Tag: Hype

Purposely Misleading Marketing Lingo: Sunscreen Edition

As you may know, I’m not a huge fan of sunscreen lotion. I just don’t think it’s all that necessary. If you’ve had enough Vitamin D skin production for one day, and you’re worried about burning up, using physical barriers – like shirts, hats, umbrellas – to impede the sunlight is better than slathering your skin with powerful chemicals. Still, in the event that the only thing standing between you and a second-degree sunburn is the application of some lotion, have at it. Just be aware that, according to a recent NY Times piece, there is some seriously misleading marketing lingo circulating in regards to SPF counts.

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The Red Scare

It’s a headline you’ve probably seen by now splashed all over the news sites and channels – “Eating More Red Meat Ups Mortality Risk.” (Red meat once again wears the black hat: surprise, surprise.) Actually, millions of readers/viewers have likely stumbled across the caption and unfortunately taken it at face value. But you know us by now. It’s just too much fun being the merry skeptics when it comes to these sound bites of misinformation.

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Off-Label Cosmetic Prescriptions

Last month we brought you news (and humble perspective) on the pharmaceutical industry’s off-label marketing practices. Just a couple weeks after the fact, what before our wondering eyes should appear? News that a glaucoma drug (Lumigan) was just approved by the FDA for off-label use as an eyelash enhancer. Call us suckers, we know, but we couldn’t resist taking the bite. Finding new uses for existing poor selling drugs has become a cottage industry. Reminds me of the old SNL skit, “Shimmer. It’s a dessert topping AND a floor wax!”

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Study Spotlight: The Mood Diet

Were you angered by traffic this morning or awakened abruptly? Have you been feeling blue with the onset of winter or charged by the vigor of the holiday season? Would you describe your mood lately as generally optimistic and happy? Or are you plagued by an enigmatic anxiety or erratic energy? Has depression been a problem for you? Do you find yourself easily annoyed or frustrated?

We were as surprised as anyone when we read the latest study following the seeming success of so-called “mood eating” and its physiological response. The research, a collaborative endeavor of the Institute of Nutrition and Physiological Function and the Center for Complementary Nutrition Therapy, followed 17 participants for 5 weeks. Dr. Stephen Quatschen, head of the study, says subjects experienced emotional release and corresponding physiological changes from particular foods. It seems Quatschen and his associates have identified varieties of foods that appear to temporarily counter or enhance several common emotional moods. Food characteristics such as texture, smell, shape and color strongly figured into subjects’ responses.

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Off-Label Pharmaceutical Promotion

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.

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Statin Insanity

Don’t know whether to laugh or cry (I have already screamed), but the headline in today’s LA Times and in many major papers across the country seemed like a paid advertisement for Big Pharma.

“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.”

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Abandon the Primal Eating Plan?

Though we faithfully subscribe to an evolutionary model of living, eating, and exercising – the Primal Blueprint – we still live in a decidedly modern world fraught with all the inconveniences, global upheavals, and politics it entails. Authentically living like Grok is already tough without access to ample wild vegetation, big game as far as the eye can see, and daily incidentals that put our survival skills to the test, but the recent worldwide economic downturn makes things even harder for most people. Maybe we can’t afford organic veggies from the co-op anymore. Maybe we’ve had to pick up an extra job and we simply don’t have time to prepare healthy meals using whole foods anymore. And stress from watching your 401k dwindle down to near-nothingness can make that drive-thru look pretty attractive. Polls suggest that the economic troubles weigh heavily on the public, and our common reaction is to let our health suffer. It’s easy to go for cheaper, processed foods when, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of food has jumped 7.5% in the last year alone.

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Heart Attack Grill – Take Two!

We first introduced you to the Heart Attack Grill – home of the Double Bypass Burger – back in December 2006 and again in March and April of last year (what can we say, we’re really just couldn’t believe it). This ridiculous “concept” eatery is up to the same old nonsense, but a reader sent in some absurd images that just we had to share.

Located in Chandler, Arizona, the Heart Attack Grill was founded in 2005 by Jon “Dr Jon” Brasso (who, incidentally, also wears a white lab coat to work) as a means to provide patrons – or as he calls them, patients – with food that is “so bad for you it’s shocking.” The menu boasts single-, double-, triple- and quadruple-bypass burgers.

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NNT (Number Needed to Treat)

As you’ve likely noticed, we’re getting back in touch with our more surly, snarky side this week. It can be fun now and then to channel one’s inner Fuji…. (Frankly, we can’t imagine MDA without it, and we hope you agree.) From energy drinks, we turn to one of our more popular objects of exasperated investigation and sarcastic commentary. What would we do without you, Big Pharma? Suffice it to say, there’s never a dearth of material with you around. And we thank you for that.

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Going Grubby: The Primal Benefits of Dirt, Dust and Dishevelment

Clearly, cleanliness is next to godliness, as they say, in this country. The number of products devoted to the sacred rite of purging and scouring American households staggers the imagination. (Ever roamed the cleaning supply aisles at Target? It’s a trip unto itself.) Every strength, size, scent, packaging, active ingredient, and formula (Would you prefer powder, gel, spray, cream, or specially concentrated disk?). But wait! There’s the anti-bacterial, virus-killing, and “odor shielding” options. And, of course, we now have a plethora of “green” cleaners infiltrating the line up. (Some more green than others.)

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