Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
This pill contains phentermine, an appetite suppressant. As with all diet pills, this product is of course not free of side effects. Some of the common ones include: constipation; diarrhea; insomnia; dizziness; dry or distorted tastes in the mouth; exaggerated sense of well being; headaches; nervousness; restlessness; upset stomach; decreased libido; allergic reactions; chest pains; irregular heartbeat. The list can go on and on for quite some time.
I don’t know about you, but 'keeping up with the Kardashians' sounds like far too much effort.
Are testosterone and growth hormone the fountain of youth for aging men? “I consider what I do aggressive prevention, the basis of which is metabolism modulation,” Dr. Florence Comite says. “Twenty years from now, this will be the standard of care.” But "standard of care" to some means "quackery" to others. "If anyone is arguing that this is the new medical profession or the way things are going to be done 20 years from now, I would say they’re drinking the Kool-Aid of the antiaging industry,” says Dr. Jay Olshansky. “They’re making money selling a repackaged version of traditional preventive medicine, and then they add some hormones and supplements. It’s just such a racket.” There's more in The New York Times Magazine.
“At age 36, I found myself in a medium-security prison serving 3-5 years for destruction of government property and public intoxication. This was stiff punishment for drunkenly defecating in a mailbox, but as the judge pointed out, this was my third conviction for the exact same crime.”
So begins an Amazon review of The Secret which 8,581 of 8,905 Amazon readers found “helpful.” What exactly is the key to getting your review chosen as "helpful"? "The product review, as a literary form, is in its heyday," writes Virginia Heffernan. "Polemical, evocative, witty, narrative, exhortative, furious, ironic, off the cuff: the reviews on Amazon use all the tools in the critic’s cubby — and invent some of their own. The ones that rise to the top, in the site’s parallel 'favorable' and 'critical' categories, adroitly win your trust and close their cases."
"Drug marketing is a very sophisticated system which corrupts every part of the scientific and medical network," says Australian psychiatrist Peter Parry. A new study in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry by Parry and Metropolitan State University (Minnesota) psychology professor Glen Spielmans suggests the extent to which antipsychotic drugmakers have manipulated and distorted medical evidence about their drugs.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Over the holiday break, my dad and I went to the Costco in my hometown. In the food section, they had several tables set up with free food and drink samples. One of the tables had a large crowd of older adults standing around, so obviously we had to see what the commotion was about. The free sample was for this drink called Reversitall, which is basically a non-alcoholic red wine. I’m sure you have heard about the health benefits of red wine, and perhaps even about the “French Paradox” and “resveratrol”. Basically, this $20+/bottle drink makes the claim that it reverses the aging process by providing enough antioxidants that your “inner machinery” won’t rust. Supposedly one "shot" of this drink gives you the same amount of resveratrol as a bottle of red wine, meaning you can successfully avoid getting busted for DUI.
An amusing exchange:
Woman at the Counter: Come try Reversitall and feel years younger! Only a 1 oz shot each day is needed! Life elixir everyone!
Dad: So what you’re saying is that if I drop $20 for this I will magically be 30 again?
Woman: You might even live to be 150! Resveratrol can do wonders!
Dad: And a shot each day is all that is needed?
Woman: Yes, a shot each day. Take it in a shot glass.
Dad: Ok, let’s give this a try.
(We both take a sample of this. It tastes pretty much like cough syrup.)
Woman: So, what do you two think?
Dad: Thanks, but we’re going to get some grapes. A few bushels of grapes. They’re cheaper and much tastier.
Woman: You just lost your chance to be 150 someday.
Hah! Meanwhile, all the other folks at the sample table who tried Reversitall ended up being $20 poorer than they were had they not visited this booth. Some people even purchased 2-3 bottles of this at once!
Do you think that this "life elixir" is a legitimate anti-aging treatment? Or do you think that the nutritional supplement industry is capitalizing on the general public's fear of old age / death?
"Dear, when you're out today at the beach will you make sure to pick up some marijuana, oh, and some Botox? Thanks..."
"For the temporary removal of facial wrinkles. Botox injections have been shown to eliminate frown lines, crows feet, forehead wrinkles and some upper lip lines. FDA-approved for the treatment of excessive underarm sweating (Hyperhidrosis).
- Facial treatment: $10/unit
- Underarm sweating treatment: $10/unit"
(Photo courtesy of M. Wolston)
John Tierney of the New York Times thinks that corporate critics should get used to the fact that industry money funds science. Meanwhile, a former top researcher for Astra Zeneca told the BBC that the company pressured him to approve false marketing materials for its antipsychotic drug, Seroquel.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Jill Lepore has written an excellent (and very funny) profile of Robert Ettinger, a founder of the cryonics movement and still alive at age 91, in the January 25 issue of The New Yorker. (For the full article you'll need to buy the magazine, or else rely on bootleg scans.)
Is Seroquel modelling its new ad campaign on the art of Liu Bolin? Read more at BNET Pharma.
Read more about radiation therapy errors in The New York Times.
"The Times found that while this new technology allows doctors to more accurately attack tumors and reduce certain mistakes, its complexity has created new avenues for error — through software flaws, faulty programming, poor safety procedures or inadequate staffing and training. When those errors occur, they can be crippling."
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
’’There are physicians earning so much money [from drug makers] that they would give up their jobs,’’ said Dr. Steven Nissen, head of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. “It’s a shocking story. Normally you’d give up the [pharmaceutical company] honoraria.’’ Read more in the Boston Globe about the Harvard physician who is resigning his post rather than give up his pharmaceutical industry speaking gig.