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Mind Control, Big Pharma, FDA...

 
 
Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 09:24 pm
Please discuss whether pharmaceutical drugs such as antidepressants and other medications, etc., have helped or rather caused more complications.

YouTube - Fox News Big Story with Doug Kennedy on Big Pharma's Lie
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Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 09:42 pm
@Dustin phil,
I prescribe them, and if you're interested I can link you about a million randomized, placebo-controlled trials that were NOT conducted by pharmaceutical companies that show dramatic clinical benefit of many different classes of psychiatric medications, and particularly the SSRIs (like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc).

They're not perfect, and the biggest problem with them has been the paradoxical effects seen in children and adolescents (especially suicidality).

When I was a resident, I could not get depressed patients to take care of themselves, even come to routine office visits, let alone quit smoking, fix their diet, take their medications, until they were on antidepressants. So early on I began screening patients for depression, and treating them if they were depressed. And it made a dramatic difference in their ability to care for themselves and my ability to actually make any progress with them.

So I'm a huge believer, both because of the medical research and because of my own clinical experience prescribing them.
0 Replies
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 10:11 pm
@Dustin phil,
The FDA has some very serious corruption issues, there is no doubt about that, and the pharmaceutical companies... I can't even stand to go into that.

However, I do have some thoughts about antidepressants. Aside from criticisms that apply to nearly the entire market of prescription drugs, my concern with antidepressants is not whether or not they are effective, but whether or not they are the most effective and least harmful 'treatment' available.

From what I understand, correct me as needed, antidepressants fix some chemical imbalance in the brain which causes depression. The idea being that the medicine will provide enough relief for the patient to develop a healthy lifestyle so that they can then stop taking the medication and no longer suffer from depression.

I can certainly imagine cases where this sort of medication will be the best therapy, but usually when we have some problem, we address the cause of the problem, and something must have caused the chemical imbalance in the first place.
My fear is that if we medicate to fix the imbalance, the patient will be no less susceptible to future imbalances having never learned how to prevent such an imbalance from occurring. Nor do I like the idea of people going through some terrible cycle of depression and medication with no end in sight.
Edvin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Mar, 2008 02:11 am
@Dustin phil,
Quote:

...but usually when we have some problem, we address the cause of the problem, and something must have caused the chemical imbalance in the first place.



A former colleague of mine in an institution I used to work at, a psychologist, had very little faith in actually getting to the core of the problems the patient was experiencing to solve them. He would prescribe antidepressants whenever he saw that it could help the patient help themselves. It would enable them to react, and confront their problems, that they prior to the medication had seen as futile, due to the depression.
This, rather than countless sessions of conventional therapy was in many cases much more efficient. And, as Aedes said, progress is often depending on it.

That said, I do see the point of questioning the prescribing of antidepressants. I'm certain there are cases in which a therapist, or a doctor, prescribes antidepressants and lets the patient go without even concidering that therapy could be a better sollution.

Very interesting topic btw. !
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Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Mar, 2008 05:38 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
From what I understand, correct me as needed, antidepressants fix some chemical imbalance in the brain which causes depression. The idea being that the medicine will provide enough relief for the patient to develop a healthy lifestyle so that they can then stop taking the medication and no longer suffer from depression.
Not really. First of all, the commonly used term 'chemical imbalance' is not a useful way of thinking about their mechanism of action. Antidepressents increase the amount of serotonin and (in some cases) norepinephrine in the synapses; antipsychotics increase the amount of dopamine; etc. It's not so much a chemical imbalance as it is a physiologic inability of the cells to secrete enough of the neurotransmitter in question. (or in the case of things like manic symptoms or anxiety it's a type of cellular overactivity).

Psychiatric medications do not eliminate the underlying disease. They're mainly symptomatic treatments. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, incidentally, also will increase the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the synapses of depressed people. So in other words this "chemical imbalance" can be treated and improve in non-pharmacologic ways.

But the disease is still there, and probably the best one can hope for is that the treatment will allow the person to get their lives in order (including quitting drugs if that's an issue) such that later on they'll have enough internal resources that they won't need antidepressants.

The combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications is generally better than either alone. But they're both effective. And therapy is extremely expensive -- for people to have hour long sessions several times weekly for months or years is not affordable.

Fortunately the psych medications we have are (for the most part) very safe and very efficacious.

Quote:
I can certainly imagine cases where this sort of medication will be the best therapy, but usually when we have some problem, we address the cause of the problem, and something must have caused the chemical imbalance in the first place.
It's biology. And there are some biologic things we cannot fix even if we find the root cause. And in the case of most psychiatric disorders, we have a very limited understanding of the basic biology. Furthermore, the diseases themselves are diagnosed syndromically, i.e. based on a collection of symptoms -- we can't make an etiologic (causal) diagnosis of even plain old depression, we can only diagnose it based on the pattern of symptoms and thought processes of the patient.

Quote:
My fear is that if we medicate to fix the imbalance, the patient will be no less susceptible to future imbalances having never learned how to prevent such an imbalance from occurring. Nor do I like the idea of people going through some terrible cycle of depression and medication with no end in sight.
What's the alternative? Having untreated people who cannot work, who become dependent on drugs, who cannot take care of their families, and who attempt or commit suicide? You don't need to look very far -- there are PLENTY of people out there with untreated psychiatric illness.

Don't knock symptomatic treatment. There IS a huge societal and personal cost to symptomatic depression. These drugs lower that cost because they allow people to actually live their lives. If they need to take Paxil for the rest of their lives, so be it if it means they actually can live productively.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Mar, 2008 06:25 am
@Aedes,
I believe and have personally witnessed natural products more effective and a lot less harmful. But wait, how come there are so many studies proving drugs to be effective and not natural products? Its because you can't put a patent on a plant.

I've heard doctors say that vitamin c does not work. Pshaw! The flu season has been pretty bad in my area this year, and I am quite certain I haven't been sick because every time I started to feel a sickness coming on, I immediately got some vitamin c and took about 2000mg every four hours until symptoms were gone. I do it every year and it works very well.

But I do believe that most diseases, etc., can be linked to the condition of the mind. Doctors are even starting realizing this. The mind controls the body.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Mar, 2008 08:50 am
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
I believe and have personally witnessed natural products more effective and a lot less harmful.
And I've seen people die from natural products. And without evidence as to their safety, efficacy, and proper use, it would be irresponsible for me as a physician to prescribe them.

Quote:
But wait, how come there are so many studies proving drugs to be effective and not natural products? Its because you can't put a patent on a plant.
We can and we do. There are probably thousands of clinical trials using various herbal / botanical / natural remedies, and there are some that are head-to-head trials against conventional drugs. Incidentally, St. John's wort works by the same chemical mechanism as Prozac.

You're very indignant about this issue, which makes me wonder why you allow yourself to be so misinformed about it. If you're interested in learning about clinical trials of botanical therapies, then you don't need to look too hard to find them.

Quote:
I've heard doctors say that vitamin c does not work. Pshaw! The flu season has been pretty bad in my area this year, and I am quite certain I haven't been sick because every time I started to feel a sickness coming on, I immediate got some vitamin c and took about 2000mg every four hours until symptoms were gone. I do it every year and it works very well.
Are you thus taking personal responsibility for people treating themselves with a therapy that you do not understand, have not studied, and have not read the literature about? Because you CAN be legally sued if someone follows your medical advice and has an adverse event. Tread lightly here, and don't assume you know more than you really do -- the last thing you want is for someone to follow your advice and have a complication.

Vitamin C for acute therapy for influenza has been debunked for YEARS. It has been nonsense ever since Linus Pauling was throwing it around a half century ago, and it's stuck just because he (the discoverer of vitamin C's physiologic activity and the winner of 2 Nobel Prizes) advertised it all over the place.

There is very weak and inconsistent evidence for its use in prevention of colds (not influenza), and it is specifically NOT supported by evidence for acute therapy. And for the occasional studies in which there has been a benefit shown, the median decrease in time of illness has been less than 10% (which is less than 12 hours, considering that most colds only last a few days).

It's quite brave of you to take 2000mg of vitamin C every 4 hours considering that toxicologists say that vitamin C toxicity can be seen at doses greater than 2000mg in a single 24 hour period. It so happens that I'm a board certified specialist in infectious diseases, which includes among other things influenza and viral diseases, and I've answered this very question about vitamin C for patients many times, and I keep up with the medical literature. I can give you references if you'd like.

Other nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, and zinc do have immunomodulatory roles, and vitamin A is extremely important in the management of certain infections in developing countries (especially measles). But that's a whole other kettle of fish.

Quote:
But I do believe that most diseases, etc., can be linked to the condition of the mind. Doctors are even starting realizing this. The mind controls the body.
Please inform us specifically how the mind controls the body. For instance, I'd like to know why it is that people who are brain dead or severely neurologically / mentally impaired still have a functioning immune system, endocrine system, gastrointestinal system, genitourinary system, integumentary system, lymphatic system, and cardiovascular system.
ogden
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Mar, 2008 09:41 am
@Aedes,
I would like to share a personal experience with you. My mother attempted suicide several (3) times over a five year period in the seventies. I didn't understand it then nor do I understand it now, I only know how debilitating manic depression is.

Her early treatment was valium and therapy. Over the following years the drugs got better and those prescribing the drugs got better. The doctors would monitor and tweak the type and amount of drugs so she could function. There wasn't much therapy because it was so expensive but what little she had improved over the years and let her come to terms with her illness in an informed rational way.

Gradually her medication was reduced to almost nothing and she had twenty more years of good life (that I could share with her). She told me that in the early days she never thought she could be happy ever again, and towards the end she would think back to those dark days and smile to think how happy she was now.

So yes there is benefit from these drugs. Not to say that they are perfect or that the drug companies are immune to greed or corruption, but real people have experienced real results. I know!

Care for mental illness has come a long way from its horrific early treatment using asylums and frontal lobotomies, so I give thanks for where we are now and hope to progress further. I think we have an epidemic of mental illness that goes untreated. Look in the prison system and homeless population and you will find many cases of untreated mental illness.
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Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Mar, 2008 11:12 am
@Dustin phil,
Yes -- if there is any huge, glaring problem in American mental health, it's lack of access to care. People who actually get mental health care and get needed therapies do better than people who don't. That should be enough of an answer to the problem raised in this thread.
Michael Addison
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Mar, 2008 05:56 pm
@Aedes,
If you're looking for something to gripe about, Dustin, there's plenty of stuff relating to this topic that may give offense.

The market certainly does concern itself more with the medical matters where there's money to be made. I'm sure a contrast between research dollars spent on erectile dysfunction and malaria would be interesting.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Mar, 2008 07:03 pm
@Michael Addison,
Hey Aedes, today I felt like I was getting a cold, so I took some vitamin C and I'm feeling better.

Were you just saying that it only works for colds and not the flu? You'd think if it boosted the immune system, it would also work for the flu, no?

Here's an article I found today on WebMD:

Vitamin C May Fight Colds After All
Vitamin C Boosts Immune System in as Little as 5 hours, Study Shows

By Emma Hitt, PhD
WebMD Medical News

March 12, 2003 (Denver) -- The popular belief that vitamin C can ward off the common cold may have some validity to it, say researchers who have studied changes in immune cells' response to vitamin C.


According to Susan Ritter, a graduate student at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center , several studies have looked at people taking vitamin C and the number of colds that they develop, but no research has looked at the immune system cells' response to vitamin C.


Presenting at the 60th Anniversary Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) on Tuesday, Ritter and colleagues reported that 12 healthy subjects who took one gram of vitamin C a day for two weeks showed a boosted immune system response during that time.


What's more, when they looked at responses in four of the patients, they found that in two of them, the response to vitamin C took place within five hours. According to Ritter, this might mean that taking a vitamin C tablet at the first sign of a cold could achieve an effect quickly enough to ward off that cold. "You may not have to take it every day," she says.


Ritter and colleagues drew blood from the subjects before and after they had taken one gram of vitamin C a day for two weeks. They isolated the immune system cells from the blood of the subjects and measured the levels of immunity boosting substances called cytokines.


Certain virus-fighting cytokines were increased after two weeks of taking the vitamin; however, when they measured the levels two weeks later, they found that the levels had returned to normal, suggesting that the effect is short-lived.


Ritter pointed out that previous studies of vitamin C have recommended several grams a day of vitamin C, which could potentially be toxic. But in their study, the patients took a much lower amount.


"We did not see any toxic side effects in the subjects," she tells WebMD.
Stephen Tilles, MD, with the Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center in Seattle, called the study "impressive" because it measures what's going on at the level of the cell.


"This study legitimizes some of the popular assumptions about vitamin C and helps validate the effect of vitamin C on the immune system," he tells WebMD.


He says that larger studies are needed to test these findings further. But he said, "this is the equivalent of about five glasses of orange juice a day, so it's way more practical and safer than the many grams per day that had been proposed earlier."


SOURCES: 60th anniversary Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Denver, March 7-12, 2003. Susan Ritter, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston. Stephen Tilles, MD, Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center, Seattle.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Mar, 2008 07:46 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
Hey Aedes, today I felt like I was getting a cold, so I took some vitamin C and I'm feeling better.
I don't mean to be a jerk about this, but honestly you have NO idea if 1) you were actually getting a cold, 2) what kind of virus you had (of the MANY different viruses that cause colds), 3) what it would have been like if you had not taken vitamin C, and 4) if you might actually have gotten better faster without it. Zero idea. Furthermore, you're reporting a subjective diagnosis and a subjective response, and you're already biased towards the result you're reporting. So you'll have to understand that your anecdote is completely meaningless.

There is a reason we do clinical trials that have tens of thousands of patients, in which there are control groups and in which the investigators are blinded to which group was treated.

Quote:
Were you just saying that it only works for colds and not the flu? You'd think if it boosted the immune system, it would also work for the flu, no?
Absolutely not. You may think that this assumption has logical merit, but if you had a better notion of what the phrase "immune system" actually meant you'd realize that it's a nonsensical conclusion.

There is no such thing as "boosting the immune system".

The immune system isn't just one thing.

It is probably the most complex part of the entire human body, there are myriad different cell types and functions, and there are different aspects of it that respond to different viruses. The immune system responds differently to influenza, which is a nonenveloped RNA orthomyxovirus than it does to, for example, adenovirus which is an enveloped double stranded DNA virus that causes very similar illness. And considering the other cold viruses out there (rhinovirus, coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, respiratory syncitial virus, enterovirus, human metapneumovirus, human bocavirus), as well as non-viruses that cause colds (like Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae), you CAN'T generalize about a single immune mechanism that controls all these vastly disparate germs.

Quote:
Here's an article I found today on WebMD...
This study you cite has not actually been published. It was presented at a meeting, but it does not appear in the medical literature. I'll let you know what I think of the study and its applicability to this discussion if it actually gets accepted to a peer-reviewed journal.

But even so, you cannot draw any conclusion about colds based on their reported methodology and outcomes. Measuring cytokine production is clearly not an adequate proxy measure for clinical protection against cold viruses.

REAL trials about cold viruses actually take human volunteers and infect them with a standard inoculum of a cold virus. You would need to demonstrate that the subjects did not have measurable IgG, IgA, IgM, or cytotoxic T-cell responses against the virus in question (so that their clinical response would not be modified by pre-existing immunity), you would need to demonstrate that they were functionally immunocompetent (i.e. normal responses to vaccine antigens), and you would need to demonstrate that they were not deficient in vitamin C. And then you would give them all the same inoculum of the same virus, give half vitamin C and half a placebo.

You primary outcome measure would be OBJECTIVE things, like duration of fever, duration of nasal congestion, etc. A secondary outcome would be serum cytokine levels. A tertiary outcome would be subjective symptoms.

Oh, by the way, do not forget that many symptoms of infections are actually produced by the body's inflammatory response to the infection and not by the infectious organism itself. That's why we actually need to give adjunctive immunosuppressants (steroids) for some life-threatening infections like bacterial meningitis and pneumocystis pneumonia (along with antibiotics).

The point is that a higher cytokine level may actually result in a worse clinical outcome.

Finally, the thing about science is that there is always more to learn. A high quality trial MAY come along that believably demonstrates that vitamin C is beneficial and not harmful. As of yet such a trial does not exist. And the trials that DO exist are contradicted by other trials, such that a benefit to vitamin C cannot be concluded based on the existing evidence (and there is a LOT of research into this).

This was all pooled together by the Cochrane Database, which takes big topics and reviews the medical evidence. I have full text access through the medical school library. Here is the abstract and summary of the article, which looked at multiple placebo-controlled trials involving something like 11,000 patients. The only group in which vitamin C was beneficial were people exposed to extreme physical stress, but these people may be physiologically and nutritionally different from the normal population, so a result like that cannot be generalized.

Quote:
Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common coldCochrane Database of Systematic ReviewsDOICochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD000980. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub3.
Abstract

Background
The role of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the prevention and treatment of the common cold has been a subject of controversy for 60 years, but is widely sold and used as both a preventive and therapeutic agent.

Objectives
To discover whether oral doses of 0.2 g or more daily of vitamin C reduces the incidence, duration or severity of the common cold when used either as continuous prophylaxis or after the onset of symptoms.

Search strategy
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library Issue 4, 2006); MEDLINE (1966 to December 2006); and EMBASE (1990 to December 2006).

Selection criteria
Papers were excluded if a dose less than 0.2 g per day of vitamin C was used, or if there was no placebo comparison.

Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed trial quality. 'Incidence' of colds during prophylaxis was assessed as the proportion of participants experiencing one or more colds during the study period. 'Duration' was the mean days of illness of cold episodes.

Main results
Thirty trial comparisons involving 11,350 study participants contributed to the meta-analysis on the relative risk (RR) of developing a cold whilst taking prophylactic vitamin C. The pooled RR was 0.96 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.92 to 1.00). A subgroup of six trials involving a total of 642 marathon runners, skiers, and soldiers on sub-arctic exercises reported a pooled RR of 0.50 (95% CI 0.38 to 0.66).

Thirty comparisons involving 9676 respiratory episodes contributed to a meta-analysis on common cold duration during prophylaxis. A consistent benefit was observed, representing a reduction in cold duration of 8% (95% CI 3% to 13%) for adults and 13.6% (95% CI 5% to 22%) for children.

Seven trial comparisons involving 3294 respiratory episodes contributed to the meta-analysis of cold duration during therapy with vitamin C initiated after the onset of symptoms. No significant differences from placebo were seen. Four trial comparisons involving 2753 respiratory episodes contributed to the meta-analysis of cold severity during therapy and no significant differences from placebo were seen.

Authors' conclusions
The failure of vitamin C supplementation to reduce the incidence of colds in the normal population indicates that routine mega-dose prophylaxis is not rationally justified for community use. But evidence suggests that it could be justified in people exposed to brief periods of severe physical exercise or cold environments.


Plain language summary
Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold

The term 'the common cold' does not denote a precisely defined disease, yet the characteristics of this illness are familiar to most people. It is a major cause of visits to a doctor in Western countries and of absenteeism from work and school. It is usually caused by respiratory viruses for which antibiotics are useless. Other potential treatment options are of substantial public health interest.

Since vitamin C was isolated in the 1930s it has been proposed for respiratory infections, and became particularly popular in the 1970s for the common cold when (Nobel Prize winner) Linus Pauling drew conclusions from earlier placebo-controlled trials of large dose vitamin C on the incidence of colds. New trials were undertaken.

This review is restricted to placebo-controlled trials testing at least 0.2 g per day of vitamin C. Thirty trials involving 11,350 participants suggest that regular ingestion of vitamin C has no effect on common cold incidence in the ordinary population. It reduced the duration and severity of common cold symptoms slightly, although the magnitude of the effect was so small its clinical usefulness is doubtful. Nevertheless, in six trials with participants exposed to short periods of extreme physical or cold stress or both (including marathon runners and skiers) vitamin C reduced the common cold risk by half.

Trials of high doses of vitamin C administered therapeutically (starting after the onset of symptoms), showed no consistent effect on either duration or severity of symptoms. However, there were only a few therapeutic trials and their quality was variable. One large trial reported equivocal benefit from an 8 g therapeutic dose at the onset of symptoms, and two trials using five-day supplementation reported benefit. More therapeutic trials are necessary to settle the question, especially in children who have not entered these trials.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Mar, 2008 08:26 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes, I wasn't trying to offend or discredit you. I only know what has worked for me, and when you say that I have no idea, I believe you're mistaken.

I have tested it on myself, while waiting for different periods and seeing what effect it has, or if I would have gotten better quickly on my own. It definitely works per my experience. Have you ever tried it?

P.S. I actually think garlic works much better, it just smells kind of bad. However, there's a company that produced a stabilized form of the effective ingredient in garlic, and it doesn't smell. I've tried it and it works really well. It's called Allimax. Some people have successfully used it to completely rid MRSA when antibiotics weren't working.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Mar, 2008 09:12 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin, I'm not interested in taking this too much farther, but I'll leave it with this. We do NOT generate knowledge in medicine because "it worked for that guy" except when there is no other source of knowledge. Individual anecdotes are MEANINGLESS in the face of quality evidence, and for something like that there IS quality evidence. What you consider to be tests on yourself are not actually tests. They may be enough to convince you, but that's not a standard that's going to alter anyone's medical practice or even their medical understanding. What's your anecdote worth in the face of 30 clinical trials with 11,000 patients? Would you have had the same effect if you unknowingly took a placebo?

Why would I try it on myself when a) you're recommending what the FDA and toxicologists regard as a potentially toxic dose, and b) the common cold is brief, mild, and self-limiting anyway? Even if there is a statistically significant improvement, is it worth exposing myself to toxicity when that improvement might be a matter of hours for what are only mild symptoms anyway?

Finally, I am going to sign off of this discussion at this point. I'm a board certified infectious disease specialist (actually I hold three medical board certifications), I spent the last three years as a postdoctoral clinical fellow in infectious diseases at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, and my mentors included some of the world's most renowned virologists and bacteriologists. I have treated THOUSANDS of patients with MRSA in my career, probably 20 in the last month alone, and I know my specialty extremely well, so don't get me started on that one.

If you want to have a respectful discussion in which anecdotes and ideas are interpreted in light of the standard of care and evidence in medicine, then I'm all for that. But if you're going to take this tact of INSISTING that your folk remedies and personal anecdotes are sufficient justification for physicians to alter their care and for the laypeople on this site to go treat themselves differently, then I am not going to be party to it.

Why not?

Because I'm going to let you hang by yourself in the medicolegal nightmare you've put yourself in by doing so. Because I don't want to be part of it when someone reads your words, treats themselves, and has an adverse outcome as a result. And believe me, you CAN be successfully sued even as a layperson for medical advice you give anonymously on the internet -- so you'd best be SURE that your personal experiences are harmless and generalizable to everyone who might be reading this before you assume medical responsibility for them.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Mar, 2008 09:23 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes, if you can find one instance where I've recommended that people try what I've tried, then please point it out. I haven't done any such thing, so please don't assume to change what I've said.

I do however understand your perspective in keeping yourself out of trouble. And for the record, anyone reading this, please DO NOT try anything I've mentioned! How about that? However, I would recommend that people do research on alternative medicine.

I've enjoyed our discussions on this forum and appreciate your input.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Mar, 2008 09:51 pm
@Dustin phil,
You don't have to make specific personal recommendations to be sued for it. If you present it as unqualified fact without any individualization or any acknowledgement of its limitations (i.e. that it's a personal anecdote that might not be generalizable to anyone else, and that you're not trained in medicine and you have not reviewed the contradictory evidence), then you CAN be held responsible for simple misunderstandings that result in harm.

I've enjoyed our discussions as well. But unlike philosophy, which is just a hobby of mine, here you're going head to head with me in an arena in which I have professional expertise and a lot of experience -- and there are REAL consequences of being wrong in medicine, so quality of evidence is something we CONSTANTLY need to evaluate. Even expert opinion is regarded as the weakest type of medical evidence in the face of controlled trials.

Oh, regarding MRSA and garlic, there is no evidence of any kind that taking garlic or garlic extract by mouth can treat MRSA infections or reduce MRSA colonization in humans, and there is only preliminary research in animals. There are investigational compounds called diallyl sulphides (the best known is called allicin) that are found in garlic, and in their chemically pure form are inhibitory to MRSA in culture. The only clinical trial has been in immunocompromised mice.

The strains of MRSA in the community are becoming very common, and it is a VERY serious thing. There are lots of options for treatment of MRSA with effective drugs, and there are options for MRSA decontamination as well (though it's not really permanent). I don't see a role for garlic or garlic extract for this purpose, because the serum levels of the active compounds are going to be negligible compared to the extracts that are being studied. I'd be happy to recommend it if we learn that its effectiveness can be demonstrated by a trial. Otherwise I'll wait to see if one of the investigational garlic compounds ends up purified and becomes a novel antibiotic that is safe and effective. But then it's not garlic any more so than penicillin is bread mold or any more so than aspirin is a leaf from a willow tree.

This abstract is the BEST of only 5 articles in the medical literature about garlic and MRSA. As you can see it's a bit removed from any clinical importance quite yet. It's a study from Taiwan that was published about 10 months ago in the Journal of Medical Microbiology:

Quote:
Two diallyl sulphides derived from garlic inhibit methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in diabetic mice.

The inhibitory effect of diallyl sulphide (DAS) and diallyl disulphide (DADS) against meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in diabetic mice was studied. The influence of these agents on the plasma levels of fibronectin, C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, interleukin (IL)-6 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and on the activity of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), antithrombin III (AT-III) and protein C, in MRSA-infected diabetic mice was examined. To induce diabetes, mice were treated intraperitoneally with streptozotocin for 5 consecutive days. Ten clinical MRSA isolates obtained from infected patients were used in this study. Diabetic mice were infected by injecting 200 microl MRSA/PBS suspension containing 10(7) c.f.u. via the tail vein. At day 4 post-infection, 200 microl DAS or DADS was administrated twice orally with an interval of 12 h. Eight hours after each administration, the blood and organs of mice were collected. Results showed that DAS and DADS significantly decreased MRSA viability in the kidney (P<0.05), with administration of each agent twice showing a greater inhibitory effect than when given once (P<0.05). MRSA infection in diabetic mice significantly elevated the plasma levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha (P<0.05). DAS or DADS given once did not affect the plasma levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha (P>0.05); however, DAS or DADS given twice significantly decreased the plasma levels of both IL-6 and TNF-alpha (P<0.05). DAS and DADS treatments also significantly reduced the plasma levels of CRP, fibronectin and fibrinogen (P<0.05). DAS or DADS treatment did not affect PAI-1 activity (P>0.05), but DAS or DADS given twice significantly increased AT-III activity (P<0.05). DADS given twice elevated protein C activity (P<0.05). MRSA infection significantly increased malondialdehyde levels in the kidney and spleen (P<0.05), and these levels were significantly decreased by treatment with DAS or DADS (P<0.05). These data suggest that DAS and DADS could provide multiple protective functions against MRSA infection in diabetic mice.
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