The Wholesale Sedation of America’s Youth
Towards the end of Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods, the Witch sings one of the show’s key themes: “Children may not obey,/But children will listen./Children will look to you/For which way to turn,/To learn what to be.” One of the things today’s children are learning from the adults and culture around them: there’s a pill for every problem, real or imagined. Kids themselves are increasingly the recipients of mood-altering drugs, sedatives, stimulants, anti-psychotropics and such. How did we get into this mess? In this brilliant essay, Andrew M. Weiss shows how changes in psychological practice and philosophy led to the normalization of drug use among our young.
Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption
NY Review of Books
If you’ve read former New England Journal of Medicine editor Marcia Angell’s The Truth About the Drug Companies, you’re not going to find a whole lot is new in this review of three recent similar titles. But if you haven’t, this is definitely worth a read – an excellent summary of the kinds of machinations done by Big Pharma to get as many of us using their products as possible, whether they’re necessary or not. Our two favorite sentences in the whole essay: “It seems that the strategy of the drug marketers – and it has been remarkably successful – is to convince Americans that there are only two kinds of people: those with medical conditions that require drug treatment and those who don’t know it yet. While the strategy originated in the industry, it could not be implemented without the complicity of the medical profession.” (ASIDE: We also highly recommend one of the books Angell reviews here: Christopher Lane’s Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness.)
Are All Calories Created Equal?
The short answer is “no.” While it’s certainly true that “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie,” this is just because a calorie isn’t anything of substance. It’s a unit of measurement, just like meters and liters and degrees celsius are units of measurement. What matters more than amount is the kind of calories, as this brief article shows; where the effect of food on insulin is the thing that does most to determine whether the food we eat becomes present energy or stored fat.
Children at Risk in Food Roulette
Over the past couple of decades, there’s been a steep rise in food allergies, enough so that it’s now the law that food manufacturers must indicate on the label whether a product may contain one or more of the eight foods most likely to trigger an allergic response: milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree huts, fish and shellfish. But it seems that not all companies follow the law as carefully as they should, judging by the findings of this fascinating investigation.
The Web May Be Hazardous to Your Health
The amount of health information on the web is both a blessing and a curse. While users can become more informed about their health and treatment options, the information out there is of varying quality. More, investigating symptoms can somtimes generate a lot of needless worry about serious but extremely rare health problems. This pointed essay by Farhad Manjoo explores some of the shortcomings of online self-diagnosis tools and how they can be made better and more useful.