FSM Friends’ News and Articles
The Queen’s pharmacist is criticised for selling powdered Berlin Wall as a miracle cure for relationship troubles: With the concepts of ‘like cures like’ and ‘make it weaker to make it stronger’, there truly is nothing that is too ridiculous to be part of homeopathy. In this remedy by the ‘Queen’s Homeopath’, relationship troubles are treated by essence of the BERLIN WALL. What’s next? Hit the water with a hammer, and sell a cure for concussion? I wouldn’t put it past them.
Experts warn over controversial new anti-fluoride study: Pete Evan’s supports a study showing detrimental effects of fluoride, and no-one is surprised. It should not be something that needs repeating – but the vast majority of studies on fluoridated water have shown overwhelming benefit at the levels we fluoridate (fluoride toxicity does exist, usually from natural waterways in unusually high fluoride areas). The JAMA study should not be immediately discounted, but it utilized methods that have not been validated, did not correct for important cofactors like maternal IQ, and showed a perplexing sex-linked effect which might be indicative of P-hacking.
Google search data used by pharma giant to bombard users with ads for addictive opioids: Pharmaceutical giant Mundipharma and marketing agency Affinity produced a marketing campaign for the drug oxycodone, which used Google’s ad searches tool to identify patients who were unhappy with their current pain medication. As part of a pilot project in the Coffs Harbour area of New South Wales, they monitored Google searches to specifically identify patients who were looking up terms like “blocked up due to pain meds”. After people used the search terms, the marketeers “followed them around the internet” and ran banner ads for the company’s Blocked Pipes campaign in their internet browser, which told them to “ask your doctor” about symptoms like constipation.
Supermarkets put junk food on special twice as often as healthy food, and that’s a problem: We also looked at how discounts varied according to the healthiness of the products. We assessed the “healthiness” of foods using the Health Star Rating system – an Australian government-endorsed scheme that gives each product a score out of five. We found the more stars a food product had, the less often it was on special, and the smaller the discount when it was. Discounts applied to junk foods were, on average, almost twice as large as discounts on healthier options (26% off versus 15% off).
Aussie parents confused on cold prevention: The most effective way of preventing a cold is good hygiene, director of the poll and paediatrician Anthea Rhodes said, “Wash hands, clean contaminated surfaces and avoid people who are sick when you can”.
Vaping death – Illinois patient may be first in US to die from e-cigarettes, officials say: Vaping has been a contentious issue for a while now. Proponents claim it is less harmful than smoking and can help people addicted to cigarettes. Opponents fear it is an avenue for attracting young people, people who may then go onto smoking cigarettes, representing a new untapped market for tobacco. But this new evidence is the game changer. It appears vaping is causing lung injury in users, injury not related to damage from cigarette smoke because it is showing up in young people. And even if vaping did not cause this death, there are 200 other individuals with lung damage in the US. It may be time to put vaping on hold until more research is done.
Great Moments in Health and Science
The Completion of the Human Genome Project. What is the Human Genome Project? Spanning 1990 to 2003, the HGP mapped for the first time ever the genes that underpin nearly every biological process that takes place in our body, from our number of limbs to our vulnerability to certain disease processes. The comparative affordability and speed of genetic analysis that we have now has allowed scientists to start to make sense of the wealth of data that has come from this project.
Today’s Abused Health Concept
Bioresonance. TGA cracking down on non-compliant advertising of bioresonance and similar devices: Also known as “biofeedback”, bioresonance depends on the idea that humans emit electromagnetic waves, and that diseases can be diagnosed or even treated by detecting or correcting these waves. A method first pioneered by Chiropractors and later adopted by Scientologists with their ‘E-meters’, this typically involves a practitioner measuring skin resistance, watching the needle jump around randomly, then intuiting whatever insight suit their bias: “The pattern was different when I gave you a vial containing wheat… you must be gluten intolerant!” It can also involve practitioners trying to ‘correct bad signals’ … aka quacks applying electricity to patients.
“The TGA is currently investigating the scientific credibility relating to the diagnostic and therapeutic use of these devices. The TGA is also working to address other concerns about the advertising of these devices by a large number of health practitioners promoting them for the detection and treatment of serious ailments, diseases and conditions. These claims are prohibited and restricted representations.” We are not sure why the TGA needs to ‘investigate the scientific credibility’ of these devices, as this is a well known issue. However, we look forward to the crackdown on non-compliant advertising, and hope that this will amount to more than merely writing letters ‘advising’ the professional bodies.
Thanks to Science
New blood screening may detect ovarian cancer two years before other methods: Faster ovarian cancer diagnosis may be on the way. The new blood test has been shown to predict ovarian cancer at very early stages – this could be a huge benefit to patients who are usually diagnosed in late stages when fewer treatment options are available.