Open Thread Friday 7-10-2020
This has been an interesting 8 months since I offered to fill in temporarily as the contributor of the Friday Open Thread. Thought health was a safe noncontroversial subject.
It was the week before Thanksgiving, six weeks before China notified WHO they had a problem and 2 months before USA first patient with a confirmed COVID diagnosis when composed the following.
A few core opinions I have developed over time
1) The body is designed to stay healthy and heal itself from injuries, infections, toxins and chronic illnesses.
2) Be responsible for maintaining and improving your own health or listen to the designated person in your family (often wife or mother). Which includes finding a new health practitioner occasionally. Respect and trust between you and the one providing healthcare treatment can be as important as the treatment.
3) Learn to listen to your body and learn to see the small changes and physical clues in others and yourself. It is easier to do a minor course adjustment before there is a major problem. Insulin resistance discussed in several diaries recently is a good example. This link for some additional signs of insulin resistance.
4) Everyone is a unique individual and there is not one answer or one problem universal to us all. I think in addition to profit our bouncing from one extreme medical idea for another is not believing there can be more than one truth at the same time. A person can be made sick with a high carb diet and a low carb diet - it depends on the person, their time of life and other environmental factors.
5) It is an important to know when to reduce or stop treatment as it is to start. Overtreatment is a significant risks to health, including medications and exercise.
Sport medicine is a profitable business segment.
6) I consider the foundations to effect health are food, physical activity, mental activity and air.
7) The physical body will die after it is born and does not always function perfectly. It is what we do within the beginning and end that is important. Working with people who knew they were dying and still enjoying life brought a level of peace and acceptance to mine I can't explain easily.
8) Most people will ignore advice if it requires them to make personal lifestyle changes, environmental changes or learn and apply a new skill. It is easier to pop a pill, inhale a substance, have a surgery, or live with degrading health. (Inhale a substance - I was thinking of asthma inhalers)
9) Modern medicine theories for treatment and health are based on our understanding chemistry and biology. We have barely began to apply any understanding of physics, mostly within the scope of how it effects chemistry and biology. Yet most of us instinctively know a good joke or music makes us feel better.
10) Technology is not always the best answer.
Importance of a healthy immune system is once again of predominate importance in maintaining health. Understanding and practicing basic principles of infection control has become a necessary daily habit.
Western medicine is supposed to be based on scientific principles and not propaganda. Early in my career doubts started to appear. The first serious hit was 1986 article (sorry unable to find the reference) in The Wall Street Journal regarding a denial to allow the reasearcher to publish information from a research project on levothyroxine which did not support the marketing and advertising by the patent holder. Since then we have seen multiple instances where research not supporting industry viewpoints have been withheld from public view. Glyphosate and climate change are just a couple of examples.
The problems with medical research not being reliable has been a growing problem for those of us supplying medical advice to other practitioners and patients for a several decades. It has become more visible to the general public during this Covid crisis as explained by Malcolm Kendrick MD, a General Practitioner in Britain's National Health Service and author of Doctoring Data – How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense.
For example, here is Dr Marcia Angell, who edited the New England Journal of Medicine for over 20 years, writing in 2009:
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as editor.”
Have things got better? No, I believe they’ve got worse – if that were, indeed, possible. I was recently sent the following email about a closed-door, no-recording-allowed discussion, held in May of this year under no-disclosure Chatham House rules:
“A secretly recorded meeting between the editors-in-chief of The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine reveal both men bemoaning the ‘criminal’ influence big pharma has on scientific research. According to Philippe Douste-Blazy, France’s former health minister and 2017 candidate for WHO director, the leaked 2020 Chatham House closed-door discussion was between the [editor-in-chiefs], whose publications both retracted papers favorable to big pharma over fraudulent data.
The email continued with a quote from that recording: ‘Now we are not going to be able to … publish any more clinical research data because the pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful today, and are able to use such methodologies, as to have us accept papers which are apparently methodologically perfect, but which, in reality, manage to conclude what they want them to conclude,’ said The Lancet’s editor-in-chief, Richard Horton.”
Open discussion is an important process for us to wade through the various discrepancy of information being provided to us by various government agencies, universities, non-government agencies and commercial enterprises. Discussion can be a bit like democracy, messy and confrontational but better than other systems.
I have pushed this concept and going to one last time. Gentle exercise and breathing techniques can be used by nearly everyone to improve or maintain physical and health. Physical movement effects more than simply muscles. Simply walking is of great benefit.
In Dr John Dudgeon's 1885 writings on Kung Fu or Chinese Medical Gymnastics he compares the qigong discipline to the Greek teachings of Gymnasia.
Hence the discipline of gymnasia, where the science of movement, as it were, was taught, and which were always dedicated to Apollo, the god of physicians. The Greeks owed much of their mental greatness to the exercises. They formed one of the three great parts into which all education was divided and this branch was the more important in that it did not cease at a certain period but was continued through life.
I keep recommending qigong practices because it a type of moving meditation, can take little space if need to be performed inside, no high cost equipment and several examples on youtube. Exercise disciplines from other cultures are also of value.
General discussion how different approaches to Tai Chi for relaxation, health practices and martial arts. (11 min)
Example of the full 24 form sequence of Tai Chi reminds me of dance. (6:30 min)
Not big on product recommendations but this arthritis program is good. Is available on DVD or as a book. The concept or arthritis prevention and healing is done by improving the health of internal organs not simply focusing on the joints. The routines can be used to encourage improved general health.
Another teacher I have used is Ken Cohen who has several videos available on youtube.
My local classes have generally not had knowledgeable teachers, your may have better choices.
I have another long day today out of the house and will not be able to check in until this evening.
Open thread all discussions are welcome.