Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Detox Myth, How To Get Your Body Healthy

The Guardian"... Susan Marchant-Haycox, a London psychologist: “Trying to tie detoxing in with ancient religious practices is clutching at straws,” she says. “You need to look at our social makeup over the very recent past. In the 70s, you had all these gyms popping up, and from there we’ve had the proliferation of the beauty and diet industry with people becoming more aware of certain food groups and so on. “The detox industry is just a follow-on from that. There’s a lot of money in it and there are lots of people out there in marketing making a lot of money.” Peter Ayton, a professor of psychology at City University London, agrees. He says that we’re susceptible to such gimmicks because we live in a world with so much information we’re happy to defer responsibility to others who might understand things better. “To understand even shampoo you need to have PhD in biochemistry,” he says, “but a lot of people don’t have that. If it seems reasonable and plausible and invokes a familiar concept, like detoxing, then we’re happy to go with it.” Many of our consumer decisions, he adds, are made in ignorance and supposition, which is rarely challenged or informed. “People assume that the world is carefully regulated and that there are benign institutions guarding them from making any kind of errors. A lot of marketing drip-feeds that idea, surreptitiously. So if people see somebody with apparently the right credentials, they think they’re listening to a respectable medic and trust their advice.” Ernst is less forgiving: “Ask trading standards what they’re doing about it. Anyone who says, ‘I have a detox treatment’ is profiting from a false claim and is by definition a crook. And it shouldn’t be left to scientists and charities to go after crooks.”" (emphasis added, read more at link above)

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Traveling Patients, Traveling Disease, Ebola

Traveling patients, traveling disease, and Ebola | OUPblog: "... the terrifying truth is that Ebola is just the tip of the iceberg. Diseases have long traveled with patients, and as the phenomena of medical tourism and the more general globalization of health care grow, these problems are likely to grow as well. Medical tourists are very good targets of opportunities for pathogens. Many are traveling with compromised or suppressed immune systems to destination countries for treatment with relatively high infection rates, including the risk of exposure to multi-drug–resistant pathogens. Doctors typically distinguish commensals—the bugs we normally carry on our skin, mouth, digestive tracts, etc.—from pathogens, the harmful bacteria that cause disease through infection. But what is commensal for a person in India might be an exotic pathogen for a US population. Medical tourist patients are transporting their commensals and pathogens to the hospital environments of the destination countries to which they travel, and are exposed to the commensals and pathogens of hospitals and population at large in the destination country. These transmissions tax the health care system and the knowledge of physicians in the home country to whom the new microbe may be unknown, and diagnosis and treatment more difficult." (Read more at link above.)

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Obesity, A Worldwide Fight

How the world could better fight obesity | McKinsey & Company: "...The main findings of this discussion paper include: Existing evidence indicates that no single intervention is likely to have a significant overall impact. A systemic, sustained portfolio of initiatives, delivered at scale, is needed to reverse the health burden. Almost all the identified interventions (exhibit) are cost effective for society—savings on healthcare costs and higher productivity could outweigh the direct investment required by the intervention when assessed over the full lifetime of the target population. In the United Kingdom, for instance, such a program could reverse rising obesity, saving the National Health Service about $1.2 billion a year..."

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Overdiagnosis, Overtreatment, Your Biggest Health Threats

"Until tests can more accurately distinguish the rabbits from the turtles (not to mention the dodos — it’s now looking like some cancers detectable by screening may actually disappear or go extinct on their own), cancer screening may harm more people than it helps."(source infra)

The Case Against Early Cancer Detection | FiveThirtyEight: "....Early detection might remain a laudable goal if it caught some deadly cancers in time to make a difference and didn’t bother anyone. But it is bothering people. Tens of thousands of South Koreans have undergone surgical procedures for cancers that likely would never have threatened their lives, and the overdiagnosis/overtreatment problem exists to varying degrees for every cancer test. The problem gets worse, the more people you screen, as evidenced by the numbers for mammography and PSA [prostate] screening...."

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