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20 January 2009

Alternative Medicine Goes Mainstream

In the Wall Street Journal article linked below, Deepak Chopra explains how mainstream acceptance of what is now considered “alternative” medicine could revolutionize U.S. healthcare.

In mid-February, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences will convene a "Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public." This could be a watershed in the evolution of integrative medicine, a holistic approach to health care that uses the best of conventional and alternative therapies.

Many “alternative” therapies are now scientifically documented to be not only medically effective, but also cost effective. To make affordable health care available to the 45 million Americans who do not have health insurance, it is important to address the real and fundamental causes of health and illness, and provide incentives for healthy ways of living rather than just drugs and surgery.

Heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer and obesity account for 75 percent of health-care costs, and all of these are largely preventable and even reversible by changing diet and lifestyle.

Wall Street Journal January 9, 2009

Sleepless Nights Means More Colds

People who sleep less than seven hours a night are three times as likely to catch a cold.

A new study supports the theory that sleep is important to immune function. Volunteers who spent less time in bed were much more likely to catch a cold when viruses were dripped into their noses. People who slept longer and more soundly resisted infection better.

Researchers tested more than 150 healthy volunteers, locking them in a hotel for five days after infecting them with a cold virus. The men and women who reported fewer than seven hours of sleep, on average, were 2.94 times more likely to develop sneezing, sore throat and other cold symptoms. And the volunteers who spent less than 92 percent of their time in bed asleep were 5 and a half times more likely to become ill than better sleepers.

Reuters January 12, 2009 January 13, 2009

Why Economics Drives Most Food Options You Have

Being overweight is not just a disease; it’s a symptom of many other things that are wrong with your diet. And much of the blame for the current American diet comes down to economics.

In a $10 trillion economy, $1 trillion goes to food companies and $1.5 trillion goes to medical companies. Food companies, like any good businesses, are always trying to increase the consumption of their product. But in food, there’s an unwritten law of marketing called potato chip marketing equations.

That means that 10 percent of your customers buy 90 percent of the product. You may go out and buy one or two bags of potato chips a month. But somebody else is buying one bag a day -- 30 bags every month.

When you add that extra 20 percent extra to your weight, you don’t increase your food consumption 20 percent a day. You double it to 200 percent a day. Your caloric intake to maintain 180 pounds is almost twice the caloric intake you need to maintain 150 pounds.

Think of that from the standpoint a food company. Food companies, as a result, market to people to make everyone part of their potato chip marketing equation. They spend their marketing dollars getting existing customers to buy more of their product.

At what point after two, three, four, 10, 12 bags of potato chips do they no longer taste good? How about McDonald’s French fries? All processed foods never get tiring -- they have chemically altered the food substances in that food to make sure you’re never tired of it.

The problem with obesity, which is ultimately caused by poor diet, is really an economic problem. And when people consume this terrible diet, they end up with all types of medical problems, and they go to the doctors for treatment. But the medical companies are in effect in a conspiracy of sorts with the food companies. They’ve almost said to the food companies, “We’ll treat the symptoms of this bad diet. We will never treat the cause, your bad food.”

AdvantEdge Newsletter

Coca-Cola Sued for Marketing Vitaminwater as Healthy

A class action suit contends that Coca-Cola is illegally marketing its “Vitaminwater” line as a healthy product. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is one party to the suit, which cites California consumer-protection laws.

According to the suit, "Vitaminwater is not a healthy beverage. Rather it is sugar water -- just like soft drinks -- with a few added vitamins."

The suit cites the labeling of Vitaminwater with flavors such as "defense," "rescue," "energy" and "multi-v" as proof of its health claims. The suit asks that California consumers of Vitaminwater be awarded actual and punitive damages.

Advertising Age January 15, 2009

Messege for Dr Lau: Book update

My writing was different from my talk

I have given many talks, but I realized that writing is a different ball game altogether. Writing is more rigorous. It is also more precise and thorough. You have to check and cross-check all your facts and make sure that facts are treated as sacred. They cannot be twisted out of context, nor there any hidden slant to your writing.

Also, a talk covers less material a book. A talk reinforces meaning, notation, and direction, because a listener cannot pause or review earlier slides. But this is not possible with a book. You can relax some formal English rules to make your slides terser; but you cannot ever afford to do that with your book.
Within reason, you can write imprecisely, incompletely and even incorrectly for your slides. But your editor or publisher will NEVER allow that with a book. That would be simply blasphemy!