Tag Archives | Medicine

To Break Big Pharma’s Stranglehold, Doctors Vote for Ban on Drug Ads

The U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. (Photo: A./flickr/cc)

The U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. (Photo: A./flickr/cc)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

In an attempt to combat the soaring cost of prescription drugs and Big Pharma’s stranglehold on the U.S. healthcare system, the American Medical Association (AMA) has approved a new policy to “support a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices.”

“Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” said AMA board chair-elect Patrice Harris, M.D., in a press statement on Tuesday. The vote took place at the AMA’s 2015 Interim Meeting in Atlanta.

Supporters of the ban also cited concerns including patient confusion and encouragement of off-label, or unapproved, use of certain drugs.… Read the rest

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Sixty Percent Of Americans Take Prescription Drugs

Sixty Percent yo! Yes, 6 of every 10 Americans are on drugs, the kind that make health insurance ridiculously expensive in the United States. NBC News reports on the shocking statistics:

More Americans than ever are taking prescription drugs — close to 60 percent of U.S. adults, according to new research.


And most seem to be related to obesity, with cholesterol and blood pressure drugs leading the pack, researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The single most popular drug is Zocor, a cholesterol-lowering drug in a class called statins, said Elizabeth Kantor, formerly of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and now at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The drug, known generically as simvastatin, is taken by 8 percent of the U.S. population.

Her team used national surveys of more than 37,000 adults to find that the percentage of people taking prescription drugs rose from 51 percent of the adult population in 1999 to 59 percent in 2011.

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What really matters at the end of life

Well, we all need a reason to wake up. For me, it just took 11,000 volts.

One night, sophomore year of college, just back from Thanksgiving holiday, a few of my friends and I were horsing around, and we decided to climb atop a parked commuter train. It was just sitting there, with the wires that run overhead. Somehow, that seemed like a great idea at the time. We’d certainly done stupider things. I scurried up the ladder on the back, and when I stood up, the electrical current entered my arm, blew down and out my feet, and that was that. Would you believe that watch still works? Takes a licking!

My father wears it now in solidarity.

That night began my formal relationship with death — my death — and it also began my long run as a patient. It’s a good word. It means one who suffers. So I guess we’re all patients.… Read the rest

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Power of the media’s impact on medicine use revealed

The Catalyst Team

The Catalyst Team

For non-Australians (like myself), here’s a quick overview of the science program, Catalyst.

University of Sydney via EurekAlert:

More than 60,000 Australians are estimated to have reduced or discontinued their use of prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin medications following the airing of a two-part series critical of statins by ABC TV’s science program, Catalyst, a University of Sydney study reveals in the latest Medical Journal of Australia.

The analysis of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medication records of 191,000 people revealed that there was an immediate impact after Catalyst was aired in October 2013, with 14,000 fewer people dispensed statins per week than expected.

“In the eight months following the Catalyst broadcast, an estimated 60,897 fewer people had statins dispensed than expected. If patients continue to avoid statins over the next five years, this could result in between 1,522 and 2,900 preventable, and potentially fatal, heart attacks and strokes,” the authors report.

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Music As Medicine

“Biometric trackers are helping scientists tap into the body’s response to songs and sound,” suggesting there is a way to measure whether or not music can function as medicine, reports the Atlantic:

“Because you listened to Drake, how about Future next?”

Sinnliche Töne [Explored]

Photo: Tekke (CC)


Pandora, Spotify, and other music-streaming services try to predict what users might like to listen to, based on their tastes and what’s popular with people near them. People make playlists for certain moods and activities—going to the gym, going to bed. But imagine if those apps could predict exactly which song would be best to help you focus, or to slow your heart rate after a run. (“You seem stressed. How about Sigur Ros?”) And if technology could predict how music affects the body, could it suggest music to treat symptoms of a disease?

That idea is the basis of The Sync Project, a new company based in Boston.

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1000-year-old Remedy Kills MRSA Superbug


This article was sent to us by a reader. He asks, “How did ancient people have this knowledge?”

A medieval remedy of leeks, garlic, wine, and the bile of a cow’s stomach was used as an “eyesalve” circa the 10th Century. Scientists have recently discovered, much to everyone’s surprise, that this salve is also effective against antibiotic-resistant MRSA.

via New Scientist:

Sourcing authentic ingredients was a major challenge, says Harrison. They had to hope for the best with the leeks and garlic because modern crop varieties are likely to be quite different to ancient ones – even those branded as heritage. For the wine they used an organic vintage from a historic English vineyard.

As “brass vessels” would be hard to sterilise – and expensive – they used glass bottles with squares of brass sheet immersed in the mixture. Bullocks gall was easy, though, as cow’s bile salts are sold as a supplement for people who have had their gall bladders removed.

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Potential Arizona Bill Mandates Doctors To Tell Patients Abortions Can Be “Reversed”


Scott Camazine/Alamy

There’s currently an abortion bill (S.B. 1318) in Arizona waiting to be signed into law by Republican Governor Doug Ducey. The bill, which made it through the House and Senate, will force doctors to tell patients that abortions can be “reversed.” Furthermore, under this bill, abortions will not be covered by the Affordable Care Act.

If Gov. Ducey signs this bill into law (he’s previously stated that he’s against abortion), doctors will essentially be forced to lie to their patients. Republican Rep. Regina Cobb of Kingman argued fiercely against the bill stating that it forced doctors to spread “non-evidence based medicine.” As Brandy Zadrozny notes at The Daily Beast, if S.B. 1318 is passed, it will not be the first law that binds doctors to relay misinformation to abortion patients:

It’s the first reversal language of its kind to make it through a state legislature, and should it become law, will join a long list of information that doctors in The Grand Canyon State are forced to relay to patients seeking an abortion—much of which providers know to be misleading and aimed less at informed consent and more at dissuading women from choosing the procedure.

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10 Medicinal Weeds That May Grow In Your Backyard

"Milk thistle flowerhead" by Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.auCanon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons.

Milk thistle flowerhead” by Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au Canon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 – Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons.

Jeff Roberts writes at Collective-Evolution:

For thousands of years, man has looked to nature to cure disease. In the last decade particularly, medicinal plants have been catapulted into mainstream culture, with the  popularity of plant medicines such as ayahuasca, ibogaine and cannabis making headlines for their powerful healing abilities against some of today’s most prominent illnesses.  However, these plant medicines come with illicit conditions in most countries.

The good news is, some of the most common weeds in our backyard yield amazing healing abilities, and they are all legal! Here are ten weeds which possess interesting medicinal properties. (Note: Consult with your health professional before self-medicating with these plants)

Chicory (Cichorium intybus), the light blue flower frequently seen along roads, provides the main commercial source of the compound inulin.

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Ending Aging with Dr. Aubrey de Grey | Midwest Real

aubrey de grey

Via Midwest Real

Dr. Aubrey de Grey is Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer at the SENS Research Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to ending aging. 


The march of time spares none, neither rich, famous nor powerful. The deep, existential angst that comes part and parcel with that knowledge has, no doubt, haunted mankind from the very first moment we became self-aware. It’s also the one obstacle we’ve encountered as a species we just take for granted as the unassailable natural order of things.

It’s incredible really- we’ve walked the moon, we fly across the world and we transmit words through the air as if it’s trivial. Yet, for some reason when it comes to aging, we yield. Even the most brilliant men among us don’t consider the possibility that we might be able to circumvent becoming old and dying.

Actually, some brilliant men do.

Ending aging has become the life’s work of our guest, Dr.Read the rest

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When Taking Anxiety Medication Is A Revolutionary Act

“Without the medicine, I live a life of ‘I can’t do this, but I’m somehow doing it anyway.’ With it, it’s more ‘this is sometimes difficult, but I got it'” writes Tracy Clayton at Buzzfeed:

If I had to describe what having anxiety feels like, I’d say that it’s kind of like walking through the world beneath tornadic skies without an umbrella, unsure if you’ll be able to find shelter if things get bad. When friends invite you out, you politely decline because while you’d like to enjoy their company, the sky could open up and wash you out to sea at any minute so it’s probably safer for you to stay at home. In the background of anything you do is the gentle hum of your nervous system as it tosses and turns, wondering when the deluge will hit, thinking about how unfortunate will be if you don’t survive it.

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