Archive for health and nutrition

What I will not write about today: News stories, links, and snarkitude


frustrated35Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

UPDATE: Yessss!

sandra fluke run for Congress tweetLink

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk 3 wine cartoon


VIDEO: Safety of alternative meds vs. conventional meds reminiscent of George Carlin's "Baseball vs. Football"


george carlin baseball v football

Maybe it's because I've been feeling like a truck ran over me for the past week or so, or maybe it's because I was raised by a superb internist who regularly gave me insight into this very subject, but a Sunday L.A. Times op-ed stuck out like a sore thumb... a sore thumb that shouldn't be treated with unregulated meds.

It starts out with a comparison to one of my all time favorite George Carlin routines, "Baseball vs. Football" (a must-watch video if you've never seen it before) in which he says, "Football has hitting … and unnecessary roughness and personal fouls. Baseball has the sacrifice... in baseball, the object is to go home! And to be safe!"

These days, at least as it relates to the political priorities of all too many lawmakers, safety is vastly underrated:

Some might say the same can be said for conventional and alternative remedies. Conventional medicine has chemotherapy; alternative medicine has aromatherapy... Orthopedists operate; chiropractors adjust.

Then it gets to the heart (literally) of the matter. Please take a moment to read the entire piece, because too many people don't seem to be aware of many of the dangers associated with remedies that are not subject to government oversight. For example:

Unfortunately, because of the 1994 Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act, dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so companies are under little obligation to support their claims or admit their harms.

For example, blue cohosh can cause heart failure; nutmeg can cause hallucinations; comfrey, kava, chaparral and valerian can cause inflammation of the liver; monkshood and plantain can cause heart arrhythmia; wormwood can cause seizures; stevia leaves can decrease fertility; concentrated green tea extracts can damage the liver; milkweed seed oil and bitter orange can cause heart damage; thujone can cause neurological damage; and concentrated garlic can cause bleeding.

In 1992, one of the worst dietary supplement disasters in history occurred when about 100 people developed kidney failure from a "slimming" mixture that contained the plant Aristolochia. At least 70 people required kidney transplants or dialysis; many later developed bladder cancers.

Memo to GOP: Regulation exists for a reason, and that reason is to keep us safe in any number of ways. "Big government" isn't always a bad thing (forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds being one major exception), and the insistence by some conservatives that corporate profit should trump the health and welfare of Americans is as absurd as it is dangerous.

More from George Carlin (with whom I had a few awesome personal encounters):

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying. [...]

Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - We might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.

In the world of medicine, it should be obvious to our elected officials that sudden death is something we should go out of our way to avoid, not encourage via willful negligence.


"Why the hell take something that might kill you when the ailment probably won't?"


pills dollar sign big pharma smaller

Another guest post is by our pal and regular TPC contributor, David Garber:


I love my DVR. I can watch my favorite shows and don't need to sit through the commercials .. But last night was different. I had caught up on my viewing so I was forced to watch TV like most people -- as it airs. And that means with the commercials... What caught my attention were all the ads for prescription medications -- things we're supposed to go and ask our doctor for even though we don't know what these medications treat. They're filled with shorthand like RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome), ED (erectile dysfunction) and CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome -- products like Clariten, Allegra, and Zytrex -- what the hell is all of this? And how come, in all these commercials, everyone's cured, happy and dancing within 10 seconds?

The reason is they need the next 50 seconds to have a speed talking man rush through warnings that go something like this:

Do not take LIPITOR if you:

Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant.

  • Are breast feeding. LIPITOR can pass into your breast milk and may harm your baby
  • Have liver problems or plan on having them
  • Have muscle problems like weakness, tenderness, or pain that happen without a good reason, especially if you also have a fever or feel more tired than usual
  • You have allergic reactions including swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing, which may require treatment right away
  • You experience nausea and vomiting
  • You pass brown or dark-colored urine
  • You feel more tired than usual

Medication may cause the following:

  • Excessive bleeding,
  • Unconsciousness,
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Temporary blindness
  • Loss of feeling in your legs,
  • Inability to forms words
  • Paralysis
  • Spontaneous combustion
  • Temporary memory loss
  • Your skin and whites of your eyes get yellow
  • You have stomach pain
  • You have an allergic skin reaction
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Alterations in some laboratory tests
  • And is some cases, Death has been known to occur.

WHAT? In certain cases it causes death? Why the hell take something that might kill you when the ailment probably won't?!

So what are we non doctors supposed to do? Are we really going to go into our physicians office asking to be put on a specific medication?

You know what, the answer to that is yes. And that's why we have so many of these commercials... PharmCo's are making a killing on possibly killing us. Can we please stop this madness? Let our licensed physicians treat us, not our imaginations baxed on some fancy commercial where evidently everyone has full medical and prescription insurance coverage. Not a care in the world.

Let's curtail the pill popping unless it's truly necessary. Until you can get a medical degree just by being able to draw a picture like the one on a matchbook cover (remember those ads?) then stop targeting us for things we don't understand, but could be easily be convinced to try -- and then end up dead because of it.

Caution: Reading this blog can cause sudden episodes of reality and clear thinking. If these symptoms last longer than four hours, see a physician immediately. Extended exposure may cause a permanent cure to what ails you.

For the past 25 years, David Garber has been serving as the show runner and or writer on some of television’s biggest hits… Saved By The Bell, Power Rangers, 227, Bill Cosby Show and many other network series. His writing and producing have also netted David two very prestigious awards:the PRISM AWARD and the TV CRITICS AWARD – TV SPECIAL OF THE YEAR. Currently he’s authoring a short story series called “A Few Minutes With…”


Audio- Rush: "Dare I Say This: It Doesn't Look Like Michelle Obama Follows Her Own Nutritionary, Dietary Advice"


Doesn't look like Rush follows any dietary advice....