Posted by: bipolarmystic | January 24, 2013

Science Left Behind?

Recently at work I ran across a book titled “Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left.”  For those who don’t know, I work at a library and one of my primary responsibilities involves entering new materials into our catalog.  I work on the back end “coding” all the item records so they come up when patrons search for them.  Through this responsibility and the responsibility of overseeing all inter-library loan items I am exposed to a great deal of books.  Inevitably (but rarely) I come across books I do not like and can barely stand to thumb through.  “Science Left Behind…” is one such book and this blog entry is an opinion piece.

This book basically posits that liberals have used crap science to over sensationalize a variety of topics from global warming to organic food.  I could not really bring myself to look through this book to glean greater detail about the argument.  I honestly don’t know exactly what data is out there, what scientific studies are relevant to these subjects.  That is not my purpose in writing this post.  Instead, I was immediately struck by the bitter irony that the “science” of mental illness and women’s health issues is largely crap science.  I don’t really consider myself much of a political person, but at some point politics become intrinsic to important health issues.

Recently I came across a scientific article about bipolar disorder that horrified me.  Evidently at least in some cases, rodents are given speed to mimic the manic phase of bipolar.  When I came across this study I thought perhaps it was someone’s idea of a joke.  I cannot think of a better instance of crap science than putting mice on speed and equating it to a bipolar brain.  While some of the symptoms may look similar, the fact is we have no idea what actually causes bipolar symptoms.  And it’s not speed.  I’m pretty sure this crap comes from the status quo, not “the left.”

Last week I was at a specialist for women’s hormones.  I have terrible PMS and like some women with bipolar disorder, it makes my bipolar symptoms much worse.  At the conclusion of our meeting the doctor said, “hey, at least there’s a code on my form for PMS now.”  But even with that huge leap forward >.> the options my doctor and I spoke about are not covered by insurance.  As outlined by my doctor my options are:

1) Try the IUD Meridia which shuts cycling down with a low dose of hormones released for five years: 850.00, covered by some insurers but not mine (and mine is pretty good).  Payment plans are available for Meridia, but are still pricey with only a three installment option.

2) Shots that are effective for 3 months at shutting cycling down.  2,000 a pop, not covered by insurance since it is an “off-label” use and nothing is really researched and thus “proven” to work for PMS.

3) If the shot works, I could consider having my ovaries removed, but “that might be hard to go through at my age (31).”  No idea how much this costs, I would think in the tens of thousands.

I think pretty much everyone, especially women feel that PMS is real.  It’s not fake – and I know doctors used to tell women that. If we have such limited options to treat PMS I think that’s pretty much the same thing as telling a woman she is not important.  Maybe it’s not all in her head anymore, but it’s still not important and if you happen to have a huge problem for whatever reason, well then I guess you might be out of luck.  Women’s health issues and the health issues of the mentally ill are both marginalized and dominated by shit science.  I’m pretty sure “the left” is against marginalization of all kind?

What does a person have in life in they don’t have their health?  From where should they look for guidance and flexibility to make good choices for their health?  Where should they turn to for information?  From the folks who have been running the show?  Maybe some “liberal science” is shit science.  I don’t really know – but I kind of doubt it.  And if it is shit science then people have a choice whether to believe it or not.  On the other hand, I don’t really have a choice. I have bipolar disorder.  And women’s health issues.  No one understands why because the system isn’t set up to care about us, to spend those research dollars.

Of course, this is a wider issue than just mental illness and women’s health.  There are other marginalized illnesses.  Other people who can’t afford healthcare.  Would I be employed and working on my master’s degree without health insurance?  For some, this boils down to the very fundamental question of what kind of life we are able to lead.  I am so thankful that I have health insurance, and I have a support system that continues to advocate for me when I can’t advocate for myself.


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