I have skeptical confession to make. I was once a panacea-seeking antioxidant-taker. As background, I’m a marathon runner and occasional triathlete. Several years ago, I was training for an Ironman triathlon, and banking 20+ hours of intense exercise per week. That may sound absurd to many (it does to me, now that I have kids) but that kind of training is necessary for the long races. So what did this pharmacist-wannabe-triathlete with access to discount vitamins do? He stocked up on the fancy bottles of multivitamins, the “endurance” version, of course — with extra antioxidants. Why did I supplement? I wanted to maximize my workouts, speed recovery, and minimize downtime and the risk of injury. Oxidation sounds bad — like a rusting car. Anti-oxidants sounded like the ultimate in preventative medicine. My workouts may have been more extreme, but the practice of supplementing if you exercise is common among athletes.
As it turns out, not only were the antioxidants likely ineffective, they may have compromised some of the gains I was seeking with all that training. That I didn’t evaluate the evidence at the time was my critical-thinking blind spot. Over the the past several years, more data on antioxidants and exercise have emerged. A recent review article, Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Skeptic North*
Contagion is a thriller about a virus that rapidly spreads to become a global epidemic. There aren’t enough coffins. Gangs roam neighborhoods like ours because police have abandoned their posts, fearful of exposure. Garbage fills the streets because sanitation workers are dying. As scientists work feverishly to understand the virus and develop a vaccine, public panic unravels the fabric of civil society, fueled by terror and rattled by false claims of a homeopathic cure promoted by a charismatic charlatan.
The movie has grossed $76 million worldwide since it opened on September 9th. It has all the elements a successful movie needs: a just-believable dystopian vision of the future, flawed good guys, an evil schemer, suspense, heroic action…the works.
And while it’s an action-thriller first and foremost, you don’t have to concentrate hard to notice that it also shows:
- Why the Federal government is necessary: its authority to communicate, negotiate and work with other nations to solve a global problem; its ability to exert authority across state lines and to marshal resources immediately to protect its citizens from peril with no expectation of profit.
- How scientific research is iterative and complicated, not bumbling or malicious. Research is conducted by scientists—normal people with normal lives—who are Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*
I caught this movie last week flipping though channels looking for something to watch while I knitted.
“Five” stars Patricia Clarkson, Rosario Dawson, Lyndsy Fonseca, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Holloway, Tony Shalhoub, Jeffrey Tambor, and Jeanne Tripplehorn. It is an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people’s lives.
The first one, the story of Charlotte (Ginnifer Goodwin), is set in 1969. Charlotte lays dying in her bedroom while the family mills around the house and the TV showing the mans first step on the moon. Her story for me was taken over by the effect of her cancer on her young daughter Pearl who only wants to see her mom. Finally she manages to sneak into the room.
The second one is Mia’s story. Mia (Patricia Clarkson) is the tale of Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*
Looking to obtain a break on my practice’s botulinum toxin of choice (Myobloc) I yielded to curiosity and ordered from a Canadian Pharmacy…Northwest Pharmacy.com. I figured we would try to break the price point of this popular product. Thankfully I used my credit card.
Botulinum toxin must be kept cold to retain its potency. We traditionally receive this product on dry ice and have never had much of a problem with effectiveness. I was promised by the pharmacy rep that this product would arrive cold within 2-5 days of shipping. Only after I gave her my credit card information did she share with me that the product would be coming from Great Britain. This was not welcome news. I was reassured that the product would be cold and usable.
The product arrived Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*
Well this is really exciting! Thanks to the readers and judges at Medgadget.com for acknowledging my blog for a 2008 Blog Award in the category of Health Policy and Ethics. (This blog won the “Best New Medical Blog” of 2007 award last year.) This year’s winner will be determined by popular vote, which begins tomorrow. I know that my chances of winning the majority of votes in this category are pretty slim, thanks to Respectful Insolence. I am a huge fan of Orac’s blog and have no doubt that his contributions in this category far exceed mine. Orac is a devoted crusader against pseudoscience and misleading health information. Good luck, Orac – I’m sure you’ll win this one!