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Miracle cures and foggy hypochondriacs
by Michael Giardina

Why do drug manufacturers insist on being door-to-door salesmen? Ask your doctor what Zocor can do for you! Ask your doctor if Viagra is right for you! Screw you!

These greedy drug corporations are the Wal-Marts of medical care, tricking common folk into believing their doctors are incapable of translating symptoms into valid diagnoses.

In fact, many folks believe their doctors are hiding cures to perhaps serve their own moral agendas. Come on. Do you believe our doctors spent 12 years of their lives studying health only to proactively weed the sickly out of the gene pool?

Some people think so. In fact, thousands of Internet citizens find solace by sniffing around online chat forums requesting and offering the secret cures they believe our doctors have wrongfully neglected to mention.

"I have had Candida for over 12 years, and was finally diagnosed three years ago," explains one frustrated man. I suppose the first nine years were self-diagnosed. Well, great! That's scientific.

I suppose it took that many years because doctors had trouble with his symptoms: "I seem to have the Candida in my right upper saliva gland. As I eat, it seems to be feeding the Candida right into my mouth." As I chew something that has carbohydrates in it, my right cheek starts to tingle and the brain fog starts within two to three minutes."

Spooky, isn't it? Not only can he identify the species of parasite, but he can also identify the gland it's residing in, as well as feel it eating the food out of his cheeks. And what is this evil infection the man has effectively diagnosed himself with? Well, Candida is yeast; yes, just like any common yeast infection.

So what do our friendly, fake-family, pseudo-Ph.D., Internet communities recommend for this poor fellow? They suggest black walnut tincture, lavender flowers, valerian root, pau d'arco, tea tree oil, golden seal tincture, grapefruit seed extract, barberry tincture, Echinacea, liquid chlorophyll, wheatgrass, barley juice, myrrh, biotin, caprylic acid and oil of oregano. Gee, supplement companies don't stand to benefit from this exhaustive list, now do they?

Thank God for the Internet! I mean, just imagine if a television commercial had to remind everyone to ask their doctors about each and every one of those cures in a mere 30-second timeslot. No wonder they conveniently forget to tell you about those miracle cures. They're too busy.

Seriously, though: why do we insist on creating a culture of hypochondriacs? One television ad for a new depression medication asks television viewers whether they feel tired or anxious all of the time. As if that doesn't already describe half of our overworked population, they still proceed to say, "Don't worry. It isn't your fault." Thanks, but how the hell do you know if it's my fault? I can just imagine some chronic methamphetamine-snorting addict who hasn't slept for three days, exclaiming "Oh great! I snort crystal and never sleep, but it's not my fault that I'm tired and anxious all the time."

You might suppose these fearful folks on the outskirts of medical sanity are few and far between, but this is far from the truth. On a single Internet chat forum concerning Candida, there are over 237 pages of archives documenting the 25,000 concerns the site's posters have.

In a discussion board a few clicks away from Candida, another group of folk, "liver cleansers," are convinced they need to consume a half-cup of extra virgin olive oil, one large grapefruit, four tablespoons of Epsom salts and three cups of water to expel huge, thumb-sized stones from their livers. There are 350 pages, archiving over 33,500 messages about everything from giving children the mixture to forcing it on AIDS patients.

Fine. Okay. I'm uneducated. Inform me. Prove it. If you end up passing a walnut, forward it to The Aggie. Who knows, maybe you'll make the front page.