Kelly Ann Conway may have coined the phrase, but “alternative facts” are nothing new to health care. Here are several that come to mind:
- High cholesterol causes heart disease – More than half of all patients suffering their first heart attack have normal or even low cholesterol.
- Stain drugs reduce the risk of heart attack by lowering cholesterol – No, however they due reduce the risk slightly by reducing vascular inflammation. Lowering cholesterol (and LDL) is a side effect of statin drugs.
- Red Yeast Rice works as well as a statin drug – No, red yeast rice is an uncontrolled statin drug with potentially fatal side effects.
- “Hysterectomy”, the removal of hysteria from a woman. You may laugh, but that was the original reason for the surgery and is still the accepted medical term.
- Preventive health care – Really? Less than half of PCPs run the A1c to look for diabetes in their obese population over the age of 45. I routinely see lab work from other doctors showing moderate kidney failure, anemia, or hypothyroidism without comment. The average physician knows less about nutrition then their patients.
- Managing polypharmacy – That’s a class for physician on how to manage a patient taking 5 or more prescription drugs daily. You cannot manage polypharmacy.
- Junk DNA – Ninety-eight percent of our DNA has unknown functions, therefore it is “junk” DNA.
- Vestigial organ – An organ in the human body that no longer serves a purpose, like the appendix. The thymus was considered vestigial at one point, but we now know it’s the hub of our immune system.
- The yearly flu shot – Given for ever changing viral infections that mutate so quickly that the shot is obsolete before it is distributed.
- Round-Up Ready seed – wheat seeds that have been genetically modified (by Monsanto) to survive direct application of the herbicide Round-Up. That way the herbicide can be sprayed directly on our food to kill the surrounding weeds. Which leads to the next one….
- Biodegradable – A chemical compound (like Round-Up) that is supposedly safe because it supposedly breaks down into safe compounds. Although the WHO (World Health Organization) classifies Round-Up as a carcinogen.
- The Food Pyramid – The official U.S. recommended diet consisting of a base of refined carbohydrates. A middle layer of dairy, meat and eggs, topped by a very small (think top of a pyramid) peak of fruits and vegetables.
- Sleep Aid – a drug that forces you to sleep, but disrupts the normal rhythmic patterns of sleep taking away most of the benefits of sleep.
- Efficacious Antidepressant – The best antidepressants work about in about one-third of patients. In order to be considered efficacious, a drug must work at least 50% of the time. The new twist, adding additional antidepressants when the first one (or two) fail to work.
- Better Living Through Chemistry – the concept that we are somehow healthier by taking prescription drugs.
- Longevity – Statistically we are living longer, but only because infant mortality has been markedly reduced in the past century skewing the statistics and because we can extend life without quality using drugs and machines.
The Bottom Line:
I bet you can add to this list.