‘So, it was a successful procedure, if you consider paralysis, lack of consciousness and a lifespan of less than a day as indicators of “success”.’

UD laughed, years ago, when her friend Paul Laffoley assured her that head transplants were just around the corner. She felt guilty for laughing, because Paul sincerely believed in things like that.

And now in his visionary way he turns out to have anticipated Sergio Canavero.

Although the procedure isn’t quite there yet. The procedure described in my title was on a monkey.

Here’s the same writer, for The Guardian, on Canavero’s latest one, using a human.

[T]his recent successful human head transplant? It was on corpses! Call me a perfectionist if you must, but I genuinely think that any surgical procedure where the patients or subjects die before it even starts is really stretching the definition of “success” to breaking point.

Opioid Diversion at Yale

The Yale Daily News takes note of the … awkward friendship between Yale and the company that made and marketed all those opioids that fucked everyone up.

[T]he Drug Enforcement Administration found that [Sackler company] Purdue Pharma had used “excessive and inappropriate” marketing that “very much exacerbated” OxyContin abuse. In 2007, Purdue Pharma and three of its executives pled guilty to federal charges of misbranding the drugs, collectively paying more than $600 million in fines… Mundipharma, a company associated with Purdue Pharma and owned by members of the Sackler family, has continued to push [OxyContin] in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. A Los Angeles Times investigation found that Mundipharma had paid doctors to give presentations abroad on the benefits of the drug. In 2015, the company saw a $100 million increase in sales from China — a jump of 45 percent — compared to the previous year, although Mundipharma did not disclose the portion of its revenue that came from OxyContin sales alone. There, the company used cartoon videos that understated the likelihood of addiction in a campaign for opioid pain relievers.

The YDN asked various friends and beneficiaries of the Sacklers on campus to comment, and … well… what do you expect?

“These are gifts that different family members made as individual family gifts. These were not gifts from the company — these were individual family gifts, so in that sense, these individuals have wealth that they gave to us, so it’s no more complicated than that when they made these gifts a number of years ago,” said Vice President for Development Joan O’Neill.

God knows how they got all that money… But for sure in the process of converting that money from corporate earnings to individual assets, they… uh… It’s no more complicated than that it all became … laundered?… And anyway, it was so long ago…

“While it is now clear that these drugs have been abused and there is certainly an addiction problem in our country, responsibility for it cannot be attributed to a single cause.”

You’d think the dean of Yale’s med school would be able to distinguish between a problem and an epidemic which the President of the United States has declared a public health emergency. As to his larger capacity for argumentation: Who said there was one cause? He’s correcting a straw man, ain’t he? All we’re talking about is one of the very biggest, and one of the most unconscionable, ongoing, causes.

Anyway. It’ll all settle down. Most opioid addiction occurs in no-‘count places like West Virginia, and why should a place like Yale give a shit about that?

Johns Hopkins University Med School’s Highest-Profile Grad, Jumana Nagarwala…

… is in great company.

Right now [a Michigan attorney’s] short list of clients includes Dr. Larry Nassar, the ex-Michigan State University doctor facing charges related to his alleged sexual assault of nine young women; Josh King, the ex-MSU football player facing sexual assault charges stemming from a Jan. 16 incident at a campus party; and Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, the Detroit-area doctor accused of female genital mutilation.

JHU: Educating America’s most highly-skilled clitoris-slashers.

Hiroshima, Mon Kapoor

Unlike benighted Yeshiva University which, when stories of the arrest of their esteemed trustee/treasurer Bernie Madoff broke, went into full silence, denial, web-erasure, Bernie who?, we’re a victim mode, the University at Buffalo, on receiving today’s atomic bomb about mega-donor and (wait for it) pharmacy school namesake John Kapoor, quickly and admirably issued a statement.

That’s the way you’re supposed to go when something grand and consequent and deeply embarrassing happens to your university: spit it out. Acknowledge it. And then when – inevitably – you have to blast the Kapoor name off of the building his massive fatal peddling of fentanyl has turned into a sick joke, you have as it were laid the groundwork for the blasting.

There’s a long description of the Kapoor caper here. To save time, here’s UD‘s paraphrase of it, a sentiment out of Norman Mailer:

THE SHITS ARE KILLING US.

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Thanks, dmf.

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Inaugurating the building soon to be renamed the Kermit West Virginia Memorial Hall.

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[Kapoor’s] Insys even made a video featuring a sales rep dressed as a giant fentanyl spray bottle, rapping and dancing to a song that pushed the idea of getting doctors to prescribe higher doses…

Executive Function Disorder: They’ve All Got It…

… and we’ve got squads of psychologists, armed with the multimegaton DSM-5, to pick our presidents off one by one: George Bush ran into this guy (and not that I wanna do any armchair psychoanalysis, but the guy is a colleague, and we sat on an examining committee together once, and he spent his round of questioning listing his academic degrees and honors); and now our current leader has run into this guy.

UD‘s blogpal, Allen Frances, tries to introduce some sanity:

Among [John] Gartner’s most notable critics is psychiatrist Allen Frances, who wrote the guidelines for diagnosing narcissistic personality disorder — and who rejects any claim that Trump has it.

To meet the criteria for a narcissistic personality disorder, Frances said, Trump would have to display distress or impairment himself. One could argue he’s caused distress, Frances said, but he doesn’t appear to experience it.

“I think that this guy and other people like him mean well and are sincere and believe that somehow they have a professional responsibility to warn America about the horrors of Trump,” said Frances, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University. “But I don’t see them as knowing much about diagnoses.”

… The effort to apply a diagnosis to Trump, Frances said, “confuses bad behavior for mental illness.”

UD is exceedingly unfond of whatzisface, but rampant diagnosis-dumping is itself bad behavior.

Well, the new dean met with USC medical students. Turns out they’re pissed.

One of them had the audacity to suggest that the president of the University of Southern California should resign, given how incredibly badly he dealt – continues to deal – with his beyond-disgraced million-dollar med school dean (Is the now ex-dean on leave? The school seems to say that he is. Is that leave with pay?).

“If this is true, if it turns out that it is a cultural problem with the university, with President Nikias, will you [She’s addressing Carmen Puliafito’s replacement as dean.] fight for President Nikias to be let go, so we can bring in another president who wouldn’t let this happen?” the student asked.

Because it sure looks as though the prez knew a lot was wrong with Puliafito, and that he therefore knew this worst of outcomes – a big national scandal – was possible… After all:

At the meeting on the Keck campus, students — some wearing hospital scrubs — said university administrators should have known more about Puliafito’s troubling behavior, including reports that he appeared drunk or otherwise intoxicated at campus events. One woman said that it “seems shocking that no one has been able to figure anything out in the last 10 years. … People are now going to be questioning our professionalism.”

So that’s a new but not surprising thing – he appeared drunk or otherwise intoxicated at campus events.. In earlier Pugliafito posts, I’ve anticipated that we’ll be getting reports of his having exhibited signs of trouble at public USC events. You don’t reach this guy’s depth of squalor without revealing it in various ways. But, as the student’s comment suggests, the thing that needs explaining here is why the university kept the guy in his position for years. Achieving his degree of debauchery is not the work of a day. What sort of university president lets his medical school dean – his $1.1 million man – slide down the long slide and not do something about it? Especially given the simultaneous meltdown of his football coach, Steve Sarkisian?

Or was that in itself the problem? Was the president simply overwhelmed with a pretty amazing set of events – the alcohol/drug breakdowns at the same time of a dean and a coach? A 2015 Newsweek opinion piece is titled:


USC IGNORED THE WARNING SIGNS ABOUT STEVE SARKISIAN’S DRINKING

And the writer asks:

[W]here were the real adults — [USC Athletic Director Pat] Haden, university president C.L. Max Nikias and chief operating officer Steve Lopes —

when Sarkisian showed up drunk at one USC event after another?

For sure the university should ask itself whether a president who mishandled both of these crises – Sarkisian and Puliafito – is fit for the office.

The Healing Arts at the University of Southern California Medical School

Sarah and Charles Warren said Puliafito wrote them prescriptions for asthma inhalers to soothe lungs raw from smoking marijuana and methamphetamine.

That’s Dr./Dean Carmen A. Puliafito, until recently the much-lauded head of the Keck School of Medicine, and a man whose compassion for his favorite fellow druggies extended to writing them prescriptions for some of the less attractive symptoms of chemical excess.

Carmen Puliafito’s career tells you all you need to know about why there’s a Black Lives Matter movement. Single-handedly Puliafito proves true everything anyone ever said about the breathtaking immunity white criminals may enjoy over long lucrative prestigious careers. I mean, Puliafito continues to represent the University of Southern California to the public.

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And why not? I mean, sure, he had to, er, resign his deanship with full honors when one of his mad meth-filled nights turned sour and got anonymously reported to USC’s president (the police knew about it too, but didn’t even write a report); but he remains on the faculty. And the same president who knew all about Puliafito’s criminal mischief a few weeks later enthusiastically hosted his elegant goodbye party:

“Today, we have one of the, not just the area’s, but the nation’s preeminent medical schools and medical enterprises — and, in many ways, thanks to the leadership of Carmen,” [the president] told the crowd.

Carmen himself, in his farewell remarks, really nailed it: “[T]he primary job of dean of a medical school is to bring leaders that will really set the tone of the organization.” And tone-setting starts at the top!

Who cares if Carmen’s penchant for hanging out with crooks for long nights of drug overdoses – sometimes in his offices on campus – was the reason for the goodbye party? Rich white people using illegal drugs in front of hotel cameras isn’t, it turns out, illegal in Pasadena.

White Lives Matter, in other words; and in fact Puliafito came to USC trailing all kinds of other shit no one bothered acting on:

His time at Miami was not trouble-free. Marc Brockman, an optometrist at the [university], filed a lawsuit against Puliafito in 2006 for assault and battery and accused the university of negligence in hiring him.

Brockman alleged in sworn testimony that Puliafito, in a profane “tantrum” over an inoperable piece of medical equipment, grabbed him by the collar of his lab coat and choked him.

Puliafito denied wrongdoing.

During the case, it emerged that the university had investigated separate complaints of sexual harassment against Puliafito, according to sworn testimony and court filings in the lawsuit. The records do not reveal the outcome of the investigation, and a university spokeswoman said in response to questions about the probe: “We don’t have anything to provide.”

Puliafito and the university reached a confidential settlement with Brockman in June 2007.

Two months later, USC hired Puliafito.

And what a hire!

In a court battle that is still playing out, the University of California filed [a $1.85 million] suit in July 2015 against USC over its poaching of a leading Alzheimer’s disease researcher.

Puliafito was the self-described “quarterback” of efforts to land UC San Diego professor Paul Aisen, a star in the state university system.

… The suit accused USC of civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty and other misconduct.

And he’s still a highly respected, high-profile faculty member at the University of Southern California!

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The latest thing is that someone got hold of a series of emails Puliafito wrote to the Los Angeles Times reporters who broke the story about him…

Fuck you.

I’m on you now.

You are fucking with me now.

Watch your back.

You are such a piece of shit.

Call me. Don’t be afraid you piece of shit.

Oh wait. Those are President Trump’s lawyer’s emails. I get mixed up.

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UD thanks John.

Don’t you think it’s time for San Diego State University to take this page down?

It trumpets the gloriousness of Piero Anversa, dumped in disgrace from Harvard for fraudulent research, to which he reportedly admitted; and then, to round out the contemptible behavior, he went ahead and sued Harvard anyway for having damaged his career by, um, having discovered and acted on his lab having – at huge federal government expense, by the way – committed research fraud. (His case against Harvard was dismissed.)

Harvard has to repay the government ten million dollars because of Anversa.

Apparently people in various labs at Harvard knew for over ten years about the guy. Maybe SDSU’s web editors are on the same schedule.

“McGuire stepped down in 1992 and H. Barton Grossman, M.D., followed McGuire, serving as section head until the arrival of Dr. Joseph Oesterling in 1994.”

The University of Michigan’s urology department shares its leadership history, marking without comment the curiously short reign (he left in ’97) of Joseph Oesterling. But here’s a comment, from a local journalist recalling her most important story:

In the early 1990s, I got a tip from an insider at the University of Michigan that Dr. Joseph Oesterling, chief urologist, had scammed the university on expenses and pocketed money from prostate cancer foundations he created. He used the money to build himself a mighty fine mansion. Through FOIA, I and reporter Maryanne George, who was a cub reporter I edited while we both were at the Michigan State News, got reams of information about his expense records showing he double- and triple-billed the university for expenses drug and medical device companies gave him. He resigned in disgrace but only served a brief stint of community service.

We ran a big story including a photo of the house that my newspaper got by hiring a helicopter (with our lawyer’s OK) and shooting it from above. (The house was on a private road with a chain fence that said no trespassing). Turns out the picture we ran was of the back of the house, but that entrance looked so posh it was taken as the front entrance. I used the photo in speeches and the back entrance comment always got good laughs.

The story opened my eyes to the poor oversight of medical professionals by most states.

Poor oversight? You mean just because Oesterling was – until a few days ago – still practicing medicine?

I mean, yes, twenty years after the Michigan thing, plus a 2005 misconduct charge, plus an arrest at the end of December for running a chain of pill mills, Oesterling’s license has finally been suspended… Not taken away, mind you… Wouldn’t want to act hastily…

But – wait for it – he’s still prescribing!

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… Oesterling’s clinics, including one in Caro, prescribed a total of “some 330,000 dosage units of Norco, a (Schedule II) controlled substance, within a 16-month period.

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If you’re anxious about your fix, you’ll be relieved to know he’s out on bond, and with all his money he’ll almost certainly be able to beat these latest charges.

“At the Brazil lecture in April, [Joseph] Pergolizzi was presented as still affiliated with Temple. Pergolizzi said he was not aware his credential with the university had lapsed, and has let Mundipharma know.”

WHOOOOOPS! Did you catch me peddling an American university affiliation while helping the Sackler family make the world safe for opioids? Now why would I do that? Why would I present myself as an American university professor – from Temple, no less, one of whose trustees just spent decades sharing with women the amazing power of drugs – when I’m not?

It turns out I don’t understand that when you no longer have an affiliation with a university you’re not affiliated with it anymore.

That’s why the Sacklers chose me to promote OxyContin to the world. I’m smart.

Les UDs take a train to Boston today…

… for Christmas with the family. Among UD‘s many blessings is a great deal of reader email – some of it with book and cd suggestions, some of it links to the latest university absurdities. Assuming she has anything like a steady internet connection on the train, she will answer all of that on her way north.

UD has been working on a post about the Sackler family, those tireless global ambassadors for OxyContin. Why should opioid epidemics with the effect of neutron bombs visit only our cities and towns? We must gift the Chinese – already busy with their tobacco and pollution epidemics – with this most up-to-date form of the opium the Chinese of course have known from way back.

The Sacklers are of particular interest to University Diaries because they combine at the highest level UD has ever seen that whole Madoff/Yeshiva thing: A totally disreputable business model and a hoitsy-toitsy record of philanthropy to universities (in their case, medical schools). In a subsequent post, we shall examine in greater detail this whole killing them softly approach to the life of the mind and the life of the body.

“Asking them to sell a potentially deadly narcotic on an incentive plan created a powder keg primed to explode.”

Not really a powder keg. A morgue is more like it. A big fat national morgue full of dead Fentanyl users.

Remember Michael Jackson and how he hired a personal physician to knock him out with pain killers meant only for advanced cancer patients? Well, why shouldn’t all Americans have that same opportunity?

This was the business model of Insys Therapeutics, whose CEO (a Northwestern University business school grad, seen here dispensing not fatal opioids but career advice) identified this sort of doctor (read the whole thing) to write Fentanyl prescriptions for everybody! Everybody gets to join the party!

The CEO has now been arrested, along with a bunch of co-conspirators, and UD has been having a blast reading the racketeering etc etc case against them.

Killing this many Americans is not merely the work of b-school boys and pain pill docs. To keep the bodies mounting – to grow the business – you need these folks too, for they stand in the way of any prescribing restrictions at all. It’s the free enterprise system at its best, and our incoming prez will enthusiastically endorse it.

This teeny weeny arrest will embarrass a few people and amount to nothing. That doctor I told you about will move to another state and then another and keep doing his thing. And the opiates-for-all lobbyists will live forever.

Oh – and if your university has a med school, somewhere on the faculty there’s almost certainly a researcher paid by pharma to publish articles ghostwritten by opiate manufacturers – articles that reassure us about the efficacy and harmlessness of opioids. Whether it’s producing graduates like arrestee Michael Babich, or pill-propping professors, universities too have their role to play in keeping the morgue at capacity.

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UD thanks dmf.

Ten Days that Shook the Mice

“It’s unnatural for mice to die exactly every 10 days,” writes a group of online whistle blowers about a high-level Japanese research project.

—————————

Either Japanese mice are rather like Mr Bunbury in The Importance of Being Earnest

My dear Aunt Augusta … The doctors found out that Bunbury could not live … so Bunbury died.

He seems to have had great confidence in the opinion of his physicians.

— or, um, “the data [was] tampered [with] to suit the theory envisioned by the researchers.”

But that’s just the Japanese way.

The Yale Psychiatrist is IN.

Helping you with your homicidal dog/crack cocaine issues.

Wagnerian Leitmotif

Karen Wagner, a psychiatry professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, seems to sound a repetitive theme in her work: Accept undisclosed money from drug companies; put your name on articles substantively ghostwritten for drug companies; and just generally over many years demonstrate the sort of behavior that gets you … named president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Rewards in this field, after all, go to people able to increase the probability that drug firms – eager, in the latest case involving Wagner, to rain anti-depressants upon the heads of our teeniest tots – will get FDA approval for their products.

Does the pill do anything a placebo doesn’t… ? Might it have dire side effects… ?

Erfahrt, wie sich die Pharmakonzerne rächen,
von deren Huld ihr euch gewandt!

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UD‘s friend Barney suggests some ways out.

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Oh – and speaking of kiddies and the makers of fun adorable stuff for them to play with, like Risperdal blocks – a new movie about that drug is coming out, and UD is way excited at the possibility that it will star one of the most… intriguing characters we’ve met on this blog: Harvard’s Joseph Biederman.

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