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April 2015
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June 2015

May 2015

A look at kratom--fear mongering and regulatory zeal to beat the band

This HND piece explores how a beneficial herbal remedy can be the subject of an irrational witch hunt, by media publicity whores and feckless bureaucrats.

Used in southeast Asia for hundreds of years, kratom is effective as a painkiller, and even has shown promising results in addiction treatment. Sadly, some unscrupulous vendors have spiked kratom with other chemicals, and this has caused problems. However, the answer is not to ban the natural herb outright; rather, it is to go after the adulterators.

Read the complete article.

More bad news for psychotropic meds

This HND piece takes another look at the problems with psychotropic drugs, and this time we engage the big gun: Professor Peter C Gøtzsche, director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre—Copenhagen.

Our story covers a debate that pitted Gøtzsche against the Big Pharma shills on the subject..Does long term use of psychiatric drugs cause more harm than good? Gøtzsche's pull quote won the day...

Given their lack of benefit, I estimate we could stop almost all psychotropic drugs without causing harm—by dropping all antidepressants, ADHD drugs, and dementia drugs (as the small effects are probably the result of unblinding bias) and using only a fraction of the antipsychotics and benzodiazepines we currently use. This would lead to healthier and more long lived populations. Because psychotropic drugs are immensely harmful when used long term, they should almost exclusively be used in acute situations and always with a firm plan for tapering off, which can be difficult for many patients.

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Demonizing formaldehyde for fun and profit

This HND piece discusses how an essential chemical can be maligned, for no reason other than to raise funds, or mindlessly increase regulatory power. Sadly, chemophobia is big business.

We start off with Bela Lugosi, who—believe it or not—has a role in this drama, and take it out to the present with EPA trying to gum up rigorous standards, already accepted by industry. Of course, there are a few interesting stops in between.

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Springtime for HIT: Electronic health records in the news

This HND piece, with a title lifted from Mel Brooks, examines the official pushback as most of the healthcare universe despises electronic health records (EHRs). Stepping up to defend EHRs is Dr. Edward Ehlinger, Minnesota's Commissioner of Health, an unabashed—and embarrassingly so—EHR fanboy.

Ehlinger surely believes that they are great, but his editorial defense of EHRs is pretty thin gruel. I take him to task, with a little help from healthcare IT super-guru Scot Silverstein, MD.

Read the complete article.