In recent posts, I have made the argument that our current medical system is not serving us well and that change is critical. Consensus is slowly building, and I’ll share a few examples. “Medscape” posted an article on July 2nd by cardiologist, Dr. John Mandrola, in which he clearly laid out the same arguments I have made about statin drugs being misused for primary prevention. He enhanced the argument by referring to a couple of recent studies which showed reduced exercise and weight gain when statins are started. My patients used to request certain medicines but are now much more likely to ask to be left off meds or even to refuse a suggested med. Our Corporate Wellness partners universally love our lifestyle based program which focuses on disease reversal and medication reduction. Finally, scientific studies are rolling in which encourage our approach. A large study called the” Diabetes Prevention Program”, which involved intervening in folks with prediabetes in order to prevent development of full blown diabetes, was published in Feb. 2002. It demonstrated significantly better results with intensive diet and exercise than with the first line diabetes drug metformin. This was a huge advance for the notion that lifestyle intervention is a very effective approach.
But with all these positives, significant dangers lurk. We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Modern medicine, with it’s scientific basis, has brought many blessings. Previously deadly infections are now easily treated with readily available antibiotics. Type 1 diabetes can be controlled with insulin. Many childhood cancers can now be cured. Previous devastating illnesses like polio have been eradicated by immunizations. Modern surgical techniques often work wonders. To that I’ll add a personal testimony: A couple of years ago, my son was involved in a serious automobile accident resulting in a broken femur (thigh bone) and a severely shattered humerus (upper arm). Dr. Torbert, an excellent trauma orthopedist at UT hospital, put him back together in a full night of surgery. We could not be more thankful. Given these realities, I would like to spend some time discussing inappropriate solutions which will simply cause more harm and waste more money but are currently popular. Then I will give a clearer view of what I consider to be helpful solutions. More on Wednesday.