Monday, December 23, 2013

Annals of Internal Medicine Claims Black is White: Further Explorations

The Annals of Internal Medicine today published an editorial titled "Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements". The editorial tells us that three separate research projects studied the effects of 'supplements' on different chronic illness, and found no significant disease benefit from 'supplements'.  

What's right with this picture? Seriously? What healthiness was measured? The editorial says: "most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death". The use of supplements is not justified because they cannot prevent death? So who can prevent death? Medicines can extend life, but they can't prevent death. And chronic disease? What medicine can prevent the chronic diseases that were tested? None. Should we "stop wasting our money on medicines"? Well, maybe we should. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and President Kennedy

I was eleven years old when President Kennedy died.  I remember coming home from school at lunch and hearing the news from my mom.

A few days ago at my local drugstore, I noticed the appearance of John F Kennedy memorial magazines. But a quick glance confirmed the truth.  Nobody knows. It's official. But it's OK, we can still sell magazines. We don't have free press, but we can pretend. We can print lots of "beautiful pictures" and happy stories.

November 22, 2013 will be the 50th anniversary of the death of President John Kennedy. It's official. Nobody knows what happened. You can be sure someone knows.  You can be certain that several people know what happened.  But you don't know.  The news media doesn't know, or doesn't dare. Fifty years later and the best we can do is, as Wiki, the new authority, reports "Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the crime and arrested that evening, but Jack Ruby shot and killed him two days later, before a trial could take place."

To be perfectly honest, we don't even know if the President was assassinated.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Healthy Bodies to Healthy Communities

I am working on my book project, Healthicine: The Arts and Sciences of Health and Healthiness. As a result, I haven't posted much on this site, or on Writing a book gives me a chance to collect and align many of the ideas I have explored in the past few years.

I'm immersed in looking from a 'health' perspective, which is very different from our normal 'illness' viewpoint. Sometimes, as I work, something very new and interesting comes up.  This post gives a preview of some of the new ideas to be found in the book.

Many medical and alternative medical practitioners refer to healthiness of body, mind and spirit.

They're missing the next layer: Community.

The Hierarchy of Healthicine begins with genetics and nutrients and rises through the layers of cells, tissues, organs, systems, body, minds, spirits, to the top layer: communities. There are five general entry points to improving healthiness: nutrition, physical exercise, mental exercise, spiritual exercise and community involvement.  We've always known that nutrition, or diet is a large factor in healthiness. Nutrition has been studied extensively - although mostly with regards to illness rather than healthiness.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The GMO Blues (a.k.a. The Organicular Blues)

There was a young man who ate GMOs.
He ate GMOs owned by Monsanto.
But he didn't know he ate GMOs,
No labels you know.

The young man was fat, so he drank diet juice

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Myth of Alternative Medicines

The world seems to be divided on medicines... There are the medicines your doctor recommends, and 'alternative' medicines.  Doctors typically recommend 'patent' medicines (although they might not use that name). Some doctors promote 'natural medicines', others prefer 'Chinese medicines', others like 'traditional' medicines. It seems there are many different types of medicine.

What are Alternative medicines?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Can you spell your disease?

Can you spell the name of your disease?  Do you know the name of your diagnosis, and the specific variation, if it is one with many variations?

When many people go to the doctor, they get a verbal diagnosis "it seems you've got mumble mumble", and a verbal treatment recommendation "I'm going to put you on mumble mumble, take n pills a day until it runs out and we'll see what happens."  You get a written prescription, which you may, or may not be able to read.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

When did food stop being medicine? When did medicines stop being food?

Hippocrates said: "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food

Today, many people quote this phrase.  But it is no longer true.

When did it stop being true?  Why?

It is illegal for food to be medicine.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Boundaries of Healthicine - of Body, Mind and Motorcyles

I have a friend who 'grew up' on dirt bikes.  His entire family has been riding dirt bikes for years, participating in many events and competitions.

I decided to learn to ride a motorbike, and enrolled in a 'motorcycle safety course' provided, in part, by the local police force.

We were taught the technique of 'counter-steering'.  You can click the link if you want to learn more about how it works.

However, when I enthusiastically tried to discuss counter-steering with my friend, he denied ever using it.  "I don't counter-steer", he said, "I don't need to, I just lean.  I learned to ride the bike when I was very young and I know how it works."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why Measure Healthiness? What can we learn?

Is your health half full? or half empty?  Is your health three quarters full? or one quarter empty?

No one is perfectly healthy. Healthiness is about balance - thousands of balances, constantly changing, shifting, adjusting, re-balancing.

Healthiness is a measure of your health. When individual measurements of healthiness are mapped to a percentage scale - the inverse is the level of unhealthiness. If your heart is 80 percent healthy, it follows that it is 20 percent unhealthy.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sheldon Cooperite Researchers Study Coffee but fail in Theory, Practice, and Communications

In June 2010, in true Sheldon Cooper form, a group of scientific researchers studied coffee and wrote a paper with this cryptic title:

Association of the Anxiogenic and Alerting Effects of Caffeine with ADORA2A and ADORA1 Polymorphisms and Habitual Level of Caffeine Consumption

Which, in the language of mere mortals who speak English, I think translates something close to:

Does caffeine make you more nervous and alert?

Their conclusions can be seen by clicking the link above - as long as you are prepared to read a Sheldon Cooperesque version.  A quick summary, in English, in the sequence reported (note: those in bold are simply WRONG):

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A new friend in Health: Can we attain health?

I made a new friend today, someone who understand much about illness and health, but, like many of my friends who understand much - (s)he does not go far enough.  Like many (s)he believes we can, with the right actions 'attain health'.  This is a shortsighted conclusion.

We agree on many things:

 - 'health care' is actually disease care.  CHECK

 - it treats symptoms, not causes. CHECK

 - your body is incredibly resilient. CHECK.

 - health is not the absence of disease.  CHECK.  It is also not the opposite of disease.

but, like many people who almost understand, (s)he concludes with: 

 - x is the problem.  x is the first and most obvious sign of a body in trouble.

This simplification of health is a cause of many errors.  It results from the fact that we commonly simplify disease in order to treat disease.