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#1 Old 07-19-2009, 09:57 AM
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or both?



what paths do you choose to follow for your personal care?



what are some differences among conv. and alt. medicine?



positives and negatives?



are there any reasons why both should be utilized to get the most effective care?
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#2 Old 07-19-2009, 10:14 AM
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what are you including in 'alternative'?



i don't really like bunching the whole lot in together, cos some of the stuff out there is really whacky, faith based, dangerous, or just plain bizzare, but where i'm from (the UK) some different treatments have been deemed 'complementary' and are used, prescribed, or offered alongside and sometimes even instead of western medication and surgery by NHS doctors. which i think is just fab, if and when it has real theraputic value.



for example, a lot of doctors where i'm from don't dive in and prescribe pills right away when people come in with tension headaches and depression, they often send them off with a prescription to do yoga, go to the gym, or get themselves some aromatherapy massages. they use these things and others to help minimise side effects from chemo, to help deal with life changes, etc.



this sort of approach makes a lot of sense to me- people should use it if it works. i'd not pick either or, as many approaches and treatments from right across the spectrum have something to offer, and negative aspects- be it chemical, practical, or psychological.
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#3 Old 07-19-2009, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by hoodedclawjen View Post

what are you including in 'alternative'?



'complementary' and are used, prescribed, or offered alongside and sometimes even instead of western medication and surgery by NHS doctors. which i think is just fab, if and when it has real theraputic value.



for example, a lot of doctors where i'm from don't dive in and prescribe pills right away when people come in with tension headaches and depression, they often send them off with a prescription to do yoga, go to the gym, or get themselves some aromatherapy massages. they use these things and others to help minimise side effects from chemo, to help deal with life changes, etc.







great example of how both can be utilized to get the best care.



alternative medicine can include yoga, massage therapy and other forms of bodywork like acupuncture and chiropractics as well as work with herbs, energy, and spirit, homeopathy, ayurveda, trad. Chinese medicine...
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#4 Old 07-19-2009, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by luvourmother View Post

great example of how both can be utilized to get the best care.



alternative medicine can include yoga, massage therapy and other forms of bodywork like acupuncture and chiropractics as well as work with herbs, energy, and spirit, homeopathy, ayurveda, trad. Chinese medicine...



The problem is, each one of those things you've mentioned can or is contraversial in their own right. Again, I think lumping them all together can cause more problems than addressing them individually.
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#5 Old 07-19-2009, 01:54 PM
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great info!:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...h/history.html





integrative, complimentary and alternative: http://nccam.nih.gov/



http://www.amfoundation.org/



these organizations also "lump" together alternative methods...
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#6 Old 07-19-2009, 01:59 PM
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You can't really compare treatments like Yoga and massage therapy which have direct tangible results based on accepted science with homeopathy which appears to have more of a placebo type of effect. Faith healing falls into this lumping together which we all know is filled with frauds.



What I have a problem with is if someone equates fraudlent 'psychic surgery' with accupuncture then the casual observer can surmise that all non Western medicine is as fraudlent as psychic surgery.
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#7 Old 07-19-2009, 02:10 PM
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Even within a single category, there can be disagreement. Take homeopathy - Zicam was just taken off the market due to adverse effects as a homeopathic remedy. From an article:



Quote:
The FDA said Zicam Cold Remedy was never formally approved because it is part of a small group of remedies that are not required to undergo federal review before launching. Known as homeopathic products, the formulations often contain herbs, minerals and flowers.



So that's the industry claiming an effect. I would be doubtful that the medical industry would admit that [edit:] moonlight-activated dilutions have an effect (beyond a possible placebo).
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#8 Old 07-19-2009, 02:14 PM
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I don't have a particular problem with the placebo effect either - if it works for you it doesn't matter if it's a placebo.



And I might not always believe in something that other people find helps them - reflexology for example.



But I do struggle with the idea that some cynical charlatans are taking money from vulnerable people in areas that they know are bunkum but are selling anyway.



Where is that line drawn? I don't know.
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#9 Old 07-19-2009, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by dwnielsen View Post

Even within a single category, there can be disagreement. Take homeopathy - Zicam was just taken off the market due to adverse effects as a homeopathic remedy. From an article:







So that's the industry claiming an effect. I would be doubtful that the medical industry would admit that [edit:] moonlight-activated dilutions have an effect (beyond a possible placebo).



The "industry" was not claiming that any of the homeopathic ingredients were having an effect. That would be ridiculous as homeopathy is ridiculous. Authorities were however claiming that a non-homeopathic ingredient - zinc - was having a negative effect. The zinc dose in Zicam was about 10 times the RDA whereas a homeopathic dose of zinc would be about 1 part per 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000ish.
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#10 Old 07-19-2009, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by luvourmother View Post

integrative, complimentary and alternative: http://nccam.nih.gov/



$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found - that is the NCCAM. They want to find CAM that works, but they can't because it doesn't work (The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea.)



There is also Edzard Ernst who is the first professor of CAM in the UK. He has published a bunch of books and textbooks on CAM. He has published about 1000 papers in scientific journals. No one wishes that CAM was effective more than him. However, he says about 5% of alternative medicine has any evidence to back it up.
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#11 Old 07-19-2009, 11:45 PM
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The "industry" was not claiming that any of the homeopathic ingredients were having an effect. That would be ridiculous as homeopathy is ridiculous. Authorities were however claiming that a non-homeopathic ingredient - zinc - was having a negative effect. The zinc dose in Zicam was about 10 times the RDA whereas a homeopathic dose of zinc would be about 1 part per 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000ish.



Ah, I see; so in that case it was not really using an alternative treatment and certainly not a homeopathic one. Sorry for misrepresenting that. BTW, I was using the word "industry" in the neutral sense that there is a medical industry supporting its brand of research and convention in the US - which is generally scientific, but it may be easily argued is also driven by less-idealistic interests. Also, "admit" was used in the sense that a model is either admitted or dismissed from working theory.
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#12 Old 07-20-2009, 02:30 PM
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I find the allopathic medical system severely lacking, with it's emphasis on treating symptoms of disease rather than preventing disease.



I am in favor of holistic medicine, where the emphasis is on keeping the body and mind in balance with a variety of practices, which ever ones happen to work for the individual in question. This includes things like massage, accupunture, yoga, meditation, nutritional counseling, energy medicine (things like reiki, etc) and again, anything else that happens to work for the individual.



I think people need to be educated on the options available to them, and I plan on working in the holistic health care field, doing a variety of life coaching, counseling, energy medicine, hypnosis etc.



I am glad to see the shift in our current medical system towards a more holistic and prevention based approach, but it still strikes me as too little, too late.

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#13 Old 07-20-2009, 07:27 PM
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I dont care what people choose to pay for. However, here in Canada where we have taxpayer funded health care I will fight tooth and nail against ever having the Canadian or Provincial governments subsidize a bunch of nonsense with no backing evidence. And no, there should be no attempts to integrate CAM into conventional medicine. That would be no different than designing aircraft by integrating those who believe that things fly by witchcraft or transcendental meditation with aeronautical engineers. Things are integrated into conventional medicine when it is shown to work by the scientific method and double-blinded studies. It is not good enough to really, really wish and believe that it works.



Sure things like meditation, yoga and energy medicine (I put both words in quotation marks because it is not medicine and no one should be allowed to pass grade 9 science without knowing that its definition of energy is complete utter nonsense) may help certain people relax and that is beneficial for the persons long term health. That is great and I encourage those who are interested in such things to pursue it. However it is no more medicine then a blow job is, or a day on the golf course for those who find that relaxing, an afternoon in the garden for my grandmother, or for a friend of mine who enjoys going out in the bush once or twice a year and blowing a bunch of animals off the face of the planet. Just because one form of relaxation and mild exercise is dressed up in a bunch of superstitious new-age religion nonsense with the practitioners telling their customers that it is medicine and then often claiming nonsense about the physiology of the human body doesnt make it any better for people then the myriad of other activities one can do. Nor should doctors encourage or discourage their patients to pursue those activities (unless they are dangerous). They should and do encourage their patients to exercise, eat well and relax. But how the patient chooses to do so is up to them.



Now of course I know many will say that they or someone they know swears by such and such. So what. Bloodletting was done for a couple thousand years by many different cultures from all over the globe (Europe, Central America, Africa, the Middle East, China, India). It continued to be done by barbershop surgeons after evidence based medicine showed that there was no benefit for the overwhelming majority of patients and could be harmful. Why? Because practitioners, patients and their families all knew that it worked worked well - and worked for just about everything. It was a great placebo and it was widely used as preventative medicine with people being bled several times a year to keep them in good health. Bloodletting left patients in a state of euphoria. Plus people could see it working. If the patient came in with flushed skin and fever, bloodletting would leave them pale and their skin temperature cooler. However, it didnt work any better than any other placebo. The patients got better in spite of the bloodletting, not because of it. And, of course, some patients died because of it, some of whom would have recovered on their own. I would no more use any other type of unscientific medicine than I would bloodletting.



Like most people in health care I would love it if CAM worked. Hell at one point in time I wanted to become a doctor who would work towards integrating the two. It must work why else would so many believe it works? Plus it appears (or at least claims to be) more in line with my values systems and there is lots that is rotten about conventional medicine. But the more I sought the less impressed I was with CAM, in fact I was downright disgusted. It simply doesnt work in almost every case where it has been tested by legitimate methods. Promoting it is the equivalent of promoting medieval medicine as far as I am concerned. Furthermore it is the responsibility of those who are making medical claims to show that their claims are backed by evidence. Because CAM does not do so - and often discourages against methods of acquiring such evidence - that makes their proponents unethical. A friend of mine who was in excellent health died suddenly in her late 20s from what an autopsy determined was due to an herbal weight loss product. The product may not be harmful, but it might be a 1000 times more dangerous than Vioxx. We have absolutely no idea because unlike pharmaceuticals those in the alternative medicine fields dont keep track of such inconveniences and instead of such a product needing to show that it is safe before being marketed the opposite is the case where the authorities must show that it is unsafe. Imagine if the pharmaceutical industry was given such leeway. Dont count on things changing, at least in Canada, any time soon. Not long ago the Federal government attempted to update their many decades old regulations by placing the same regulations on the (basically regulation free) supplements, herbs and alternative medicines industries as there is on the food industry. Finally move them into the 19th century. Things like having them ensure that the products are being produced in a clean facility (the horror). The uproar and lies from the CAM industries was incredible, despite many naturopaths, in interviews, saying that these regulations were necessary so they could at least have minimal confidence in the products they were giving their patients. No such luck.



At the same time I went into my local natural food etc store and was given a hysterical petition to sign (I didnt) saying that the CAM industry should basically be allowed to continue to defraud their customers. Placed front and center in that natural food store were books by Kevin Trudeau the worlds greatest fraud artist over the last 20 years. After years of defrauding customers in various fields and being barred from ever running another infomercial selling products, Trudeau hit paydirt alternative medicine! Where you can scam and defraud as much as want with virtual impunity. A field with any ethics or concern for their customers such as CAM pretends to be would have been warning their customers to stay away from this sociopath, but that of course didnt happen, they embraced him. Same goes for the orthomolecular medicine psychopaths who have been going around Africa telling AIDS patients to throw away their poisonous medications and replace them high-doses of vitamins which they just so happened to sell for a steep price. When Ben Goldacre blew the whistle on this and was then sued for libel (which he won) the thing he found most interesting was not a single CAM practitioner many who continue to strongly support orthomolecular medicine either came to his defence or condemned the practices going on in Africa. Same goes for Andrew Wakefield. When he originally made his claims of a link between MMR and autism the accusations were taken very seriously by conventional medicine. When it was shown soon after that Wakefield had failed to disclose financial interests - patents he held which would have made him rich from a scare like the very one he started he was, rightly, treated severely. That is except for CAM who continues to rally around him even after he was also exposed at having fraudulently made up and manipulated all of his evidence.



The reason for that is simple. Conventional medicine follows the evidence to a provision position. CAM starts out with an absolute answer so everything else such as evidence is irrelevant. The fact is that CAM has shown itself completely unwilling to police itself for the benefit of their customers and strongly opposes regulations. If a naturopath, or a chiropractor, or a TCM is unwilling to say that homeopathy is impossible or accept the results of the many alternative medicines that have been shown to have no effect then how can they be trusted and whose interests are they concerned with? Not those of the customer.
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#14 Old 07-20-2009, 07:33 PM
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I am not done yet. The same goes for the bogus alternative medicine cancer cures. A couple years ago I was at a wedding where I overheard a friend of mine talking to a woman who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. My friend told her that 4 years prior she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and cured it with alternative medicine. Sounds great, only it is completely untrue and is the exact same as almost every cured by alternative medicine cancer story I know of. My friends breast cancer was caught early. It was treated by a lumpectomy. The doctor said that there was now no identifiable cancer in body and her chances of relapse were very low but she could and should lower those chances further by adjuvant radiation and possibly even adjuvant chemotherapy. She opted for radiation which is not pleasant and after that she had a round or two of chemo which was extremely unpleasant so she stopped. But there was no identifiable cancer and her chances of recurrence were estimated to be about 1 or 2%. Possibly out of guilt for not finishing her treatment, she went to an alternative practitioner who put her on an alternative cancer treatment. Even if such a treatment worked there would be no way to know because 1) she had already been treated for cancer 2) it was still too early to know if her cancer would or had returned.



An elderly relative of mine was pissed at the doctors she had seen. They told her that there was nothing that could be done for the rare painful hand condition she has. One had spent a good deal of time going through medical research and making phone calls to specialists inquiring about if there was any trials, or experimental treatments she could try. There wasnt. However, my elderly relative loved her chiropractor who told her that her condition was something else (it wasnt) and the condition could be improved by regular chiropractic adjustments (Why? How?) and seeing a naturopath he recommended. The naturopath confirmed the diagnosis of the chiropractor (both wrong) and put her on a fairly expensive treatment plan. Within a couple days my elderly relative thought a miracle had happened. Her hands were better (possibly it actually worked, possibly a placebo, or possibly simply the fact that the condition naturally waned from time to time) but within a couple days her hands were once again the normal painful condition. After a couple months her naturopath changed her treatment plan which also didnt work and then a couple months later (just 10 days ago) my elderly relative asked me to accompany her to the naturopath appointment. Perhaps she was suspecting that she was being taken advantage of, on the other hand she does try to play matchmaker with me. I agreed, studied up on the proposed medical condition using the paper printout that was given to my relative and then sat there looking dumb (something I find easy) while the naturopath, with the same several page rundown of the condition printed in front of her, explained that they were making progress, but some things were going to be changed up to better suit her and her condition (I am a little foggy on some of this because I was imagining myself running down the beach, huge smile, arms stretched in the air Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream with the attractive naturopath still a couple hundred feet away bounding towards me with her arms outstretched towards me Whenever I want you, all I have to do is drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream., but then I snapped out of it.) I reached over grabbed the stapled papers and turned them face over in front of me.



What is the name of the condition you say she has? The naturopath got the right (incorrect) answer.



This condition causes 6 common symptoms, what are they? Her hand condition.



Well that is obvious...What are the others? 3 answers were given (2 wrong, the other correct if you accept very broad answers. The 6 symptoms all make sense if you understand the pathophysiology behind the condition).



What does it do to the body? What is its pathophysiology? Silence. This continued for a few minutes. How did you come to the diagnosis of this condition? What other conditions did you consider and rule out? The first medication that you gave my relative, how does it work on the body? It is unknown? Did you tell her that? How does the second medication that you gave her work? Etc. I can safely say that my relative will never go near another naturopath again. She was used as a guinea pig but not even being used as a guinea pig for an experimental treatment based on facts, or biochemistry, or pharmacokinetics, but just blind hope. Yes, of course it is possible that something she gave could have ended up working, but even if that was the case that still would not have made it right. She had not consented to be part of an experiment or a trial. There was no control group. There was no careful monitoring of effects and side effects. Not only did my relative lose money a lot of money for a retired person, but also dignity. I wont disclose whether the naturopath and I are now an item.



I have no doubt that this woman meant well. I have no doubt that she believes 100% in what she is doing. But believing in something is not enough. It is what Stephen Colbert would refer to as truthiness and from the gut. In fact, things for which you have a predilection to believe are the very things that you should be most sceptical of. That is why real evidence is of critical importance. If you want to treat patients for medical conditions then you at a minimum should have the decency to ensure that what you are using for treatment actually has evidence to support your management. Convictions should be based on evidence, not belief. I have strong doubts that my relative was told that she was being treated based on a system of belief and a faith that this type of healing must work, or at least do no harm.



Finally claims that conventional medicine has only emphasized treating symptoms and not preventing disease is pure poppycock. Public Health has done a zillion times more for preventing disease with vaccinations (that save millions each year), infectious disease monitoring, the study of essential nutrients (leading to enriching foods etc), cleaning drinking water and ensuring that citizens get enough flouride (as tooth decay and the bacterial infections it leads is one of the most common diseases) among many others and that is just Public Health. CAM on the other hand often has opposed a couple of those initiatives and in some cases denies germ theory.
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#15 Old 07-21-2009, 06:12 AM
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What Vegmedic said. And since he's clearly much better informed than I am, I have nothing to add except to post the funnehs:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0



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#16 Old 07-21-2009, 09:03 AM
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$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found - that is the NCCAM. They want to find CAM that works, but they can't because it doesn't work (The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea.)



.



this article is mis-leading, the title indicates that the money was wasted on researching alternative methods because no "cures" were found...they weren't even researching "cures", just the effectiveness of specific alternative therapies, which they found:

"As for therapies, acupuncture has been shown to help certain conditions, and yoga, massage, meditation and other relaxation methods may relieve symptoms like pain, anxiety and fatigue."

as well as ginger for nausea (but we all already new that works right?!?)



alternative therapies are under-researched, this article is great evidence of why more money should be used to research the effectiveness of these therapies. pharm. co's do most of the research for conventional treatments, which is alarming due to the fact that these companies main goals are to make $ and convince doctors to sell more drugs...kinda reminds me of how the US dairy counsel and USDA fund the majority of nutrition studies and usually come to the conclusion to eat more dairy and meat.
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#17 Old 07-21-2009, 09:08 AM
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I think people need to be educated on the options available to them, and I plan on working in the holistic health care field, doing a variety of life coaching, counseling, energy medicine, hypnosis etc.





very much agree about educating people about options available. so many patients accept everything that doctor's tell them without question (don't know why?) instead of taking their health into their own hands.
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#18 Old 07-21-2009, 09:16 AM
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very much agree about educating people about options available. so many patients accept everything that doctor's tell them without question (don't know why?) instead of taking their health into their own hands.



People taking medicine into their own hands are idiots.



Doctors spend years in universities learning about medicine and then years on the floor learning even more about medicine in real life situations. How can you even attempt to say you know as much or more than them?



And this goes double for alternative medicine practioners. There are certification programmes for the more mainstream alternative practices. Someone seeking their advice need to see proof of training, knowledge and experience before listening to their advice. And again, would you argue with someone who has 15 years of Herbal knowledge under their belt if you've only read a book on it?



Think of it this way: If you had a serious plumbing problem in your house and couldn't fix it yourself, would you 1) Hire a certified professional plumber who has references and years of experience in your plumbing issues or 2) some guy who's read a bit about plumbing on the internet and is really interested in it or 3) Not bothering with either and just roll up your sleeves and try to fix the plumbing problem yourself even though you know that if you screw it up you'd most likely ruin your house?
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#19 Old 07-21-2009, 09:32 AM
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the stories about the person you overheard at a wedding and your elderly relative are interesting, thanks for sharing. so you say that your relatives regular doctors could not help her at all, whereas while she was seeing the naturopath she had some relief, quite possible the alternative therapy caught something the doctors were ignoring or are not equipped to help with.





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Finally claims that conventional medicine has only emphasized treating symptoms and not preventing disease is pure poppycock.



2 examples of many:



how much education do conventional doctors get on nutrition? not much...

eating healthy is one of the top ways to prevent disease, it doesn't make much sense when doctors recommend dairy for weightloss and as a part of a healthy diet.

do most doctors prescribe or recommend probiotics after taking a course of antibiotics? nope. i asked a doctor about probiotics, he had no clue what i was talking about.
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#20 Old 07-21-2009, 09:53 AM
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People taking medicine into their own hands are idiots.



Doctors spend years in universities learning about medicine and then years on the floor learning even more about medicine in real life situations. How can you even attempt to say you know as much or more than them?



And this goes double for alternative medicine practioners. There are certification programmes for the more mainstream alternative practices. Someone seeking their advice need to see proof of training, knowledge and experience before listening to their advice. And again, would you argue with someone who has 15 years of Herbal knowledge under their belt if you've only read a book on it?



Think of it this way: If you had a serious plumbing problem in your house and couldn't fix it yourself, would you 1) Hire a certified professional plumber who has references and years of experience in your plumbing issues or 2) some guy who's read a bit about plumbing on the internet and is really interested in it or 3) Not bothering with either and just roll up your sleeves and try to fix the plumbing problem yourself even though you know that if you screw it up you'd most likely ruin your house?



anyone who does what a doctor says without question is an idiot!



we are responsible for our own health, it is ridiculous to place that responsibility on someone else simply because they have a degree.

as vegetarians and vegans this is quite evident when we discuss our diet choices with conventional doctors, how many threads on vb, stories from veg friends, and personal experiences are accounted of doctors recommending eating meat and dairy instead of being veg because the dr was ill-educated about vegetarianism...many (a dr. told me to eat dairy so i wouldnt be lactose intolerant anymore, how stupid is that? no thanks!)



health and medicine are not the same. doctors practice medicine, not health.

i also did not say i knew more than a person with a medical degree, simply to question the degree and what it incorporates.

questioning is not arguing, it is an important aspect of being an educated person, and we should all strive to be educated in our own health.



as for your plumbing analogy, if the professional came in and said you have such and such problem, and i knew from knowing my house that the problem involved something else i would for sure question him on it and explain myself, he doesn't know my house (body) as well as i do...i live in it every day! if i just let him fix whatever without question or at least conference i would be an idiot with a plumbing problem.
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#21 Old 07-21-2009, 10:02 AM
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anyone who does what a doctor says without question is an idiot!



we are responsible for our own health, it is ridiculous to place that responsibility on someone else simply because they have a degree.

as vegetarians and vegans this is quite evident when we discuss our diet choices with conventional doctors, how many threads on vb, stories from veg friends, and personal experiences are accounted of doctors recommending eating meat and dairy instead of being veg because the dr was ill-educated about vegetarianism...many (a dr. told me to eat dairy so i wouldnt be lactose intolerant anymore, how stupid is that? no thanks!)



health and medicine are not the same. doctors practice medicine, not health.

i also did not say i knew more than a person with a medical degree, simply to question the degree and what it incorporates.

questioning is not arguing, it is an important aspect of being an educated person, and we should all strive to be educated in our own health.



as for your plumbing analogy, if the professional came in and said you have such and such problem, and i knew from knowing my house that the problem involved something else i would for sure question him on it and explain myself, he doesn't know my house (body) as well as i do...i live in it every day! if i just let him fix whatever without question or at least conference i would be an idiot with a plumbing problem.



If you diagnose yourself, you are saying you know more than a practising medical professional. In fact, you are practicing medicine without a license, which is a crime.



If you dismiss the diagnosis of a medical professional then you are, again, saying you know more than a practising medical professional. What are your qualifications for questioning this? Did you go to medical school? Have you spent years in medical training? Did you spend more years actually successully treating patients? No? Instead you are basing this dissmissal of medical advice based on wishful thinking and perhaps reading a book or a few internet articles on a subject. Thats insane.
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#22 Old 07-21-2009, 10:21 AM
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If you diagnose yourself, you are saying you know more than a practising medical professional. In fact, you are practicing medicine without a license, which is a crime.



If you dismiss the diagnosis of a medical professional then you are, again, saying you know more than a practising medical professional. What are your qualifications for questioning this? Did you go to medical school? Have you spent years in medical training? Did you spend more years actually successully treating patients? No? Instead you are basing this dissmissal of medical advice based on wishful thinking and perhaps reading a book or a few internet articles on a subject. Thats insane.



who said anything about diagnosing? i sure didn't.

i also didn't say to ignore or dismiss medical advice, simply to question advice and the sources of that advice.

why is it wrong to question a medical professional?

don't we have enough news stories and history to prove that doctors mess up and are often wrong?

ever hear of someone making a mistake? fyi it happens everyday, even in hospitals and clinics where people went to medical school, have extensive training and experience.

do you recommend getting a second opinion? isn't getting a second opinion a form of questioning a doctor's advice or diagnoses?

if a dr informed you had cancer and to start chemo tomorrow, would you get another opinion, would you read some books about cancer and chemo and other treatments and explore your options, or would you make the chemo appt asap and not read any books or research other treatments?
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#23 Old 07-21-2009, 10:36 AM
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There's absolutely nothing wrong with questioning a doctor, for sure, as well educated as they are, they can't always be right and it can't hurt to be somewhat educated and aware of your own health. The trouble is, the mistake some people make because they have a bad experience with one doctor, is to turn away from traditional medicine and pay a lot of money to people who are expensive, largely unregulated, unlikely to have much real knowledge about health and are unlikely to help you in any real way except possibly in offering a placebo. Some proper research should definitely go into alternative therapies, but it tends to be the practitioners of these that are the most against this idea. x
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#24 Old 07-21-2009, 01:35 PM
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alternative therapies are under-researched, this article is great evidence of why more money should be used to research the effectiveness of these therapies. pharm. co's do most of the research for conventional treatments, which is alarming due to the fact that these companies main goals are to make $ and convince doctors to sell more drugs...kinda reminds me of how the US dairy counsel and USDA fund the majority of nutrition studies and usually come to the conclusion to eat more dairy and meat.



Yes alternative therapies are under-researched. It is an industry worth tens of billions of dollars more than enough money to do research themselves. Do they? Not a chance. And why should they most of their customers are as uninterested in whether there is evidence of effectiveness as the practitioners and manufacturers are.



There is evidence that acupuncture may be slightly effective for one of two highly subjective symptoms (like nausea and pain), yet it makes claims that it can cure and be effective for a couple hundred symptoms and conditions without a shred of evidence.



And yes of course the pharmaceutical companies have the main goal of making money that is why stringent regulations are in place, and record keeping of adverse reactions, and rules of evidence, and double blind studies and medical journals with peer review. Alternative medicines have the exact same main goal of making money. They have none of the checks and balances.



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very much agree about educating people about options available. so many patients accept everything that doctor's tell them without question (don't know why?) instead of taking their health into their own hands.



Should people ask questions of their doctors? Of course. However, on the other hand people taking their health into their own hands usually means "google university" and looking for information that confirms your preexisting bias.



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so you say that your relatives regular doctors could not help her at all, whereas while she was seeing the naturopath she had some relief, quite possible the alternative therapy caught something the doctors were ignoring or are not equipped to help with.



No she had no relief beyond a couple day respite. Such events occur several times a year. Having one short period of respite over many months was at best "par." The alternative medicine practitoners didnt even know that the condition they diagnosed was wrong. Nor did they do the required blood tests to confirm their diagnosis (tests which had already been done and ruled out such a diagnosis while confirming the proper one). Most importantly, there was no rhyme or reason for the treatments. There was no medical theory suggesting that the treatments given would have any more likelyhood of working than any other treatment. It was purely throwing darts at a dart board. That is unconscionable and no one should defend such actions.



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do most doctors prescribe or recommend probiotics after taking a course of antibiotics? nope. i asked a doctor about probiotics, he had no clue what i was talking about.



I wouldn't recommend it either. Do I think that probiotics have a bright future? Yes, with huge upside potential but lots of things that looked very promising at one point in time didn't pan out. Here is the thing - bacteria are complicated and research is in its infancy. There are hundreds, probably thousands of strains of E. Coli alone. Carl Zimmer wrote an excellent book about how complicated and incredible E. Coli are (called Microcosm). Those taking and advocating probiotics right now taking a very simplistic view of bacteria. How does one know that that the probiotics they believe they are taking are appropriate? Safe? Beneficial? How do you know if you are actually getting what is on the label? (Studies say it is unlikely) How do you know if you are actually ingesting the types of bacteria which are on the label? (Again studies raise doubts) How do you know that the manufacturers are actually capable of properly dealing with bacteria which is often 100s of times smaller than a skin cell? You carry around 10 times as many bacteria as you have cells. How much of that survives anti-biotics? The overwhelming majority. Is probiotics necessary or beneficial after a simple treatment of antibiotics? Or should it be reserved for a chemo patient? I personally think that probiotics at this stage are almost always unneccessary, but if people want to spend their money of it they can feel free. My bias as a biochemistry and molecular biology major is along the lines of a quote I heard from an infectious disease specialist who called taking probiotics the equivalent of planting a corn field in the rain forest.



But most important where are the proper regulations? And very few legitimate studies have been done. If a pharmaceutical company marketed a drug with as little research and poor quality controls as the current probiotic supplements hitting the shelves everyone would justifibly be outraged. Alternative medicine hops on the bandwagon of a couple proper researchers and floods the market with often questionable products and many of same people who would have been most vocal about the former situation are now stumbling all over each other to gorge themselves on it.



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as vegetarians and vegans this is quite evident when we discuss our diet choices with conventional doctors, how many threads on vb, stories from veg friends, and personal experiences are accounted of doctors recommending eating meat and dairy instead of being veg because the dr was ill-educated about vegetarianism...many (a dr. told me to eat dairy so i wouldnt be lactose intolerant anymore, how stupid is that? no thanks!)



I understand you are pissed because the medical system doesnt preach that a Veg*n diet is a health panacea. Neither do I, despite being a vegetarian for more than 5 years and a vegan for most of that time. On the one hand I have never once come across a doctor - and I know a lot of them - who has told me that my dietary choices were unhealthy or harmful - in fact most felt it was a very healthy decision. The family doctor I have had since 2003 is a lifelong minimally lacto-ovo vegetarian. At the same time when I became a vegan my mother asked just about every doctor in my home town if my choice was dangerous or unhealthy. Not one did. Are there some out there? Sure, I imagine so. On the other hand I see no reason why a doctor should advise their patients to eat vegetarian or vegan. I dont see strong evidence that a diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits with some low fat dairy and a small amount of lean meat or even better fish is less healthy than a veg*n one. I choose not to eat that way for ethical and environmental reasons. Would I love it if it was the healthiest? Of course. Would many people who eat a large percentage of their calories from dairy and meat benefit by switching to a veg*n diet? No doubt. But, they would also benefit if they stayed on an omnivore diet but made it healthier.



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if a dr informed you had cancer and to start chemo tomorrow, would you get another opinion, would you read some books about cancer and chemo and other treatments and explore your options, or would you make the chemo appt asap and not read any books or research other treatments?



If an oncologist informed me that I had cancer and needed to start chemo tomorrow - meaning that I have a type of cancer that either is not surgical or needs to be shrunken before surgery or radiation can be an option - I will guarentee you not only would I be starting that chemo tomorrow, and I think anyone who would delay it deserves a Darwin award.
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#25 Old 07-21-2009, 02:12 PM
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Vegmedic, you officially rock!



Every single thing you said I agree with 100%. Alternative "medicine" is such a load of horse manure it's not even funny.
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#26 Old 07-21-2009, 09:34 PM
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I understand you are pissed because the medical system doesnt preach that a Veg*n diet is a health panacea.



.



i am not "pissed" or upset that conventional doctor's dont tell everyone to be vegetarian, i also did not say that eating a veg. diet was healthier than a balanced omni diet, both can be healthy and unhealthy. it is upsetting however when people are discouraged from eating veg. by poorly educated doctors, and especially upsetting when they recommend eating dairy products to "cure" intolerances and lose weight...

my point about doctors and nutrition is that they lack proper education in the subject. nutrition is a very important part of preventative care and conventional doctors current degree programs devote a small percentage of curriculum to nutrition which indicates that conventional medicine lacks greatly in the area of preventative care in the most basic form: nutrition.
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#27 Old 07-24-2009, 03:05 PM
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Vegmedic, you officially rock!



Every single thing you said I agree with 100%. Alternative "medicine" is such a load of horse manure it's not even funny.



not to me....i do both.
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#28 Old 07-24-2009, 06:49 PM
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i am not "pissed" or upset that conventional doctor's dont tell everyone to be vegetarian, i also did not say that eating a veg. diet was healthier than a balanced omni diet, both can be healthy and unhealthy. it is upsetting however when people are discouraged from eating veg. by poorly educated doctors, and especially upsetting when they recommend eating dairy products to "cure" intolerances and lose weight...

my point about doctors and nutrition is that they lack proper education in the subject. nutrition is a very important part of preventative care and conventional doctors current degree programs devote a small percentage of curriculum to nutrition which indicates that conventional medicine lacks greatly in the area of preventative care in the most basic form: nutrition.



Well we will have to disagree about this because I find most MDs and most people in related fields all believe that nutrition is very important in prevention. I actually suspect that when we look back 20 years from now after more and more knowledge is acquired about our DNA we will find that most in the medical field overestimated the benefits of good diet and nutrition, not the other way around. Sure there are huge benefits in getting the necessary amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins etc but that is hardly a problem for 97% of the industrial world population. After that the benefits are extremely diminished. Again would I like it to be true that I would receive tremendous preventative benefits from eating healthier than someone else? Of course. However, I eat what I consider to be pretty healthy so that is more or less a biased desire that there should be a form of dietary justice in the world. Basically just a form of dietary Pascals Wager. We have been bombarded with hysteria from the diet and supplement industries over the last couple decades making mountain ranges out of mole hills. The evidence is generally of poor quality and often conflicting which is what one would generally expect from these studies as there are simply far too many variables.



The best studies would be identical twin studies and I hope someday soon someone does a thorough dietary and lifestyle study of them. I am saddened that my grandfather and his identical twin brother were not part of such a study as the variables between them were low even compared to most identical twins. They not only were identical and grew up together but when they finished high school they bought a farm together and for the next 20 years worked together, each living in one half of a duplex. Then my grandfather bought a neighbouring farm and they both worked the two farms equally. They both semi-retired at the same time. They had the same hobbies, rarely drank and didnt smoke. The only major variables I can see is that my grandfather married and had kids, whereas his brother didnt and seeing as my grandmother was a health nut, my grandfather ate very healthy with tons of fruits and vegetables, went to bed early and always maintained an ideal weight, whereas his brother ate exceptionally poorly, no vegetables, stayed up late, and weighed about 60 70 pounds more. Who lived longer? My grandfather for the win! However it was only by a couple months and it was my grandfather who was very sick for his last half dozen years of life, not his brother who was free of health issues until a couple months before he died. That alone doesnt tell us anything, but data from a thousand (or more) sets of identical twins would give us far more valuable information then the mostly junk coming from industries (whether the diet industry, the dairy industry etc) that have a vested interest in the results.



How much education do doctors receive concerning nutrition? No idea. However, several medical schools have a department of nutrition, most others integrate nutritional education into many of their courses they take over the four years whereever appropriate. I really think that this widely spread claim that doctors have very little training is nutrition is mainly a fabrication of the diet and "health" industries. I believe that neurologist Steven Novella when asked about this said that they all took a full-credit course in nutrition at his medical school. Which, if anything, I think is excessive. Personally I have read a couple books on diet and nutrition, but I feel I have learned more from courses and books on chemistry and biochemistry (and less biased information and actually had to unlearn some ridiculous crap from the other books). I have far less confidence with the quality of data concerning nutrition compared to the quality of almost all other medical knowledge so it seems more or less a waste of time to teach them a lot of highly speculative information. I see no better advice than Michael Pollens: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. That took 5 seconds. To me if anything is lacking it is a course on critical thinking, medical scepticism and evaluation of medical research in fact I think that students training for any medical profession would greatly benefit from such a course.
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#29 Old 07-24-2009, 07:06 PM
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What Vegmedic said. And since he's clearly much better informed than I am, I have nothing to add except to post the funnehs:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0



x



I love that video. I can't match it, but I think this comedy clip by Dara O'briain is pretty good.
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#30 Old 07-25-2009, 03:07 AM
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I love that video. I can't match it, but I think this comedy clip by Dara O'briain is pretty good.



Oh, I love Dara O'Briain. Strangely, though I'm pretty sure I've never seen that before, I had an argument with someone the other day that flowed almost exactly the same as this, only with less hilarity obviously. I really hope they never see this, I don't want them think I get all my views from comedians!



My favourite bit: "yes, we had alternative medicine for thousands of years, then we tested it all and the stuff that worked became medicine!"



x
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