Monday, December 15, 2014

The myths of modern medicine

Doing some research after my dental experience and learned the following:
1. root canal treatment is common but not always necessary - often dentists do because they can.
2. the majority of dentists prescribe antibiotics for 'pulpitis' or inflamed/infected tooth but the 'evidence' for its efficacy is purely anecdotal and there is no research to substantiate the use.
3. dentists prescribe antibiotics for the pain involved in reversible or irreversible pulpitis but the research to date shows antibiotics have absolutely no influence on pain and those on placebos take the same amount of painkillers as those on antibiotics. And even more interestingly, not everyone suffers pain for the same condition which can exist for months or years without any symptoms, all of which just supports the holistic medical view that we are all uniquely individual and everything happens for reasons beyond the purely physical.
Antibiotics are wise for serious infection but serious infection, particularly with teeth, is very rare. You know there is real infection where you have swelling, temperature (as your body fights the infection) and general malaise. Toothache is not a sign of serious infection even where there is an abscess and pus. But, if you do have to take antibiotics then make sure you also take probiotics, well away from the drugs, and for some days after you finish. The message overall however is, that like doctors, just because your dentist prescribes antibiotics it does not mean you need them; it does not mean it will make you more comfortable - beyond placebo; it will not do anything effective to treat your condition and may in fact simply compromise your own immune response, and it does not mean that your dentist really understands why he or she is doing it.
4. the belief that alcohol and antibiotics do not combine is a myth, sourced it is said by the fact that during the war when soldiers were given penicillin, it was so valuable that their urine was collected and the remaining penicillin removed for future use. Problems arose with this retrieval when soldiers drank beer as they urinated so much there was little penicillin to retrieve. Hence they were told they should not drink when taking antibiotics because it interfered with the efficacy of the antibiotic. A lie it seems.
5. another theory on the antibiotic/alcohol myth was that women given treatment for urinary tract infections, were considered to be responsible because of loose behaviour and so, 'no alcohol' was a punishment.
6. one antibiotic, Metronidazole, (Flagyl) comes with dire warnings about endless vomiting and suffering if alcohol of any kind is consumed - I do remember it from many decades ago when I did take it once for UTI - but research in recent years shows that there is no substance to this and when the alcohol/antibiotic combination was tested on various groups, no-one suffered at all. The general view was that on occasion, a highly susceptible person might have problems and so the general rule for all and sundry went out..... or, perhaps because Flagyl is commonly used for UTI's the medical profession is still trying to punish 'bad women.
7. and while the medical mantra has been 'you must always finish your course of antibiotics or dire things will happen and you will make things worse if you do not' it seems the latest research shows that less is more, that the patients were right to stop taking antibiotics when they felt better, that three days is pretty much enough on average to knock off what needs to be done and that even in serious situations, half the time works better than the old conventions of one, two, three weeks or months. This has no doubt been driven by the fact that antibiotics are increasingly useless but the research also shows that bacteria are more likely to become stronger and more antibiotic resistant the MORE that you take.
Shock, horror, the patients were right and the doctors and scientists were wrong - stop taking them when you feel better seems to be the way to go. So that intuition or instinct which has 50% of people stop taking their antibiotics before they finished the course had it right! One wonders how much patients get right and their doctors get wrong which just gets ignored.
It is yet another reminder of how much myths abound in science/medicine and also how much more easily we can, in this day and age, do the research for ourselves. As a supporter of Homeopathy I am also bemused at how dentists can rely on anecdotal evidence to support their practices and yet this is derided for non-Allopathic treatments. Nothing like double standards.
Dental health like any health requires a healthy body. The source of that is nutrition and many other methodologies like Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Herbal, Nutritional, Meditational, Reiki etc., can and do help without doing harm.