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April 05, 2001 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-05

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12B& The Michigan Daily -jgrsday, April 5, 2001

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Health controversy surrounds diet pills

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By Robyn Melamod
Daily Arts Editor

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Senior Days Are Coming ..

4/9 THE SENIOR CEREMONIAL - 5 p.m., Diag

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In February you picked a location for the (lass of 2001 Tree. Today it gets planted! Join your fellow┬▒
classmates for a ceremony that unveils the tree and plaque that forever commemorate your class.
Bring your camera to record these memories of your final Senior Days at the U!
4/9 MOVIE MONDAY - 9:15 p.m. State Theater
Watch Michigan alum fuy Liu, '90, shine in the movie Charlie's Angels at the State Theater. This is a special
engagement for all U-M students and their friends to enjoy a free movie highlighting the accomplishments of one
of the U-M's many successful alums.
4/10 and 4/11 MONEY MATTERS! SEMINARS 1 &2 - 7 p.m. both nights, Alumni Center
You're about to earn your first salary, but what are you supposed to do with it? Get a jump start on your financial
life after graduation at these great workshops! You'll hear practical tips on things like how to manage your credit
card debt, pick the right benefits from your employer, deal with taxes and save for the future. You'll also have
the opportunity to talk with recent U-M grads about what it's really like after graduation. As a bonus, everyone
who attends also gets Life After Graduation, a great guidebook on everything else financial, such as finding an
apartment, buying a car, living on a budget and more!
4/12 SENIOR SEND-OFF - 5 p.m., Ingalls Mall, across from Rackham
Come celebrate your graduation with your friends at the Alumni Association. There will be music,
free food and drinks, information about cities across the United States, and you could even

Picture this: Perfect abs, slender legs,
great arms and a butt that makes Sir-
Mix-a-Lot cry. Now picture that all of
this can be yours for a mere $49.99 -
that is, the cost of a month's supply of
diet pills. Before you run out to the near-
est mall and pick up a 10-year supply,
you might want to read up on both sides
of this controversial topic.
Over-the-counter diet pills are becom-
ing more and more popular by the day.
Americans are getting fatter, and savvy
business people are tapping into how
they can make a fast, easy buck. Books,
magazines and self-help tapes on the
subject of weight loss are everywhere,
and the public just can't get enough.
Within this craze, diet pills have become
one of the most popular places to turn.
So what's the harm in successfully
making money? Well, here is where it
gets complicated. Companies that dis-
tribute over-the-counter diet pills such as
Metabolife stress the safe, effective qual-
ities of their products. Over-the-counter
diet pills are marketed as "herbal dietary
supplements." When people think of
herbs, they think of natural substances,
and consider these pills safe.
According to doctors and nutritionists,
this idea is false. Many diet pills contain
Ma Huang, a Chinese herb from which
ephedrine is extracted.
"Because these pills are herbal prod-
ucts, people are misled to believe that
these pillsdare allnatural, a pharmacist
who wished to remain anonymous, at the
Saline branch of CVS Pharmacy said.
"But the drug ephedrine is the main
appetite suppressant."
According to the Food and Drug
Administration, ephedrine can cause
many dangerous side effects. The FDA
has cited approximately 1,000 reports of
these side effects including nervousness,
dizziness, tremor, alternations in blood

pressure or heart rate, headache, gas-
trointestinal distress, chest pain, myocar-
dial infarctions (heart attacks), hepatitis,
stroke, seizures, psychosis and 44
deaths.
Although these side effects have been
cited, Mike Rothmiller, director of public
relations at Metabolife, said that
Metabolife, an over-the-counter diet pill
containing ephedrine, is "safe and effec-
tive when taken as directed."
"These reports of death are not prop-
erly investigated," he said."They are not
based on fact and hard data, but instead
are based on anecdotes.'
Recent studies performed by Harvard
and Columbia Universities have proven
that ephedra dietary supplements are
safe and effective. Also, Cantox Health
Sciences International assessed all avail-
able scientific information, focusing on
19 clinical trials, and found that ephedra
was both safe and beneficial for weight
loss at the 90 mg per-day dosage. Cantox
concluded that there is no association
between serious adverse events and
ephedra when consumed as directed.

Yet, many health professionals are still
worried. Dr. Robert Winfield, Interim
Director of University Health Services,
disagrees that the dangers of ephedrine
are exaggerated.
"At UHS, we discourage the use of
anything containing ephedrine,"
Winfield said. "One of the most danger-
ous side effects of this drug is severe
stroke.'
Prescription diet pills that do not con-
tain ephedrine are available at UHS, but
the staff only uses them in specific types
of cases.
"All of our staff are hesitant to use
these drugs unless there are specific,
serious medical health problems that
need to be addressed," Winfield said.
"Diet pills can be helpful in assisting in
weight loss when managing diabetes,
and high blood pressure in the presence
of severe obesity, however they are not a
panacea and may have significant side
effects.'
Although UHS regulates the distribu-
tion of diet pills, the FDA does not.
Because these products are commonly

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A variety of diet pills a
marketed as dietary si
is little or no pre-mark<
of their safety or effect
dosing information an
advice.
Some consumer adv
ing to change these co
Michal founded the c
Ephedrine Abuse Tod
died of ephedrine use.

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TWJRDAY am& oom~
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WWWVVVAA6O~DYCOW

Wedniesday Night Comedy dJarmn
A open-mic comedy cometition every Wednesday
night with a cash prize awarded to the winner determined
by audience response. Cali for detak 734-996-9080
$ uctent DIscounts! I
Wed. &thurs. 1/2 off General P-dmIssion
Fri & Sat tate show $3 off General Admission
must res+9nt, lir stucgAnt ID.

win a new Passat from Howard Cooper Volkswagen! There will be free
prize drawings every half hour, including a multi-sport adventure.
weekend trip for two. You'll also have the opportunity to meet other U-M grads
relocating to your new city. Look for a postcard in the mail detailing all the events at
the Send-off. We'll see you there!
4/28 WELCOME TO THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION - 8 a.m., Kipke Drive parking lot,
adjacent to Crisler Arena
Don't miss your last chance on campus to sign up for your free one-year membership in the
Alumni Association! Come learn what the Alumni Association has to offer you as a recent graduate.
Enjoy some music and celebration as you gather on the east side of Crisler Arena to prepare for

UPCOMING UAC '
EVENTS
UNIVERSITY ACTIVITIES CENTER )

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the commencement processional into Michigan Stadium.

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4/28 MICHIGAN MEMORIES - Immediately following Commencement, first floor, Michigan Union
You and your family are invited to look back on the major events of your college years at the annual post-
graduation reception. Pictorial displays, food and entertainment will be spread throughout the main level
of the center of campus life, the Michigan Union. Sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs. ALUMNIASSOCIATION
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
All events are sponsored by the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan unless otherwise noted.

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