Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Healthcare: Their Way or the Highway

Most people don't give a second thought to questioning conventional wisdom, "group think" or consensus reality. But once an individual makes the decision and gets into the practice of taking a few moments to engage in critical thinking, it can get habit forming.

In the arena of health and nutrition, the application of critical thinking shouldn't require a terminal or debilitating disease to provide the motivation for doing bit of research. While modern medicine has advanced incredibly in the area of surgical procedures and generally sowing people back together, when it comes to serious and chronic disease, could it simply be said that it sucks? It's not too difficult to imagine that there might be little motivation from the higher levels of the medical hiearchy in keeping the population healthy and disease free.

Most people do not have the faintest idea that health researchers, mostly those without corporate affiliations (yes, they include researchers with PhDs and MDs) have concluded that heart disease and cancer are nutritional deficiency diseases. Case in point regarding an international comparative study of lung cancer rates between American and Japanese men;

"Rates of lung cancer in American men have greatly exceeded those in Japanese men for several decades despite the higher smoking prevalence in Japanese men."

By the way, Japanese males smoke much more than American males. OK, so you think that ethnic differences have something to do with it. Think again;

"The rates of lung cancer in Japanese migrants and their offspring in the United States are similar to United States-born whites, which strongly suggests that most of the international variation in lung cancer rates is not attributable to ethnic differences in susceptibility."

Could this be as a result of the differences in diet between the two countries?

Now we take a look at heart disease, a disease which was relatively uncommon in the early 1900s. What has changed? A few things come to mind like for example the substitution of animal lard in cooking for processed vegetable oils. Take a look.

Here we had animal lard, chock full of fat soluble vitamins and this dietary staple, consumed by the public in massive quantities when heart disease was not considered a public health issue, and it has been virtually eradicated from the western diet and cooking practices. Are we so sure that the French, with their traditional diet of fatty cheeses, raw milk and steak tartar are experiencing a lower incidence of heart disease solely because of red wine consumption? Have you ever had a friend on the Atkins Diet tell you that his or her cholesterol plummeted once they got on the diet? Sometimes a little hint which is counter to what we've been told can really get our minds going.

Here's a bit of research regarding heart disease by a medical doctor who gets results with his natural treatment protocols, including reversing patient prognoses for heart transplants with the use of mainly vitamins C and E. Included in the research is a comment about the sizable reduction of rates of heart disease in the 1970s, when Linus Pauling recommended increased dosages of vitamin C to help prevent colds. As you peruse the research, keep in mind that Dr. Rath has endured quite a bit of official harrassment. Dr. Rath's web pages also include very interesting research on cancer and the positive results that can be obtain by giving the body what it needs.

Lastly, below is an excerpt of a quick summary on the evolution of modern medicine in America.

"When Flexner researched his report, allopathic medicine faced vigorous competition from several quarters, including osteopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, eclectic medicine, physiomedicalism, herbal medicine and homeopathic medicine. Flexner clearly doubted the scientific validity of all forms of medicine other than the allopathic, deeming any approach to medicine that did not employ drugs to help cure the patient as tantamount to quackery and charlatanism. Medical schools that offered courses in bioelectric medicine, eclectic medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy, or "eastern medicine," for example, were told either to drop these courses from their curriculum or lose their accreditation and underwriting support. A few schools resisted for a time, but eventually all complied with the Report or shut their doors."

Indeed, the practice of medicine and medical schooling was an unregulated mish-mash less than 100 years ago. While this situation certainly allowed for what we would consider today an unlimited choice for the type of medical care we might desire, perhaps the solution provided went a bit too far when it has become a situation of 'their way or the highway,' literally. Today, thousands of Americans who have taken the time to do research (and have the money), must leave the country to obtain the type of medical care they desire which is either prohibited or career destroying for healthcare professionals to practice in the United States, the land of liberty. I never did realize that the Carnegie Foundation cared so much about protecting our health...or is it the bottom line? Nevertheless, I am sure that there are those out there who are glad that their choices of treatments have been narrowed down for them. Believe it or not, there was a time in the past when "buyer-beware" was a great way for consumers to establish satisfying commercial relationships.

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DISCLAIMER: This commentary does not constitute medical advice. You should consult a licensed health professional for specific advice.