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Healthcare is a big business in the US, and getting bigger all the time.   The internet and social media have entered the action in response to consumer demand for information as part of a healthy desire for, well, more health.  For the venture capitalist this means opportunity with a capital O.    

  This consumer demand is as old as mankind.  Through the ages, communities around the globe have depended on their shamans, clerics, or medicine men.  Science and evidence base led to startling new developments beginning in the nineteenth century.  As the science of medicine has evolved, the now infamous snake oil salesmen emerged with it.  Travelling across the country, they pawned off Aunt Elmira’s secret miracle health tonic as the cure from everything from hangnail to heart disease.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The Internet is full these days of eager skeptics, debunkers, anti-crank, and anti-Quack websites. In the harsh, absolutist language full of insults, innuendo, and invented terms like crank, woo, pseudoscience, and quackery. This has in turn led to a proliferation of counter websites using pretty much the same tone. Whether it’s global warming, physics, autism, herbal remedies, homeopathy, acupuncture, or the oldest and most overdone argument of all, God. The insults fly, the adrenaline rushes and the dopamine rewards. What is shut off is logic, understanding, and trust. Welcome to wonderful world of the Internet.

The problem is, this approach doesn’t influence anyone except like minded individuals, who become more stubborn and radical. These skeptics are doing more harm to their cause than good. Most Americans, by a large majority, don’t believe in evolution and it’s not for a lack of loud voices proclaiming the evidence. I think some of this is a natural reaction. Call me crazy, but I don’t think people like being told they are stupid. Not only that, I don’t think people who refuse to take scientist’s word on an issue are stupid at all. Read the rest of this entry »

One thing that consistently amazes me about the human mind is its intricate relationship to our health and well being. In anxiety, your muscles remain constantly tense and flexed, burning your energy supply, leaving you exhausted. Panic attacks can feel identical to heart attacks, as your body is flooded with stress hormones.

Every specialty has their own somatoform disorder. These are real physical symptoms that occur as a result of an outside stressor. They can include headache, irritable bowel syndrome, wheezing and trouble breathing, nonepileptic seizures, paralysis, chest pain, rashes or a host of other symptoms. Despite the tendency to claim, “It’s all in your head,”all of these conditions are very real and lead to the consumption of a lot of physician’s time.
Unfortunately because they are intricately related to the mind, they tend to be written off by doctors. We tend to see conditions as either physical or mental when the truth with any disease is that there are always strong components of both.

So where does this prejudice stem from? Oddly enough, I think it is rooted in our scientifically useful proof of the mind body connection, the placebo. Read the rest of this entry »

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