Critique of Medical Establishment
At the very outset, we have to realize that drugs and medicine are collectively one of the most profitable industries under capitalism. It is more profitable to constantly drug a person who has a chronic condition than to genuinely cure a condition. As an example, to council a person to cut back on salt often meets with less success than to put them on a blood thinning or artery dilating drug to lower blood pressure. In a society that uses salt in may prepared foods, it is easier said than done to cut back on salt to lower blood pressure. Thus many people rely on their doctor and pharmacist to supply blood pressure lowering drugs at greater expense. If however, you are a person who is not covered by some form of medical insurance program, this can be expensive and out of reach. The simple solution is to cut out salt and reduce costs further by scratch cooking. We as a nation are over salted and do with far less. This is not the end of chronic conditions that can be corrected by improved diet. Another is most forms of adult onset diabetes. By cutting out refined sugar and increasing complex carbohydrates like brown rice, fresh vegetables, unprocessed nuts, free range meat and fresh fruit, a person can bring blood sugar levels down to normal. These are points of practical knowledge and are not half cocked hypotheses on the lunatic fringe. But for a work oriented society that relies on fast food and restaurants, cutting back on salt and sugar is next to impossible.
There have been many experiments that have gone down blind alleys, but this is the nature of experimentation in order to come to the truth. Modern drugs and medical methods are built on the experiments and experience of bygone generations and modern medicine stands squarely on the shoulders of past giants like Pasteur, Salk and Paracelsus . Those who work as first responders, such as first aid attendants and paramedics know that styles of crisis intervention change and evolve to better forms from year to year. This is why first aid atte4ndants, paramedics and emergency doctors have to re-certify on a regular basis, usually every year or two, in order to be up to date with the latest techniques for life saving and injury or disease management.
Anything that competes with this 21st century medical drug cultism for profit is propagandized as being somehow unhealthy and unscientific, even quackery. From creating a disease scare in order to sell a drug or an inoculation program, to overdosing patients, or doing unnecessary operations, it is all the same; the profit motive. At one time in history, doctors were all against social medicine, until they realized what a cash cow government funded medicine was and now they crow against the destruction of government sponsored medical programs.. We hear about socialized medicine and free health care for all, but even under a total socialist society, medicine will have to be funded out of the collectivized surplus value of the toilers, likely in the form of a tax in order to support a modern medical infrastructure for the health of all. In a society where all toilers ideally reap the total sum of what is produced by them, a contribution by all for anyone who will need a life saving medical intervention, something must be contributed so that this can exist.
Medicine is nothing new and every culture past and present has their own medical culture. With the Chinese, it all about balancing the Chi energy and this is done through acupuncture, the right food at the right time and herbal concoctions. Chinese medicine has a continuous history going back at least 5,000 years. In India, medicine is called Ayurveda and is comprised of herbs, the right diet and the eight limbs of yoga. India too has a medicine going back to the dawn of contemporary civilizations, In First Nations medicine, there are practices like the sweat lodge, herbs, medicine journeys, ritualistic practice, hallucinatory ceremonies and the like. There are similar practices in Africa and the Australian outback. Practices like surgery and organ transplantation are fairly modern innovations. Though there are archeological examples of ancient surgeries like dentistry and trepination, these were found in the skeletons and mummies of important people. Modern surgery goes well beyond these.
Our own medicine for the treatment of chronic pain and curing of disease has a background in herbalism. We still rely on the opium poppy for powerful pain killers like morphine, dialuadid and hydromorphone, The same poppy is also responsible for heroin, which the states around the world are in combat against the production thereof. All of them are highly addictive and suffer from reduced function with continued use and should be used only sparingly. Aspirin is derived from an alkaloid found in the bark of many willow trees. Native Indians still use white or red willow bark to suppress pain. People who use herbs also prefer willow bark to aspirin tablets manufactured by Bayer and the like. At the current time, there is a controversy over marijuana. Increasingly, states around the world are coming in line to support medical marijuana. The Canadian Government is now in the business of selling and distributing medical marijuana to some 4,000 clients who are legally entitled to “smoke joints”, “drink tea” and grow medical marijuana plants from seed. Recently, Barrack Obama legalized marijuana for medical use in the US and now people with diseases like HIV, cancer, RA and fibromyalgia are legally entitled to use it. Marijuana is clinically proven as a herb that stimulates appetite, encourages the relaxation response and reduces chronic pain. There is even a topical salve that can be applied externally to sooth away pain. The active alkaloid, THC, is even extracted from marijuana and made into pill form for those who don't want to smoke or drink tea. Modern anti-biotics are all derived from fungal agents used because they were discovered to inhibit the growth of disease agents like polio, TB and venereal disease. But the overuse of anti-biotics has also proven the essence of evolution and inadvertently created super-bugs like MRSI (Multiple Resistant Streptococcal Infection). Modern medicine has also found uses for maggots and leeches, once recently thought to be medieval mumbo-jumbo.
Consider that at the root of all modern drugs are plants and animals that have certain properties that are useful in treating human disease. Consider also that the drugging industry also extends to agri-business, again for profit. Thus, in the industrialized world, we have taken drugging to industrial levels. Drugs used in industrial levels are growth hormones and anti-biotics. Growth hormones are used to increase meat production on food animals and anti-biotics are used to prevent disease, especially in the context of factory farming. The problem has been the addition of growth hormones into the general environment and the rise of anti-biotic resistant disease that has spilled over into the human community. This the result of ignoring an old injunction concerning the overuse of any drug. The ancients had more wisdom in these areas than today's doctors, pharmacists and agri-business who drive everything into the ground for profit.
There is also a “black medicine” that is designed to inflict pain, to cripple, paralyse or kill. Poisons for profit are used in the theatre of war and for torture in order to gain information or compliance. Poisons evolved in plants and animals as a defence against being eaten. They are also used in order to bring down prey. Some poisons affect the blood, and others shut down or alter the nervous system.
Pros and cons of anti-biotics
Anti-biotics in their heyday proved to be a boon to humanity, controlling and irradicating such diseases like polio, syphilis, tuberculosis and many other diseases. Once the effectiveness of these miracle drugs became apparent, they were extended into agriculture. But the injunction about overuse of these drugs was ignored in the mass rush for ever more surplus value and the profit that came with it. Evolutionists and naturalists know that in any given species there are many variants on the basic pattern. This has been known with some clarity since the experiments of Gregor Mendelsson on dominant and recessive heriditary traits in peas. Disease also have varients within each strian. What may be poison for most of the individuals, is not for a few. These few survive and reporduce, ending up being a "super-bug" that is now prevelant and resistant to our miracle drugs. This is natural selection at its most obvious and we have had a direct hand in causing an evoultionary event, proving Charles Darwin's primary thesis. Increasingly we face pandemics as of old, where we are defenseless because we overused the only weapons we had instead of using a multitude of approaches in a jurisprudent way. Had we recognized the evolution of pathogens as a fact, we would have actd differently, but only if profit did not fuel the greed of a few at the expense of the rest.
Overdosing and under dosing.
Consider the use of opium derived drugs. Although effective in severe trauma such as inflicted in war, they are effective only for the short term. Greater and greater quantities are required each time in order to get the same pain relief. Opiates act in a similar way to morphine like pain killers, endorphins, that exist naturally in the brain and nervous system. Opiates enhance these and can cause a dependency if the body gets “lazy” and stops making its own. The tendency to increase dosage with opiates has led to overdosing with other drugs as well. Also, greater doses mean more profit. Many have toxic effects. Many are a hard and even dangerous to withdraw from if the patient decides they want to go clean. The steroid, prednizone is particularly dangerous. As an anti-inflammatory steroid, the drug once withdrawn carelessly from can cause a fatal inflammatory condition leading to strangulation. Prednizone used for prolonged times causes liver damage, osteoporosis and premature loss of teeth. Homoeopathy goes in the opposite direction under the foregoing like considerations of overdosing with any drug. Homoeopathy begins with low doses and claims many adherents to the curative properties of this approach. Many people suggest that homoeopathy relies on the placebo effect. If this is so, we can say that there is an effective cure that can come from the placebo effect. The placebo effect can account for cures of hysteria based diseases that Freud comments on in his exhaustive research and work in psychology. He successfully treated hysteria based disease, which mimics the faith healing practised by the devoutly religious going into the ancient past. A positive attitude can go a great distance to treat a condition. However, there are conditions that a positive attitude is insufficient to deal with disease. These may require the addition of good nutrition, anti-biotics, surgery and a clean environment.
Naturalists have stated in the past “Sick land, sick people.” This means that a dependency on artificial fertilizers causes growth, but without the trace elements necessary for good nutritional food. The overuse of land leeches it of nutrients and the use of artificial fertilizers has led to a serious and global deterioration of agricultural lands. This deterioration is passed on to the people who don't get the nutrition they need from the food they eat; an essential element to good disease and pain free health. So too the the use of monoculture where the same crop is grown year after year. This leeches the land of even heavy concentrations of nitrogen; an essential ingredient for most plants. There is also the problem of pollution in the form of pesticides and industrial waste infiltrating agricultural lands from all sides and ways. A sickened planet has led to a diseased humanity, easily susceptible to every disease and doctors nasty nostrums. Some people recognize the necessity of organic growing and bio-diversity in agriculture which helps to balance the soil and even reduce pollutants. Naturalists also recognize that all medicines are originally derived from plants and a huge world wide pharmacopeia has evolved from this over history. We have already referred to just three in a galaxy of natural medicines. Naturalists also recognize the importance of nutrition and proper diet; and that this should be available to all people. The shame is that it can be, but for most of humanity it is not because of the profit factor of capitalism that insists that there is “no market” in a starving world and would rather destroy food, even of poor quality than to give it to those without money..
Changing fashions: To use or not to use methetrexate or prednezone: to use aspirin or not to use aspirin.
Doctors change drug fashion just as a fashion model will change clothes according to the newest and most popular designs by season and year. Only in medicine it is more complicated and even dangerous to the patient. A drug will rise and fall in favour according to news releases that will inspire hope or fear in a particular drug. A case in recent history is the once popular Viagra that was all the rage until it was found that it could trigger heart failure and heart attacks leading to death. Apparently, self preservation over rode any sexual benefits that the drug could trigger, which it did and caused its popularity. But Viagra is not alone in this. Other drugs go into and out of favour according to medical fashion. What a patient takes at one time may be condemned by the medical profession at another time and the family doctor may criticize the patient for taking something a specialist prescribed. One such drug is methetrexate that was once considered one of the better drugs for managing chronic pain for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. This drug fell into disfavour and was replaced by the steroid, pednezone. This drug also has extreme negative consequences and it too has fallen into disfavour. There are a host of drugs that go through cycles of fashion. The fact remains that many conditions can only be managed and this can be the choice of the doctor or patient. One of the bast pain soothers comes from China and goes by the Anglicized name of Tiger Balm. Another is a balm made from potent marijuana. Both are topical and applied externally and locally for best results. Most doctors in the west do not promote such salves, preferring instead, the cyclic fashion of drug management.
Arguments of contradictory Scientific reports
Science is discredited when those who practice it under capitalist influence take opposite views on a single topic such on the healthful qualities of wine, chocolate, aspirin and the like. Hardly a year goes by where we hear of studies done in laboratories and double blind studies that make opposite claims for common everyday dietetic items and over the counter medicines. This only serves to confuse the patient and drive them into the arms of the medical establishment to wind up taking one nostrum or another with dubious effects. Contrary reports also find their way to common foods that most of us eat. Lately we are told that organic is no better than traditional farming. However, we have already read arguments concerning healthy food growing and how essential this is for good health to those who eat various foods grown under different conditions.
Vaccinations with weakened or dead virus and bacteria
Smallpox was eradicated by the use of cowpox and no longer exists in the world, at least in the wild, but vials of the virus are kept in weapons labs around the world and war budgets include the genetic reworking of this once deadly scourge of mankind. At large, this was one extinction event that bothered no one. We could have driven tuberculosis to extinction too, but the need for profit making on disease had in part, something to do with the prevention of the eradication of TB. As a result of botched efforts, the drug resistant form of TB has emerged as the new scourge, throwing 21st century medicine back into the 19th century where there was no cure and torturous operations were the norm to scoop out infected lung tissue. Patients now endure a prolonged and agonizing decent to death. Another controversy surrounds vaccination using weakened and dead viruses or bacteria. That controversy is the one where the weakened virus or bacteria end up causing the disease that it was intended to prevent or causes secondary disease later in life, such as the polio vaccine causing later life liver failure. One of the other considerations is the fact that diseases like TB are diseases that hit the poor, the hungry and the malnourished the hardest. Thus, one way to help in the fight against disease is full and balanced nutrition, something that most people do not have access to.
History of modern medicine rooted in strange practices, nosegays, bloodletting, etc.
Our current medical approach rejects things like homoeopathy, chiropractic practices, naturalpathy, acupuncture, Ayurveda, herbalism and other such “quackery”, Yet our medical practice is new when compared to practices such as acupuncture and Ayurveda. Consider that bloodletting was considered a treatment for disease as late as the early 20th century. Up to half the blood volume would be removed to treat the disease. It is a wonder that more people did not succumb to the diseases they were being treated for. Other “cures” were leeching and the use of maggots. Both leeching and maggot treatments have made a comeback. Leeches help prevent clotting at the site of surgery sutures. Maggots have been found to be useful in the treatment of severe trauma such as the loss of a limb to a bomb or accident. The appropriate use of maggots prevents gangrene from establishing its self at the point of a severe injury. Many hospitals now grow their own sterilized maggots for treating severe injuries.
During the times when the bubonic plague ran rampant around the world, doctors were at a loss as to how to deal with it. In order to prevent themselves from getting the disease from their patients, they took to wearing costumes that looked for all the world like a large bird. The beak contained a “nosegay” filled with aromatic herbs to prevent them from smelling the living rot that accompanied the patient dying of bubonic plague. The “rot” was the infectious run off from the disease that ravaged the patient. It is highly infectious. Improper handling of the noxious run off could trigger a worse form of the plague called pneumonic plague that could be passed on like a cold of flu. Doctors of that time did not know that bubonic plague was passed from rat to man via the rat flea and from person to person by the same flea. They had little or no sense of quarantine and the plague spread like wildfire, killing off nearly half the population in a typical outbreak. Doctors succumbed as readily, despite their bird costumes and nosegays. Medieval people, doctors included, knew nothing about sanitary conditions. Most medieval people did not have baths and lived in conditions of of incredible filth. If you want a sense of the smell and filth of the medieval world, you need only encounter one of the denizens of the homeless and get a whiff of them. Due to the circumstances that the decay of capitalism has placed them, they cannot get a regular bath. Often times they suffer from foot rot like trench foot because they can't get dry socks in wet weather. The odour is often overpowering. Once the whole of society was like this. Even kings refused to have baths and were sometimes forced into one once a year.
Today we are obsessed with sanitary conditions, where due to the obsession over swine flu, we avoid shaking hands and have waterless hand cleaner available everywhere along with detailed instructions about hand washing. This is all well and fine, except, not everyone follow the protocol and there is the problem of cross contamination. A knowledge of avoiding cross contamination is required and has to be followed with non errant rigour. It is possible not to be cross contaminated, but extremely difficult for most of us. This however does nothing to stop air born pathogens, like swine flu, pneumonic plague or TB.
Mercury in modern medicine.
Mercury used to be a drug taken for diseases like syphilis. Then we learned that it is highly toxic to anything living, It was discontinued except in the field of dentistry where it is still used in mercury-silver amalgams for filling teeth. The mercury leeches out and gets into the body to cause a host of symptoms that can be misdiagnosed for other diseases. Mercury in concentration caused minimata disease, which is a degenerative nerve disease. Minimata disease was first recognized in Japan, where people ate mercury contaminated fish and the element built up in the peoples' bodies in a process called biological magnification. Now we know that pesticides can build up this way too. We have discontinued many pesticides, but still use mercury in many industrial processes.
Medicine is very much an evolving science fraught with wrong turns and blind alleys. Also, what worked yesterday, may be useless today, so we have to be open to alternatives, some of which may not be currently in vogue.