As visitors to HonestMedicine know, my mission is for this site is to provide people with important information about the healthcare and medical systems -- information that is too often not reported by mainstream media. It is my strong belief that only when people understand how the system REALLY works, will they be able to challenge it so they will get adequate care.
One way I've been doing this is by posting ARTICLES ON THIS SITE that address the misinformation that is so often propagated by mainstream media.
To this end, HonestMedicine:
● Exposed the fact that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) often uses video news releases (VNRs – or “fake news”) to promote its articles and studies -- even in cases where the authors have questionable connections to the pharmaceutical industry. This 3-part HonestMedicine article, "The JAMA Controversy," was recognized by several other sites –- for instance, here and here, so its message reached many more people than it would have otherwise reached.
● Has interviewed several experts who have discussed topics rarely covered by mainstream media.
● Lee Einer, SiCKO “Hitman," talked with me about insurance industry shinanegans “they” don’t want you to know about.
● Ronald Hoffman, MD, talked about how pharmaceutical companies often conduct their “studies” of natural treatments in a way that will purposely cause these treatments to “fail” their “tests.”
And now, insurance industry expert Lee Einer is writing articles for HonestMedicine, in which he tells about many extremely questionable insurance industry practices that are seldom reported by mainstream media.
COMMENTING ON OTHER PEOPLE’S BLOGS: ANOTHER WAY OF GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT
But posting articles and audio interviews on this site are only two of the ways HonestMedicine has been working to get important messages out to the public.
Another way is by leaving COMMENTS on other people’s blogs.
I have a strong commitment to leaving these comments; in fact, I consider it to be a big part of HonestMedicine’s mission. These comments are routinely noticed and written about by many blog owners (including the very popular Trisha Torrey on her patient advocate blog. And one comment I left on health columnist Julie Deardorff’s Chicago Tribune blog, led to my being quoted, and HonestMedicine's being cited, in a Chicago Tribune article, "Doctors, Patients, Just Don't Click Over Googling," which was later syndicated nationwide.
RECENT BLOG COMMENTS
These past two months have been really fruitful ones in the HonestMedicine “comments department,” with several being left on some very important blogs. I would like to share some of these comments with you. I hope that, if you have important messages you, too, will start leaving comments on other people’s blogs! (The more important information that is “out there,” the better!)
I have posted an article on the “nuts and bolts” of HOW to write BLOG COMMENTS that will get NOTICED, and will MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the world on my other (marketing) blog, www.WebBasedPR.com. You may read this article, "What Makes a Comment Great?" here.
HONESTMEDICINE’S OCTOBER / NOVEMBER, 2007 COMMENTS
NOTE: If you want to get an important message out online (rather than just bringing traffic to your site), I believe you should NEVER leave comments that are “fluff.” Lots of people do it, and I know it’s common practice, but my 20+ years as a public relations consultant have taught me that it is important that you NOT do this – especially if you want to be known as an EXPERT. Notice that in all the instances below, I have posted comments ONLY when I thought I had IMPORTANT INFORMATION to add to the conversation. (Again, for the specifics of HOW to do this, see my article, "What Makes a Blog Comment Great?" on WebBasedPR.)
My COMMENT on JOE BIDEN’S Blog:
For National Breast Cancer Month, Senator Biden placed this VIDEO on his blog, in which he presented his “national strategy to eradicate breast cancer.”
Not surprisingly, his proposed strategy echoes mainstream media’s:
• insuring that annual mammograms are covered by insurance programs
• guaranteeing early access to preventative care and early detection programs, (especially for low income women)
While I feel that it’s admirable that Sen. Biden really cares about this issue, and wants to do everything he can to ensure that so many women don’t continue to die from breast cancer, I believe that he doesn't have the “whole story” about the “early detection” that is promoted so heavily during National Breast Cancer Month. (This should come as no surprise, since the “whole story” is so rarely addressed by mainstream media.)
I wanted my comment to address this missing information -- the other side of the story. I therefore provided lots of information about the “politics” surrounding the cancer industry and its political and financial ties with so many of the companies that produce pharmaceuticals, chemicals and medical detection devices -- the very companies that benefit most from the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. I also linked to a very important article, "Search and Destroy: Why Mammograms Are Not the Answer," by Shannon Brownlee on the topic of the overuse of mammograms. You can read my comment.
On October 25th, Salon.com asked the question, “Is Thyroid Disease the New Hysteria?” in response to Mary Shomon’s posting on her About.com site concerning Oprah Winfrey’s recent show on Thyroid disease. On her show, Oprah’s guest expert, Dr. Christiane Northrup, analyzed thyroid disease in terms of spiritual factors -- completely omitting any mention of the specific blood tests that should be ordered when a thyroid problem is suspected. Mary addressed Dr. Northrup’s serious omission very eloquently. In her posting, she also linked to Dr. Northrup’s discussion of thyroid disease on her site -- a discussion which DID, in fact, include lots of information about the blood tests.
I was puzzled as to WHY Dr. Northrup would purposely OMIT important information on nationwide television -- information she obviously KNOWS to be important. I addressed this omission in my comment.
ON THE NEW YORK TIMES HEALTH BLOG
In her excellent New York Times’ “Well” Blog, Tara Parker-Pope often questions our sacred cows. But, as you will see from my two recent comments, I felt that certain points of view were missing from some of her recent postings. I attempted to politely add to the conversation!
In her October 22nd posting, “When Doctors Steal Hope,” Ms. Parker-Pope questioned WHY doctors so often give patients the worst case scenarios of their prognoses, when confronted with a serious health problem. (I myself had written an article about this troubling phenomenon a few years back for the American Medical Association publication, AM News.)
In this posting, Ms. Parker-Pope related an instance, where an ER doctor told the family of an elderly woman who had just suffered a stroke, that there was nothing he could do for her. Ms. Parker-Pope also quoted the well-regarded physician / author Dr. Jerome Groopman ("How Doctors Think"), who gave his reasons WHY doctors act so negatively when confronted with their patients’ serious illnesses. Dr. Groopman, too, focused on the DOCTORS’ personal feelings in these circumstances.
MY COMMENT addressed what I have come to call “physician-centered” (as opposed to the more ideal “patient-centered”) approach to medicine, and pointed out that this apparent inability of doctors to see situations from the point of view of patients and their families, is a BIG PROBLEM. Again, I hope I added to the conversation in an intelligent way.
In her November 27th POSTING, “Scans of Pregnant Women on the Rise,” Ms. Parker-Pope addressed another important -- and very troubling -- problem: too much radiation of pregnant women via CT scans. This time, I added to the conversation by commenting about Shannon Brownlee’s recently published book, “Overtreated”, which addresses the problem of patients being exposed to too much radiation with overscanning, and too much medical treatment, in general. (The subtitle of Ms. Brownlee’s book, by the way, is “How Modern Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.”) Thanks to Ms. Brownlee’s tireless promotion of this book, it is receiving the wide attention it richly deserves. As I write this, "Overtreated" is #2,150 in Amazon.com’s sales rank -- a tremendous feat for a book whose message many of the people in power probably don’t want to hear! As you might have guessed, I hope to interview Ms. Brownlee soon for HonestMedicine! (MY COMMENT)
These are just a few of the more recent examples of HONESTMEDICINE ON THE BLOGS. There are many, many others, which I would be happy to share with you. Just send me an email at JuliaS1573@aol.com.