Category Archives: Healthcare

Industry-Funded Studies and the Skewing of America

I stumbled across this interesting publication that’s dedicated to reporting on the “cheating” that goes on as our country moves to privatize more and more services

Tarbell uncovers how powerful people and companies use their influence to shape a system that works for them, not you. We highlight solutions to pressing problems.

This puts our lives in the hands of corporations whose “moral imperative” is to make money for their shareholders, while all other goals and concerns (like patient outcomes) exist only in service of this “prime directive”.  Continue reading

Guidelines, Pharma, And The Biological Paradigm Shift

Guidelines, Editors, Pharma And The Biological Paradigm Shift – free full-text /PMC3192391/ – Dec 2007

Private investment in biomedical research has increased over the last few decades. At most places it has been welcomed as the next best thing to technology itself.

Much of the intellectual talent from academic institutions is getting absorbed in lucrative positions in industry.

Applied research finds willing collaborators in venture capital funded industry, so a symbiotic growth is ensured for both.

Already in 2007, money was exerting a powerful influence. By now, it’s becoming clear that financial interests are shaping (and often corrupting) the proper practice of medicine.  Continue reading

Motivated Reasoning Is Disfiguring Social Science

Motivated Reasoning Is Disfiguring Social Science – Quilletteby Chris Ferguson – Feb 2019

I think “motivated reasoning” is usually “financially motivated reasoning” when a financial interest motivates a researcher to “discover” findings that support their source of funding.

This also drives today’s increasingly common “research bias” which I’ve covered in several previous posts:

Many people in the general public believe that organizations such as the APA or American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are neutral, objective scientific organizations or that they are even part of the government.

From the “opioid crisis,” we’ve learned that neutrality and objectivity hardly exist anymore. Thanks to the corporatization of medicine, profit has become its highest goal and money interests are corrupting scientific researchContinue reading

Fluoroquinolones Overprescribed Despite Dangers

Fluoroquinolones Overprescribed Despite Dangers – Matt McMillen – Feb 2019

This is the strongest warning I’ve seen about these common antibiotics and it makes me wonder why they don’t mention it to us when the drugs are prescribed.

In 2006, Rachel Brummert developed a sinus infection, and her doctor prescribed Levaquin, one of a class of powerful antibiotics called fluoroquinolones.

Shortly after she began taking the drug, she went on an errand. While crossing a parking lot, her Achilles tendon ruptured. Her foot went limp. The agony felt unbearable.   Continue reading

What We Can and Cannot Control

Genes, Environment, and Luck: What We Can and Cannot Control – Quillettewritten by Michael Shermer – Jan 2019

I’m posting this article because it applies to chronic pain, which usually starts with an unlucky event, like injuries from a car accident, or from our genes, like sickle-cell disease or EDS, or develops as a natural consequence of living life, like chronic back pain from hard physical labor.

The deeper I looked into the matter of how lives turn out, in fact, the more I realized how much is out of our control.

Let’s begin with a question: Why do some people succeed in life while others fail?

Continue reading

Can brainwaves be detected in lime Jell-O?

Can brainwaves be detected in lime Jell-O – “Dear Cecil” – Jun 2010

The Jell-O brainwave researcher was neurologist Adrian Upton, who conducted pioneering work on the electroencephalography of gelatin desserts starting in the 1960s.

Upton wasn’t trying to be a wise guy — he wanted to make a serious point about brain death, which became a matter of critical importance once life-support equipment made it possible to keep a body functioning even though its owner had checked out.

This made me think that if a patient’s brainwaves are the same as lime Jell-O, they should probably be considered dead, but what about other flavors? Continue reading

Anti-intellectualism and its impact on physicians

American anti-intellectualism and its impact on physicians – KevinMD | Karen S. Sibert, MD | Physician | Nov 2018

Our country is increasingly controlled by corporations throwing their massive financial weight behind any new opportunity for profit, especially in the high-tech and medical spheres where so much money is to be made.

Issues that used to be considered in terms of social or moral values, like crime and healthcare, are now redefined on corporate financial statements, where they are evaluated on the basis of profit or loss, while moral concerns have evaporated under the hot sizzle of high finance.

The “practice of medicine”, once a proud, independent, and highly intellectual profession, has been eviscerated by increasing standardization. Diagnosis is a computed decision tree and treatment is ordered by universal guidelines, in an effort to create “mix and match” or “plug and play” interchangeable “units of healthcare”.   Continue reading

Contesting The Tyranny Of Metrics And Managerialism

We Are Not A Dashboard: Contesting The Tyranny Of Metrics, Measurement, And Managerialism – by David Shaywitz – Dec 2018

The dashboard is the potent symbol of our age. It offers the elegant visualization of data, and is intended to capture and represent the performance of a system, revealing at a glance current status, and pointing out potential emerging concerns.

Dashboards are the physical manifestation of the ideology of big data, the idea that if you can measure it you can manage it.

I am increasingly concerned, however, that the ideology of big data has taken on a life of it’s own, assuming a sense of both inevitability and self-justification.   Continue reading

Whatever Happened To Science?

Whatever Happened To Science? – Interscan Corporation – By   Michael D. Shaw – Oct 2013

For the Baby Boomers, born under the halo of victory in World War II, and into the 1950s, one of the key themes was the promise of Science. However, as the 1960s played out and the public’s respect for all manner of once cherished institutions began to crumble. Science too was put under scrutiny.

Its great promise and past accomplishments now forgotten, the accounting was done, and on the bottom line were frightful weapons systems, nuclear waste, and napalm.

Notably, confidence in Science continues to erode, even though more money than ever is being spent on it.    Continue reading

Assumptions: Often Wrong, Never in Doubt

Often Wrong, Never in Doubt – Six Ways Assumptions Mislead Us – By Chuck Dinerstein — December 19, 2018

Facts are far harder to obtain than assumptions; they may require long periods of observations or expensive, sensitive measurement devices.

Assumptions can be made more easily, in the comfort of the office, frequently papering over or shaping missing data.

One of the unintended results of this approach is that given a limited set of facts, the strength of our conclusions is based upon our certainty in the strength of our assumptions.

Assumptions are just not as sexy as conclusions and are frequently overlooked in our haste to know or do – it is a variation of often wrong, never in doubt.   Continue reading