Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH,) in his recent blog post Are Children Overmedicated? seems to suggest that perhaps more psychiatric medication is in order. Comparing mental illness in children to food allergies, he dismisses the “usual” explanations given for the increase prescribing of medication.
Recently I was interviewed on both radio and TV about a case where a man had a severe reaction to a whooping cough vaccine. This is a dangerous area as virtually all discussions about immunisation generate lots of heat but very little light. The camps are highly polarised.
The case in question involved a previously fit and healthy man who was told that before he could visit his baby in hospital (the baby was eight weeks premature and was in the neonatal ward) that he had to have a booster shot. He initially protested on the basis of being up to date with all his immunisations. However he relented when it was put to him that he could not visit unless he had it.
Within 48 hours he was extremely unwell.
A while back I received a letter from a soft drink maker. It sought to explain how soft drinks could be part of a healthy balanced diet. It also suggested that diet soft drinks were something doctors could mention to patients wanting to lose weight.
As a doctor I get a truckload of letters and they all go pretty much straight into the bin. In addition to lots of junk mail from the pharmaceutical industry, there is a growing trend for all sorts of industry groups and assorted advocates writing to doctors seeking “support”.
From a young age, you’re told how to maintain a steady oral hygiene ritual – brush, rinse, floss – but apart from having pearly whites and keeping bad breath at bay, what’s the point? It’s more than a matter of vanity – slacking off when it comes to oral hygiene gives bacteria (normally kept at bay by toothpaste and floss) a chance to multiply to unhealthy levels, which may lead to oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease. Furthermore, poor oral health affects not just your mouth, but the rest of your body too.
Most countries, and indeed the whole world have their own big sporting events. Be it the World Cup. FA Cup, the Superbowl or the Tour de France or here in Australia the AFL Grand Final. In each of these events there can only be one winner.
It is also often the case that a team or individual that loses one year comes back next time even more determined. And sometimes the reigning champions go down next time. We saw this with Spain’s early exit from the World Cup.
In all the arguments about budgets each year, two questions never get asked. The first is how much of the money we spend on “health” actually benefits people. The second is how much harm is done in the name of “health.” Last week I wrote an opinion piece on this topic for Fairfax News websites.