- What Is Health?
- Is health the absence of
disease? The word health comes from a German root meaning whole.
Wholeness means being complete, optimal. The medical community is called the health
care community when in fact it is the disease care community preoccupied with the
management of illness. Little or no attention is given to building and optimizing health.
Instead diseases are defined and named and vectors sought. This is done by reductionistic
study whereby the miniscule (the smaller, the more scientific) elements of
disease, both within the body and within the offending agent, are probed. Then volumes are
written on microbes, mechanisms and pathology. Little time is spent on how to make life
whole, optimize health and prevent disease.
- There are lessons in the
history of medicine. Hippocrates, for example, was a physician who believed in a more
natural holistic approach. His axiom first do no harm reflects that. Also,
consider the root for the word physician is phusus, which mean nature. If we look
historically at the rise of medicine its beginnings reflected respect for nature and for
the bodys ability to heal itself. It has only been within the last century that we
have veered from this course, spending more time thinking about the offending disease
agent and the technology and machines to study the minute rather than the whole body
system upon which we ultimately depend for healing.
- Controlled Clinical Studies
- In medicine, there is certainly
the need to decide what works, what doesnt, what is safe and what isnt. The
average clinician does not have time to perform such studies. So, a variety of testing
methods performed by researchers have been developed which are designed to give assurance
that treatments, surgical techniques or drugs are indeed effective and safe, and, if so,
by what measure.
- To review some of these testing
- A prospective study is one wherein two groups of
subjects, called cohorts, are treated differently. For example, one group is fed pork and
the other is fed only corn and these would be the only variables in the study. All else
would be equal, theoretically at least. They are then observed over time to determine
results in two groups.
- A retrospective study is when a particular outcome,
for example, people dying of heart disease in 1986 as opposed to those who did not die of
heart disease in 1986, is evaluated in terms of causal associations. Conclusions can then
be made and used to decide what the risk factors are, prospectively, in the future.
- A placebo controlled study is a study wherein one
group of subjects is receiving a sugar pill, and the other group is receiving
a test product. The two groups are then observed to find out whether the desired effect is
achieved with greater statistical significance in the treated group than in the placebo
- A double blind study is one in which neither the
subjects nor the investigator and administrator know which subject is receiving which
treatment. This helps remove bias from the study.
- In a cross over study, group A is receiving one
treatment, and group B is receiving another. The groups are switched midway through the
experiment so both groups end up both receiving and not receiving the particular
- A randomized study is one which requires that the
groups have participants who are enrolled randomly. Such things as age, sex, weight,
extent of disease and so forth are totally randomized between the two groups.
- All such studies have merits
and weaknesses. Probably the ideal study to date is one which would be a prospective randomized double blind placebo controlled
cross over study. It would be ideal to have this study performed on every form of
treatment and drug, as well as any experimental food or diet. But that has not been the
case, nor is it even possible due to its scope and economic burden.
- More soft
observational and anecdotal methods which have been used through the years, although
denied, are embedded in the medical community. Only 10-20% of all procedures have been
subject to any sort of controlled study or trial whatsoever. Most
treatment methods being used today and thought to be scientific are, in fact,
based upon non-scientific subjective evidence. Therefore, critics of scientifically
unproven nonconventional medicine are unjustified since the majority of conventional
medicine is unproven also.
- This is not to suggest that
treatments based on mere clinical know-how may not be valid and indeed work, perhaps even
better than some of those subjected to controlled studies.
- There is the resurgence of a
study called the N of 1. N of 1 means that there is only one participant in the study and
that is the individual under study. There is even a N of 1 service McMaster University in
Ontario for clinicians who want to know how to use it. This is the ultimate study to
address biochemical individuality.
- If the large randomized double
blind placebo controlled cross over study is used, the result is an average. An average
result cannot be applied to the individual because every individual has their own
biochemical individuality and what may be efficacious for one may be toxic for another
depending upon where they fall in the statistical distribution. When applying from the
general to the specific the desired effect is not guaranteed even though a perfect study
would suggest otherwise. Also, the large randomized double blind studies require a
tremendous amount of time, money, subjects compliance and so forth, making almost
impossible testing thousands of different procedures and drugs.
- This does not mean progress
cannot be made. I am only suggesting there are ways to find new and effective methods in
medicine other than the large studies. For the single clinician, the N of 1 study is a
- When all else fails we could
try the triple blind test. The subject does not know what he is getting, the administrator
does not know what he is giving, and the investigator does not know what he is doing. Half
way through the experiment there is crossover and randomization to create turn about. Now
the patient administers the drug to the investigator and the results are evaluated by
blind physicians with placebo degrees.
- Filtering Scientific Information
- The limit of knowledge is not
what emerges from school, journals, books, or in continuing education courses.
These sources are almost invariably supported in some way by a vested interest.
Vested interests make possible and direct the course of science. Money, not the quest for
truth is the prime mover. Very little pure, non-directed, non-controlled fundamental
research occurs without the hope for a pot of gold at its finale. Also all that is
discovered is not necessarily reported. If results dont advance the sponsors
interests, they are not released. If company A pays for a study to prove the benefits of
their product over company Bs, dont expect A to release results that prove the
- Consider a pharmaceutical
company that perceives a potential market for a drug they wish to synthesize. They fund
research, spending millions of dollars necessary to bring it into the marketplace and to
get proper FDA approval. They will do this only if they can protect their interests
through the patent process. If it is a unique patentable product, for the term of the
patent they can hope to reap the profit necessary to justify all of the expenses that were
incurred, and then some
. hopefully a lot of sum.
- On the other hand milk, whole
wheat, whole rice, vitamins, minerals, herbs, anything generally available to the public,
and not patentable, are not going to receive the same funding for scientific proofs. There
is no way for a funder to recover costs. So it may very well be that the most effective
treatments of all are lying out there undiscovered. Undiscovered only because the funds
and thus the capability to test them and to present them in a scientific package to the
professional community are not there. If that is not done, the scientific community will
view the treatment as unproven, ineffective, quackery or soft science.
- After all, observation is the
root of science. Science hinges on, begins with and is proven by observation. There is no
reason why a person or a clinician cannot use personal experience and observation to
discover treatments perhaps even more effective than those with funded proofs.
- Animal Testing Absurdities
- Sometimes animal testing seems
grossly inhumane, if not outright folly. Heres an example. In an article entitled,
Afferent Neural Responses to Mechanical Distortion of the Testis of the Cat
the authors state, compression in lightly anesthetized cats indicated a pseudo
effective pain-like response to distortion of the testis
A glancing blow to the
testicle produced a burst of activity. This is science?
- Another article reported that
24,000 mice were tested and sacrificed to determine the carcinogenicity of 2-acetylamino
fluorene. If this many mice are necessary to test just one chemical, how many millions
would be necessary to thoroughly test the thousands of chemicals introduced in both the
cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries? Furthermore, testing the carcinogenicity of one
chemical does not speak to possible synergies with all of the other chemicals they might
be in combination with. Then there are the factors of antagonisms and biochemical
individuality to further complicate the tidy results. This is hardly the sure science we
are led to believe it is. Little wonder drugs and treatments based on the results
always are potentially dangerous. Knowing the limitations on
the information we receive, and products with scientific or regulatory aegis, we should
keep our minds open to alternative sources of information, reason and observation. It is
an impossible and futile situation particularly when cross species application of results
is ultimately invalid.
Peterson and Carrier, , Afferent Neural
Responses to Mechanical Distortion of the Testis of the Cat, Federation Proceedings. 1972.
Drug and Cosmetic Industry, October 1987
- Incomplete Nutritional Knowledge
- Nutritionists claim all is
settled in terms of what nutrients are or are not required and at what dosages. They
support this claim by arguing that laboratory animals can be maintained on purified,
synthetic diets with their 100% complete menus.
- But long-term feedings of such
regimens do not result in health. People on enteral nutrition, whereby precise nutrients
are measured and given over long periods of time, may be maintained over a short period,
but over the long-term there are problems. Clearly, feeding purified food fractions fortified
with synthetic vitamins is a mere shadow of the food creatures are adapted to genetically.
Arguing that food fractions can grow health because people might survive on it is like
pounding a press-board 2x4 in the ground and calling it a tree because there is wood in it
and it sticks up in the air, or like reasoning all that is needed to grow a mighty elm is
water since an elm seed will sprout if soaked in water.
- The research literature
continually reveals the inadequacy of present knowledge. Why not in nutrition?
The growth of knowledge occurs in every other field.
- So-called dispensable amino
acids become essential in certain disease states or during growth, accessory required
nutrients are being continuously being discovered, new required vitamins and minerals are
being revealed, the list of essential fatty acids are being broadened and the required and
optimal dosages of nutrients are in a constant state of flux.
- We are at the dawn of
nutritional knowledge, not at its evening or close. There is much to be learned.
Thus the wisdom of foregoing the wait for discovery or its revision to decide what
is best to eat. Natural food in its whole raw, unaltered state or close likeness
thereof, is the ultimate endpoint of nutritional discovery. You can be there right now.
- Treating Downs Naturally
- 100 case studies of Trisomy 21
Downs Syndrome were treated with orthomolecular vitamin/mineral antioxidant
treatments. One case graduated from a two-year college using these
and Nusbalm, Medical Treatment of Downs Syndrome and Genetic Diseases
Downs Victim Forges Ahead, Star News,
June 25, 1987, Pasadena, CA
- Complexity vs. Simplicity in Medical
- Acham was a philosopher who
lived 700 years ago in London. His philosophy of nominalism dominated thinking for 200
years and then gradually faded. Achams razor, enchia
nonsu multipilanda pre tar necesitatum, means entities are not to be multiplied beyond
necessity, or, we shouldnt make things too complicated.
- It is beyond anyones
capability to understand and keep abreast. Being fully aware of a tiny part of any one
single discipline is more than a lifetime can accomplish.
- Medicine today is extremely
complex. Medical concepts begin simply but invariably become more and more complex. For
example, the Pasteur germ theory, which posits that germs cause disease, leads to the
conclusion that killing germs will conquer disease. But time creates complicated. For
example, medications cytotoxic to germs can also be cytotoxic to tissue, there can be
antibiotic resistance, overgrowth of pathogens normally held in check by organisms being
destroyed by the antibiotic, direct drug toxicities and disruption of intestinal flora.
- Interferon began simply also.
It blocks viruses. Simple enough. Extract interferon, give it to patients struck by
viruses, and cure disease. Further discovery has shown that there are alpha, beta and
gamma interferons with at least 16 subtypes of alpha interferon alone. Decisions as to
which to give, at what dosage, and by what route of administration have become almost
- The discovery that hormones
controlled body functions led to the natural conclusion that administering them would
permit control of the body. What was not understood, however, was feedback mechanisms.
Give a hormone a body normally produces and th eorgan that produces it will shut down,
even lose what hormone capacity it has.
- When atherosclerotic plaque was
discovered cholesterol was found to be a major constituent. The simple conclusion was that
if cholesterol was removed from the diet that would cure atherosclerosis. But cholesterol
is now far too generic. HDLs, LDLs, VLDLs, apoproteins, homocysteine, cholesterol
oxides, triglycerides, folic acid, vitamin C, and much more influence cardiovascular
disease. If cholesterol gets too low, suicide rates increase and hormonal
dysfunctions result since cholesterol is a starting point for most of them.
- Classical nutritional
deficiencies due to food processing, such as beri beri, pelegra and scurvy cured by
fortification of the deficient vitamins led to the conclusion that synthetic nutritional
supplements would cure and prevent such diseases. But processing results in loss of dozens
of nutrients. Fortification replaces one, two or three nutrients. White
bread has lost 24 nutrients but only four are fortified back. All is therefore not
well. The dozens of nutrients not replaced may not result in an immediate manifestation of
gross nutritional deficiency, but will increase susceptibility to degenerative diseases,
and immune system compromise.
- Any theory or hypothesis
accommodating more and more exceptions and becoming more and more complex has something
wrong with the basic underlying premise, otherwise it would retain its simplicity.
Truth is simple, pure and requires little explanation and few if any exceptions.
A lie on the other hand requires further fabrication to support it, explanations,
exceptions, cover-ups, justifications, as it has been aptly put: Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice
- The burgeoning complexity of
the medical care system should alert us that its logical underpinnings are flawed and that
we should look elsewhere for truth.
- Medical care in 1976 was a 150
billion dollar industry; in 1985 it was 450 billion dollars, now about a trillion. The
public is, in effect, paying for increased complexity. not increased success.
- Modern medical thought is
directly linked to a mechanistic reductionistic viewpoint whereby disease is examined in
more and more detail. Why is the patient having headaches? First look at the gross
clinical level, then the organ level, then the tissue level, then the cellular, then the
subcellular then the chemical level. By the time probing has stopped, electron spin has
been evaluated. This point is beyond retracing to the original problem. In other words, what does
electron spin have to do with headaches? The gestalt of disease cannot be understood or
cured by minimalism.
- Force In Medicine
- There is the underlying belief
in the medical care paradigm that we can compel the body to behave itself. For example, if
the immune system overreacts with allergic symptoms or autoimmunity, antihistamines are
given to tame the reaction. If the immune system is underreacting, and permitting
infection, antibiotics are used to force the infective agent to behave itself. For cancer,
chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are used to subdue the aberrant tissue.
- But life is a spontaneous
process. It has a mind of its own. It acts on its own free will. We can no more
compel the body than we can compel someone to believe us by torturing them.
- Compulsion does seem logical.
After all, we are surrounded by inanimate things that bend to our will. Iron is forged,
nails driven, nuts tightened, joints welded, trees sawed, mountains exploded and rivers
dammed. Progress is spectacular in the physical world using force, so why not in the
biological? Thus the biological arms race, constantly seeking out a new vaccine, a new
chemotherapeutic agent, a new surgical treatment which will force compliance by the body
and by microbes. In the end this fails because it denies the spontaneity of life. Force
creates the illusion of cure, of solving the problem, but it does not take care of the
underlying cause. Force may kill or temporarily break the will of the organism. but in the
end all that happens is the resumption of the spontaneity of life
- An alternate way to approach
medicine would be to support natural processes. Think again to the parallel of trying to
convince someone of your argument. The best way to do that is to nurture them along, to
give them the evidences to make them understand why it is important for them to believe
it. It should be done in a kind way, a gentle way, hoping that with time and with the
proper encouragement, with reasonings that fit their desires, they will eventually be
convinced to change their mind. On the other hand, if you try to impose your view on
someone and force them through strong social or verbal pressure, or even torturestill
the mind will not turn. The mind has its own will, as biology and metabolism has its own
- So rather than compulsion, the
natural spontaneity of life must be allowed to unfold. This is probably what Hippocrates
had in mind when he stated first do no harm. We must seek to work with
inherent healing mechanisms, not attempt to dominate, force, trick or confuse. This is the
more logical beginning to health and healing.