Rational Medicine


Nov 28
Road Sign: Do No Harm

Editor’s note: Medicine dislikes the term “alternative medicine” because to the medicos, there is no alternative. To appease them, new terms were created: Complementary Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).

It is this author’s opinion that terms are meaningless; that we need to redefine medicine itself. We will do this by calling for Rational Medicine.

The first and foremost rule of Rational Medicine is: Give the patient the medicine the patient needs NOW.

If a person is about to have a heart attack, give him nitroglycerine, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, whatever it takes.

If a person has had a heart attack, this is the time for heroic measures: give them proper trauma care, a shot of magnesium, blood thinners, anti-coagulants, vasodilators. Give the patient the medicine they need now.

Someone once told me: “You don’t call in an herbalist to care for gunshot wound.”

I’ve since found out that this statement isn’t entirely correct. Sure, the wounded person requires prompt trauma care, this is obvious; but a bit of cayenne tincture will help stop the internal bleeding. This is what would be considered First Aid; and is related to the first rule of Rational Medicine.

The simple rule is: Give the person the medicine they need now.

The first rule of medicine is (attributed to Hippocrates, but actually showed up first in mid 19th century writings): Do No Harm.

Saving a life and doing no harm is a delicate balancing act.

After the patient has received exactly what they needed, now, we must continue our care without doing any further harm.

Anticoagulants, blood thinners, vasodilators, all those things the patient needed to save his life and stabilize his condition were perfect, then. If continued indefinitely, they will begin to do harm, diminish the patient’s quality of life, and in the long run, lead to an early demise.

A business major would graph this in a “Cost/Benefit Analysis.” As time progresses on drug therapies, the benefits begin to diminish as the costs—the side effects—increase.

Aspirin might help us thin our blood and reduce inflammation, but as time goes on, your chances of having a hemorrhagic stroke increase (not to mention all the other detrimental side effects of aspirin). Should you need surgery and are told to go off the aspirin prior to surgery, your chances of a heart attack skyrocket. Continued Aspirin therapy also raises your blood pressure.

Hence, there is no room in Rational Medicine for an aspirin a day therapy. The second and simple rule is: Do no harm.

The third rule of Rational Medicine is something that most everyone accepts, but is ruled out by money driven medicine.

Rule #3: Absolute Health and Wellness are the result of what we eat, drink, breathe, think, and our physical activity. The human animal does not thrive long at a desk, in a cubicle. It needs to get out, stretch, walk, run, play, dance, and love.

Medicos give lip service to this seemingly simple, yet profound, concept. In an ancient newsletter we published, we began with medicine telling us we need proper nutrition, and then, in a follow-up article, we showed how they turn around and tell us that additional vitamins and minerals not only do not do anything good, they might just decrease our life spans.

Yeah, right.

The absolute truth is that our bodies demand proper nutrition, not drugs, to maintain health. Drugs are needed as a stopgap; to save a life that has gotten too sick to come back on its own.

Keeping a person on drugs indefinitely is quackery. Hypertension (high blood pressure) drugs do not cure high blood pressure. You have to stay on them the rest of your life, and the real problem with long term drug therapies, beyond the obvious side effects, is that there are nutritional costs to all drugs. [The Nutritional Cost of Prescription Cardiovascular Medications]

In other words, the drugs are pulling nutrition from your body, causing problems that medicine tells us require drugs to handle. Drugs are an endless cycle. If you get on them and stay on them, then you’ve established a rapidly diminishing spiral.

He who lives by medical prescriptions lives miserably.

Chinese Proverb

Statins stop the body from producing CoQ10 (which is needed for proper heart health); some hypertension meds pull B Vitamins from the body (and more); Cardiac glycosides (used to strengthen a weak heart) pull phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins from the body; all of which are needed for proper blood pressure and heart function. [Ref]

Cardiac glycosides are life saving when a person’s heart has gotten to the point where it just cannot function properly. But keeping a patient on cardiac glycosides is just asking for problems. Here is just a short list of side effects from long term use of this drug that leaches from us the nutrients listed above:

  • Osteoporosis and osteomalacia (abnormal softening of bone tissues)
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps and muscle weakness
  • Heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat
  • Tooth decay
  • Insomnia
  • Nervous disorders; anxiety
  • Depression, irritability, and memory loss
  • An increase in the frequency and severity of asthma attacks
  • Edema (swelling from accumulation of fluids)

Once a problem that had gone too far has been stabilized by drug therapy, Rational Medicine calls for nutritional therapies to wean the patient off the drugs and heal the problem entirely, if possible.

Drugs do not heal anything. Even antibiotics can only kill a bug, but the damage they (the drugs and the bugs) cause in their wake still requires healing. Once the bug is gone, we must bring back the good bacteria [probiotics] needed for proper health and wellness.

Tacitly built into Rational Medicine is the idea that quackery is deadly and immoral.

Most people, however, feel that quackery is giving the patient some untested snake oil; some unproven therapy.

However, quackery in modern medicine is rampant without ever mentioning unproven therapies.

Statin drugs are pure quackery. The assumption that cholesterol causes heart disease has never been proven. There is simply no “causal” relationship between cholesterol and heart disease. The connection between heart disease and cholesterol is tenuous at best, especially considering the great number of heart attacks in people who have so-called “healthy” cholesterol numbers. [The Cholesterol Myths]

By healthy, I mean the artificially imposed numbers created by the pharmaceutical industry hoping to make money from our ignorance.

It is the goal of the pharmaceutical industry to turn every person in into a patient. Pharmaceutical companies used to make only drugs. Today, they make up illnesses: hypercholestemia is a made up illness that did not exist prior to the invention of cholesterol lowering drugs.

Prescribing a long term regimen of three or more disparate drugs for one patient is quackery. [If that drug regimen has not been studied. We needed to add this caveat because of the three drug cocktail now being used with AIDS patients.]

Once a person is put on a regimen of three or more disparate medicines, all the double blind studies go right out the window. No one knows the overall effects these drugs (and interactions) will create in the patient.

Isn’t quackery defined by a physician prescribing a regimen of drugs without knowing what will happen?

Sadly, this form of quackery is rampant in the treatment of our elderly population.

I cannot possibly think of a situation demanding overmedicating anyone, but if someone with more knowledge on the subject than I, someone with the science demands that a person must have all these drugs to help stabilize their situation, then Rational Medicine says “Yes.”

But first we stabilize, and then we heal.

Rational Medicine requires that we get that person off this cocktail as soon as humanly possible and onto a nutritional regimen before we start chasing side effects with still more drugs causing more side effects.

Chasing side effects has no place in Rational Medicine.

Finally, we beg the question: where in Rational Medicine is there room for untested, untried, alternative therapies?

Money driven medicine will never test a non patentable substance. This is not a conspiracy theory, just a simple fact of business.

The last rule of Rational Medicine is: we must give equal and objective testing to all possible avenues to conquering disease. It is only rational.

Presently our taxes fund the National Cancer Institute, the FDA, and a lot of the Pharmacological Industry’s research. Many believe that none of these institutions are on the side of the patient, but you’ll hear arguments to support both sides of this issue.

What Rational Medicine proposes is that our tax dollars go to universities to test objectively non patentable therapies.

Keeping research at universities objective will be difficult, as many researchers there might wish to leave for the private sector one day, and resisting temptation seems to be impossible at times. Thus everyone should be aware of one huge drawback to Randomized Controlled Trials: conflicts of interest. [See: Studies Show]

It would be comforting to know that any study that is rigged to fail would be overturned by the university itself, and those rigging any study would be handed their walking papers. [See also: Study on Echinacea]

Science is science. It’s only aim should be to discover the truth. When we bend it to make a profit, it is no longer science; it is a sham.

Research from universities is owned by all of us. It is public information we have all paid for with our tax dollars. It is time to demand that our tax dollars go to helping the public good, not private profits.

Supporting our universities with research dollars benefits us all, from the employment of university staff to the grad students working on a study, to we the public reaping the benefits of the system. It’s a win/win situation.

There you have it. Rational medicine is based upon four solid principles:

  1. Give the patient the medicine the patient needs now.
  2. Do no harm.
  3. Once a patient’s condition is stable, initiate nutritional and mind/body therapies to heal the patient and achieve ultimate wellness and peace of mind.
  4. Demand, real, objective science with sufficient funding.
  5. Prevention, prevention, prevention.

The only problem with this system is getting people to follow through. Consistency is not a human trait.

Incentives can be created by offering patients and their families lowered insurance costs. Families will find their costs lowered the more they get involved in their own health, receiving preventive checkups and attending counseling sessions and informational classes.

In the long run, preventive medicine that furnishes a patient with access to nutritional counseling, massage therapy, yoga, tai chi, qigong, or meditation classes, psychological counseling, and proper information about diet and lifestyle is much cheaper than the Disease Care System we have now. We all know this.

A while back, Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas started one of the best programs of preventive medicine ever established in the US. His Healthy Arkansas Initiative has become a model program for the entire country. The program rewards healthy behaviors judged by the results; and the results were astonishing, while the savings to the state of Arkansas are dramatic.

Rational Medicine is simply good business. The cost/benefit analysis says it all.

Businesses that offer their employees gyms, running tracks, and swimming pools have known this for years. Many progressive businesses call in massage therapists to do fifteen minute sessions on their employees. Some companies have tai chi, yoga, or Pilates sessions prior to the work day and again available during the lunch break and at the end of the day. Progressive businesses fill their pop machines with fruit juices; they fill their junk food vending machines with fresh fruit.

Rational Medicine goes far beyond the doctor/patient relationship; it is a way of life. Talk to any dietician/nutritionist and they will tell you that the only way to end the ups and downs of dieting is to develop a way of life.

Rational Medicine is a way of life.