The Skeptical EP
The Blog Page of Robert Clare MD
“Questioning medical dogma to improve the lives of patients.”
Skepticism, from the Greek word skepticos (to inquire), is not simply a noun but a process. Skeptics demand evidence before accepting claims of truth; they enjoy the process of inquiry and analysis. Unlike cynics who take a negative view of both the claims of others and the people making them, skeptics are perfectly happy to change their minds when better evidence comes along. For physicians, a questioning attitude is an essential component to decision-making. When faced with increasing pressure from administrators and pharmaceutical companies to “Show me the money!” the best counter from the physician is “Show me the evidence!” The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness through an inquiry of the best available medical knowledge, to foster discussion, and to challenge prevailing truths in order to improve the lives of patients everywhere.
Disclaimer: The opinions put forth in this blog are just that: opinions. They should not be used as a substitute for your own good sense or that of your doctor. Readers of this column do so at their own risk—this blog is not intended to treat or diagnose disease. Information contained here should be considered a “dietary supplement.” None of it is FDA approved. Mistakes in data interpretation are mine alone (I don’t claim to be a statistician), and you should assume that mistakes will occasionally be made. All personal patient information has been altered.
“Say goodbye to low energy, poor digestion, extra pounds, aches and pains, and disease.”
“Restore your health by creating balance in your diet that will give you the energy of a child again.”
“Boost your alkalinity and lose weight fast.” (www.acidalkalinediet.com) Continue reading →
The quote “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” is attributed to Hippocrates, who lived more than 2 millennia ago. It seems equally true today judging from the plethora of fad diets, food crazes, and miracle nutrients that are continually promulgated into the collective psyche of the American public in its elusive quest for thinness and wellness. Continue reading →
Cardiovascular disease remains the world’s leading killer, responsible for more than 17 million annual deaths, a quarter of which can be directly linked to elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels (i.e. hyperlipidemia). Statin drugs are, far-and-away, the most commonly employed pharmaceutical agents used to treat this condition. Continue reading →
People are hard wired to seek out associations, ranging from the simple (gravity hurts!) to the sublime (God exists!). This isn’t a bad thing. In general, it’s protective. Food that smells bad might make us sick; a rattling snake might bite us. The problem comes when people assign cause and effect to associations where no such causal relationship exists. Continue reading →
Blood pressure is not one pressure but two: the first, termed systolic, represents the arterial pressure during the heart’s active contraction phase when blood is being pumped from the heart to the tissues; the second, termed diastolic, represents the arterial pressure during the heart’s relaxation phase when the heart’s chambers are filling with blood returning from those same tissues. Continue reading →
Americans are losing the battle of the bulge. Despite poll results indicating that the majority of us feel that our weight is “just about right,” the scale says otherwise. While just 1 in 20 believe that they are “very overweight,” more than 6-times that many are, by definition, obese (BMI greater than 30). Continue reading →
Americans love a good villain. While we pride ourselves on our autonomy, when things go wrong we want someone to blame. And there is no place where blame and personal responsibility come into more direct conflict than the argument over the cause of America’s obesity epidemic. Continue reading →
(Note: Although this is a medical blog, I feel this still deserves a place here, as gun violence is unquestionably a public health issue.)
Having slogged through a good number of posts on gun violence since the latest school shootings, I haven’t encountered a single novel argument for, or against, gun control. The arguments on either side remain conventional and threadbare. After the current round of shouting, expect more “crickets chirping,” right up until the next mass casualty. If there is an exceptionalism to Americans, it lies in our intransigence and inability to learn from others. While the rest of the first-world has universal healthcare, we bicker and leave multitudes to do without. Whereas the nations of Scandinavia work to narrow the inequality gap, we elect officials who strive to widen it further. Long after other nations have enacted legislation ultimately proven to have kept their children safe, we continue to cringe, blame, deflect, and debate to no effect. Nothing has been tried. Nothing has been done. Research on the matter was effectively banned by Congress in 1996. How did this happen?
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When 10-year old Nico Mallozzi, a vibrant, popular, hockey-playing kid from New Canaan, Connecticut, died less than 72-hours after contracting flu last month, the story made the national news. And scared the crap out of parents all across the nation. The reason this particular boy’s death resonated so loudly was precisely because he was such a typical, normal, all-American kid—healthy in every way. Continue reading →
Once I post on a topic, I keep my eyes open to the latest articles about it, both to update my own knowledge and to pass along to others. Here are a few highlights from 2017. Continue reading →