There’s the TV adverts for Schiff, the advertorials from Alta Care, the celebrity endorsement by Carol Vorderman (Bioglan). People seem to really want me to buy krill oil pills. Read the rest of this entry »
The vitamins & minerals sector of the food supplements industry was estimated to be worth $827 million in the UK in 2006 (link). The same source states that “The global nutraceuticals industry sales are forecast to touch $187 billion by 2010, owing to increasing sales in the U.S. and the European Union (EU), as also within the emerging markets like China and India.” Read the rest of this entry »
Ritalin improves a child’s academic performance, say scientists. Really? Ritalin is a “smart drug”? Maybe I should get some for my kid? Let’s read on. “Children taking controversial medicine for attention deficit disorder are more successful at school than their non-medicated peers, scientists say.” Excellent – sounds like just the ticket. But hang on – do these medicated children perform better than kids who don’t have ADHD in the first place? Read the rest of this entry »
In fact, I think that the only thing that is consistent about the mainstream media’s reporting of research (particularly research that relates to health) is that it is poor. Supplements are, alternately, life-savers and… deadly cancer-causing killer pills. We all drink too much – but then again red wine is good for us. The articles tend to be misleading, inaccurate or distorted whether they are pro- or anti-vitamins (or red wine and other forms of alcohol, or whatever other example you wish to choose). Read the rest of this entry »
Just a [heavily edited] note on today’s Daily Mail coverage of fish oil pills. The Mail have looked at label claims for magic beans snake oil Omega 3 fish oil and have rated the best products. Read the rest of this entry »
Just a very brief post today on ‘brain pills’. I found this in my daily email from the BBC today. The report states that:
Schools and universities may soon need to test students sitting exams for brain improving drugs, experts say.
So, in the near future society will be policing children’s use of substances that are thought to improve brain function. We will administer urine drug tests for cognitive enhancers and regulation may have to be introduced to stop these treatments and future ones from giving people an unfair advantage in examinations and tests. What a contrast with the Durham fish oil ‘trial’. I’m not trying to make the argument that cognitive enhancers should be allowed. Rather, I am trying to comprehend the distinction between (1) schools and their county council actively pushing fish oil pills on kids and (2) the ‘need’ for regulation due to a possibility that children may use a brain-enhancement drug for exam success. Is there some kind of moral difference between fish oil pills and ritalin or aricept – or is it a matter of health and safety? Is it cheating to take ritalin… but not cheating to take fish oil pills? Are fish oil pills assumed to be completely safe and pharmaceutical drugs assumed to be inherently unsafe? Was there even a risk assessment made by Durham County Council before they pushed these pills?