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Friday, January 18, 2008


The Jesuits taught me that it is worth beginning an argument and discussion with a definition of terms which is what I would like to do. In this Blog I am going to refer to some drugs as “mind altering drugs.” These drugs will include those which a designed to calm a person down, such as sedatives and tranquilizers and those designed to stimulate an individual, such as caffeine. On occasion, a sedative, such as phenobarbital which has a sedative effect upon an adult may have a stimulating effect upon young children. Having known this while practicing Pediatrics, I am now wondering whether the stimulating effect upon children might not have been due to the red dye in liquid preparations of phenobarbital. Also drugs, such as Dexedrine or amphetamine, which have stimulating effects upon an adult might actually act as a tranquilizer in a child. This is why such stimulants were once employed as drugs to treat hyperactive children.

I would like to lump all these type of drugs as mind altering drugs whether their effects are stimulating or tranquilizing. They are drugs designed to alter one’s mood whether it is up or down. The all do this by altering brain chemistry.

It is ironic that the incidence of suicide is markedly increased in many young individuals with depression who are given anti-depressants which supposes to prevent such an event..

I have written before on the dangers of taking Paxil which I consider one of the most dangerous drugs on the market today. From direct personal experience, I have found it most difficult to get individuals off the drug, Paxil. IT IS ONE OF THE MOST ADDICTIVE ANTI-DEPRESSIVES ON THE MARKET TODAY. I wrote a previous Blog on this subject. Some have written to me agreeing with what I had to say. Only one individual said Paxil help him, but he failed to inform me whether he tried to get off the drug. In one patient, I tried for 6 months to take him off and failed. Today on television there was a woman who stated it took he 6 years to finally get off this dangerous drug. I feel so strongly about this that I believe any doctor who prescribes Paxil is practicing bad medicine.

The ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION http://www.ahrp.org and http://ahrp.blogspot.com Reported today in part the following:

The famous New England Journal of Medicine this week published an article “which further documented evidence demonstrating that reports in ‘peer
reviewed’ journals about the safety and efficacy of prescription drugs are
no more credible than marketing hype. Journal reports are merely encased in
a thin veneer that passes for ‘science’ when those reports are in fact,
The Wall Street Journal reports: Just as the pharmaceutical industry seemed
on the verge of moving past a series of scandals that battered its
reputation earlier in the decade, a skein of new revelations could again
taint the drug makers in patients' eyes and renew pressure for tighter

Indeed, the evidence underscores that companies that engage in corrupt
practices tend to be recidivist-repeat offenders--much like serial
An analysis of 74 antidepressant trials reviewed by the FDA, 38 were judged
to be positive. Most of the studies found to have negative or questionable
results were not published. Yet, the published literature would have doctors
believe that 94% of the trials conducted were positive. By contrast, the FDA
analysis showed that 51% were positive. Separate meta-analyses of the FDA
and journal data sets showed that the increase in effect size ranged from 11
to 69% for individual drugs and was 32% overall.
According to the findings the worst exaggerations in antidepressant
published reports about the efficacy were made about Bristol Meyers-Squibb's
drug, Serzone (69%) , Pfizer's Zoloft (64%), Schering Plough's Remron
(61%), and GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil (55%). Eli Lilly's published reports
about Cymbalta exaggerated efficacy by 33%.
The authors CONCLUSIONS:
We cannot determine whether the bias observed resulted from a failure to
submit manuscripts on the part of authors and sponsors, from decisions by
journal editors and reviewers not to publish, or both. Selective reporting of clinical trial results may have adverse consequences for researchers, study participants,
health care professionals, and patients. “

The public needs to be aware that most physicians depend upon what is published in reputable journals for their information. But when the so-called reputable journals are contributing to the promulgation of mis-information, we should all be worried.

I one attended a series of seminars sponsored by an alternative medical group on the treatment of allergies through natural means of diet elimination and control and supplements, including vitamins. Several weeks later in Washington, DC, I attended another day seminar which awarded Continuing Medical Education (CME’s) which I needed for re-licensing in my state. This seminar was sponsored by a drug company and every lecturer gave out a sheet of paper listing their association with the drug company sponsoring the seminal. Every one of the lecturers received grants from the drug company. Most importantly, every lecturer was recommending a drug made by the company to treat allergic conditions, including asthma. The difference between the two seminars was like “night and day.” One was oriented towards natural means to overcome a medical condition; the other was completely oriented towards the use of drugs.

We hear so much misinformation, especially on television. One week we are told that coffee is bad for your health; the next week we are told the benefits of drinking coffee. Wouldn’t you really like to know whether the latter information came from a Medical School who gets funding from the coffee industry? I would. If I hear again the benefits of eating dark chocolate, I might even vomit. In order to gain benefits from the anti-oxidants supposedly in dark chocolate, you will soon be 300 pounds being fitted for an oversized casket! So remember the old dictum: Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware. Just be careful what you read and believe, especially from television which likes to shock you into discarding old knowledge and imparting new knowledge like the benefits of coffee and dark chocolate. Recently, I saw on television someone who stated that you can lose weight by eating all you want. Remember we fatten hogs on the farm by feeding them, and feeding them, and feeding them more. One gets fat when one takes in more calories than they burn. It is that simple. It is the First Law of Thermodynamics. Maybe it is the Second Law.

Care must be exercised in interpreting what is published in the medical journals. For 9 years I worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), eventually having become a Branch Chief there as Chief, Laboratory of Virology and Rickettsiology, Division of Biologics Standards ( see Dr. Tauraso’s Curriculum Vitae at www.drtauraso.com. So I know about which I am talking. By and large scientists want to publish results favoring their benefactors. At NIH, the average scientist is not influenced by the desires of a biased benefactor; they are influenced only by their own bias. But be careful about studies coming from even reputable Medical Schools who do receive money from drug companies. Believe me when I say the research grants will dry up if one publishes data against their benefactors. Individuals receiving research grants from the tobacco, milk, oil, and other industries tend to publish data favorable to their benefactors. It is very difficult even for me, a seasoned researcher, to determine the source of one’s funding for a published article. The source of the grant is not always published.

I cringe every time I listen to the quasi-medical information on television. More often than not the information is selected for its shock value, like the information on dark chocolate and coffee mentioned above, and not critically evaluated by the promulgator who has only media qualifications and not real scientific background. Here in Panama, we have very few US television with only CNN and Fox News at our disposal. Since I watch Fox News often I can say that the majority of their health information is nothing more than medical garbage, except for the information coming from the several medical experts on their programming. But the very frequent medical pronouncements made by several lay individual is nothing more than garbage. I have written to them but they do not want to learn. Pity because Fox News is the most popular cable news program out there. The unsuspecting public is getting educated by people who know nothing. Here in Panama, Fox News does not air real commercials as in the US. Instead, the commercial space is used usually to show “medical shorts.” I also cringe when television introduces their medical information by putting up a Caduceus showing a staff with two snakes and a pair of wings, which is the sign of Mercury, the Messenger. The correct Caduceus is a single olive branch bifurcated at the top with a single snake. Interestingly, the US Army uses the incorrect symbol of Mercury, but the more enlightened Air Force employs the correct Caduceus, the true Symbol of Aesculapius.

Please be careful about those Mind Altering Drugs. They are extremely dangerous. I mentioned earlier this week in another Blog that most people are severely magnesium deficient because they do not consume enough truly green leafy vegetables. Magnesium is the natural tranquilizer in nature. Magnesium deficiency also causes constipation. Taking magnesium or eating sufficient amounts of truly green vegetables will prevent blockage at the other end. You will begin to think more clearly and give thought to what we write here!

nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.
Director, Tauraso Medical Clinic

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