Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau for December 10, 2023

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    BE THIS GUY  4 months ago

    My brother the doctor prescribes Snickers. He only prescribes Twix for those with peanut allergies.

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    Alexander the Good Enough  4 months ago

    It’s complicated. As I’m often wont to point out when such topics come up, the hemlock potion that Socrates (Remember him? Ever even heard of him?) was obliged to drink was almost certainly vegan, fresh & all-natural, minimally processed, locally sourced, sustainably & organically grown, raised without cruelty & free-range, low sodium, no artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, hormones, or antibiotics, no added nitrates or nitrites, and trans-fat-, DDT-, SO2-, NOx-, GMO-, MSG-, HFCS-, BST-, BPA-, CFC-, VOC-, vaccine-, brominated flame retardant-, bisphenol A-, fluoride-, gluten-, gelatin-, glyphosate-, PFAS-, PFOS-, PFOA-, peanut-, tree nut-, fish-, shellfish-, soy-, dairy-, egg-, wheat-, sesame , lactose, acrylamide-, sulfoxaflor-, neonicotinoid-, nitrosamine-, phtalate-, paraben-, and now microplastic- free. Nothing whatever synthetic; the exact opposite of an ultra-processed, chemical-filled, carnivorous food. It killed him anyway…

    The point being that vegan, “all natural” and/or “organic” and/or “minimally processed” doesn’t in any necessary way mean that something is healthier, safer, or better for you. Likewise, if something contains some chemically sounding ingredients, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad for you. No doubt that less processed is mostly better, but science by its very nature cannot ethically offer certainty; for that you need religion and its snake oil. Life simply isn’t that simple. Bon appétit!

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    Algolei I  4 months ago

    I rely on the placebo effect, even when taking medication that actually has a therapeutic effect. That’s how I managed to do things like go to a movie and eat popcorn and drink hot coffee two hours after having my wisdom teeth removed. (But when it suddenly dawned on me that the Tylenol was wearing off, boy did I need that next pill.)

    The brain has no pain receptors, so it can’t feel pain. And yet pain is all in the brain. Go figure!

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    jvo  4 months ago

    People will swear that some brands of medicine work better than others, despite containing the exact same dose of active ingredient.

    Composition of the binding, form factors, and coatings may make it more, or less, pleasant to take, but the effectiveness is the same.

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    snsurone76  4 months ago

    Most placebos are alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. And for many—junk food.

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    Hello Everyone  4 months ago

    When was the previous strip? I’d like to re-read it!

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    eced52  4 months ago

    My mother said the same thing about ice cream. The cheaper brands have less junk in them.

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    joaopereiralx Premium Member 4 months ago

    Previous strip mentioned is from 04th June 2023

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    LawrenceS  4 months ago

    Some people appear to be genuinely helped by placebos. Which always creates problems in doing studies. In a blind test 23% of your sample volunteers taking the actual medication report feeling better. Of course, in that blind testing 27% of the volunteers taking the placebo report feeling much better. Do you proclaim your product a success with 23% of the people using it feeling better, or do you start marketing the placebo?

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    markkahler52  4 months ago

    I take “time release” placebos myself. Then, I lie down for long periods of illness…

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    donut reply  4 months ago

    This is the second Sunday comic by Doonesbury about Prevagen. Garry must really hate the stuff.

    Want to be more alert, chew gum.

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    mwest  4 months ago

    I never understood why they made a big deal about jellyfish in a brain supplement, considering jellyfish don’t have brains. Then again, neither do those who believe this nonsense…

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    WaitingMan  4 months ago

    Out of curiosity, I went to the Balance of Nature website to check on their prices. Not surprisingly, if you have to ask, you can’t afford them.

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    tstuarta1  4 months ago

    I recall a Born Loser strip several years ago where Brutus is asked by his son what a placebo was. When Brutus answered his son replied, “that explains decaffeinated coffee.”

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    oakie817  4 months ago

    so we can save Congress by feeding them M&Ms?

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    1953Baby  4 months ago

    New York Peppermint patties. . .Werther’s hard caramel candies. . .

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    aerotica69  4 months ago

    Kit Kat to improve memory, peanut M&Ms when I remember bad things.

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    e.groves  4 months ago

    Anyone else remember when Steve Martin said that he found a new drug? He said that it was called “pla-cee-bo.”

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    shackleford Premium Member 4 months ago

    Link to the earlier comic, from June 4, 2023: >

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    timinwsac Premium Member 4 months ago

    I prefer Dr. Pepper.

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    ladykat  4 months ago

    The best medicine.

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    octagon  4 months ago

    I’ve been using Balance of Nature for about 4 years. Should I quit on Gary Trudeau’s say so.

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    forusingyt  4 months ago

    If I may inject my perception of this strip into the discussion: D’bury is vividly pointing out how pharmaceutical companies would come up with “scientific’ research” documenting the health benefits of injecting newborns with Superfund Cleanup site tailings if it boosted their stock dividends and share price.

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    proclusstudent  4 months ago


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    Redd Panda  4 months ago

    Must be said in a Jack Webb Dragnet voice …..

    ’’Don’t you kid yourself.

    That’s the way it starts, maybe a couple a gum drops.

    Then you switch to Twix and before you know it, you’re doing 5 or 6 Milky Ways a day. And stealing to support your habit.

    I’ve seen it all my friend and it ain’t pretty.’’

    Today’s Fun Fact: Leonard Nimoy did an episode of Dragnet.

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    mindjob  4 months ago

    Scientists might get sued for doing their jobs, if their research doesn’t give the results the company wants

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    Honorable Mention In The Banjo Toss Premium Member 4 months ago

    I went to see a band once called Placebo. They were selling blank CD’s, but you felt like you had heard some music.

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    JR0602  4 months ago

    The doc is right … candy is dandy, (but liquor is quicker.) My personals are Butterfinger and 3 Musketeers (the double bars!) One issue is the Butterfinger tends to physically stick to your teeth and it takes some work to pry it all off. Those and a Big Gulp or a large Coke at McDonalds on a long trip tend to give me energy to hang behind the wheel, those and a book on tape or tunes from my phone. Empty calories, I know, dear!

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    ajnotales  4 months ago

    I don’t waste time with drugs and placebos … I just eat the, uh, whattayacallem … uh, JELLYFISH! Yeah, jellyfish…

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    Bob Blumenfeld  4 months ago

    I just went back and looked at that original strip (June 4, if you’re wondering) and have to wonder if those were actual quotes from the website. If they were, they were absolutely ludicrous, almost out of a piece in The Onion.

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    Dis-play name  4 months ago

    “Rock Candy” (aka crystal meth) works for me.

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    stamps  4 months ago

    I always get the extra-strength placebos.

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    vick53  4 months ago

    ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!! I feel vindicated!!!

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    Packratjohn Premium Member 4 months ago

    butterfinger, kit-kat, twix, and reeses in that order. That’s the OTC “fix”. For more serious treatment I wll prescribe compartés, toblerone, or ghiardelli’s, depending on symptoms.

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    elvistcob  4 months ago

    It does sadden me that super liberal MSNBC runs commercials for Prevagen and/or Balance of Nature. A LOT. And doesn’t the supposed super smart Big Bang Theory star and Jeopardy host also hawk one of them? Shame on these folks for this.

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    Richard S Russell Premium Member 4 months ago

    Some of this junk is marketed as having no side effects, which prompts me to cite McKenzie’s Law: “If it has no side effects, it isn’t doing anything.” —Dr. Brennen McKenzie

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    jeffchrz Premium Member 4 months ago

    Here me out: Jellyfish Twix

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    Richard S Russell Premium Member 4 months ago

    Yes, it’s true that aspirin resulted from real relief that people reported from chewing birchbark, and that we got penicillin because Alexander Fleming noticed that bread mold fended off bacterial growth. So there’s a basis for saying that some actual medicines were discovered in nature rather than invented in a lab. This nugget of truth has, however, been wildly exaggerated by the “natural cure” and “alternative medicine” con artists.

    Q: Do you know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proven effective?

    A: Medicine.

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    puddleglum1066  4 months ago

    I was in the drugstore trying to choose between two zinc-based “cold remedies.” Neither was backed by any medical research. Both had the same ingredients. One was brand-name, the other store-brand and much cheaper. Both sported the “not intended to diagnose or treat any illness” disclaimer. So the question came down to:

    Expensive brand name placebo or cheap store brand placebo?


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    lalapalooza Premium Member 4 months ago

    we interrupt this program at the third panel while i burst out laughing at the pregnant vermin remarks… you really did it Trudeau… you one-upped yourself again!!

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    puddleglum1066  4 months ago

    I know a guy who tells the store of a drug company that developed a new medication and decided to have a little internal contest in which employees would suggest the new drug’s name. The winning entry was “OBECALP,” and it got as far as actually creating labels and some marketing materials before the guy who came up with it admitted to the management that his winning submission was just “placebo” spelled backwards.

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    Cactus-Pete  4 months ago

    I’d say that Twix is more like a cookie than candy.

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    willie_mctell  4 months ago

    When they say that a study shows, they don’t necessarily mean a scientific study.

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    braindead Premium Member 4 months ago

    For anyone reading this far into the comments, D.D. Degg of The Daily Cartoonist site provides a, uh, supplement to this Doonesbury, with some explanations of what’s going on here. Worth reading, and dailycartoonist is all one word, if you’re searching.

    And if you go there, also check out CSOTD, which is always worth reading.

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    Tupelodan  4 months ago

    Zagnut fixes me up right away … when I can find one.

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    kaylasdad99  4 months ago

    In response to Mark’s question in panel 4, no, I don’t remember the strip with Eastern-European-accented rats endorsing Nature’s Balance products. Can some kind soul in the comments section please provide the date the strip ran? I can take it from there. TIA.

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    edward.klintworth  4 months ago

    The joke at the end reminds of the late Fred Allen of radio show fame.

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    eddi-TBH  4 months ago

    Even when you know they are placebos they can have an effect. And when you believe a certain medicine will make you sick, it will happen. The nocebo effect.

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    chozen  4 months ago

    There is an actual study, small but apparently well-done, indicating that chocolate can improve memory. (I actually am an MD.) >

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    chozen  4 months ago

    But it was the equivalent of seven bars of chocolate each day. NYTimes 2014/10/27 “To improve memory consider chocolate”.

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    ZBicyclist Premium Member 4 months ago

    “There are no peer-reviewed, independent, clinical studies available to support the health claims made directly by the makers of Prevagen regarding the product’s efficacy.” (Forbes, earlier in 2023)

    What I particularly hate about the Prevagen commercials is that they show a pharmacist casually walking down the aisle to advise a shopper. This is very far from the zoo a pharmacist has to deal with at a typical Walgreens or CVS during their shift. Sure, I’ve found that if I ask a question of the pharmacist I get good, helpful answers, but they certainly don’t have time to wander the aisles.

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    NaGrom Premium Member 4 months ago

    Did he say “maguffin”?

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    mistercatworks  4 months ago

    It is not that placebos sometimes work; it is that some conditions cure themselves, even if nothing (including administering placebos) is done.

    It is a fundamental characteristic of the human body that it has evolved to heal itself of many, many ills. I’m not saying it does not sometimes need help; I am saying that it makes it easier to bamboozle people into trying “snake oil” products and get anecdotal reports of success.

    The purpose of a well-constructed “double blind” study is that the researchers don’t know which is the “real” treatment, the subjects don’t know and, ideally, the subject’s body does not know the difference (admitted the trickiest part).

    This is a fundamentally different approach than “my Mom tried some and felt better after the divorce”. :)

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    [Unnamed Reader - 14b4ce]  4 months ago

    I’m more worried about ads that list two zillion “Possible side effects”,and then they actually expect you to buy it anyway

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