Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fake Medical Science! Are You Surprised?

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Fake Medical Research is a Huge Problem
The Event Is coming soon
Published on Jul 15, 2017
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The Event Is Coming Soon - Fake Medical Research is a Huge Problem
As the world confronts the realization that mainstream media organizations are the primary source of fake news and corporate propaganda in our world, more information continues to come to light indicating that much of mainstream science and medical research is also largely fraudulent.
In 2015 the editor of the prestigious Lancet Study issued a report warning that as much as 80% of today’s research supporting pharmaceutical marketing is fraudulent.
“Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” – Dr. Richard Horton, editor of the world’s most respected medical journal, The Lancet
These cracks of credibility have been growing for many years now, and as we reported in 2016, the scientific community is proving itself to be highly susceptible to the corruption, dishonesty, dogma, and blatant profiteering, the same negative influences found in all other segments of today’s economy.
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Full Measure: May 7, 2017 - Fake Science
Published on May 9, 2017
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Medical News: Real or Fake?
Trying to decipher real from fake health news has become confusing.
By Seth D. Ginsberg, Contributor
May 23, 2017
In early April, as reported by the Associated Press, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned "consumers to avoid 65 bogus products hawked on the internet with false claims that they can cure, treat, diagnose or prevent cancer … [saying] these products, mostly sold on websites and social media sites, can be harmful, waste money and result in people not getting approved, effective treatments."
In this age of "miracle cures," pharmaceutical competition and information overload, trying to decipher real from fake medical news has become confusing. Exaggerated claims and lack of fact-checking has become the norm in an attempt to increase site hits and profits, and even sway political opinions. Back in the good old, pre-internet days, standing at the grocery check-out aisle, there were only so many journals and publications to choose between. Knowing which publication was sensationalized versus which was trust-worthy and factual was easy. At least then, the "fun" version was good for an easy laugh and reality escape, and then promptly used to line the bird cage or dog kennel.
Unfortunately, nowadays, seeking real health information has become a lot more risky because so much content can be found at the touch of a button. Often, the most sensationalized news items are the ones promoted most aggressively on social network sites and, as a result, goes viral, garnering more attention than the truth. Disturbing false claims of "miracle cures" can be made with little to no repercussions regarding accuracy or dependability. So, how exactly should regular people navigate the web for real and accurate information?
Read Smarter: Tips for Real vs. Fake
First, it's important to understand who is writing the article and whether they (and the publication) are credible. Ask yourself:
  • Is the author or publication known for supporting its ideas by citing evidence from multiple research programs?
  • In the case of medical/health news, does the author have a medical background or a pertinent degree?
  • Does the author simply cite one obscure program that happens to support their theory in its own relatively vague way, but fails to report additional research that draws contradictory conclusions?
  • Does the story present the study limitations or methodology as presented by the researchers?
Importantly, sometimes health news is written by experienced health writers and not necessarily a 
trained health professional. However, that's acceptable provided that the articles cite real research or have been medically reviewed before publication. The best articles come from experienced writers who use reputable sources (peer-reviewed studies, government reports, expert opinions) and balance information by presenting study methodology and goals.
A second tip for the wary reader is to ask your physician or health care professional which journals, publications or websites they rely on for their own research or information. Also, if your particular illness or concern is fairly common, like arthritis, odds are there are online, non-profit patient communities (like the one I founded in 1999, CreakyJoints) with plenty of up-to-date, evidence-based research that provide education about treatment and management strategies. Those resources, as well as vetted patient guidelines, will help a motivated person managing a disease become educated and, then, be ready to have a productive conversation with his or her medical provider before selecting a treatment strategy and working toward better health outcomes.
Lastly, when reading, look at how the information is actually being reported and the verbiage used to describe its potential successes and usage. Generally speaking, if the wording used mentions a "miracle cure," it's probably too good to be true. If there was a readily available, common miracle cure out there for cancer, why wouldn't anyone and everyone want to use it? And wouldn't it be reported by every major news outlet? Healthy skepticism is important when reading medical and health information.
The Damage Is Real
In the past decade, in an attempt to shut down all of the false cancer "cure or prevention" claims, the FDA issued 90 warning letters to companies falsely promoting their products. Many of those products were untested pills, creams or supplements (like teas) that were not evaluated by the FDA for their safety and efficacy. Without the FDA's stamp of approval, patients (and physicians) have no way to determine if these products work or if they might even interact dangerously with other prescription medications. Yet, those with cancer (and their loved ones) might jump at another treatment option if presented attractively.
Individuals with a heart-breaking diagnosis who are seeking help can be easy prey for for-profit companies who take advantage of those desperate for a cure with little regard for outcomes other than their own bottom line. Unfortunately, fake medical news can be written very persuasively, and it's easy to be seduced by false promises. It's vital to be a critical reader in partnership with seeking advice from health care professionals.
What Else Can Be Done?
Due to the extraordinary amount of fake news being produced, there are websites dedicated to helping one determine if information is real or fake. If you happen to find yourself reading an article and looking for clues for its authenticity, and you still find yourself unsure of its accuracy, check out a website designed for fact-checking, such as factcheck.org. If you are reading about a possible new-to-you treatment option, don't just read one article. Search for other commentary on the treatment from credible sources.
Even the experienced reader needs to be a skeptic. Before jumping at the first, exciting break-through, we need to be prepared to complete our own thorough investigative reporting!
How to Be a Good Patient Wingman
'You can be my wingman anytime.'
Coming from Iceman (Val Kilmer) to Maverick (Tom Cruise) in “Top Gun,” that was a huge compliment. And if someone chooses you as his or her hospital “wingman," consider it an honor. Although you’re not actually flying jets together in tight formation, as the wingman – or patient advocate – you have the patient's back. According to the National Patient Safety Foundation, your mission includes helping the patient "navigate the confusing health care system." You’re speaking up as needed, looking out for the patient's best interests and acting on his or her behalf. If you've just been enlisted, these guidelines can help.
Be there.
Be there. Patients In Doctor's Waiting Room Reading Magazine.
Acting as the main wingman – or wingwoman – for a family member or friend involves commitment. You need to have time to spend at the hospital – or be able to take time off work – and have access to reliable transportation, the Empowered Patient Coalition advises in its guide for patients and advocates. You could be learning about treatment options during medical rounds or keeping track of events in a patient journal. Bottom line: You can’t really look out for your loved one from a distance.
Keep a sharp eye on safety.
Keep a sharp eye on safety. A senior man being visited by his family in hospital.
The core reason for being a hospital wingman is to help keep someone you care about safe. Don’t assume every health care provider has the right information, says Ilene Corina, president and founder of PULSE of New York, a nonprofit patient safety group. Before surgery, “make sure everyone who comes in and talks to the patient introduces themselves and explains why they’re there, and what they’re going to do,” she says. “You want to make sure that if it’s a gallbladder, they’re not telling you that you need your appendix out.”
Communicate with respect.
Communicate with respect. Doctor shaking hands with female patient
The ideal wingman is assertive and a good communicator. You’ll be talking to doctors and nurses, asking questions and speaking up when something’s wrong with the patient’s condition or care. Be tactful, if possible. “We call it ‘assertive but respectful,’” Corina says. For instance, she says, you should double-check the pre-surgical ID bracelet, but you don’t have to stand over the hospital worker who’s placing it – wait until you and the patient have a few minutes alone.
Speak out.
Speak out. Worried mid adult man embracing his crying wife after getting bad news at doctor visit.
Respectful communication should be a two-way street, says Andrea Goldstein, of Seaford, New York. Unfortunately, she says, that was lacking – along with adequate care – in a recent ER experience involving her son, who went in for excruciating pain. Standing neglected in the corridor, Goldstein (an RN herself) spoke out – loudly. She drew the attention of another patient’s visitor (similarly frustrated), eventually followed by the charge nurse, ER doctor and the hospital’s patient representative. “I’m not necessarily advocating causing a scene, although it is fairly effective,” she says. But, she adds, “You’re just trying to get care for your loved one … not Mercedes care, just decent care.”
Hold out for hygiene.
Hold out for hygiene.
One problem in the ER encounter, Goldstein says, was nobody washed their hands when entering her son’s room, as evidenced by the used, discarded IV bag and tubing (not his) left undisturbed in the dry sink. Corina says advocates can play a big role in infection prevention by “making sure people wash their hands when they come in and before they touch the patient.” They can check whether the patient’s hands and nails are clean as well, in case they inadvertently scratch a surgical site or wound while sleeping.
Give hands-on help – or find it.
Give hands-on help – or find it. Granddaughter is feeding her grandmother with vegetable in the hospital.
Helping out with basic needs such as eating, bathing or walking may seem like a no-brainer for some patient advocates, but that depends. A non-health professional trying to help a bandaged, post-op patient out of bed could potentially cause more damage or even a fall, Corina says. “I don’t really want to take my father to the bathroom or give him help with his urinal,” she adds, out of consideration for his self-respect and their relationship. Instead, she says, the advocate’s role is to use the call button and make sure a nurse or nurse’s aide appears.
Navigate the paper trail.
Navigate the paper trail. Stack of paper.
As an anxious, distracted patient, it’s hard to concentrate on the piles of paper you get in the hospital – from instructions on how to turn on the TV, to critical documents like surgical consent forms. “The patient’s going to be given a lot of information to read and sign,” Corina says. “Before they even go for surgery, you might want to ask if they could get [the consent form] ahead of time, so they can read it at their leisure.” As wingman, you can read along and explain, if needed. You should also ask if the patient has a living will, and if so, find out how you can access a copy if need be.
Keep it private.
Keep it private. A man's fingers to his lips to gesture be quiet
What’s revealed in the hospital stays in the hospital. “You never discuss what you hear outside of there,” Corina says. “So if I’m going with my very dear friend and I find out she has a drug problem, she has to know that I will never talk about it and never bring it up again.” Whatever medical information you learn, show discretion. “It’s really an honor to be at that patient’s bedside when they’re in that vulnerable state,” Corina says. “So at Thanksgiving dinner, you’re not going to even bring up their blood pressure medicine. Forget you ever heard it.”
Gather information.
Gather information. African woman using laptop at home
Bill Swartz, 49, president of video game publisher Mastiff in San Francisco, has taken on the patient wingman role several times. When a loved one has looming health issues, he keeps a copy of his or her medical record, printing it out and bringing it to the hospital, in case the ER or inpatient staff lacks immediate access. After a surgery, he advises, don’t just ask if the patient is OK, but ask if the patient is OK and if there were unusual incidents of any kind. That, he says, “requires a more precise and useful answer.” Before talking to health care providers, Swartz does basic Internet searches to become informed about medical conditions and procedures, and demonstrate to doctors, nurses and technicians that “we’re the case to get right.”
We're all human.
Basket of delicious oatmeal cookies, brownies, and blondies
“Remember that people in medical facilities are human” is the other main advice from Swartz. Seems obvious, but he tries to make providers feel good about themselves, and he’s been known to deliver a batch of brownies to a “wonderful” post-op nursing staff as a thank you. In the past few years, Swartz has been patient wingman to several ill family members. His motivation: “They’re in the worst shape of their lives, they’re in pain and they have the right to be scared.” But he shrugs off the idea that his actions are particularly praiseworthy – “I don’t think I do anything special.”
Join the crew.
Join the crew. Woman and her dog walking in a park
Maybe you’re not the assertive type, or you can’t commit blocks of time – but you can still offer some kind of support. It might be driving the patient to the hospital, managing his or her personal belongings or picking the children up from school. You can coordinate hospital visits, or be the discharge-minded friend who reaches out to the hospital social worker and looks up outpatient care providers online. Even “knowing the dog will be walked will help the patient relax,” Corina says. “You know, there’s always somebody who needs to make the tuna casserole and get the housekeeping done.”
Seth D. Ginsberg

Seth D. Ginsberg began his 20-year career as a health advocate at age 13 when he was diagnosed with a form of arthritis called Spondyloarthritis. Since then, Seth has evolved into a passionate thought leader and social entrepreneur in the global health care conversation. He believes that all patients with chronic disease deserve the best access to care, and that it is everyone’s responsibility to participate in patient-centered research to unlock the clues needed for better health outcomes in the future. Seth spends his energy engineering that future. At 18, Seth helped pioneer the online patient community for others like himself who were suffering with arthritis, co-founding CreakyJoints. The CreakyJoints platform today is a highly customized, interactive delivery channel of relevant patient education, emotional and personal support services, advocacy initiatives and patient-centered research efforts. The Global Healthy Living Foundation is the non-profit parent organization of CreakyJoints, which Seth and CreakyJoints co-founder social entrepreneur Louis Tharp, created in 2004.
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Love the medical spy in your own home
By Jon Rappoport
"O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." (George Orwell, 1984)
What are Merck/Amazon up to these days?
The drug giant is sponsoring a contest, in association with Amazon, to develop voice-activated programs for patients with diabetes.
Utilizing Amazon Alexa, the voice-interactive AI box that functions as a personal assistant---a spy in your own home---Amazon will enable "help" for people managing their disease. 
An article at fiercepharma.com describes one of the finalists in the Merck contest: "The intelligent personal assistant platform creator Ejenta advanced into the finals with PIA, or personal intelligent agents. Its entry aims to leverage NASA artificial intelligence technology and Internet of Things connectivity to detect risky behaviors and encourage healthy habits. The system could also notify care teams if abnormalities are detected."
Are you getting this?
Personal intelligence agents?
Detecting risky behaviors and abnormalities?
Notifying CARE TEAMS?
"Personnel dispatched to 142 Summit Street, home of John Jones, diabetic. Alexa heard the crinkle of a package-wrap associated with sugar cookies. 92% probability Jones just opened the bag and is quietly chewing the cookies. Front-door entry advised. Do not ring bell. Move into the home quickly and disarm the subject..."
But don't worry, it's for people's own good. Of course. People need protection from their bad habits.
"I had a close call today, Fred. I was aching for chocolate candy, and I guess I made some kind of lip-smacking sound. I was on the edge. But my Alexa alerted the care team and they showed up in a few minutes and their dogs found my secret stash in a trunk in the basement. The guys sprayed the trunk with high-dose fluoride and Roundup and a few other chemicals..."
"That's nothing, Jim. I was calling my ex-wife. I wanted to get together for lunch. But my psychiatrist had told me any contact with her would be a negative. Alexa alerted the care team and they disconnected the call before it went through, showed up with a shot of Thorazine and put me under for a few hours. When I woke up, I felt better. Saved again."

It takes a village.
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