Thanks for landing here, as a prospective new reader of "Sham vs. Wham: The Health Insider." I'll briefly introduce my background and then tell you why this blog exists, and what you will find in coming issues. I'm hoping for some serious reader feedback as well.
Nearly twenty-five years ago, my wife and I left Ohio where I had grown up with allergy problems and basically lived in agony for a good 50% of the year. Knowing that Arizona had a reputation as a better location for allergy sufferers, we targeted a new life in Tucson and made the move, without even considering the fact that I had no job. I guess we're both risk takers. We bought a house as soon as we landed, and I took what I considered to be a "temporary" job working in a service provider to the healthcare industry. My job was to work as an executive recruiter (a "headhunter") for a new industry sector -- biotechnology -- that was just starting to blossom at the time. Genentech had just gone public, and the word was out that the industrial life sciences was super hot.
And hot it was. After a couple of years, I formed my own business which grew like a weed serving both biotech and the pharmaceutical industry. My life consisted of working closely with brilliant scientists -- those who were in the research and product development side of their business. My own background in science paled in comparision to these young scientists I was asked to recruit. These folks really knew what made the human body tick, and I spent a couple of decades getting to know all that I could about health and science products from the "big pharma" perspective. I was a very happy person to be so involved in an industry that helped people with their health-related problems.
And then two things happened to me, simultaneously, that sent me on a completely different mission.
First off, one of the scientists I placed had moved into marketing, and I asked him about his move. He told me that he had been asked to "invent a disease" for an anti-fungal compound his employer had in the research lab. He described how he had taken a relatively benign little fungal issue for humans and gone to work with his marketing department to make it into a reason to have a drug. Sure enough, I saw the TV commercials come later. Suffice it to say that this let a LOT of the steam out of my interest in working for that company.
The second change in my life came when my barber gave me a piece of advice. I had been using a daily pharma product (Rogaine®) to maintain as much of my fading hairline as I could. The barber suggested that I try a particularly odd-smelling shampoo that had been "developed by the psychic, Edgar Cayce." Now, I live in Sedona, Arizona, so I am no stranger to weird recommendations coming about non-traditional remedies, but I've never, ever been able to buy into all of that because my background is science-based. And yet, there was something about the sincerity of my barber in her suggestion, that I went ahead and bought some. Sure enough, this goofy product that smells like a gas station started to make my hair grow back in.
I was in the middle of a mid-life crisis at that point. All my professional life had been directed to a career in the biosciences, and my trust in the pharma industry had suddenly eroded at the same time that I was experiencing an "alternative" product that actually worked.
And that's the basis of Sham vs. Wham: The Health Insider. I'm going to lay out the cards here about what works and what doesn't, and pull from both scientific as well as alternative sources any and all information that validates healthy product claims, along with detailed medical information via regular health news updates.
Enjoy reading. Please check back -- I'll be here as close to every day as my life will allow.