Triclosan isn’t effective
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began drafting guidelines for the use of the popular antibacterial, triclosan, about 40 years ago.
Two years ago they announced they were ready to implement some much-needed oversight of this chemical. They asked the manufacturers of soaps and body washes to provide more evidence of both its effectiveness and safety.
Well, those companies came up short. Last week the FDA made its final decision to ban triclosan and some other chemicals used in “antibacterial” soaps.
Manufacturers haven’t shown that these ingredients are any more effective than plain
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Kids and vaccines
It’s that time of year when the days shorten, stores advertise trendy back-to-school clothes, and parents scramble to make appointments with their kids’ pediatricians for sport physicals and immunizations.
At least, I hope they do.
I am a fervent believer in vaccinations, even though I live in the state (Washington) with–sadly–the highest “opt out” rate in the country.
In 1998 a medical journal published a paper by (now debunked and disgraced) scientist Andrew Wakefield. He implied a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. Since then, many parents have feared vaccinating their … Continue reading
The other day a family member asked for my advice on treating heartburn. It’s a common problem and fortunately there are many lifestyle changes and simple products to try before spending money on doctors’ appointments and prescription medications.
For the occasional case of heartburn following a large meal, or eating too late at night, or being more stressed than usual, try a herbal product or one of the inexpensive over-the-counter antacids.
- Chamomile has a mild healing and protective effect on the digestive tract. Choose a good-quality tea bag and enjoy a cup after a meal.
- Peppermint also has
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I love John Oliver and his show Last Week Tonight. Maybe because he frequently comments on or makes fun of our behemoth and costly healthcare system.
Related post: John Oliver mocks Big Pharma tactics
If you missed it, here’s the video of his show lampooning “scientific studies.” You know, the research mass media loves to package into scary sound bites (everything causes cancer) and healthcare corporations use to sell us something we probably don’t need.
Especially funny is this skit that shows how those TV infomercials can beguile us into thinking their … Continue reading
A friend sent me a YouTube link to a hilarious comic sketch that parodies homeopathy: Homeopathic A&E.
It’s by a pair of British comics, David Mitchell and Robert Webb. A&E stands for Accident and Emergency, the British equivalent of ER.
To understand why it’s so funny, you need to know that homeopathy’s alternative-reality medicine is based on a belief that “like cures like,” with remedies prepared into extremely diluted solutions.
I love the pub scene at the end!
There are plenty of scientists and physicians who have spoken out against homeopathy and provided scientific evidence … Continue reading
Scary headlines sell news
Last week the media blitzed us with headlines that linked cell phones with an increased risk of brain and heart cancers.
Don’t believe everything you read in a headline!
That news story was based on a study out of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences that looked at the effect of cell phone radiation on rats.
Most journalists, if you bothered to read the entire article, did point out that the study was not perfect and it did use rats, after all, and not humans.
However, if you just read the headlines or skimmed … Continue reading
May is National Osteoporosis Month
I can’t let May and the NOF’s awareness campaign pass without giving a shout out to the best way to prevent bone loss or osteoporosis.
It’s not taking enormous calcium supplement tablets every day or occasionally choking down a couple of chalky TUMS.
It’s a combination of eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and exercising every day.
Actually, no one can prevent bone loss altogether. That’s like saying you can prevent wrinkles. As we age our bones lose strength and flexibility. But we can slow the process down and prevent it from turning into significant … Continue reading
Don’t take health advice from celebrities
I just finished reading a thoughtful, informative and thoroughly entertaining book that examines how our celebrity-crazy culture affects our healthcare and lifestyle choices.
In “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?”, author Timothy Caulfield makes it his quest to “analyze and debunk the messages and promises” behind celebrities’ overhyped and oversold health, diet and beauty products.
Indeed, celebrity culture has emerged as one of the most significant and influential sources of pseudoscientific blather….The popularity of juicing, cleanses, detox diets, weird exercise routines, and a boatload of beauty and antiaging products and practices can be
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I’ve been a fan of Peggy Girshman’s science and healthcare writing for a long time, so it was with great sadness that I read about her death in March at the young age of 61.
But in tribute to her award-winning journalism career, which included long stints at both NPR and Kaiser Health News, she actually wrote her own eulogy!
She wanted to share a few simple lessons she had learned from her years on the job of reporting healthcare-related stories. Because they resonate with my own view that we need more health and less medicine, I wanted … Continue reading
Knowledge is king
That’s the take home message from Professor (of pharmacy) James McCormack’s latest parody video, End of the Line, which takes a whack at healthcare’s increasingly pervasive and rigid medical guidelines.
If followed to the letter, these guidelines (often based on research funded by drug companies) would have everyone diagnosed with a disease and taking one or more medications. Medical guidelines may be great for the drug business, but not so much for individualized, patient-centric care and shared decision-making.
Chronic disease state guidelines (blood pressure/lipids/glucose/bone density) do not provide clinicians with
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