Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Interaction on Health Issues

Reaction to Some Points
by Abhjit Mukherjee

(This is a reply from Avijit Mukherjee to a Whats App interaction in 'Ekak Matra Bondhura' group on some health issues. Though the points raised here are in context of certain arguments, still its worth reading independently which throw some light on the relevant topic).

Comments on Dilution in homeo:French biochemist Benveniste in university of Paris-Sud labortatories showed that 'homeopatheic drug would certainly leave its footprints by changing the structure of that water which, in turn, might have great theraupetic effect'[Source Nature 1988;134-69]. Similar study was conducted by IIT Mumbai in a paper titled "Extreme homeopatheic dilutions retain starting materials: A Nanoparticulate perspective" it is available on "sciencedirect.com" and was reported in Times of India also. What I am trying to say is that these studies can be contested but it cannot be claimed no study has been done at all.

Placebo: I personally feel anything or any "pathy"  including empathy which eases a dis-ease should be adopted. At a FRCS examination in UK a question was asked: "What do you instill into the ear, in a patient, very critical?" The answer expected was "A word of cheer"[Source: Art & Science of Medical practice by Dr. Manu Kothari and Dr. Lopa Mehta]. So placebo is definately a form of treatment as Prof. B M Hegde(The renowned cardiologist known as the "People's doctor) puts it : "There are many studies of modern medical drugs, leading ones being the expensive anti-psychotic drugs that have been tested against placebo tablets in patients. All most all of those drugs were less effective than the placebo in the management of depression, anxiety etc." He writes in the same essay "While a patient has faith in his/her doctor and takes a placebo, the forebrain produces very powerful chemicals that work on the hind brain and through that on the whole system. Studies have also tried to block the release of those powerful chemicals from the forebrain using the blocking drug Naloxone prior to the testing with placebo. Lo and behold, there was no placebo effect and there were no chemicals getting to the hind brain at all. In other words placebo effect is a reality and not pseudo-science!"

Clinical Trials: You had elaborated the SOP of clinical trials which leads to drug discoveries and antibiotics, however you have not mentioned anything about the adverse drug reactions which is one of the leading cause of deaths in advanced countries. Times of India(12/3/2013) reports "Antibiotic resistance as bad as terror threat? Unless Tackled, New Infectious Diseases Can Set Health System Back By 200 Yrs"...."    England’s chief medical officer professor Dame Sally Davies has called antibiotic resistance a “ticking time bomb” with the world facing an “apocalyptic scenario” where 7% of all hospital admissions are taking place due to drug-resistant infections." Professor Davies says globally, in another 20 years, people will die more often following even a minor surgery.  Almost a year letter Lancet referring to a study conducted by Govt. of UK titled "Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a  Crisis for the Health and Wealth of Nations" wrote "The damaging effects of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are already manifesting themselves across the world. Antimicrobial-resistant infections currently claim at least 50,000 lives each year across Europe and the US alone, with many hundreds of thousands more dying in other areas of the world. But reliable estimates of the true burden are scarce." Now the above crisis has cropped up why despite so many careful trials? Assuming that clinical trials are infallible for interactional diseases but how will they take care of diseases which are intrinsic or coursal in nature? That is the reason why therapies of cancer which are 100% successful in lab are 100% failure when applied to patients (no wonder 9 out 11 papers on cancer cannot be reproduced), since intrinsic disease are not lab grown. These clinical trials in many situations try to draw right conclusion from wrong premise.

You have cited a wonderful example of Dr.Shital Ghosh of his advise to patient for a lemon juice. There are  examples galore with probably many of us from great doctors. That is the reason why many medical thinkers feel that healing profession is more of an art and less of science. It is getting too long for whatsapp...so I conclude with a question, there are about 200 methods of treatment including alloptahy, so given the backdrop does it deserve the primacy and all others as "alternatives" it claims to posess?

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