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Posted April 11, 2011: by Bill Sardi
Over 18 years ago a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that one in three Americans polled had utilized unconventional medical services in a 12-month period, paying for these services out of pocket. Strikingly, American adults who were more affluent and educated reported the highest use of alternative medicine such as acupuncture and chiropractic. Modern allopathic medicine was stunned. This rate of use was much higher than previously estimated. Modern medicine had lost a significant share of its business.
Over time, recognizing it was losing market share, modern medicine did what all threatened professions do – begin to incorporate competing practices into their armamentarium. The term “integrative medicine” came into being – the concept that alternative medicine would be incorporated into conventional medical treatment regimens. The general idea is to swallow the competition and eliminate it.
But a reverse question remains: should alternative medicine, even though it is often ineffective and unproven, be melded with therapies that have been disproven (examples: gene therapy, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs), even outright toxic (example: cancer chemotherapy, liver toxic statin drugs)?
Yes, I maintain alternative medicine is a largely grab bag of unproven and ineffective therapies, as delivered by an array of herbalists, naturopaths, homeopaths, chiropractors, oriental medical practitioners, etc. But at least these therapies are noninvasive and “do no harm,” which is the first rule of medicine (Hippocratic Oath).
The idea of integrative medicine really became a way to placate the growing dissatisfaction with modern allopathic medicine rather than to confront modern medicine’s failures and seek new technologies.
The prevailing attitude was arrogant. Conventional medicine held that its technologies were scientifically proven and that incorporating dubious therapies, such as aromatherapy, would be an affront to science-based medicine.
Well, there is some truth to that, but aromatherapy doesn’t kill, modern medicine does! Every time doctors put on a labor strike, death rates decline.
Just examine the use of one drug, Procrit, used to remedy anemia among cancer patients. The drug is effective at curing anemia, but the patients die sooner and more often.
Yet one proponent of allopathic medicine said, “The danger of integrative medicine lies in creating a smokescreen behind which dubious practices are pushed into routine healthcare. I believe this would be a serious disservice to all involved—not least, to our patients.” Yes, but under the rule of “first do no harm,” alternative medicine often shines.
The track record of modern medicine is abysmal, but that hasn’t kept the public from clamoring for more of it.
For example, modern medicine missed the mark on dietary aspects of health and gave a thumbs-down on eggs while promoting calcium supplements. Eggs, it turned out, never raised circulating cholesterol levels significantly and their consumption is associated with reduced mortality rates. While countries that consume the most calcium have the highest rates of cardiovascular disease. It appears that everything modern medicine recommends creates more disease, not less.
Despite the fact that Ivan Illitch’s book Medical Nemesis (1975) had subjected contemporary Western medicine to a pointed attack, which was followed by Robert S. Mendelsohn’s Confessions Of A Medical Heretic (1979), an insiders critique of the “church of modern medicine,” the medical care industry never even blinked. It kept wracking up bills for treatments that never addressed the cause of most chronic disease – aging.
The cost of medical care skyrocketed with each new technology that was introduced, but outcomes were no better. Even modern medicine’s magic bullet – antibiotics, began to fail with the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.
Modern medicine has chosen to center its therapeutic offerings around circulating cholesterol levels. Yet there is no evidence that cholesterol reduction reduces mortality for coronary artery disease, a leading cause of death. In fact, only 1 in 70 users of statin cholesterol-lowering drugs averts a non-mortal heart attack over a 5-year period, yet this class of drugs has achieved FDA approved.
Self-deluded doctors prescribe blood-pressure controlling drugs that are partially effective at reducing a pressure numbers, but are frankly inappropriate. Elevated blood pressure largely emanates from the inability of arteries to widen (dilate) upon physical or emotional exertion. Yet hypertension, as it is called, is treated as a drug deficiency — as excess of fluid in the circulatory system (diuretics), as a overly fast heart rate (beta blockers), excessive ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme — ACE inhibitors) or excessive influx of calcium into cells (calcium blockers). Beta blockers are so inferior, experts say they should be abandoned for use in the control of blood pressure. Yet beta blockers are prescribed every day for elevated blood pressure.
These drugs are so fraught with side effects and unable to singly control blood pressure that patients often must take three drugs to control their blood pressure, which of course reduces patient compliance. A recent study says: “Despite the wide application of antihypertensive therapy, a substantial portion of the hypertensive population remains uncontrolled although taking more than three drugs.”
Blood pressure-controlling drugs are only effective in about half of hypertensive patients and may not reduce mortality. If you were told that a drug you were prescribed for elevated blood pressure worked in only about half of hypertensive patients and posed serious side effects, would you take that drug? Millions of naïve Americans do every day.
The Food & Drug Administration, which covers for the sins of modern medicine, even went so far as to blame an essential mineral, potassium, for deaths caused by potassium-sparing diuretics, and limited the intake of potassium in mineral supplements to 99 milligrams per dose, when it was the drugs that were the cause of the problem.
Drugs are the leading cause of both low and high potassium levels. Combined use of blood pressure-lowering drugs increases the risk for potassium toxicity and death. That excessive potassium as a drug side effect can induce a severely-slowed heart rate and death, is well documented in the medical literature. Furthermore, researchers were unable to find a link between potassium supplementation and mortality among heart failure patients.
In fact, a shortage of potassium (hypokalemia) is present in 7% to 17% of patients with cardiovascular disease and up to 20% of hospitalized patients and up to 40% of patients on diuretics suffer from a shortage of potassium. Yet the public is instructed to fear potassium overload.
This author could go on and on here, sticking pins in the voodoo doll of modern medicine. The question is: how does humanity find its way out of this mess?
It won’t unless it begins to rely less on doctoring and more on self care. It should be anticipated that any remedy that excludes doctors, conventional or alternative, will be professionally shunned and ignored. But if the public cannot rely upon modern or alternative medicine, and must resort to unguided self care, where and how do they get started? What is the new paradigm?
S.J. Genuis of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, in a paper entitled “Medical practice and community health care in the 21st century: a time of change,” gives us a hint:
The contemporary model of evidence-based medicine has not effectively addressed the ubiquitous public health dilemma of escalating chronic illness, and is being challenged by pervasive dissatisfaction among both patients and caregivers. Several recent reports highlight the disturbing problem of deteriorating morale within the medical community, while unprecedented numbers of discontented patients are turning to assorted unconventional therapies in search of help. Although doctor shortages, overwork, increasing regulation and myriad other challenges add to ever-increasing stress, many medical professionals no longer find medicine to be a rewarding vocation and feel ineffective in their work. Recent research, however, highlights innovative clinical strategies using principles from emerging fields, such as molecular medicine and epigenetics, which offer promising outcomes for many chronically ill patients.
Now if we could take the nation’s army of chiropractors and re-educate them into molecular medicine practitioners, we could skip A and go to Z and create some real competition for conventional medicine. Right now, alternative medicine is largely a farce. The most prevalent paradigm that drives alternative medicine is a total misdirection.
Chiropractors are mired in archaic technology. Chiropractic is designed to provide treatment, and like conventional medicine, produce incomes but not cures. Even if forced to accept that chiropractic offers health benefits, why cling to an antiquated technology when we now have molecular medicine? Why continue to practice a so-called discipline that was invented in the 1890s?
The ironic report of two patients who developed muscle aches as a side effect of statin drugs and sought chiropractic care, suggests a health care system comprised of keystone cops at all ends who mindlessly deliver care. Whatever is billable often prevails in modern medicine. Whether any arm of alternative medicine will begin to embrace and practice molecular medicine is an unknown. It will have to be demonstrated to be profitable to attract licensed practitioners.
If molecular medicine is the new paradigm, how should it be measured? Researchers have uncovered a master controlling mechanism of genes, measured by microRNA.
MicroRNAs are now called the “guiding hand of the human genome“ and the “maestro conductor in the expanding symphony of regenerative and reparative medicine.” Future technologies that control microRNA are very promising. Whichever branch of medicine adopts and delivers microRNA-validated technology will likely lower health care costs while reducing morbidity and mortality. This is in contrast to what University of Pittsburgh researchers allege that commonly-used pharmaceutical drugs can cause such persistent epigenetic changes that they produce disease rather than prevent it.
There are 1048 human microRNAs that control ~25,000 human genes. Geneticists are talking about microRNAs exerting control over endogenous stem cells, thus creating the opportunity to produce a totally regenerative human body.
Damaged parts could be completely healed and regenerated via microRNA control over stem cell creation and survival. Since the body makes stems cells to repair wounds or damaged tissue, it is instructive to learn that a red wine molecule has already been demonstrated to aid in the survival of injected stem cells in damaged animal hearts. This creates the prospect of a future world where damaged or diseases hearts, kidneys, livers and other organs would be regenerated from within without the need for organ transplantation.
Just the control of a single microRNA, microRNA-21, would likely make a profound difference in human health. MicroRNA-21 has been identified as the only microRNA over-expressed in a wide variety of cancers.
Another closely related microRNA, microRNA-20b exerts control over two key genes involved in cancer – the hypoxia-inducing gene (HIF-1) which produces the oxygen-less (ischemic) state that is characteristic of tumor cells (as first discovered by two-time Nobel Prize winner Otto Warburg in the 1930s), and the gene that activates new blood vessels (neovascularization or angiogenesis) that feeds solid tumors nutrients.
Control of these two genes is considered key to controlling cancer. If healthy cells lose their ability to adapt to varying oxygen concentration, they become cancerous and revert to making sugar, then utilize it for cellular energy rather than oxygen.
The number of natural molecules that have been tested for their ability to influence microRNA is limited. Green tea extract was tested for its impact upon microRNA among human breast cancer cells. Twenty-three genes were significantly differentiated, up to 3.8 fold, by green tea extract at a low concentration, particularly microRNA-21. Green tea extract exerts a significant though modest influence (1.18 fold change) over the tumor suppressor gene known as tropomyosin-1 via microRNA-21.
Below is a chart showing the microRNA profile for green tea extract upon human breast cancer cells. Green tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk for breast cancer.
If the cancer-cell-killing (cytotoxic) effect of a specific microRNA, like microRNAs-20b or 21, can be magnified, it is conceivable that treatments targeting over-expressed microRNAs can be developed, say geneticists. Such a development may already have occurred.
Resveratrol, a red wine molecule that exhibits profound anti-cancer mechanisms, inhibiting cancer at all three stages of development (initiation, growth and spread), (something that cannot be said about any existing cancer drug), has already undergone microRNA analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Researchers also compared plain resveratrol with a commercially available resveratrol-based, multi-small molecule nutriceutical (Longevinex®).
Resveratrol, and more so the commercially available nutriceutical combination (Longevinex®), exerted a more profound effect in animal heart cells than observed in breast cancer cells with green tea extract. Here were the results of that study:
|Comparison of Influence of Resveratrol or a Resveratrol-Based Nutriceutical
Over Key microRNAs in Rodent Heart
|MicroRNA up or down-regulated by 3.8-fold or more*||microRNA-20b fold change||microRNA-21
|Multi-molecule nutriceutical (Longevinex®)||23||59.3||1366.6||314.6|
|* 3.8-fold change was the peak microRNA change exerted by green tea extract in another study. Both resveratrol and a resveratrol-based nutriceutical featuring multiple small natural molecules, exceeded the effect of green tea in over 20 different microRNAs.|
So you can readily see that there may be nutriceuticals that are already available that have a profound effect over key microRNAs involved in various diseases including aging. Longevinex® exhibits a unique microRNA footprint separate from resveratrol or green tea.
It is almost 8 years since Longevinex® was first displayed on the front pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal as a possible anti-aging pill. Inexplicably, it has yet to be widely incorporated into any conventional or alternative medicine regimens. Public demand for such a pill has also been wanting. The public still wants to know if resveratrol will interfere with their problematic drugs. Pharmaceutical drugs still remain the focus of modern medicine if for no other reason than patients are afraid to abandon their existing drug regimens. #### © 2011 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc. Not for posting on other websites. Bill Sardi has a commercial interest in microRNA-altering nutriceuticals.
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