Sunday, September 09, 2007

I am such a dead man.

Those of you who know me well are probably aware of my deepest and darkest secret.  Although I am somewhat embarrassed to admit it, I feel that with a recent medical discovery, I must acknowledge the issue and try to let people with the same problem feel comfortable in coming forward.  Acknowledging the problem is the first step in recovery.


You see, I am an early riser.  Get your mind out of the gutter!  Not in that way (though I was in my younger days).  Nowadays, I wake up way-too-early in the morning and ride my bike to work.   I justify this behavior because I get extra miles in, save some commute time, and save the ozone all at the same time.   Unfortunately, the world is not all sunshine and roses.  There is a dark side.  It turns out that in trying to save a little time for my family, I am not only a hazard to myself, but probably a contributor to the health care crisis in the United States today.


It turns out that scientists recently discovered that getting out of bed before 5 am is bad for your health.  That’s right, doing so poses a 1.7 times greater risk of high blood pressure and 2 times greater risk to development of hardened arteries.  Not only that, but there is “a possible link between vascular disease and early birds who began the day with vigorous exercise.”  OMIGOD!  I’m not joking here folks; check out the news report.


Should I wake up early?  Should I ride to work and save the planet?  What am I doing to myself and to society?    Then I got to thinking, what about people who participate in 24 hour races.  Not only do they begin the day with vigorous exercise, but they must be infinitely more at risk than early risers, because technically, they never even went to bed!  Maybe, this is a question better left unasked.


Pondering this led me to a more revealing and far-reaching problem.  What is the point of this story, is to educate us, or is it to confuse us?   I’ll tell you: These people don’t want answers, they want more funding.  They don’t want an informed public, but a semi-informed public; not smart enough to know the answers, but just smart enough to know we need more studies.  


Think about it, even on should-be non-controversial issues like space aliens and Bigfoot, they leave the door open.  Do you ever hear a scientist say something like, “There is no Bigfoot,” or does he really say, “We haven’t found any additional evidence confirming the existence of Bigfoot.”  Do they ever say, “People claiming to be abducted by aliens are freakin’ nut-jobs,” or do they say, “With the billions of stars in each galaxy and the billions of galaxies, the chances of their not being life on other plants seems infinitesimally small.”  …Just enough ambiguity to keep us guessing - and them working.


In case you are wondering, the physician that led the “early riser is a dead man” study called for more studies.