Friday, October 16, 2015

Sensationalist Headlines and the Importance of Reading Comprehension

The sensational headline stating “Supplements Send 23,000 to Hospitals” is not only misleading but is out and out untrue

If anyone troubled themselves to actually read the story they would have found several glaring discrepancies. There is no factual evidence to justify the 23 thousand ER  cases. It is a statistical estimate. Look at the figures! Over a nine year period, (9 years!) there were 3667 cases reported in, I am guessing , 63 large ,metropolitan hospitals. The researchers then ESTIMATED  a national number.   Hospitals are supposed to report adverse events to the CDC. Why did they have to go looking specifically? What were they looking for? What were the parameters of their study?

How can anyone lump vitamins, herbal supplements such as echinacea or hawthorn berry with the junk products sold on the internet and MLM’s? I do agree that the categories they  were looking for are the usual suspects (sexual enhancement, weight loss, increased energy,and body building). We have warned  for years to stay away from this crap, because it usually contained caffeine, ephedrine and other legal stimulants. Gee, do you think  people buying this stuff might have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems? 

Did you see in the article the reasons for going to the ER was irregular heartbeat and chest pain? No one is going to the ER because their multivitamin caused  a problem. Just as a final note, I noticed they did not include the number of people who suffer severe complications and many deaths each year from over the counter products and prescriptions. Given a choice  I will take my echinacea and my vitamin supplement instead, with no fear of hospitalization.

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