BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: medicine (Page 2 of 2)

Doing Nothing is Still Doing Something

If you’re like me, you hate taking medication: it’s at times completely unnecessary, and who wants the hassle of having to remember actually take the meds?  Well, I have good news for us “lazy” ones: at times when we’re sick doing nothing is actually the best medication!

Have you ever noticed that whenever we have a problem, we tend to think that it can be fixed with some type of medication? Headache? Tylenol or Advil.  Tummy hurts?  A lovely dose of the horrendously pink Pepto should do.  Sore throat? Oh it must be the early symptoms of strep throat–here’s some antibiotics.  Let’s just forget about all medications that exist today–it’d be like how cavemen lived.  They had no medications, no drugs, simply their bodies which kept them alive and healthy for most of the time.  We need to give our bodies more credit–after all, they are made to maintain homeostasis.

According to an article written my Dr. Danielle Ofri, a professor of medicine at NYU, sometimes not taking any medication to alleviate a “medical condition” is actually the best medication for our bodies.  Doctors have the tendency to prescribe medication when they find that something is “wrong” with a patient, and patients likewise want something done when something is “wrong.”  Like everything else in the world, every action a doctor makes has a reaction.  Most frequently, this reaction that occurs from the physician prescribing an additional medication is a reaction within the body of the patient.  Often, especially in elders, there are multiple doctors to one patient, as a result, prescribe multiple prescriptions which sometimes causes detrimental affects to the health of the patient because the medications react with each other and create further problems for the patient, which leads to the prescribing of even more medications.

So, rather than acting immediately, let’s just stop and think for a moment…is it perhaps better to just chill and see what happens? Uh, yeah.  There are some doctors (the super smart ones) who practice this “doing nothing,” and believe “If the patient is doing fine right now, why rock the boat?”  This method is called clinical inertia, which is generally looked down upon, but why?  Dr. Ofri wrote “doctors who tend toward inertia might actually benefit their patients by protecting them from overzealous medical intervention.”  In an article from the American Medical Association, which focused on diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension, it was found that in these three diseases, it is perceived that “lower” is better, but it was found that lower levels in sugar or pressure are associated with higher death rates.

So…what’s the lesson?  Of course not all patients are the same, but when it comes to “fixing” a “problem,” your doctor should understand that there is room to stop and think for a second.  We’re all like balances, and little illnesses act as stones put on one side of the scale creating a bit of an imbalance, and rather than balancing the scale out with medication, we should sometimes allow our bodies to do their thing and balance it out themselves.

Photo taken by Gianluca Neri

 

 

The Danger and Abundance of Counterfeit Medications

When a person makes the decision to buy medicine online, he needs to be aware of whether or not the website is Legitimate. With a large quantity of Americans buying their drugs on the internet, “estimated worldwide sales of counterfeit medicines topped $75 billion last year, up 90 percent since 2005.”  These illegal pharmacies not only take away income that would go to genuine pharmacies, but the ones that sell fake drugs (which are plenty of them), can also be putting you in real danger.

Toxins or any kinds of substances could be inside these drugs. They are not being made by people with careers in medicine, they are being made by criminals. Most of these drugs do not even contain the medicine they are labeled for, and, needless to say, the conditions these counterfeit drugs are produced in are unsanitary.  John Clark, Vice President and Chief security officer of Pfizer drug company said, “counterfeit Pfizer drugs – many from disgusting conditions like the primitive courtyard in Lima – have made their way to pharmacies and hospitals in at least 46 different countries, including England, Canada, and the United States.”

Pfitzer, an extremely large drug company with the highest income in the world, is among one of the biggest targets of drug counterfeits. In a more recently updated article, Pfizer said that Fake medicines with its name actually inscribed in the drugs have been sold in “atleast 101 countries” with numerous different types of drugs for different diseases being falsified. Similar to the pocket books sold on the streets of NYC, these drugs look good but are not real.

Even if a price looks more reasonable on the internet, it clearly may not be worth it. Make sure that the site is valid, and that it is FDA approved.Be aware if the site you order from does not require a physician’s prescription for a prescription medication, it is more than likely fake. If there is a drug you take regularly, that looks or tastes different a certain time you buy it, do not let that go unnoticed. It is important to protect yourself  from these predators and stay safe in the face of this devious danger.

The More Chocolate the Better!

Great news for chocolate lovers (of which I am one!)  Keep eating your M&Ms, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate ice cream!  The more you eat, the healthier your heart….can that be right??!

A recent New York Times article reported that people who ate high quantities of chocolate were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease.  The article reported on a review of research studies published in the British Medical Journal that looked for correlation between chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders.  Seven studies were evaluated – 5 out of the 7 found a positive correlation between high levels of chocolate consumption and decreased risk of disorders such as cardiovascular disease and strokes.  

When I posted a link to this article with great excitement a few weeks ago on Facebook, a few of my skeptical “friends” pointed out that none of the studies, as noted in the Times article, “involved randomized, controlled trials.”  A researcher quoted in the Times article was also cautious, indicating that chocolate should only be eaten in moderation.  What do you think?  How important are “randomized, controlled trials”?  Are you likely to dismiss the concerns and eat your Phish Food a pint at a time?

Currently in AP Biology we are studying organic compounds.  Knowing that saturated fats are associated with clogged arteries and poor cardiovascular health, it would be interesting to find out what kinds of fats are in chocolate.  Perhaps it is not the types of lipids, but instead particular chemicals in chocolate that contribute to heart health.    Sounds like something that should be explored by some interested AP Bio students!

Photo by Cleverocity licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike Non-Commercial Generic 2.0

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