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Category: Health/Medicine
Who authors drug studies?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 17, 2008
A disturbing article in the most recent issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) suggests that the practice of ghostwriting medical studies is widespread. How it works is that a big drug company writes a study touting the merits of its latest drug. Then the company hands off the study to a prestigious researcher who agrees to be listed as the author. This adds a veneer of scientific credibility to what is basically corporate propaganda. The dupes in this entire process are the patients who are convinced to shell out big bucks for medicine that's either worthless or actually harmful (such as Vioxx). The drug companies, of course, claim this…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (15)
Malawi Ousts Fake AIDS Healers
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 09, 2008
Lawmakers in Malawi have decided to crack dawn on quacks peddling phony cures for AIDS. The "cures" generally involve having sex with a virgin, an albino, or a disabled person. The legislation is only in draft form right now, but if passed it will require traditional healers to register with the health ministry. I'll have to ask my sister what she knows about this, since she's been in Malawi for the past four years working on promoting AIDS education. That's why I visited Malawi last year. I had a great time there. I would definitely encourage anyone to visit, but if you plan on driving around the country, make sure you have a…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (9)
Viagra-Inspired Food
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 05, 2008
Trifter.com has collected examples of foods that have either been made to look like Viagra, or have been renamed after it. The list includes Viagra Gelato, Viagra ice cream, Viagra spam mousse, Viagra cake, and Viagra musubi. The Viagra spam mousse seems particularly appropriate, since the drug is such a favorite topic of spammers.
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine Comments (2)
Obay
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 22, 2008
Recently strange ads for a drug called "Obay" began appearing around Toronto. The ads were pretty obviously satirical, but who was responsible for them? The Church of Scientology was an early suspect, since they're well known for their anti-psychiatry stance. But it turned out they had nothing to do with the ad campaign. The Torontoist tracked down the real culprit. It's an advocacy group called Colleges Ontario, which represents twenty-four colleges in Ontario. The Torontoist writes: Rob Savage, Colleges Ontario's Director of Communications, called Torontoist moments ago to confirm that Colleges Ontario is indeed…
Woman claims to be 120
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 18, 2008
Mariam Amash, who lives in the village of Jisr a-Zarka in Israel, claims that she is 120 years old. Her claim recently surfaced when she applied for a new Israeli identity card. She might be telling the truth. Apparently she has a birth certificate issued by Turkish authorities, who ruled Jisr a-Zarka back in 1888 when Amash says she was born. She also has eleven children, the eldest one being in her late 80s. So assuming that her children aren't lying about their ages, Amash would have to be at least over 100 years old. If Amash really is 120, that would make her the…
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine Comments (2)
Real-Life Kidney Thieves
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 29, 2008
A kidney transplant ring has been busted in India. Hundreds of poor people were forced into having their kidneys removed. ABC News reports that victims were promised a job, then taken to a private house and forced at gunpoint to sell their kidneys. One victim's story sounds just like the kidney-transplant urban legend: "I was approached by a stranger for a job. When I accepted, I was taken to a room with gunmen," Mohammed Salim told India's local NDTV television channel. "They tested my blood, gave me an injection and I lost consciousness. When…
Huffing Hand Sanitizer
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 28, 2008
A 14-year-old student at Killian Middle School in Lewisville picked up a bottle of hand sanitizer from the desk of his reading teacher, rubbed the gel on his hands, and then smelled it. According to the teacher, he "inhaled heavily." The student said he sniffed it because it "smelled good." But the school authorities claimed he sniffed it because he was trying to get high. They gave him an in-school suspension, and then proceeded to file criminal charges against him. WFAA.com reports: Joni Eddy, assistant police chief in Lewisville, said Friday that hand sanitizer has become…
Prank Call Leads to Electric Shock Treatment
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 18, 2007
Prank phone calls and electric-shock gadgets are perennial favorites of pranksters. So I guess what happened at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center was just a novel combination of the two: Call up and order electric-shock treatment for someone. It's actually kind of scary to think that it's that easy to order treatment for a patient. Boston Herald reports: State officials are investigating complaints that staff at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center gave three people — including two teens — unnecessary electric shock treatments after receiving a prank phone call from someone pretending to be from the office of the school’s founder.
Categories: Health/Medicine, Pranks Comments (2)
Quick Links: Nov. 27, 2007
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 27, 2007
Ocean's 11 Conman "It was one of the most audacious jewel thefts in history. In the middle of a crowded room, the famed Star of the Empress Sisi was stolen from its high-security case and replaced with a replica." (Thanks, Joe) Turkey Mystery Turkeys mysteriously show up in a town, and then wander away. "After entertaining residents of Harborview Drive on Thanksgiving morning, 15 turkeys departed - in single file - about 1 p.m. Thursday and have not been seen since, residents said Friday." FEMA not the only agency to hold fake press conferences Apparently Immigration and Customs Enforcement does it too. (Thanks, Gary)…
Jenkem!
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 08, 2007
The Collier County Sheriff's office in Naples, Florida has issued a strange bulletin warning that American kids are experimenting with a new way to get high. It's called Jenkem, and it involves sniffing the fermenting gas from human sewage. You put the sewage in a bottle topped with a balloon to catch the gas. You then inhale the gas which gives you a euphoric high. In other words, you're sniffing fermenting human feces. Jenkem appears to be real. Back in 1999 the BBC reported that street children in the slums of Zambia were using this method to get high:
Categories: Gross, Health/Medicine Comments (12)
Zeolite Natural Cellular Defense
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 22, 2007
"George" writes: "I would appreciate your opinion about waiora's zeolite "natural cellular defense" for treating cancer (www.waiora.com). do you think there's something to it or is it just a scam?" I don't actually see where Waiora claims that their "Natural Cellular Defense" product can be used to treat cancer. In fact, their website states, "These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." However, what they do claim sounds rather dubious to me: Waiora’s Natural Cellular Defense has been clinically formulated to help support a healthy immune…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (18)
Woman finds toothbrush in her nose
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 22, 2007
The Mumbai Mirror reports that doctors in India removed a three-inch piece of a broken toothbrush from a woman's nose. The woman claims she's not sure how it got there: So how did it get there? The woman claims she is not sure. She says, “Around two months ago as I was brushing my teeth, my husband accidentally pushed me and the toothbrush in my hand broke. I was left holding the lower portion of the brush but couldn’t locate the rest of it. Soon after, I started bleeding profusely from the nose,” she…
Laughter Yoga
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 15, 2007
What do you get when you combine yoga and fake laughter? Laughter Yoga! The Ventura County Star has an article about this new twist on yoga. Groups of people get together and just start laughing. At first they fake the laughter, but after about ten minutes, apparently most people are laughing for real. Googling the term "laughter yoga" reveals that this seems to be a pretty popular new form of yoga. The article explains that the technique was created by yoga instructor Madhuri Kataria back in 1995. At first Kataria started a group in which people sat around and swapped jokes. But then they ran out of jokes. So then he realized, "If you can't…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (8)
Fake Acupuncture Better Than Medicine?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 25, 2007
A study conducted in Germany found that "fake" acupuncture worked almost as well as "real" acupuncture, and that both performed better than conventional care (which included painkillers, massage, and heat therapy). Reportedly, 47 percent of patients receiving real acupuncture to treat lower back pain improved, as did 44 percent of the fake acupuncture group, but only 27 percent of the usual care group got relief. The study has been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which is a reputable journal. According to the AP report, this is what is meant by fake acupuncture: For the…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (12)
Fake Holy Water Warning
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 12, 2007
Health officers in Britain have issued a warning to consumers to be on the lookout for fake holy water. From the BBC: The water is advertised as coming from the sacred well of Zam Zam in Mecca, the most holy city in Islam, and demand increases during Ramadan. The warning does not cover genuine Zam Zam, which is sourced from the Well of Zam Zam, located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca. Councillor Audrey Lewis was concerned Muslims may be exploited into buying counterfeit Zam Zam during the holy month of Ramadan. She said: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia forbids…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Religion Comments (7)
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