Thursday, February 25, 2010

At Last!

I could not have said this better myself.

Oh, that's right...I have been saying this all along ("The Republican Party is a fully owned subsidiary of the insurance industry.")...but this is a live broadcast to the American people on the so-called health care debate, out of the mouth of NY State Representative Weiner.

Now, if only President Obama will take the same strong stance something could be done.

(Note: It is worth watching the full 7 minute clip)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?
What is the fastest growing market for cosmetic surgery in men…for the second year running?
What is the #1 cosmetic surgery performed on women?
That’s easy, breast enlargement.
Any guesses for the men?
Sadly, and unfortunately, way too graphically…it is male breast reduction.
This bizarre and unnatural dichotomy of breast reduction in men and breast enlargement in women reminds me of joke told by comedian Stephen Rice.
“I bought a humidifier and a de-humidifier and I put them both in a room, closed the door, and let them fight it out.”
I wonder how that would work?

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In any event, is any of this aesthetic surgery really practicing medicine?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Robin Hood Tax

Another great idea. Do we have the will to make it happen here?

from HuffPo:

A coalition of British organizations calling itself the Robin Hood Tax campaign is proposing a new tax on banks to fund global anti-poverty and anti-climate change initiatives. The idea is to skim about 0.05% off of all speculative banking transactions, which proponents say would raise hundreds of billions of dollars each year and forge "a new deal between banks and society":

"It sounds complicated, but actually it isn't. A tiny tax on bankers has the power to raise hundreds of billions every year - giving a vital boost to the NHS, our schools, and the fight against child poverty - as well as tackling poverty and climate change around the world."

In an ad for the campaign, British actor Bill Nighy, who will star in the next installment of the Harry Potter films, plays a haughty banker who's forced to admit the tax would barely phase the finance industry.

Monday, February 8, 2010

One Skeptic to Another

One Skeptic to Another

Note: the following blog is in response to an article that appeared in my local newspapers
Professor Pasachoff is a skeptic, as am I…to the extent that one of my guiding precepts is: ‘the quality of your life and your understanding of the world will be determined by the quality of the questions that you ask.’
I suspect that Professor Pasachoff and I would agree on many things, specifically that critical thinking seems to be underutilized, at best, and undermined, at worst, in our society.
But, he and I are at odds when he targets chiropractic in his skepticism. He crossed the line from skepticism/doubt into dogmatism with his label of pseudo-science. So, how do I, as a chiropractor and a skeptic, reconcile this? Quite simply, I welcome Professor Pasachoff’s skepticism, questions and scrutiny, as I do that of my patients. I would ask him what personal research he has done to make this broad denouncement? Or, in this instance, might he be wanting in critical thinking skills?
There is a plethora of scientific evidence supporting both the physiological effects and efficacy of chiropractic adjustments for the treatment of acute neck and low back pain of mechanical origin.
In fact, in 1989, the US government established the Agency for Health Care Policy and Researchto enhance the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health care services and access to these services.” Because of the prevalence, the first guideline developed was for the treatment of acute low back pain. “This guideline was developed by an independent multidisciplinary panel of private-sector clinicians and other experts convened by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). The panel employed explicit, science-based methods and expert clinical judgment to develop specific statements on acute low back problems in adults.”
The panel concluded: “Surgery has been found to be helpful in only 1 in 100 cases of (all) low back problems. In some people, surgery can even cause more problems.” Furthermore, scientific, evidence-based research supported only three “Proven Treatments” for acute low back problems: NSAIDS (oral anti-inflammatories), the use of ice or heat and, remarkably…42 studies supported the use of (chiropractic) spinal manipulation of the low back.

Were these guidelines implemented? No! Why? Because citing the efficacy of conservative approaches and recommending non-surgical treatments for low back pain, drove back surgeons wild. They organized and lobbied congress and effectively stripped the AHCPR of its power, halting the development of all future guidelines. Incidentally, the number of spinal fusions continued to rise dramatically, over 127 percent between 1997 and 2004.

Perhaps Professor Pasachoff’s skepticism would be better directed at the machinations of the medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex. After all, in terms of risks verses benefits, the risks and deaths associated with medical/pharmaceutical care far exceed those of any he labeled as pseudo-science. Why aim so low?

It has been estimated that only 15% of what doctors do is backed by the type of hard scientific evidence Professor Pasachoff seeks: ie: that ‘there is little to no evidence that many widely used treatments and procedures actually work better than various cheaper alternatives.”

While there is significant evidence that corporate-backed science has infiltrated and undermined virtually all aspects of medical research for the purpose of marketing drugs.

In September of 2001 the editors of 12 of the world’s most prestigious medical journals issued an unprecedented and chilling alarm titled: Sponsorship, Authorship and Accountability. They wrote: “We are concerned that the current intellectual environment in which clinical research is conceived, study subjects are recruited and the data analyzed and reported (or, not reported) may threaten scientific objectivity…In light of that truth, the use of clinical trials primarily for marketing makes a mockery of clinical investigation and is a misuse of a powerful tool.”

In a world where medical journals have become an extension of pharmaceutical companys’ marketing strategies, skepticism, critical thinking and questioning are not only important, they can save your life.