Junkfood Science: <i>From the recommended reading file:</i> Being well or being sold an alternative concept of well-being?

February 20, 2007

From the recommended reading file: Being well or being sold an alternative concept of well-being?

Dr. Nortin Hadler, M.D., professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and attending rheumatologist at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, has written a thought-provoking piece explaining the normal state of the human condition, with its regular aches and pains, rashes, colds and bothersome fatigue, insomnia and bowel irregularities that come and go. Ill-health, on the other hand are not these ordinary predicaments of life, they are extraordinary. He goes on to explain the theories and beliefs behind many modalities being sold to us in the name of health, even though they have failed to survive scientific scrutiny. For ABC News, he writes:

Examining Alternative Medicine

To be well is not the same as to feel well....Most symptoms are not so extraordinary....Most of us, most of the time, cope on our own...we are bombarded by advice and advised ceaselessly to avail ourselves of all kinds of unctions and potions and widgets....All this "help" is a cultural phenomenon fostered by legions of purveyors, a cultural phenomenon with roots in antiquity and with inventiveness across time and cultures that boggles the mind.

It's a waste of money to participate....For most of us, most of the time, our symptoms improve no matter what we do....Are many of us destined to seek out someone who offers to fix, heal or cure the "last straw" and ignore all else that is making it so hard for us to cope?

We all need to get beyond the traditional complaint of "what's wrong with me, Doc, that I have this symptom?" and move on to more rational discourse, such as "is there any important disease that is causing my symptom? If so, can it be treated? If not, can we discern why I can't cope with this episode?"

For nearly all the predicaments of life we're discussing, a medical doctor can determine quickly if a terrible disease is lurking, often just by taking a history and doing a physical examination, and occasionally some simple testing....Don't let doubts trip you up; if the doctor's approach was thoughtful and still came up empty-handed, get on with life and coping.

And don't leap to swallow "symptomatic treatment."....

Click on link above for full article.

Bookmark and Share