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Archive for the ‘Medicine’ Category

An article popped up in my Facebook feed from Forbes Magazine this week concerning the use of multivitamins and supplements, and how their use can actually shorten your life.  Having people in my family that are huge into vitamins and supplements, I was eager to see what the results of the studies by Jaakko Mursu and colleagues had to say.

I was very impressed by the sample size for both of the studies which followed 38,772 women for 25 years, and 35,533 men for 10 years in a study by Eric Klein and colleagues.  The news isn’t really anything new — vitamins and supplements for the most part do not improve health at all, and can actually make your health worse by killing you quicker, rather than prolonging your life.  The only supplement that seemed to have mixed results was calcium.

Some people say, “But my vitamins give me so much energy and strength.  I could never live without my vitamins and supplements.”  These people are experiencing what is known as a placebo effect, where even though the vitamins and supplements are having no effect, or a negative effect on their overall health — their perception is that of benefit.  The short and entertaining video below will give you a good perspective on the power of placebo.

So, if vitamins and supplements can kill us faster, what should we do?  Eat a well balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, and get a healthy amount of physical exercise.  Your body will love you for it, and you won’t have to waste your money on pills that will only kill you faster.

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I don’t typically use a lot of profanity on my blog, particularly not in my titles, but this one seemed spot on and would probably make a great name for a rock band.  Whoever snags the name, just make sure I get a cut.  Of course, what I’m really referring to is the lawsuit that is being pursued by Catholic Bishops in regards to the birth control mandate.  Their argument boils down to them claiming that they are being forced to pay for something that violates their religious sensibilities, which if one just follows this idea out a little bit further, it’s easy to see why they don’t have a leg to stand on.

Medical benefits are a part of an employee’s compensation, just like a person’s paycheck is also part of their compensation.  Let’s say you spend $50 per paycheck at the bar, and your employer is a Mormon who is against all alcohol consumption.  Your Mormon boss finds out about you spending that money at the bar, and then docks your paycheck $50 from there on out to keep you from participating in that activity, and from having money from their business (through you) going to an activity they do not support.  See a problem here?  Me too.

Whether it’s monetary compensation, or compensation through medical benefits — employers do not have the right to limit compensation based upon actions their employees might take that violate the conscience of the employer.  It’s easy to miss the fact that medical benefits are compensation when everyone’s eyes are focused on a tiny little pill.  So, Bishops — quit yer bitchin’.

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A hilarious glimpse into what homeopathy in hospitals would look like…

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For everyone who didn’t get an opportunity to catch Dr. Steve Novella on the Dr. Oz Show when it aired the other day (including myself), here are the links to all three parts:

Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Pt 1.
Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Pt 2.

Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Pt 3.

Overall, Steve thought he was treated well and that the editing was fair.  He did have a couple of complaints that you can read about by clicking here, which included not allowing him to respond to Dr. Oz’s extremely long closing remarks.   All in all it seems to have been a worthwhile venture, and by all accounts Steve did an excellent job.

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Dr. Steve Novella of Skeptics Guide To The Universe and Science-Based Medicine fame will be appearing on the Dr. Oz Show today.  He will be taking Dr. Oz to task on his support so-called alternative medicines like homeopathy, which are nothing more than sugar water, and have been proven in scientific studies to have ZERO true medical effect.  I for one will be tuning in this afternoon.  We’ll see how friendly they are with the editing process.

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The woman’s death wasn’t due to treatment with homeopathic remedies, but this particular Colombian homeopath decided to open up his own unlicensed cosmetic surgery practice in Las Vegas.  The woman who went in for a buttocks enhancement was injected several times with a gel substance before allegedly being dumped on the street corner by the “doctor” and his wife.  The woman begged those passing by for help, but ultimately died before paramedics could get her to the hospital.

This is a sad situation of a person with no real medical training saying, “I can do that.”  I suppose calling yourself a doctor because you prescribe “magic pills” to people could make you more likely to believe you can do other procedures without training as well.  One has to wonder if he tried giving her some magical sugar pills to combat the adverse affects from his botched procedure before he dumped her on the street.  The guy could have at least had the decency to drop her off at a hospital before trying to skip town.  At least then she would have had a better chance of surviving.  Perhaps he just didn’t trust those evil doctors who actually believed in science-based medicine, or more likely, they were just trying to get as much distance between themselves and the police.  Either way, it was an unfortunate tragedy, and I hope to see the “doctor” and his wife prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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