The Great Medical Debate...

All things outside of Burning Man.
User avatar
jimbobby
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:16 pm

Post by jimbobby » Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:48 pm

January 13th, 2004

Taking "quackbuster" (quackpot) advice can be dangerous to your public career. That's what Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing (DRL) Prosecutor Arthur Thexton has found out the hard way. His connection with, and the use of, the "quackbusters," has led him down the path into much tighter control of his daily activities, and a series of HUMILIATING losses in the Wisconsin Court System. He is also facing years of personal legal actions filed against him for his activities.

But, he can't say he wasn't warned...

Thexton, this last week, was handed ONE MORE SIGNIFICANT DEFEAT in his pro-quackbuster assault against Wisconsin's leading-edge health practitioners. This time, by an Administrative Law Judge, William Black.

Thexton is the one who achieved national humiliation when he UNSUCCESSFULLY used the advice and testimony of well-known CRACKPOT Robert S. Baratz, the current president of the so-called National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), against a leading edge Wisconsin practitioner, Eleazar Kadile MD.

The so-called NCAHF, an organization of doubtful origin and pedigree, is currently run out of Baratz's Braintree, Massachusetts hair-removal and ear-piercing salon. Thexton had spent $165,000 of the Department's money prosecuting Kadile on Baratz's advice, including about $70,000 for Baratz's "services," only to have the case end without considering ANY of the wild-eyed Baratz testimony. De-licensed MD Stephen Barrett (quackwatch.com) had been paid $3,000 in the case

Baratz had broken down into weeping during his testimony, after being confronted about his credibility.
<oh my gawd!>

User avatar
Rob the Wop
Posts: 1814
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2003 4:06 pm
Location: Furbackistan, OR
Contact:

Post by Rob the Wop » Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:54 pm

jimbobby wrote:
January 13th, 2004

Taking "quackbuster" (quackpot) advice can be dangerous to your public career. That's what Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing (DRL) Prosecutor Arthur Thexton has found out the hard way. His connection with, and the use of, the "quackbusters," has led him down the path into much tighter control of his daily activities, and a series of HUMILIATING losses in the Wisconsin Court System. He is also facing years of personal legal actions filed against him for his activities.

But, he can't say he wasn't warned...

Thexton, this last week, was handed ONE MORE SIGNIFICANT DEFEAT in his pro-quackbuster assault against Wisconsin's leading-edge health practitioners. This time, by an Administrative Law Judge, William Black.

Thexton is the one who achieved national humiliation when he UNSUCCESSFULLY used the advice and testimony of well-known CRACKPOT Robert S. Baratz, the current president of the so-called National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), against a leading edge Wisconsin practitioner, Eleazar Kadile MD.

The so-called NCAHF, an organization of doubtful origin and pedigree, is currently run out of Baratz's Braintree, Massachusetts hair-removal and ear-piercing salon. Thexton had spent $165,000 of the Department's money prosecuting Kadile on Baratz's advice, including about $70,000 for Baratz's "services," only to have the case end without considering ANY of the wild-eyed Baratz testimony. De-licensed MD Stephen Barrett (quackwatch.com) had been paid $3,000 in the case

Baratz had broken down into weeping during his testimony, after being confronted about his credibility.
This was sarcasm, right? I have a hard time taking such a blatantly biased and scathingly emotional press release seriously. Was this from the Onion, The Inquirer, or the World Weekly News?
[b]The other, other white meat.[/b]

User avatar
jimbobby
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:16 pm

Post by jimbobby » Wed Feb 16, 2005 2:24 pm

I have a hard time taking such a blatantly biased and scathingly emotional press release seriously
my point exactly
<oh my gawd!>

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:38 pm

God, there are just too many logical fallacies to even name them. So I won't bother. You should look them up, though. Really. It might do you some good.

If you want more references, I'm sure I can find ones you can't make irrational arguments about (They're connected to the FDA, so they're pro-industry.)

Here's a little background from the NCAHF History Page
Misrepresentations

Several writers have falsely claimed that NCAHF was started by the American Medical Association (AMA) and is financially supported by the drug industry. These falsehoods have been picked up and promulgated by others. Specious allegations of this nature were made in The Great Medical Monopoly Wars (Lisa, 1986) and later in Racketeering In Medicine (Carter, 1992). Maverick physician Robert Atkins also falsely stated in Dr. Atkins' Health Revolution (1988) that NCAHF is linked to the pharmaceutical industry. NCAHF has evidence that Lisa deliberately fabricated his misinformation. Carter and Atkins could have made a good faith effort to check out the validity of Lisa's lies but did not. Whether their reckless disregard of the truth stemmed from their basic paranoid view of their opposition or was deliberate has not been determined. Lisa continued his disinformation campaign in Assault on Medical Freedom (1994) in which he alleged that NCAHF and drug companies are engaged in a conspiracy to suppress "alternative" medicine.

Such charges are apparently designed to draw attention from the true issues. NCAHF believes that consumers have a right to the information they need to make proper decisions, and that those who supply health products and/or services have a moral obligation to be truthful, competent, and accountable. NCAHF does not take sides in turf battles; it believes in one standard for all. Other than the common bond among those who believe that medical care should be based on science, NCAHF has no organizational ties to either organized medicine or the pharmaceutical industry. Nor has it ever received financial support from them. In fact, NCAHF is openly critical of the failure of organized medicine to take a more proactive consumer protection role and believes that medical discipline needs strengthening. NCAHF is also very critical of drug companies that market supplements, homeopathic products, and herbal products that are worthless, questionable, and/or unsafe. When pharmaceutical companies have marketed these products deceptively, NCAHF has exposed such activities and incurring the wrath of vitamin trade groups.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

User avatar
blueniteowl
Posts: 2885
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:45 am
Location: found in dust

Post by blueniteowl » Wed Feb 16, 2005 6:09 pm

Ranger Genius wrote: Most chiropractors have fewer than two years of undergraduate schooling, at unaccredited schools.
Ranger, I'm still waiting to hear where you got this idea. You are constantly calling other people out on their "anecdotal evidence". Yet the statement you made sure seems like it was based on anecdotal evidence to me. So, please explain yourself. Show me the data that backs up this statement. Or, apologize for making a statement based on anecdotal evidence.

User avatar
Martiansky
Posts: 3436
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2003 5:24 pm
Burning Since: 2005
Camp Name: --->Hushville
Location: Duluth, MN

Post by Martiansky » Wed Feb 16, 2005 6:21 pm

I hurt my back about 17 years ago lifting a box of auto parts. The next day I could hardly move. I went to the doctor who gave me painkillers. I decided to call a chiropractor. The first time I went they took xrays of my back and it was obviously crooked. They first did ultra sound on my back to loosen up the muscles and then a hotpack and then she cracked my back. WOW! I had about 99% relief the first time I went! It was such a relief to be able to move agin and not have cold tingling toes and fingers.

Personnally I believe some chiropractors are very good. She was.
So the theme this year is like a giant camp out in the desert? With people bringing lots of shit from all over? uh.. -Marscrumbs

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:20 pm

Educational Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; 60 semester units of pre-chiropractic college course work; graduation from a board-approved, accredited chiropractic college.
And guess who makes up the board? That's right, chiropractors. They've had two years of college (they don't even have to get a degree!), and studied at a Chiropractic College that only has to pass muster for a group of Chiropractors, and there you have it. This quote is from the chiropractic licensure for the state of CA, by the way. Referenced here. I'm still trying to look up exactly what it means to be an accredited chiropractic college. What exactly the legal standard is for that. Will update.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:29 pm

Nevermind, found it. They have to be accredited by...you guessed it! The American Chiropractic Assciation! (Or similar organization.)

From their "What is Chiropractic" section:
Due regard shall be given to the fact that state laws, as well as the nation's antitrust laws, may allow Doctors of Chiropractic to utilize ancillary health care procedures commonly referred to as being in the common domain.
In other words, "some of our members have been known to practice methods outside of their area of expertise, or the curriculum of their chiropractic 'education'."
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:48 pm

Looks like the big boy in Chiro accreditation is the CCE: Council on Chiropractic Education. Their board of directors: (PDF File).

You guessed it. All Chiropractors. Many of them on the boards of the schools that they themselves accredited. You'll see one of those institutions use the term "straight chiropractic." What that means is "Fundamentalist Chiropractic." Those are the really scary and dangerous ones. And look, there's one right there on the board of directors! From Wikipedia's article on Straight Chiropractic:
In 1895, Palmer claimed to have restored the hearing of a nearly deaf janitor by manipulating his spine. Palmer believed that he had discovered the primary cause of disease and theorized that 95 percent of all disease was caused by spinal subluxation and the others by luxated bones elsewhere in the body. Accordingly to a survey of Canadian chiropractors conducted by the University of Saskatewan, about one third of chiropracters still believe in Palmer's philosophy. [1] (http://www.canoe.ca/ChiroYork/chiro_philosophy.html)

The term straight chiropractic is used to more strictly associate with adherents of Daniel D. Palmer's chiropractic theory, and of those chiropractic schools who believe that subluxations are the cause of most or all diseases. Outside of treatment (not cure) of a limited set of symptoms associated with the spine, there is no medical evidence supporting the efficacy of straight chiropractic, and some techniques in the past have not been safe. Doctors who have submitted research backing up the medical benefits of spinal manipulation have found their claims incorrectly applied to the entire field of chiropractic manipulation, including straight chiropractic.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

User avatar
blueniteowl
Posts: 2885
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:45 am
Location: found in dust

Post by blueniteowl » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:30 pm

Ranger Genius wrote:
Educational Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; 60 semester units of pre-chiropractic college course work; graduation from a board-approved, accredited chiropractic college.
And guess who makes up the board? That's right, chiropractors. They've had two years of college (they don't even have to get a degree!), and studied at a Chiropractic College that only has to pass muster for a group of Chiropractors, and there you have it. This quote is from the chiropractic licensure for the state of CA, by the way. Referenced here. I'm still trying to look up exactly what it means to be an accredited chiropractic college. What exactly the legal standard is for that. Will update.
Are you saying that one states educational requirements is enough proof to back up your statement. "Most chiropractors" seems like it would include most of the nation.

User avatar
blueniteowl
Posts: 2885
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:45 am
Location: found in dust

Post by blueniteowl » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:48 pm

And to me, the sources that you are tying to use to back up a majority of your argument aren't all that credible.
NCAHF is a private nonprofit, voluntary health agency that focuses upon health misinformation, fraud, and quackery as public health problems.
As a nonprofit, they don't have to be held accountable for the statements they make and can put out as much one sided information as they like. They don't have to be objective in their information. They don't have to include any information that they don't necessarily agree with. And as a voluntary health agency, you don't need any education to join.

Why should I believe what these people have to say? Just because they are doctors isn't a good enough answer.

User avatar
blueniteowl
Posts: 2885
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:45 am
Location: found in dust

Post by blueniteowl » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:59 pm

Now, I think that it's very hard to find credible information that is obective. SO, I'm providing information that is probably one sided because it is written by chiropractors. But, since RG is only interested in one side of the information anyways, it doesn't really matter. I think it is important to have a well balanced view of an issue. Here is a link to a publication about chiropratic training:

www.chiroweb.com/archives/ahcpr/chapter3.htm

With information about:
A. Chiropractic College Profile
B. Chiropractic Students
C. Curriculum
D. Specialty Training
E. Continuing Education
AND F. Comparison with Medical Education and Training

User avatar
blueniteowl
Posts: 2885
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:45 am
Location: found in dust

Post by blueniteowl » Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:45 am

I've been playing devil's advocate for awhile here and I just thought that I'd put in my actual beliefs on the debate.

I agree that chiropratic therapy wasn't based on any sort of scientific information. I agree that there isn't a whole lot of proof out there that scientifically supports that it helps people in any way. But, I also believe that the reason that there hasn't been a whole lot of studies done by credible sources, is because it wouldn't produce results that could make money. I know that there have been several instances of harm incurred at the hands of a chiropractor. Though, I also believe that there is risk in all medicine. And from what I know, that the instances of harm were low compared to the total number of americans seeking chiropractic care. Taking any drug has risks, and any surgery has risks.

User avatar
geekster
Posts: 4867
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:53 pm
Location: Hospice For The Terminally Breathing
Contact:

Post by geekster » Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:04 am

Uhm, it would make money for chiropractors. I am all for research. My feeling is that if something doesn't work or provide some benefit, it will die. Chiropractors are still around. Maybe there is a reason. I have had no need so I can not say from personal experiance.

I will be the first to admit that I am skeptical of any claims without some kind of tangible proof yet at the same time I am a believer in that whatever makes YOU feel better, makes you feel better. If YOU want to go and have your toes adjusted and it makes you happy, cool! I just start to get a little heated when someone extrapolates from their experiance that having a toe adjustment would make EVERYONE feel better and gets all evangelical about it.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Thu Feb 17, 2005 6:06 am

if something doesn't work or provide some benefit, it will die.


Sorry, that's simply not true. Chiropractic provides way too much benefit to chiropractors, and peiople who train chiropractors, for them to let it die.

Blue, as I have stated: Chiropractic adjustment has been shown to have a place in medical treatment for relieving pain in the back and neck (from certain causes) and in treating migraine headaches (in certain cases). there is a respectable organization, the NACM that advocates limiting chiropractic practice to these areas, and has commissioned and performed some legitimate research to show its efficacy. They are, however, a very slim minority. The remainder of chiopractic medicine spans the scale of quackery, from believing that preventative chiropractic care will help (it doesn't), to believing that "subluxations" are the cause of ALL medical and psychological problems from which humans suffer. There are chiropractors who practice on children. and BABIES. I saw an interview with one guy who said the youngest person he had ever adjusted was a MINUTE AND A HALF OLD. It's really not a good idea to crack the unformed bones of a baby. Are Chiropractors bound by the hippocratic oath? From what I read, they deride it because they think it and medical science is about treating symptoms as opposed to causes. So I don't think they are. "First, do no harm..."
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

sparkletarte
Posts: 1020
Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 12:00 pm
Location: valley of the dolls

Post by sparkletarte » Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:19 am

Rg, if you believe that chiro is effective in some cases why did you earlier say it's all bullshit?

I'm still interested to find out how you figure the Chinese have effectively used their traditional medicine and have lived to tell the tale.

It's interesting how conventional medicine doesn't get taken to task for the 1,000's of people who die every year from conventional medical practices, especially from drug side effects. If you look at medicine as 'first do no harm', conventional med has some explaining to do, as so many parts of our society like the people who pump out junk food and cigarettes. I'd rather put my trust in something that has been used for 1,000's of years and is relatively harmless than in some new drug that has a myriad of side effects.

Of course there are people in natural health, just like in every other health or geex, work field who take advantage of people, bilk them, harm them, you name it. Just like in the rest of life, and yeah, there's incompetent medical doctors too.

I've worked in the natural health field for over 15 years. I've seen it be extremely effective for hundreds of people. I agree with what heli said- there are a lot of ways to heal and it's up to us to use medicine of whatever type responsibly and in a way that makes sense. I don't go to the doctor unless I have something like a broken leg. And when I did that, I also went to chiro, accupunture, and took various herbs and nutrients because they all work together. That's why it's called complementary medicine.

If it works for someone then great, ultimately that's what matters, that the person who needs help gets it.

sparkletarte
Posts: 1020
Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 12:00 pm
Location: valley of the dolls

Post by sparkletarte » Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:21 am

I dunno, that geex is suppossed to be a geez.

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Thu Feb 17, 2005 9:14 am

I had never heard of the NACM when I made those statements, and was very pleased to discover their assistance. I still assert that the fundamental principles on which chiropractic medicine are based are false, pseudo- spiritual/intellectual bullshit.

If someone goes to an acupuncturist and thinks they get relief, that's great for them, but they shouldn't 1:) consider it proof that acupuncture works, or 2:) demand that my health insurance company pay for it and provide provisions for referrals to same. Acupuncture doesn't heal people. Sometimes it lets people think themselves better, or stop thinking themselves sick, though.

My main objection is to the way chiropractors (of the quack variety), acupuncturists, and other purveyors of alternative "Medicine" try to convince people that what they do is actually medicine, and pressure government and health care agencies to legitimize their practices through aggresive litigation. No matter how many people believe it, or how appealing it is, a lie is still a lie. There's a difference between making a mistake, or an error in judgement (which I will admit happens in medical practice) and knowingly and deceitfully misrepresenting fiction as fact in order to bilk ignorant people, or people afraid of surgery, or people who desperately cling to any scrap of eastern philosophy they can find because of their disilllusionment with their own culture, out of their money, sometimes endangering their health in the process. Wow, that's one hell of a complex sentence.

In response to the tone of "what's the point of attacking them, they only make people feel good." which has appeared from time to time:

1:) There is a great deal of evidence that Heroin also makes people feel good. Why bother with the middleman? Just take the dope.

2:) is not the pursuit of truth a noble endeavor? Is not the spreading of lies a base one? Is it okay to convince people that fiction is fact if it makes them happy?
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

User avatar
uBeRpLaYa
Posts: 594
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2004 9:56 pm
Location: HeLiTaCk'S hOuSe

Post by uBeRpLaYa » Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:25 am

oH mY gOd!

User avatar
Ranger Genius
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 7:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain
Contact:

Post by Ranger Genius » Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:56 am

Broadening the scope of this thread, which has focused on Chiropractic, since that was the debate which inspired it.

I often get asked when involed in these debates why I care. Why I try. Why go after those who promote "faith healing," "Energy medicine," and other bogus spiritual "healing" techniques? Why attack the illusions of beauty that people have, and try to take away the "magic" in the world? Here are a few words from The Amazing Randi, which captured a big part of the reason for me:
I was in Mexico City on the plaza outside the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe when a young peasant father crawled by me along the rough pavement with an obviously dead infant in his arms, swaddled in a tiny white serape. There were twin tracks of blood behind him from his bleeding knees. He was seeking a miracle. Through the adjacent barred window in the basilica I could hear the coin-sorting machines packaging the money that was pouring into the offering boxes inside. I turned away and wept.

In a St. Louis auditorium I stood in the lobby as paramedics treated a heavy elderly woman who lay in a fetal position on the carpet, white-faced and moaning in agony. Moments before she'd been seized in ecstasy in front of faith healer "Reverend" W. V. Grant, leaping up and down in an adrenalin rush that made her temporarily oblivious to the bone spurs on her arthritic spine that were cutting into her muscle tissues and bringing about internal bleeding. The attendants got her onto two stretchers and into an ambulance. I wept.

Outside an arena in Anaheim, California, my camera crew approached a tiny, thin, Asian boy with twisted legs on worn crutches to ask him if he'd been healed by Peter Popoff, the miracle-worker who he'd told us two hours earlier was "gonna ask Jesus to fix my legs." When he turned toward us, we saw his tear-streaked face and anguished eyes. The cameraman lowered his camera. "I can't do this," he said, and we both turned away and wept.

I've had my share of tears and sleepless nights, wondering what I might do to keep people from chasing this chimera.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

User avatar
AntiM
Moderator
Posts: 20223
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 5:23 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Anti M's Home for Wayward Art
Location: Wild, Wild West
Contact:

Post by AntiM » Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:17 pm

I do know one thing, traditional medical screenings saved my life last year. There was no way I'd have "just known" I had a carcinoid and breast cancer, no matter how "in tune" I was with my body. If I'd waited until I'd felt soemthing, I would not be here today. The colonoscopy and the mammograms, the ultrasounds, the biopsies and the MRI showed what my rebellious cells were doing, where and to what extent.

And yes, I chose traditional medicine to treat them; the carcinoid was pretty mechanical, as was the breast cancer because it was detected so very early. I am taking medicine now, but the benefits far outweight the minor side effects. True, I didn't have to deal with chemo, that's a terrible bucket of worms. I got lucky on the raditation also, and I can understand why it is appealing to try and find less radical cures. Cancer is scary and the treatments are frightening too. Still, I wasn't about to pin my life on raw foods, herbs and hope of remission.

And no, I did not ONCE think my doctors were out to "make me sick." They were caring and competent and kept me very informed about options and treatments.

Avoid traditional medicine if you like, but never be so foolish as to avoid check-ups and screenings. They work. Waiting to feel that little lump simply kills you as it did my brother, two cousins and two uncles.

Sorry about the personal tirade there, but my perspective has changed to extreme macro-close-up as of late.

User avatar
dr.placebo
Posts: 980
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:03 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Cleu Camp
Location: Volcano, HI
Contact:

Post by dr.placebo » Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:51 pm

I've just got to chime in, if only due to my nom de playa.

There are several easy principles that are especially, although not uniquely, suited to medicine:

first, do no harm
second, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
third, follow the money

These apply to all medical practice. The reason that I trust my doctor is not because he has a degree on the wall, but because he encourages his patients to get good food and exercise. He tries to NOT medicate. He is open to alternative medicine, but does not promote it. He keeps up with the literature, but does not claim that he has perfect knowledge.

If this does not sound like your doctor, you might ask why it does not.

Have some sugar pills. Just a few.

User avatar
swampdog
Posts: 916
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2004 8:27 am
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Rising Arms Pub
Location: Bellingham WA

my .02

Post by swampdog » Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:57 pm

I think there are 2 poles, which I'll call scientific medicine and non-scientific medicine, and a vast gray area between them.

Scientific medicine is easy to describe, it's based on observed cause and effect, this treatment works via this understood mechanism for this result.

Non-scientific (sorry if the term sounds prejudicial) medicine relies mostly on the body/mind's resources to heal itself and may or may not have a physical component that functions as a sort of placebo. I believe that this can work, I believe that the body/mind really can do amazing things. We don't know directly (scientifically) how to tap into that power, but we have various non-scientific methods that seem to work shamanistically for some people some times in some circumstances (see upthread anecdotal evidence). This includes most alternative medicine - acupuncture, reiki, some chiro, some herbal/traditional, etc etc. Sometimes through a combination of belief of the practicitioner, belief of the recipient, amenability of the particular illness to this sort of treatment, any of these treatments can work miraculously sometimes. (note implicit ability of the body/mind to sicken itself)

I read several articles a few months back when I was considering trying acupuncture where people went to thirty-some different practitioners and got thirty-some different problem identification and resolution recommendations. A scientific method would expect some practitioners to identify the same problem/resolution. (sorry, no cites. It was pretty easy to look up when I went searching)

The gray area is due to the fact that eg, some chiro treatments are probably at least semi-scientific - if you crack a sore back in the right way it' s gonna feel a lot better. Likewise, there are potent chemicals in the natural world, some herbal treatments might be "undiscovered scientific" treatments. You could argue that much talk-therapy psychology fits here in the gray zone.

The real problem here is, how do we fund this stuff? I have no problem with you taking $100 out of your pocket and taking a flying chance on some possible crackpot who may in fact be the psychic key to unlock the power of your body/mind to heal yourself. I am more troubled when you take money out of an insurance pool that I am partly funding, or the government that I am helping to fund, to help pay your possible crackpot.

And, there are some outright thieves and charlatans, people who are just out to prey on people less capable of making a rational decision.

This of course is all compounded by the natural tendency of many to medicalize our problems (yes, I am including myself in this - years of anti-depressants, anti-biotics for things that I should have just waited out, etc). Whatever is going on with you, you can find a doctor to prescribe you something for it. But the whole issue of how to ration medical care is a WHOLE nother long wordy post.

gigglesnort
Posts: 3099
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:46 pm

Post by gigglesnort » Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:05 pm

Oh, all right, I know it's silly for me to have made some grand statement like "all doctors make you sick" as obviously that isn't true. Thank goodness for the good procedures and the good doctors who help, as I'm infinitely grateful to have AuntieM here today. I also didn't mean to imply that I never use a conventional approach when appropriate, as screening most likely saved me from a potentially cancerous process (cervical dysplasia). So there.

However, a nurse midwife saved me from having a cesarean section, where a conventional approach would have not let me deliver naturally, and I would have been sliced open halfway through my body, which I would count as a doctor making me sick.

I firmly believe in taking responsibility for your own health where appropriate and possible, to include healthy food and lifestyle choices and alternative modalities, again when appropriate.

As far as that insurance pool, what about those who eat junk food and smoke cigarettes on their couches, ruin their bodies, and then draw for costly medicines and procedures to prop up their failing bodies?

User avatar
AntiM
Moderator
Posts: 20223
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 5:23 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Anti M's Home for Wayward Art
Location: Wild, Wild West
Contact:

Post by AntiM » Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:57 pm

I just worry about the people I know who brag not going to the doctor in over 15 or 20 years. Would it hurt to know your BP or cholesterol? And while certain lifestyles are healthier than others, that doesn't mean the active, well nourished individual won't get some awful disease anyway.

Perhaps "worry" isn't the right term. Bothered maybe. Annoyed, on a bad day.

User avatar
swampdog
Posts: 916
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2004 8:27 am
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Rising Arms Pub
Location: Bellingham WA

but

Post by swampdog » Tue Feb 22, 2005 6:34 pm

Giggles -

A nurse midwife isn't necessarily (and probably isn't) a non-scientific practitioner.

Your point about people treating their bodies poorly and then looking to the medical profession to bail them out is very well taken - I shied away from another lengthy diatribe on the rationing of medical care (I know I can get a bit long winded). The issue at hand is really should we spend our shared resources on treatments with little or no scientific support.

gigglesnort
Posts: 3099
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:46 pm

Post by gigglesnort » Tue Feb 22, 2005 6:39 pm

Point taken about the nurse-midwife, however, she viewed the process from a holistic standpoint as opposed to pregnancy being a sickness and approaching it from a controlling scientific standpoint.

And I thought this was a medical debate in general.

User avatar
swampdog
Posts: 916
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2004 8:27 am
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Rising Arms Pub
Location: Bellingham WA

long winded.

Post by swampdog » Tue Feb 22, 2005 7:47 pm

Fair enough.

The biggest problem we have in health care is rationing. I hate when politicians use health care rationing as a threat. I was an econ major in college, to an economist "rationing" is the way we decide who gets scarce resources. Our current method is pretty broken, which is not to say I have a better idea. The thing that keeps our health care system afloat is our extraordinary wealth as a society. This is likely to break down as the age curve shifts out and more people are needing more health care.

There are huge reasons why people want to overconsume health care. I mentioned the medicalization of what were previously considered personal or quality of life issues. I include the medicalization of pregnancy here, by the way.

Another impact is "defensive medicine" where patients want any treatment in case they have an illness, and doctors prescribe excess treatments so that in case their judgement is wrong and the patient is ill, they can't be sued for not treating.

As you note, people look to medicine to rescue them from their poor life choices. This is interrelated with the point about medicalization - ie, if alcoholism is an illness subject to medical treatment, you need to discuss how we're going to cover that.

And people want heroic treatment to save them from death's door. Much of the time this is the right thing to do (Glad you're here Anti-M!) but sometimes, rationality be damned, if there's a 2% chance of this procedure being successful at a cost of millions, people are going to want the "right" to decide to take the treatment. (Personally, I'm with the eskimos, when it gets to my turn put me on the ice berg with a spear and a bag of pemmican and push me out to sea.)

(then of course there are the pharmaceutical companies, who would rather you treat your cholesterol with a pill instead of exercise).

So what to do about all this? We're headed towards a situation where the wealthy and well insured get all the health care they want, the desperately sick get all they need, and everyone else has to beg. This is one rationing strategy, and the wealthy and well insured seem quite content with it. As the politicians say, we have the best health care system in the world for those who can afford it (oh, wait, they don't say that last part).

I figure a fairly strict universal health plan with preventitive care, major and catastrophic illnesses well covered. You'd have queueing problems and people who would want more coverage (like in other socialized medicine countries) and it would have to come out of taxes. Beyond that would be supplemental insurance, which should still be available through your workplace, or direct payment. I have a pretty generous insurance plan which I pay quite a bit for through (semi-invisible) payroll deductions. My health care choices might be more rational if I were on a pay-as-you-go program and had to decide if I really want to afford to get this marginal (perceived) improvement in my health. So who gets to decide what's in and out of the plan? There's the rub, however the decisions are made there are bound to be errors (as there are now).

Ok, I think I'm done. I warned you about the long-winded bit, now didn't I?

User avatar
Rob the Wop
Posts: 1814
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2003 4:06 pm
Location: Furbackistan, OR
Contact:

Re: long winded.

Post by Rob the Wop » Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:36 am

swampdog wrote: (then of course there are the pharmaceutical companies, who would rather you treat your cholesterol with a pill instead of exercise).
Well, this isn't always the case.

I hate pills. I can tolerate doctors, but would rather not see one if at all possible. I definitely hate hospitals.

When the doc told me I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, I said I would try and take care of it via exercise and diet.

I became a semi-vegitarian for 6 months. I eat skinless, boneless chicken or turkey or I would eat fish- but only once every couple days. I exercised each day, either running, lifting, or karate. Between 1/2 hour to 3 hours per day.

Guess what? It helped the blood pressure a little, but not enough. It did even less for the cholesterol. Some folks have it in their genes, apparently I am one of them.

Now I take two pills every night and I hate the very idea of it. But it works. I still work out, though not as hard core. And now I can eat the occasional chili-cheese dog. All the while, my blood pressure and cholesterol are well within specs. Cest la vie. Watcha gonna do?
[b]The other, other white meat.[/b]

gigglesnort
Posts: 3099
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:46 pm

Post by gigglesnort » Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:48 am

Thanks swampdog for putting to words certain issues with conventional medicine that I get all heated up about causing me to make silly statements like doctors just make you sick.

But yes, doctors covering their asses, pharmaceutical compainies with an interest in profiting from your sickness, and people afraid of dying..... where one could argue fear drives some to choose alternative medical practices, one could also see how fear drives the conventional industry, as well.

Post Reply

Return to “Open Discussion”