Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We Must Consider all Perspectives to Propel Medical Science: Another Shot at Practiced Evidence Based Medicine

51C4XHWH81L._SL500_AA300_ I am reading a book by Richard D. Moore, M.D., Ph.D. called the high blood pressure solution: a scientifically proven program for preventing strokes and heart disease.
The theme of the book (which I will not discuss in detail here) is that the main cause of essential hypertension is an imbalance in the Potassium Sodium ratio in our cells that is caused by the disproportionately  high sodium to potassium ratio in our western diets.
In the chapter titled ‘Why Haven’t You Heard of These Developments?’ he reveals his explanation for the current prevailing medical practice philosophy. The main philosophical position he addresses is the under-play of the effect of diet and the overuse of drugs. He sees one of the main reasons for this erroneous philosophical position as being what he calls the 'golden triangle'; an unholy alliance between medical schools, drug companies, and politicians. He describes the history of the development of this alliance, as he has firsthand experience with the detrimental effects of this alliance.
He also has written a section titled: ‘The Confusion of Empiricism with Science’.  Here is a long quote:
Part of the problem is that many in academic medicine confuse empiricism-just collecting and analyzing facts- with science. But although empiricism is part of science, this alone isn't science. It is just taking measurements and doing statistical analysis of the results. Some think that is all there is to science. But as quantum physicist Roland Omnes says:
Statistical methods are a valuable tool to accelerate the discovery of empirical rules, but it would be a mistake to assume that they are sufficient to attain the consistency afforded by the full scientific methods.
The approach Dr. Moore used to come with a cure for hypertension is what is deficient in the medicine we are applying: the use of the largest possible perspectives and taking in all possible points of view and then testing them against nature. Yes, this would include empirical/evidence based testing. Dr. Moore used the following six points of view to come up with this treatment: anthropology, vegetarianism, animal studies, clinical studies, drug studies, and biophysical research. The second step is to ignore all authorities other than Mother Nature. He particularly warns against experts/authorities in minutiae that lack the perspective to see the big picture.
Needless to say that this is what is needed to propel medical practice. The only science is the one that considers all possible perspectives weather or not are hard to assess empirically.

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