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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Dr Hegde: Time to Look at Alternative Healing Methods.




TODAY'S PAPER » FEATURES » OPEN PAGE
April 8, 2012
It's time we took a look at the alternatives
PROFESSOR B.M. HEGDE
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Time has come to think of human health and well-being in the world. What with a plethora of evidence appearing against the outcomes of modern medical hi-tech interventions in the long-run and the adverse drug reactions taking a heavy toll of human life, time has come to talk of the future management strategies to preserve the well segment of the population in a healthy state as long as they could. Just as Walt Whitman thinks, what we see might not be the truth and reality.
Quantum physics gives credence to Whitman's observations in that it avers that there is no reality in this world. What we see are just changes, potentialities, and happenings (otherwise called "haps"). Just as the adage says that a falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest, the modern medical falling tree is making more and more noise blowing its own trumpet while in reality, audits show that the truth is otherwise.
Study after study shows that the final outcome of modern medical claptrap in the long-run is only human misery. There is, at the same time, a growing forest of alternative and complementary whole person healing efforts afoot which existed from "times out of mind." Let us audit those methods along with the noise that modern medical establishment keeps making.
Mary Tinnetti from Yale feels that the era of disease-based medicine has come to an end. "The time has come to abandon disease as the focus of medical care. The changed spectrum of health, the complex interplay of biological and nonbiological factors, the ageing population, and the interindividual variability in health priorities render medical care that is centred on the diagnosis and treatment of individual diseases at best out of date and at worst harmful. A primary focus on disease may inadvertently lead to undertreatment, overtreatment, or mistreatment," wrote Mary in the American Medical Journal in 2004.
Gary Null and his colleagues in their audit of the recent American scenario in 2008 declare that the modern medical establishment is the leading cause of death and disability in the country! The benchmark of the evidence base of the so-called evidence-based medicine, the Randomised Controlled Studies, have been questioned by the leading authority in the U.K., Sir Michel Rawlins, chief of NICE. These and many similar studies make out a case for a better system for the future. John Ioannidis and David Eddy are the two leading researchers in the West who have shown the hollowness of our research base in modern medicine.
At the same time, we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater just because the bathwater is dirty. There are certain good things in the evolved modern medicine today like corrective surgery, trauma care, imaging techniques and emergency care. These will have to be preserved, maybe with certain modifications, to make them safer for the future. We have a long way to go even in the latter arena where the physiological base of our interventions is not very sound. The area abounds in uncertainties, especially in emergency care. Special areas that need further study are fluid and electrolyte replacements in emergency care, parenteral nutrition, the critical care of those who have cardiac arrest in place of the conventional CPR, and, above all, we have to think deeply about making our hospitals cleaner and safer for patients without the present threat of deadly germs lurking inside the hospital environment.
Misery to majority
This forest has been steadily growing almost with mankind from its inception in some form or the other like a shadow. It is only in the last 50-odd years that the so-called hi-tech western type of modern medicine has taken root in most parts of the industrialised world. The industrialised world medicine became a money-spinner, bringing in its wake misery for a majority in this world who are poor. All these alternative systems, wherever they originated from, have relied heavily on the prowess of the inbuilt human immune system, which modern medicine, unfortunately, totally ignored. Consequently, these alternative systems should be more natural for the human body; and do not totally rely on outside help for every deviation from the normal function. One example here is the Panchakarma process in Ayurveda, which deals mainly with building the immune system to fight diseases.
Care should, however, be taken to see that only those methods in these systems which have passéd the test of scientific scrutiny and have been shown to be reproducible in any part of the world are included in the future armour to fight human illnesses lest the many dead wood in the forest of alternative medicines be used for human misery. We must evolve a system collectively of recognising the rose wood and the teak wood in the alternative systems growing forest for the good of humankind.
Humane thinkers in this field will have to put their heads together to get into researching this vast area of illness management resources to authenticate the available methods for separating wheat from the chaff. Many systems in the past were in common use even in the West. The Flexner Report of 1910, engineered by the modern chemical pharma lobby, dealt a deathblow to all those systems in one stroke and the U.S. government obviously had to accept the report as gospel truth! In fact, Flexner was only a retired high school headmaster who investigated the scientific base of all those systems being used in many medical schools in the U.S. around the turn of the 19{+t}{+h}century.
Integrated care
Friends of Health in the U.S., started by the late Rustum Roy, and the World Academy of Authentic Healing Sciences in India, which also was motivated by Rustum Roy himself, have been doing this job for some time now with significant success. The Iowa Institute of Medical Research of Maharishi University has shown interest in this area and wants to collaborate with us. Deepak Chopra has been helping the process in his own way. There are many other fringe groups also interested in this area. We need to get respectability for these efforts which, of course, will not get governmental patronage as of now, thanks to the influence of the trillion-dollar sickness industry which wants the status quo at any cost for their own survival.
Future must concentrate on training doctors in this new system. Human physiology has completely changed if one follows the new science of quantum mechanics. This needs to be urgently incorporated into the medical school syllabus which makes the ancient system of Whole Person Healing, revived lately by Rustum Roy, a reality, again for the good of humankind's future. We mix the wheat from all the systems including modern medicine to make a new truly integrated system for total illness cure throwing the chaff away. My hope is that this system will be accessible to the lowest of the low as they are the ones who need illness care more than the rich and the powerful. The growing forest grows without making much noise and is the hope of humankind's future.
"There are some people, who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other." — Douglas H. Everett
(The writer is a former professor of cardiology, the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, London, and former Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University. His email ID is hegdebm@gmail.com)
These systems have relied heavily on
the prowess of the inbuilt human
immune system, which modern medicine, unfortunately, totally ignored.
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