Certain subjects light fear like striking a match. Snakes kill two people per year in Texas, but they terrify us. Yet without snakes, rats would increase, causing disease that would kill more people than snakes.
Our capacity to over-fear snakes bears resemblance to healthcare’s overreaction to viruses, which, like snakes, play a crucial role. For instance, in a world where dental x-rays and cell phones have increased our risk of glial brain tumor by over 30%, wild chickenpox reduces glial brain tumor risk by 15%.
Economics and health are connected in many ways. John Mauldin in his May 16, 2015 letter paraphrases economist Bill White:
Central bank models, he told us, are artificial machines. His best quote was, “The basic problem with central banks: they think they know how the economy works.” Their models are built to be gamed and always assume a return to equilibrium. But there is no equilibrium – you are where you are. The problem with equilibrium models is that they don’t reflect reality.
An economy is like a forest ecosystem, not a machine. We are on a very bad path – debt is unsustainable. Notice the environment since the 2008 crisis: the Eurozone crisis is a limited variant on a global crisis; fiscal and regulatory restraint is not helpful; and monetary policy is the only game in town and is not effective.
Rheumatic diseases are not new. Ramses II suffered with ankylosing spondylitis (Greek “crooked vertebrae”).
Nowadays, we have new risk factors for inflammation, which spells more rheumatic arthritis (RA) such as psoriasis, lupus and ankylosing spondylitis.
Even as 10,000 years ago, RA risk starts with genetics. Some of us have an allele called HLA-B27 which is associated with arthritis. If you have HLA-B27, you have greater risk of autoimmune arthritis.
A diabetes study found that being overweight is linked to better survival, and being thin is the biggest risk (Costanzo et al 2015).
Here’s a piece by Mike Adams from 2006 that holds water in explaining absolute risk versus relative risk: Continue reading
To understand today’s healthcare, we will measure what metrics make its foundation. This involves looking at improvement percentages, including tradeoffs, of highly successful drugs in the marketplace.
The following will display data about percentages of “betterment”, such that substance which achieve competitive percentages should be considered by a fair government as medicine.
Similar to immunology, an idea occurred to me to ingest the weakened form of an active virus in a controlled fashion.
Our family tracks together on viruses. In the past few years, when one of us catches a virus, the other three catch it. And we are laden with viruses, but not doctor visits. In 2013, we went to the doctor not at all, except to get school-mandated wellness notes for the kids. In 2014, we had only one doctor’s visit, which was diagnostic; I wanted blood work to help me understand a rash on my left leg.
We can categorize medical treatment broadly as emergency, non-emergency, and chronic.
Emergency treatment would include repairing a compound fracture, stitching a laceration, treating a heart attack, providing a blood transfusion, etc.
Actual emergencies are rare. And currently, our healthcare system is handling emergency treatment without major needs of reform. The one problem would be a tendency to overreact instead of providing careful observation. For instance, poisonings and head injuries are often over-treated, causing further harm. Continue reading
Old paths are full of certified folks. To protect the financial value of certifications, professionals wrap endorsements around their status quo.
Over time, with much wrapping, a school of thought closes down unique thought. This is similar to everyone in a room agreeing with the boss, when they really don’t.
Evidence shows taking drugs to lower blood pressure is harmful to your health. In older people, antihypertensives caused heart attacks and dementia (Mossello et al 2015).
This makes sense. Heart and brain tissue needs a strong, steady blood flow. If we override benelles, using chemicals to “force down” blood pressure, denying nutrients and oxygen to important tissues, the predictable outcome would be more heart attacks and dementia.