Labor Day Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Drew Holden
    @DrewHolden360

    THREAD

    We’ve got to talk about the Rolling Stone invermectin article. Turns out the story about rural hospitals so flooded with ODs that they couldn’t treat other patients was made up, entirely invented.

    A lot of people took the bait, and I’ve got the screenshots.

    Certainly got me.

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  2. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    By the time I read the Rolling Stone story, they had already posted the hospital’s disclaimer.

    What was the doctor who made up this bullshit hoping to accomplish?

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  3. steve says:

    What are the docs who claim HCQ and Ivermectin works hoping to accomplish? I just accept that there are a lot of weird people with strange motivations out there. That said, it may be a bit more likely that he was passing on a garbled, inflated story that kept getting worse with every retelling. There is a good chance that someone did see a poisoning case or thought they did. There is a good chance that on some day the hospital had to divert cases. (Hospitals do there best to never admit they had to do that. They will always say they are open and ready to care for pts even when they are full and holding lots of people in the ED.) Probably all got conflated.

    Steve

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  4. Mu Yixiao says:

    @steve:

    That said, it may be a bit more likely that he was passing on a garbled, inflated story that kept getting worse with every retelling.

    This is why you have checks and balances in journalism. No editor worth a spit would allow a story like that to make it to print without having multiple, verifiable, first-hand documentation. But then…. Rolling Stone has shown more than once that they don’t care about journalism, just a flashy story–truth be damned.

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  5. Kathy says:

    Just draw some stick figures with black Sharpie in photos of the hospital and declare it the only truth, why not?

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  6. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Absolutely true.

    And–this was an entirely predictable result of the story–the Ivermectin Fan Club has already decided that the Rolling Stone story was another attempt by the Deep State globalists to prevent access to ivermectin, which now has made them even more eager to obtain it.

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  7. Kathy says:

    So, the infamous family wedding went on last Saturday 4th. I couldn’t find a way not to attend.

    It was small, relatively speaking, with only family attending. Still, around 40 to 50 people in an indoor space, albeit with good ventilation. the thing is there were exactly three people, including me, wearing masks. I got there at 2 pm. The civil ceremony was over by around 2:50, and I left by 3:00. Meaning I didn’t stay for the reception. No way was I going to remove my mask indoors with so many people around.

    Allegedly all people attending have been vaccinated, but there was no tangible proof of that. Besides, there were three children under 12, who very likely have not bene vaccinated. Prior to widespread Delta, I might have felt more relaxed, especially being vaccinated myself. With Delta, though, I’m back to minimizing risks and not taking stupid and unnecessary chances.

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  8. Tony W says:

    @Kathy: We continue to fly between our two homes, with a KN94 mask and another mask over the top of that. The terminal and jetway feels FAR more dangerous than does the airplane itself.

    So far it has been okay. Yesterday’s flight may change my story, hopefully not.

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    @steve: The ivermectin thing doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I would be willing to bet that a significant minority of people who frequent the comment sections of this blog, perhaps even a majority, take a supplement of some form or another. And in almost all cases there is no legitimate clinical evidence these have any positive effect. On top of that, the supplements industry is essentially unregulated, little better than the snake oil sold out of wagons in the 1800’s, so even in the very rare case where there may be clinical evidence, if you are buying non-prescription supplements you have no guarantee about what is in them.

    My guess is that the gut reaction to these objectively true statements by a fair number of the readers here will be anger and resentment, and a rush to explain how wrong I am because of their special circumstances. And the readers of this comment section tend to be significantly better read and more skeptical then 90% of the population.

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  10. Kathy says:

    @Tony W:

    IMO, the clear first and most important lesson of the trump pandemic is: don’t let your guard down. When you do, SARS-CoV-2 spreads like wildfire.

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  11. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: Here’s a good resource on supplements and what they may/may not be good for: http://www.examine.com

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  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I will rush to agree with you. There are entire aisles at CVS filled with nothing but quack ‘medicine.’ The dishonesty of the ‘wellness’ industry, and the credulity of people who rush to embrace each new nutritional fad, helped lay the foundation for anti-vaxxers.

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  13. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Food is very regulated. I’m confident vitamin-enriched milk does contain the advertised amounts of vitamins A and D.

    Me, I don’t take supplements precisely because I know they’re not regulated and who knows what they really contain.

    Still, there’s a major difference between taking supplements, which are merely an addition to substances one already consumes in food (or that are produced by the body), and a biologically active drug with known side effects.

    Now, drugs are regulated. So if you don’t take too much of most approved medications, you should be fine. By far, most of the covidiots taking ivermectin are hurting only their wallets, and if that’s the precaution they take against the trump virus, they are also at a high risk for COVID (and that can hurt much more than their wallets).

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  14. steve says:

    MarkedMan- The supplement industry and also the fad diets. My long held belief is that nearly all diet studies and claims are wrong. If you see a really good one and think it might be correct you probably just missed something.

    Steve

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  15. Kathy says:

    I finished Duncan’s book on Lafayette, Hero of Two Worlds, yesterday.

    Two things stand out about the man: 1) he held his youthful idealism throughout his entire life, which is very rare, and 2) he didn’t live to see his vision realized either for France or America. In the former, because it still had to deal with conservative, authoritarian kings, and later Napoleon III, and the latter because it still hasn’t granted real equality to people of color.

    Moving on to Bad Blood, the story of Elizabeth Holmes and the fraud(s) she perpetrated with Theranos.

    One thing I’d not considered, and it shocked me, was that Holmes courted pharmaceutical companies, as they’d value her non-existent technology for evaluating clinical trials at a lower cost. Imagine all the new drugs developed and tested every year evaluated by a fraudulent system.

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: I don’t know anything about these guys and am curious why you consider them “a good source”? Do they address the repeated findings over decades that OTC supplements rarely contain the labeled dosages of what they purport to contain and are sometimes contaminated with things not on the labels including nut oils and gluten? Because it would seem to me that if you are legitimately researching and advising on supplements that would be one of the most important things to address and you would owe it to your readership to put that information prominently on your website.

    Here’s a good summary of the state of legitimate, controlled, peer reviewed research into the benefits of supplements. TL:DR – There isn’t much evidence for any that are not already part of our food chain, and in the rare case where there is a legitimate medical need for a specific supplement you should get a pharmaceutical grade one, not something manufactured by the equivalent of Ronco.

    Unfortunately, many doctors are selling this junk themselves either because of a “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude or because they are the type of doctors that flit from chloroquine to invermectin to supplements, I.e., crummy doctors.

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  17. Mister Bluster says:

    No supplements for me.
    The only daily dose I take is the Kroger brand over the counter acid reducer omeprazole. It works.
    Ocassionally I will hit ibuprofen if the pain in my knees gets bad enough however I can go weeks without it. I do go through at least two, 1/2 gal containers of Kroger Orange Juice a month. If the OJ spiked with calcium has the freshest expiration date I buy it. Otherwise I get whatever is the freshest on the shelf.
    At 73 I am grateful that I get along just fine without blood pressure meds or any of the other potions and pills that I see folks even alot younger than me ingest every day.
    Good genes?
    Thanks mom! Thanks dad!
    RIP
    ——–
    EDIT key!

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  18. Jen says:

    Americans eat too much to be seriously vitamin deficient. The one exception appears to be vitamin D, and there is mixed science on the efficacy of vitamin D3 supplementation. That’s the only supplement I bother taking. Yes, I know all the reporting on supplements. I also know that food sources of vitamin D are hard to come by, and as someone who burns easily and lives in the Northeast, I’m unlikely to get sufficient sun to make up for it.

    I also know that as a fat-soluble vitamin, large doses are dangerous.

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  19. Jen says:

    Did anyone else already highlight the letter a group of Republican members of Congress sent to the CEO of Yahoo? They sent it to Marissa Mayer, who hasn’t been CEO since 2017.

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  20. Mister Bluster says:

    Quackwatch is a web site I discovered years ago. Lately it has been critical of bogus Covid scams.

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  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: I think you have it about right. I’ve just started taking vitamin D (from the supermarket), as for the past three years my annual checkup has shown me low. However, the clinical research just isn’t that robust. Serious defiency, yes, that’s definitely bad and a supplement can help. But minor deficiency? And a minor deficiency corrected by a vitamin supplement? The last time I checked there was no real research showing a benefit. But, that little bit of research also shows that it does no harm. I’ll take the supplement for the next year, and if my level improves will probably keep taking it. If not, I’ll ask the doc for a prescription version and try that for a year. If it cost more than a few dollars a year, or had any indication of negative affects, I would do a heck of a lot more research on PubMed before I started taking it.

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I’m a bit surprised Yahoo! still exists.

    More concerning is the intimidation campaign these Republicans are attempting. they’ve no legal basis for it, it’s not against the law to comply with a Congressional request or subpoena, and one can always refuse and ask a court for relief (likely, though, by the people targeted more than the companies who own the data).

    But they are also saying they’ll pass laws to punish these companies if they take Congress in next year’s midterm elections. And with their pet Justices, they may be able to flagrantly do so.

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  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jen:…Did anyone else already highlight the letter a group of Republican members of Congress sent to the CEO of Yahoo? They sent it to Marissa Mayer, who hasn’t been CEO since 2017.

    OTB yesterday:

    Teve says:
    Sunday, 5 September 2021 at 13:35
    @Teve: One of the letters these Trumper congresspersons sent was to

    Ms. Marissa Mayer
    President and CEO
    Yahoo! Inc.

    Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

    “These guys could fuck up a baked potato.”

    (I am quoting Teve)

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  24. Teve says:

    12:53 pm today when i saw the dumbest thing I’ll see today:

    Biden should be Court-Martial…not impeached…

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  25. Teve says:

    @steve:

    My long held belief is that nearly all diet studies and claims are wrong. If you see a really good one and think it might be correct you probably just missed something.

    Steve

    Having worked in science, I basically ignore all news stories about it now. “A new study says…” fuck off with that. Get back to me when 12 research groups are working on it, then I’ll know you might have something.

    And health & nutrition studies in humans are nearly impossible outside of extreme effects like “what’s causing all these Rickets in this specific location?”

    Hell Saturated Fats have been studied for decades, and I can barely get an idea of whether/how bad they are. Thanks a lot, Ancel Keys.

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  26. Teve says:

    @Kathy: Bad Blood is very good.

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  27. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Jen: The error points out that the congressional staffers these folks hire are no more informed than they are. Grandstanding and threats good, facts and reality bad.

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  28. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: My husband was seriously deficient (tested by his doctor, who upon reviewing his results said that his vitamin D levels were the lowest he’d ever seen) and was prescribed a high-dose vitamin D supplementation regimen for a year (he had to get the prescription from a pharmacist), and then re-tested. His levels were still on the low side, but much better. His doctor told him to keep taking a daily supplement. That’s when I started taking vitamin D.

    @Mister Bluster: Thank you! I figured someone had likely already posted it. It’s…astonishing, and yes on the baked potato too.

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  29. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: Why do I consider it a good source? Unbiased analysis of relevant research done by professionals with advanced degrees in relevant fields, their editorial and content creation policies are clearly stated, and the analyses are supported with direct references to the primary research studies.

    Also, they take no ads, promote no products, and require their researchers have no conflicts of interest as a condition of employment.

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  30. Teve says:

    @AstroKatie

    You can tell when someone actually wants to reduce abortion because they support the things that make it rare, like increased access to birth control and good sex education. If they oppose those things too, they just want to use babies as a punishment for having unauthorized sex.

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  31. Jen says:

    @Mr. Prosser: I was a Congressional intern a very long time ago and the thing is, the precise role of the staff is to prevent stuff like that from happening. I’m flabbergasted that it went that far. Here’s how those letters get drafted and signed: someone has the idea, that Member assigns it to staff to write. This probably means that member’s chief of staff asked another member of the staff to draft it. Then, the letter is circulated to each of the offices for signature, which usually involves a staffer going from one office to the next–each of these would be a place where the error either could have or should have been noticed.

    That single letter probably passed through the hands of well over a dozen individuals–probably close to two dozen. And not ONE of them noticed.

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  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: Before I dive into their research, I’ll ask again: have they ever addressed the decades long exposes that show that a very high percentage of OTC supplements don’t contain what they say they do? Because if they are not addressing that, then they aren’t addressing one of the most important problems with the supplement industry and, quite frankly, really aren’t worth checking into.

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  33. Teve says:

    Minnesota State Patrol destroyed texts, emails after riot response

    Minnesota State Patrol officers conducted a mass purge of emails and text messages immediately after their response to riots last summer, leaving holes in the paper trail as the courts and other investigators attempt to reconstruct whether law enforcement used improper force in the chaos following George Floyd’s murder.

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  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve:Actual research in these areas is extremely hard, because of the incredible difficulty of doing real experiments. As an example, we have known for many decades that high cholesterol levels are associated with cardiac problems. Is this a case where the cholesterol itself is causing the cardiac problems or is it more like skin cancer being more prevalent in people with red hair – i.e. that dying their hair black is not going to do anything about the fair skin that often goes with the red hair? We have been treating high cholesterol with statins for decades, but I was surprised to learn that for most of that time the clinical evidence boiled down to “1) high cholesterol is associated with cardiac disease, 2) statins are shown to lower cholesterol”. It wasn’t until well into the 2000’s that the loop was closed and it was shown in a broad and deep controlled study that the statins themselves reduced the incidence of serious cardiac events.

    End of story, right? Well, more recent research seems to be showing that statins reduce cardiac events even in people without high cholesterol. So, is the risk reduction mechanism lowering the cholesterol? Or is that simply something that is associated with it? More importantly, is it the cholesterol itself that is causing the problems?

    This is important to me because my wife has had very high cholesterol all her life, despite being slim and fit and, at times, almost totally vegetarian for years at a time. She reacts very badly to statins. On some more sophisticated measurements of cardiac risk she comes in very low, with the only warning bell being the cholesterol level. So I’ve been following this research for 20+ years and, the truth is, we still know very little about what, if anything, high cholesterol directly contributes to cardiac events.

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  35. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Dietary studies are of low quality because they rely on self-reporting, which is terribly spotty and completely out of the control of the researchers.

    It would also be unethical to confine people under controlled conditions for a lengthy time, and give them a double-blind diet to see whether they develop cardiac issues or not. So these studies are carried out on animals, but that is hard to extrapolate for humans.

    I’m convinced to reduce trans-fatty acids, such as those found in margarine and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. The reason is such trans-fats crystallize, and that’s bad if they wind up in the arteries.

    Cholesterol is more problematic because it’s a substance that both the body makes and uses. It forms part of the membrane of many types of cells, for instance. Since we make our own, it stands to reason that we don’t need to add to it. Except we can handle some amount, because cells have cholesterol receptors, and they stop making it if they can grab it among other nutrients. So it’s really complicated.

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  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Have to admit that having a parent who was a “supplements-wing nut job” is good training for the future. Especially if you are a touch medically fragile with a chronic condition that every alternative medicine system from acupuncture to whatever “zee” would be promises not only relief from the symptoms but absolute reversal of the chronic condition. By the time I was 10, I’d been alternative medicined to the point of not being willing to go to a chiropractor for a achy back.

    Now, I take 3 supplements–all documented as needed by blood work, and 2 out of the three having met the goal of raising my levels out of the “too low” range. (I’m still anemic. We can’t figure out why, but aren’t looking hard at my age anymore and my blood oxygen is fine even with COPD, so I’m not sure we need to be concerned.)

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  37. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Does your wife have a good ratio of HDL to LDL? My father’s side of the family has high cholesterol numbers, but that is apparently only part of the story. While the total number is high, is largely because the HDL numbers (the “good” number) is high, which allegedly is protective. (This is true for me as well–my total number is on the high side but my doctor is not concerned because my LDL numbers are low and the HDL number is high.)

    Well, more recent research seems to be showing that statins reduce cardiac events even in people without high cholesterol.

    This is interesting–if they didn’t have high cholesterol, why were they put on statins? Or was that the study, to put people with normal cholesterol numbers on statins and see how they reacted?

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  38. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: take cholesterol in particular—I’ve heard everything from ‘dietary cholesterol is irrelevant w/r/t blood cholesterol’ to ‘no, dietary is associated with cardiovascular disease’. To ‘sat fat elevates blood cholesterol”. Have you found Any solid info about cholesterol, sat fat, and cardiovascular disease?

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  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Supplementation–with Vitamin D2 and subsequently, additional D3 daily worked for me. But it did take 4 years to get the level measured in my blood up above the minimum “normal” concentration. Iron supplementation, so far, has not panned out.

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  40. dazedandconfused says:

    What contributed greatly to the COVID snake-oil phenom was at the outbreak the medical experts had no answers. Acknowledging ignorance is an unavoidable first step on the path of knowledge and unfortunately swings the door wide open for charlatans.

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  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: In my area, Vitamin D2–50,000 IU once a week–goes at about $14 for a month’s supply. You will need a prescription and chances are good that your prescription drug program won’t pay for it as it’s still a food supplement.

    I was put on D2 because my level was 4 of whatever unit they measure where 10-something is the base of a fairly large “normal” range. I was seriously deficient. And, again, it’s taken about 4 years to raise the level up. A year might not be enough of a trial.

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  42. Teve says:

    @dazedandconfused: admitting “we don’t know much” at the outset is crucial to the scientific process, but people who don’t know any better hear it as “your guess is as good as mine, do what you want.”

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  43. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: 5ok? Wow. I take like 1k and I’m a little wary, cuz it’s fat-soluble.

    Meta-analyses suggest it’s associated with better sleep, and as a lifelong insomniac I’ll try anything.

    I hope the label on the bottle is accurate, but the only way to be confident would be to just order the molecule from sigma aldrich etc, and i spent too mich dreary time in labs to do that anymore. 😀

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  44. Teve says:

    @thehyyyype

    scoring in hockey: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    scoring in baseball: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    scoring in basketball: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10

    scoring in tennis: love, 15, 30, 40, turkey sandwich, spider, 57, keanu reeves

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: ” And not ONE of them noticed. cared enough to pay any attention to the details (???)” Perhaps because Marissa Meyer was such a high profile CEO for Yahoo (which I still use, but can see Kathy’s point about) nobody thought to check.

    And yeah, glossing over is a real problem, but it happens all the time. I used to teach proofreading methods said to help you not read what you thought your were saying instead of what you wrote when I taught comp. (I should have used one on a comment from yesterday.)

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  46. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    admitting “we don’t know much” at the outset is crucial to the scientific process, but people who don’t know any better hear it as “your guess is as good as mine, do what you want.”

    A couple of months ago after Rochelle Walensky proposed to “update the guidance should the science shift again,” Gateway Pundit declared that Walensky “admitted the science shifts with the political winds.”

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  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: My doctor put me on a low dose of a statin to “prevent blood clots” and because a-fib contributes to heart problems beyond the obvious situations that call for taking warfarin. I was taking a larger statin dose for actual high cholesterol while I was in Korea, but the statin and whatever dietary changes living there promoted seemed to lower it really well and it has stayed low since.

    When my cholesterol level went down, I asked my Korean cardiologist if that meant I could stop taking the meds. He said, “no, stopping the medication doesn’t work that way.”

    ETA: Forgot to note that I eventually DID stop taking statins when my PCP at the time noticed that my cholesterol was REALLY low and decided to see what would happen if I went off them. Nothing did, so the low dose that I take now was an addition.

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  48. Beth says:

    My last blood test says that I’m fairly anemic. I’m expecting to be put on some sort of iron supplement. The more interesting thing for me is why? Is it because I’m in my 40’s? Is it because I currently have the estrogen level of a first trimester pregnant person? Who knows? I wouldn’t have know except for the blood test. The only things I’ve noticed is I’m even more emotional than I usually am (which is very) and my cramps are worse.

    The stupid thing is I bet no one knows why? There’s no money in researching why something happens to a tiny portion of a tiny community. There seems to be no interest in spending any money on really basic, really esoteric science about how weird human bodies actually are.

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  49. Beth says:

    Sooooo, while I was typing out my last comment my neighbor stopped to chat and informed me that Covid never going away because it was made in a lab. He said, with a straight face, that if it was natural it would go away, like the flu.

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  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: There’s also a difference between what you buy at the store–Vitamin D3 and what I was taking by prescription–Vitamin D2. D2 is a weekly dose of a slow absorbing version of the nutrient. If I’d been taking 50 1K, IU D3s per day, I’d probably be dead. It’s 2 different things. But yeah, D2 is for pretty extreme deficiencies. My level was less than half of the bottom of the normal range.

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: Like the flu??? REALLY???

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  52. dazedandconfused says:

    @Teve:

    They are called confidence men for good reason.

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  53. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    A couple of months ago after Rochelle Walensky proposed to “update the guidance should the science shift again,” Gateway Pundit declared that Walensky “admitted the science shifts with the political winds.”

    Jim Hoft earned that nickname.

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  54. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yeah…. It was tough to keep my face straight and my mouth shut.

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  55. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: yeah d2 is slower absorbing. I don’t know that I’m deficient so i take the jucier d3 once every few days.

    D2:d3::cocaine:crack 😛

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  56. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: you can get d2 over the counter, just not your truckload amount 😀

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  57. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: This is where I often agree with them and add an extra “fact” — perhaps that the flu was created in a lab, and was a biological weapon used in WW I, and is the reason we have treaties banning biological weapons.

    (Sure, there were things that were called the flu before hand, but it’s the difference between the flu and la grippe, which was the French term for the new, much more deadly variant we have now)

    People who don’t know me often mistake me for conservative for some reason.

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  58. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: There’s a page on choosing supplements that goes into how to determine you’re getting what you pay for, but remember they don’t test the physical products themselves, they deep-dive and analyze the research that’s been done on the active (or maybe not so active, depending) ingredients. They look at the relevant research and produce rankings based on the intended outcome, number of studies, quality of the studies, and how strongly (or not) the ingredient produces the outcome.

    Since we’re talking about vitamin D: https://examine.com/supplements/vitamin-d/

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  59. CSK says:

    With respect to Vitamin D: I have a longtime friend who’s a professor of orthopedic surgery at the Harvard Medical School and a professor of oral and facial surgery at the Harvard Dental School, and she’s been a total proponent of Vitamin D supplements ever since she participated in some clinical trials years ago. I can provide her name if anyone would like to check her research in the area.

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  60. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Gustopher:

    People who don’t know me often mistake me for conservative for some reason.

    I’d say a significant part of that is your ability to keep a straight face when you’re agreeing with them.

    People who don’t know me think I’m a short, fat, old, conservative dude. People who do know me think I’m a short, fat, old, homicidal, lunatic, whack job. And who’s to say either group is wrong? (Insert shrug emoji)

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  61. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    High cholesterol is only one fairly easily measured of heart illness risk. I always had normal blood pressure and cholesterol, but about 5 years ago they filleted me and re-jiggered the plumbing. After that, the cardiologist (who I believe is Doogie Housers, kid sister) insists on statins and BP meds

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  62. Mister Bluster says:

    War Breaks Out on the Southside of Sleepytown!
    The two gas stations that I noted dropping gas prices to $2.999 across from each other here yesterday have escalated to full engagement! This am one was $2.989 and the other $2.979. The skirmish has continued all day and now one station is $2.969 only to be challenged by a $2.959 price across the street. How long can this last? Will this spread to the other 8 gas stations in town the closest being 2 miles away and all showing gas prices at least 10¢/gal higher?
    A quick check of Gas Buddy shows a standoff of $2.959 at the two south side outlets since I began this dispatch.
    I am giving all credit for this gas war to Joe!

    (That would be Joe Btfsplk.)

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  63. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: No offense intended, but a source of information on supplements that doesn’t speak to the incredibly high percentage of bogus supplements on the market is highly suspect. They may claim to be independent and unbiased but, well, anyone can claim that.

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  64. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: You could always go check it out yourself.

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  65. Kathy says:

    I tend to favor solving vitamin and mineral deficiencies with dietar sources rather than supplements. But then, I’ve never dealt with one myself.

    Years ago, feels like mid-to-late 80s, we were in Houston, where my mom caught some piece on TV about osteoporosis and calcium supplements. I suggested a glass of milk each day, and she actually yelled at me.

    Fast forward to the late 90s, my dad had an iron deficiency, in part as a result of internal bleeding in the intestinal track. The doctor prescribed supplements, but also red meat and leafy vegetables (among other dietary sources).

    Of course, some deficiencies are the result of an inability to absorb or break down certain nutrients. In such cases, supplements would seem more apropriate.

    Question, should iron supplement pills react to magnets?

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  66. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    Question, should iron supplement pills react to magnets?

    If the iron pills have the Covid vaccine, then obviously.

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  67. Teve says:

    Z

    ReplyReply
  68. Mikey says:

    @Teve:

    Z

    Dragonball or World War?

    ReplyReply
  69. Teve says:

    @Mikey: when you can’t get an edit box, adding another comment often unlocks the power. It did here.

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  70. Jen says:

    @Kathy: I agree completely that dietary sources are preferable. However, if you have low vitamin D levels, it is actually hard to get sufficient amounts from food. You need it from increased sun exposure (this is because Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced by the body). Increased sun exposure has its own risks–this is why supplements are actually considered remotely beneficial.

    For almost every other vitamin, food sources are sufficient.

    Calcium is an odd one–it’s absolutely essential but hard for the body to process. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, your cells start to use what is in your bones, which can lead to osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps with absorption, which is why it’s added to milk. Spinach contains a fair amount of calcium but it also has high amounts of oxalate, which prevents the calcium from being absorbed by the body. The calcium added to orange juice is one of the most easily absorbed forms of calcium.

    Milk and dairy are good forms, but you have to ingest calcium throughout the day in order for it to be absorbed properly.

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  71. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I’ve read the ability of skin to synthesize vitamin D with sunlight decreases with age, and some people plain can’t make enough.

    I’m not opposed to supplements. I just don’t trust their quality.

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  72. Teve says:

    @Jen:

    Spinach contains a fair amount of calcium but it also has high amounts of oxalate, which prevents the calcium from being absorbed by the body.

    This fact can be useful. My dad was prone to kidney stones, which are usually calcium oxalate. I drink the hell out of coffee and tea and I damn sure don’t want any stones, which he had years before the age I am now. So how do I reduce my chances of getting kidney stones even while drinking coffee and tea with lots of oxalate? I add milk to both. The calcium and the oxalate together bind in your gut and become insoluble and pass right through you.

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  73. Andy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It wasn’t just Rolling Stone. Lots of places picked up and ran with a bad story they didn’t bother to check.

    https://reason.com/2021/09/06/ivermectin-overdoses-oklahoma-hospitals-rolling-stone-hoax/

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  74. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: Why, though? The internet is chock full of people claiming to be experts. And industries have thousands and thousands of people generating legitimate-sounding BS in order to promote their business interests. My table stakes in judging any source of information is to try to identify something that represents the greatest challenge to the debate on either side and see if they address it fairly. Do they ignore it? Address it by hoisting up straw men and whacking them with sticks? Regurgitate superficial “both sides” pablum? If so, they aren’t worth the effort. And a slick seeming site seeking to “inform the public” about supplements that doesn’t deem it worthy to mention that much of what you can buy without a prescription isn’t going to contain what it says on the label and may contain harmful things to boot? Well, I don’t have to assume they are financed by the supplements industry to realize they aren’t really providing useful information.

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  75. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Re: the magnets. I suspect you meant that as a joke, but I have Hemochromatosis. It’s easily treatable but if left untreated iron accumulates in your organs and bones until you die a horrible death. Another name for it is “the bronze disease” because people dying from it can develop what seems to be a ruddy, healthy color. Anecdotally, sufferers have claimed that before treatment they set off metal detectors. I’m skeptical, but on the other hand enough iron oxide to turn a whole body tan might actually have an effect on airport scanners. Which is a long way of saying that perhaps iron supplements would react slightly to a strong enough magnet.

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  76. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Why, though?

    Because I don’t think I’ve done a particularly good job of relating why I think it has value and it would just be more efficient if you looked at it and judged for yourself. Maybe you are right and I’ve been missing something important.

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  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I ended up taking D2 because my PCP grew up in Memphis and is convinced that people in the PNW not getting enough sunlight to synthesize Vitamin D is a condition of life here apart from any age related or genetic situations. Up til her, I don’t recall anyone ever testing my Vitamin D levels.

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  78. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    No, I was quite serious. Iron is attracted by magnets, and I thought one way to check iron supplements would be to see if a magnet has any effect on them.

    ReplyReply
  79. Mimai says:

    @Mikey:
    @MarkedMan:

    Your back and forth motivated a quick search of the website. You’re welcome.

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  80. Teve says:

    @Mimai: that site looks pretty legit, is my guess.

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  81. Teve says:

    https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/foxs-effort-undermine-vaccines-has-only-worsened

    Fox coverage of vaccines has gotten more negative.

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  82. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai: Reading that, you would not get any impression that there was a problem with adulterated or bogus supplements. It mentions there are four industry groups that purport to validate content but doesn’t discuss whether any of the many products found to be sham had one of those industry group certificates. Bottom line, they make no mention of the study I linked to or the many years worth of testing that Consumer Reports did that showed similar results. (Alas, discontinued as of late.) Nothing in that article was inconsistent with what I would expect to find at an industry funded white washing effort.

    ReplyReply

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