Cellulite – Just a Euphemism for Fat
Cellulite is the term used by women’s magazines to describe dimpled fat. It has no scientific or anatomical validity and it is simply ordinary fatty tissue that assumes a waffled appearance because fibrous tissue prevents the skin from fully expanding in areas where fatty tissue accumulates. This has been confirmed by a study where biopsies of fat and cellulite were microscopically indistinguishable by pathologists who were blinded as to the samples’ origin. Calling fat “cellulite” is part of the modern trend to seeking alternatives to the (unpalatable) truth, in this case an adipose euphemism.
The latest treatment for Cellulite involves a machine called Cellu-M6. It is described as having “even been approved by the strict Amer-ican Food and Drugs Administration”. I checked the FDA website and although I could not find the machine specifically mentioned it did refer to a “Dermosonic Non-Invasive Subdermal Therapy System”, presumably using ultra-sonic stimulation of the skin. The FDA “approval” is nothing of the sort, merely an acknowledgement that the machine is similar to others already on the market. There is nothing in the FDA response indicating any approval or endorsement of the device beyond noting that it “temporarily reduces the appearance of cellulite”.
Given that about half of the New Zealand population are obese, and roughly half of these are women, this makes for a huge and lucrative market. The Cellu-M6 machine is described as “breaking down the cellulite, toxins and abnormal water build-up are expelled and the increased blood flow stimulates enzymes which encourage fat cells to break down.” Journalists sometimes inadvertently get close to the truth and the article states in part “While it seems almost too good to be true…” Well, yes, it is.
With all worthless treatments it is essential to get the punters to do something for themselves, which in itself is actually effective, for example: “You’ll still need to do some work. Walking, exercise and watching what you eat.” The most well-motivated customers will be the ones who actually do exercise and lose weight. They will be thrilled with the results, happy with the cost and completely oblivious as to the real reason for their loss of cellulite (weight).
New Idea 4/1/03
For various legislative and historical reasons, cannabis use is illegal in New Zealand. My feeling is, why legalise cannabis when we already have so much suffering from the abuse of tobacco and alcohol? Nevertheless, on the medical evidence available, moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill effect on health. Cannabis has been studied for possible use in various medical conditions but there are problems with drug delivery as most researchers feel that it is unacceptable to administer it through smoking and oral bioavailability is variable.
A recent Lancet study of patients with multiple sclerosis found that cannabis had no measurable effect on muscle stiffness or jerkiness. The patients, however, stated, “it had reduced their symptoms and improved their mobility.” I went to the Lancet website and there are problems with this study. Fifty percent of the placebo wing of the trial claimed benefit and because of the psychoactive effect of the cannabis, subjects knew whether they were taking cannabis or placebo. I have written before on the problems of clinical trials becoming “unblinded” through this effect. The researchers should have used an ‘active’ placebo, something that mimicked the effects of cannabis. It appears that researchers still lack an understanding of this process. Perhaps they should call in James Randi to help them?
Despite the lack of evidence for the medical use of cannabis, “a wealthy Christchurch businessman caught growing cannabis has escaped without a conviction after convincing a High Court judge that he used it medically.”
I can just see future headlines at the next sitting of the Dargaville Court: “Unemployed Maori youth of no fixed abode acquitted of growing cannabis after convincing the Judge he used it for a medical condition”. Yeah, right.
But wait! The businessman, we are told, suffered from a painful bowel condition diagnosed as “pyloric sphincter”. That explains everything. We all have a pyloric sphincter. It is a thickened muscular valve at the outlet of the stomach.
All of us can now smoke cannabis with a clear conscience (write or email me for a medical certificate, but only if you are rich, say $5000 per certificate will be fine).
Dominion Post, 8/11/03, 14/12/03
I don’t normally concern myself in this area although I did recently correspond with the Veterinary Council and their policy over alternative medicine is very similar to that of the Medical Council with Doctors.
The Press (18/11/03) carried an article, which I thought was unintentionally very funny. A trainer was fined for injecting a horse with a homeopathic remedy. It was further reported, “another horse injected with it had won, been swabbed and tested negative in the past.”
Of course it tested negative! Homeopathic solutions are water and this simple fact seems to have completely escaped notice by the Judicial Control Authority. I thought I would have a bit of fun by writing to them and pointing this out so will keep you posted.
The homeopathic remedy was “Vetradyne” and was easily found by Google. A 50ml bottle costs $215 but I was unable to find its composition, or any given therapeutic indication, apart from the cryptic comment “no claims made.” It was also detailed as being for “oral” use only so it does seem strange that it was given by injection. An inquiry of the website was no more forthcoming over composition or dilution factor.
Every time something unpleasant happens we hear the dreaded phrase “counselling has been arranged.” Can we do anything to stop this clichéd response?
Following the illegal viewing of pornography at a school, pupils have been offered counselling. What’s wrong with today’s teachers? Can’t they handle a situation like this in a reasonable and intelligent manner? It seems that our population are willing to hand over all responsibility whenever they can. Is it because they lack confidence or is this a deliberate social policy on the part of the government? It’s certainly consistent with Government policies that encourage dependency and allow hundreds of thousands of people to indefinitely remain on welfare payments.
Dominion Post 27/8/03
Badly Behaved Children
Readers will know my attitude towards the socially engineered fad diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is treated with methylphenidate (Ritalin) and there was a 17% increase in prescriptions over the past year. The drug is being sold by parents on the black market. This does not surprise me but readers may be surprised to know that most street drugs are sourced from legal prescriptions. There are doctors in every part of New Zealand who over-prescribe a wide range of psychoactive drugs, which are then sold.
To paraphrase a well-known psychiatrist: “any behaviour of a child can be consistent with ADHD.” We must act now and add Ritalin to the drinking water. This will have the dual benefit of removing the need for parents to discipline their children and of destroying the illicit drug trade. The whole population will be happy, well behaved and in no need of counselling.
Marlborough Express 1/12/03
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
This is a pseudoscientific diagnosis where people develop a fixed illness belief about chemical exposures. It is increasingly becoming an employment issue and is a classic example of psychosomatic illness. In a typical case, a radiographer is reported as needing a face mask before leaving home because “when I have a new dose of chemicals I become unreasonably upset about anything and everything, and become ill and extremely tired, plus a host of other physical effects.” Such patients have been studied by Staudenmayer (Environmental Illness: Myth and Reality). He tested 20 patients complaining of universal sensitivity to multiple chemicals and found that “the patients’ appraisals were no different from chance performance” (ibid. p. 99). In other words, the patients’ beliefs were disproved. There is an urgent need for such testing to be available in Australasia, otherwise there will be an increasing number of these spurious claims, misattributed to employment conditions.
Marlborough Express 10/10/2003