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Medical Jargon
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Clinically Proven
Double Blind
Free Range and Cage Free
Non-habit-forming

CLINICALLY PROVEN

Marketers love those two little words. Scientists, on the other hand …

“’Clinically proven’ is not a scientific or legal term and should be disregarded as meaningless,” says Stephen Barrett, M.D., who runs the popular watchdog site Quackwatch.com.

Unlike phrases like “low-fat” and “good source,” the FDA doesn’t define “clinically proven,” leaving its meaning up for wide interpretation. “In some cases I have seen, it meant that users have been observed to get better,” Barrett says, pointing out that observing and studying are two different things. “I have also seen sellers say … that widespread use of their product was ‘clinical proof’ that it was effective; otherwise, it wouldn’t keep selling.

Hmmm …

I recommend avoiding any method or product described as ‘clinically proven,’” says Barrett. We say, at least don’t believe the claims on their face value.

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DOUBLE BLIND

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When evaluating how well a study was done, one of the criteria doctors look for is whether it was double-blind. That would be a good thing.

In a double-blind study, neither the participant nor the treatment administrator knows who's taking the real medicine and who's taking a placebo (fake medicine) until the end of the trial. This helps avoid bias; knowing if you're giving (or given) the real treatment may make you subconsciously alter the results.

During the trial, however, an independent researcher does know who's taking what and keeps track of side effects, benefits and so on, in part to determine whether to continue the trial or cut it short. (Sometimes, researchers will end a study if the drug seems too dangerous or if it seems so beneficial that it's unethical not to let all study participants take it.)

FREE RANGE AND CAGE FREE

Want some omega 3s? Buy some special eggs! Extra vitamin E? Eggs again!� The only difference? What the hen that laid them ate. And that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how it was housed.

“Cage-free eggs are from hens that typically live on the floor of a barn or a poultry house,” says Diane Storey, spokeswoman for the industry group United Egg Producers. “Free-range hens … have at least some access to the outdoors.”

Despite rumors to the contrary, most experts agree that neither housing option offers a nutrient boost in and of itself. Instead, in order to get special eggs, you have to feed special food. Flax seed or algae flakes, for example, result in eggs with healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

“Cage-free” and “free-range” labels are more about animal welfare. So, “you may want to choose it for other reasons,” says nutrition professor Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., C.N.S., L.N., of The College of St. Catherine in Minnesota, “but as far as I’m concerned, I haven’t seen any data that would indicate that it makes sense from a nutritional reason.

NON-HABIT-FORMING

You hear it all the time in those sleeping pill commercials, yet the term seems to stump the experts.

"There's no FDA definition" of non-habit-forming, says FDA spokeswoman Crystal Rice.

"They probably mean something like, 'they don't result in marked tolerance or withdrawal symptoms,' but perhaps not exactly," says Scott Lilienfeld, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Emory University in Atlanta.

"I can only speculate why they don't use 'nonaddictive,' but maybe just not to raise that word," says George F. Koob, Ph.D., professor of the neurobiology of addiction at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. When people hear it, "they may think, 'Oh! I never thought it might be addictive.'"

In the end, "I'd assume it's the same as nonaddictive," says Dr. Lilienfeld, and Dr. Koob agrees.

Then again, asks Dr. Lilienfeld, "What's addictive? Not always clear."

And that, dear readers, is crystal.

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Last updated and/or approved: February 2008.
Original articles appeared in various print issues.

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written by 传奇私服 , July 04, 2012

Clinically Proven is so often used that many of us believe that the phrase actually holds some "weight." Nice eye opener....good post!
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Clinically Proven is so often used that many of us believe that the phrase actually holds some "weight." Nice eye opener....good post!
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