Infusions, hand-washing, baboons, and more…

FSM News and Articles

IV Infusions under fire: With the number of people who hate and avoid any kind of needles, I am surprised this is even a thing. IV infusion of liquids and vitamins at a clinic – or perhaps in your very own home! More clinics offering IV treatments for a range of maladies – some are claiming to be hangover cures or energy boosters, while others are claiming to prevent acute asthma attacks, or treat conditions like allergies and cardiovascular disease. However these treatments (usually consisting of combinations of vitamins and minerals in a saline base) suffer from the same problems as most ‘supplements’ not directed by a clinician (there’s little evidence they actually work, they carry risks of overdose or interaction with other medications and they might just be a waste of money…) with the fun added risks of haematoma, thrombosis and infection.* IV infusion of any medication also carries this risk, however health professionals balance risk with benefit of the intervention to the patient. These IV therapies may not have any concrete ‘benefits’ beyond hydration.

Our FSM president, Dr Ken Harvey, claims many companies advertising these therapies are being deceptive, and breaking national law, especially when claiming to treat specific conditions. In my opinion, eating a plate load of artfully arranged fruit is a safer, more delicious and probably much cheaper way to get in some vitamins during a hangover.

*especially if administered by someone with little experience in phlebotomy, or in an unclean environment.

FSM Friends’ News and Articles

Hand washing to prevent pandemic: A new study looks at the epidemiology of pandemics – worldwide spread of a contagious disease – and the impact of improving hand washing at airports, especially key travel hubs. The results reinforce the importance of hand-hygiene in preventing disease spread. Only about 70% of people, for example, wash their hands after using a public restroom. Of those, only about half wash with soap and water for the requisite 15 seconds minimum. The study authors estimate that at any given time only about 20% of people moving through an airport have clean hands. The rest are at risk for carrying pathogens, as they operate kiosks, use handrails, touch the arms of chairs, and elsewhere. The risk for spread of disease is therefore immense.

…By increasing “traveller engagement” with hand hygiene at all airports, the risk of an outbreak turning into a pandemic can be reduced by 24-69%. By focusing just on the 10 most important airports for a particular outbreak, the risk of spreading to a pandemic can be reduced by up to 37% – that’s with just increasing hand-hygiene messaging for passengers at 10 airports. The results suggest that hand washing is likely the single most effective method for reducing the spread of flu-like viral illness. This should not only focus on airports, although they are the most important for global spread. Any public location is a potential risk for the spread of viruses, and being careful what you touch, plus practicing good hand-hygiene while in public, is an important safety measure.


Health Canada-approved labels for homeopathic children’s remedies ‘very problematic,’ critics say: “When you see that product on the shelf in a pharmacy saying it’s ‘for’ cough and cold and fevers, the natural inclination – at least my inclination – is to read that as treating it”.

Petition to end medical research on baboons gains traction after animals’ Sydney escape: This is a good example of biased and sensationalist journalism. People sounding off about something they know nothing about. It includes quotes from so-called experts — doctors, not scientists — and makes no attempt to offer a balanced story. It plays off the popular impression that scientists are cruel and have no regard for animals. This also neglects a very important factor in animal research: cost. Primates are expensive and no one would contemplate using them unless it was absolutely necessary. And now, do-gooders want to ban animal research completely. The corollary to that is new drug innovations go straight from the lab into patients, ie, we just start experimenting on people. Animal research is necessary for medical progress. It is well-regulated and ethical. No one conducts animal studies in a frivolous or uncaring manner: it’s simply not allowed.

Great Moments in Health and Science 

The History of CPR: Medical professionals are not always present when someone has a heart attack – CPR buys time and saves lives.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

9 advertising techniques, with which advertisers deceive customers: Being aware of the tricks advertisers use to deceive customers is an important critical thinking skill. Considering the successful way woo treatments are promoted, many more people could stand to be informed about tricks including:

  • the use of questionable descriptions
  • deception with numbers
  • the use of authoritative opinion
  • beautiful photo vs. reality
  • using the fears of consumers
  • manipulation of the concept of quality
  • the imposition of brands
  • the choice of goods associated with the lifestyle.
  • equating purchases to happiness.