THE "GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS" MEDICAL POST

So I realized today that I've been pretty remiss in my blogging.

I had kind of hoped that with all the people stealing my Facebook information, one of them would have been nice enough to do a blog for me, but no.

You just can't find good trolls these days.

Part of the problem I have is that there are literally so many medical stories coming out each day, that I become somewhat paralyzed trying to figure out which to write about.

I'm sure you thought it was laziness, but, as usual, you're wrong.

Today, however, after a fun morning running errands in a freezing typhoon, I had an epiphany.

Instead of trying to write in depth about one topic, I'll write superficially about several, secure in the knowledge that in this day and age, attention spans are measured in seconds.

So, let's begin, shall we?

GOOD NEWS:

When you are in your 90's, 2 drinks of wine or beer a day was better than exercise!!

The data showed drinking reduced your risk of "premature death" (BTW, WTF does that mean for somebody in their 90's?) by 18% versus 11% with exercise.

Seems like a dream come true, at least for me, except:

BAD NEWS:

A) You have to reach your 90's and

B) Having 2 drinks a day before you get there could reduce your life span by 1-2 years!

Really? How is this fair?

On the other hand, without drinking those are apt to be 2 long, boring years, and maybe it just means I'll die at 98 instead of 100.

Totally worth it.

GOOD NEWS:

Coffee is good for you!

Researchers recently showed that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and liver disease.

So, enjoy that Vente Mocha Latte!!

BAD NEWS:

Coffee causes cancer!

Well, in California, at any rate.

Recently California decided that coffee must have a cancer warning label because of the presence of a chemical called acrylamide, a by product of roasting coffee beans.

Now, this chemical is also present in other foods cooked at high temperature, like that beautifully seared steak.

So, your choice is living with diabetes while you sip on your tea and eat boiled meat, or, recognize that the level of this chemical is low enough that it may not meaningfully contribute to your cancer risk.

Your choice, but I know which mine is.

GOOD NEWS:

Baby powder makes you smell nice and helps prevent you from getting crotch itch!

I mean, really, that's it's only merits.

BAD NEWS:

Baby powder causes ovarian cancer by sneaking up your Hoo-Ha and mesothelioma if you inhale it.

Recently there have been several gigantic awards to individuals who claim that their daily use of talcum powder contributed to their cancer.

The best part of these cases is that they are won on the basis of fooling juries with junk science.

The data is virtually meaningless, but that doesn't stop our wonderful personal injury lawyers from getting you the money you deserve!!

(At least, that's what they say on their commercials.)

GOOD NEWS:

Finding breast cancers early, through mammography can lead to cure with surgery.

Ok, we've known this for a long time.

Whether a lumpectomy or mastectomy, finding a breast cancer early is key to achieving a high rate of cure.

BAD NEWS:

Breast cancer surgery may trigger the spread of cancer.

I just about shit myself when I read this.

The concept is that the healing process may help breast cancer cells remaining after surgery "escape" into the body.

This is vaguely reminiscent of the old wives tale that someone died of cancer because the doctors opened them up and "exposed the cancer to air".

The problem is, this study was conducted in mice.

And if there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that I can find a breed of mouse that will allow me to prove virtually anything I want.

Well, that's enough for today.

The bottom line is this is what I believe to be the main reason that people have great difficulty understanding and believing medical science.

It is also the means by which pseudoscience can infiltrate society and be so hard to eradicate.

The bottom line is this: STAY SKEPTICAL!

True scientific discoveries rely on the ability of other researchers to duplicate a result, and until that's done, then just be aware that what you read today may be proven untrue tomorrow.

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Filed under: Health Care

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