Category: Second Column

‘Entourage Effect’ debated in Scientific American

On April 20 Scientific American ran a piece by Angus Chen asking, “Is Marijuana’s ‘Entourage Effect’ Scientifically Valid?” “Industry players” Mowgli Holmes of Phylos Bioscience and Ethan Russo of Phytecs say yes, but “most scientists” like Margaret Haney of Columbia University and Barth Wilsey of UC San Diego say evidence is lacking. Haney, an Addiction Specialist, claims that the anecdotal evidence is  slanted: “The large majority of what’s being said is driven by anecdotal marketing. These guys are really trying to make money.”  Meg Haney’s only goal is to help suffering humanity. The Columbia University Department of Psychiatry lists...

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A Warning to Epilepsy Patients

Benedict Carey is a longtime shill for the drug companies and medical device manufacturers. His story hedded “‘Pacemaker’ for Brain May be Aid to Memory,” based on a very small study involving people with epilepsy, was played very big in the New York Times April 21. Carey is touting implanted devices that can supposedly “deliver pulses only in the very microseconds when they’re helpful” and thus improve memory formation and retention. Epilepsy patients at UCSF, Emory University, the University of Washington and the Mayo Clinic (n = 150) were the test subjects in a just-published study. The bigger market for these “sensitive, timed implants” are dementia patients....

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Good Physician Seeks to Practice Medicine

It has been almost five years since Joanne Benzor, MD, was allowed to practice medicine in California. On April 27 the Medical Board of California will consider restoring her license.  “Good Physician Barred From Practicing Medicine” is the account of Dr. Benzor’s downfall, published in  O’Shaughnessy’s (Winter/Spring 2013).  We fully support the med board’s mission of protecting the public from quacks, profiteers and predators. The ongoing punishment of Dr. Benzor in no way advances that mission. —Fred Gardner By Joanne Benzor, MD It’s been tough at times, juggling medicine and motherhood. I never wanted children until I hit 30. Then...

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When JAMA Discovered the Endocannabinoid System

The very first description of the endocannibinoid system in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, can be found in a two-page advertisement in the September 21, 2005 issue. Sanofi-Aventis was preparing to market Rimonabant —a drug that blocks the CB1 receptor— as a treatment for Metabolic Syndrome. Both the disease and the treatment had to be defined for JAMA’s readers (physicians who had learned about neither in medical school). What does it say about JAMA, the AMA, and the biomedical establishment, that it took 15 years for them to acknowledge —by way of an advertisement!—the existence of this major...

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Perry Solomon, MD: Hello, Wall St. Journal

A letter from Perry Solomon, MD, was one of four that ran in the Wall St. Journal’s print edition April 2 in response to an essay about opioids being overprescribed.  All four letters made good points. Solomon alone achieved product placement (for Hello MD), and it was a line from his letter that the editor chose in the headline for the quartet. Thoughts on Our Growing Opioid Problem Dr. Marc Siegel fails to mention any alternative to opioids that a physician can use for treatment of their patients chronic pain. • Dr. Marc Siegel should spend less time at...

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