Hollow victory in the war that never was:

The coalition’s hollow victory in Baghdad marks a fittingly surreal climax to a war that was always empty of meaning. Saddam’s regime has simply imploded like the wretched, ruined state that any objective observer of Iraqi affairs knew it to be. The US and UK authorities claim that a powerful regime has been brought down by their well-paced, patient prosecution of the war over the past three weeks. In reality, we can now see that the enfeebled Iraqi state all but collapsed the moment the coalition forces rolled across its borders.

Was there a war at all? There were certainly plenty of bombs dropped, guns fired and Iraqis killed by the American and British forces. But there has not been one single clash with Iraqi forces that could remotely be described as a battle.
— Mick Hume, sp!ked

Epilepsy drug may be weight-loss aid:

Results promising, say researchers: An epilepsy drug combined with a reduced-calorie diet may result in significant weight loss for obese adults, according to one of several obesity studies in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

The epilepsy drug research was prompted by reports of unintentional weight loss in epilepsy patients using zonisamide to prevent seizures. CNN As a physician (who prescribes epilepsy drugs as part of my neuropsychiatric practice and also because we use them in the control of impulsive-aggressive-labile behavior disorders), I’ve already been receiving requests from patients to be placed on zonisamide given these news reports. In fact, that is how I heard about this research finding. This is a phenomenon that has repeated itself whenever the media report that a drug shows promise for weight loss. But people should stop hoping for passive weight loss miracles, of course. Stop calling, for three reasons —

  • the weight loss effect is not going to turn out to be very robust or very sustained
  • the increased activity level is more important to any weight loss than the medication effects
  • and the cognitive slowing and other potential side effects of taking most anticonvulsants are not pleasant enough if you do not absolutely need these medications for cause

My reading suggests there may be some promising, specific weight loss agents that work by novel mechanisms on the physiology of appetite and satiation, or on metabolism coming down the pike, but not zonisamide or topiramate or Prozac.