Book Review: The Cure: How a Father Raised a $100 Million …

I just finished reading a great book, The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million–And Bucked the Medical Establishment–In a Quest to Save His Children.  John Crowley discovers that his two youngest kids are dying from a rare disease – one so rare that nobody has bothered to invest a lot in a cure.  Crowley ends up quitting his job, starting a drug company and finding a drug to treat his kids.  Only to discover that the FDA considers it a conflict of interest to include his own kids in the trials! 

It’s a great heart-warming story of a family’s struggle with a little known disease written by a great writer – Greeta Anand.  The book is mostly about the business side (as opposed to the medical side) of the disease.  It’s a story about the dad’s struggle to find a cure for the disease.  He’s never run a company, never gotten funding, knows little about biology or science, and yet he starts a very successful biotech company and finds a drug that works – all for his kids.

I found the conflict of interest part interesting.  John Crowley brings in people suffering from Pompe to meet the people in the company.  Most of the researchers have never met anyone suffering from the disease they are trying to cure!  And get this, it could be considered a conflict of interest to meet the people they are trying to cure!  That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  In the computer high tech world we consider it a very good thing to meet your users – you are making the product for them!  In Crowley’s case the visitors helped motivate and empassion his company.

Famous tortilla de patatas!

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from the Tortilla de patatas group pool. Make your own badge here.

Maybe some of you remember the Tortilla de Patatas that I made – my first ever.  It’s now part of the Tortilla de patatas group on Flickr!

Getting Caleb into the Attic: “That’s what pillows are for!”

Our seven year old likes to play in the garage attic.  To get into the attic, you have to climb a yellow rope and not everyone can do that, so it’s a secret hideout.  Turns out he’s been working on how to get his one year old brother up there!  Last night he said "I think maybe we could put Caleb in a bucket and pull him up into the attic.  But he might be too heavy."  When I mentioned that Caleb might fall out of the attic, he said, "That’s what pillows are for!"

Being a step-parent

I’ve heard from at least three different people in the last week that being a step-parent is hard. 

I think being a parent is hard.  I think being a kid with four parents and two homes is hard.  I really don’t think being a stepmom is that much harder than being a mom.  (Once in a while it’s a bit frustrating when someone listens to dad when they wouldn’t listen to you but most of the time there’s no difference.)  The difference is it’s just a bit harder communicating among four parents and keeping consistent rules than it is between two, but I don’t think I have it any harder than any of the other three parents! 

Now if someone would just show me where that Magic Guidebook to Parenting is …

Why do you believe myths?

There’s a really interesting article in the Washinton Post, Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach about how myths grow.  As an example they used a CDC study that tried to dispel myths about the flu.  After reading the flyer, many people remembered the false facts as true!

It recited various commonly held views and labeled them either "true" or "false." Among those identified as false were statements such as "The side effects are worse than the flu" and "Only older people need flu vaccine."

When University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwarz had volunteers read the CDC flier, however, he found that within 30 minutes, older people misremembered 28 percent of the false statements as true. Three days later, they remembered 40 percent of the myths as factual.

So the article concludes that trying to dispel myths by stating them only makes them more memorable and more true in people’s minds!