12/03/09 Clear Deceit From Researchers

An old(ish)study from 2006, published on news-medical.net [1], shows just how well versed researchers are in deceit now. The study, entitled “Nicotine Shows Potential Medical Benefits”, shows that nicotine helps alleviate depression (which is something that we have all known for a long time), but we should not smoke or use nicotine patches. No, this study is all about promoting Big Pharma, and according to the article:

the finding suggests that it may be possible to manipulate nicotine’s effects to safely reap its potential medical benefits, according to the researchers. As an example of the drug’s potential, they said, pharmaceutical companies already are developing compounds for treating other brain disorders by mimicking the beneficial properties of nicotine while avoiding its addictive nature.

Avoiding the addictive nature? Of course they are avoiding the addictive nature – because nicotine is not addictive. Smokers, and indeed patch users, can be psychologically addicted whereby they believe they need nicotine and believe they are addicts, but their body will cope just fine without it. As is usually the case, the researchers are anti-smoking to begin with and consequentially their results are almost always invalid, meticulous care must be taken when reading their studies and reports to look for clever-wording and well-hidden methodological flaws.  The lead study investigator Joseph McClernon, Ph.D. is an assistant research professor of medical psychiatry and researcher at the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research, and he said: “The hope is that our research on nicotine will spur the development of new treatments for depression, which is a huge public health problem.”

It has been known for a long time how to combat depression, for example sun exposure is critically important, eating essential fatty acids and exercise alone has been shown – repeatedly – to be as effective, and sometimes more so, than pharmaceutical anti-depressants. But none of this is good enough for McClernon, instead we need to take ridiculous pharmaceutical products based on nicotine. I wonder when researchers will finally wake up to the fact that isolating a compound or ingredient alters it’s effect on the body, and so testing real nicotine and creating something to mimic that are two different things. If they found nicotine to be so effective then it is nicotine we should be ingesting. McClernon and his partners in crime must have forgotten that nicotine is present in more than tobacco and patches though – all green plants contain nicotine, as does aubergine, potatoes, tomatoes and so forth.

The methodology of this ‘study’ is as fatally flawed too:

In the study, the researchers recruited 11 people who did not smoke but who were experiencing symptoms of depression. Participants were randomly assigned to wear either a nicotine patch or a placebo patch that did not contain any nicotine. The researchers used a standardized method, a 20-item questionnaire called the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale, to measure depression symptoms among the study participants.

So let’s just get this straight: they took an impossibly small sample size, split that into two even smaller groups, and gave them a nicotine patch or a placebo patch. But wait, weren’t we told that we should not use nicotine patches? It is also very important to note that we do not know what these “symptoms of depression” actually are – lethargy, suicidal feelings, lack of motivation, just what are we talking about here? Depression is a huge thing with a wide range of symptoms. It is very telling that we are kept in the dark on this. Oh, and they filled in a questionnaire to which we do not know the studies.

What can we learn from this? A few things:
1) The study is absolute bonafide 100% bullshit
2) The researchers are anti-smoking and were working to further demonise the habit, with another researcher, Edward Levin PhD, saying “If you do smoke, quit.”
3) They are promoting Big Pharma products, and trying to narrow down the competition.

Don’t believe a word they say. They know the truth that smoking helps alleviate depression, they admitted it, then they twisted it and are trying to replicate it with something that won’t work – but who cares, there will be less smokers and the researchers will be rich, and that’s what matters right?

[1] http://www.news-medical.net/?id=20091

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