Western Medicine ? A Business

I have always wondered what would happen if we put more CARE in the concept of Health Care.

Lets look at the United States.  Per Capita , $ 8000 per person is spent , and in other Western Countries

the amount is closer to $3000 to $4000. Western Medicine focuses on Treatment of Medical conditions,

such as blood pressure,diabetes,and infections. The pharmaceutical industry is, rightfully, focused on

the treatment of these conditions. In the United States and New Zealand it is permissible to advsertise

pharmaceutical products. At the end of the add, the tag line is typically  ” talk to your doctor ” and people do ! The

outcome…The US and NZ have the highest pharmaceutical usage rates in the world. They do NOT have the best life expectancy outcomes…

In terms of life expectancy, the US has fifty countries with better odds of a long life.What would happen if the focus was on

prevention,nutrition,exercise,spiritual wellness,stress reduction,mindfulness based stress reduction,yoga,meditation, or simply a good night’s rest!


Why do I see 14 year olds who require gallbladder surgery.Why do I see 35 year olds having heart attacks.Why do I see 30 year olds with breast cancer.

Why have I seen 25 year old die of colon cancer.

Studies further have shown that in jurisdictions where more money is spent of medical proceedures, tests,and use of pharmaceuticals…..the outcomes were poorer !

In the US, some states have a knee replacement rate 2 to 3 times the national average.Also, some areas had 2 to 3 times higher stent insertion rates,and higer angioplasty rates.

Don’t get me wrong. Arthroplasty and stents and angioplasty proceedures, offer great relief and often with life saving results. This is true of course

if used in the properly selected patient population .  In jurisdictions in the US, in states that have lower rates of stent insertion,angioplasty,and knee replacements, the

hospital death rates are LOWER. Studies have shown that when there is a doctor strike ( a rare event) that hospital death rates drop. This is NOT to suggest that

doctors are making errors or doing bad work. It is simply that adverse events that are unexpected , are more frequent, the more proceedures that are done.

To a man with a hammer, ” everything looks like a nail”

Stents reduce symptoms but does not necessarily prolong life.

Unfortunately, Fee for Service Medicine payment models highly reward proceedural medicine.Taking time to discuss their lifestyle,diet,health,exercise,stress,rest(sleep)

patterns,and their important relationships.

Typical examples of a gap in care and knowledge ….the use of accupuncture for pain modification. There is NO hospital or publically funded clinic that does

accupuncture for pain management. Yet we do have funded availability of percocet,oxycontin,oxyneo,fentanyl,and various forms of morphine ( all highly addictive)

We are told that we can eliminate pain by increasing dosage…until pain is eliminated ( at what cost)  What do you think about publicly funded accupuncture,

physiotherapy,mindfulness based stress reduction,dietary councelling,and psychological councelling ( ALL  not available to the majority )

Patients can empower themselves by taking self care to a higher level . Dr Dean Ornish ( a cardiologist in California) published data that diet and lifestyle changes

can reverse some of the arterial changes associated with coronary artery disease.

Similarly,similar lifestyle studies have been done to look at the effects of lifestyle on gene expression. It turns out that out ability to have our genes express their genetic

information accurately relates to  sequences at the ends of DNA called telomeres. The shorter the telomere,the poorer the gene aexpression. The longer the telomere the

more accurate the gene expression.Studies have shown that daily stress reduction techniues,higher vegetarian diet content,45 minutes of exercise,and improved rest patterns,

caused a higher expression of genes protective against cardiac disease,diabetes and cancer.

We can do MUCH MUCH more using our common sense. BUT sometimes that is not so COMMON

I would like hear what you all think  and what we can all do about this.






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2 comments on “Western Medicine ? A Business
  1. Dan Miron says:

    We both here have been using some forms of that for some time, however lately have been researching the lasting effects of i.e. Tai Chi when fused with Western medicine… both of us here are doing yoga now and my wife is taking Tai Chi (she feels GREAT after each session and it lasts for days) and I have been through the MBSR program here in Barrie to wonderful results. So guess who is looking into Tai Chi now? 🙂
    In any event, I am impressed at the openness to discussions on the alternative therapy interventions, so looking forward to hearing others’ commentaries! Keep up the great work, Dr. V! 🙂

    Personally, I believe we need some new leadership around the whole thought of expressing alternative self-care methods into classrooms even at early ages… but really would push the Tai chi since it takes no equipment, has no costs, can be done anywhere, anytime, at any age, and has so MANY beneficial effects on overall health including pain management without drugs, cognitive improvement without drugs, etc. etc. etc. ……… There is a large body peer-reviewed evidence-based research showing relationship between TAI CHI and improved health even for RA and other maladies.

    • Charles Vanderwater says:

      There are many peer reviewed articles supporting many alternative( read as non ” pill” ) treatments .
      If we funded some of these, our need for pharmaceuticals would actually be reduced….That would be a victory.
      That is a good goal to work towards

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