “Passing” in Early African American Photography’, Emily Brady, University of Nottingham

‘The Radical Repercussions of Respectability: The Activism of Dr Dorothy Height’, Lauren Eglen, University of Nottingham

‘“Heroic Souls”: The Memory of Tubman, Truth and Black Female Abolitionists’, Charlotte James, University of Nottingham

Social Movements Embracing the State, or Vice Versa?

‘The Road to Self-Determination: Aboriginal Policy in the United States and Australia, 1960-1993’, Dean Kotlowski, Salisbury University

‘The Right Treatment: Alternative Medicines, Anti-Science and the Ascension of Conservatism’, Lucas Richert, University of Strathclyde

‘How to Build a Man Bomb: Matriachalism and the Men’s Rights Movement’, Keira Williams, Queen’s University Belfast

Beyond the Beltway? Executive and Legislative Politics

‘“The Last Election Means the Buck Stops Here”: Gerald Ford, the House Democrats and the Limits of Congressional Government, 1974-1977’, Patrick Andelic, Northumbria University

‘A White Backlash? Rumford, Riots and the Rise of Reagan’, Dominic Barker, University of Oxford

‘Reading Ronald Reagan in the Age of Donald Trump’, Daniel Geary, Trinity College Dublin

3.00-4.30: Session 3

States and Anti-Statism in an Era of State Building

‘Anti-Intellectualism, Anti-Statism and the Study of American Politics: Rethinking the “Demise” of American Political History’, Louisa Hotson, University of Oxford

‘“Democracy is Sweeping Over the World”: A Transnational American Twenties’ Andreas Meyris, George Washington University

‘All Policing is Political: The Municipal and National Dimensions of the Politicization of Security in New York City, 1918-1945’, Yann Philippe, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne

‘Rethinking the New Deal in an Age of Trump and Brexit’, Jason Scott Smith, University of New Mexico

Connecting Ideas, Culture, and Ideologies

‘Middle Class as a Historical Category of Legitimation in the American State’, Matteo Battistini, University of Bologna

‘Inverted Totalitarianism and Political Protest in the 1960s and 1970s’, Sophie Joscelyne, University of Sussex

‘Diplomats in Chief: Culture, Politics and the Presidency’, Thomas Tunstall Allcock, University of Manchester

4.30-5.00: Break

5.00-6.00: Roundtable: What is American Political History Now?

Professor Jonathan Bell, UCL Institute of the Americas

Dr Kate Dossett, University of Leeds

Professor Ken Osgood, Colorado School of Mines

6.00: Close

*

As my advisor recently put it, ‘there are many more important things in the world than Trump’s rants!’

To publish, or not to publish, that is the question!

No, not Hamlet. This is the question Joseph Stromberg asked himself while writing for Slate.

In a fabulous piece on Lambert Academic Publishing, he decided (as a laugh) to publish his Master’s dissertation.

The joy of seeing your work in print.

He wasn’t moving on in academia. He didn’t care. Rather, this was a good way to write an article about taking “a trip through the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill.” It’s a great piece, and well worth a read.

Now, I’ve been asked by Lambert Academic Publishing to move ahead and turn an article of mine into a full-on book.

**

Last month I published a short piece in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on heroin and end-of-life discussions in the 1980s. I’m proud of it.

Now Lambert wants a piece of the action. The message was polite enough.

A few things struck me, though.

One, I’m not a medical doctor. But I do have a PhD. Perhaps try the proper salutation – namely, Dr Richert.

Second, they don’t want to see the ‘potential’ wasted. Not sure what that means? It sounds nice, I must admit. Lambert’s looking out for me.

Third, I’m advised to ‘take a moment’ to consider before I blindly say no. My half-thought-out retort to this: sometimes even a blind man can see. So there.

**

I’m not even close to the first (or 10th or 100,000th) person to raise the issue of predatory publishing and book mills.

But now I’ve got my own story, apart from the mountain of spam emails I get every week.

For more in-depth info, here’s a short excerpt from the Stromberg piece I mentioned above:

‘…I did a bit more research into LAP Lambert and found that it’s really just the tip of the book-mill iceberg. Both it and AV Akademikerverlag GmbH & Co. KG are part of an enormous German publishing group called VDM that publishes 78 imprints and 27 subsidiary houses in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Russian, and plans to soon open up shop in Turkey and China. It has satellite offices in Latvia and Uruguay, but the majority of its English- and French-speaking staff are based in the tax haven of Mauritius, off the coast of Madagascar. Founded in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 2002 by a man named Dr. Wolfgang Philipp Müller, the company is notorious for using on-demand printing technology to package all sorts of strange content in book form and selling it online. The company declines to release financial data but claims to publish 50,000 books every month, making it, by its own accounting, one of the largest book publishers in the world.

‘How can it possibly churn out this many titles? Although a huge number are academic texts, hundreds of thousands result from an even stranger process: They’re built entirely from text copied from Wikipedia articles. On VDM’s own online bookstore, Morebooks.de, the listings for books like Tidal Power, Period (number), and Swimming Pool Sanitation (published by VDM’s Alphascript and Betascript imprints) directly acknowledge this fact. Thousands are listed for sale on Amazon, all with the same cover design (albeit with different stock photos swapped in) and the same three names (Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, and John McBrewster) listed as the “authors.” Some go for as much as $100. Though the practice is technically legal—most Wikipedia content is published under licenses that allow it to be reproduced—critics say that it’s unethical and deceitful for the company to profit from content freely available on the Web.’

Watch out, folks!

**

 

Yoga, 2018

According to Becky, over at The Art of Healthy Living, there are even more yoga trends than I first thought. Below she talks about what’s going to be hot in the yoga world during 2018.

*

Novelty Yoga

Seriously I’m not even too sure what’s left, because it certainly feels as though everything has been given a yogic twist this year. There’s been…

Goat Yoga

You’ve heard of dog yoga (the experts like to call it ‘Doga’)…well the next level up is goat yoga (does that mean it’s called ‘Goga’?). Basically it’s a load of people doing yoga outside in the presence of some goats. Riiiiiight….and the benefit is what exactly? Well, the organisers say that the goats help create more feel good hormones, lower anxiety, provide comfort and reduce loneliness. OK so let’s get this straight, you’re doing downward dog and a goat jumps onto your back and that is….relaxing?..pleasant?..painful?…The goats are certainly having a lot of fun jumping around in a human playpark, but we’re not entirely convinced that the risk of being pooped on by a goat is all that worth it!

Beer Yoga

Really? Yes…really! Originating in Germany, the land of beer…but perhaps not yoga, the idea is that by swigging from a bottle of beer whilst practicing yoga it helps to encourage participants to relax more in an environment they feel more familiar and at home with i.e. the pub. We think this could really take off, especially in terms of getting more men out there trying yoga. What next…? Gin Yoga? Jäger Yoga? Proseccoga?

Couple Yoga

Grab your partner and get up close and personal with them whilst flowing through some yoga positions. Take a fitness friend by all means, but if you don’t know them well you’re certainly going to after one of these sessions! We think yoga is verging on the tantric anyway, so we see this getting big in 2018 among the trendy fit couple crowd. Apparently couple yoga improves levels of communication, encourages trust and is the ultimate way to add some sparkle back into a relationship.

Floating Yoga

The ultimate in core stability, float yoga is all about perfecting those tricky yoga positions whilst balancing on what is effectively a surfboard. Can be done on or off the water, depending on how good you are and whether you mind getting wet, but if you want next level yoga then this is deffo it. We think this will become a huge thing in 2018, especially as all the trendy fitsters are trying it out in LA…it’s only a matter of time!

And the list could seriously go on and on, there’s…Disco Yoga, Rooftop Yoga, Chromayoga (colour therapy yoga), Yoga on Ice (Snow-ga), HIIT Yoga, but we reckon it’s all about the animals. Hey if you can have Goat Yoga surely there’s a need for…yoga with frogs (Froga) or how about yoga with alpacas (Alpacoga), deffo gonna be a ‘thing’ 😉

*

Becky also discusses other fitness trends coming your way in 2018:

Slacklining (which sounds like a chapter in the hangman’s ‘guide to successful neck-breaking’)

Boxing Mashups (like an afternoon of recycling old cardboard in the garage?)

Bounce Off (a kid’s game, right?)

Napping (uh, ok)

Water Workouts (as in swimming…)

 

*

Thanks for reading. For more of my own writing on yoga, see here

https://lucasrichert.com/2016/10/18/yoga-boys-boys-of-yoga/

https://lucasrichert.com/2017/06/12/yoga-trends-2017/

https://lucasrichert.com/2017/06/13/two-more-yoga-trends-2017/

Hench

By Morgan Scott

Guest Post

(HENCH: strong and fit with very well-developed muscles; used about men)

1. Schwarzenegger: the Trendsetting Terminator

I have to admit it, growing up in the 1980s, myself and many males (and females) were in awe of bodybuilding action hero, the Austrian Oak, The Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger was of course not the first bodybuilder, but he was the first to bring this bizarre body-expanding behaviour into the limelight, beginning with the release of acclaimed documentary, Pumping Iron.

Schwarzenegger was and is a fascinating man. He left Austria to live the American Dream over in the US. What he didn’t know was that he would become the epitome of the American Dream. He nailed it. His vehicle? Bodybuilding. Schwarzenegger was already a local European bodybuilding champ but he knew America was the place to be to achieve his ultimate dream, to conquer bodybuilding and then conquer the movie business.

After winning Mr. Olympia 6 times he was going to hang up his posing trunks until he was convinced by the producers of Pumping Iron to carry on for one more season. They wanted to follow his quest for a  7th Mr Olympia title, which he ultimately achieved.

Years later in an interview, he confessed that he started to see the ridiculousness of it all, posing in little trunks.

From building up his body, Schwarzenegger went into acting. His breakthrough movie role came as Conan the Barbarian in 1982. The director John Milius actually told Schwarzenegger that he was too jacked for the part and that he actually had to lose muscle weight. This was the opposite of what bodybuilding was all about. However, a large part of bodybuilding is bulking and shredding where you would bulk up in off competition season and shred body fat leading up to one. Schwarzenegger had it covered and got it sorted ready for Conan.

Schwarzenegger had some challenges in his way; his English was terrible and he had a strange accent, plus Hollywood actors were just not huge behemoths back then. He also had a weird unpronounceable name and no acting experience. Well, the rest is movie history.

However, he was unique and he spurred an epidemic of muscle growth. In the wake of the Schwarzenegger phenomenon, gym memberships soared and muscles across the globe groaned and swelled in search for the ‘Pump’ and a body that would have Michelangelo’s David second-guessing himself.

Why do people build bodies in the first place? Why do they emulate Schwarzenegger? Success and motivational coach Tony Robbins tells us that one of the six human needs as to why any of us do what we do is Significance. We want to be seen, we want to ‘be’ somebody and what better way to be noticed, by having to walk into a room sideways. But do we need huge muscles to be significant in the world? At what point does growing your biceps become pathological?

Don’t get me wrong, having an awesome torso is a great thing to have. You look great, you feel great, clothes fit you well and you don’t have to worry about whether your beer belly looks big in this. What I’m wondering about is that line which separates ‘normal’ behaviour and when you enter into an obsessive world where size and body fat percentages becomes body dysmorphia – when the obsession overtakes the rational and becomes a problem, trumping the significance you seek.

2.Experiences

During my time lifting weights in gyms I got speaking to ‘the lads’ squeezing the iron now and again. I was curious as to why they were building such massive bodies. These were not the guys who were training for a particular sport or who were fitness trainers nor movie stars. These guys built for personal goals.

When asking them why they did it, I would usually get one of two answers, one being “Woman” (or men) or as one charming young man put it bluntly “Pussy!” So sex is high on the agenda. The second answer was “Because I was bullied at school.” Both answers certainly lent themselves to the motivation of feeling significant.

Social media, particularly Instagram, has become a cultural mirror feeding a worrying narcissistic trend to achieving the perfect body. Before, we only had floor-to-ceiling mirrors in gyms to flex and pose, to see our progress and satisfy our ego. Now we have a platform to tell the whole world about our triceps with a selfie. Just another way to feel significant, especially if hundreds, if not thousands of followers can double tap on your virtual torso to give you a heart. #mustbewinninginlifenow?

OK, sure, it’s not all about feeding ones ego; it’s also about mastering oneself and feeling good. The body may be the easiest bit of us to master, because even if your soul and spirit are in shatters, at least we might protect them in slabs of muscle.

Lifting weights also feels good. When bench pressing 100 kg you’re certainly in the present and not thinking about that work report. It’s the rush, the pump and even the delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) a couple of days after is a great feeling, we’ve triumphed, we’ve mastered our body.

I do worry that most young men are growing up being seduced by what the media and advertisers portray as the perfect body. Often the ideal is an unrealistic one at that, where anything less suggests unworthiness.

3.Final Thoughts

I remember talking to an old mate, who was into bodybuilding at the time, and he said “I just want to get Huge. I want to be a monster!” He was in his late thirties when it’s much harder to achieve ‘huge’ and he seemed to be a lost boy trapped, seeking a measure of significance.

I asked “But why do you want to be huge?” The chances of becoming a world champion bodybuilder were slim to zero and becoming the next Schwarzenegger, even slimmer. He just stared into space searching for an answer.

Let’s not forget that the idea of the perfect body is driven by profiteers preying on our fragile persona and a need for significance in the world. Just buy this widget and you too can have a body like this. Young men are even turning to steroids to reach perfection sooner, but at what cost?

Can we get more sex without spending hours in the gym? Can we heal our broken selves without having to get Hench? Can we still get in shape and look great without XXL shirts? Sure we can. If it’s significance we seek, can we achieve it in other ways and channel that energy into making a difference in the world?

Damn right you can.

*

I’m delighted that professional photographer Morgan Scott shares his images and ideas. His exciting portfolio can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/morganscottuk/

Instagram: MorganScottUK

Twitter: MorganScottUK

Watch out for more posts from Morgan in the future.