Angry Doctor

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cow Dung 7

Ever wonder why Cialis is shaped the way it is?

(emphasis mine)

Almonds, a natural cure for 'half-past six'?

THE Mind Your Body supplement on July 9 carried an article 'Natural Viagra?' in which it was speculated that 'watermelons may be a natural Viagra'.

This at least is the view expressed by 'a United States researcher' and printed alongside are differing views of others who are labelled as 'sceptics'.

I fear scant justice is done to readers, who will surely end up confused by these contradictory opinions.

Decades ago, a doctor recommended almond nuts to combat 'erectile dysfunction', as it has come to be known nowadays. The Singlish description of this condition is 'half-past six'.

Viagra came to be manufactured many decades later, and is composed of chemicals whose side effects on the body have yet to be properly assessed, whereas almonds are totally 'organic' (the pun is wholly accidental).

In fact, it is almost traditional among (East) Indians, of whom the worthy doctor was one, to take a glass of milk daily, in which crushed or powdered almonds and some strands of saffron have been boiled. 'Badaam milk' (almond milkshake), as it is known, is a popular drink among Indians, with reputedly aphrodisiac virtues.

Almonds are widely believed to be a key ingredient or supplement to vitality, as well as a wholly natural pick-me-up.

Narayana Narayana

Pretty standard cow-dung arguments as usual. angry doc is no longer surprised that the ST Forum editor chooses to publish letter promoting unsubstatiated health claims; had the same claims been made by someone actually selling a product, he would have run afoul of the law.

But what harm can come from a letter promoting something as innocent as the almond nut?

Well, plenty, angry doc thinks.

First of all, Mr Narayana tells a blatant lie with his assertion that Viagra is a "chemical" "whose side effects on the body have yet to be properly assessed". Leaving aside the fact that almost everything we put inside our mouths are "chemicals" - from plain water to any active compounds almonds might contain - Viagra had been subjected to rigourous testing prior to its approval by FDA, and continues to be monitored in the post-marketing phase. All that is not to say that there are no known or serious side-effects with taking Viagra, but to say that it has not been "properly assessed" is to tell a plain lie, and undermines the efforts of all those who work to ensure that drugs that doctors prescribe to patients are tested and regulated.

Secondly, the publication of such letters promoting remedies based on cow-dung thinking indirectly promotes cow-dung thinking in the public. What the public needs, and deserves from ST Forum, is an editor who is willing and able to apply and require critical thinking in doing his or her job.

Finally, beliefs in such unsubstatiated health claims can sometimes be exploited by unscrupulous people to sell supposedly "natural" products which are in reality either useless, or at the very worst hazardous.

Belief in the properties of walnut is partly behind the recent fatalities caused by Power 1 Walnut.

Will this be the consequence of believing in the virtues of almond?

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