Archive for the 'Health Care' Category

Twitter is a Dangerous Place for Scammy Diet Gurus

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I had never heard of Gillian McKeith until this morning. She is a Scottish TV star - here is a quote from her own website:

Gillian McKeith is the internationally acclaimed Holistic Nutritionist and presenter of You Are What You Eat hit Channel 4 series that took the nation by storm

She is a little bit extra famous, at least for today, because she had a weird hissy fit on Twitter.

There is no evidence of the debacle on her twitter account except for an easily refutable tweet implicitly denying that it is her twitter account. There is, of course, ample screen caps and links to cached pages.

Here is what happened in chronological order:

As an aside to the drama, the school that granted Gillian a “PhD” is now closed and is the subject of a page on Quackwatch.

Check out the Guardian for more…

I Want a New Drug

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

When Huey Lewis released that catchy song back in 1984, people didn’t take him seriously. I think it’s time to take a long hard look at the idea. The United States Government professes to be in the middle of a War on Drugs. The enemies in this war are drugs that cause citizens to act in ways that have a negative impact on society and, by extension, the government.

Some drugs are considered allies. Caffeine is a drug and I can only imagine that it gets to sit in on strategy sessions at the White House. I have a favorite anecdote that involves the King of England shutting down coffee houses for a while back in the 1700s. The stimulating effect of this drug was making people think a lot and they were meeting in the places where it was prepared and discussing a lot of ideas that ran counter to the interests of the King. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think people gather together in crack houses to share revolutionary ideas.

Caffeine catalyzed the industrial revolution. I feel like we need some other kind of revolution at this point and maybe part of the process could be help with a new drug of choice for society. I don’t know what it should do and I don’t know how it would do it. It just seems to me that the people who ruin themselves and their surroundings because of a drug are using the wrong one.

Are About.com ‘Experts’ Liable?

Friday, February 6th, 2009

This makes my head spin, and itch. An About.com expert recently advised people to consider using veterinary products to treat head lice. At least one commentator begged the author to take the post down.

The author has been a chemistry expert since 2001. This kind of bad advice makes me question the reliability of About.com and it has me wondering whether the site itself would be liable if some harm resulted from people following bad advice. The site has a medical review board that reviews any advice that is categorized as medical. The bad advice coming from a chemistry expert is very much medical in nature but is apparently not in the purview of this board.

EDIT: Here is the meaty part of the user agreement on About.com, I guess they are pretty much off the hook…

THE SERVICE AND THE SITES ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” BASIS WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF TITLE OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OTHER THAN THOSE WARRANTIES WHICH ARE IMPOSED BY AND INCAPABLE OF EXCLUSION, RESTRICTION OR MODIFICATION UNDER THE LAWS APPLICABLE TO THIS AGREEMENT. NEITHER ABOUT.COM NOR ITS AFFILIATES ENDORSE OR ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY OPINION, ADVICE OR STATEMENT ON THE SERVICE OR THE SITES.

UPDATE: I emailed a few people about this issue on the day that I found out about it. Once my concern came to the attention of some doctors on the medical review board it was dealt with quickly. The article is gone.