January 21, 2011


The number of people who earn their livelihoods as writers is staggering if one considers almost every enterprise needs them. There are pamphlet writers, tech writers, writers of instruction manuals, ad writers, medical writers and so on.  Medical writers seem to have a really interesting job. The mystery, drama and tension in that field is enough to make Stephen King drool.

One example of what I mean is the medical report that uncovered the Tuskegee experiment. In the 1930s African Americans were involuntarily infected with venereal diseases and used as guinea pigs to find cures. A similar experiment was recently uncovered that took place in the 1940s. This time Guatemalan prisoners and psychiatric inmates were the subjects. The greater shock is these studies were conducted under the auspices of the National Institute of Health, Public Health Services and the Pan American Health Organization.  

One hopes no more research of this kind will be performed, but medical writers don’t seem to be at a loss for startling information. The journal “Good Medicine(PCRM/Winter 2011) reveals that while we know nutrition has a bearing on health,  the number of medical schools teaching the subject to their  students has dropped dramatically. Enormous sums of money are being spent to teach future doctors how tear up the body to insert stents and do bypass surgery, but fewer of them are learning anything about prevention.    

If that fact isn’t frightful enough, elsewhere in this same journal one reads that in Britain the Department of Health has invited PepsiCo. Mars, McDonald’s and KFC to assist with writing government policy on obesity and diet-related diseases. Now surely that’s a horror story to make everyone’s hair stand on end.