Sunday, October 6, 2019

The First Cells

I rarely write about positive events in mainstream medicine but the Wall Street Journal's Review section recently featured a great front-page essay from a new book titled The First Cell and the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last.  You may have been impressed with all of the decreases in cancer rates since 1990 but the reality is that we've simply returned them to where they were in the 1930's, before the growth of cigarettes (and I would add processed foods).  Today the newest methods to treat cancer that are generating the most research and expense tend to be focused on treating the worst cases -  chasing after the last cancer cells in end-stage patients.

The book, to be published October 15th, calls for a paradigm shift.  We need to focus instead on the first cancer cells to prevent the growth of the disease in healthy patients.  (What a concept!)  This prevention would be the cheapest, fastest and safest alternative to the current treatment protocols of "slash, poison and burn."  Cancer is much too complex to be solved with simple reductionism that tries to match each cancer with the proper drug which is why 95% of new cancer drugs fail to receive FDA approval and the other 5% barely deserve it.

The last paragraph of the essay sums it up:  "What's missing from today's discussion of cancer is the admission that current strategies have failed and we need to take a 180-degree turn.  We now invest a lot of effort into finding minimal residual disease.  Why not apply the same rigor and focus to finding minimal initial disease?  Cancer research has been promising hope and delivering disappointments for a half-century.  Instead of letting cancer grow into its end-stage monstrosity, let us assemble our resources to pre-empt that battle and strike instead at cancer's root: the first cells."

Maybe there is hope in mainstream medicine if more doctors accept the reality ot medicine today.  After all, this proposed attitude shift sounds a lot like what's been done by complementary and alternative medicine for hundreds, even thousands, of years.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Declining Life Expectancy in U.S.

Not since World War I and the Spanish Influenza of 1915-18 has America seen a decline in our national life expectancy like we're seeing today.  Is it some new super bug?  Something from outer space?  No, I think we can blame the Internet and the polarization of society for this one.

A baby born in 2017 is now expected to live to be just 78.6 years old, down from 78.7 the year before, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.  We rank #31 in the world which is terrible considering that America spends more on health care than any other nation on earth.  Clearly, we're not getting our money's worth!

The biggest reasons for our decline is an increase in suicides and drug overdoses.  I think both are directly connected to the polarization of our society fueled by the media and Internet.  Liver disease is the next major factor and that probably is related to our prepackaged meals and artificial ingredients to maintain freshness for longer periods.  The rest of the world prefers natural foods prepared daily.

We know how to live longer, better lives. Americans just choose to ignore it.

So sad.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Lots of Good Books

There are lots of good books on health available today (but I still think How To UnBreak Your Health is one of the best).  Here's a list to help you get started.

Take charge of your own health!

Monday, February 25, 2019


It's that time again!  My book SUSAN'S SEARCH will be a FREE download beginning on February 28th and running through March 4, 2019.  ENJOY!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Doctors Are People, For Better and Worse

Thanks to the wonders of television most of us grew up with the images of doctors as amazing, infallible beings of unlimited healing abilities.  As we get older we realize that isn't so.  Doctors are just people too, subject to the same problems as all of the rest of us.

I was reminded of this fact recently when a friend called to update me on his wife's health problems.  It seems they had been going to a 72-year-old doctor for some time and were told that her condition couldn't be operated on for 3 months, until she'd tried a non-surgical alternative.  When my friend changed doctors to a younger (and better) physician they were given many different treatment options, including surgery, immediately.  Not all doctors are created equal, and they change and age over time just like all the rest of us.

Years ago I talked with the medical director of one of the country's leading alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs and the stories he told me were frightening.  Doctors can also have alcohol and drug problems and the results are, well let's just say they're too terrible to review here. 

Never forget that YOU are the greatest proponent for your good health!  No one else understands and cares about you more than you.  Don't assume that your doctor has all of the answers, he or she is just a human being.  They have good days and bad days.  Some care more than others.  YOU have to be responsible for YOU!

That is the first step to realizing and accepting that there are hundreds of types of complementary and alternative medicine that might help you.  If you'd like to learn more, buy my book HOW TO UNBREAK YOUR HEALTH on Amazon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Americans Spending More, Not Getting More

A study by Johns Hopkins University will appear this month in HEALTH AFFAIRS shows that Americans continue to pay more for health care than any other industrialized country in the world, but aren't getting more health care.  In 2016 we spent an average of $9,892 per person, an increase of 117% over 2000.  Canadians spent $4,753, citizens of Switzerland spent $7,919. 

It's not that we were seeing more doctors or even using more medicine, it's that everything in America is/was more expensive.  Strangely enough, we're producing fewer graduates from medical schools. 

Health care in America has to change, period.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Mergers May Increase Costs

There was an interesting article in the New York Times recently showing how many of the hospital mergers aren't reducing patient healthcare costs but are actually increasing them due to the reduced competition.  Is this surprising?  Not really.  Americans have been told over and over again how business will take care of us if we just get out of the way and let them reduce competition in the marketplace.  Time and again once the competition has been reduced (or even eliminated) the prices rise because there is nothing keeping them in check.

Here in Texas the average price increases 2010-13 were about 12% but in markets where there were major hospital mergers the prices jumped much more.  In Killeen they increased nearly 30%, in Midland they were up over 20%.

One issue we can all agree on resulting from the mid-term elections is that the cost of health care is going to become a major issue in the 2020 election.  Whether it's Democrats or Republicans, or by some miracle a coalition of both, the issue needs to be addressed and the sooner the better.