It took 3 billion dollars and 10 years to sequence the human
genome, and now it looks like later this year it’ll cost about a $1000 and can be
done in a matter of weeks. Smaller portions will be even cheaper and
faster. (You can find out your mongrel dog’s breed mix for $60 dollars in 2
weeks.) A huge amount of information is accessible and maybe a
computer can handle it, but I worry that these “advances” may move doctors
farther away from the patient.
The National Institutes of Health spend more than 3 billion
dollars a year on clinical trials, yet sharing the results doesn’t happen in a
timely fashion, if at all. According to researcher Joseph S. Ross, 54% of the
studies are unpublished 30 months after completion and 33% remain so after 51
months. The NIH doesn’t require publication, so Ross suggests this change:
withhold a final percentage of the current grant and any future grants until
the studies are published. Sounds like a plan. What do you think?
checking back to see if modern medical science has succeeded in explaining how
acupuncture works, it turns out our understanding has become more complicated.
At first it looked as if a “simple” electrochemical activation changes how the
nervous system perceives pain, but now it seems the needle simultaneously stimulates
multiple body systems. The blood circulatory, lymphatic, and
electromagnetic bio-information systems are activated as well.
more you know, the less you know.’ (Paraphrased from Lao Tzu, Socrates, George
Bernard Shaw, Don Henley…)
Modern medicine demystified: the doctor-patient relationship.
Doctors and patients are more aware nowadays that attention should be directed to the patient as opposed to the disease. “Patient-centered care” is the describer used for this approach. The patient’s values are paramount, and the doctor should comply with them. Sometimes, there is one obvious best way to go, but when that’s not the case, the doctor’s job is to work with the patient to help him/her understand the options, pro and con. The patient should recognize the right and responsibility to actively participate as well. In this way, shared decision making can evolve.