"Scientists Clone Human!"
"Orange Juice Cures Hammer Toes!"
"Eating Bologna Helps Vision!"
"Sleep Cures Baldness!"
NO, NO, NO! These are NOT real news headlines. But they are how some headlines and what's behind them can be perceived: as a magic bullet. So the question begs to be asked: Can all medical research be trusted? OF COURSE NOT! There are great men and women advancing science everyday, but not all research is foolproof. In fact, many things can cause research to run afoul, including utilizing a small number of subjects, partial proof of efficiency, or false misrepresentation of data by scientists or commercial companies. So, what should we believe?
In a very interesting Wall Street Journal article written this week, it appears that the editors of the British Medical Journal, after a careful (and a long 12-year) investigation, found that they had reasonable grounds to doubt the scientific validity of a 1992 scientific paper published in the BMJ. This study, which had been quoted in numerous articles, found that heart attack victims who ate more fiber, fruits and vegetables for a year cut their risk of death during that period by almost half. A similar story, recently circulating in other newspapers, talked about a South Korean scientist who had created stem cell lines matched to 11 specific people, using clone human cells. The "findings" were found untrue, forcing the lead scientist to resign in disgrace.
Everyday it seems we read about some fantastic breakthrough only to find out that it just was not so!
A few observations: First, the scientific community needs to continue to investigate their quality controls mechanisms and quicker and faster actions need to be implemented.
Second, slow down! Sometimes I have patients quoting scientific studies before my colleagues and I have had a chance to review them. (Thank you Internet!)
Third, focus on scientific trends. In order to achieve the best clinical information, one must see what the consensus is of the majority of health experts. Does this work? You could look into the advances in AIDS treatment, breast cancer, heart disease, just to name a few.
Don't look for simple answers, because after all, we humans are complex creatures. And remember: DO NOT do any of the stuff you read about at home — consult your physician first.
Now where did I put my granola bar and vitamins?
Don't forget to watch FOX News Channel. And, please feel free to write to me at DrManny@foxnews.com and tell me what you think. Ask a question, share a thought, share a remedy. We'll try to answer all of your mail online or on the air.
Now, to some viewer e-mail:
"I've been watching you on FOX News and I was wondering if you are related to Barry Alvarez, coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. If so, good luck on January 2nd! Also, you rock!” — Kevin
ANSWER: Kevin, thank you for your kind and enthusiastic words. No, I am not related to Barry Alvarez, but I wouldn't mind the family connection.
“As a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 18+ years (by the grace of God only), I would like to add just one thing that I have found to be a major culprit of hangovers: the astronomical sugar content in alcohol.
I have a few tips for hangovers, as I was a devotee of "the hair of the dog" which of course started the whole cycle over again. One thing I did do was to eat as much bread or crackers as I could. For some reason it helped. Carbs on the back end too possibly. I listened intently to you the other day, and as always, wish more would/could really hear and heed these words and warnings. I would not wish alcoholism or alcohol abuse on my worst enemy.” — Anonymous
"I was in the U.S.A.F. for 10 years, and when I had a hangover I would go into the cockpit, switch the oxygen tanks to 100% emergency. I would take about three to five deep breaths and the hangover was gone. A few minutes later, I would have to repeat this with two to four deep breathes. This, along with a lot of water and/or Gatorade, would have the hangover gone in less than 15 minutes. Ask almost anyone that works on aircraft about this, they will confirm, if they party often." — James (Pittsburgh, PA)
"In response to your request for ideas, here's one that I have perfected! After a night of heavy drinking, the best way to feel sober again, is to follow the following steps. (Before brushing your teeth)
(1) Drink a full cup of warm instant coffee with half-n-half and a sugar substitute.
(2) Then brush your teeth vigorously especially the back molars, then press down on the back of the tongue.
(3) This will induce vomiting which basically should be followed with a hot shower and later with a cold glass of water with a couple of Alka-Seltzers thrown in !
(4) A dozen push-ups will accelerate the sobriety" — Fabian (Oak Ridge, TN)
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.