Thursday, January 19, 2006


Signs of the End of Days

Sometimes the imminent end of the world doesn't seem all so bad. Being one of the world's leading know-it-alls for all matters excluding sports and popular culture, I get a certain number of phone calls from Quadrant Zeta. This time the caller asked me if I were engaged in clinical trials for natural products. Smothering what might have otherwise been an ungracious response, I referred the caller to and expected to be hanging up cheerily soon thereafter. Instead, I was treated to an absolutely mind-boggling display of medical ignorance, one of those full-on moments when all five pinballs are on the board, lights are flashing, and the score is reeling up as fast as the cogs can rotate. It was, for me, a clarion omen for our nation's future if the anti-intellectuals remain much longer in power. The caller was not drunk, or under the age of seven, or obviously mentally impaired. Just unbelievably stupid. Did you know that pharmaceutical products don't work because the people who make them are greedy? And because they are chemicals. Oh, yes, cortisone works when it's in the form of a Mexican yam, but it doesn't work when it's refined into a pill. And Premarin works because it is derived from mare's urine (indeed the drinking of urine is one of the oldest forms of natural medicine) but it causes cancer because... well, it's gross. Because I actually listen to people, even those who have given me cause, sworn and attested, to believe are idiots, I was able to track down where this moonshine comes from: a "Christian" right organization called LeSea., one of whose subsidiaries is called Making Healthy Choices. This is what makes a "health expert:" You can smile and say you are: Or, you can be a Tijuana doctor once involved in dosing desperately ill cancer patients with Laetrile The entire profession of medicine is just totally wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Now, everyone should read and reflect on this because this is our nation's future. Since you couldn't spend 15 minutes with my Zetan caller, listen to the LeSea broadcasts. No advanced degree required.
I'm going to have to take extra antihistamines to get to sleep now. And I just did a post about Zsa Zsa Gabor in "The Queen of Outer Space" on another blog (I am NOT a campy movie fan, it disturbed me as a child and I've never forgotten it,).

This is what Harriet Miers would look like if she didn't wear her contacts while putting on her face.
While a lot of Republicans (such as Rodney Freylinghuisen, R-NJ) are tied into the pharmaceutical industry, there are also those who, like Orrin Hatch, are tied into the herbal industry. (Michael Savage, back when he was still going by Dr. Michael Weiner, got his start as a peddler of herbal snake oil.)

Granted, there are a lot of useful herbal medicines. And people with head colds and 'flu would be better served if they could be trained to do nasal lavage instead of reaching for the over-the-counter antihistamines.

But the main reason for the herbal-medicine explosion is not because herbs are better. It's because a growing number of Americans can't afford to go to the doctor for even the simplest of treatments.

In a sane country, this would be the spur for socialized medicine. In a sane country.
Give PhoenixWoman the big bing-O!

Middle class Americans are financially not (beyond statistical fluctuation) better off than they were in 1970, and the poor are less well off.

But since medical costs have risen so much faster than general inflation, Americans who have heavy medical expenses were substantially worse off-- unless they were covered by Medicare. What I understand from my frontline person is that the people who are really getting hammered on this are the elderly poor, typically on Medicaid as well as Medicare.

But to the extent that anyone is doing better, it's because the nation is going into debt to do it. And so a year or two from now, it will be discovered that alas we can't afford all of this "social spending." Then many people who think of themselves as middle class are going to understand what it is to be desperate.

It's very true that there are many useful herbal remedies. Indeed, I pointed this woman to the web page on the National Cancer Institute that deals with natural products because I was concerned that under the influence of Dr. Tijuana Laetrile, she might someday avoid medical treatment until it was too later.

I do have one quibble. There are non-antihistamines that do a wonderful job with allergies and colds. But, yes, over-the-counters are wildly overused. Some, like pseudoephedrine, can be dangerous. I independently discovered nasal lavage when just such a reaction almost completely obstructed my airway. I had about two minutes to apply whatever I had learned in life to what would either be the midterm or the final exam, depending on the speed of my response.

This stuff is sold over the counter!
You have a very good blog here. I enjoyed reading the posts here today. I'll definitely be back. Keep up the great work.
herbal remedies
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