The Annual Physical Exam – A Ritual to Be Avoided

My parents believed so much in the healing powers of medicine that as a child I was subjected to annual physical examinations at the University of Michigan Medical School.  For nearly half a day several highly trained professionals examined my body looking for the slightest indication that I might have the beginnings of a potentially fatal illness, such as cancer.  An analysis of my body fluids and excrements provided the final proof that I was in excellent condition – likely to survive until next year.

You might think this exam to be prudent action by my parents, showing their love and concern; but these expensive intrusions did nothing to prevent me from suffering a debilitating stroke at the age of 18, having a cholesterol level of 335 mg/dl at 22, gaining 50 extra pounds of fat by the time I was 24, and undergoing major abdominal surgery when I was 25 years young.  Nor is an annual physical examination likely to make a meaningful difference in your life – and that is why major health organizations worldwide recommend against this customary checkup.

Read more:  http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2005nl/july/050700physical.htm

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One Word Can Save Your Life: No!

New research shows how some common tests and procedures aren’t just expensive, but can do more harm than good.

Excessive medical care can actually lead to poorer health, and another reminder to patients that saying no to your doctor can improve your prognosis.

Dr. Stephen Smith, Professor emeritus of family medicine at Brown University School of Medicine, tells his physician not to order a PSA blood test for prostate cancer or an annual electrocardiogram to screen for heart irregularities, since neither test has been shown to save lives. Rather, both tests frequently find innocuous quirks that can lead to a dangerous odyssey of tests and procedures.

To read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/08/14/some-medical-tests-procedures-do-more-harm-than-good.html

Why Do Doctors, Nurses Often Use Holistic Medicine for Themselves?

The above is the title of Dr. Mercola’s article this week.  Click here for more details: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/09/why-do-doctors-nurses-often-use-holistic-medicine-for-themselves.aspx?e_cid=20110909_DNL_art_3

Alternative medicine is no longer so “alternative” for health care workers, the majority of whom use a variety of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for themselves.

  • 76 percent of health care workers use CAM, compared to 63 percent of the general population, according to research in the journal Health Services Research.
  • Even more revealing, health care providers, including doctors and nurses, were more than twice as likely to have used practitioner-based CAM, and nearly three times as likely to use self-treatment with CAM, during the prior year than support workers.

It seems health care workers are poignantly aware of many of the pitfalls of modern medicine and as such are embracing more holistic modalities.

As psychiatrist Joya Lynn-Schoen, M.D., who practices alternative medicine, told Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health:

“As insiders, health care workers understand what’s missing in our medical system. They’re more educated than others about orthodox and alternative medicine … Mainstream medicine will say, ‘Here’s a pill’ or ‘Have an operation” or ‘There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just tired.'”

With holistic therapies, attention is directed to finding the root cause of disease so you can heal on a deep, instead of surface, level. In simpler terms, holistic medicine focuses on health, whereas conventional medicine focuses on disease.

Are You Fed Up with Prescription Drugs and Surgery?

Taking medications and having surgery is clearly not the route to optimal health that the modern medical system would have you believe it is. Dr. Null and colleagues published an oft-cited report in 2003 about the death toll caused by drugs and conventional medical treatments, which included the following statistics.

  • Adverse drug reactions — 106,000 deaths/year
  • Medical errors — 98,000 deaths/year
  • Unnecessary procedures — 37,136 deaths/year
  • Surgery — 32,000 deaths/year

Additionally, a June 2010 report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, which analyzed 62 million death certificates from 1979 to 2006 (the most recent year available), found that almost a quarter-million of those deaths were coded as having occurred in a hospital setting due to medication errors.  In an AMA article discussing the study, one co-author was quoted as stating that “medication errors are the second-leading cause of accidental death, and the only kind of accidental death that is increasing over time.”

An estimated 450,000 preventable medication-related adverse events occur in the U.S. every year, and adverse drug reactions cause injuries or death in 1 of 5 hospital patients. The costs of adverse drug reactions to society are more than $136 billion annually.

Further, an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 found that 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care(some repeatedly) and over 63 percent of the injuries could have been prevented. In nearly 2.5 percent of these cases, the problems caused or contributed to a person’s death. In another 3 percent, patients suffered from permanent injury, while over 8 percent experienced life-threatening issues, such as severe bleeding during surgery.