December 2012 Archives


The medicating of Americans for mental illness has continued to grow over the last decade.  And while that’s not exactly a news flash, I have seen no approach as fresh as the one taken by the folks at CrazyMeds”.

They are not doctors.  They are presumably patients or potential patients, then, just as some doctors are or should be.  Their approach is so fresh that I am amazed to notice the grain of truth in it.  This is the same way I felt when I visited the Psychiatry Kills” Museum in Los Angeles, operated by the Scientology folks.  They had a distorted view, but I saw where they were coming from. Read more on Psychotropic Drugs, According to their Users…


When I lived in Boston, I remember walking by the reflecting pools of the Christian Science Monitor building.  My parents said it was a wonderful newspaper but it was somehow “heavy” or scholarly, so they did not want to dig into it every Sunday. Although, they seemed happy to skim the issues I would bring home after my journeys to downtown Boston.

Recently, they ran a piece about how New York is going underwater.  Not that New York City is alone; there are plenty of cities that are slowly drowning.  There seems to be no sense of urgency whatsoever.  On the travel website above, for example, there is only a go-visit-it-before-it-is underwater kind of feeling.  I suppose it would be really nice to get some views under your eyelids before they disappear. If nothing else, this situation ought to serve to confirm that global warming is real science and not a political construct.  The polar icecaps are melting and sea level communities are sinking.  It might sound slow, but it is really quite fast, and things need to be done.

First, we need to applaud Mayor Bloomberg of New York City.  Last I heard, he was a Republican, and most Republicans believe that global warming is more Democratic propaganda than science.  All these storms upon the earth are sinking us pretty fast.  Bloomberg has appointed a commission to look at what this will do to New Yorkers.  I don’t necessarily believe that commissions actually work, but he is at least trying to do something.  That gets him points in my book. Read more on They Should Only Sink…

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Chew on this — the sensationalist New York Post recently broke the story of an allegedly cannibalistic NYPD officer who went for women.  He should end up in prison, but I’m not so sure they want to give the guy a job working in the kitchen.

I remember only a couple of times in my young life that my parents went into Boston to get a copy of the New York Post.  This was before you could find the National Enquirer at every supermarket checkout stand.  “Tabloid” meant a newspaper with half-size pages that you could read like a book.  It was meant for less educated people than us, I was dutifully informed, and reading it was the intellectual equivalent of “slumming.”  I remember wondering then if stupid people were really that stupid or if they just read newspapers that were easy to hold open. Read more on Cannibalism of Females…

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You probably know by now that I’m all about helping people relieve chronic pain and live longer and healthier lives.  Just the other day, a gentleman visited me at the clinic to request medical marijuana. He said his feet had rotated 180 degrees from normal when he was born.  He was literally born with his feet on backwards.

ancient tribe of people with backward feet and 8 toes each foot

A Back-Foot from the Nurenburg Chronicle, 1493. This ancient tribe of people with backward feet and 8 toes each foot.

He was a young black man who looked much younger than the 47 he told me was his age.  He said orthopedic surgeons had started working on him before he could remember.  He’d had a total of 34 operations, with the most recent at age 18.

To me, his gait looked amazingly normal. “I bet you want to see my feet,” he said as he ripped off his shoes and socks.  He had one eight inch well-heeled vertical scar on the posterior aspect of each of his very thin ankles, and a transverse scar of about the same length on the outside of each foot.  The left one was a bit more deformed than

Read more on The Man Who Was Born With His Feet On Backwards…

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I’ve got to admit, I must have already been living in the world of alternative medicine by the time the FDA approved Xyrem.  As far as I can figure, it’s exactly the same as the street drug GHB.  Us pharmacology types call this gamma hydroxybutyric acid.  In a stable salt form that people can take as a prescription drug, it can also be called sodium oxybate.  Among other sets of cognoscenti with whom I would usually not hang out — read “on the street” — it is known as various other things that those initials can stand for such as Georgia Home Boyor Grievous Bodily Harm,” a lovely term from old British law.  There have been a couple of high profile American cases where Xyrem was used as a date-rape drug.  The FDA has warned against taking dietary supplements that contain it.  It’s the very same chemical as GHB.  It is also an FDA approved prescription drug. Read more on Topic: Xyrem and Doctors…

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Doctors at a hospital chain in Los Angeles have complained about pressure to make unnecessary hospital admissions.  It takes a lot to make doctors complain.  These sorts of actions are rare enough that my gut reaction is to believe that where there is smoke, there is probably fire.

A long time ago, a preceptor, or teaching doctor, in psychopharmacology told me to read business newspapers like the Wall Street Journal if I really wanted to know what was going on in drug development.  I never seemed to have the time, but he certainly did. He had a nice family and a fairly large home.  A little more recently, my husband told me if I was ever approached by Mike Wallace, then the star reporter of 60 Minutes on CBS, with a microphone and a camera, I should probably run like hell.

I am delighted this group of doctors complained.  The health care company has denied the allegations.  They say the data, collected by a third party, does not support the allegations. They don’t provide a link to the data, and I can’t locate it anywhere, so I guess I’ll just have to take their word for it. Cute, huh?  One thing I have learned about all allegedly scientific data, whether it is a result of pouring things in test-tubes or a lot of people counting numbers, is not to judge the results until I know who paid for them.  This hospital apparently paid someone to check if their admissions were appropriate.  Can anybody possibly trust this data, especially knowing it is unavailable and its collection was paid for — if not supervised — by the hospital in question? Read more on Did Anyone Actually Believe That Medical Care Companies Were Honest or Ethical?…

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Perusing the internet, I am overwhelmed with people doing “weird” things.  But how do we define what is weird, when it is weird, and why it is weird?

I remember seeing the movie Fiddler on the Roof when I was quite young.  I shuddered when I heard the song “Tradition,” because it was evident, even then, that descriptions of the way people should or should not be caused a whole lot of pain.  The particular tradition that drove poor Tevye to hell and back was getting three daughters married off and being Jewish, which required dowries and Jewish grooms.

My parents attempted to receive my husband — who at that time called himself “the goy next door” and was willing to wear a yamelke and articulate a few words of yiddish he had learned from Mad Magazine.  But you could tell that this was a problem for them.  An eventuality I found just excellent in my life and which I credit with an uncommon level of happiness. I can say now that my marriage is happier than theirs ever was, at least from all that I saw.  Part of this comes from my willingness to ignore a tradition they took as dogma. Read more on The Rights of Individuals to Punish Each Other…

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Well, it turns out there aren’t really gators in Gatorade.  The drink was named as such because a University of Florida coach – team name Gators – worked with a researcher to find a way to replenish fluids in his heat exhausted, wilting athletes.  And Gatorade was born. Read more on What’s In Gatorade? Gators?…

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Do some people become doctors just to earn a lot of money?  Yes.

Sigmund FreudDo some of them find out that it’s not as lucrative as portrayed in the media (based upon stereotypes at least 40 years out of date)? Hell Yes!

Psychiatrists are not normally schizophrenic — however there are two types.  One is the media stereotype “Talk Therapy” doctor.  These are nearly extinct. They exist mainly in Woody Allen movies and old TV series.  In fact, most of those are psychologists — not psychiatrists (but who knows the difference and who cares?).

The other type is what you chiefly find today — Pill Pushers.  Insurance and

Read more on Where Have All the Psychiatrists Gone?…

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I was poking around, looking for what is brewing in psychopharmacology; a field I am no longer particularly proud I spent a lot of time studying and working in.  Strange, or maybe not so strange, that I’ve met both of the principals allegedly involved in this pharmacological ghostwriting scandal.

Ghost WriterI saw Dr. Schatzberg when he led various sessions at a large professional meeting on the coast.  My main memory of him is that he looked tired, maybe even a bit depressed.  I was told I had to write a lot of articles and do a lot of research projects, so maybe someday when I grew up I could do this kind of work.  I was told, often and a lot, that I had plenty enough neurons, so it would only take work, and a lot of it.  Dr. Nemeroff actually came to Kansas between visits to the coasts.  He was friends with my preceptor in psychopharmacology.  He came to speak at our grand rounds, where we were awe struck by the large amount of patients seen, as well as the large amount of numbers and lovely statistics.

Read more on Who Knows Who Writes This Stuff?…

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