As a child, I keep in mind the tune “June is bustin’ out throughout” from the musical Carousel. These days, June is Men’s Health Month, and with it comes some useful reminders. But Twitter is bustin’ out all over with balderdash, baloney, and BS on many guys’ fitness topics. If you go to the #MensHealthMonth hashtag on Twitter, you may fall into a rabbit hollow of Tweets reminding you about what’s probably incorrect with you if you’re a person. Behind almost all of those Tweets are product promotions, clinical center advertising and marketing, doctor exercise PR, or other methods to show guys’ health problems into cash-makers. There’s no damage in seeking to make a dollar, consistent with se. But there is the harm in selling things that aren’t subsidized up by proof and in converting ordinary states of health into sickness with the aid of redefining what it’s far that human beings have to fear about.
Among the advertising messages that caught our eye on Twitter:
– Research indicates #astragalus may additionally assist reverse the herbal shortening of telomeres on chromosomes that happens with #getting older to sluggish #hairloss.
– Help the men you understand to live happier, healthier lives! #CheckYourCalcium
– Simple exams like the CT Scan can be lifesavers even while you don’t assume there’s a health subject.
– “Some men fear that their penis is simply too small.”
And what would Men’s Health Month be without warnings about approximately low testosterone?
One reader becomes worried about the following Tweet from a huge name medical middle in Chicago:
There’s nothing tough about the Tweet itself. It’s the records in the hyperlink that’s furnished that goes to a long way. I requested Dr. Richard Hoffman, professor of inner medication and epidemiology and director of standard internal medicine at the University of Iowa – and a longtime contributor to our undertaking – to deal with the claims. Rush urges men to “Think Zinc” – telling them to “Make positive which you’re getting the endorsed daily allowance — 15 milligrams in keeping with day — of zinc through foods inclusive of pumpkin seeds (in the shell), oysters, nuts, and beans, or by way of taking a zinc complement.”
But Dr. Hoffman spoke back: “The zinc claims are unfounded. Observational statistics (Leitzmann et al. in 2003 and Zhang et al. in 2008) surely recommend that zinc supplements are related to an increased hazard of prostate cancer, even though the proof is insufficient to determine whether or not this is a causal effect or due to confounding (along with men who see urologists are much more likely to be on zinc, screened for, and recognized with prostate cancer). I’m not finding any research looking at whether growing zinc intake improves decrease urinary tract symptoms in guys with prostate growth.”
Rush tells guys to “Eat More Tomato Sauce.” They say, “Research has proven that eating huge portions of cooked or processed tomato products — along with tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup — can be related to a discounted threat of prostate cancer.”
But Dr. Hoffman wrote: “This has no longer been validated in managed trials. Tomatoes are part of the wholesome Mediterranean weight loss plan, even though the advice for eating ketchup jogs my memory of the faculty lunch kerfluffle at some stage in the Reagan administration.” “Most critical — get screened,” emphasizes Rush. And that is also, in all likelihood, the maximum repeated recommendation in Men’s Health Month. Rush states: “Most prostate cancers are silent, meaning they don’t have symptoms until they’re more advanced. So even in the case you don’t revel in symptoms of prostate problems, it’s important to have regular bodily assessments and screenings to test for prostate cancer.”
Dr. Hoffman, who labored on shared choice-making instructional substances on prostate cancer for years, wrote me: “When even the American Urological Association shows assisting knowledgeable decision making, the pointers to get regular screening as a right of overdiagnosis and overtreatment is ludicrous. In catching cancers early, screening unearths massive proportions of indolent cancer—these cancers will now not develop. Hence, remedies are useless, albeit costly, and related to headaches adversely affecting urinary, sexual, and bowel characteristics. While suggestions advise DISCUSSING screening with excessive-threat men at an earlier age, there may be no evidence (because those men have been not protected within the randomized trials) that screening and early remedy is useful.”
This is a reminder that advertising, just like the announcement of Men’s Health Month and all the advertising and marketing and misinformation that includes it, is not continually beneficial. People can be harmed through deceptive incorrect information or claims that go past the limits of what evidence has shown. When I, first of all, requested Dr. Hoffman to reply, his first comment to me become: “Haven’t we commented on all of this earlier than?” Yes, we’ve got. The drift of polluted records to the general public continues, and it wishes to be cleaned up whenever and anywhere we can. But that’s why it’s important to preserve doing so.
Addendum on June 29:
Rita Rubin’s latest article in JAMA, “Debating Whether Checkups Are Time Wasted or Time Misused,” further explores some of the questions I raised above.