It’s the kind of bird-brained scheme Wile E. Coyote might come up with.
Just disguise some bird poison as an important and life-changing medicine… filled with hope and promise…
And wait for Road Runner come along and eat it up.
In the cartoons, you know the Road Runner’s never really fooled…
But out in the real world, the wily drug industry too often gets the last laugh.
And they’re trying to do it right now in a way that would make that ol’ coyote proud.
Because it involves disguising ACTUAL bird poison as medicine.
If you’re not careful, they could try to feed it to YOU!
Because they might not stop with patients with multiple sclerosis, who are currently in the crosshairs.
That’s why today I’m here to turn you into a sharp-witted Road Runner, never fooled by their nonsense.
How BIRD POISON became a ‘drug’
For years, a chemical sold under the brand name Avitrol was used to control “bird problems.” Still is -- you can look it up.
Kills humans, too, if you feed ’em enough.
But at some point, the drug companies found that lower doses of it AREN’T deadly.
Gotta wonder how they convinced people to be the first to test THAT theory out!
Since then, they’ve been selling it as a potassium channel-blocking drug, 4-Aminopyridine.
First, it was to help people with multiple sclerosis walk a little better…
Now they say it can help stop cognitive struggles in these folks, too.
Yep. Say anything to make a sale, right?
The results aren’t nothin’, but they’re not exactly impressive either.
Folks with MS given the drug twice a day for 12 weeks improved by almost 10 points on a common test of cognitive abilities. Compare that to folks given a placebo, who improved by 5.1 points.
But even if it had worked BETTER than that… holy moly, just check out the side effects.
There are the usual ones that nearly ANY drug can cause -- like headache, dizziness, insomnia, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
But THIS drug can also give you some weird ones like balance problems and tingling sensations… horrible ones like burning pain during urination… and some downright frightening ones like seizures and MS relapse.
Oh, and definitely don’t let your birds near it.
Of course, now that they found it might improve cognition in MS patients, I worry they will next “discover” it can help with cognition in everyone else, too!
Next thing you know, they’ll be leaving piles of it out on the sidewalk in front of the senior center.
Whether you have MS… or cognitive struggles from any other cause, including ordinary aging… you’ve got LOTS of better options.
For starters, there’s time-tested and science-backed ginkgo -- which isn’t recommended NEARLY ENOUGH.
Other great brain-boosters include citicoline, phosphatidylserine and Huperzine A, all of which can ENHANCE cognition without killing your birds… or you.
In Your Corner,
Dr. Allan Spreen