Here We Go Again: Science

Miscellaneous

Sep 11

I love a good meme. Especially the haughty ones that are just so full of crap.

We have discussed science at this site until our tongues froze up and your ears started to bleed, but once again I find myself in the position of educator, and I must insert the wisdom I’ve gained in my lifelong quest for the truth.

Let us take a quick look at the medical science of 200 years ago, 1822.

From our article, History of Medicine 1800-1850, there were just about 100 medicines available to “conventional physicians,” mostly herbal but always there was that inorganic compound, calomel or as we call it today, mercury, a favorite among the “regulars.” And the “regulars” of this period were mainly focused on making a living and monopolizing medicine.

Let us jump to 1847, the formation of the AMA, American Medical Association, which became medicine’s first lobbying agency, and would not be their last. We now have over 1,300 registered lobbyists for the pharmaceutical and health product industry, and almost just as many for medicine, medical insurance, and the like. Medicine is big money.

Science, eh?

The science of medicine 200 years ago up until 1948 was theory (bunk) unsupported by actual science or as we call it today, randomized controlled trials.

The oldest science in the world began in China, some 6000 years ago, and it was called the Tao. The Tao was simply, “the way” of all things. It was perceived by observation and contemplation. And what they discovered and learned about “chi” back then, took our modern medicine years to accept and discover. In the nineties our modern medicine discovered this chi, but we wanted to know how it works. And even the Traditional Medicine Practitioners do not know how it works, they just know that it works and how to work it. Hence: acupuncture.

Here on this continent, our powers of observation were colored with the need to make a living. In the mid 1800s regulars were still blistering, bleeding, and poisoning patients with mercury, but apparently never realized (through careful observation) that they were not helping anyone, even though the AMA’s prime objective (borrowing that from Star Trek) was to hunt out and close down “quacks.” [Ref]

The Germ Theory

There were two competing theories of disease: the Germ Theory vs the Terrain Theory. Looking around, you’ll see that modern medicine has adopted germ theory, while functional physicians accept both while practicing preventive medicine using nutrition and lifestyle, or treating the “terrain.”

The germ theory was easy, much easier than the terrain theory, to accept. You have a bug that creates disease so you go after that bug. It’s correlative is the “lipid hypothesis” of heart disease. Quite easily understood and thus just as easily accepted: fat is found in heart disease, thus fat is the cause of heart disease. Which it is not. But it has been accepted.

The Discovery of Antibiotics

This is something I convinced myself I’d written about previously, but did not. Your author suffers from amnesia caused by PTSD. This isn’t the first time I had thought I’d written something that I had researched, but then found out I had never actually put into an article. This is something I live with and have learned to laugh at rather than curse.

So, I shall do it now.

Joseph Lister

Joseph Lister is famous for his work with carbolic acid. Early in his career he was put into a position to find a cure for sepsis, known then as “hospital disease.” Long story short, he came upon Pasteur’s work with germs, and accepting the incorrect idea that germs were carried by air, he set out to created a barrier between the air and the wound, and thus found carbolic acid to do the trick.

And it was this early “science” that finally led to more successful operations in which more than 50% of patients survived without sepsis.

But that science still had its flaws. The microscope was essential in this research because germs could actually be seen. And I’ve enjoyed reading the stories of Lister’s career in which through Pasteur’s advice, operations were successful in that sepsis did not set in, but the patients died because of using way too much carbolic acid.

But here is where it gets interesting. In 1871,  Lister observed that urine samples contaminated with mold did not allow the growth of bacteria. Keyword: mold.

Just three years later, Sir William Roberts, a British physician, observed that bacterial contamination is generally absent in cultures of the mold Penicillium glaucum. There’s that “mold” again.

And three more years later, Louis Pasteur and Jules Francois Joubert, observed that cultures of the anthrax bacilli became inhibited when contaminated with molds.

 In 1895, Vincenzo Tiberio, an Italian physician, published a paper on the antibacterial power of some extracts of mold.

Now here is a paragraph that is found all over the web:

In 1897, doctoral student Ernest Duchesne submitted a dissertation, “Contribution à l’étude de la concurrence vitale chez les micro-organismes: antagonisme entre les moisissures et les microbes” (Contribution to the study of vital competition in micro-organisms: antagonism between molds and microbes),[120] the first known scholarly work to consider the therapeutic capabilities of molds resulting from their anti-microbial activity.

Ernest Duchesne

Duchesne proposed in his thesis, that bacteria and molds engage in a perpetual battle for survival, observing that E. coli was eliminated by Penicillium glaucum when they were both grown in the same culture. He further observed that when laboratory animals were inoculated with lethal doses of typhoid bacilli together with Penicillium glaucum, the animals did not contract typhoid.

Of course, further work was required. This is where “good” science comes into play. A study had to be created that would eliminate all possible variables, and as is said repeatedly in research: further research is needed. Having received his PhD, he pressed on, but his degree was from a military school, the Military Health Service School of Lyons, and those in charge quashed further studies, believing that Duchesne needed to get on with his military service.

Long story short, Duchesne married, served, his wife died of tuberculosis, and three years later he died of tuberculosis, an illness that is cured by antibiotics. He was buried next to his wife. Wikipedia tells us he was posthumously honored in 1949, “5 years after Alexander Fleming had received the Nobel Prize,” but it was really just an off-hand footnote in history.

Medicine is an “elite” science. Or so it seems. Actually, it’s an art and most aged physicians will tell you that. Below we have listed the articles we’ve written on this subject that constantly remind the reader that moving medicine forward is a slower than trudging though deep, thick mud. And once again, we will quote the illustrious Nobel laureate, Alexander Fleming, himself:

Penicillin sat on my shelf for 12 years while I was called a quack. I can only think of the thousands who died needlessly because my peers would not use my discovery.

 

Dr Alexander Fleming

Your author has suffered from (and enjoyed at times) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his military service in Vietnam. Recently, from recommendations of my psychologist, and friends, I’ve been qualified to receive medicinal marijuana therapy. I’ve just started it. The cost of my first month is $450.00. It is not covered by Medicare or the VA Health Care System. It is not covered because it is not approved by the FDA.

The FDA is a subject we focus sharply on in pages after pages posted at this site. Our Health Care for Dummies is just one of them, but we will repeat something that we cannot repeat or stress enough:

The thing that bugs me is that people think the FDA is protecting them. It isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it’s doing are as different as night and day.

 

Former FDA Commissioner Dr Herbert Ley

Longevity

Now we come to the subject in the meme posted at the top.

When it comes to longevity, medical science always takes the credit. The problem with this is found in the use and abuse of statistics.

People die later in life, and we’ve come to accept that this is a good thing. Sure, modern medicine is creating longer lives for the elderly and infirm, but is longer better? Doesn’t the “quality of life” ever factor in to our statistics?

And look at this. I just found it. This is outrageous. Criminal!

Chemical Restraints’ Deprive Older People of Liberty

Can we find statistics that people with cancer are living longer? Yes, we can. Some cancers have a better than 50/50 chance of survival, but for the most part, advances in cancer treatment come slowly, hindered by medicine itself which is a monopoly supporting the old favorites: slash, burn, and poison.

Your author cured his skin cancer. Take a look: How I Cured My Skin Cancer. I used something that is known about in some medical circles, but will never be tested because the monopoly is doing what all monopolies do: crushing the competition to maintain market share.

Heart disease is on the rise and medicine has launched a war on heart disease. But few recognize that heart disease and cancer are caused by our modern life styles filled with lousy nutrition and a lack of exercise.

I actually cracked up when I read this article: New Studies Suggest Ultra-Processed Foods Lead to Cancer.

Really. I read that headline and I cracked up. Why? We’ve know this for decades. If it’s new to you, you’ve not been paying attention!

We’ve watched the world embrace the “lipid hypothesis” telling us fats cause heart disease in the middle of a “lipid explosion” in which industrial oils have been altered, modified, and even perfumed and marked as “nutritional” oils, when nutritional they are not. Unprocessed cottonseed oil is an insecticide, and rapeseed oil is also toxic, but with a little chemical manipulation, we have Canola oil. Blech.

Heart disease wasn’t killing us at the rate it is today because people ate lard, meat, fish, and eggs. And yet lard took a hit by the industrial oil companies who advertised heavily. Hydrogenated soybean oil beat out coconut oil because some marketing expert told us “saturated fats” bad for us, and heart disease took off. In India. switching from coconut oil to hydrogenated soybean oil sparked heart disease to triple. [Ref]

Nutritional science isn’t new, but it is getting better . . . when money is taken out of the equation. The USDA of the latter part of the 19th century made recommendations. There were physicians who specialized in nutrition. I’ve been gifted with amazing books written by physicians who preached nutrition and lifestyle over intervention over 100 years ago.

So, let us get back to longevity and life span: Do you know what made one of the greatest leaps in longevity during that 200 year period of science the image at the top speaks of? Hygiene.

Prior to the civil war, diapers were never washed, and bathing was considered unhealthy. Yes, poopie diapers were hung out on a line, and had the “crap beat out of them.”

Within these pages we have always pointed out that the greatest leap in longevity here in America took place after the Civil War when we began washing our underwear, our dishes and tableware, and our bodies.

In 1900, infant mortality rates were high. Come World War I, soldiers died at a rate of 4% while babies died at a rate of 12%. It took a woman, Dr Sara Josephine Baker to right this. As the chief medical inspector for the New York Department of Health, she introduced nutrition, hygiene, and ventilation to the city, made sure doctors and nurses were on staff in schools to inspect for contagious diseases and to set up a health care system of prevention. In orphanages babies were dying way too quickly, and Dr Baker established the Foster Mother system, demanding babies be given more attention and cuddling.

When she retired in 1923, it is estimated she saved over 82,000 lives.

But in 1923, the Randomly Controlled Study, the gold standard of medical science, did not exist. Had to wait until 1948.

And if you wish to learn more about the follies and flaws in our system, then you’ll just have to peruse the many articles we’ve written (below).

Your author is a scientist (I’ve taught science and studied it), a journalist, and an educator. I admire science, am fascinated by discoveries, boggled by quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle, and saddened by the simple fact that we’ve dumbed down our population to the degree that opinion is everything and facts are few, and climate change is here and threatening to end civilization, but we’re too damn busy working against any concerted effort to change, to help, to survive.

I am definitely a critic of our schools system and the propaganda machine in this country that continually dumbs down Americans, but I am also a critic of science, especially the science that is bought and paid for, which is profitable without any thought to externalities or consequences.

P.S. Our longevity figures are dropping.

Further Reading

History of Medicine 1800-1850

The History Of Quackery

Studies Show

Is Modern Medicine Science (with a capital “S”)?

There is Only Science — Skepticism is not Science

Science for Non-Scientists

Health Care for Dummies

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