Tag Archives | Medicine

Big Pharma Has Made Americans Into Wimps

Mail order pharmacy dispensers.jpg

Americans are wimpy hypochondriacs, says Julie Gray at Huffington Post:

…The way illness is treated in the United States is ghastly, ranging from costly, inadequate insurance to cheap, over the counter medicines for everything under the sun. It has turned us into a nation of willfully ignorant drug and convenience addicted wimps, buying treatments for symptoms that we don’t like and medications for illnesses we don’t have, padding the pockets of big pharma along the way.

We have become a nation for whom illness is anathema. We are terrified of diseases we probably won’t get; the Ebola scare is sweeping the nation. It was SARS before that. And the H1N1 flu epidemic before that — and so on. Our sense of proportionality, of the actual impact of illness, is way out of whack.

From where I live now, I am thankful that I cannot reach for a spray or lozenge that will make it go away.

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Do Psychedelics Have a Place in the Future of Medicine? With Brad Burge of MAPS and Army Ranger Tim Amoroso.

Via Midwest Real

“There really has been an exponential increase of media interest in what’s happening. I think that’s the result of new research, (and) the result of some major international conferences that are really establishing the field of psychedelic science and medicine.” Brad Burge of MAPS.

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It seems we’re finally at a turning point in The War on Drugs.  All it took was a few decades of indoctrination, mass-incarceration, astronomical price tags and straight-up horrific body counts. Yet, society’s transition into a deeper understanding of these substances has been far from smooth. Yes, the people have clearly spoken on the subject of marijuana, and nearly half of all U.S. states have taken notice, putting some sort of marijuana-friendly law on the books. However, when it comes to Mary Jane’s more potent psychedelic cousins, the conversation is quite a bit more nuanced and controversial. Thankfully, for the first time in decades, the dialogue surrounding psychedelics is evolving.… Read the rest

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Gov. Agency Focused on Complementary Medicine Wants to Change Name | LiveScience

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

I get the impression that they think their name sounds a little too “woo woo” for a government agency. That studies “woo woo”. (That’s not entirely true, so let’s call that a ‘complementary’ statement.)

The government agency that funds research into complementary and alternative medicine is looking to change its name.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is proposing to drop the “alternative” from its name, and add the word “research” to emphasize the agency’s research focus, said Dr. Josephine Briggs, the agency’s director. The proposed new name is the National Center for Research on Complementary and Integrative Health.

“Alternative” refers to “the use of unproven practices in place of treatments we know to be safe and effective,” Briggs said. One reason for the change is that surveys show alternative medicine is only rarely practiced.

via Gov. Agency Focused on Complementary Medicine Wants to Change Name | LiveScience.… Read the rest

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In Vitro Fertilisation Patient Pregnant With Wrong Embryos

Receiving a call that you are pregnant with some strangers’ children — in vitro fertilizaitonnightmare medical scenario of the future? Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

A woman who underwent fertility treatment at a clinic in Rome became pregnant with the twins of another couple after their embryos were mixed up.

Italy’s Health Ministry said it was launching an investigation into the error, which was only discovered when the woman was three months’ pregnant. The mistake happened on December 4, when four different couples were receiving treatment at a specialist fertility unit at the Sandro Pertini Hospital in Rome, Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported on Sunday. It is not clear whether the mistake led to any of the other women becoming pregnant with the wrong baby.

The local health authority in Rome said it only became aware there was a problem of “genetic incompatibility” between the parents and the embryos on March 27.

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Doctors Swap Part of Woman’s Skull With 3-D Replacement

Pic: EvaWolf (CC)

Pic: EvaWolf (CC)

It’s amazing what people can do now with 3-D printing technology when they’re not busy printing dildos and bongs. Warning: If you click the link to the full story then you’ll come face-to-bleeding pseudo-skull with some a fairly explicit image, so beware of that if you’re squeamish.

Via Wired:

A 22-year-old woman from the Netherlands who suffers from a chronic bone disorder — which has increased the thickness of her skull from 1.5cm to 5cm, causing reduced eyesight and severe headaches — has had the top section of her skull removed and replaced with a 3D printed implant.

The operation was performed by a team of neurosurgeons at the University Medical Centre Utrecht and the university claims this is this first instance of a successful 3D printed cranium that has not been rejected by the patient.

The operation, which took 23 hours, was led by Dr Bon Verweij.

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Half Of All Americans Believe In At Least One Medical Conspiracy Theory

OuchFlintGoodrichShot1941If you believe that the CIA deliberately infected African Americans with the HIV virus or another medical conspiracy theory, you have plenty of company: about half of all Americans, reports Reuters:

About half of American adults believe in at least one medical conspiracy theory, according to new survey results.

Some conspiracy theories have much more traction than others, however.

For example, three times as many people believe U.S. regulators prevent people from getting natural cures as believe that a U.S. spy agency infected a large number of African Americans with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

J. Eric Oliver, the study’s lead author from University of Chicago, said people may believe in conspiracy theories because they’re easier to understand than complex medical information.

“Science in general – medicine in particular – is complicated and cognitively challenging because you have to carry around a lot of uncertainty,” Oliver said.

“To talk about epidemiology and probability theories is difficult to understand as opposed to ‘if you put this substance in your body, it’s going to be bad,'” he said.

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In 1947 a Live Fish Got Stuck in a Man’s Throat: Here’s How They Removed It

PIC: Klem (CC)

PIC: Klem (CC)

Here’s one from the archives: In 1947, medical personnel had to perform an emergency tracheotomy as part of a complicated procedure to remove a fish that had become lodged in the throat of an unlucky Malaysian man. The man’s family said that the fish had jumped from the man’s net and into his mouth, becoming lodged in his throat. Sounds about as likely as people who visit emergency rooms with rectums stuffed with “foreign bodies” that they “accidentally” fell on while naked, but what do I know? Stranger things have happened. Anyway, this is a pretty gruesome story…

Via Discover:

CASE REPORT: A Malay villager was admitted to the Malacca General Hospital on Feb.27, 1947, in a very distressed state, with laryngealobstruction.There was a marked stridor and retraction of the intercostal spaces. He was throwing himself about on the stretcher and was very dificult to examine, and of course quite unable to give any history.

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Six-Hundred Year-Old Petrified Poop Contains Antibiotic Resistance Genes

PIC: Dr. Graham Beards (PD)

PIC: Dr. Graham Beards (PD)

Once you get over the shock of a perfectly preserved 14th century turd (Dude, what did you eat?), the story is actually pretty interesting: Scientists examining a six hundred year-old piece of human poop have discovered the presence of genes that provide antibiotic resistance.

Via Heritage Daily:

A team of French investigators has discovered viruses containing genes for antibiotic resistance in a fossilized fecal sample from 14th century Belgium, long before antibiotics were used in medicine.

The viruses in the fecal sample are phages, which are viruses that infect bacteria, rather than infecting eukaryotic organisms such as animals, plants, and fungi. Most of the viral sequences the researchers found in the ancient coprolite (fossil fecal sample) were related to viruses currently known to infect bacteria commonly found in stools (and hence, in the human gastrointestinal tract), including both bacteria that live harmlessly, and even helpfully in the human gut, and human pathogens, says corresponding author Christelle Desnues of Aix Marseille Université.

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