Our brain, body, organs and teeth were
never evolved to endure such abuse
from lifestyle and ongoing medical drugs
Mindfulness of Eastern Medicine and the Brain
Oh yes, we live longer. We take comfort in the possibility of living longer than our parents and our grandparents. We should surely be thankful for modern medicine. Or should we? We do not seem to be a happy society for having these extra years. Infant mortality rate has certainly dropped immensely in the past of 100 years or more. A long and sometimes painful end to our mortality seems to hold the future for far too many people. Are we living well? Or are we being kept alive rather then actually living? Is the perpetuation of a long life with the potential for Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer and heart disease in the latter years something to look forward to? Hardly.
We need to be mindful of the severe limits of Western medicine and our lifestyle. We need to make a committment to live a different way. Some will look at their aging parents and take a deep breath at what they see. Announced by President Obama in 2013, the USA government set up Brain Research for neuroscientists and scientists to develop genetics to “improve the health and quality of life for millions.”
This view ignores the fact there is nothing really wrong with our brain. A small percentage of people find themselves vulnerable to life threatening hereditary traits or suffer brain injury or disease that affects the functioning of our brain. Health issues that impact on the brain include an abscess, brain injury, concussion, a haemorrhage, a tumour, meningitis, epilepsy, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington disease. Major mental health issues, such as clinical depression, also impact on the brain and the brain can impact on states of mind.
Brain maps and photo images of the brain, which endlessly link the genes in the brain to all mind/body issues, will not improve the health and quality of life for millions. It needs to be restated that we suffer much physical and mental ill health due to what we absorb from our environment – parents, education, food, drink, pollution, chemicals, the pharmaceutical industry, the violent and exploiters. Neuroscientists claim a gene as the link to ill health, and give a number to that gene. It surely is a no-brainer to see a variety of causes and conditions for mental/physical health issues outside the genes in the brain.
Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other ills impact on humans owing to the combination of behaviour and environmental factors including diet with excessive use of sugar, salt, fat, processed food and GM food (through digesting the new genes in the crops, fruit or animals). Our brains, bodies, organs and teeth were never evolved to endure such abuse. Lifestyle and the demands of others at home, school and work, along with pollution of land, water and air, generate our health problems.
The commonly held public view that one gene causes a disease ignores the obvious question to any thoughtful observer. What causes the one gene to get damaged and trigger sickness in body, mind or both? Are we always going to fall back on hereditary traits? If this damaged gene cause cancer, for example, then everyone with this gene would get cancer. Why do certain people with this gene not get cancer and certain others do get cancer? Is it random selection or to do with a way of life?
We read that BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene link to breast cancer. We then easily overlook the way a malignancy forms owing to human/environmentally induced genetic changes rather than a simplistic view of one or two defective genes. What made the gene defective? We neglect the power of the mind, exercise, diet and lifestyle to support healing and changing problematic genes.
We do not have to rush into fear and anxiety drawing conclusions that we inherited the gene from our parent (s) and thus we have to suffer through the same cancer or have pre-emptive surgery. We may be vulnerable but we are not doomed to suffer inherited traits if we develop a wise approach to health in every area of our life. There is no guarantee of a long life for either the wise or the naïve.
When a drug impacts upon the protein of one gene, it also has to impact on the others as well generating side effects, sometimes mild, dangerous or even deadly. The so-called side effects impact on other genes in the short or long term. This direct effect on healthy genes can include loss of energy, headaches, nausea, loss of diet, impact on various organs, hot flushes and sleepless nights. These reactions in the body indicate the protest taking place against the invasion of such chemicals or radiation treatment. A drug cannot exclusively affect one gene or a set of genes since it is a gross chemical tablet. Like everything else, all genes abide inter-connected with other genes. Recovery from strong medicine in body and mind can take a long time. Harmful effect can last longer than the original symptoms.
Physicians feel duty bound to prescribe drugs to cover themselves in case the patient falls more ill, even if the doctor knows full well that the drug has so called side effects or that a change of diet, environment or attitude would be a far, far healthier option. The Hippocratic Oath tells doctors to do no harm. Well, they do. Not intentionally, doctors contribute to harm through fear of reprimand, identification with the current medical paradigm, neglect and fear of making mistakes that would threaten their career.
On behalf of the pharmaceutical industry, medical salespeople place pressure on doctors to prescribe a particular medicine. Doctors get invited to elaborate functions in five star hotels where the industry promotes its drugs. We use prescription drugs to silence the symptoms of the body which inhibits exploring the conditions for stress, pain, addictions and health problems. We take medicine for the symptoms but we do not address the causes, neither does the medical establishment, except in the most superficial way. We, the public, have been brainwashed into believing that medical science knows reality and knows truth.
We need to abide with mindfully and with clear comprehension of the limits of science. Theoretical and practical science contains a belief system such as believing Western medicine provides proof through research and trials for its effective treatment of numerous human ills but Western medicine avoids providing proof, through research and trials, of its damage to the mental or physical health, or both, despite the first-hand experience of millions of people. The pharmaceutical industry and medical science live in as much denial of reality as those who make outrageous claims on behalf of complementary medicine.
The Power of the Placebo
A placebo consists of a sugar coated table. Our beliefs, including scientific beliefs, affect our biology. Our beliefs impact on our adrenaline, generate reactions, sensory signals and stimulate all manner of activity in our neurons. Healing can take place when taking a placebo due to our belief we have in the tablet. The medical establishment has more faith in chemicals than in the power of the mind or the equal co-operation of the mind and medication.
It frequently disturbs researchers in medical trials how high the percentage of improvement in health takes place for those taking a placebo. The apparent power of the placebo is so worryingly high that some drug companies want to eliminate the use of the placebo in research. Those who get better from a placebo may be as much as one third of the patients involved in trials for a drug.
One surgeon performed operations on the knees of his patients. With some remaining patients, he only made an incision and sewed the knee back up. The knee of the placebo group improved as much as the groups who had actual operations. Most of the placebo group felt an improvement in their knee because they believed they had gone through the operation. One grandfather in the placebo group relied upon a cane before his placebo operation. He now plays basketball with his grandchildren. Placebo drugs work well for people with stress, anxiety and mild or moderate depression. Some patients in the control group realised they were taking the real drug because of the painful side effects.
Clinical trials show that half the drugs used for various kinds of anti-depressants were no better than sugar coated placebo pills. Daily exercise to oxygenate the cells frequently serves as a more effective anti-depressant than pills or sugar-coated tablets. The medical establishment will promote a new wonder drug to combat stress and depression so these pills work because patients believe in them. They do not tell us that patients in the trials were handpicked or drug companies minimised the side effects so they only appear in the small print.
Brain scans have shown that the placebo also affects those dark regions of the brain affected by negative states of mind. Using a placebo, patients have even experienced nausea, as a side effect; on a placebo because they were convinced they were taking the real drug. The power of belief plays a crucial role in human life. We do not have to believe everything that our medical scientists believe. They have a vested interest in their beliefs as much as anybody else.
Scientific evidence shows that the placebo can have real, measurable effects on physiological changes in the brain. These changes include changes in blood pressure and the heart rate affecting chemical activity in the brain. The placebo can help relieve pain, depression, anxiety and fatigue without any side effects. The sugar-coated pill can be part of a healthy response to physical and mental issues underlying the importance of the relationship of experience of health problems and his or her beliefs to their experience.
The United Kingdom Parliamentary Committee disapproves of doctors prescribing the placebo. The Committee says such use involves deception. The Pharmaceutical Industry welcomes such statements from Members of Parliament as a successful placebo reduces drug sales. Yet, the same committee fails to point out that taking daily medication easily leads to addiction rather than make the person healthy. The pharmaceutical industry deceives people into thinking all of their drugs are completely safe.
The Committee claims that sugar coated tables are “unreliable and unpredictable” so the Committee block the much loved NHS (National Health Service) in Britain from prescribing placebos. Drugs are also ‘unreliable and unpredictable’ due to the varieties of sensitives in the cellular make up of every patient. Medication can work well for numerous patients and inflict harm in the present or future or both for others. That makes drugs unpredictable and unreliable. The massive sickness and death toll from medication stands as the evidence. We need to be mindful of our concerns and explore ways to take appropriate action.
Medical scientists can analyse a disease or injury through blood tests, urine tests, x-rays or MRI to know appropriate treatment. If you do not have a disease or injury or a serious mental health issue, then you will probably not need medication. Diet, exercise, relationships, creativity, the outdoors and the work/home environment require a proactive response for peace of mind and health. Otherwise you will be taking one pill after another in a futile effort to feel happy and healthy.
OUR BELIEFS IMPACT UPON OUR BRAIN AND PHYSIOLOGY
The Buddha said that human beings rely upon four essential requisites – food, clothing, shelter and medicine. In the absence of one or more of the four requisites, it makes it difficult to give attention to anything else but survival. It is sad that the behaviour of much of the pharmaceutical industry and its medication do little to give peace of mind to the many dealing with ill health. In the first verse in the classic text, The Dhammapada: “Mind is chief. Mind is the forerunner.” The point of view of the mind matters. Doctors can tell patients they will die within a certain period, and this saps the life out of the patient. The patient subsequently dies within that period having believed what he or she heard from the doctor.
For another patient, the doctor may give the same fatal prognosis with the same time span. The patient believes s/he will live longer so s/he becomes determined to live fully in the time that he or she has left. The patient denies the fatal prognosis because he or she believes he or she will live much longer – weeks, months or years – and does. Doctors should remain wary about becoming fortune tellers. Beliefs are powerful and inpact upon our brains and our physiology.
In order to live a happy, healthy life up to about 10 decades, there has to be a wise inter-action between the human being and our environment. We need to receive the necessary nutrients, food, water, clean air, love, empathy, compassion, wise knowledge and much else. These outflows and inflows confirm our development as human beings, even as the decades pass by in the movement towards the final exhalation of the breath. There are alternatives to claims of pills to answer our problems.
For example, mindfulness programmes present a challenge to the pharmaceutical industry because these ancient methods and techniques help reduce the dependency on medication. Research shows that mindfulness practices work as effectively for depression as medication. Patients and clients reduce their levels of stress, depression and physical pain through employing these Buddhist methods to take control to a degree over their condition. The power of mindfulness develops the capacity to direct mindfulness into painful regions or develops the capacity to breathe through stressful thoughts and waves of anxiety. This approach contributes to a person feeling very different and giving themselves much needed self-confidence. Many who take daily medication regard it as a sign of personal weakness.
Through daily practice, mindfulness offers more than helpful coping mechanisms to get through the long day at work or breathe through tension at home. The mindfulness practitioner may open up within questions about ethics, love, spirituality, joys and insights. Empathy and compassion has the potential to emerge that challenge corruption and aggression of others. For example, the combination of ethics and mindfulness can question the harmful business practices of the pharmaceutical industry, rather than narrow selfie mindfulness.
Mindfulness and ethics enable a person to develop trust and confidence to stand upright and challenge harmful authorities. Clear comprehension puts an end to transference of authority about reality to medical science. Medical science has a legitimate view with healthy and harmful consequences for people and animals. . Western medicine lacks the motivation to prevent the arising of ill health through training in terms of inner change for patients and puts all of its emphasis on a cure. An industry plagued with greed and self-interest lacks credibility to be of real to service to people in deep need.
The pharmaceutical industry has also let down hospitals, management, doctors, psychiatrists, nurses and health care workers in the public and private sector, who devote their lives to public service. The industry has let down the dedicated scientists, laboratory technicians and countless others who work tirelessly for the benefit of others at home and abroad. The publicity departments have distorted the findings of medical scientists to promote their products.
HOW MUCH TRAINING FOR WESTERN MEDICAL STUDENTS FROM DIET FOR HEALTH? FROM ZERO UP TO 15 HOURS PER YEAR
Medical students receive little or no education in the medical school in terms of the relationship of food to health. The pharmaceutical industry controls the program in the medical school. The medical student may spend four to six year of intense, arduous medical studies to develop the capacity to diagnose sickness, pain and injury and prescribe the necessary steps. We do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that alcohol, tobacco, sugar salt fat, junk food, fast food, processed food, overeating and under eating damages our health. The epidemic of obesity and numerous dietary problems are there for all to see, whether we are very overweight or very underweight.
You would imagine that medical students would receive months and month of training exploring the relationship of food to health, so they can feel equipped to wisely advise their future patients on such matters. The professors of medicine give their students in medical school about an afternoon to look into the connection between food and ill-health in their years in a medical school.
Medical students in some Western countries go through their entire training without a single reference diet and health or a handful of hours. In the USA, diet and health education for medical students ranged from zero to about 15 hours per year while one three of the population suffer from obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes – all food and drink related.
I recall speaking the students at Harvard Medical School in the 1990s. The title of the lecture was: “Am I Mad to want to be a Doctor?” I asked the medical students why they wanted to take up such a profession. I said they had to be truthful in their answers. Some said they wished to serve others. Some said they knew if they became a doctor it would please their parents. Some said they were following the family tradition. One or two said they looked forward to high social standing in their town. One said that he read that a surgeon could become a millionaire within five years. Motives can change – for better or worse.
Such a noble profession requires immense dedication and a willingness to keep exploring causes and conditions for sickness, injury, pain and mental/physical health problems. That motivation must take priority. In terms of the relationship of diet and health, doctors must know about both and walk the talk, as well as regular exercise.
Half of the governing faculty in many medical US medical schools also serve as consultants to the pharmaceutical industry. The industry has no interest in examining or seriously funding the environmental causes for poor health such the poor nutritious value from the food industry. Far too many doctors and patients display obesity, namely 20% or more above average body weight for their height, age and gender. The addiction to an unhealthy daily diet can run parallel to a daily addiction to medication. These addictions rely upon ignorance, inattention and neglect from doctors and patients while the food and pharmaceutical industry pulls in the profits from such uncontrolled behaviour.
It is not easy despite, much search through the Internet, to find current figures on death from medication, hospital errors, hospital sickness and injury. Doctors and nurses receive no specialised training in the capacity to recognise the variety of medical errors that can become life-threatening for a patient. The staff in hospitals finds it extraordinary difficult to acknowledge when errors occur that have developed gradually over a period of weeks, months or years. Adverse reactions to treatment inside and outside of hospitals fail to get reported in order to save staff from dismissal preserve reputations, fear of lawsuits, personal criticism and loss of career.
The doctors and nurses themselves may not even realise their error of judgement in terms of diagnosis and prescription until it is too late. They followed the advice of the pharmaceutical industry and their medical school training only to witness their patients getting worse rather than better. They know something is deeply wrong but they have no way of knowing why it is that something is deeply wrong.
Doctors can rightly say that the 5 to 10 minutes consultation with a patient fails to provide the necessary time to look at causes for ill-health. The patient may need to make an agreement to change what goes into their mouth or increase daily the air into their lungs. That agreement takes time to arrive at. Sadly, it is easier and quicker to prescribe a course of tablets. Furthermore, doctors do not necessarily know the relationship between a daily cocktail of drugs and their harmful impact upon the organism.
There may be a variety of symptoms of misuse of abuse of medicine. Doctors may not know the consequences of taking tablets, reducing tablets, increasing tablets, stop taking tables and then starting again. Does frequent medication contribute to the weakening of vital organs? The handing out of medicine to a patient is not a precise science. It is not mathematics. The doctor makes a judgement based on the limited information available to him from the patient and his interpretation of the information.
You cannot apply science to the application of medicine. The science has to pass through the mind with its history.
THE DANGER OF TAKING TOO MANY MEDICAL DRUGS
There are a wide variety of mood altering drugs such Ritalin, widely used to deal with hyperactivity and Prozac widely used to treat major depression disorders. Both drugs can easily become habit forming and only suitable for healthy people. The drug companies engage in widespread advertising to market such painkillers to doctors and the general public. Numerous television advertisements appear regularly on our screens, as well as in the media, to persuade us to take medication for any pain in mind and body. Doctors find themselves giving prescriptions to their patients who claim they need some kind of painkiller when in heart of heart the doctors know the patient needs to address the causes for the stress rather than patient using medication to block off the effect.
The pharmaceutical industry persuades us that their drugs are perfectly safe even though the industry frequently engages in trials prior to the general distribution of the drugs with selected people healthy, fit and who are not using any other medication at the time. This is frequently not the case with people taking medication. Many patients take more than one kind of tablet, plus possibly a daily injection, such as some diabetics need. We did not evolve to endure such abuse through the daily intake of chemicals into our stomachs.
Extended use of certain drugs and painkillers can contribute to a major weakening of the heart, kidney and liver; also create severe blood disorder, failing eyesight, birth defects and foetal toxicity. The industry wields its considerable political influence to ensure that alternatives remain illegal, discredited or both. For example, skilful use of marijuana can replaced certain drugs and their side effects. Marijuana has the capacity to decrease pain, ease anxiety, reduce muscle spasms and develop calm and happiness in the mind.
The plant also helps reduce PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) such as soldiers experience returning from war zones. The number of deaths per year attributed directly to medication in the USA is 120,000 plus. The number of deaths attributed directly to smoking marijuana. 0. An Oklahoma mother was sentenced to 12 years for selling a $31 marijuana plant while a US army veteran got 20 years for growing marijuana to smoke to help him cope with rheumatoid arthritis.
Research shows that the leading reasons for an adverse reaction to drugs include antibiotics, cardiovascular drugs, chemotherapy and analgesics. In the USA, antibiotics are constantly applied to cattle while European countries have banned growth promoting antibiotics since they get passed down the food chain to human beings. With doctors under so much pressure to prescribe the products of the pharmaceutical industry, and with a training totally geared in that direction, doctors simply may not know what the best care to offer their patients.
Overtreatment and inappropriate prescription contribute directly to sickness, pain and a gradual death of patients. The medical establishment has persuaded us to think positively about the great achievements of modern medicine. We need to take a good, hard look at the harm that Western medicine causes that starts in far too many boardrooms of the pharmaceutical industry.
Some research shows that chemotherapy fails to prolong the survival of patients with advanced carcinoma. The benefit from chemotherapy for small-cell lung cancer and the major ovarian cancer may only be ‘slight,’ says one report. We are not reducing cancer in society. The number of people contracting cancer continues to rise despite all the claims of success in cancer research. BBC reported that nearly one in two people will now get cancer in the course of their life. In 1992, one in three people in Britain got cancer with a 20% survival rate. The survival rate has now reached around one third of cancer patients. To increase protection from cancer, we need to change our lifestyle/environment, fast detection and safe treatment. People are dying from cancer and people are dying from treatment for cancer.
Medical technology such as x-rays, CT scans and mammography can contribute to cancer in vulnerable patients. Those most affected by such technology include patients with poor diet, who smoke, consume alcohol and use birth control pills. Research shows that breast tissue of women remains highly sensitive to radiation which increases the potential for breast cancer from mammograms. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women aged between 44 and 55.
Intense courses of chemotherapy may contribute to secondary cancers, often in later years. This seems to be no information available on the poisonous and toxic impact of medicine and the impact of current cancer treatment upon the organism, even though figures show that many people live longer after successful treatment. We have much to be grateful with every successful treatment of a person who is very ill. We also must acknowledge that Western medicine has an unreliable and unpredictable side to it, as well. The industry is not in a position to slag off other approaches to health.
It is common knowledge that those who can afford expensive private health insurance and stay in privately run hospitals will receive better overall treatment in more relaxed environmental conditions than those dependent on public service treatment. Doctors and staff in public hospitals engage in heroic work for countless hours with hospitals understaff and overstretched having to make spur of the moment decisions. The quality of life matters until we exhale the last breath.
There is an overriding viewpoint that the route to death is primarily through drugs, nursing homes, regular stays in a hospital, surgery, incurable sickness and death. The huge financial burden on society from medical care occurs owing to the high cost of patented drugs controlled by the pharmaceutical industry that frequently fight the distribution of low-cost generic drugs which would contribute to the cutting the size of the medical bills and enable training and employment of more doctors and nurses.
For example, the bio-tech company, Gilead, charges $1000 (yes one thousand dollars) per pill to treat hepatitis C. Outside of the US, the cost is still prohibitively high at $300 per bottle lasting for three months. The cost per bottle is far beyond what the worldwide poor can afford. Drugs in the US cost several times more than elsewhere in the world due to a lack of government regulation of medicine. The drug and bio-tech companies keep the price for medicine as high as the market can stand.
We cannot leave our health in the hands of the pharmasickical industry. We need to break up these huge industries. Governments can set up a PHS (Pharmaceutical Health Service or governments can set up numerous caring and compassionate pharmaceutical companies through co-operation of the private and public sector. Businesses often share a one line mantra that a business will die when it stops listening to the customers. The pharmaceutical industry long stopped listening to people and pursued its own selfie agenda.
We need to see the death of big business running much of pharmaceutical industry. The demise will enable a rebirth of caring and compassion companies, well regulated in the public interest. Such companies will uphold ethical conduct, be free from exploitation of sick adults and children and be free from manipulation of hospital, doctors and patients.
Our public health services need to integrate conventional medicine and complementary medicine. We need to develop supportive changes in lifestyle, diet and exercise for psychological and physical well-being at home. We need to apply ethics, mindfulness and insights to medicine and science. We need to bring far more enjoyment and health into every branch of education, work, hospitals, clinics and recreation. This the way forward.
Remember one thing: “It’s the environment, stupid.”
May all beings live with integrity
May all beings live with peace of mind
May all beings live with compassion