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FDA Approves Sale Of Prescription Placebo

‘In its most common form, placebo is a white, crystalline substance of a sandy consistency, obtained from the evaporated juice of the Saccharum officinarum plant. The FDA has approved placebo in doses ranging from 1 to 40,000 milligrams.

The long-awaited approval will allow pharmaceutical companies to market placebo in pill and liquid form. Eleven major drug companies have developed placebo tablets, the first of which, AstraZeneca’s Sucrosa, hits shelves Sept. 24.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to finally get this wonder drug out of the labs and into consumers’ medicine cabinets,” said Tami Erickson, a spokeswoman for AstraZeneca. “Studies show placebo to be effective in the treatment of many ailments and disorders, ranging from lower-back pain to erectile dysfunction to nausea.”

Pain-sufferers like Margerite Kohler, who participated in a Sucrosa study in March, welcomed the FDA’s approval.’

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Physician substance use by medical specialty

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Abstract:: “Self-reported past year use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, and two controlled prescription substances (opiates, benzodiazepines); and self-reported lifetime substance abuse or dependence was estimated and compared for 12 specialties among 5,426 physicians participating in an anonymous mailed survey. Logistic regression models controlled for demographic and other characteristics that might explain observed specialty differences. Emergency medicine physicians used more illicit drugs. Psychiatrists used more benzodiazepines. Comparatively, pediatricians had overall low rates of use, as did surgeons, except for tobacco smoking. Anesthesiologists had higher use only for major opiates. Self-reported substance abuse and dependence were at highest levels among psychiatrists and emergency physicians, and lowest among surgeons. With evidence from studies such as this one, a specialty can organize prevention programs to address patterns of substance use specific to that specialty, the specialty characteristics of its members, and their unique practice environments that may contribute risk of substance abuse and dependence.” ([J Addict Dis. 1999] – PubMed Result)

I’m certainly interested in the results for my own specialty, psychiatry. Does the proportional overuse of benzodiazepines indicate that the work is more anxiety-provoking than other specialties? I am not aware of significant benzo- use/abuse among anyone I have come across in the field, although of course I wouldn’t necessarily notice. But could prescribing predilections be an indicator? I have long been concerned with the rates at which psychiatrists in the communities in which I have practiced prescribe benzos for their clientele, seemingly oblivious to the adverse effects I see and to the established medical body of evidence about the risk/benefit balance for this class of medications.

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Who Framed George Lakoff?

Democratic Party logo

The “…noted linguist reflects on his tumultuous foray into politics… For years he’s been at the center of some of the biggest intellectual disagreements in linguistics (most famously with Noam Chomsky) and has helped create an important interdisciplinary field of study, cognitive linguistics, that is reshaping our understanding of the complex relationship between language and thought. More recently he has been vying for respect among people notoriously hard to persuade about anything — politicians and their financial backers.”

(The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Could this be the presidential campaign in which the Democrats finally take his work seriously enough to make the difference I believe it should and could?

“It is the political ramifications of Lakoff‘s theory that preoccupy him these days. An unabashed liberal (he insists on the label “progressive”), he says that Republicans have been quick to realize that the way people think calls for placing emotional and moral appeals at the center of campaign strategy. (He suspects that they gleaned their knowledge from marketing, where some of the most innovative work on the science of persuasion is taking place.) Democrats, Lakoff bemoans, have persisted in an old-fashioned assumption that facts, figures, and detailed policy prescriptions win elections. Small wonder that in recent years the cognitive linguist has emerged as one of the most prominent figures demanding that Democrats take heed of the cognitive sciences and abandon their faith in voters’ capacity to reason.”

The essay runs down a number of influential objections to Lakoff’s position from both hte political and academic domains. The political objections strike me as pitiful efforts to cling to the outmoded paradigm that it is the message, not the medium, that matters. Some of the academics say that Lakoff’s appeal is based on the new neuroenthuiasm. Put neuro- in front of anything and it seems novel and exciting. This is a more credible objection, I feel (as one who can often be seen as a neuroenthisiast myself). Much of what Lakoff wants to convey would do as well without the trappings of neurocognitive science. It is about the power of metaphor, essentially, certainly an old concern. But, perhaps, in terms of grappling with its appeal, shouldn’t we understand that the medium is the message as well?

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13 things that do not make sense

I do not know anything about the author of this page, but s/he has a handle on a number of mysteries. Even if there are innocent explanations for many or most, those for which there are none present important challenges to the adequacy of our understanding of the universe.

Uncategorized

FDA Approves Sale Of Prescription Placebo

‘In its most common form, placebo is a white, crystalline substance of a sandy consistency, obtained from the evaporated juice of the Saccharum officinarum plant. The FDA has approved placebo in doses ranging from 1 to 40,000 milligrams.

The long-awaited approval will allow pharmaceutical companies to market placebo in pill and liquid form. Eleven major drug companies have developed placebo tablets, the first of which, AstraZeneca’s Sucrosa, hits shelves Sept. 24.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to finally get this wonder drug out of the labs and into consumers’ medicine cabinets,” said Tami Erickson, a spokeswoman for AstraZeneca. “Studies show placebo to be effective in the treatment of many ailments and disorders, ranging from lower-back pain to erectile dysfunction to nausea.”

Pain-sufferers like Margerite Kohler, who participated in a Sucrosa study in March, welcomed the FDA’s approval.’