In an article titled, Faking Medical Reality, (as opposed to faking dementia) by John Rappoport on a website called The PPJ Gazette, John covers the issues of “when mainstream advocates attack so-called alternative or natural health, they tend to mention that their own sacred profession is based on real science, on studies, on clinical trials.”
One doctor told me, “The clinical trials and published studies are what keep us from going back to the Stone Age.”
Personally, I believe that western science and medicine is stuck in the stone age… not the other way around.
Especially when we are considering dementia. It is the holistic health options that have supported me (and many others) to live more positively, and increased my sense of well being. This approach has possibly slowed the progression of my dementia; and even though this approach may not be a cure, it has been worth pursuing, especially when the alternative ‘advice’ was (and still is) to give up living and prepare to die. Instead of going home and preparing only to die, I have chosen to reinvest in living with dementia! Bredesen and others are, in my opinion, on the right track, even if they are not quite there yet. It is definitely worth reading The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline, by Dale Bredesen.
So, back to the first article I referred to earlier! Further in Rappoports blog, he quotes from an article in the NY Review of Books (May 12, 2011) by Helen Epstein, “Flu Warning: Beware the Drug Companies.”
“Six years ago, John Ioannidis, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, found that nearly half of published articles in scientific journals contained findings that were false, in the sense that independent researchers couldn’t replicate them. The problem is particularly widespread in medical research, where peer-reviewed articles in medical journals can be crucial in influencing multimillion and sometimes multibillion-dollar spending decisions. It would be surprising if conflicts of interest did not sometimes compromise editorial neutrality, and in the case of medical research, the sources of bias are obvious. Most medical journals receive half or more of their income from pharmaceutical company advertising and reprint orders, and dozens of others [journals] are owned by companies like Wolters Kluwer, a medical publisher that also provides marketing services to the pharmaceutical industry.”
Further on in the same article by Rappoport:
“The FDA also relies increasingly upon fees and other payments from the pharmaceutical companies whose products the agency is supposed to regulate. This could contribute to the growing number of scandals in which the dangers of widely prescribed drugs have been discovered too late. Last year, GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia was linked to thousands of heart attacks, and earlier in the decade, the company’s antidepressant Paxil was discovered to exacerbate the risk of suicide in young people. Merck’s painkiller Vioxx was also linked to thousands of heart disease deaths. In each case, the scientific literature gave little hint of these dangers. The companies have agreed to pay settlements in class action lawsuits amounting to far less than the profits the drugs earned on the market. These precedents could be creating incentives for reduced vigilance concerning the side effects of prescription drugs in general.”
Although it may seem I am rambling a lot today (and it has taken me a while to write this), there is another article I feel is relevant to Rethinking not only dementia, but ‘modern medicine’, health and well being, which is on depression. Even an article in the Huffington post suggests diet research is “Stuck in the stone age“!
In another by Johann Hari article on depression, Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?, he begins by claiming; “In the 1970s, a truth was accidentally discovered about depression – one that was quickly swept aside, because its implications were too inconvenient, and too explosive. American psychiatrists had produced a book that would lay out, in detail, all the symptoms of different mental illnesses, so they could be identified and treated in the same way across the United States. It was called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. In the latest edition, they laid out nine symptoms that a patient has to show to be diagnosed with depression – like, for example, decreased interest in pleasure or persistent low mood. For a doctor to conclude you were depressed, you had to show five of these symptoms over several weeks.”
He goes on to state;
Drug companies would fund huge numbers of studies and then only release the ones that showed success.
… I learned the best scientific evidence about what really causes depression and anxiety. They taught me that it is not what we have been told it is up to now. I found there is evidence that seven specific factors in the way we are living today are causing depression and anxiety to rise – alongside two real biological factors (such as your genes) that can combine with these forces to make it worse.
Once I learned this, I was able to see that a very different set of solutions to my depression – and to our depression – had been waiting for me all along.
To understand this different way of thinking, though, I had to first investigate the old story, the one that had given me so much relief at first. Professor Irving Kirsch at Harvard University is the Sherlock Holmes of chemical antidepressants – the man who has scrutinised the evidence about giving drugs to depressed and anxious people most closely in the world. In the 1990s, he prescribed chemical antidepressants to his patients with confidence. He knew the published scientific evidence, and it was clear: it showed that 70% of people who took them got significantly better. He began to investigate this further, and put in a freedom of information request to get the data that the drug companies had been privately gathering into these drugs. He was confident that he would find all sorts of other positive effects – but then he bumped into something peculiar.
Why am I not surprised…
The BPSD paradigm was also funded by a drug company, with NO evidence based research to support it, and yet, the dementia sector embraced it, and have clung onto it, almost for life, as if ‘it’ was the solution to dementia care. If you are a regular reader of my blog, and others by those who are choosing to see dementia differently, you will already know there has been a #BanBPSD campaign this year, with more to follow in 2019. The BPSD paradigm is archaic, and no better than being stuck in the Stoneage.
The attitudes of most people is still stuck in the Stoneage, especially in terms of people being able to live more positively than a person in ‘end stage’ dementia. Whilstever society continues to apply a 20th Century post diagnostic management plan or medical model of care to people being diagnosed earlier, and refuse to acknowledge or even consider a 21st Century view of dementia, we will continue to experience the stigma, discrimination and doubting of dementia, especially if we dare to live positively with it. I’ve also written two books on dementia, and although still very well received, both are currently being revised in terms of Banning BPSD.
Dementia diagnosis, and post diagnostic management and support, must be based on a human right approach, and one that is aligned to the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the WHO Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017 – 2025. The World Health Organisation states “Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide.”