Commentary on medical news by a practicing physician.

  • Epocrates MedSearch Drug Lookup


    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

    ''Once you tell people there's a cure for something, the more likely they are to pressure doctors to prescribe it.''
    -Robert Ehrlich, drug advertising executive.

    "Opinions are like sphincters, everyone has one." - Chris Rangel

    email: medpundit-at-ameritech.net

    or if that doesn't work try:


    Medpundit RSS

    Quirky Museums and Fun Stuff

    Who is medpundit?

    Tech Central Station Columns

    Book Reviews:
    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    More Reviews

    Second Hand Book Reviews


    Medical Blogs


    DB's Medical Rants

    Family Medicine Notes

    Grunt Doc




    Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse

    Feet First

    Tales of Hoffman

    The Eyes Have It


    SOAP Notes


    Cut-to -Cure

    Black Triangle



    Kevin, M.D

    The Lingual Nerve

    Galen's Log



    Doctor Mental



    Finestkind Clinic and Fish Market

    The Examining Room of Dr. Charles

    Chronicles of a Medical Mad House



    Health Facts and Fears

    Health Policy Blogs

    The Health Care Blog

    HealthLawProf Blog

    Facts & Fears

    Personal Favorites

    The Glittering Eye

    Day by Day


    The Business Word Inc.

    Point of Law

    In the Pipeline


    Tim Blair

    Jane Galt

    The Truth Laid Bear

    Jim Miller

    No Watermelons Allowed

    Winds of Change

    Science Blog

    A Chequer-Board of Night and Days

    Arts & Letters Daily

    Tech Central Station





    The Skeptic's Dictionary

    Recommended Reading

    The Doctor Stories by William Carlos Williams

    Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth Fenn

    Intoxicated by My Illness by Anatole Broyard

    Raising the Dead by Richard Selzer

    Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

    The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo

    A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich



    American Academy of Pediatrics

    General Health Info

    Travel Advice from the CDC

    NIH Medical Library Info



    Saturday, February 04, 2006

    How Do I Distrust Thee, Let Me Count the Ways: In a comment to the earlier future of medicine post, Boinky pointed to this article from The New York Times about the attraction of alternative medicine:

    This straying from conventional medicine is often rooted in a sense of disappointment, even betrayal, many patients and experts say. When patients see conventional medicine's inadequacies up close - a misdiagnosis, an intolerable drug, failed surgery, even a dismissive doctor - many find the experience profoundly disillusioning, or at least eye-opening.

    Haggles with insurance providers, conflicting findings from medical studies and news reports of drug makers' covering up product side effects all feed their disaffection, to the point where many people begin to question not only the health care system but also the science behind it. Soon, intuition and the personal experience of friends and family may seem as trustworthy as advice from a doctor in diagnosing an illness or judging a treatment.

    The most avid users of alternative medicine do seem to be those with the deepest distrust in modern medicine. They don't just distrust doctors, they distrust the entire system. But there's an even stronger reason that so many people find alternative medicine attractive - they feel that they're making the choice themselves, rather than having choices made for them. And that's why they're willing to spend so much money on unproven techniques, and why they're more forgiving when things don't go as expected:

    With help from friends, Ms. Paradise raised about $40,000 to pay for the Arizona clinic's treatment, plus living expenses while there.

    "I had absolutely no scientific reason for choosing this route, none," she said. "I just think there are times in our life when we are asked to make decisions based on our intuition, on our gut instinct, not based on evidence put in front of us, and for me this was one of those moments."

    ......But Ms. Paradise said that her relationship with the natural medicine specialist in Arizona had been collaborative and that she had felt "more empowered, more involved" in the treatment plan, which included large doses of vitamins, as well as changes in diet and sleep routines. After four months on the regimen, she said, she felt much better.

    But the cancer was not cured. It has resurfaced recently and spread, and this time Ms. Paradise has started an experimental treatment with an oncologist in New York.

    She is complementing this treatment, she said, with another course of alternative therapy in Arizona. She moved in with friends near Phoenix and started the alternative regime in January.

    One suspects she would not have been so forgiving of modern medicine if she had spent $40,000 on treatment that didn't work. But, having chosen to spend that money herself, against the advice of the very profession and professionals she dislikes, she has a vested interest in maintaining its legitimacy.

    There's a fortune to be made in exploiting the weaker points of our natures.

    posted by Sydney on 2/04/2006 12:53:00 PM 7 comments


    Many people believe that medicine is pure science. And that science has perfect knowledge on how the body works and what causes disease. As part of that science, medicine knows how to cure everything and when you are not cured, somebody made a mistake and should be sued.

    How many people sue alternative medicine practitioners when they fail. Probably zero because people have such low expectations of success.

    By Blogger Jake, at 2:08 PM  

    People don't sue the alternative medical practitioners only because the Lawyers don't perceive it worth their while.

    When the heir to the throne of Great Britain espouses alternative cures, (such as coffee enemas to cure cancer,) you know science is in deep doo-doo.

    By Blogger Frank Borger, at 2:55 PM  

    Jake's comment is spot on based on my experiences.

    I have an idiopathic neuropathy. Despite seeing 3 different neurologists and having multiple tests done, I still do not have a diagnosis. But I do know that I don't have MS - which in itself was reassuring.

    I have resigned myself to dealing with the symptoms. Some days are good, others are bad.

    Extended family members do not understand how I could have such severe pain and symptoms, yet not be diagnosed and have an effective treatment. I keep getting advised to find another doctor, or worse yet, to try some alternative therapy (despite the fact that I am the only one with any sort of medical knowledge in the family).

    My family is similar to John Q Public in their belief that all conditions can be diagnosed and treated and that we should have magic pills to cure every malady.
    And if traditional medicine can't provide that remedy, then they will turn to alternative tx.

    By Anonymous CardioNP, at 11:54 AM  

    Trust is a critical issue. But it is important to look at the real causes and consider practical solutions:

    Trust: Traditional or Electronic, A Doctor-Patient Relationship Starts There

    By Anonymous The Medical Blog Network, at 12:06 AM  

    Hey there,
    I'm writing a short note to let you know- I think you have a very informative blog. I enjoyed the great read here today. I'll be back. Keep it coming.
    herbal remedies

    By Anonymous herbal remedies, at 2:57 PM  

    I really enjoyed of your site. I like to go blogging to find new sites and was glad to come across yours. You can visit mine at hypnosis products if you like

    By Anonymous Hypno, at 3:26 AM  

    picture of zoroastrianism
    Declaration of Heaven on Earth!
    picture of zoroastrianism
    Please chant this prayer to recieve heaven on earth:
    picture of zoroastrianism
    Dearest, greatest, holiest!
    Please give us all, the full heaven on earth!
    I thank you, & I worship you.
    picture of zoroastrianism

    By Blogger Emily, at 11:09 PM  

    Post a Comment

    This page is powered by Blogger, the easy way to update your web site.

    Main Page


    Home   |   Archives

    Copyright 2006