Health News Review

Strolling through the Google News Health section can be an exercise in disease-mongering.  Harold DeMonaco, one of our story reviewers, ran across a story that he thought read more like it was written for the Onion rather than NBCNews.com.

Here are his thoughts.

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I suspect that most of us have fallen victim to “Pizza Mouth Burn.”  Apparently after inadvisably stuffing a hot slice of pizza into his mouth, the main character of the story (an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences) decided that a treatment was necessary.  “This has plagued humankind since we discovered fire, it seems,” he noted.    Plagued mankind?  My Mother would have suggested that waiting until the pizza was cool might be a more rational approach.  But, we are dealing with a different era.  If there is a problem, there must be a drug for it.

Thanks to modern science, there appears to be hope for those of us who refuse to heed our mother’s advice and who then suffer from Pizza Mouth Burn.  A benzocaine dissolvable strip is under development.  Importantly, the story notes the strips have yet to be tested in humans.  We don’t have any information on their effectiveness or the side effects. But, we are told that the prototype is available in a mango flavored dissolvable strip and, “We can change the flavor to suit the mood. The sky’s the limit to the flavoring.  We need to appeal to a wide range of people and this wide variety of people have all burned their mouths,” according to the developer.

Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that has been around for a long time.  It is the active ingredient in a number of over the counter products.  It has fallen into disfavor as an ingredient in prescription drug products due to a rather nasty side effect, methemoglobinemia, a condition that reduces the ability of red blood cells to release oxygen to tissue.  Thankfully the side effect is rare.  As you might imagine, the condition does require immediate medical attention.  The concern is sufficient for the FDA to have issued a Drug Safety Communication warning about the risk in using over the counter products containing benzocaine in April of last year. Unfortunately, the story is silent on this issue.

We can hopefully look forward to modern science’s assistance in eliminating these terrible maladies and the media picking right up on these ground breaking developments.  I personally look forward to an effective treatment of “Brain Freeze.”

And, by the way, we would have scored this story as a “0” using standard criteria.

 

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