Category: Politics of Health
Dr Ken Carlin sent me this neat link that details the migrations of humans based on Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA evidence.
We've collected some of the best pictures from IfHI 2007. Enjoy.
Should Paris Hilton serve her full sentence? Hey, why not? I've spent 45 days chained to a computer writing The Genotype Diet. I agree with Al Sharpton that the whole thing is one big insult to all those normally faceless people who just have to serve their sentences as dictated by law. Sharpton by the way, is no media pretty face. I recently did his radio show and he struck me as being quite intelligent and measured.
Wikipedia does a good job of bringing to light the differences between skepticism and pseudoskepticism, principally that pseudo skeptics have no interest other than denying what it is that they purport to be skeptical of. Much of what they brand a 'pseudoscience' is often the very beginnings of a new protoscience.
Grouppe Kurosawa has an interesting natural medicine blog that has a refreshing technical bent to it. The most recent entry is on the pathetic state of the US health care system. Think the we have the best health care system? Think again. We spend over 2 trillion dollars and rank 37th overall in quality of health care.
Now you would think that this sort of crime would generate widespread outrage. However, the Medical Industrial Complex, headed by the Current Dominant Medical System, has the public so bamboozled that this obscene lack of efficiency (which in any corporate environment would have long ago yielded to shareholder revolt and widespread executive firings) is not only tolerated, but a perverse pride is taken in the sheer magnitude of the inefficiency. We applaud as 'breakthroughs' drugs that prolong the lifespan of liver cancer patients by one month and we do nothing to address the underlying reasons people get these cancers in the first place. We wring our hands when a drug for adult onset diabetes is shown to be a menace and yet we do nothing to fix the root cause of the 'diabesity epidemic', preferring instead to find the solution through the marvelous benediction of an eleventh hour miracle drug.
And when was the last time you ever saw a pharmaceutical company post a quarterly loss?
Yet a recent show on PBS had a researcher who explained that half of all the families who file for bankruptcy are there in the aftermath of a serious medical problem. And, amazingly, about 75% of these families had health insurance at the onset of the illness or accident.
One of the reasons Allopathic medicine is so darned inefficient is that it is geared to acute medical care. This has been paraphrased as 'parking the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.' Many of its greatest breakthroughs occurred as a direct result of observations on the battlefield, and indeed when Hollywood wants to iconify modern medicine, they always put the doctors in the location where icons come naturally: The emergency room. Here comes the gurney rolling down the corridor, everyone shouting, everything purposeful.
Who wants to watch a film of some gerontologist examining the nasty feet of an 80 year old diabetic? Yet diabetic foot problems in the elderly are a major challenge to health care.
The major fallacy of Modern Medicine is that it fails to realize the difference between a chronic disease and an acute one, usually considering chronic disease just 'very long versions' of acute disease. But there are very different mechanisms involved, especially when we look at the patient's ability to compensate and recover.
Is naturopathic medicine the complete answer? Unlikely. We've got our own golden calf. However, at least we have a better comprehension of the nature of chronic illness, and the need to mobilize the patient as part of the recovery process.
I did have to laugh recently when the local hospital sent me the nicest brochure about their new 'Integrative Medicine' department. A quick read showed just what a red herring this thing was. Everyone involved was from the hospital staff, except for a harp player who was in charge of the 'therapeutic music' part of the center. Oh, sorry, there was a yoga teacher on staff as well.
All this reminds me of the quote from the English printmaker William Hogarth that I had read many years ago:
'..the problem with the ancient physicians is that they tried to make medicine an art, and failed; whilst the problem with modern physicians is that they tried to make medicine a business.. and succeeded."
We were talking about diets the other day and one of the people at the table mentioned that they had brought up the subject of the Blood Type Diet to several friends who ran a health food store. Their friends had certainly heard of it, but responded that that concept was "old" and "past its prime." Thinking perhaps they were correct, I decided to compare my first book, Eat Right For Your Type with current as well as past diet best sellers to see how it held up.
Interestingly, many of these books have long gone on to paperback, whilst ten years after its release Eat Right For Your Type keeps chugging along in hardcover. Another factoid I just learned from my editor is that Eat Right at $24.95 is priced substantially higher than the usual hardcover diet book which typically has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $19.95. Since amazon.com gives up to the date sales ranks, I thought I'd use their ranking system as a good idea of current consumer interest.
Here are the results:
|The Maker's Diet (Rubin HC)||3,854|
|Eat Right For Your Type (D'Adamo HC)||226|
|Healthy Aging (Weil HC)||1,667|
|Enter The Zone (Sears HC)||3,688|
|Atkins for Life (Atkins P||489,632|
|Eat Less, Weigh More (Ornish P||6,388|
|The No Grain Diet (Mercola P||270,636|
PD=Paperback HC=Hard Cover
Doesn't look past its prime to me. In fact one of my daughters, who relentlessly checks its standing on Amazon, tells me that Eat Right more typically hovers around #150 and will peak at 30-35 when I do a radio or television show. Like most books on Amazon, you can also buy a second-hand copy of the book you are perusing from an Amazon-approved independent vendor, with the listings set up as a sort of reverse auction, lowest prices first. The lowest price being asked for a second hand copy of Eat Right For Your Type was $7.95, whereas the lowest asking price for most of these other books hovered between one cent and fifty cents.
Health food stores are often difficult arenas for the BTD. The concept requires both education and discussion, which a lot of retailers don't have much time for. Also, like other sales-driven entities, the health food industry tends to get seduced by new and exciting things. It just makes me even more appreciative of the doctors and retailers who use the concept day in and day out in their work .
Naturopathic medicine is in somewhat of a life or death struggle in New York State, which is why I agreed to do the gig. Recently, the American Medical Association has announced a general strategy of opposing new or expanded licensure for non-MD health care providers., including NDs. One local byproduct of this seems to be a new smear campaign against naturopathic doctors in New York, often depicting the profession as a cartel of snake oil salesman with heads firmly planted in the seventh century.
What a selective description!
Perhaps I'll reply by describing allopathic medicine as a "Collection of bone-saws, who routinely employ toxic metals such as mercury, don't wash their hands much, and whose treatment has only been shown to shorten the lives of their patients."
Is that description true?
Well, sort of --if I was trying to describe for you the typical MD of the late 1850's.
You see, sometimes we can be even worse than wrong.
I made a montage in Photoshop for my UB Grand Rounds presentation. It depicts my take on the current disease care system and how it bumps up against Waddington's concept of an 'Epigenetic Landscape'.
Thought some of you might get a kick out of it.
The AMA seems to be at it again. Despite their near monopoly on health care funding and their protests that they have no interest in combating other healing arts, new legislation being proposed make it amply clear that they are willing to risk possible restraint of trade problems in an attempt to limit the scope of practice of non-MD health care providers such as chiropractors, naturopaths, psychologists, nurses and acupuncturists.
The Health Care Truth and Transparency Act would make it illegal for any licensed health care provider who is not a medical doctor (MD), doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO), doctor of dental surgery (DDS) or doctor of dental medicine (DDM) to make any statement or engage in any act that would lead patients or the public to believe that they have the same or equivalent education, skills or training as an MD, DO, DDS, or DDM.
Now, I'll be the first to agree that I've met a few wacky naturopaths and chiropractors in my time. I've also met a few MDs, dentists and osteopaths who were even crazier and more dangerous than even the nuttiest naturopath. I'll even agree that naturopaths don't have the same education as MDs --NDs have more clinical nutrition training, for one, while MDs typically receive more surgical and emergency room training. So what benefit would there be in drawing specific conclusions about a single individual from the particular letters after their name?
On June 27, representatives John Sullivan (R-OK), Charles Bass, (R-NH), Michael Bilirakis, (R-FL), Michael Burgess, (R-TX), Joe Shwarz, MD (R-MI) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced in the House the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2006, (H.R.5688). This proposal is a direct result of the AMA efforts to limit scopes of practice for health care providers who are not medical doctors. You want to contact your representatives and request that they limit any serious consideration of this misguided legislation.
Truth is a funny thing, as Pontius Pilate once noted. We should be wary when professional and governmental institutions purport to wrap themselves up in it.