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Tom Cruise, Brooke Shields, Matt Lauer and TV's pharmaceutical whores
[Posted 3 January 2006]

Well, I can't believe I'm paying any attention to movie stars, especially movie stars I don't enjoy. People who know me understand that I can't stand most movies. The plots are redundant and insulting to my intelligence, the violence is disturbing, and I don't have time for things that I don't enjoy. Occasionally I find a movie that I might want to see -- about once every YEAR or two. I especially don't like Tom Cruise's movies. Too violent and mindless. Or Brooke Shields' movies. Too silly, with tasteless sexual content. That's of their movies I was barely willing to pause and watch while flipping through TV channels. Pause and watch, that is, until I was almost instantly insulted or grossed out. Never sat through an entire film by either one, except "Risky Business." That old flick wasn't too bad, I guess, kind of fun.

NEVERTHELESS, recent events have caught my attention, especially with my interest in alternative medicine. Namely, in a television interview with Matt Lauer, Tom Cruise made remarks about Brooke Shields' decision to take drugs for postpartum depression. Hang on, some quotes have to be on the internet somewhere...

"If you start talking about chemical inbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt, okay? That's what I've done.

"Psychiatry is a pseudo science," he [Tom Cruise] said.

"She [Brooke Shields] doesn't understand the history of psychiatry. She doesn't understand in the same way that you don't understand it, Matt.

"You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do," he added.

-Cruise clashes on TV over drugs

Afterwards, America's mainstream media did their best to ridicule Cruise, being the pharmaceutical whores that they are. Consumer advocate Tim Bolen estimates, from informal studies he has done, that 55% of television advertising during "news hours" is bought by pharmaceutical companies to advertise DRUGS. In fact, I had to quote a British article on the exchange between Cruise and Lauer, as the American articles were so biased against Cruise in general. News networks contacted Brooke Shields for a response to Cruise's remarks -- she immediately defended her decision WITHOUT considering or dealing with the issues raised by Cruise, of course. There were subsequent remarks made on many TV shows attacking Cruise for weeks after the interview, including a subsequent show hosted by Lauer.

I'm used to the fact that television networks have assumed the role of prostitutes for their big advertisers. It's Matt Lauer's job to bash anything that isn't pure profit for the pharmaceutical companies who pay a big chunk of his salary. Yet there are no conflicts of interest statements on TV shows, nothing to inform people that the network would lose billions in advertising if it didn't stick to a script that their pharmaceutical advertisers would approve.

And so, with all of the media whores lined up to bash Cruise, I feel obligated to say something in his defense.

First of all, postpartum depression is usually nothing more than a deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids and perhaps certain vitamins & minerals. I remember Matt Lauer making a remark that if Cruise's girlfriend were to develop postpartum depression, she'd better exercise and take her vitamins. I guess that means Lauer still hasn't bothered to read up on the subject, no surprises there. When a woman carries a baby to term, that baby has drained quite a bit of nutrition from the mother. One of the primary things needed by the fetus is Omega-3 fatty acid -- every cell membrane in the human body needs it to function properly, and the brain's development creates an especially ravenous appetite for Omega-3s. That's why leafy greens and fish are reputed to be "brain food" -- the brain, immune, and reproductive systems are all especially Omega-3 dependent. So the baby drains the mother of Omega-3, and most likely the mother hasn't been replacing it fast enough while pregnant. She becomes Omega-3 deficient. Well, one of the most common symptoms of Omega-3 deficiency is DEPRESSION. That's why postpartum depression eventually goes away after delivery -- the woman eventually (hopefully) replaces the nutrients through her dietary intake over time.

And then there's the whole "depression industry," as I like to call it. Let me give a personal example from my own family. My sister-in-law recently had a baby, and while in the hospital a staffer saw her crying. The doctors immediately moved in on this, and tried to convince my brother to put her on anti-depressants. My brother was furious, especially after they started telling him that his wife would have to be on the drugs long-term, and that they probably wouldn't make much of a difference for the first six months. He rattled their cages about the CONDITIONS of his wife's hospital stay, until they were willing to extend her visiting hours so that she could see her husband and parents more often. That seemed to solve the problem, showing that the hospital setting itself was a factor in her "depression," if you can call crying once "depression." I also should add that one of the meals I observed them giving her was MASHED POTATOES AND GRAVY WITH BEEF. How is that going to replace her nutrients, other than a little iron in the beef? Where are the Omega-3's, other than a tiny amount in the small leafy green salad? Reminds me of stories I've heard from heart bypass patients' families, where their fathers were given hamburgers or pastrami sandwiches after heart surgery. Might as well start working on that next bypass right away, huh?

Also, many times people are depressed by the CIRCUMSTANCES OF THEIR LIFE. When a woman's husband dies, of course she's going to be depressed for a while. That's a part of life. Unless someone is having trouble coping and ASKS for a quick fix like drugs, why would anyone want to push pills at someone with TEMPORARY sadness? It goes against human decency, especially with the bad side effects of most pharmaceutical-grade drugs.

Then there's the fact that most Americans are Omega-3 deficient, creating a deficiency-based depression epidemic in this country. Doctors admit that their education rarely contains coursework in nutrition, and anyway, nutrition is considered to be a lowly nutritionist's job -- someone a patient rarely sees, unless a disease like diabetes is involved.

This is the medical industry Cruise was referring to -- doctors aren't taught or don't want to know why their patients are really depressed, and are conditioned by the standards in their field to treat everyone with DRUGS. But drugs aren't going to solve these problems permanently. They just create the demand for more drugs, generating more of a profit for the pharmaceutical companies.

And news broadcasts rarely mention this little detail while reporting on health issues. Once in a while, a broadcast on herbs like St. John's Wort may slip through, but in itself, St. John's Wort is just another temporary solution until the actual source of depression is addressed. But it's a temporary solution with almost no side effects, in comparison to the psychoses many anti-depressant drugs have caused, including school shootings and other homicides. Long story short, don't expect TELEVISION to address many long-term solutions for any type of mental disorder, at least not while drug advertising is legal. Omega-3s and B-Vitamins don't make money like drugs make money. Natural and inexpensive remedies would put a dent in the huge profit steamroller of anti-depressant drugs.

Even through I'd rather hear information on postpartum depression from a doctor who actually knows the issues, like Joel Wallach or Donald Rudin, television rarely gives doctors like that an audience. Andrew Weil has good exposure, but that's about as far as TV networks are willing to go. Sometimes celebrities like Tom Cruise are the only ones who can break the information barrier, taking quite a risk when they choose to do so. Cruise can use his celebrity status to TEMPORARILY reach television audiences, giving them valuable information which is almost always suppressed in TV land, but he'll eventually be passed over for interviews and other television exposure if he keeps at it. The media's ridicule machine was immediate and overwhelming for several weeks after Cruise's initial interview with Lauer. Big advertisers don't like anyone who challenges their ethics or profits, and television networks will do their bidding by outing anyone who gets in their advertisers' way.

In the case of Brooke Shields, it's especially sad to learn that she may again be pregnant. If the woman was already deficient enough to develop postpartum depression (if that's in fact what she had, rather than just crying once in the hospital for example), then I have to question whether her Omega-3 level has built up sufficiently enough for the next baby to develop properly. Omega-3s are critical to infant health and development. But I've also learned over the years that some people just want to trust their doctor no matter what, that they feel the doctor is paid to know these things, and they personally can't be bothered to learn them independently. I have many friends and relatives who have the same attitude, and have learned to just stand back and let their health deteriorate, sometimes to let them die. I can provide the information if they want it, but I can't force them to learn or do anything. I've had 2 relatives die of cancer in the past few years for this very reason. It was sad to see them go, but I have to be realistic -- the only people I know who have survived cancer are those who used alternative medicine. Everyone I've known through the years who took "conventional" treatment for cancer has since died, including an aunt and uncle.

Although Cruise's message may have been lost on Lauer and Shields, he was able to reach a larger television audience by using Shields as an example, at least temporarily. Like people I've known over the years, those wanting more information when the issue is brought up will find the information and read it. Those who want to just trust their doctors will block that information out. Cruise was brave enough to challenge Lauer on the issue, and Cruise is involved in alternative treatments enough to know the risks he was taking. Cruise is a very popular actor with some women, and just by bringing the matter to the world's attention may have saved quite a few women and their children from numerous health problems, possibly even prevented a few infant deaths and birth defects. It could be the start of the end of his career, but that was his choice, and he decided to do the right thing. I have to admire him for that.

The Lauer interview also generated a TV story on how Cruise has sponsored some alternative treatments through his affiliation with Scientology. I'm certainly not going to endorse Scientology as a religion, but some of their alternative treatment programs are excellent. Some people ridicule that religion for having so many rich celebrities, but hey, how many churches are brave enough to sponsor alternative treatment programs? Sometimes people who spend money on their churches can be very demanding about the results. America's health care system is among the top 10 causes of death in this country -- we spend the most, but have some of the worst results. So if no other church is willing to address the human suffering caused by substandard medical care, where else can people of conscience go?

"The television news industry has hurt itself with its bald faced promo of drugs, drugs, and more drugs. The image, I think, of the average network news channel broadcaster is very similar to that of those young people, male and female, standing on the corner of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood every night, ready to sell themselves to anybody who'll give them the money they need for clothing, shelter, drugs, and the slightest bit of approval from their strong-arm pimp.

"It's just that the rewards in TV news are slightly, but not much, higher."

- Tim Bolen

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