1. Selling surgery through robots

    Hospitals made a killing off prostate surgeries back in the 1990s, when just about every man past a certain age was lining up to get sliced up and sent home in a diaper.

    Since then, men have wised up big-time -- and the smart ones are passing on surgery and even skipping prostate screenings altogether.

    So if a hospital can't convince men they need prostate surgery... how can they keep raking in cash off this needless, life-wrecking procedure?

    The answer: Use old-fashioned marketing razzle-dazzle to sell a high-tech procedure. And that's exactly what they're doing. How else would you explain the fact that hospitals that buy surgical robots do more procedures than ever before... even when fewer man are getting surgery overall.

    Researchers tracked prostate surgeries in Wisconsin between 2002 and 2008 and found that the number of cancers actually FELL during that time -- but the number of surgeries SHOT UP by more than 25 percent, from 1,400 in 2002 to 1,760 by 2008.

    And it was all thanks to robots. Hospitals that bought the machines doubled their surgeries within three months.

    That's the power of razzle-dazzle at work, friends -- because robots can't drum up their own sales. That's the job of the hospital's marketing team, and as I told you before, they use tactics and gimmicks that would put a used car dealer to shame.

    One study found that hospital Web sites are filled with half-truths and outright lies when it comes to robo-surgeries, making it seem like the procedures are safer and come with a lower risk of side effects.

    But don't let that razzle-dazzle blind you -- there's not a shred of evidence to back up those claims, and plenty of studies that show robots could lead to more problems and complications, especially when surgeons are still trying to figure out which button does what.

    When it comes to robots, stick to the kind that vacuum floors -- and just to be safe, keep those away from your prostate, too.

  2. Wonder drug aimed at creating wonderful profits for Big Pharma

    Wonder drug aimed at creating wonderful profits for Big Pharma

    It's no secret that Big Pharma companies allow their marketing departments to have an undue amount of influence on their research and development departments. There's one new drug in the works that has "marketing gimmick" written all over it.

    The drug in question is known as the "Polypill" - it's a 5-in-1 pill that's designed to fight heart disease. The pill would contain cholesterol medicines (statins), blood pressure drugs, and even low-dose aspirin.

    This is nothing new. The last time I wrote to you about the Polypill, there were claims that it had a 34 percent rate of prevention for heart attacks (a claim based on some statistical chicanery). The Polypill is back in the news because of a new study that claims it can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke by as much as 50 percent.

    The Polypill is still in the research stages and is years away from FDA approval. But Big Pharma puts its marketing departments into motion early to build momentum.

    Unfortunately, this would-be wonder drug is nothing more than a marketing ploy. Allow me to point out some of the "reasons" that some doctors support the creation of this new pill.

    Dr. James Stein of the University of Wisconsin-Madison lauded the potential "psychological advantages" of the Polypill.

    "If you take any medicines, you know that every pill you see in your hand makes you feel five years older," Stein says. "Patients really object to pill burden."

    Really? That's why we need this new drug? Because patients "feel" too old when they take more than one pill? Seems like a stretch to me.

    Thankfully, there are some doctors who are as skeptical of the drug as I am. Harvard cardiologist Dr. Christopher Cannon says this one pill won't work for everyone.

    "Some people would be over-treated by getting medicines for conditions they don't yet have, such as high cholesterol," Cannon said. "Others may be under-treated by too-low doses in the combo pill."

    The bottom line is this: the Polypill is nothing more than a marketing ploy aimed at creating another drug like statins that patients will be expected to take for years on end - maybe even the rest of their lives. Which means big bucks for Big Pharma.

  3. A closer look at the "green" movement

    Posted by: on
    The green effort is doing much more to help line the pockets of marketers and corporations than it is to help save the planet.
  4. Is that natural product really natural?

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    The market for natural personal care products is already huge, and growing larger every day. Unfortunately, knowing which of these products are truly made with natural ingredients isn't as easy as reading the label.
  5. Depressing news about antidepressants

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    Charles Barber, the author of the new book, Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation, is getting the word out about the overuse of antidepressants.
  6. Researchers warn of third world diseases in the U.S.

    Posted by: on
    Schistosomiasis is caused by flatworms that live in snail-infested fresh water; this water is contaminated by worm eggs when infected people urinate or defecate into it.

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