AK Voices: Brian Sweeney Jr.

Brian Sweeney Jr. is an opinionated gastroenterologist in Anchorage.

Begich's Choice Insults Alaska - 3/16/2014 10:44 pm

Can I Please Have Some Cake? - 3/2/2014 1:57 pm

Quarterbacks And Catullus - 1/23/2014 9:29 pm

Truth In Vaccination - 12/28/2013 2:56 pm

The Next Rotten Chocolate - 12/14/2013 7:30 pm

Baracky Barack And The Begich Bunch - 11/14/2013 4:24 pm

Do As I Say, Not As I Do - 10/19/2013 7:13 pm

What's In Your Wallet? - 10/8/2013 10:15 pm

I Want My 25%!

Back in the summer of 1989 my brother Jeff and I returned home for the summer to a city we had never known, Temecula, CA. It was a booming area and my dad was making his first attempt to escape the world of managed care. Years later he would flee to Alaska.

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Expertise Or Selfish Interest

Any NFL fan knows that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The pink scattered across the uniforms of players screams it every week.

The use of mammography in women before age 50 caused a stir two years ago. New United States Preventitive Health Task Force (USPHTF) also recommended against self breast exams at that time.

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Playing By The Rules

One of the top soccer teams in San Diego County in the mid 1980s was at Torrey Pines High School. One of their better players lived a few houses up the street from me. His junior year some members of the team decided to drink alcohol on the bus just before the playoffs.

The school brought the hammer down and those players were not allowed to play. Torrey Pines made an early exit.

It is not exactly a paperwork issue like what happened at Chugiak but it makes a point. A team sometimes has to take responsibility for the actions of its members.

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Buffett's Folly

Warren Buffett has more money than God. Most estimates put his net worth at around $50B.

Mr. Buffett thinks that people who earn over $1M per year should be taxed at a higher rate. $1M is .002% of $50B. Or to put it another way that person making $1M in a year would have to work 50,000 years to make $50B. Who knows how long it would take if you adjust for taxes?

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Get Lubed Up?

Quarterback Tom Brady has Super Bowl rings and is married to a super model. So it is okay for him to make a super gaffe. Brady has called for Patriot fans to start drinking early and get "lubed" up for the Pats opening game in Foxboro.

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Exceptions To The Rule?

I am not a journalist. There is no journalism department at Dartmouth. It is the home of oldest college newspaper in the United States. It also has the most infamous off campus paper in the United States. It also has one of the few college radio stations with a commercial license.

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Never Forget Who We Are

Ten years ago I flipped the switch on my alarm clock on a Tuesday morning and jumped in the shower. I dried off, got dressed, and jumped in my car.

I turned on KUDO which at the time had Rob Black talking business. There was no business being talked about that morning. Mr. Black was describing commercial airliners crashing into the World Trade Center.

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NFL Predictions

If I can remember I plan on putting up picks for NFL games this year. This week I will also go way out and predict division winners and wild cards along with super bowl picks. There is a reason I never bet money as you will see.

The Season:

AFC East

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Where Did I Get This Beautiful Car?

A letter to the editor during the health care debate claimed doctors had million dollar homes on the Hillside and $60K cars. It is a bit of a paraphrase because I cannot remember the exact numbers that were used.

Liberals hate stereotypes unless they are engaged in class warfare. I remember wishing the writer was correct because I would love a million dollar home and at the time I was driving a 1996 Toyota Corolla. I have since moved on to a 2009 Honda Accord because the Corolla was just too stereotypical of granola chompers.

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The Waiting Game

It has been a little over a year since Obamacare became law. In that time we have seen the Democrats lose the US House and some ground in the US Senate. A mere two years prior there were Democrats on these pages celebrating the death of the Republican Party. If only there was a way to terminate both parties.

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And The Hits Just Keep Coming

Once when I was a medical student one of the residents was complaining about a patient he was sure was faking an injury to his back. As he was talking he caught a glimse of his patient through the window. He was scurrying across the back parking lot and quickly leaped over a 3 foot wall.

In 2011 I suspect someone would have broken out their phone to get video of the incident. Instead the resident wanted everybody in the room to note the incident. The man was in the process of obtaining disability.

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The First Cut Is The Weakest

All of my liberal friends have an economic hero. His name is Paul Krugman. His scripture is available for their review in their bible, The New York Times, on a periodic basis.

They will throw his pieces up on facebook. They will often say he is to be free of criticism because he has received awards from all of their elitist left wing organizations.

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Cover The Ball Already

It was a rainy day so I actually took the time to watch some of the Sunday morning talk shows today. And yes that included watching the evil power in all of television, Fox News.

Timothy Geithner, a fellow Dartmouth alum, was dispatched to try and slay the dragon Chris Wallace for the Obama administration. Wallace, to his credit, is one one of the best hard ball interviewers in television. He goes after all of his guests and Geithner was no exception. John Boehner was also in the crosshairs when he followed Geithner.

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Is There a Drug For That?

Back in 1997 I attended Digestive Disease Week for the first time in New Orleans. It was in the days before limits on the pharmaceutical companies. There was a party every night but the excess was best demonstrated when one company sponsored a Ray Charles concert with catering by Chef Paul Prudhomme.

Over the years I have collected a variety of drug company toys. One of my favorites was a Viagra flower pot that was supposed to produce a plant when watered. The plant never did rise.

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How Does 2+2 Feel?

The tools used to evaluate data and determine statistical significance are essential in moving medicine forward. Most doctors understand what the statistics mean and have spent time studying how the numbers are crunched.

One of my favorite courses in college was one on probability. It was fascinating to prove that if there are 22 people in a room there is a 50% chance two of the people have the same birthday.

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The Politics of Science

It is a monthly ritual to read through the journals I get every month. I cannot claim to be The Palin and read all of them. I read most of the The Anerican Journal of Gastroenterology and Gastointestinal Endoscopy. I read clinically relevant articles in Gastroenterology but the bench level studies on miniscule receptors in the colons of rats I usually skip.

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Presidential Belief Litmus Test

The only time I have attended religious services in recent years is funerals and weddings. It has not always been that way. I was an altar boy in early elementary school. My family moved around a lot but I spent most of my time through 7th grade in Catholic schools.

The United States has had one Catholic president, John F. Kennedy. In 2011 his religion is not the first topic when his name is mentioned. It certainly was a hot topic when he was running for president and when he got elected.

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Race In America

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) ran an ad in Austrailia a couple of years ago where a white man hands out fried chicken to some black fans at a cricket match. The commercial was used by KFC to try and take advantage of a big match coming up with a team from West India.

The ad did not raise any eye brows until it made it to the United States via the internet. The backlash in the US caused the ad to be pulled.

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Game Over?

Medicare and Social Security are heading for financial failure. It is not question of if, it is a question of when.

The problem is less acute for Social Security. Still, the program is now paying out more than it is collecting. The descent has begun. Theoretically, it will be able to fund itself at 100% through 2036. That is one year sooner than was projected last year.

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Remember Them All

My grandfather graduated medical school in 1947. He served as a surgeon in the United States Navy during the Korean War. There were a lot of stories told at his funeral about World War II and Korea by friends and family.

My father turned to the US Navy when he had to come up with a way to pay for medical school. He barely missed the Vietnam War finishing his residency in Internal Medicine in 1977.

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