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… and back again

First case today was to do a hearing test on a three-week-old baby. Second case of the day was fitting hearing aids to a one-hundred-and-two-year old woman. Third case was starting the hearing aid fitting process for a six week old baby. One of the things I love about this job is the variety of people I see


My Irony Meter has blown up, it just couldn’t cope with the overload. Andrew Wakefield says “Not my fault, gov. It was the government wot dun it.

The man who caused the panic over the use of MMR and the resulting plummeting vaccination rate tries to pass the blame elsewhere. Unbelievable. He should be offering an apology to everyone of the children suffering in the Swansea measles outbreak, instead of which he’s denying any responsibility and trying to blame anyone but himself.

So what’s the problem with horse meat in burgers (apart from issues with trade description act)?

Horse. Half the fat and much higher in Omega 3 in comparison to beef. And very tasty. I’ve eaten horse stew and it tasted delicious – very similar to the taste of beef, and in a blind tasting I probably couldn’t tell the difference between the two.

And yet the English have this squeamishness about eating horse. Same as their problem with eating bambi-burgers.

This odd sentimentality about horses as pets or deer as cartoon cuteness makes it off-limits for the table. Odd.

Fabrice Muamba claims that his survival was “more than a miracle”.

To attribute his survival to any sort of divine intervention is fanciful, to say the least. What helped Muamba survive was the skill and knowledge of the First Responders who treated him when he collapsed, and the Medical and Nursing staff who continued treatment when he arrived in the Hospital. Prayers offered to imaginary beings do absolutely nothing

To attribute survival to a deity is a gross insult to the NHS staff who attended to the medical emergency.

(And if he prayed to his god before the match asking for protection, maybe he should be asking why he had a heart attack in the first place.)

Eclipse Users Group tomorrow, so came up on the train today. East Midlands rail, which have good customer service and such, but the journey itself was cattle class. Cheap though.

Decent hotel this time, with a good menu and an even better wine list, so looking forward to dinner later.

Then I have to sit down and read up on ASSR…

Public service unions have called a strike for tomorrow.

I will not be joining them. Despite being a life-long union member and former Shop Steward, I will work as normal. The strikes are wrong, there are other approaches still available to both sides, incuding – horror of horrors – negotiation.

Apparently an American lawyer named Marc Stephens has never heard of the Streisand Effect.

Rhys Morgan blogged about the futile hope offered by the Burzynski Clinic.

Following this Marc Stephens wrote on behalf of the Burzynski Clinic, threatening all sorts of legal intervention, in an attempt to suppress scientific comment. Go read, for a good description of how the complementary / alternative business (what I refer to as So-Called Alternative Medicine for a nice acronym) resort to legal bullying since they cannot defend themselves through evidence based science. Science thrives on criticism, it’s how we progress. Research groups make hypotheses and provide evidence. Critics try and replicate, they look at the evidence and -where appropriate- make criticism of experiment design or methods.

They don’t call in the lawyers.

If scientists call in the lawyers to defend their work that’s a sure sign there’s something wrong with the evidence

Just got my combined flu vaccination; this year H1N1 and H3N2

The more I hear / read about VEMPs, the more I want to try testing in the clinical environment.

Mention of the Saccule as the organ of hearing in lower animals (a particular interest of mine in its association with the evolution of vertebrate auditory mechanisms). Innervation of the labyrinth – Superior Vestibular nerve to the Urticle and Horizontal and Lateral SemiCircular Canals, Inferior Vestibular nerve to the Saccule and Inferior SemiCircular Canal.

VEMP based on the principal that a loud acoustic stimulus will generate a large inhibitory response in a tonically active ipsilateral SternoCleidoMastoid Muscle.

Larger than usual response may be obtained in a Fistula or Superior Canal Dihescence (as these act as third windows allowing pressure wave to propagate into the vestibule in addition to along the Cochlear Duct). I wonder whether an enlarged vestibular aqueduct would cause the same effect. May also be used in monitoring during labyrinthectomy. Response is usually absent in Conductive and Menieres

A brief mention of the oVEMP which is an excitatory, rather than inhibitory, response. Todd et al (2007) report that Whilst the AC stimulus generates a response through the Saccule, the BC stimulus generates a response through the Utricle. This I found interesting in follow up to some other stuff I was reading about Enlarged Vestibular Aqueducts, and the difference in sensitivity between AC and BC stimuli. Will need some further investigation…


Todd, N., Rosengren, S., Aw, S., & Colebatch, J. (2007). Ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (ovemps) produced by air- and bone-conducted sound. Clinical Neurophysiology,

Update on what features we’re allowed to use to with NHSP. Summary of the Fmp quality measure which hasn’t changed from the previous. Residual Noise we were advised to keep below 40\mu V; I have mine set to 25\mu V so don’t need to make any changes. A discussion of Bayesian Weighting; we are apparently allowed to use this. I am not sure about this as I remember some stuff about Kalman Filters in the past, that used to extend test time to an unacceptable extent.

Also had an explanation about how “minimise interference” works; randomised delay in the stimulus / start of recording window, so desynchronising with environmental interference.

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