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Friday, November 5, 2010

What to Do When Drugs Cause Problems they Should Prevent!


28 Cheshvan 5771

This New York Times article names a nasty drug development and marketing problem hurting defenseless people already seriously ill and a possible solution:

I read it and then responded to a relevant LinkedIn discussion. I hope this URL will work for non-members of LinkedIn:

If the link didn't work for you, read this reproduced repartee:

John Puma MD asked, "Is this part of DIY, farmers markets before pharmacies, Facebook before family doc, food before drugs? Is it one idea?"

I responded, "It's an interesting take on a difficult dilemma: struggling to prevent one serious problem as we're inadvertently causing others. The intense, short-term pressure to seize solutions before their long-term effects are assessed is gut-wrenching. There are very real time limits on when we can no longer try to salvage or to save endangered lives. So we plunge into the Unknown hoping for the best. But some alleged Unknowns aren't. Evidence exists that some alternatives are better than drugs and surgery. But knowledge of those alternatives might be suppressed/unintentionally limited.

John, I've participated in discussions on this and other LinkedIn lists, and share a consensus with fellow respondents that food can - demonstrably - be medicine. FWIW, I advocate the use of superb nutrition while or instead of pursuing medical procedures. The effects of nutrition have been observed for thousands of years. Their trials are over. Dr .Dean Ornish reverses heart disease with food and lifestyle changes instead of cardiac procedures. Other medical trailblazers do likewise. Choosing low-tech lifestyle changes is risky, frightening and a personal judgment call. It's not a sure thing in any manner. But documented evidence proves that alternative healing/prevention techniques do succeed.

I'm marketing a feature story I wrote about extremely effective low-tech solutions for making the most of the remaining vision in brain-injured patients. The lesson of the medical experts quoted in my piece is this: western medicine too often opts for expensive procedures and/or medications when less lucrative, equally or more effective solutions exist. Patients are not necessarily fully informed of those low-cost, low-risk and high-yield options. Medical practitioners are pressured to make sustainable incomes as insurance companies pull their financial chains. It all makes for a moral mess.

I don't know how best to respond to your "Is this part of DIY?" question with guaranteed validity. I'll take a risk and remark that opening the discussion to invite broader thought processes and considerations (far beyond merely one idea) is a step in very productive directions.

I'm grateful that you have the courage to broach the topic. BTW, I recovered my sight due to a horrific medical situation that almost killed me. Surgery saved my life but not my sight. That returned after I made lifestyle changes. Shocked the heck outta my medical team (mostly teaching professors). I explain how similar choices can save other lives and their quality in an E-book praised by medical and mental health professionals: It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge."

John summed up our thoughts with "Thanks for the really thoughtful response, Yocheved, and good luck with your feature story: I think entertainment venues are underestimated in medicine as effective ways of communicating and actually healing as well. Warm regards, JL"
Readers, I hope that you and someone who cares about you will ask important questions about the medications recommended to you. The impact on your life could be very, very important.

BTW, I might need to take some time off from updating the blog. My life is a bit hectic just now. I'll do my best to tap at you regularly and ask that you forgive me for occasional lapses.

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