ny times to fibromyalgia patients: adapt, and lose weight

January 14, 2008 at 7:29 pm (healthcare, mental illness)

wasn’t journalism objective, once upon a time?

Most people “manage to get through life with some vicissitudes, but we adapt,” said Dr. George Ehrlich, a rheumatologist and an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “People with fibromyalgia do not adapt.”

well, that’s refreshing. we have an article full portrayals of malingerers who sway to the winds of the mighty pharmaceutical companies. and the not-so-subtile, yet entirely predictable rejoinder:

The potential for weight gain is a special concern because many fibromyalgia patients are already overweight: the average fibromyalgia patient in the 2007 survey reported weighing 180 pounds and standing 5 feet 4 inches.

actually, this article almost reads like it could have come out of some 1800’s medical journal commenting on the prevalence of hysteria. although sandwiched into the middle of all of it is some good, undeveloped commentary on the pharmaceutical industry’s role in generating modern definitions of pathology.

New York Times article


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the politics of shame

January 9, 2008 at 8:27 pm (blogging, flamewars, healthcare, mental illness)

there are many contexts in which vigorous conversation leads to a changing viewpoint, or strengthening of an existing viewpoint. sometimes we can take a bit of what the other party presents in a way that, at the very least, gives us a sense of the strength of our convictions. in the feminist community, there are plenty of topical opportunities for this; just look at all the debate stirred up over things like body image and who gets to call themselves a feminist.

but there are some topics that are so charged, so flammable, that it just doesn’t appear that folks can civilly disagree. the post that started here with kactus over at Feministe talking about her relief at getting pharmacological assistance in dealing with her symptoms, quickly escalated into a flamewar. a subsequent post commenting on the contention also escalated quickly.

mental illness is not a politically neutral topic. never has been. Read the rest of this entry »

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