Alternative Medicine Becoming Mainstream

According to a July study from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, based on interviews with more than 23,300 adults during the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, almost 40% of adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine to treat a variety of conditions.

They spent about $33.9 billion on these practices in 2007, accounting for about 11.2% of the public’s total out-of-pocket health expenditures. In 1997, the last time such a survey was taken, the figure was $27 billion. Read the story by Tammy Worth in the LA Times.

FDA Seeks To Reduce 1.5 Million Annual Adverse Events

About 1.5 million preventable “adverse drug events” occur in the United States every year, according to a 2007 study by the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences. Aside from the toll on health, the errors cost an estimated $4 billion a year, the study found.

Teen Abuse of ADHD Drugs Soars

thumb_adhd_add_cover“They say, ‘It’s FDA approved, how dangerous could it be?'” said Steve Pasierb, head of The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, based in New York.

A new medical study found a 76 percent surge over an eight-year period in the number of calls to the nation’s poison control centers because of youngsters abusing drugs prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to an Associated Press report.

We live in an age where every feeling is a potentially classifiable mental disorder to be mitigated with a bewildering array of 21st century versions of Mother’s Little Helper; where pharmaceutical drugs get approvals without including all the trials that resulted in negative outcomes and where nutritional science is shut out of research journals. It’s no wonder people abuse and die from drugs. Given how comfortable we are with being medicated, I’m amazed that not more do.

We now know that the Vioxx risks were apparent years before it was withdrawn from the market. In research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, scientists analyzed 30 studies, 12 of which were not available to the public when Vioxx was on the market. They have only become available because of lawsuits filed by consumers who said they were harmed by the drug. Yet the same Big Pharma folks who are telling us we can’t have a single payer health system are the same ones who are telling us we need tort reform. The studies involved more than 20,000 people, who showed an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and hypertension among people taking Vioxx.

And since everyone seems to want to be famous by let me see, faking a balloon launch of their child, or get on Dancing With the Stars, it’s not really all that surprising that parents drug kids for academic edge.
Given what we think is at stake, it just seems well, so reasonable, doesn’t it?.

Is this what we’re so afraid of losing if we have health reform? I don’t think so. Yet we’re so easily misdirected into thinking what we have is the only thing possible. Just ask Neo after he took the red pill.

With over 40% of Americans unconvinced and unafraid of swine flu, and so many forced into bankruptcy from medical issues and over 40% of us have no health safety net except our own simple, natural ability to be healthy, I’d say we’re well on our way to finally coming to our senses. And when we do, we’ll inevitably begin asking ourselves and each other ‘Is It Healthy?”

Once do do, we’ll stop giving ourselves the shaft and begin playing a game worth winning.

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