I’ve been a faithful reader of your blog for a couple of months now since Tony Horton turned me on to it at one of his fitness camps. Anyway, the reason I am writing today is to refer you to an article about some scientists who are proposing “cognitive enhancing drugs” for healthy people. I had to check the dateline to make sure it wasn’t recycled from April 1st. I’m sure you’ll be interested in it and I’m sure your readers would enjoy your commentary on it:
Thanks to reader Dave for forwarding the article. A number of people I know actually sent me the news with various questions and comments of their own. It’s made for a lot of interesting conversations, shall we say, in the last several days.
What can we say? We’ve got Pharma on the mind this week! On Monday Mark offered commentary on the latest “study” being spun to further promote statins to the general population. It seemed like an opportune time to bring you news of a recent report on the “unofficial” business of off-label pharmaceutical marketing and the clever manipulation of drug approval rules and research dissemination.
Two researchers with significant experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., an associate professor in the GUMC Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and Douglas Melnick, M.D., a preventive medicine physician in the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have published a report in the free online journal PLoS Medicine shedding light on risky and legally questionable practices that have become commonplace in the industry.
“A New Front on Heart Disease: Stain drugs can cut cardiac and stroke risks in people with normal cholesterol levels, researchers say.” Wow! As I predict Dr. Michael Eades will say, “Jesus wept.” As I say, “here we go again digging a hole to place the ladder in so you can wash the basement windows.”
As often as we critique the current health care model and many of its practices, you may have noticed that we also recommend readers discuss our lifestyle recommendations with their doctors. More than some stock disclaimer, we say it with a respectful sense of earnestness and with a healthy dose of cautious optimism (about the “patient/physician” relationship, that is).
We hear it ad nauseum: we live in an information age. Unlike any other generation before, we have immediate access to almost any health information we want, including advice, descriptions, photos, diagrams, personal accounts, and any variety of opinions on whatever condition or concern might be on our minds that day. We can download the latest studies, read up on the latest treatments, learn about alternative and preventative measures, get the low down on whatever wonder drug is making its way through the experimental pipeline. And, yes, we can get lost in a sea of misinformation, bogus commercial or personal claims that, at best, distract and, at worst, derail our path to health.
I’ve been known to critique various elements of the medical establishment now and then, it’s true. (Anyone for a good Big Pharma rout?) But I’ll admit I’m venturing into new and weighty territory today. (My Y chromosome and I will tread lightly and respectfully, I promise.) It’s been a while since my own (indirect) experience in the obstetrics arena, but a new report came across my radar last week that led my mind back to the maternity ward.
It’s the Evidence-Based Maternity Care report (PDF), a collaborative effort of the Childbirth Connection non-profit organization, the Reforming States Group, and the Milbank Memorial Fund. The report was picked up by a modest number of news organizations, but it was reviewed by dozens of top physicians and policy makers across the U.S.
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