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Category Archives: Alternative Medicine
Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:14 pm
The Maryland University of Integrative Health is establishing a school of naturopathic medicine and plans to admit the first students to the program next year.
The school of naturopathic medicine will be the first in the mid-Atlantic region and one of only a handful of schools nationwide that operate within a regionally accredited university, officials with the university of integrative health said.
Naturopathic medicine is an alternative practice based on the idea that the body can heal itself. Naturopathic doctors use a combination of traditional treatments with alternative therapies such as acupuncture and herbal medicines.
In establishing our School of Naturopathic Medicine, MUIH is taking a bold step to address some of the most challenging issues in healthcare, Steven Combs, the universitys president and CEO, said in a statement. We expect the graduates of this program to help fill the gap caused by the shortage of primary care physicians and to provide patients with cost-effective, compassionate care based on preventative and natural methods. Patients are demanding this approach and our nation needs these graduates.
The number of naturopathic practitioners has tripled in the last ten years as more states offer licenses. Nineteen states, including Maryland, and Washington D.C. license naturopathic care providers and several more are in the legislative process toward licensing.
Posted: at 12:14 pm
Patients who opted for alternative medicine as the sole treatment for potentially curable cancers had significantly worse survival compared with similar patients who received conventional therapy, a retrospective comparison showed.
Overall, reliance on alternative medicine more than doubled the survival hazard, which increased as much as five- or sixfold, depending on the type of cancer. Patients who opted for alternative strategies tended to be younger, healthier, and more affluent as compared with patients who received conventional care for their cancers.
The study did not include patients who received complementary or integrative therapies in addition to conventional treatment, but focused instead on a small subgroup of patients who chose alternative treatments as their initial and sole therapy, Skyler B. Johnson, MD, of Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Conn., and co-authors reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
"[Healthcare providers] are taught to respect patients' wishes, especially with regard to treatment choices," said the senior author, James Hu, MD, director of Yale's Prostate and Genitourinary Cancer Radiotherapy Program. "If patients make an informed decision, because of patient autonomy, they can do whatever they want. We're always advising them; we can't make them do anything. What this study says is that we can advise patients that if they choose an alternative and unproven treatment, they are more likely to die than if they go with [conventional] therapy."
Several prior studies showed that delaying conventional therapy in favor of alternative medicine can adversely affect survival. There have been limited data, however, regarding the use and effectiveness of alternative medicine -- due in part, the authors said, to patient hesitance to disclose nonmedical treatment to healthcare providers.
In an attempt to address the knowledge gap, the team queried the National Cancer Database for 2004 to 2013, seeking information on the four most common cancers: breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal. The primary objectives were to identify factors associated with patient preference for alternative medicine and to compare survival between patients who chose alternative medicine and those who received conventional treatment (defined as chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, and hormonal therapy).
The query identified 280 patients who chose alternative medicine as initial treatment, associated with coding for "other-unproven: cancer treatments administered by nonmedical personnel." The investigators matched each patient with two similar patients who chose conventional therapy as the initial treatment for their cancers.
The study and control groups did not differ significantly with respect to cancer type, age, clinical stage, comorbidity score, insurance type, race, or year of diagnosis. By multivariable analysis (controlling for clinical and demographic factors), the alternative medicine cohort was younger, more likely to have breast or lung cancer, better educated, more likely to have stage II or III disease, more likely to live in Intermountain West and Pacific regions, and had lower comorbidity scores.
The 840 patients assessed had a median follow-up of 66 months. The alternative-medicine cohort had a significantly worse 5-year survival rate (54.7% versus 78.3%, P<0.001). The difference translated into a survival hazard of 2.21, which remained significant in a multivariable analysis (HR 2.50, 95% CI 1.88-3.27), the researchers reported.
With respect to the individual types of cancer, alternative medicine was associated with significantly worse 5-year survival rates for breast cancer (58.1% versus 86.6%, P<0.001); lung cancer (19.9% versus 41.3%, P<0.001); and colorectal cancer (32.7% versus 79.4%, P<0.001). The 5-year survival rate did not differ significantly for prostate cancer (86.2% versus 91.5%, P=0.36).
Survival hazards for the four types of cancer were:
At the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting earlier this year, then-president Daniel Hayes, MD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, cautioned against over-reliance on complementary and alternative medical strategies. Commenting on two studies showing improved outcomes attributable to lifestyle and dietary factors, Hayes said, "People should not interpret these two abstracts as suggesting that if you live a healthy lifestyle and you eat tree nuts, you don't need to take the chemotherapy that your oncologist would recommend. That's a very dangerous interpretation."
Hu said patients who choose alternative medicine as initial treatment for cancer make up only a small fraction of the total population of patients with cancer. Nonetheless, the study showed that such patients tend to have a favorable prognosis, but traditional oncologists often don't see the patients until after disease progression.
"Anytime we do these types of retrospective studies, we worry about selection bias," Hu said. "In this study, all the biases were in favor of alternative medicine, in that the cohort was younger, more affluent, and had fewer comorbidities. These patients should be doing better than the standard therapy group, but they're not. That's a scary thing to me. These are young patients who could potentially be cured, and they're being sold snake oil by unscrupulous alternative medicine practitioners."
Johnson reported having no relevant relationships with industry. Hu disclosed a relationship with 21st Century Oncology. Other co-authors disclosed relationships with Varian MedicalSystems, RadOncQuestions, and 21st Century Oncology.
Posted: at 12:14 pm
More than 80 percent of military health facilities now offer alternative medicine treatments.
Researchers with the Rand Corporation report that acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and massage are the most commonly used practices in military hospitals. These services are used to treat chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety and sleep problems.
Healthcare workers said complementary medicine offers military patients an alternative to opioid drugs.
High stress for nurses
The majority of America's nurses are stressed out, according to researchers at Ball State University.
A new study found 92 percent of nurses have moderate to very high-stress levels.
The stress not only affects their job performance but it is taking a toll on their health.
Three-quarters of nurses admitted they get too little sleep and 70 percent said they ate too much junk food.
Other workers stressed out
New research from the Rand Corporation reveals American workers, as a whole, feel physically and emotionally taxed.
One in four people in the study said they don't have enough time to do their job and half say they end up working during their free time. Other major stressors include an unpredictable work schedule and facing hazardous conditions on the job.
But there is some good news on the job front, more than half of employees say their boss is supportive and they have very good friends at work.
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Posted: at 12:14 pm
When a mysterious illness strikes, people may become more open to using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to get well.
This is also the case when the illness is a severe one. Cancer patients often explore alternatives such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), homeopathy or products like herbs and vitamins in the belief that they can strengthen their immunity or fight the disease.
Two recent studies done in Singapore acknowledge the widespread use of CAM among people here and conclude that CAM may sometimes do more harm than good.
One of the studies found that the use of CAM led to a delay in patients seeking medical help for early inflammatory arthritis or the early stage of rheumatoid arthritis.
Inflammatory and rheumatoid arthritis are autoimmune diseases that cause chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body. They are different from osteoarthritis - the most common form of arthritis - which is wear and tear of the cartilage.
Estimated maximum number of people in Singapore who have rheumatoid arthritis.
Early arthritis patients who can go into remission after six to 12 months of being treated with disease- modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.
Those who stand a good chance of avoiding major joint damage and the need for joint replacements.
Osteoarthritis can cause joint damage requiring joint replacement. It is not treated with disease- modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD) as it is a wear-and-tear problem and not inflammation.
In the study of 180 patients with early inflammatory arthritis, 74 patients (41 per cent) used CAM before seeing a specialist.
CAM users tended to delay treatment by an extra six weeks, compared to non-CAM users. The study found that the median time from symptom onset to starting the first dose of anti-rheumatic medication was 15.6 weeks for non-CAM users and 21.5 weeks for CAM users.
Oral tablets or powder (55 per cent) and acupuncture (47 per cent) were the most common types of alternative medicine used.
Researchers pointed out that the earlier rheumatoid arthritis is treated, the better the outcome.
"There's a window of opportunity for treatment of early rheumatoid arthritis. Six months or less is considered early arthritis - it's much easier to switch off the immune trigger," said Dr Manjari Lahiri, the study's lead author and a senior consultant at National University Hospital's division of rheumatology.
Research shows that up to 60 per cent of early arthritis patients can go into remission after six to 12 months of being treated with DMARD, she said. During this time, treatment is closely monitored and medication continually adjusted.
"The remaining 40 per cent stand a good chance of avoiding major joint damage and the need for joint replacements."
Aside from joint damage and disability, patients who delay starting medication could end up needing joint replacement surgery (for permanently damaged joints).
An estimated 25,000 to 50,000 people in Singapore have rheumatoid arthritis but not many know it can be treated. "People equate it with rheumatism, which is not considered a serious disease," said Dr Lahiri. Rheumatism is a term commonly used for feeling achy.
If you have spongy swellings over several joints and feel a "niggling pain" or are often tired, it could be rheumatoid arthritis, she said.
"It's not just the pain, patients feel run down because their body is inflamed. Their hands and wrists get affected, so turning the door knob and opening a jar can be hard. When they wake up, they feel stiff."
Dr Lahiri added: "Patients should avoid tablets and powders as we don't know their content, how they interact with Western medicine and the toxicity they may cause."
In the second CAM-related study, it was found that a decision aid - a booklet that discusses CAM and whether it is safe - may reduce the use of such medicine among cancer patients.
It may encourage patients to discuss the use of CAM with oncologists. "CAM is widely used by patients doing chemotherapy treatment, but some of them do not inform their oncologists about it," said Dr Chong Wan Qin, an associate consultant oncologist with the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, and the study's lead author.
The ongoing study, started in 2014, recruited 240 cancer patients with an average age of 55 years. Most of them had breast, colorectal or lung cancers, which were mostly in the advanced stage.
Up to 20 per cent of them used oral CAM while on chemotherapy. The most common were vitamins and supplements (40 per cent of patients) and TCM (30 per cent).
Reasons given by patients were that they wanted to cure the cancer or do more to fight it (35 per cent), boost immunity (30 per cent) and improve well-being (20 per cent).
There is emerging evidence that some kinds of complementary therapy can help patients cope with the side effects of cancer treatment. Acupuncture has been shown in trials to be effective in the treatment of nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, for instance.
However, doctors do not advise patients to take alternative drugs as they could turn out to be harmful.
Some herbs can reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment while others may increase the side effects of chemotherapy. Some herbs can also act like drugs and cause side effects when taken in high doses.
Dr Chong said one example is ginseng, a seemingly harmless natural product. Excessive use can cause headaches and high blood pressure.
Ginseng may also cause certain chemotherapy drugs to work less well, she said.
"Oncologists have also heard of patients using coffee enema. It is not backed by medical evidence and may cause diarrhoea and electrolyte loss."
Vitamin C infusion is another example with no evidence to support its efficacy.
Dr Chong has seen patients who wanted to test alternative therapies, such as a special ketogenic diet, instead of going for chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.
Because all cancers have a better chance of control and survival outcomes when treated early, by the time these patients returned for chemotherapy, their cancer had progressed and impaired some of their organ functions, she said.
When the organ functions are impaired, chemotherapy poses a higher risk of toxicity, she said.
The use of CAM may delay the treatment of serious diseases and this can lead to adverse effects.
The Federal Government Is Finally Exploring Marijuana As a Medical Alternative to Opioids – Reason (blog)
Posted: at 12:14 pm
Can this dank nug heal? Photo credit: Photo credit: Horsma/HamppuforumMedical marijuana advocates have claimed for years that cannabis is an effective and safe alternative to prescription opioids for the treatment of pain. But no one put up the money to prove it until last week.
On Tuesday, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System announced a forthcoming study to ascertain whether medical marijuana can alleviate the need for opioids in both HIV-positive and HIV-free patients who suffer from chronic pain. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is putting $3.5 million towards the investigation.
A study published last year suggests the Albert Einstein College of Medicine is on the right track.
In 2016, researchers at the University of Michigan published two years' worth of survey results collected from 185 medical marijuana patients suffering from various ailments. Patients reported a 45 percent improvement in quality of life and a 64 percent reduction in the use of prescription opioids.
"We would caution against rushing to change current clinical practice towards cannabis," said Michigan study leader Kevin Boehnke, "but note that this study suggests that cannabis is an effective pain medication and agent to prevent opioid overuse."
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine is right to point out that we have far less data than one might expect, considering the first state to legalize medical marijuana did so 21 years ago. Most research into Schedule I drugs is paid for by the federal government, which has historically underwritten only those studies that either show the harms of such substances or explain their mechanism of action. The federal monopoly on research marijuana, meanwhile, makes studying the drug's therapeutic qualities an exercise in bureaucratic kowtowing.
But we do know there is a correlation between medical marijuana legalization and opioid use. A 2014 study that looked at 11 years of overdose data found that death rates from opioids increased in both states with liberalized marijuana laws and those without, but that "medical cannabis laws were associated with lower rates of opioid analgesic overdose mortality."
When University of Georgia economist David Bradford looked at Medicare prescribing rates, he found that physicians in medical marijuana states prescribed "1,826 fewer doses of conventional pain medication each year."
In addition to receiving funding from NIHitself a noteworthy developmentthe Albert Einstein College of Medicine will conduct its study using marijuana provided by New York medical marijuana dispensaries, rather than the moldy ditchweed provided to researchers by the Drug Enforcement Administration's operation at the University of Mississippi.
Cannabis research has turned another corner.
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Posted: August 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm
You have, as of today, a one hundred percent chance of dying. But a lot of people would like a little more time to do things, like eat interestingly-shaped pastas, or play catch with their grandchildren. That makes sense. Id also like to do those things. But sometimes, our pursuit to eat lots of pasta or die trying leads some of us to make decisions that dont actually helplike taking alternative, instead of conventional, cancer treatments.
A team of Yale researchers had seen data about folks who opted for alternative medicine in lieu of the peer-reviewed stuff, but noticed there wasnt much research to actually compare the outcomes. The researchers found data on 280 patients who made the choice, and compared them to 560 relying on the usual treatments. Overall, those taking conventional treatments were more likely to survive the five years after treatment.
Improved communication between patients and caregivers and greater scrutiny of the use of [alternative medicine] for the initial treatment of cancer is needed, the studys authors wrote in the paper published last week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The researchers sifted through the United States National Cancer Database to find folks who opted for at-home cancer treatments from non-medical professionals and refused the conventional treatment for four cancers: breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal. They also found matching cases to compare, based on diagnosis, race, insurance type, cancer type, and when they were diagnosed. After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that those who opted for alternative medicine treatments alone were more than twice as likely to be dead before the end of the follow-up period.
These results held for colorectal, lung, and especially breast cancer, where over 75 percent of patients receiving standard medical treatment were alive after 5 years, but more like a third of those who opted solely for alternative treatments made it that far. The results were unclear for prostate cancer, which was unsurprising as the disease tends to progress more slowly, write the study authors.
This study isnt perfect, of coursethe whole thing is based on observational data, not patients recruited and closely watched. The team didnt know exactly what alternative treatments the folks took, and there were several other sources of bias. The survival rates of those taking alternative treatments could be too high, since those turning away from conventional medicine tended to skew younger and wealthier.
Before you get upset, please realize that this study is only focusing on those who opted solely for alternative treatments, not those who supplemented their cancer treatment with other things. Of course, there are problems with the way cancer is treated today, cancer is terrible, no one wants to die. We all want to try anything that will help. Theres no problem with that.
Foregoing the actual treatment for a disease in favor of a treatment not proven to work, though, will only lead to heartbreak.
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Posted: at 12:13 pm
Nearly 80 percent of military medical facilities are offering alternative medicines for pain management and psychological treatment instead of opioids when possible, according to a study published Thursday by the nonprofit RAND Corp.
Over 8.9 million veterans are treated at 1,233 veteran health facilities each year, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The study said there were about 76,000 alternative therapy patient visits per month treated by 1,750 providers. Services include acupuncture, yoga, relaxation therapy, among others, and responding physicians said patients often express interest and openness to the treatments.
Patient visits for [complementary and alternative medicine] make up a small but nontrivial portion of total outpatient [military treatment facilities] visits, the authors wrote.
However, physicians responded that a lack of providers and awareness of these services are barriers to providing care.
The most common conditions these therapies are used for according to physician responses include chronic pain, stress, anxiety, back pain and sleep disturbance.
Larger VA facilities and the U.S. Army offer the widest range of services, which additionally include chiropractic, stress management, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback and massage.
These treatments offer one more tool in the tool kit for dealing with issues like chronic pain, and they can offer an alternative to opioid drugs, Patricia Herman, the lead author of the study, said in a statement.
In addition, some of the mind/body practices can be effective for the reduction of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. A patient might not want to admit they have PTSD, but they may be persuaded to take a yoga class, she said.
The RAND Corp. study recommends that military health care facilities standardize codings for alternative medical practices, to better evaluate and understand their use and impact, and employ providers adequately credentialed and trained in these treatments.
Posted: August 13, 2017 at 2:14 am
Published: Sun, August 13, 2017 @ 12:04 a.m.
Veterans Service office to be closed
The Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission office at Oakhill Renaisssance Place, 345 Oak Hill Ave., Suite 100, Youngstown, will be closed Friday.
Facilities offer alternative medicine
SANTA MONICA, CALIF.
More than 80 percent of military health care facilities offer some form of complementary and alternative medicine, in addition to conventional medicine, mainly for pain management and psychological disorders, according to a new study from the RAND Corp.
Complementary and alternative medicine includes practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic, stress management/relaxation therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, biofeedback and massage. About a third of the general population report using these therapies.
For the military, these treatments are one more tool in the toolkit for dealing with issues such as chronic pain, and they can offer an alternative to opioid drugs. In addition, some of the mind/body practices can be effective for the reduction of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, said Patricia M. Herman, lead author of the study and a senior behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.
BASIC TRAINING GRADS
Air Force: Reserve Airman 1st Class Daniel R. Phillis, a 2014 graduate of West Branch High School, Beloit, the son of Richard Phillis of Salem and Marcia Phillis of Beloit.
Items of note for the Armed Forces Digest can be sent to The Vindicator, Regional Desk, P.O. Box 780, Youngstown 44501-0780, or emailed to William K. Alcorn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted: August 11, 2017 at 6:14 pm
Using only alternative medicine for cancer linked to lower survival rate
Patients who choose to receive alternative therapy as treatment for curable cancers instead of conventional cancer treatment have a higher risk of death, according to researchers from the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy and Effectiveness Research ...
Alternative medicine only treatment linked to lower cancer survival ...
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Posted: at 6:14 pm
Should you ever see All the Rage (Saved by Sarno), youre going to want to embrace it. (Thats as much of a prognostication as it is a warning.)
The directors, David Beilinson, Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, all seem like warm, emotionally present people. Sometimes their movie, which unmistakably comes across as a labor of love, feels that way too: Alive and engaged. However, its hard to work past the projects limitations, both creatively and budgetary. All the Rage is a documentary with a thesis and not much else.
The central case being made is for Dr. John Sarno, a revolutionary practitioner who devoted his life to the pain epidemic born in America. More specifically, Sarno is responsible for developing TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome). This psychosomatic condition, Sarno contends, is the root of various illnesses regarding physical discomfort, especially in the back. Sarnos protocol for treating this condition is, essentially, acceptance and introspection. You must first recognize that I do have structural abnormalities, he says, and that thats okay. The mind and body are connected.
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The next step includes an exhaustive unpacking of ones psyche. The mind holds onto the idea as a physical problem, says Sarno. But he believes something like chronic back pain is anything but. Its a psychological problem, stemming from unresolved issues in our subconscious.
All of this sounds a bit woo-woo when read in a film review. In fact, it sounds a bit woo-woo when Sarno speaks, too. Thats sort of the movies point. Despite unending testimonials from celebrities like Larry David and Howard Stern, what Sarno is offering seems to good to be true. This is not alternative medicine, he insists. Youd like to believe this. By the end of All the Rage you may be just be a convert. If thats the case, then tally a mark in the win column for the movie.
What I found was something a little messier to grapple with. Sarno, who passed away in June, a day before his 94th birthday, is worthy of our time. Hes a dynamic central subject for a documentary. That much is clear. So why doesnt All the Rage hit harder?
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On the surface, the diagnosis is simple: this could just as easily have been a well-reported segment on 60 Minutes, or perhaps an episode on Malcolm Gladwells beloved podcast, Revisionist History. You could see Gladwells eyes lighting up upon meeting Sarno, a renegade MD unafraid of blazing his own trail.
And yet while knocking the movie for its outstretched 94-minute running time is fair, it doesnt paint the full picture. The heart of All the Rages issues, I believe, are with Galinsky. In an attempt to give his film depth and personality, Galinsky often pivots back and forth from Sarnos office at NYU Medical center to his home. Splayed on the floor, we hear Galinsky yelling. Hes one of the 100 million (per the film) suffering from chronic pain.
For a variety of reasons, this is all hard to watch. Without Sarnos inevitable intervention, who knows where Galinsky would be today? But theres something unfocused and lackadaisical about the directors internal probing. He repeatedly tries to open up his world to us childhood, parents, marital strife, professional pressures. Few have managed to pull this off successfully in the documentary format without being trite or egotistical. Sarah Polleys spellbinding Stories We Tell comes to mind. Galinsky and his cohorts lack the ingenuity of Polley, though. Ultimately, his personal journey is more admirable than interesting.
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This narrative fixation causes other issues. By turning the camera inward, Galinsky forgets to ask more of his core subject. Sarno built an inimitable career. Why not dig deeper? Theres a chance the seasoned doctor is a little fatigued by it all. Decades of fighting against the status quo in a profession that chooses to not acknowledge your existence will do that to you. I got the sense Sarno was open to answer anything, if properly asked.
Those big questions never come. Sarno urged his patients to be mindful and curious. Someone shouldve encouraged the films crew to do the same.
Heres an example: Toward the end, Galinsky is asked to speak at his brothers wedding. Michael stands in front of the crowd, reciting the speech his late father gave to him at his wedding. Its a tender monologue about rolling with the punches, taking life as it rapidly comes at us. His eyes begin to well up as he reads the note aloud. Hes flooded with emotions. For a moment, so are we.
Then, without missing a beat, the film cuts to Michaels narration. Making it through that speech was one of the hardest things Ive ever done, he says. But once it was over, I felt lighter than I have in a long time. Less than two seconds after watching Michael bravely make it through that speech, hes telling us how hard it was to make it through that speech. We know it was difficult. We saw. We felt it. Much of All the Rage does not need explaining, and yet it insists on elementary explanation.
Days after I watched All the Rage, my opinion started to take shape. Ill be honest, though, even writing this now I feel some reluctance to criticize a movie I believe means well, an endeavor with pure intentions. Sarno, especially, comes off as a divine creature and thoughtful force in the world. If All the Rage does nothing else, it will at the very least serve as an widespread introduction to this revolutionary doctor.
Yet there is something frustratingly artless about the movies execution. All the Rage was supposed to be about Sarnos story. Instead its script contains dueling protagonists, competing for screen time. The team needed to pick a lane here. Instead, Galinsky and company find themselves in the middle of the intersection, blindsided by incoming traffic. Its a movie about two people that ends up being about no one at all.
If you're getting a bit tired of endlessly scrolling through Netflix movies, try these films on for size.
Added plus: You might even accidentally learn something.
Ava DuVernay's latest documentary, "The 13th" sheds light on the prison industrial system and its relation to historical inequality in the United States. It's titled after the 13th amendment which abolished slavery.
We can pretty much credit the downfall of Sea World to Gabriela Cowperthwaite's "Blackfish," which tells the story of Tilikum, a killer whale living in captivity that killed its trainer in 2010. The film discusses the dangers to humans and the orcas who are confined in theme parks.
"The Black Power Mixtape"
This 2011 documentary showcases the evolution of the Black Power Movement by using footage found 30 years after it was shot by Swedish journalists. It covers the time period between 1967 to 1975 and includes interviews from Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver, along with others central to the movement.
This British-American documentary is about a French imposter,Frdric Bourdin, who presents himself to a grieving family as their missing boy Nicholas Barclay -- a 13-year-old from Texas who went missing.
If you've ever wondered what mysteries lied behind Room 237 in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," this is the film for you.
Each segment of the film, focuses on a specific element in "The Shining" and offers different interpretations.
"What Happened, Miss Simone?"
Academy Award-nominated "What Happened, Miss Simone" features previously unreleased footage and interviews with singer Nina Simone's friends and family that tells the life story of the activist and music legend.
The film was also executive produced by Simone's daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly.
"Into the Abyss"
Werner Herzog's "Into the Abyss" focuses on capital punishment in Texas by profiling Michael Perry, a convicted killer on Death Row for the murder of a 50-year-old nurse, among other crimes.
Some of his interviews were filmed only eight days prior to his execution.
The documentary neither focuses on Perry's innocence nor his guilt.
This one is for all the animal lovers out there. "Virunga" focuses on four park rangers who risk their lives to protect critically endangered mountain gorillas from poachers in Congo's Virunga National Park.
"Biggie & Tupac"
If you've ever been curious of the mysteries surrounding the deaths of two of rap's most prominent artists, watch "Biggie & Tupac."
While the documentary doesn't give a clear answer of who killed the rap icons, the director suggests that Suge Knight was responsible for the latter's murder.
"The Invisible War"
While the military is known for fighting our wars overseas, there's one silent battle within the armed forces that few are talking about -- sexual assault.
Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War" features interviews with veterans who share their experiences of sexual assault in the U.S. military.
"Super Size Me"
This documentary can pretty much becredited for pushing McDonald's to alter their menu to include more healthy items and getting rid of their super size option.
Morgan Spurlock takes on a 30-day challenge -- he eats at least three meals a day for 30 days from McDonald's. The film documents the changes that occur in his physical appearance, as well as his health.
"20 Feet From Stardom"
Most of us see backup singers providing support to the main act, but rarely do we recognize their talent.
This documentary follows backup singers like Judith Hill, Darlene Love and Merry Clayton and sheds light on their lives through behind-the-scenes footage.
"Hot Girls Wanted"
The appropriately titled doc features interviews with several young porn actresses, as they discuss their experiences in the industry.
If you're getting a bit tired of endlessly scrolling through Netflix movies, try these films on for size.
Added plus: You might even accidentally learn something.