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Taking a Sledgehammer to Heartburn

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You may be surprised to learn that medicine is subject to prescribing fads. For example, I’ve been astonished at the dramatic increase of patients that are taking drugs that turn off the acid production in your stomach, a trend well evidenced in the medical literature.  These drugs are called “Proton Pump Inhibitors”. In fact, drugs with names such as Nexium, Tecta, Prilosec, Losec, Prevacid, Periot, are now prescribed for a wide range of stomach problems and related esophageal and throat symptoms, across a remarkable range of ages. I’ve seen several cases of children and teenagers on acid inhibiting medications. In fact, there has been an astonishing rise in the prescription of these medications for children under the age of one for gastric irritation and to prevent infant reflux. As of 2010, there were 114 million prescriptions of acid suppressing medications per year in the United States. Over the last ten years, the...
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Skeptical of the Skeptics: Unreason in the name of Reason

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Sometime ago I happened to hear Timothy Caulfield discussing his ideas on a Canadian broadcast morning show.  He had authored an essay on  the subject of medical institutes that were proposing to incorporate complementary health care methods into their systems. The thesis of his essay was that there is medical science and then there are the many pretenders to the healing arts that had, in his view, no evidential support.  http://www.irpp.org/en/po/public-square/caulfield/ .  Caulfield's key assertion, is that for universities and medical clinics to associate themselves with purveyors of “nonsense”, such as naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, etc,. is to debase "scientific" medicine.   Study them if you must, (in fact, there are those that insist that funding research work on subjects such as homeopathy should completely come to an end) but certainly don’t lower medicine by integrating alternative medicine practitioners or courses into clinics or institutions of higher learning.  He believes it is...
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The Two Traditions of Medicine

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When we think of health, it is might be worthwhile to point out that historically there are essentially two dominant conceptions of the body.   While they are not mutually exclusive, in some respects complementing each other, yet they are fundamentally opposite in nature.   (The most complete understanding of this subject has been unfurled in a series of remarkable volumes titled Divided Legacy, by the late Harris Coulter.) One is termed the Rationalist school and is embodied today by modern medicine.  The Rationalist tradition sees the body as a living machine composed of various parts and processes.  Disease is regarded as a disorder of structure or function.  As science grows in understanding of the body, its anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, etc., medicine develops elaborate methods and technologies to fix, replace, alter, control, activate or suppress a particular structure or function, or some factor that is designated to be the...
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