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Category: Health/Medicine
Drug Companies Invent Diseases (aka Diseasemongering)
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 13, 2006
Status: Medical News The journal Public Library of Science Medicine is publishing a special series of articles devoted to the practice of "diseasemongering": when pharmaceutical companies invent diseases, or market cures for benign conditions, in order to sell more drugs. The Times, reporting on the special issue, writes that: conditions such as female sexual dysfunction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and “restless legs syndrome” have been promoted by companies hoping to sell more of their drugs. Other minor problems that are a normal part of life, such as symptoms of the menopause, are also becoming increasingly “medicalised”, while risk factors such as high cholesterol levels or osteoporosis are being presented as diseases…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (23)
Fake Smiles May Cause Depression
Posted by The Curator on Fri Mar 17, 2006
Status: Medical study New research by Dr. Dieter Zapf of Frankfurt University suggests that workers who constantly have to pretend to be friendly to customers suffer from higher rates of depression and illness. The Advertiser reports: Flight attendants, sales personnel and call centre operators are most at risk, say psychologists at Frankfurt University. People in these jobs are more likely to suffer from depression, according to the study released yesterday ahead of publication in consumer magazine Good Advice. "Every time a person is forced to repress his true feelings, there are negative consequences for his health," said Professor Dieter Zapf, a researcher into human emotions. I'm a…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Psychology Comments (23)
The Price of Fake Sick Notes
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 13, 2006
Status: News article I'm hesitant to post this, remembering that the last time I posted about fake doctor's notes I ended up with hundreds of comments from people asking me to provide them with fake notes. But here goes anyway. The Shanghai Daily has an interesting short article about the economics of the fake-sick-note industry in China. Apparently sellers of fake doctor's notes can be found outside of many Shanghai hospitals: The price depends on the type of disease and duration of the sick leave. A note allowing two to three days of rest normally costs 20 (US$2.47) to 30 yuan. The price goes up if the person requires longer sick leave.…
Is Lip Balm Addictive?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 24, 2006
Status: Undetermined There's an old urban legend that states that the makers of lip balm (Carmex, specifically), add ground-up fiberglass to their product. The glass irritates people's lips, causing them to feel like they need to apply the balm again and again. There's another urban legend that states that lip balm interferes with the moisture sensors in the lips, causing lips to become dry and requiring more lip balm to be applied. Neither of these urban legends is true. Carmex debunks the fiberglass myth on their website, and the moisture sensor one is false because there are no such thing as moisture sensors in the lips. (At least, not ones that regulate the moisture levels of the…
Head-Lice Lotion Scam
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 06, 2005
Status: Medical Scam Dr. Dale Pearlman has admitted that the head-lice treatment he was selling for $285 is really a commercial skin cleanser, Cetaphil, that could be bought over-the-counter for $10: Dr. Dale Pearlman got widespread media attention and skepticism from some head-lice specialists last year when the journal Pediatrics published his study detailing results with a product he called Nuvo lotion. He described it as a "dry-on suffocation-based pediculicide" and the first in a new class of nontoxic lotions for head lice. And as of yesterday, his Web site still said the costly treatment was available only at his Menlo Park, Calif., office. But now, in a letter to the…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (8)
Glitter Lung
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 30, 2005
Status: Satire mistaken as news Last week The Onion ran a story reporting that increasing numbers of elementary-school art teachers are coming down with "glitter lung" (aka pneumosparklyosis), a disease caused by inhaling too much glitter. "When art teachers spend so much time in confined quarters with inadequate ventilation amid swirling clouds of glitter, it's only a matter of time before their lungs start to suffer negative effects," said Dr. Linda Norr, a specialist in elementary-school-related respiratory diseases. "Those sufferers who are not put on a rigorous program of treatment often spend their last days on respirators, hacking up a thick, dazzling mucus." Apparently the story quickly made its way…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (16)
Magneurol-S6: The ESP Pill
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 22, 2005
Status: Snake Oil The makers of MagneurolS·6 promise that this little pill has some remarkable properties. It will give you "the ability to plug into Earths complex magnetic fields" thereby enhancing your extra-sensory perception and psychic abilities. Of course, never mind that its ingredients are nothing that you can't find in any vitamin supplement costing far less than $49 a bottle. You won't care about such trivial matters once your sixth sense (S·6) has been awakened. One potential danger, however. When taking Magneurol, some users report that "they can 'feel' the radiation, or something like it, emanating from the [cell]phone where they could not…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (63)
Fake Cavities
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 10, 2005
Status: Scary scam An Indiana dentist has been charged with diagnosing patients with cavities that didn't exist. This is the kind of thing that feeds the popular paranoia about dentists: The attorney general's office said Dunlap diagnosed three patients with cavities, but the patients sought second opinions and were found to be cavity-free. State officials said Dunlap diagnosed a child with 10 cavities in June, but another dentist found that the child did not have any cavities. A similar complaint was filed by a patient in May 2004, said Staci Schneider, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office. Personally, I've never had a cavity. But one time a dental assistant cleaning…
Panexa
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 03, 2005
Status: Parody Panexa is a drug you need to take, no matter what may, or may not be, wrong with you. As the Panexa site states: No matter what you do or where you go, you're always going to be yourself. And Panexa knows this. Your lifestyle is one of the biggest factors in choosing how to live. Why trust it to anything less? Panexa is proven to provide more medication to those who take it than any other comparable solution. Panexa is the right choice, the safe choice. The only choice. Now, Panexa is pretty obviously a parody…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Websites Comments (15)
HETRACIL Anti-Effeminate Medication
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 01, 2005
Status: Hoax According to the HETRACIL website, "HETRACIL is the most widely prescribed anti-effeminate medication in the United States, helping 16 million Americans who suffer from Behavioral Effeminism and Male Homosexuality Disorder." In other words, it's supposedly a drug to treat homosexuality. The look and feel of the site is pretty convincing, perfectly imitating the bland soothing nature of other pharmaceutical sites. And it's plausible that some drug company could try to devise such a product, given that up until the late 1960s the American Psychiatric Association actually did list homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders as a psychiatric disorder.…
New Orleans Euthanasia
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 13, 2005
A report in the Daily Mail claims that doctors stranded in New Orleans hospitals after Katrina hit decided to give some patients lethal doses of morphine, rather than watching them die in agony. A few bloggers are suggesting this report has all the markings of an urban legend, given that it's based on only one identified source. If so, it wouldn't be the first urban legend emerging from the disaster. However, the recent discovery of 44 dead bodies in a New Orleans hospital would seem to add credibility to this report.
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine Comments (19)
Liquid Oxygen Skin Cream
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 09, 2005
New Scientist has flagged a product whose promoters are guilty of making a few misleading claims. It's Neaclear facial cream, and it's advertised as containing a "powerful combination of liquid oxygen, vitamins C & E, sage, chamomile, seaweed and rosemary, coconut oil, sweet almond oil and hydroquinone." The company even boasts that they're the first company "to combine stabilised liquid oxygen into all of its products." New Scientist notes that "We have certainly never heard of a skin cream that contains liquid oxygen, the temperature of which is normally somewhere below -183 °C."
Woman Claims to Have Diana’s Kidney
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 26, 2005
A French woman, Francoise Gaellar, had a kidney transplant two days after Princess Diana died in a car crash. She believes that she received Diana's kidney. As a consequence, she now feels urges to speak in English: "I found myself speaking English to my friends, something I don't normally do because I have no reason to," she says. "I cannot explain why I did this." Is this evidence of a fanciful nature, or an indication she had indeed received an organ from an English-speaker? Improbable though it sounds, there are many documented accounts of organ recipients taking on characteristics of their donors. The French authorities aren't allowed to say who people…
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine Comments (20)
Hidden Dangers
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 27, 2005
The website of the British firm Health and Safety Management Consultants offers a list of 'hidden dangers'. For instance, did you know that 10,700 people in the UK are injured every year while putting their socks on? That two women have been killed by lightning hitting the underwiring of their bras? That more people are injured by flowerpots every year than by hedge trimmers? And that "the number of injuries inflicted by vegetables remains unacceptably high, at 13,132"? Most of these statistics seem to come from the Home and Leisure Accident Statistics Report produced by the Royal Sciety for the Prevention of Accidents. So they're probably fairly credible. But obviously the figures don't give any indication…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (13)
The Rumor About LiveStrong Bracelets
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 14, 2005
A lot of people lately are wearing those yellow LiveStrong bracelets that help support the Lance Armstrong Foundation's efforts to fund cancer research. But the rumor going around is that if you do wear one of them, you better hope that you don't get into an accident and end up at the hospital, because the bracelets look exactly like the yellow wristbands that hospitals place on 'Do Not Resuscitate' patients. Apparently there is some truth to the rumor. Some hospitals do place yellow wristbands on DNR patients. However no one has ever been left to die because of a mix-up involving a LiveStrong bracelet and…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (20)
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