The more things change, the more they stay the same

In the September 2012 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, I present the nutritional recommendations published in the Journal of the American Medical Association 10 years ago. These recommendations were based on over 150 research studies. And they called for much higher nutrient intakes than the RDA amounts to achieve optimal levels. Levels that can truly help combat some of today’s most chronic illnesses. Yet, 10 years later, nothing has changed in terms of official government and medical nutrient recommendations.

So I thought it would be interesting to revisit another article that was published 10 years ago this month. This one from the Washington Post. It documented how many mainstream medical therapies are ineffective at best. And literally killing us at worst.

Here are a few of the “shocking” things that article revealed 10 years ago:

  • The NIH Women’s Health Initiative found that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that was meant to prevent heart disease in post-menopausal women actually increases it. (I remember working to help put together the original study on breast cancer in women during 1984-86 that morphed into the Women’s Health Initiative. And I was skeptical of HRT even then due to its potential risks of cancer, let alone heart disease.)
  • A study on knee surgery for arthritis published in the New England Journal of Medicine had just found that the placebo group (not given surgery) had results as good as those who were given surgery.
  • More intensive (and expensive) healthcare does not improve health status—in patients of any age.
  • Dr. Dean Ornish (who had just co-chaired my national medical conference on CAM with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop) demonstrated that diet and social support could prevent and reverse heart disease. Saving over $30,000 per patient compared to conventional treatments without dangerous drugs or surgery.

And we argued back then, and argue still, about Medicare. The medicine cabinets of people on Medicare were (and are) bulging with publicly subsidized prescription medications. Medicines which, when taken together, may cause harmful—even fatal—side effects. Yet, the mainstream medical establishment insists that they keep taking them, because these stop-gap measures are “all we have” for “managing” diseases (instead of truly curing them). 

We debated ten years ago—and continue to debate today—why rates of many cancers were (and are) still going up. 

And 10 years ago, the prestigious journal Health Affairs also predicted that health care costs would double over the next decade. And indeed they have.

Ironically, I also wrote a review for Health Affairs 10 years ago that optimistically predicted that Congress would have to start taking natural medicine seriously as a means to improving healthcare and controlling costs (that article, in case you’re interested, was titled “Nature Cures, Now Congress Cares”). This was during a brief period of time where we had effective communications in place with Congress about CAM before the rug was pulled out from under us (which I will tell you more about another time). Unfortunately, that prediction has not come to pass. Instead, a partisan Congress has  given us Obamacare—nearly the opposite of controlling medical costs and providing safe, affordable care.

The only singular improvement in healthcare that has occurred in the past decade is treatment of HIV infection (which is an easily preventable disease). The rest of the public is no better off in terms of understanding true disease prevention and treatment (at least by the government’s lights). 

The Washington Post article concluded, 10 years ago, that “now” was the time to move to “evidence-based,” alternative healthcare. 

Well, it certainly didn’t happen then.

I understand that it takes time to implement changes—even in our modern era of instant communications. But isn’t 10 years long enough? If we were tired of “killer cures” a decade ago, chances are we could be dead from them by now. 

So if not NOW, when?

“Tired of Killer Cures?” Washington Post, 8/20/02, page 1