Sunday, March 27, 2005

The drugs don't work ...

Do you think that aspirin or paracetamol actually work? Do they kill that headache? I'm not sure that they do. (Paracetamol are Tylanol in other parts of the world)

I think of them in the same way I think of alternative therapy: I'm pleased that I've taken a painkiller, I've done something proactive, but if the pain does go away I never attribute this to the drug. And even if it does work, I wonder what percentage of an average headache it manages to slice away? Do they gather these results? How do they measure them?

Scientist: So, it's been 30 minutes since you took the painkiller. How do you feel?

Patient: Well the headache isn't so bad but that could be because I just had a nice cup of tea and a bit of a relax ...

I'm trying to draw a parallel, in my head, with weather forecasts. I don't take those seriously either. If it does end up being sunny like the forecasters say (though often it's a different prediction on each tv or radio channel) then, again, I never think: "oh well done, you got it right". In fact the weather forecasters don't even get factored in. Likewise paracetamol and over-the-counter painkillers simply don't work.

I've often thought that we should have alternative therapy based nuclear weapons. that way, if we hear there has been a strike on our country we should all just stand in the streets, wait, wait some more, keep on waiting and see which person starts to get affected first. "Ooh, I think I can feel something! Wow these weapons really do work". And then they'll probably get their own cable show for being victims of an aggressive homeopathic attack on their unusually sensitive constitutions.

And what exactly was all that stuff about snow the other week? It didn't snow in London - well barely - but heavy snow was forecast for 2 weeks!

conspiracy theory alert: could it be possible that the small number of TV and radio weathermen and weatherwomen got together and deliberately went overboard on snow predictions so that the councils made an effort to bring their road gritters out in order that the weather people could get in to work for the breakfast shift?

I like the mayor of Moscow's approach: fine weather forecasters if they get it wrong.

But at least weather is tangible, that's not quite the same for everyday pain relief: I'm talking about niggly headaches here not chronic pain.

... I'm boring myself now. What's more I don't really care. And I prefer cold weather to hot mostly anyway. And I hate drugs, I'd much rather there were really good 'alternative' therapies for everything. Hey ho. I blame it on my headache and the fact there are no paracetamol in the house, even though they clearly don't work anyway. Going now.

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