Dear Readers: After I presented last year's dumbest health care "awards," I received your emails and chuckles for months afterwards.
Sometimes, ridiculous things happen in the medical industry, so at this time, I'd like to present my second annual "Dumb Awards" in Medicine:
Dumb Award: The first ones goes to (drum roll please)… the Federal Communications Commission for allowing both pharmaceutical and fast-food commercials to blast our airwaves. Just chill out, squeeze some Cheez Whiz on your foot-long sub, and watch "The Simpsons." During commercial breaks, all of the disorders that afflict your friends and relatives (not you) will become apparent. Watch TV with new eyes OK? You will first notice lots of junk food commercials -which promote diseasefollowed by drug commercials and attorneys offering their services to people injured by drugs. Eventually, the news comes on so you can learn about the newest approved drug. Hysterical!
Dumber Award: We have a tie between anti-depressant drugs and the doctors who prescribe them for every woman who is tired or tearful. Of the various 'happy' chemicals naturally produced in our body, serotonin is the one most likely to be raised by anti-depressant drugs. But research shows that depression may be caused by elevated stress hormones, low vitamin D levels, diabetes or insulin-resistance (diagnosed or not), low progesterone hormone, niacin or folate deficiency or exposure to plastics. So what's up with all the drugs? Their side effects are depressing if you think about it -problems achieving orgasm, low sex drive, insomnia, suicidal thoughts and heart palpitations. Anti-depressant drugs don't fix the underlying cause for neurotransmitter deficiencies and doctors should be conducting lab tests to determine the cause for emotional instability before prescribing pills and dismissing you.
Dumberest Award: Yes I spelled "dumberest" that way on purpose, and please throw confetti here… The Centers for Disease Control, who in September 2009, recommended that "All people with suspected or confirmed influenza who require hospitalization be treated with Tamiflu or Relenza." By December 2009, based on a number of scientific studies, scientists concluded that the benefits of this anti-viral treatment were grossly over-estimated, because it could only shorten the length of illness by approximately one day. Whoop-dee-doo! Potential side effects include: Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, arrhythmias, nightmares, dizziness, headache, fatigue, delusions, hallucinations, altered level of consciousness, and seizures. Spare me.
Honorable Mention: To Kellogg's for making packaging claims last May to the effect that Cocoa Krispies can boost your child's immune system. They timed their campaign around the swine flu outbreak so parents would know what to feed their kids (wink). I agree with Kellogg's that increasing the amounts of vitamins in food can promote health, but even the FDA viewed the Kellogg's claim as ridiculous and made them stop. What's next, soda pop posed as healthier because it's made with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup? Hurry, hurry, for a limited time you can now buy Pepsi-Cola Throwback. Puhleeze!
This information is not intended treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Suzy Cohen is the author of "The 24-Hour Pharmacist." For more information, visit www.dearpharmacist.com.