Truth in advertising – medications

Did you see the news report that  the Federal Court found a claim by the makers of Nurefen to be misleading and deceptive?    It seems that Nurofen’s manufacturer, Reckitt Benckiser​, ran an advertising campaign saying Nurofen (basically ibuprofen) gave faster and more effective relief from headaches than Panadol (made by GlaxoSmithKline), or paracetamol, despite there being no real scientific evidence to support it.

The claim by Nurofen’s makers was based on a single clinical trial in 1996, which found that a dose of ibuprofen​, the active ingredient in Nurofen, was more effective than a single dose of paracetamol in the treatment of certain headaches.  However, other trials had been unable to replicate this result, and the authors of three analyses had concluded that no authoritative comparison was possible in the present state of scientific knowledge

Hence, the judge concluded that it was misleading or deceptive  for Reckitt to claim that ibuprofen (Nurofen) provides faster and more effective relief from pain caused by common headaches  than does paracetamol (Panadol).

Sounds fair enough to me.  However, it interests me that so many of us prefer the branded products.   Both paracetamol and ibuprofen are available as “generics” on the supermarket shelves, and so far as I’m aware, contain the same active ingredients as the branded products.   But I guess that when it comes to medications, we like the assurance of a brand name, and so are willing to pay extra for that.



Over the last few months, I’ve had  some issues with my shoulder (it supposedly got “frozen”), so in addition to an injection, I’ve been having some physio.   For me, the jury is still out as to the effectiveness of physiotherapy, although things have definitely improved.  The question is, would this have happened anyway?   Who knows?

The therapist probes into all sorts of muscles I never knew I had, and then I’m given some exercises to do at home.

Some of the exercises involve using a tension band, and some require weights.   As with the sessions on the bench, I’m never quite certain which muscles the exercises are aimed at.

Just the same, as stated above, things have improved, so I guess I can’t complain.


I’ve been wearing a wedding ring for over 40 years.    I can’t remember the last time I took it off – was it when some medical scanning procedure occurred?  If so, it was years and years ago.   However, I noticed that I’d lost flexibility in the finger, and it was then I realised that my finger become thicker over the years.  Not only was it now impossible to take the ring off, but in fact it was severely constricting the finger.

All attempts to remove the ring by the various techniques suggested on the internet having failed, I went to a local jeweller.   She took one look, and said there was no alternative but to cut the ring off.   She proceeded to do this, using a simple hand-held device.


She says that the ring, now in two parts, can be remade into a larger size – but not until my finger gets back to something like a “normal” shape, which might take a few weeks.



We’re off on a short trip to India next month.   To be honest, I’ve never had vaccinations specifically for travel purposes, but I got told very firmly by family members that I ought to have them for India.  I headed off to the GP, and despite me telling him that this was an “up-market” tour and we wouldn’t be off the beaten track, he strongly advised a number of precautions.   So I ended up with a couple of injections (which also included whooping cough, apparently regarded as essential in the presence of babies) plus a solution to be taken orally for cholera (two doses, taken at least a week apart).

You have to pay for all these, so the all-up cost – not including the consultation – was well over $300, including over $70 for each dose of the cholera vaccine.   I suppose oral vaccines have been around for a while.  In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, we may even have had a polio vaccine when I was a child that was taken orally.  And we were certainly made to drink “cough medicine”.   Be that as it may, it felt a little unusual to mix up an effervescent solution to which is added the vaccine, and then drink it.

The instructions state that the vaccine results in an 85% chance of protection for 6 months, decreasing to 52% at the end of the 2nd year.   Just the same, I won’t be drinking the water!

“Baby Shower” – the male perspective

I’ve heard of “baby showers”, but they weren’t around in the era when they might have impacted me.  However, time has passed and so I became indirectly associated with the planning of one.   Hmmm,  it’s a different world these days!    I put my head in for a few minutes and had some of the “bubbly” – but not my scene!   But there were some leftover nibbles, so I’m not complaining.

How many sweets are in the bottle?
No chance of getting thirsty!
Is there a party here?



I was in an aisle at the library that I don’t usually venture down…..and came across The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Anatomy.  Well, something different, I thought, and since I had recently read an article  about the operation of the gut which in a strange way had been interesting, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the subject!

I know that anatomy is second nature to health professionals – for good reason –  but I certainly can’t say that I absorbed even a fraction of the information.   Just as well I never enrolled in a course that involved studying anatomy.   Soooo many names to learn!  I wouldn’t have stood a chance.     What amazingly complex things our bodies are!   I learned that the skin is 16% of the body’s weight, and that the lymph system is actually part of the circulatory system (and the immune system) in that it returns excess issue fluid to the veins, via  the lymph nodes which filter out and destroy bacteria and other harmful nasties.

Looking at the chapter about the arms. I paused to wonder if the scapula (shoulder blade) is actually attached to the rest of the skeleton.   No, it’s not, it isn’t connected by way of a joint to the spine, only by numerous muscles and ligaments to the ribs.   There is a “fake joint” called the scapulothoracic joint, where the scapula moves against the rib cage, but isn’t connected by any bony connection.  The only bony link between the shoulder arm bones and the spine is by way of the collar bone (clavicle), which actually serves as a strut to keep the shoulder away from the body.

And of course there’s a great deal more!