Saturday 23 January 2016

Looking at an Instance of Misleading Drug Journalism

There is a distinction here between the research which the article is based on, and the article written about it.

The article has a very impressionistic title, but the crux of it all is this statement: "The levels of cocaine we utilized are comparable with cocaine overdose in humans.”

In this study, mice were put into a state of neurotoxic poisoning using overdose levels of cocaine.

There is similarly a breaking point for everything that’s engages the human body. So, cocaine doesn’t actually do this any more than drinking water causes brain-death, but overpowering the human biological systems via any means, from drinking water to injecting heroin to experiencing a high-velocity impact, is going to involve a body’s systems expressing that overpowered state by breaking in some way:

-       If a person drinks too much water, their brain will swell and they will die, and detrimental behaviour will be observable in cells as it happens. (should people keep away from water?)
-        If a person eats incessantly, their stomach will burst, and detrimental behaviour will be observable in cells as it happens. (should people keep away from food?)
-          If a person falls off the top a high-rise building onto concrete below, there will be negative consequences for their body (should a person stay away from anything higher than 6 feet of verticality?)
-          Oxygen toxicity causes cellular death (is it right to make people afraid of breathing?)
-          Excessive vitamin D causes nausea, vomiting, and kidney problems (is eating fish bad?)
-          Crashing a car into a tree can be fatal (is driving inviting of death?)

An appropriate title for the article might be “deliberately inducing a state of (probably prolonged) neurotoxic poisoning results in… neurotoxic behaviour” – which wouldn’t be sensationalistic, and wouldn’t be click-bait, and would sound stupid. But it also wouldn’t be deceiving people, and wouldn’t be re-enforcing harmful ignorance and prejudices.

The linked-to article’s headline is about the same distance from practical reality as an article exclaiming that eating the breakfast cereal Cheerios causes stomachs to explode. The conveyed message isn’t truthful, and we don’t see articles stating “heights result in skin-splitting” or “eating fish leads to nausea, vomiting, and kidney disease”, or “driving a vehicle causes death” because:

1.       There is no practical purpose in saying these things
2.       There is no truth apart from context. These wouldn’t be truthful things to say based on the context of how they’re going to be perceived

So declaring things like this to the public isn’t done because it would be inane and baseless to do so. And it is no less the case in the instance of this article’s title, and in cases of similar messaging regarding non-licensed drugs and their usages. And the biggest examples of drug messaging being declared in this manner in the past have been propaganda, and research which later turned out to be false, such as that which was behind the now-debunked idea of crack-babies (with other research even demonstrating that pre-natal cocaine use actually improves foetus development).

The article also states "Scientists at Johns Hopkins in the USA found that high doses of cocaine cause..." but this again isn't truthful messaging, because there is a very big range within "high doses" and even extreme doses that doesn't include overdose and neurotoxic poisoning.

And again, the article says "Cocaine causes this process to accelerate..", which isn't the case, because the mice were being put into a state of induced neurotoxic poisoning in order to produce this cell behaviour, and that state of neurotoxic poisoning is what the cells are responding to. That state can be induced in any number of ways, and this is not what happens to people when they're taking cocaine any more than being wrapped around a telephone pole is what happens to a person when they drive a car. A person will hit a wall of neurotoxic poisoning from common prescription drugs a lot sooner and easier than they will from cocaine.

In truth, presenting information in the manner which the linked-to article does actually leads to death, by user ignorance, misinformation, non-preparedness, and unnecessary stresses, worries, anxieties, panic, etc, all of which can create, and worsen problem situations.

A person who ingests even larger amounts of cocaine is more likely to incur cellular death and harm as a result of believing the headline of the linked-to article, or from prescription drugs for that matter, than from using cocaine. But if it happens to be any living person’s habit to spend time lying around in overdosed states, maybe they should tone things down.

So the article’s messaging is conniving, and its surface message is false. But for some reason there are some who think it is OK to deceive people on ideological grounds regarding non-licensed drugs - despite ones like cocaine being healthier than anything a doctor is authorized to prescribe, and potentially be exceptional for a person’s mental and physical health. What could be root causes behind a person's willingness to disseminate non-truthful messages like this?

Truth is the inter-connectivity of all considerations substantiating what is, and meaning is an expression of that structure made of truthfully-connected considerations. A sociopath, someone whose outlook is based upon determinations, lacks the inter-connectivity of considerations substantiating the truth, and instead holds on to a bunch of disparate determinations which they might consider as facts. The lack of having the substantiation of truth leaves a person without knowing meaning, and so they are without a sense of ‘Why?’.

A person cannot act apart from reason, so a person without the knowing of truth might determine for themselves an ideology to give them a sense of purpose and reason to act - and then they might carry out and defend their ideology fiercely because all of their sense of worth, identity, and purpose is invested in that ideology. Even 'Reward', such as that from a journalist's click-bait article title, is an ideology.

Another element possibly involved with ideological presentations is that ideology is determination-based, and whenever a determination is made, work that is considering in a brain ends, and that frees up dopamine, which sociopathic people think of as their reward for doing something, when all they did was stop some considering processes.

So they might also make these kinds of expressions to trigger their sense of ‘Reward’, which is essentially them believing that, having adhered to a peer-approved set of determinations, that they are then a good dog. That belief concludes considering processes within their brain related to the matter they were focusing on, and also relaxes their mind in general - all of which which frees up dopamine, which gives them a small bit of a cocaine high. And they interpret that freed-up dopamine as if it were a confirmation of them having done good, although it is just the returning of some dopamine after their brain relaxed and its workload reduced.

Essentially, a person who believes in dopamine as reward thinks that deactivating their brain after doing nothing truthful is a state of reward, while not understanding that all they actually accomplished is the bringing of some negative consideration-value into the world, which will exist as an offence to the truth until somebody else does the work to righten the perceptions which were influenced by it.

At least the linked-to article’s reporting included the line "The levels of cocaine we utilized are comparable with cocaine overdose in humans”, although not in as framing a manner as it should have been in regards to its subject. There is no shortage of instances in medical news where such pieces of information, which have the potential to completely reshape a message, have been withheld from publication, both on the journalist side of things, and on the research side of things.


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