Thursday, December 9, 2010

The problem with fake medical advice.

This is the reason I started this blog; not everyone who is presenting medical information is doing it factually. Most of the time when you hear things that sound true, you assume they are; if someone sounds like they know what they are talking about, most people will believe what they have to say. But often times you shouldn’t.

The people who present false information as fact are essentially manipulating people for profit, this alone is somewhat benign, but when they are selling false medicine they can be putting people’s health and even lives at risk. Those who try to convince you that something in your home right now will kill you if you don’t buy their product; those who claim that their magical object is the secret to health and longevity; those who try to solve a problem you have with the next ‘super-drug’; it is all asinine  There are way too many legitimate ways to earn an honest dollar, ways that serve no harm or even benefit others, for anyone to devote their time and money to compromising people’s health in return for some money.

It is not only those out to make a buck, sometimes it is also those with good intentions. Without naming names, there are plenty of people out there who are attempting to provide the masses with some degree of medical information so they can live healthier lives. This sounds pretty good, right? The problem here is that many times they will ‘dumb it down’ to make it easier for anyone who may be reading/listening/watching to understand. Often, they manage to put it in words that encompass all the necessary information and make sense to the lay person. Other times they generally represent the true information they are trying to convey, but leave out some crucial details, this is now verging on falsification. When things are simplified to the point of losing the true information, it practically becomes a lie, even when the intentions are pure. This can be even more detrimental because people are conditioned to trust these individuals, and will often act on the information they get from them. People may end up doing something that may actually cause them harm.

One day while listening to the radio I heard a segment about consuming unpasteurized milk. My friends and I mocked it because we have the education to know how ridiculously bad that notion really is. Still, people were calling in telling the host how they think it tastes better and that it is supposedly healthier, that they will never go back to drinking pasteurized milk. I understand those who dislike things purely because they are commercialized and prefer to ‘buy local’; I have no problem with this concept. But milk is pasteurized for a reason, there are numerous pathogens that cows carry (inside and out) without making them sick (lots for humans too). When those little bugs are in the milk that is being ingested by humans they can make us very sick, and with repeated exposure has the potential to cause conditions that may eventually kill us. As usual, this is particularly dangerous for children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. It is true that the pasteurization process can remove some nutrients from the milk, but it does not add toxic chemicals or cause any diseases, it is merely a controlled heating of the milk to remove the majority those bacteria in order to keep us healthy. The process can also substantially lengthen the freshness of that milk. Learn more from Michigan State University and if you are really interested, this document from the World Health Organization may be fascinating. Alternatively, here is a link to a website dedicated to Raw Milk.
Please never drink unpasteurized milk unless it is from a cow or goat you know personally, one who is well cared for and kept clean, even then it may not be entirely safe; drink at your own risk!

It is my intention to never present false information; I will do my best to put things in plain language and simple terms, while still keeping the true meaning intact. I will provide citations for anything and everything that I feel requires or may benefit from references. Also, though the life of a graduate student is hardly a profitable one, I am not doing this blog for money; I am doing it to help people.

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