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More Fake News

posted May 31, 2017, 6:51 PM by Thomas Stern
Politicians are not the only people who have to deal with fake news.  Physicians deal with it on a regular basis as well.  The source is the same - the main stream media and the internet.  If you believed advertisements for supplements, FDA approved drugs and devices there would not be a need for physicians.  One of those 3 things can cure whatever afflicts you - whether it's obesity, insomnia, depression, anxiety, wrinkles or sexual dysfunction. The ads can be convincing.  The problem is they prey on desperate people. After trying years of things that don't work they will stumble in my door.  What greets them is not what they want to hear.  It's called reality.

There are a couple of questions I answer on a daily basis because there is so much misleading information being advertised.  One is alternative treatments to sleep apnea.  I dream of the day there is a comfortable easy to use effective treatment for sleep apnea.  There was a nerve stimulator invented a couple years ago that I really thought was going to replace CPAP.  The problem is it does not work as well as CPAP.  The only results I have seen published were in a group of mostly men that were not very obese (Average BMI of 28) and whose sleep apnea was moderate on average (AHI=29).  The AHI improved to 9 one year after the procedure.  The procedure was associated with serious adverse events and almost 1/3 were considered non-responders.  The device costs $20,000 and the procedure to put it in costs $30,000 to total $50,000.  Oh, and by the way insurance companies are not paying for it.  Still there are advertisements that paint a rosy picture.

The second question I answer frequently is the use of stem cell transplants to treat COPD.  For $7,000 cash there are clinics that will harvest your stem cells and then give them back to you to help with your COPD. Ironically the physicians working in this clinic are not even pulmonologists.  There is not one piece of credible evidence that demonstrate stem cell therapy works for COPD.  If there were - insurance companies would be standing in line to pay for it.  Two years of treatment with the currently available COPD meds costs more than $7,000. If this procedure worked I would learn how to do it myself.  Unfortunately it does not.

It seems fake news is part of our society that is here to stay.  It is bound to be part of society with free speech that values the pursuit of fame and financial gain over the truth.
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