It’s weird how often you run into anti-medicine ludditery in the west. I never noticed it till I left the UK but there are a sizeable amount of people who simply assume that medicine has no idea what it’s talking about. Today’s offering is from Dr. B. J. Hardick on Green Media Info and I have to go out on a limb and assume he is one of the few doctors who turn their back on science and evidence based medicine and go practice quackery for the dubious benefit of a fist full of dollars.
The tide is turning. When once it was unheard of for a doctor’s opinion to be challenged, today’s patients are getting second and third opinions, seeking out alternative care and pursuing natural, organic solutions to their health issues.
This is not a good thing. Natural and Organic mean precisely nothing in terms of medicine. Curare is 100% natural yet you wouldn’t want to run afoul of poison darts. It’s medical use is well documented and strictly controlled. You aren’t out chewing south american leaves but a known dosage of the drug is injected to produce local effects. If you really think an unknown quantity of drug should be used then you are clearly not thinking clearly.
Alternative care categorically does not work. No proof has ever been produced that organic care beats regular care. You literally have a series of anecdotes and every comparison between alt. medicine and the placebo effect has proven to be non significant.
Dr. Brawley shocks us with statistics. Americans are suffering and dying avoidable deaths. America spends 1.5 times as much per person on health care than any other country, yet it ranks 50th in life expectancy and is 47th in infant mortality. He blames unnecessary and unproven treatments on a lack of scientific knowledge and the financial attractiveness of supporting pharmaceutical companies, medical manufacturers and hospital financial targets. This is a shame.
Actually it’s due to the fact that the USA has a two tier medical system involving private healthcare for some and public healthcare for others. This results in private healthcare DUMPING cases on public healthcare and situations where people have no healthcare at all forced to utilise ER services ratchetting up costs. Prevention is not a word being bandied around the USA.
And “50th in Life Expectancy” isn’t that big a gap. The average American lives 75 years, the average French? Nearly 80. Infant mortality in the USA is due to daft reporting of unviable births as preventable mortality. Unless you can magic some lungs into a 20 week old foetus there is nothing you can do to save it. It’s got a 97% chance of dying because in all our haste to declare hearts and brains as necessary for life we forget that hearts and brains need lungs to work.
American mortality is due to the fact that many americans even with insurance fear rising rates so don’t take advantage of healthcare unless necessary and by necessary, we mean “Stuff has gone horridly wrong”.
“The triad of obesity, lack of physical activity and high caloric intake (bad diet) is creating a tsunami of chronic disease. If the system persists as is, medical costs will grow dramatically over the next several decades as the number of patients with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and orthopedic injury dramatically grows.”[i]
America is focused on sick care refinancing, not health care reform. The medical system is bankrupting the economy – the U.S. spends 18% of its money on medicine. The average cost of a health insurance policy for a family of four is $19,400 per year. Much of that cost is born by the family itself as health care benefits are becoming too costly for the employer to provide. In Canada, the government spends about two thirds of that amount providing health care, and citizens complain that their health care needs are not being met. And much of that money is spent on unnecessary and often unproven treatment.
The UK spends a bit more than Canada on healthcare and I know we spend roughly 50% of what the US government spends on it. This is a suspect value.
Doctors cannot exercise for you. Doctors REPEATEDLY state that you should put down the pie and go for a run. Yes, fat acceptance is nice and you should like your body and all that but we aren’t Cosmo. We think you should lose weight because it is healthy. Fat people are sick people, the statistics are clear. In the USA no one would ever, EVER produce a healthcare policy that reduces people’s freedom. You are free to chose what to eat and what to feed your kids. Obesity is the patient’s problem. It’s treatment is willpower and diet and if you don’t want to do those then we cannot help you.
You know not to touch a live exposed wire because you are educated about electricity and the dangers. Yet somehow you don’t want to remember the tonnes of education about healthy eating. The obesity epidemic’s fault lies in the laziness of consumers, the tastiness of junk food (Not their fault) and the unwillingness to accept some blame. McDonalds makes burgers, they aren’t forcefeeding you with them.
It amazes me that alternative medicine sites consider anything used in medicine to be unnecessary and unproven when they often flog energy crystals, magnets and magic water.
Health care consumers have every reason to be angry. The costs are unsustainable, and most importantly, the well being of every Canadian and American is at risk. Thirty-five years ago, Senator George McGovern criticized the war on cancer, saying that the annual billion dollars provided by the government was being misspent on treatment and ought to be directed toward prevention. “How can you assert the vital relationship between diet and cancer and then submit a preliminary budget that only allocates a little more than 1% of the National Cancer Institute Funds to this problem?” This statement was made by Senator McGovern at the 1976 U.S. Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs.
George McGovern is a historian. If we wanted to discuss history we got to a historian. If we want to get our car fixed we go to a mechanic. Why is it that in medicine, it is acceptable to ask a historian to dictate what doctors do to the general public?
A simple example of prevention and people who oppose it? The HPV vaccine. Stops between 92 to 97% of all cervical, penile and lower colonic cancers. Look at the backlash. Everything from people who think that vaccinating for it will cause women (and men) to slut it up and people who make grandiose claims that the HPV is designed to kill you. Never mind the thousands of women it will save. How much more do you want to bombard a public who really don’t want to listen to you about nutrition?
The only other alternative is mandatory sport for children and enforced physical education. If your child is obese you get your child
automatically taken for actual dietary regimens. IF you made legislation like that no one would vote for you.
Study after study shows that a good majority of cancers are preventable through lifestyle. The upside down spending of 1 to 10% on prevention, giving the rest to treatment needs to be reversed.
Except many lifestyle changes are completely untenable. And yes many are avoidable. And I think the good doctor has forgotten how lung cancer rates are falling in our society thanks to the effect of anti-smoking drives often spear headed by doctors.
What can we learn from this? Take responsibility for your own health. Read, research, and challenge what you’ve been told. Seek out information about what you can do to maximize your potential for continued health and long life. Quality nutrition, reduced stress, increased fitness, minimized toxins and maximized nerve supply are the five essentials that will optimize your health. You can live a full life free of illness and disease. Make wise, informed decisions.
This is where the woo comes in. No doctor advocates McDonalds. Nutrition is key and nearly every doctor tells you to eat a balanced diet and do exercise and avoid stress. However some people CANNOT avoid stress (eg. Doctors). But the one of note here is Minimised Toxins which is often a reference to real medicine because the quacks flog the notion that nothing in nature is toxic and that things like morphine, curare and botox (I kid you not, there are anti-vax who give out botox injections for wrinkle treatments but complain that vaccines are filled with toxins) are not. Maximised Nerve Supply is just one of those terms that doesn’t mean anything. If your nerve supply is anything but maximum you are in trouble.
Eventually you will die. This mantra that you will have a full life free of illness is pretty much what he is complaining about. We die because our body breaks down. Point in case? My uncle had a mild heart attack 3 weeks back. He used to exercise regularly and eat simple food. His two brothers are older and didn’t despite that. The reason? Age. Age is killing him. And for now there is not much we as doctors can do. In the future?
No doctor is against eating right and working out. The problem is eating right is not “eating fancy organic food and snaffling enough fancy vitamins to choke a donkey”.