MEMEs

Memes aren’t Facts

MEMEs are not Facts.  They can be informative, perhaps even insightful, but they are not good sources of information. Today I am going to show two MEMEs, address their message then apply critical thought to each.

 

MEMEs aren't Facts

The other day I wrote an article about hair care treatment. Why did I write this article? For two reasons: 1. I love to research and 2. I want to promote personal advocacy. To have personal advocacy we must develop our critical thinking skills. Images like the Nioxin vs. Monat vs. Rogaine are underhandedly manipulative, their marketing strategies attempt to trick and intimidate us into buying their products. They do their best to break down our ability to use critical thought. The image encourages us to make a knee jerk reaction and cast away science in favor for pseudoscience.

How does it do this specifically?

  1. It compares apples to oranges – Showcasing ingredients in one column, stating no harmful ingredients or side effects in another, then showing side effects in the final column.
  2. It manipulates our perception – by placing their product in the center of the image, surrounded by negative space it compels us to feel safer with it over the complicated and scary jargon of the other products. It tells us their product has no harmful ingredients and no side effects while presenting the others in an inferior and negative light. Finally, it scares us with bold red words and exclamation points!
  3. It unfairly represents the three products – By providing inaccurate or incomplete data on each product they stack the deck in favor of Monat.

"big pharma" stereotype

Personal advocacy requires Hope. I love Hope, she guides me every day in my struggle against the crushing weight of the world. Hope is the ATP in the muscles of Atlas as he holds the earth above his head. We need more than Hope to protect us from the harmful manipulations of others. Hope must be accompanied by critical thought, this Wisdom grants us the sight to see through lies and manipulations, to search for truth and protect ourselves from falsehoods.

The next topic I would like to discuss is the abuse of stereotypes and the danger of unchecked bias.

I had conversation on Facebook the other week about bias and stereotypes. Everyone has bias, which is fine, however when we allow our bias to interfere with treating others fairly that is when we have failed to effectively critically think.

The above MEME was discussed, the original poster asked if this quote was true: “a patient cured is a customer lost”

My reply was chemotherapy might not be right for everyone, but it has saved many lives. That we should be wary of sources that apply negative generalizations about large groups of people.

I have encountered many who are against chemotherapy and the pharmaceutical companies. When they tell me “there is no money in a cure” I ask them two questions, 1. How many kinds of cancer are there and 2.  name 5 big pharmaceutical companies and the chemotherapy drugs they manufacture.

The information given and the sources they cite is an important indication to the amount of time they have researched and how effective they utilize critical thought. For example, someone using Wikipedia or a MEME as source for information may lack critical researching skills. Perhaps they know how to research but they are not concerned with using evidence-based data, maybe they embrace pseudoscience or simply make judgements based on feelings.

Critical thought teaches us to acknowledge our bias, to set it aside, to be fair and treat others for their qualities, rather than the actions of people unrelated to them. It is unfair to apply blanket opinions on other groups of people. When these blanket opinions are applied they create a stereotype which creates an atmosphere of unfairness.

Each pharmaceutical company is an organization comprised of dozens, hundreds even thousands of employees. There are dozens of pharmaceutical companies, how fair is it to say these people are concerned only with making money? Not all people are the same, not all companies are the same.

Instead of making blanket statements about groups of people you don’t know, research each company and judge them individually. Just like people, the ideology of one pharmaceutical company will change, one to the next.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps the next time we read a MEME and feel strongly about its message, we should consider spending some time to research its validity.

Nioxin vs Monat vs Rogaine

Nioxon vs Monat vs Rogaine

While perusing the land of Facebook I was drawn to an image (shown below) illustrating the advantages of one product over two others. With my interest piqued I spent the better part of an evening researching it’s claims. I believe we all fall victim to the whirlwind of information flashed before our eyes. There is so much knowledge at our fingers tips it can be challenging to decipher fact from fiction.

Errors and Clarifications

The first error the author made was when they classified Nioxin, a company as a product. I am assuming the author intended to compare Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men and Rogaine to the Monat product: Intense Repair Treatment.

The second error was when it compared the three products unfairly. No attempt was made to compare each item in a like manner, essentially the author was comparing apples to oranges.

The next error was that the active and inactive ingredients were inaccurately listed. If you consult the following data you will see that Acetamide MEA, Cocamide MEA, PEG-150 distearate, Tocopherol, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Diazolidinyl, Sodium Laureth sulfate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben PEG-150 distearate and Propylparaben are not on the ingredient list for Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment.
The active ingredient of Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men is 5% Minoxidil. The inactive ingredients are Alcohol, Propylene Glycol and Purified Water. [3]

The active ingredient of Rogaine is Minoxidil 5%. The inactive ingredients of Rogaine are butane, butylated hydroxytoluene, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, glycerin, isobutane, lactic acid, polysorbate 60, propane, purified water, SD alcohol 40-B, stearyl alcohol.

The product I assume the author wishes to compare from Monat is their Intense Repair Treatment, which claims to be a patented biometric peptide formula, that has “higher proven results than other leading hair loss brands” and its “clinical results prove significant results in just 90 days” [1]

The Intense Repair Treatment does not use the terms active and inactive ingredients, instead the terms ‘key ingredient’ and ‘ingredients’ are used. The key ingredient is Capixyl [1]. However on the main Monat website this ingredient is not mentioned. On the main Monat website it states that the product’s ingredients are water, butylene glycol, acetyl tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract, hydrolyzed wheat protein, dextran, xanthan gum, pvp, cocamidopropyl-pg-dimonium, chloride, benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, fragrance.

According to another source the ingredient list of Capixyl is: Butylene Glycol, water, Dextran, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract which matches up with most of the ingredients within the Intense Repair Treatment. [2]

How are the terms key, active and inactive ingredients defined?
According to the World Health Organization the term active ingredient is defined as:

“active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) Any substance or combination of substances used in a finished pharmaceutical product (FPP), intended to furnish pharmacological activity or to otherwise have direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or to have direct effect in restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions in human beings.”

An inactive ingredient or vehicle is an inactive substance mixed with an active ingredient to give bulk to a medicine. [4]

I have found no pharmaceutical definitions for key ingredients.

What do these three products do?

Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment for men and Rogaine have identical active ingredients.
Active Ingredient: Minoxidil 5%.

“Minoxidil applied to the scalp is used to stimulate hair growth in adult men and women with a certain type of baldness. The exact way that this medicine works is not known. If hair growth is going to occur with the use of minoxidil, it usually occurs after the medicine has been used for several months and lasts only as long as the medicine continues to be used. Hair loss will begin again within a few months after minoxidil treatment is stopped. In the U.S., this medicine is available without a prescription.” [5]

Monat Intense Repair Treatment
Key Ingredient: Capixyl (not listed as an active ingredient, see above)

There is no information on Pubmed about Capixyl. [6]

There appears to be no evidence-based data to suggest Capixyl or the Monat Intense Repair Treatment has any affect on the regrowth of hair.

Conclussion

According to my research Minoxidil is the only drug proven to regrow hair. Monat’s claim that Capixyl (or Monat’s Intense Repair Treatment) can regrow hair is anecdotal at best.

[1] “Intense Repair Treatment” Monat Intense Repair Treatment. Hair Canada. Web. 8 December 2017. <
[2] “Capixyl TM” Propspector. UL. Web. 8 December 2017 < https://www.ulprospector.com/en/na/PersonalCare/Detail/4501/191081/Capixyl>
[3] ”Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men” JC Penney. Web. 8 December 2017. < http://haircanada.net/index.php/monat-products/intense-repair-treatment-monat/>
[4] “Defintion of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient” WHO. World Health Organization, July 2011. Web. 8 December 2017. <https://www.jcpenney.com/p/nioxin-hair-regrowth-treatment-for-men-30-day-supply-2-oz/pp5005120081?pTmplType=regular&rrec=true&rrplacementtype=product1_rr> http://www.who.int/medicines/areas/quality_safety/quality_assurance/DefinitionAPI-QAS11-426Rev1-08082011.pdf>.
[5] “Minoxidil (on the skin)” Minoxidil. NCBI. 1 November 2017. Web. 8 December 2017. < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0011238/?report=details>
[6] “No result found for Capixl” < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/search/?term=Capixyl>

Discovering Personal Advocacy

Discovering Personal Advocacy

Hope is the corner stone of personal advocacy. To find her we must fantasize about the world, embrace the thought of adventure and share our dreams with others. From this spark we will explore our creativity through artistic expression, connecting our soul parts with our body and mind. Creativity gives way to imagination, the ability to see something that does not exist and manifest it within reality. Once we can imagine ourselves as the person we want to be, all we have to do is make it a reality. Hope is the faith we can achieve this reality.

Critical thought entails the usage of empathy, insight and research. We will learn to explore the perceptions and realities of others, avoid pseudoscience and become effective researchers. This is an important component in personal advocacy because it gives us the knowledge to have power over our lives.

Force of will is the quality of pushing forward despite our obstacles and hardships. It is our willpower, forward momentum and determination. It is living with significance, purpose and drive. Force of will sprouts from Hope, it grows with critical thought and blossoms when we give purpose to the pain.

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Discovering Hope

 

Critical Awareness – Boundaries – Personal Advocacy

critical awareness Critical Awareness

What is Critical Awareness?

This question is equally important as how boundaries improve critical awareness.

So what is critical awareness?  In this instance we are going to define it as empathy.  To adequately define empathy I want you to imagine yourself as someone else.  This is more than standing in their shoes or seeing the world their their eyes.  Close your eyes, separate yourself from your reality, take a moment and think about how they might experience the world.  What influences might affect the way they interpret reality?  How could their bias alter how they see and interact with others?  What do you think their intent is? This is one way to empathize with someone.

To empathize you aren’t feeling this person’s emotions. To feel what they feel is to sympathize, sympathy is a pathology, a disease of critical thought.  The most effective way you can love another person, while loving yourself is stop sympathizing and start empathizing.

How do boundaries improve critical awareness?

Through personal boundaries you can more effectively empathize, which will help you identify and interpret the filters and boundaries of others. This will increase your ability to communicate and protect yourself from dangers inside and out.

How does critical awareness improve boundaries?

People who use critical awareness only experience emotions relevant to them. This effective framework prevents others from manipulating them.  They have drawn a definitive line in the sand between their feelings and those of others. This boundary enables them to distinguish their thoughts and feelings from the emotions, thoughts and manipulations of others.

Links

If you would like to discover more about personal boundaries and empathy feel free to click on one of these amazing links!  I’m sure your will find something to fill your fancy.

Introduction to Boundaries

Fight Abuse – Boundaries – Personal Advocacy

If you would like a more immersive experience take a look at the following link.  This is a fine introduction to the world of cancer, or at least how my journey begin.  It is a podcast so you can kick back and listen to it as you are doing other stuff.

Power Advocacy Podcast 3