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I wish Chowhounds would neither ask for nor give medical advice

c oliver Apr 12, 2009 05:44 PM

I did a search on this and found a snippet of a site talk thread where it was pretty clear that Chowhound really doesn't allow this. But I didn't find any written policy but perhaps didn't look hard enough. Regardless, fellow 'hounds, please don't ask for or give any type of medical advice. We are into food and know a little or a lot about different kinds of it. But we are not health care professionals and even the 'hounds who are aren't here for that reason. It's very dangerous to ask that kind of question. So whether it has to do with allergies or Lipitor or food poisoning, please don't ask. And if you see something like this, I would report it and hope that the moderators will delete it and send a note to the OP as to why. My little Easter lecture is over :)

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  1. Demented RE: c oliver Apr 12, 2009 07:37 PM

    Thank you C,

    1 Reply
    1. re: Demented
      a
      acidity RE: Demented Apr 23, 2009 01:47 PM

      Yes, C and Demented, thank you! I'm so far gone that I wince every time I read "healthy" nutrition comments as well (though, a certain site founder has fallen on to that particular wagon so who am I to complain, it's probably something wrong with me).

      But food poisoning... hmm, there is a class of issues that is public health rather than medical, as in it's not dispensing medical advice to mention that wooden utensils can harbor bacteria, but it would get tedious to hear it every time.

      And I do admit I'm curious about the portable defibrilators that are increasingly found out in public... does anybody know what to do with them? Don't answer that.

    2. danhole RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 09:49 AM

      I'm sure it is written somewhere that you aren't supposed to ask for specific medical advice, but just the other day I was wondering about food to settle some, uh . . . loose stools. I wasn't sure if that was okay to ask or not, so I just skipped it to be on the safe side. It was a, hold your breath, medical reference book, that I went to instead. Can you imagine that? A BOOK? Yes, that's right. And it worked very well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: danhole
        c oliver RE: danhole Apr 14, 2009 09:12 AM

        Holey moley. Do you suppose you could start a trend???

      2. chowser RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 01:58 PM

        I always wonder about people who trust others they know almost nothing about with their health. Is it against the CH rules?

        5 Replies
        1. re: chowser
          c oliver RE: chowser Apr 13, 2009 02:48 PM

          I was reading a thread about Jacqueline (?sp - I'm sure I spelled that wrong) being on NPR a couple of years ago and that was touched on.

          It's human nature to want to help others (hey, we're here to get and give food help!) but it's just so dangerous. I have a neighbor with two serious medical conditions. If he followed advice that didn't factor in his conditions, or believed anecdotal advice (which the internet is rife with) he could wind up in a huge amount of trouble. And, let's face it, in this litigious society we live in, well, you know.... :( I have a fair bit of medical background (and others here have WAY more) but I wouldn't advise anyone to take an aspirin if I didn't know them and their medical issues pretty darn well. And if there's no doctor around, I've found pharmacists to be an absolute font of information which they give gladly.

          1. re: chowser
            Demented RE: chowser Apr 15, 2009 01:17 AM

            When did you ever see a doctor for the first time you knew anything about?

            Because the person has a piled higher and deeper degree (PHD) or doctorate does not insure they know any better than anyone else.

            I've met more doctors that needed a plexotomy that all the other professionals combined.

            1. re: Demented
              chowser RE: Demented Apr 15, 2009 05:04 AM

              Prpbably silly of me but I prefer to get my medical advice from TRUSTED doctors I know rather than strangers on a message board.

              1. re: chowser
                kattyeyes RE: chowser Apr 15, 2009 05:13 AM

                I'm with you, chowser. And, to the best of my abilities, I aim to distance myself from doctors, other paid professionals *and chowhounds* who require a plexotomy.

              2. re: Demented
                Paulustrious RE: Demented Apr 15, 2009 05:46 AM

                Had to look that one up. Had me fooled. I was trying to work it out from etymological roots. Missed the obvious.

            2. Veggo RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 02:19 PM

              Oy vey iz mir, this topic gives me such a headache......:)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Veggo
                c oliver RE: Veggo Apr 13, 2009 02:49 PM

                Take two aspirin and call me in the morning. Oh no, bad advice; maybe you're on blood thinner. Hmmm...I'll get back to you on that one.

              2. bayoucook RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 02:26 PM

                I always go to webmd.com and other sites like it, or just google it.

                1. pikawicca RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 02:34 PM

                  Well, if you're out in the middle of nowhere and are struck by a bad case of "jungle tummy," 500 miles from the nearest Immodium, it would no doubt be helpful if a fellow hound knew of an effective local remedy.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: pikawicca
                    c oliver RE: pikawicca Apr 13, 2009 02:42 PM

                    If you were 500 miles from the nearest Immodium but were online, then you could probably also call your doctor's office. Yes?

                    1. re: c oliver
                      pikawicca RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 03:12 PM

                      Yes, but if you are unable to purchase "Western medicine," your doctor might not be of much help.

                      Case in point: 35 years ago I was living in Saudi Arabia and took a few weeks off to do some traveling. Did some seriously injudicious eating in Egypt and returned to Riyadh quite ill. There was not one Western-educated doctor in the city. The best I could do was a local "healer" who gave me some herbs and told me to drink a tea made from it four times a day. Don't know what it was, don't know what I had, but I was on the mend pretty quickly. Talking to my GP in northern Virginia would have been of little use to me, I think.

                      1. re: pikawicca
                        c oliver RE: pikawicca Apr 14, 2009 09:14 AM

                        But a "local healer" was the equivalent of our Western doctor, right? So you sought expert medical advice. You didn't stop a stranger on the street and ask for help. I'm not against non-traditional medicine at all.

                    2. re: pikawicca
                      bayoucook RE: pikawicca Apr 13, 2009 03:12 PM

                      I've travelled a lot, and I always take assorted meds with me everywhere - even when hiking or sightseeing in the middle of nowhere. Being prepared is best. I keep assorted pills and remedies in a small bottle, and boy! has it come in handy!

                    3. kchurchill5 RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 02:50 PM

                      Interesting topic.

                      First. I haven't seen any like that, but I would think that most people may ask, "What do you eat for this," or "what are your favorites when sick," or "I heard this tea or that tea works good with a cold ... anyone hear of that." That isn't asking for medical advice but asking us what we like in that situation.

                      To me they are just questions and I think that most people on here are intelligent and just looking for how we or what we or our experiences with different foods in their situations. And CH's aren't giving advice but offering what they did. If I say eat chicken soup and nothing else when you have a cold, is that giving advice to someone? How about the thread on best hangover foods? Everything from dim sum to tacos, that isn't advice. And someone a while back asked in the middle of a thread I have an ulcer and what should I eat. I said, my doc told me ....... the following. But check with yours. That isn't advice is it.

                      Besides, any competent person knows we are not medical and they are just asking what we cook or like to eat. Shouldn't they be responsible for their own actions.

                      So if someone asks what do you like to cook or eat for the flu, a hangover, a ulcer or a cold. If I answer...am I giving medical adivce? Or if I say my doc always told me chicken soup, or saltines, etc etc ... is that considered medical advice.

                      I have never seen anyone TELLING someone what to do, but simply telling them what they have done. Now the person they are replying to or reading should certainly have enough common sense to realize that is that persons opinion or what that person has done. The thread "Is Alcohol in cooking bad for children?" Tons of yes and no's. I answer and included a chart which gave a breakdown, everyone answered yes, maybe, no etc. We all in one way or another said up to the parent. Is that giving advice?

                      Where do we draw the line?

                      Sorry this is a pet peeve and the subject really bothers me.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: kchurchill5
                        c oliver RE: kchurchill5 Apr 13, 2009 03:13 PM

                        There was a post recently that I reported where a mother said her child had been diagnosed with some problem (I can't remember if it was asthma; perhaps) and had been put on medication. She was posting asking about what foods would or wouldn't be appropriate considering the medication. That's one of about three posts that I've reported. Not silly things like what do I do for a hangover (don't drink too much) or how do I get rid of my cold (you don't til you do). My pet peeve is people giving advice about things they're not competent to give advice about. People go to medical, nursing, pharmacy, etc. schools for a really long time in order to do it correctly. Big difference between that and what do I LIKE when I have cold. And if someone asks what kind of diet to be on if they have an ulcer, then, no, we shouldn't be telling them. I assure you their doctor has already told them and probably in writing. And, yes, that would be giving medical advice in that particular example. And what YOUR doctor told YOU is not necessarily the same advice that the other person/patient was told.

                        1. re: c oliver
                          kchurchill5 RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 04:15 PM

                          That is difference, but she shouldn't of ever trusted anything but a doctor. I did not see those and can't imagine anyone asking that. I would of never trusted anyone other than a doctor, would you of. I can't believe someone would actually ask WHAT SHOULD HE EAT ... RATHER THAN WOULD WOULD YOU EAT? Big difference as you said. No we aren't doctors we just offer ideas of we enjoy or like.

                          And to answer bayou below below. I sometimes when people ask me I tell them to try this or try that. My pet peeve is with lots of people who say well I tried the soup but I didn't feel better or I tried the shake but it didn't agree with me, etc etc. I never gave advice. I told them some things I try or others have tried when feeling bad. I just get irritated by it some times. Just irritated that they blame me for just telling them to try something. My friend didn't feel good, stomach but, and I told him BRAT diet, my pediatrician used to recommend it. Just bananas, dry toast, rice and apples. I said to try a few things from it and it may help. He blamed me cause he didn't feel better. I didn't say it would work, just maybe help. That is my pet peeve. Sorry if I stated it wrong bayou.

                          And I think how the question is phrased is different. "What would you do?; What do you like?; What can you recommend?; What do you eat?" "But the person asking should know better.

                          1. re: c oliver
                            kattyeyes RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 04:58 PM

                            I remember that thread! The woman's kid had rheumatoid arthritis and you said something like, "I'm really sorry your child has RA, but I'm reporting this thread and think you should be asking a doctor instead of posting your question here." And I think you did that mom a favor, quite honestly.

                            I do agree ?s like "What do you eat when you have a cold?" are just fine...in fact, I threw one of those on the boards recently. I tell everyone always: garlic in oil, chicken broth, squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and some crushed red pepper if you like it--cook pastina in it. No medical advice. Just some, well, Italian/Jewish/mutt-that-I-am penicillin, I guess. I like it even when I'm not sick and just don't feel like cookin'! ;) I think it's on the "what do you eat when you don't feel like cooking" thread, too.

                            1. re: c oliver
                              monku RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 05:10 PM

                              She wasn't asking for medical advice. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6071...

                              She said her child had a condition and ginger made her feel better She was looking for recipes to get more ginger in her diet.

                              You were the one who said she was seeking medical advice. The other respondents gave her suggestions on recipes with ginger.

                              1. re: monku
                                c oliver RE: monku Apr 13, 2009 05:23 PM

                                AND the thread got modified. Do you suppose that was because they got over that fuzzy line?

                                1. re: c oliver
                                  monku RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 05:48 PM

                                  Your call.
                                  I'm only a spectator.

                                  1. re: monku
                                    c oliver RE: monku Apr 13, 2009 05:55 PM

                                    So DO you think Chowhounds should give medical advice to people they don't know? That's my only point. Truly. It doesn't happen here much; I just wanted to point it out. There are a few here who will reply to almost every post (sometimes over and over again). If we can remind those people to think before they write on medical issues, it will be a good thing. I believe.

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      monku RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 06:21 PM

                                      If someone is looking for "medical advice" on Chowhound, there's either something wrong with them or they're asking because there are known issues which are related to food and there are Hounds who may know of a similar situation.

                                      I'm lactose intolerant (is that a medical condition?), does that mean I can't ask people about certain foods.

                                      I see discussions about MSG and peanut allergies, gluten allergies to name a few.....are they medical related? Should they be off limits? I think its just people sharing what they know. I don't think anyone who reads something on Chowhound is going to take it as medical advice, there are better more reputable websites to find that kind of information.

                                      1. re: monku
                                        c oliver RE: monku Apr 13, 2009 06:38 PM

                                        So I think/hope that we agree that there are a few CHs who have something wrong with them :) So you're agreeing with me then that people shouldn't ask for or give medical advice? That's all I'm saying. And for people who tend to reply to almost every post to please NOT reply to those. Please.

                                        1. re: c oliver
                                          monku RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 06:41 PM

                                          Like you said.....it's a fuzzy line.
                                          I hope I don't cross it or you.

                            2. re: kchurchill5
                              bayoucook RE: kchurchill5 Apr 13, 2009 03:14 PM

                              Yes, asking "what would you do" for this or that IS different than asking for advise, I think.
                              Is it your pet peeve that people ask or that people are asking them not to ask? whew

                            3. The Chowhound Team RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 04:25 PM

                              We do ask that people avoid asking for medical advice here. Most of the participants here are not doctors or nutritionists, and the ones who are are not your doctor or nutritionist, so we're not the right source for medical information.

                              Like many areas on Chowhound, there's some fuzziness on where the line falls between 'soothing foods that won't upset my stomach' and 'foods to help cure my ulcer', but where a question falls clearly on the medical advice side of the line, or wrong answers have potentially life-threatening consequences, we'll generally err on the side of caution and remove them.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                c oliver RE: The Chowhound Team Apr 13, 2009 04:31 PM

                                Thanks as usual. It can be a fuzzy area and erring on the side of caution is my mantra :) There's just so much anecdotal advice floating around on the internet that I'm glad to not have to run into it here. You folks do an amazing job --- even when you nixelate me, I generally know what I did :)

                                1. re: c oliver
                                  porker RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 07:20 PM

                                  I don't know....
                                  I realize you have a valid point, just seems that many poeple in the US are so afraid to express themselves because "...let's face it, in this litigious society we live in, well, you know..."
                                  Somebody bleeding on the side of the road, keep on going 'cause they'll sue you for holding their hand until help arrives...guys cuts in line at the supermarket, keep your mouth shut 'cause he'll bring you up on charges of racism or some such...etc etc
                                  Sure we shouldn't be giving out medical advice, but maybe more importantly, as so much has already been said, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND DON"T FOLLOW NON-PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.

                                  Where do you draw the line? "Ahhh, my sister went into shock cause some guy on CH said authentic bluggerhinterwoiss has to have peanuts in it". Sue the chowhound guy, right?

                                  I don't care about people giving advice, medical or otherwise. What gets my goat is people dumb enough to follow someone's advice who may or may not have a clue. They're the ones who should be admonished...

                                  1. re: porker
                                    Servorg RE: porker Apr 14, 2009 04:49 AM

                                    "What gets my goat is people dumb enough to follow someone's advice who may or may not have a clue. They're the ones who should be admonished..."

                                    Hey, without such people we would have no "Darwin award winners" on the net!

                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      c oliver RE: Servorg Apr 14, 2009 09:24 AM

                                      I always worry that the Darwin award winners have procreated prior to winning.

                                2. re: The Chowhound Team
                                  meatme RE: The Chowhound Team Apr 14, 2009 08:21 AM

                                  Does this extend to the frequent breathless warnings -- for alleged medical reasons -- to discard all of one's non-stick cookware when someone asks which brand is best?

                                  1. re: meatme
                                    c oliver RE: meatme Apr 14, 2009 09:23 AM

                                    I know you asked the CH Team but I'm betting that's one of those fuzzy lines. It's technically science and not medicine but it certainly is presented here with health concerns. And the responses I generally see will quote "science" with some people not being able to differentiate between valid and invalid data. And other people who have the background being able to guide others towards the valid info. I LOVE the internet but, boy, in these areas there is SO much that isn't backed up by hard science or is just plain anecdotal.

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      Servorg RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 09:34 AM

                                      Seriously (for a moment), some of the diseases/allergies like gluten sensitivity, Celiac disease, etc. are not always well understood by the medical profession in general when it comes to what may set it off, or what may be well tolerated when it comes to food or additives.

                                      And there is wisdom to be found among those who suffer from these types of problems that can be of assistance to others out there. I'm not sure a "blanket" prohibition on everything that could be construed as medical advice is the best way to approach this issue. Just look at something like the story of "Lorenzo's Oil" to understand that, so called, lay people can bring new light and/or information to the solution of "medical" problems.

                                      1. re: Servorg
                                        c oliver RE: Servorg Apr 14, 2009 10:06 AM

                                        I'd never heard of Lorenzo's oil so did some reading. Thanks for sharing that. And I agree with you that individuals have power and knowledge and commitment that can, at times, exceed that of any professional group. And that sharing information on the internet CAN be good but isn't always good. Because some of the information is incorrect or anecdotal (sorry I keep using that one word; too lazy to think of a synonym). But I still go back to asking if Chowhound is the right platform for this. All of these diseases/syndromes/whatever have a plethora of discussion boards. It just doesn't seem like here is the place for it. Sure, if some says 'I'm looking for a gluten-free version of x' that's one thing and that's not medical advice.

                                        I'm not as articulate as you, Servorg, and many others here. So excuse if I'm not clear at times.

                                        1. re: c oliver
                                          porker RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 05:47 PM

                                          Maybe check out the movie. Its been a few years, but I remember it to be very entertaining and actually uplifting.

                                      2. re: c oliver
                                        meatme RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 09:49 AM

                                        Exactly.

                                        The best information I can find is that gaseous emissions from Teflon pans are a danger only to small birds, and only when grossly overheated in a small, confined space. The stuff itself is inert and benign, used in implants within the human body. Even ingesting chips of it is harmless, if unappetizing.

                                        But that’s all beside the point. In this context, this is a health/medical issue, perhaps a needlessly controversial one, that should be off-limits for Chowhound. Posts in the Cookware forum offering unsolicited health advice regarding Teflon pans, pro or con, should be deleted for the very reasons you cite.

                                        1. re: meatme
                                          c oliver RE: meatme Apr 14, 2009 10:08 AM

                                          Excellent observation. Also the regular "I left this out of the fridge all night; is it safe to eat?" I know the moderators are reading this and it will give them food (hahaha) for thought.

                                  2. l
                                    LPhila RE: c oliver Apr 13, 2009 06:56 PM

                                    This post struck such a chord with me. In high school, I worked at a small independent healthfood store. I learned a lot about vitamins and herbal remedies there. Still, I had absolutely NO professional training in medicine, holistic or otherwise. There would consistently be customers coming to the store, asking me for advice on what they should buy. While I was comfortable telling people about things like vitamin C, and could discuss other things, I was always shocked at how willing people were to ask for a recommendation, and be offended if I was unable or unwilling to provide them with one. For example, if a pregnant woman came in seeking some type of remedy, I was always hesitant to offer any suggestions, and always told people to consult a doctor. I don't know why anyone wants to trust their health to a high school student, just as I think trusting your health to an internet message board is a risky proposition.

                                    I love Chow... for recipes and foodie talk, but I also love the professional advice of a doctor!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: LPhila
                                      c oliver RE: LPhila Apr 14, 2009 09:32 AM

                                      I couldn't write anything that says it any better than what you just did. And somewhere (just checked the manifesto and it's not there) there's the remark from Chowhound that there are a small number of pure wackos (paraphrase) on this board. Unfortunately, they don't come with cautionary labeling so as they used to say on Hill Street Blues "be careful out there."

                                      In starting this thread, I had no intention of starting an argument. And I am trying to reply to each response to show respect for others. Nothing more.

                                    2. h
                                      HillJ RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 10:33 AM

                                      http://www.chow.com/stories/11616?tag...

                                      Then I am curious where this week's report from Supertaster falls under acceptable advice...when it's light-hearted?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: HillJ
                                        c oliver RE: HillJ Apr 14, 2009 10:44 AM

                                        I hadn't seen it and once I clicked on it, I still didn't watch it. I'd vote for unacceptable ----- on any number of levels. And, yes, it's a medicine (OTC but a med nonetheless) so when I'm Czarina of the Universe it won't be on Chowhound :)

                                        1. re: c oliver
                                          h
                                          HillJ RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 10:54 AM

                                          c oliver, you are funny & I enjoy that. It's challenging to be a good little CH when the blurry lines occur in the name of CH discussion as much by posters like you & me as with CHOW & CH staff. I'd love to contribute more to the discussion and less to the need for moderation, deletion and/or frustration but (again) that darned blurry line makes it a bit too unclear for a simple gal like me.

                                      2. Paulustrious RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 12:25 PM

                                        I worry when other people decide what I should and shouldn't read. Doubly so if it's for my own good.

                                        I tend to believe a group of people, such as those that inhabit these boards, are in a better position to give solicited advice than a single person in a health food shop.

                                        But these boards do not belong to you and me and so we should play by 'their' rules.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Paulustrious
                                          h
                                          HillJ RE: Paulustrious Apr 14, 2009 12:42 PM

                                          Asking for clarification when the rules aren't always clear doesn't mean we can't play by the rules.

                                        2. Miss Needle RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 12:49 PM

                                          I think this is definitely a grey area. About your post about the rheumatoid arthritis Rx -- yes, that's a type of post that should be reserved for the patient's doctor. In regards to other things -- well, lots of doctors are not really trained in nutrition so a lot of them probably don't have much to offer, which leads to folks coming over to Internet boards to get their fix, whether it's on sites like chowhound or curezone. And I find that many doctors don't really spend as much time with their patients anymore because they need to see a patient every five minutes to cover their overhead with managed care. And just because a doctor (any type -- medical, holistic, naturopath, whatever) tells you something doesn't necessarily mean it's right. Doctors disagree with each other on diagnoses, treatment options, philosophies, etc. all the time. And I should also elaborate and mention what doctors say may be right for some people and not for others. We are all different, and some of us sync with different types of practitioners and treatments over others. And Servog makes a good point about certain illnesses like celiac being not well understood. I went to an immunologist because I wanted to be tested for celiac, and he totally was misinformed about the disease. I ended up going to a celiac specialist in the end. And you know what? Celiac disease is something that's still not well understood, and the community is still learning a lot about it, with theories and figures constantly evolving. So just because your celiac specialist says one thing today doesn't mean that will hold true a year from now as we continue to learn more about the disease. I actually have my own views on it from another perspective, which is different from the majority view out there. I'm sure most people would think I'm nuts -- but just wait -- things are always changing and my theory may very well hold true in the medical community a few years from now!

                                          So I think each thing should be taken on a case by case basis. Rx questions? Ask your doctor -- or better yet, your pharmacist. My mom was a pharmacist and told me that doctors generally don't have a deep understanding of medication. I agree with you, c oliver, that chowhound or any Internet board isn't the place for questions like those. What to eat when you're hung over? I think that question poses a small possibility of it becoming dangerous -- unless you tell the person to drink more booze. ; )

                                          But questions like -- what to eat if you have asthma? That's where it can get a bit tricky. People will have all sorts of views. Had an asthma patient who was seeing a naturopath who told her to go on some sort of milk parasitic cleanse where you basically fast on milk and take some sort of supplements. It is against my view of going on a milk parasitic cleanse if you're asthmatic -- and against my view of doing this prolonged extreme fast for this individual. Apparently the naturopath didn't think so. So you'll get all sorts of opinions. The thing is on the internet, you need to take everything with a grain of salt. Ha ha -- I like the Darwin award comment! But on the flip side, just because something sounds unusual to you, please don't automatically dismiss it as being hogwash. That's a very parochial view. And don't automatically dismiss something because it lacks research to back it up. Just because it lacks research doesn't necessarily mean it's bogus. There's a lot of politics when it comes to research funding. Of course, there's a lot of hogwash on the net out there. But there's also a lot of good information that could be very beneficial if you can get over the initial hump of it sounding too "weird" -- kind of like eating tripe. Or if I want to use an example where it may be easier for Americans to relate to -- kind of like eating cheese -- you're basically eating rotten milk. I think that's one of the reasons why a lot of Asians haven't gotten on the bandwagon about the pleasures of eating cheese.

                                          So always be careful of what you read out there, and don't automatically assume that just because a health care practitioner told you something that it's right or that it's right for you. And I think that if somebody did dispel some sort of advice, when writing about it on Chowhound, it may be helpful to preface it with, "my doctor told me ..." as opposed to stating it as the ultimate and absolute truth -- because what really is the ultimate and absolute truth? And do your own due diligence.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Miss Needle
                                            danhole RE: Miss Needle Apr 14, 2009 01:24 PM

                                            As usual, very well said Miss Needle! The danger in listening to ANYONE about advice on home health "cures" is that they do not know 1) your medical history; 2) what medications you may be on; 3) your allergies. So let's say that your Dr. told you that eating grapefruit works wonders for XXX, and gosh that's what I have, but I am on medication YYY and grapefruit will cause a reaction of taken with that medication. The book I referred to way upthread has a section that warns you of things like that. It also gives you unusual alternatives, but alerts you to possible side effects if you have allergies to anything associated with the alternatives. And listen to Miss Needle - do your own due diligence.

                                            1. re: Miss Needle
                                              c oliver RE: Miss Needle Apr 14, 2009 02:38 PM

                                              As danhole said, well done, Miss Needle. Perhaps it's living in Northern CA but I seem to run into ALOT of people who give the holistic or naturapathic slant in a very arbitrary way. Like 'this is how it is.' So I shy (very far) away from individual recommendations. I listen to them and then do my research, including talking to my doctor and pharmacist. I would never take that type of advice from Chowhound. It's not what it's for, is it? There are plenty of other sites on the internet for that type of talk, some good, some horrible.

                                              And if someone asks "what kind of diet are you on for XXX ?" and you tell them, then in a way you are giving advice. Maybe we should take the government approach of "don't ask; don't tell" and use it in a GOOD way :)

                                              And, hey, danhole, maybe we can find a home remedy for Mr. Hole's gagging :)

                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                s
                                                small h RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 02:58 PM

                                                It's not the giving of advice that's the problem, it's the following. If someone is too...let's just say "trusting"...to understand that, s/he deserves what s/he gets. You know how in the ol' war on drugs, it makes a lot more sense to educate the consumers than to try to put the suppliers out of business? Like that.

                                            2. purple goddess RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 05:57 PM

                                              Personally, I can't recall ever giving medical advice here, but as a Nurse, who has worked for a gastroenterologist (who specialises in Chrohn's and other malabsorption conditions) and a gen. surgeon (who pioneered lap surgery for choliolithiasis and other gall bladder pathology), if I WERE to give advice it would be soundly based in current medical practices. And my first piece of advice would always be "Go see your Dr.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: purple goddess
                                                c oliver RE: purple goddess Apr 14, 2009 07:06 PM

                                                Do you have any sense that people are less prone to sue in Australia. I can't imagine a health care professional in the US offering medical advice on a forum like this.

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  purple goddess RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 07:13 PM

                                                  very possibly. We're not nearly as litigious as you guys.. although we're heading that way.

                                                  If I saw a query such as "I've been diagnosed with IBS, what should I do?", I'd a) assume they were under the care of a GP, if not a gastro, So I might make recommendations about over-the-counter meds and such. (and certainly recommend they DO get a specialist gastro on board).

                                                  What I WOULDN'T be saying is "insert the gastroscope 4in past the sigmoid..."

                                              2. Rmis32 RE: c oliver Apr 14, 2009 06:59 PM

                                                I don't read posts on Chow for medical advice, though it doesn't bother me if people offer it. Just don't comment on my mental health.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Rmis32
                                                  porker RE: Rmis32 Apr 14, 2009 07:17 PM

                                                  What bugs me (among other things ;-) is people who offer warnings which, *to me*, is sensalization (hey, it might be very important to them) or I don't really care about, or is sensationalized, or is along the lines of 'get a life'...
                                                  Maybe discussing the merits of briquettes vs lump charcoal when grilling burgers, someone'll jump in and say how charcoal grilling causes carcinogens.
                                                  Or how you prefer cooking trout streamside and someone'll point out that eating fish pulled out of certain rivers are high in mercury.
                                                  Then theres the raw bar threads, clams or oysters. They always seem to degenerate into a discussion on the dangers of eating raw shellfish.

                                                2. h
                                                  HillJ RE: c oliver Apr 15, 2009 05:31 AM

                                                  Wouldn't medical advice posts be as easy to ignore as any other topic raised on CH that didn't interest you? I don't believe all suggested recipes, requests for menu planning or resto reviews are taken as gospel either.

                                                  Deciding for yourself is good advice under any situation.

                                                  1. m
                                                    moh RE: c oliver Apr 17, 2009 11:28 AM

                                                    Very interesting discussion.

                                                    I tend to agree with Miss Needle's comment about "due diligence". People have to take responsibility for their own health situation. Blindly trusting anyone has its risks, and I include physicians in this category. Mistakes can be made, important pieces of medical history can be missed, the science may be very fuzzy and controversial. I always have suspicions when anyone says "This is the only way to deal with this issue", because often, it is not (with the exception of some very successful medical interventions such as appendectomy, antibiotics for bacterial infections, water hygiene for prevention of infectious disease, etc). And I can tell you I have a surprising number of medical colleagues who think this way. But close-mindedness is not limited to the medical profession. I have met my share of stubborn idealogues in many different health-related professions, naturopaths, masseuses, etc. I have also met many wonderful people who focus on the therapeutic relationship and understand that each patient is unique and may respond to different approaches. It is the responsibility of the patient to find what works best for them, and to try to get some perspective on how their disease affects their lives.

                                                    I agree we should not be routinely dishing out health advice on this forum. And I also believe CH should not be the one-stop medical advice website for all things food related.

                                                    But I can think of some very useful tidbits I have gleaned from this board, and I think a blanket censorship of all thing medical would be extreme. It is indeed a fuzzy line, and I say, let the fuzziness live on, and reader beware. I have discovered some very useful information about various health hazards on this board, and while I might not in the end agree with everything posted, I am grateful to be exposed to information that might have impact on my health. For example:
                                                    - I learned more about the risks of carcinogens in grilled foods. I continue to grill, but in moderation.
                                                    - I am learning about the possible toxicity of Mamey pits. Wow! Confusing, but very interesting.
                                                    - I am learning more about the debate about Teflon, and slowly making a decision about how this will affect my cooking vessel choices.
                                                    -I am much more aware about celiac disease, allergies, lactose intolerance. There are some posts which seem completely crazy to me, but I read them, try to do my own research on them, then perhaps decide "yup, they are loco", or perhaps think "hmm, there may be something to that point of view".
                                                    -I have learned about diet affecting disease such as diabetes. As someone pointed out before, physicians aren't always up to date on dietary information. It is good to get information from other professionals. We have an amazing wealth of information in our CH population, and it has increased my awareness about many dietary issues.

                                                    These are just a few medical topics that I have enjoyed learning about on CH. They are very food-relevant. I may not agree with everything I read, but it is important to be aware of the different perspectives that are out there. I am a firm believer in the importance of discussion, communication and debate. I want to know what people are thinking.

                                                    Now, I have been known to dole out medical advice and info here and there in the occasional post. I do try to preface these posts with some indication of my point of view, and my perspective, and I try to indicate that they should also see their own health care professional. Sometimes, I write a post to to clear up what I think are misconceptions posted by another poster, in these cases, I have to feel I am standing on firm medical evidence before I'll do that. I'd like to think I dole out reasonable advice, and I usually am responding to a reasonable request. I can certainly see your point about this not being an appropriate forum, and it is possible my advice is useless and possibly harmful (although I'd like to think not). But I'd be sad to see every possibly medical post deleted. I love the debate, what can I say?

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: moh
                                                      lynnlato RE: moh Apr 17, 2009 11:49 AM

                                                      Occasionally, someone will post questions about what recipe ideas for low sugar dessert or low carb meal for a diabetic friend and I usually will chime in on those threads b/c I am a type 1 diabetic. I enjoy helping non-diabetics understand my disease and I think it's great that they would go out of there way to fix something that is appropriate for a diabetic. I'm not dishing on medical advice and I hope these aren't the sort of threads you are discouraging. But as someone above mentioned, medical and/or treatment advice, tips, etc. that are non-food related are better shared on illness-specific website (i.e. American Diabetes Association website, etc).

                                                      1. re: lynnlato
                                                        m
                                                        moh RE: lynnlato Apr 17, 2009 12:34 PM

                                                        Lynnlato, those are the kind of posts I am absolutely in favour of allowing on this site! I learn a lot from these posts, and find them very interesting.

                                                      2. re: moh
                                                        c oliver RE: moh Apr 17, 2009 12:48 PM

                                                        Hi, moh -
                                                        I wrote a fairly response to you and then the system got hung up :( I'll try to give a shorter version and hope it makes it.

                                                        I thought your response was one of the best though-out and well written posts I've ever seen on Chowhound. And I really appreciate your taking the time and energy to do this. As the OP on this, I've been impressed with a lot of the response. I would now like to change my position on this :) When I worked in the corporate I would always get annoyed with a company would enact a rule rather than simply deal with an individual employee. I think I was guilty of thinking that same way. And perhaps the annoying "stubborn idealogues" and "wackos" get more of my attention over the sensible respondents. It's irritating to read blanket and arbitrary statements here of "you'll get sick if you eat that" for instance. And it's worrisome to think that someone might take one bit of incorrect advice, incomplete, out of context advice and make decisions on that alone. So I will revise my original post and say that there's a place here for some discussions and hopefully those who reply will remember that there's a responsibility here. And if a thread gets into those fuzzy areas, please DO report to the moderators.

                                                        Now I'm going back to those really important discussions like "why won't people use coasters?" :) Thanks everyone

                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                          m
                                                          moh RE: c oliver Apr 17, 2009 01:03 PM

                                                          C oliver, you are very kind. I should be thanking you for the very interesting discussion your thread has started.

                                                          I must admit that I get some very guilty pleasure from some of the wacko posts! "Hubbie! You won't believe what someone just posted!" <howls of evil giggles>. Part of the reason I am so addicted to CH....

                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                            lynnlato RE: c oliver Apr 18, 2009 07:40 AM

                                                            Bravo, c oliver, and thank you for starting the discussion. It helps give all of us a little perspective.

                                                            Moh, I cannot tell you how many times I point at the computer screen and laugh (or cackle), and call my husband over to read it to him also (I also copy & paste it in an email to a CH friend who's as twisted as me). Ha!

                                                            1. re: lynnlato
                                                              c oliver RE: lynnlato Apr 18, 2009 08:10 AM

                                                              I do think we twisted people (me too) definitely are more CH-addict-prone. Free entertainment and we get to feel soooo superior :)

                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                Veggo RE: c oliver Apr 18, 2009 08:53 AM

                                                                Interesting, co. I do this so the monitors can feed my inferiority complex. Beat me, whip me, break out the leather, baby!

                                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                                  c oliver RE: Veggo Apr 18, 2009 09:14 AM

                                                                  I DO get my feelings hurts when I'm nixelated! And the nixelation-factor makes me present here more often than is reasonable. I'm so afraid I'm going to miss something. Caught one of Sam's before it got the ax yesterday. So guess I'm confused :)

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