by Ron Brown, Ph.D., author of The Body Fat Guide
"Ron Brown is a certified fitness trainer who doesn't have an inch of flab on his body. He'll tell you what you can do to become fit and trim too."
TALK TO AMERICA, Washington DC
researchers and practitioners of our biomedical health care system always seem
to confuse the cause and effects of disease? They study microbiology, genetics,
pharmacology, epidemiology, etc., but their quantitative research methods only
reveal correlations and disease distribution patterns that give superficial
understanding of the cause of disease. For example, ask a doctor what
causes a cold, and the doctor will likely say a viral infection. But a viral
infection is the effect, not the cause of the
cold. Viruses are everywhere. If viruses caused colds and other diseases by
their mere presence, everyone would have myriad viral diseases, constantly. If
the doctor is pressed for a further explanation of the cause of a cold, the doctor might say the viral
infection results from a compromised immune system. But again, this is an
effect, not the cause. What causes a compromised immune system? By this
time the doctor will probably start to feel uncomfortable, realizing that the
answer lies outside his or her studied field of expertise.
Ask the doctor what causes heart disease and the doctor will probably respond that high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels cause the disease. But again, these are merely signs or effects of the disease. What causes the hypertension or hypercholesterolemia? An unhealthy diet? But what causes a diet to be unhealthy? Too much fat? But research shows that fat alone is not the cause (See Is the Lipid Theory Dead?). Doctors commonly blame causes on genetics, although studies show genes alone contribute insignificantly to disease incidence. And the question remains, what causes the occurrence of these genes? The fact is that most doctors do not know the true cause of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, stroke, allergies, arthritis, dental decay, the common cold, or any other physical ailment for the simple reason that medical science rarely bothers to seek the answers to this question.
It may seem astonishing to the public that most highly educated and intelligent men and women in the biomedical profession whom we support with massive fundraising for research and whom we rely on to "cure" disease do not know its cause. How can it be that researchers do not know what causes disease? The answer is because biomedical researchers avoid asking this research question in their studies. Rather than asking what causes disease and how to prevent it, biomedical researchers ask how to halt the disease process in the human body once it has started. In other words, the entire field of biomedicine is concerned with seeking treatments for the effects of disease, not disease prevention. Prevention would reduce profits from treatments and eliminate research funding to seek "cures" for disease. Hoped-for biomedical cures are nothing more than attempts to suppress symptoms without removing causes. But treating the effects, symptoms and signs of disease without addressing the cause is like turning off a fire alarm without putting out the fire. This is why getting cavities in your teeth filled doesn't prevent new cavities, or replacing clogged coronary arteries doesn't prevent more clogged arteries, or burning, poisoning, or slashing out tumors doesn't prevent their return, or taking an aspirin to suppress the pain and inflammation of your headache doesn't prevent your next headache.
A premise held within the biomedical community is that the body's natural healing mechanisms are insufficient to cope effectively with disease, so, rather than removing causes and allowing the body to heal, the doctor must intervene with toxic drugs or other agents that interfere with the body's normal physiological functions. “The effect of a drug frequently results from interference with cellular function,” (Luellmann, Mohr, Hein, & Bieger, 2005, Color Atlas of Pharmacology, 3rd edition, p. 20). But the body's cellular functions are designed by nature to heal and promote good health. For example, a diseased part of the body may become inflamed as the body directs a greater flow of blood to the area to rapidly restore it to normal. But the physician will attempt to suppress the inflammation with toxic substances in order to reduce symptoms of pain, heat, redness and swelling, thus interfering with healing and impeding the body's defense mechanism against the causes of disease while those causes remain intact. Such medical treatments not only prevent healing and fail to remove causes of disease, they add a toxic burden to an already sick organism and are the third leading cause of death in North America, just behind heart disease and cancer. What is really needed is a health care system that teaches people how to remove the cause of disease and that allows the body to heal and recover health naturally, but this is never done because doctors do not study the causes.
In an interview broadcast by NBC Nightly News on the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's 1971 declaration of "War on Cancer," Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society said about the failure of cancer research to find a cure, "...we have to learn a great deal more before we're ever going to actually change biology."
The premise of Dr. Brawley's blunt statement illustrates the absurd goal of biomedical research: to maintain our pathogenic (disease producing) lifestyle and attempt to change biology rather than change our lifestyle to align with our biological needs. In other words, let's ignore the causes of disease and attempt to change the symptomatic effects of disease with cures rather than simply remove the causes. Forty years of failure to find a cure for cancer and for other diseases should convince intelligent people that this illogical biomedical approach should be abandoned. In my opinion, if the majority of biomedical research were suddenly applied to prevention instead of to symptomatic treatment, enough knowledge could be discovered in little more than a generation to teach the public how to effectively prevent most chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. Unfortunately, with the prevention portion of medical budgets barely above single digit percentages, the biomedical profession has little interest in conducting such research.
There are some researchers and practitioners who are interested in discovering and preventing the causes of disease, but they are in the minority. Their approach is to remove the causes and allow the remedial effort of the body to naturally restore health to the fullest extent that recovery is possible, and not to interfere and work against the body's natural recovery process. These researchers and practitioners receive little funding or recognition because there is a much greater public demand for treatments for sick people than for public education about how to remain well. Many sick people blame stress for their low state of health, when it is actually their low state of health caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits that makes ordinary life stressful!
Based on the high rate of sickness within our population, it is obvious that our public health education system is woefully inadequate and is often dominated by commercial self-interests and groupthink within the medical and public health professions that favor treatments rather than prevention. But who is standing up and demanding a change? Education must begin with public awareness of the problem. When a patient chooses to visit a biomedical doctor, the patient usually has little awareness that they have selected a health care professional who has no knowledge of the cause of disease and who only offers symptomatic treatments that are often toxic and make the underlying problem worse. You wouldn't go to a car mechanic who doesn't know what causes your car to breakdown, or to a watchmaker who doesn't know what makes a watch stop working, would you?
A deeper understanding of lifestyle factors and the ability to supply the basic needs of health is all that is required to avoid disease, but scientists rarely take this sort of investigation seriously. It is considered "soft" science, and often uses qualitative research methods that lack "hard" quantitative data and statistical analysis. Nutrition, physical activity, rest and recuperation, clean air and water, appropriate sunshine exposure, emotional well-being and other lifestyle factors, although often ignored by biomedical researchers, will keep you healthy and disease-free. But don't expect the biomedical profession to provide that knowledge to you. Patients who learn how to recover their health through lifestyle modification are often surprised to observe that their doctors have little interest in sharing that information with other patients. Disseminating this type of health knowledge undermines the financial interests of doctors who depend on diagnosing and treating disease symptoms to earn their living. Although doctors' average lifespan is slightly longer than other professionals, this is most likely due to their greater affluence, not to any superior knowledge doctors may possess about health and disease. Lack of knowledge of the cause and prevention of disease results in the same disease prevalence among doctors as in the rest of the population. With the right health information, you can do better!