March 24, 2008

monday quiz:

for the last quiz, i wrote about getting unexpected advice from a grocery store cashier. if you're chronic like me, you've probably gotten health tips in many unlikely places: on the bus, in the dog park, on a plane, on an elevator. they're everywhere! today's quiz is brought to us by a chronic holiday reader who got some interesting advice from her dentist.
according to a dentist, how can you improve your sleep?
count green cows and not white sheep
align your bed along important ley lines
drink hot water with 2 teaspoons of honey before bed
ask jesus for deeper sleep
Free polls from
four out of five dentists agree that when you can't help your patient with her jaw pain you should focus on something else.

green cows look like the popular choice so far. what do you think? vote and then find the answer in the comment section below.

March 12, 2008

nothing like milk?

a new ad series in mexico vividly exclaims: "children who don't drink milk are more fragile!"

holy crap! if you care about your child, you'd better run to the store and get many, many litres of milk! i know the ad is an exaggeration (and it's pretty funny to watch), but is the message really true? is there really "nada como la leche"?

approximately 2/3 of the world's population doesn't drink milk and guess what? they are not crumbling into dusty heaps of broken, weak bones. in fact, osteoporosis isn't as big a problem in asia as it is in north america and they don't even have milk on their recommended daily food guide. gasp! according to the harvard school of public health's info page on calcium and milk:

"For individuals who are unable to digest - or who dislike - dairy products and for those who simply prefer not to consume large amounts of such foods, other options are available. Calcium can also be found in dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale and collard greens, and in dried beans and legumes."

nothing like collards? there's no money in that! the diary industry has decided that mexicans aren't drinking "enough" milk, so the push is on. there's at least one problem with this (from the harvard site):

"Many people have some degree of lactose intolerance. For them, eating or drinking dairy products causes problems like cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Certain groups are much more likely to have lactose intolerance. For example, 90 percent of Asians, 70 percent of blacks and Native Americans, and 50 percent of Hispanics are lactose-intolerant, compared to only about 15 percent of people of Northern European descent."

maybe your children will blow up and explode into pieces after drinking a lot of milk:

okay, by now you know what's going to happen, but it's still gasp and laugh inducing:

i'll give the last word to walter willett, chair of the department of nutrition, at a workshop on milk, hormones, and human health at the harvard club of boston:

"We know that calcium is an essential nutrient, and we have to get it someplace. But it doesn't have to be dairy. We know that kids do grow up in other parts of the world without consuming dairy products, and they have healthy bones.''

i'm just sayin'.

March 9, 2008

monday quiz: corner store edition

sometimes, potential cures come at you from left field. you might have thought that you were just going to nip into the store to get a few groceries, but little did you know that the cashier would dispense a pearl of healing wisdom along with your change. so, that's one bunch of kale, a litre of milk, a bag of brown rice, a box of green tea and a cure for arthritis. will that be everything for you today?

according to cashier number 16, what will cure arthritis?
releasing childhood issues
getting rolfed every week
gold injections
Free polls from

paper or plastic? botox or gold? the answer is in the comments section.

March 4, 2008

monday, monday...

jeesh, it's tuesday already and there's no monday poll. i'm going to start doing the monday poll every other week so i'll be sure to get it posted on time.

when pressured for a deadline, my mom would say, "i'll do it the second tuesday of next week!"

good one, eh? feel free to use it. by the time people figure it out, you'll be long gone.

March 1, 2008

hold on to your hat

in the u.s. alone, drug companies spend about $5 billion on drug ads aimed at consumers. like the snake-oil barkers of old, drug companies are weaving tales and drawing in customers. if you take a moment to really think about what they're selling or if you listen to the long list of side-effects that are spoken rapidly and in a hushed tone near the end of the ad, you might start to question the line they're selling. but people are being swayed and millions of dollars are being spent on drugs that are heavily advertised.

i don't know how effective government investigations are, but a u.s. congressional committee is investigating ads for lipitor (and others). lipitor is the best-selling drug in america. the ad for this anti-cholesterol drug features artificial heart "inventor" dr.robert jarvik. not only does jarvik not have a license to practice medicine, he isn't even a cardiologist. the ad even includes the use of a stunt double to show dr. jarvik sculling across a lake! jarvik is not a rower. oh, and he didn't actually invent the artificial heart. because of government scrutiny of the jarvik ads, pfizer has just announced it will drop the multi-million dollar campaign saying they didn't mean to mislead the public. yeah, right. they'll think of something new and exciting soon enough.

i don't know that anything will keep big pharma honest, what with their billions of dollars, their lobbyists and their bribing of doctors. we just have to keep questioning and not fall under their spell.

it wouldn't be a chronic holiday post if we couldn't laugh at this, right? to wit, i give you the crew at saturday night live, who recently did a spoof of a tv ad for birth control. the fake ad uses similar pill packaging, actors and scenarios depicted in the real ad for the pill "seasonale."