Saturday, January 08, 2005


Ketchup and Curry

No, this isn't some novel and disgusting culinary fusion I've come up with, but rather two items that could add some extra years to your life.

Thing you should eat with abandon (1): Curry. Specifically, anything with turmeric in it, and that covers a good portion of Indian cuisine. If you're not a fan of ethnic dishes, you should at least buy some turmeric and sprinkle it on your food wantonly. I can assure you that it doesn't have much of a taste, and aside from a yellow coloring, you'll hardly notice its presence. Here's why: Turmeric has been found to drastically reduce and prevent Alzheimer's Disease by blocking the formation of plaques that give rise to the disease. Aside from the UCLA study above, there's also powerful anecdotal evidence: India has one of the lowest rates of alzheimer's disease in the world; only 1% of people over 65 have the disease in India, versus nearly 10% and climbing in the US. Being something of an overachiever, turmeric's active compounds have also just been found to be anti-malarial agents, and have been shown to slow prostate cancer.

Thing you should eat with abandon (2): Organic ketchup. Ok, this one isn't nearly as dramatic as turmeric. However, a recent study discovered that organic ketchup contains 3 times the lycopene found in ordinary ketchup. Lycopene is of course, a much touted antioxidant believed to reduce cancer and heart disease risk. This study adds to the evidence suggesting what should be obvious: organic produce is nutritionally superior to conventional produce, aside even from the reduced exposure to pesticides.

In fact, I just stumbled across this news article from the BBC: Organic Milk Higher in Vitamins, which finds a similar 2-3 times the antioxidants, as well as more vitamin E, omega-3, and vitamin A in organic vs. conventional milk.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Eli Lilly's Secret

Will 2005 be the year Big Pharmacy tarnished it's reputation irreparably? Recently, we've seen the downfall of some big names: Vioxx, Celebrex, Bextra. Even Aleve users have been issued a warning by the FDA. Now we know--as some have suggested all along (I first read about it in one of Russ Kick's anthologies years ago)--that Prozac, star performer of the pharmaceutical world, ups your risk of suicide by 1200% versus other anti-depressants.

Now, that's bad enough. But it gets worse. It turns out that Eli Lilly, Prozac's manufacturer, has known this for 15 years and lied about it. They've even gone so far as to deny the link in court after the family of a gunman sued them. This is in fact, how the documents that have just surfaced were obtained.

This is the worst sort of greed, and it has a familiar precedent: Big Tobacco. They vigorously denied the link of any health dangers caused by their products for decades. All the while knowing they were sending users to early graves. Eli Lilly and others are behaving in no less a manner, and their products are still on the shelves and in your neighbor's medicine cabinet.

I think it's time for an American tradition I'm not usually anxious to prescribe: lawsuits. From reading I've done on this topic in the past, there are some truly bizarre and brutal suicides and acts of violence, grossly atypical with the person who committed them, that occurred shortly after Prozac therapy. Eli Lilly, like Phillip Morris before them, has knowingly endangered and harmed the public to line their pockets. That doesn't just seem seems evil.

The question is, where will this end? What other dark secrets are waiting to be unveiled? Is the modern drug trade just a house of cards staggering at the breath of inquiry? I don't know. But something has to change. The system as it is, with corporate flacks in the FDA, with "independent" scientists being paid to fudge peer-reviewed journal research, is broken. What can we do to repair it?

See also: Psychiatrist: Company Hid Prozac, Suicide Link
{links via Mrs. Metropol}

Monday, January 03, 2005


Writer's Block, and Two from Alternet

Ever since the tsunami occured, I've been unable to write anything for this blog. Nothing--especially anything lighthearted--felt right. It still doesn't.

But if I don't start posting again, the inner procrastinator in me is going to descend from the cage I locked him away in, high above the rafters. And I was never very fond of that chap anyhow. Here then, are two articles I found at Alternet:

The 25 Dumbest Quotes of 2004

The 2004 Falsies Awards

The first link is a nice laugh, the second one more serious...and (in movie advert cliche speak) if you only visit one link in this post, visit the second one. It highlights a lot of stories that were really overlooked; if it weren't organized so concisely already, I'd write seperate posts about each topic covered in "Falsies".

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