One of the primary reasons that convinced me to put up this blog is to clear the air of the conflicting information regarding health, medicine, pharmaceuticals, etc. There are deliberate attempts to muddle the issues (usually for financial gains), while some are out of ignorance or of “good intentions but are, unwittingly, being used as pawns”.
Let us take the case of “ignorance” first. Many (and celebrities and known personalities are not helping) get on the bandwagon to show that they are “up-to-date” but end of adding to the confusion. A case in point are cooking shows that have the host talking and teaching people about avoidance of MSG and of eating healthy fish, but endorsing canned fish (filled with preservatives) or using commercial flavorings (loaded with hidden chemicals and artificial flavor and colorings). Or, they would show people how to cook fish, but the fish is a farmed fish, that has been fed commercial and nutrient-deficient feeds.
One such fish is salmon. The only known healthy salmon left is Alaskan/Pacific salmon. Norwegian salmon is contaminated with oil because its feeding grounds is the Baltic Sea, where all the offshore oil fields of Europe are located. Chilean and Californian salmon are artificially raised in farms and are fed food pellets. The salmon grow up with grey flesh. Since people are used to seeing pink, orange, or reddish salmon flesh, the growers will feed the salmon with artificial coloring pellets to make the flesh reflect the familar color. The reason why salmon flesh is pink or orange is because their main food are crustaceans (crabs and lobsters). If growers fed salmon crabs and lobsters, how much do you think will salmon cost?
Moreover, although salmon is being touted as one of the healthier fish, it is only healthful for those living where there are salmon. Salmon, though edible and still provide nourishment, for people in the tropics, are not native to tropical waters. In this sense, eating salmon for people in the tropics (not just living in but even if you are only touring it), the benefit will not be maximized.
There is a reason why certain plants or animals are found only in certain places (and even only at certain times of the year). If something is good for everybody, why is it not found everywhere? Why is watermelon (traditionally) available only during summer and not in winter? Because you need more water in summer and it is not easy to drink a lot of bland water, so God made watermelons and made it grow only during summer, so we can take in more water when we need it most – tastier water.
As for the case of “good intentions”, among the most “guilty” are media people who report findings and studies without understanding or knowing what is important. And, they have the greatest responsibility because they can reach more people and people, generally, give them their trust (to report completely and unbiasedly information that may change lives). All they care about is reporting the lastest. They do not understand that the specifics of how a study was conducted is just as important. Others, for the sake of money and/or of expediency, permit themselves (through their reports) to become unwitting mouthpieces of vested interest groups, especially Big Business. These are lumped together today as “infomercials” – commercial ads pretending to be informative news reports. Many column writers are guilty of this – imagine, they get paid for the column by the media and again for the article by the product manufacturer or service provider. The column writer thinks s/he is doing a public service but is, in fact, serving as a marketing agent.
One example are medical missions organized to address the lack of proper medical and health care of the less fortunate in life. It is very noble to give up one’s time and energy to uplift our brothers and sisters, but when pharmaceuticals with (known and often proven) side effects and health risks are prescribed – even when it is for free – where is the nobility there? Another such example is the unabashed practice of commercial milk producers to provide free samples to mothers in the hospitals and clinics (where it is specifically prohibited by the international and the local Milk Code). And they even have the gall to disguise it as a token of concern for mothers who cannot express breast milk.
What they (i.e., the milk companies, through their reps) are not telling and what many mothers do not know is that there are times when breast milk is not easily expressed, even right after birth – especially for first time mothers. But this does not mean that there will be no milk. The fact is that the sucking action of the newborn will induce the mother’s glands to produce milk, it may just take some patience. What the milk companies are counting on are: (1) the mothers are ignorant or impatient, so will switch to commercial milk for convenience or for urgency; (2) the mothers are not aware that their diet during pregnancy was inadequate or incorrect which led to the “delayed” breast milk expression; and, (3) the mothers (and the medical staff) do not know that if the milk companies can successfully delay the initial production of breast milk within the first 24 hours, the breast will no longer produce milk and they will have hooked another customer who will buy their expensive but worthless milk. (In fact, to quote from http://naturalnews.com/z028757_raw_milk_FDA.html, “…there were ten times more illnesses from pasteurized milk than there were from raw milk“.) And, another child will grow up malnourished and with a compromised immune system – a prospective customer for Big Pharma.
I saved the (first, the) best for last. With respect to intentionally defrauding people, it is not just a common practice of Big Pharma but most other Big Business – Big Agri, Big Chem, Big Biotech, and Big Media. It is not known to many that nine out of 10 studies and clinical trials do not get to publication in journals because they failed. Only successful ones are published. This gives us a lop-sided impression that all the studies and clinical trials are successful, thereby creating and reinforcing an image of trustworthy and safe pharmaceuticals. In addition, it is slowly coming to light that many so-called successful studies and trials have been frauds, ghost-written by Big Pharma company employees or by professional writers and just given the imprimatur by some respected scientist or researcher. This is why more and more journals and prestigious institutions and academes are now tightening the reins on their researchers and faculty.
Also, this is an example of the wrong application of IPRs (intellectual property rights). A shadow of doubt is cast upon a researcher/scientist who has financial ties (ergo a vested interest) in a product. Can anyone honestly believe that a researcher/scientist, with financial ties to what s/he is conducting a study or a trial on will be objective? This is why I advocate that any faculty researcher should never be involved with any product s/he is conducting a study or a trial on – s/he should resign or retire first.
Furthermore, when a damaging (in the sense that profits will drop) study or clinical trials comes out, that was not sponsored nor conducted by Big Pharma, there will be attempts either to discredit it by coming out with a contradicting study or trial or by attacking the proponent (making him/her look bad or digging or even fabricating lies), or to suppress it by controlling media.
In my next post, I will go into more details – like “there is no cure…”, like “it is hereditary”, and like “man-made and natural have no difference”.