Unless you’ve been living in a cave the past couple of weeks you’ll have heard of the Alzheimers Drugs Aricept (donepezil), Reminyl (galantamine) and Exelon (rivastigmine) which may or may not help the condition will now be allowed by the champions of newspeak, The Ministry of Nasty, NICE. (Despite the Orwellian name, they’re not actually the baddies after all at all, they’re our one and only bastion of defence against extortionate pricing of meds, thats a very good thing.) I won’t be covering this as it’s already been covered very well elsewhere.

Another study has suggested that St. Johns Wort is as much use as a wart on the nose for curing depression, its still a grey area though. The same review paper found a surprising amount of evidence in favour of the herbal remedies passionflower or kava and L-lysine and L-arginine to treat anxiety disorders. Research is certainly still needed but if history is anything to go by that won’t happen for a very long time because they’ll all be banned by Christmas. Kava is already illegal in the UK, even though you can still buy it over the counter in pretty much every other country in the world. Risks are probable but we’ll never know how they compare with the already high risk anti-anxiety/anti-depressants currently on the market until the controlled methods research is done. An interesting fact that is generally unknown is that the “safest” and therefore most prescribed anti-depressant called an SSRI (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft) often leads to anorgasmia. I’m pretty sure you’ll agree it’s a pretty damn serious side effect. Some drugs companies however don’t seem to think it’s even serious enough to put it on the label. The rest will often put it at the bottom of an endless list. Well I guess this is the stuff that can also make you want to top yourself, so in comparison I guess it seems rather meager an effect. It’s, erm, unknown whether the two are linked. Thats because thats the sort of thing that it’s impossible to test, forbidden experiment and all that jazz.

In other news, enough waste leaked out of an aluminium works in Hungary this week to turn half of the country bright red for the next century, and it’s now reached the Danube. The million cubic metres that leaked was only a tiny fraction of whats still behind the crumbling damn. Theres been much talk of who was at fault but the fact that our demand for copper requires an estuary of acidic waste to be sat in Hungary in the first place was the white elephant in the room.

sludge Ironic Pointlessness

In the mean time we’re still as determined as ever to stick £17 Million worth of freshly twisted steel in the middle of London and call it the Arcelormittal Orbit for no apparent reason except “why not”. The big news this week was that we’re going to build a park around it named after the Queen. Well thats alright then, as long as it has the Queens blessing.

ArcelorMittal Orbit by Anish Kapoor2 300x300 Ironic Pointlessness

Almost as ironic in fact was the UAE’s self proclaimed “global warming themed”, ice/water theme park in the middle of the dessert (this  article will make you want to chew your own face off) that opened this week. The unfortunate thing however is none of these things were ever meant to be ironic, apart from perhaps the naming of “NICE”.

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Be informed but always see a doctor before considering taking any medication.

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Bigger Stronger Faster Poster Chris Bell 202x300 What Really Made America Supersized?

Thanks to Paul for sending me this video in response to my post on the load of dodgy  “health products” I’ve seen over in the states. The video is factual, enlightening and very entertaining, though it does have that “Michael Moore style” preachy voice over. It makes some interesting arguments in both directions of a lot of interesting topics ranging from surprisingly far reaching effects of anabolic steroids on American culture and society to the worrying continuing use of amphetamines by the US air force and it’s tendency to lead to unnecessary aggression and trigger happy decisions at the command of hundred pound bombs.

The film is titled BIGGER STRONGER FASTER if you don’t trust me, trust the 96% rotton tomatoes review. Run time 1hr 56 mins

NB: If you just can’t wait to get the dvd someone has put it on youtube, you can always watch it there and if you like it buy the DVD as a gift for a friend who would enjoy it or could use the advice. Personally I think that would be a much more touching anti-piracy slogan but thats just my two cents.

On the topic of America, if you plan to visit, here’s some essential reading.

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So it’s independence day which seems like a fitting day to write something about science in America.  My flatmate, a biker has been drinking this “muscle building” protein powder….

Protein Protein powder? I think you mean milkshake.

I tried some myself and we were both very surprised by the great tasting chocolate goodness (OK OK it tasted foul, just a bit less foul than the standard)… so we decided to check the label.

DSC013791 Protein powder? I think you mean milkshake.

Upon closer inspection you can see that this “protein powder” actually has massively more sugar and nearly as much fat, over half of which is saturated fat as there is protein. You’d probably be better off eating a dohnut wrapped in Bacon*, well it’d certainly taste better.

baconwrappedappleciderdonuts Protein powder? I think you mean milkshake.

Admittedly, this was found only a few miles down the road from the town that made Jamie Oliver cry because the kids were so fat.

Jamie Oliver crying Protein powder? I think you mean milkshake.

One of the biggest problems America is having at the moment as you probably have heard is combating the bumper-belly causing “high fructose corn syrup“. The cause of this is mostly political – the goverment over here has dumped about $40 Billion of funding into it’s production (because corn is a cash crop and a simple manipulation makes it in to a preservative) so now it’s in literally everything, but you can learn about that yourself if you are so inclined, so how to spot it in the UK….

In the UK it’s labelled maize-syrup or glucose-fructose. Thankfully for us Brits the US are smart enough not to include it in their UK exports, (presumably because they believe we’re a bit more health conscious across the pond) but some products sneak it in. You probably want to steer clear.

*Okay you probably wouldn’t be better off eating a donut wrapped in bacon, but there again you sure as hell wouldn’t buy a doughnut wrapped in bacon as part of a body building regime.

**Apologies and congratulations to all the Americans that aren’t fat, it’s not at all easy to be healthy here

If you have any stories on shockingly bad protein powders and supplements, send them my way via neurobonkers@gmail.com or leave a comment.

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