Grab Bag Medical Microscope:
Science-Based Medicine is a site that prides itself in a scientific approach to assessing (and debunking) medical claims, advice, associations and reports. Its stated mission is:
dedicated to evaluating medical treatments and products of interest to the public in a scientific light, and promoting the highest standards and traditions of science in health care. Online information about alternative medicine is overwhelmingly credulous and uncritical, and even mainstream media and some medical schools have bought into the hype and failed to ask the hard questions.
We provide a much needed “alternative” perspective — the scientific perspective.
Good science is the best and only way to determine which treatments and products are truly safe and effective. That idea is already formalized in a movement known as evidence-based medicine (EBM). EBM is a vital and positive influence on the practice of medicine, but it has limitations and problems in practice: it often overemphasizes the value of evidence from clinical trials alone, with some unintended consequences, such as taxpayer dollars spent on “more research” of questionable value. The idea of SBM is not to compete with EBM, but a call to enhance it with a broader view: to answer the question “what works?” we must give more importance to our cumulative scientific knowledge from all relevant disciplines.
SBM’s authors are all medically trained and have spent years writing for the public about science and medicine, tirelessly advocating for high scientific standards in health care.
I must say up front, on early reading, that this site appears to be entirely dismissive of most (or maybe all) alternative therapies, any anecdotal evidence, and pretty much anything that hasn’t been scoped, cut or drugged under a highly selective set of criteria – a position with which I disagree, as it invalidates the individual in favor of crunching scientific data EVERY TIME. But they are there to serve this specific criteria, and to help maintain a focus designed for a very narrow depth of field.
I’m not sure it helps their cause that they often write in a highly sarcastic style in doing so.
The site also slams Dr. Oz for promoting “quackery“, decrying the media-darling’s propensity for offering alternative health options. While I agree that many useless and ineffective alternative “remedies” have been successfully marketed to millions, it again seems like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
My take: The time to try alternative, “scientifically unproven” methods is when:
A) a failure would not be catastrophic to your health
B) all other options you are willing to consider have failed
On the flip side, I think this site has a voice that should be heard, and that it should be one of a number of resources consulted when exploring medical issues. For example, there is a good piece on examining the current popularity of “gluten-free” diets, opining that the candida problem of years ago has morphed into the gluten sensitivities now “diagnosed” in hoards today.
So…. WTF (no….. silly…..What Therapy First)? Between last week’s post on questioning the possible bias in reviewing medical studies at The Cochrane Review, and this week’s offering of Science-Based Medicine and it’s seemingly narrow window of acceptability, where are we to go with this?
It’s really not that much different from the current political race. Each side extolls their own views and criticizes the others. I just don’t think we’ll ever get a lot of distance from that.
Bottom line… both sides are attempting to provide information and advice for the majority who are interested.
Read. Take what seems right. Leave the rest. Keep searching.
In the process of researching this post I have run across what appears to be a well-rated book on the topic of alternative therapies… I might give this a read when I have the time… click to read the reviews on Amazon:
Grab Bag Trivia:
OK… enough of the heavy stuff… here’s a little cocktail conversation tidbit:
Grab Bag Hipster:
Copied from RealAge.com (run by none other than Dr. Oz, that monger of medical alternatives… and I love him for it!), this article on hip/joint pain also links to an interesting quiz you can take to assess how your joints stack up for your age:
A sore hip makes everything more difficult — from sleeping to walking up stairs. But you could keep those hips of yours feeling fine if you’re a lover of garlic and onions.
About 15 percent of older adults regularly deal with hip pain. But in a recent study of women, those who tended to eat lots of produce — particularly herbs from the allium family, such as onions and garlic — showed fewer signs of hip osteoarthritis in x-ray tests.
The study analyzed the diets of a large group of middle-aged adult twins, most of whom did not have symptoms of arthritis when the study started. Eating lots of allium herbs correlated with less arthritis in the hip. And in a separate lab analysis, researchers also found that diallyl disulphide — a substance found in the allium family — appeared to help inhibit enzymes that can cause damage to joint-protective cartilage. (Store your onions this way to increase their cancer-fighting powers.)
Culinary Cartilage Protection
Garlic and onions are probably the widest known allium produce. But there are also leeks, shallots, scallions, and chives to consider. Each adds its own unique flavor to savory dishes. Try topping baked potatoes with chives, slip some roasted garlic on top of that pizza, put some onions on your sandwiches, and give vegetable dishes extra herb flare with roasted leeks and shallots. (Find out what other foods help keep joints healthy.)
Grab Bag Better Than Average Joes:
I couldn’t find a 2011 list, but many of the products from this 2010 list of Top Products at Trader Joe’s are still available. I’ld love to hear from readers… are YOUR favorites here? Let’s hear what they are.
1. Frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken (a list topper year after year)
2. Triple Ginger Snap Cookies
4. Frozen Gyoza
5. Frozen Croissants (Chocolate & Mini)
6. 19 ¢ Bananas
7. Charles Shaw Wines
8. Greek Yogurt
9. Whole Wheat/Multigrain English Muffins
10. Frozen Roasted Chicken Burgers
11. Chocolate Covered Almonds
12. Candy Cane Joe Joe’s*
13. Vanilla Joe Joe’s
14. All Natural Brined Turkeys*
15. Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix*
16. Olive Oils
17. Sourdough Bread
18. Pumpkin Butter*
19. Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk*
20. Almond Butter with Flax
21. 21 Seasoning Salute
22. Uncured Turkey Bacon
23. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread*
24. Cranberry Orange Relish*
25. Frozen Pumpkin Ice Cream*
26. Frozen Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese
27. Sour Morello Cherries
28. Peanut Butter Pretzels
29. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
30. Frozen Pumpkin Soufflés*
31. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels*
32. Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup
33. Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
34. Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal
35. Spiced Apple Cider*
36. Pita Bite Crackers
37. Organic Olive Oil Popcorn
38. Frozen Mahi Mahi
39. Lemon Curd
40. Lavender Dryer Bag
41. Goat Cheese with Honey
42. Dried Pitted Tart Montmorency Cherries
43. Garden Patch Vegetable Juice
44. Instant Spiced Chai
46. Frozen Seeded Rolls
47. Frozen Chicken Tikka Masala
48. Blue Granite Jack Cheese Slices
49. The Trader Joe’s Crew not for sale—priceless.
50. Sparkling Water
51. Frozen Vegetable Masala Burgers
* seasonal products
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Are you left or right brained? Click here to find out:
Grab Bag Funny Stuff:
Perspective is important….