Livin' on the MDedge

Childproofing your protocols, and what’s the deal with airline water?


Childproof your study protocols

Childproof caps on medicine bottles. Like a bank vault lock to third-rate thieves, they’re an impregnable line of defense between inquisitive little hands and heavy-duty pharmaceuticals.

three brown pill bottles miflippo/Getty Images

So, you can imagine the delight with which parents learned that their children’s education at an Illinois elementary school included a test of their ability to spring drugs from their fortress-like bottling.

In a quest to advance scientific understanding, a junior high student recruited some of the school’s kindergartners and first graders as participants in a science fair experiment. The hypothesis: “Childproof” medicine bottles were anything but.

The junior high scientist collected data on how quickly the study subjects could defeat assorted bottles. And, being a kindly soul, the adolescent researcher demonstrated techniques for achieving a state of, ahem, pharmaceutical openness.

While teachers were present during the experiment, parental permission slips were not. As any principal or institutional review board knows, informed consent is kind of a big deal.

Surprised parents learned of the experiment only when their kids deftly demonstrated their newfound pill skills. One shocked parent even shared a video of his daughter defeating a childproof lid.

Pharmacies, of course, would remind us all that their bottles are at best “child resistant,” not childproof. It’s a distinction lost on us here at the Bureau of LOTME, however. We’re desperately viewing that how-to video for tips on liberating our statins from the “child resistant” bottle our millennial pharmacist clearly superglued the cap onto.

What’s the deal with airline food?

You probably thought Jerry Seinfeld’s immortal query was rhetorical. No one actually knows what the deal is with airline food, right?

airplane meal (rice and chicken and soft drink) ThamKC/Getty Images

Enter Charles Platkin, PhD, JD, MPH, executive director of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, and editor of Not only does he know the deal, he publishes a study detailing the healthiness of the food offered by 11 airlines every year, based on criteria such as healthy nutrients and calorie levels of meals, level of transparency, improvement and maintenance of healthy offerings, and water health.

For the 2018-2019 edition, there’s a tie at the top between Alaska Airlines and Air Canada, both scoring 4 out of 5 on Dr. Platkin’s “Health Score,” both well ahead of Delta and JetBlue in second place with a score of 2.9.

At the bottom? Southwest Airlines, with a paltry 1.7, edging out Spirit and Hawaiian Airlines.

Our personal favorite tidbit from the study has to be the poor scores in water health. Spirit managed to score a measly 1 out of 5 in the water health subscore, and several airlines were below 2. An actual quote from the study: “The quality of drinking water varies by airline, and many have provided passengers with unhealthy water. In general, it’s probably best to avoid drinking coffee and tea on board since they are made with galley water.”

While Hawaiian can take some comfort because they didn’t finish dead last, Dr. Platkin did award them his special “Shame on You” award for not providing all their nutritional information. You can try to hide, Hawaiian Airlines, but Dr. Platkin will find you.

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