Transparency in Medicine

I've long had concerns with conflict of interest in medicine. It was a small factor directing me to chiropractic - this common complaint that medical doctors are in the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies, that they get treated to expensive dinners and luxurious weekend getaways for prioritizing a particular drug, or even prescribing it when not medically necessary.

The great secret is that chiropractors are just as subject to conflict of interest – perhaps to a lesser degree, or at least slightly lower earning potential.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder - Research Paper

This quarter I'm in a pediatrics class. I chose autism spectrum disorder for our written research project. Autism is controversial, especially with respects to the alternative medicine therapies. Many chiropractors, nutritionists, and medical doctors make fantastic claims about what can treat autism. I have been curious to know more about the research behind these claims and was glad to finally have a legitimate excuse to really read the journal articles more deeply. I wrote it pretty quickly (so it isn't as polished as I'd like) and I had to limit it to 4-5 pages even though there are many more topics I wanted to discuss. Here's the final paper in blog form.

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Evidence-based Boulevard

Just like the book of love, the road to evidence-based medicine is long and boring. The following is an excerpt from an article on the use of black cohosh as a botanical treatment for menopause and dysmenorrhea. It illustrates the tedious process of coming to a reliable conclusion on not only whether a drug works, but exactly how much is necessary.

In clinical studies before 1996, the dose was […] equivalent to 48–140 mg of black cohosh extract per day. A recent clinical trial comparing two different dosages of Remifemin® (40 mg vs. 127 mg daily), for six months, in 116 women with menopausal complaints, found similar safety and efficacy profiles for both doses (Liske et al., 2002). Based upon the results of this trial, a recommended dose equivalent to 40 mg of black cohosh (dried root) daily is currently recommended (Liske, 1998).

Treating asthma with coffee

There was an older movie/TV show in which two unexperienced thieves inadvertently kidnapped a young girl. She experienced an asthma attack during the ordeal, and one of the robbers decided to give her a sip of coffee, which calmed her down. I brought this up during my Wilderness First Responder training as we were discussing asthma, and my instructor who is an experienced EMT, was skeptical, suggesting that it would take more coffee than was practical to have an effect. I set out to see whether he was right.

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