Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Biophotonic Scanner

Dear Colleagues,

We looked into the biophotonic scanner (from early 2015 - click here to their website).  I decided it was an example of weak science and could find no evidence for any of the claims that they make. They are essentially applying Raman spectroscopy to scan and looking for specific absorbance peaks.  The problem is that there is NO evidence to date that:  
  1. The measurements are reproducible.
  2. The presence of absorbance means that there are more of the anti-oxidant present.
  3. That increasing circulating levels of anti-oxidant has any bearing on health.  
All their evidence is anecdotal and sponsored by the company itself.  I am shocked how many doctors (many of them from primary care specialties) have signed on to this company.  It shocks me that doctors, the very people who we entrust our health to would recommend something with such flawed evidence.  It is one thing for the lay public to take supplements and fuel an industry, which is based on profit over science and deceiving the public and physicians (who really should know better) into thinking that they are helping patients, or doing anything meaningful.  

Many companies have crap that they sell as supplements that somehow magically cure disease or conditions without any scientific basis.  I can guarantee that none of this companies scientists would accept my challenge to a debate. We offered to carry out a study to see if the machine could even be used to correlate risk of AMD with supposed anti-oxidant levels.  They refused. 

Links to discussions that have also found issues with the device:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Pyrimethamine (Daraprim)

As you may already know, the incredible price spike (from $13.50 to $750 per pill) of pyrimethamine (Daraprim) by Turing Pharmaceuticals has caused an outrage across the country.  The drug helps treat a parasitic infection known as toxoplasmosis, which we have seen cases in the Bay Area.

An example image of a toxoplamosis lesion in one of our patients we are following.  The patient has been followed and treated over the years for toxoplasmosis and has remained stable until recently.  Visual acuity has spontaneously decreased from 20/20 to HM (hand motion). We have requested to her insurance that she be placed on Daraprim, but was denied.

Express Scripts with Imprimis Pharmaceuticals is offering a MUCH affordable alternative of the drug.  Check out a report by CBS here.  Perhaps this will provide an alternative in the management of toxoplasmosis patients.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sensationalist Headlines in Ophthalmology Award!

In January of this year, News Medical published a controversial headline, what can only be described as sensationalist, misrepresenting a research paper on the effects of yoga and the intraocular pressure (IOP) in normal versus glaucoma subjects.

The article on News Medical can found here.

The title reads, "Head-down yoga positions fatal for glaucoma subjects."  

In response to their article, I have commented as follows:

"At the risk of making our already overly sedentary, overly confused population shun or fear yoga, I think this is pretty close to a sensational headline.  Fatal is a word we use to describe death.  It is not a word that is used to describe the condition of the optic nerve.  No doubt that yoga causes an increase in IOP.  So does playing the trumpet.  So does giving intravitreal injections.  We all know this! (We should know this.)  Until Dr. Ritch and his colleagues can tell us something new, please do not resort to such deceptive and innacurate headlines."

The original PLOS ONE paper by Dr. Robert Ritch can by found here.

The stigma associating IOP with glaucoma is not completely unfounded. However, I can see no just reason nor can I condone inaccurate use of extreme vocabulary to mislead readers or worse, instill fear, in an otherwise a daily activity, which many people around the globe enjoy.