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The following are my thoughts regarding a recent readers’ letter in The Epoch Times.
I would like to respond to Mary-Lee’s letter on 11/7/19 titled “Food Is Medicine”. She supports the idea that MDs should follow Hippocrates’s advice “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. She goes on to state that “so many doctors rely too much on Big Pharma … They have stopped trying to cure and prevent.”
I agree with her observations and insights. In an article by Kelly Adams et. al. in the Journal of Biomedical Education (2015), they identify the relative scarcity of nutrition education MDs receive. Their conclusion goes on to state “It cannot be a realistic expectation for physicians to effectively address obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hospital malnutrition, and many other conditions as long as they are not taught during medical school and residency training how to recognize and treat the nutritional root causes.” The inadequacy of teaching MDs nutrition has been well documented with numerous peer-reviewed articles such as this one for over 30 years.
Given that this problem has existed for decades and little progress has been made, is it reasonable to expect that medical schools will modify their curriculum to add a huge new field of study to their education program? This seems all the more unlikely considering the degree of funding that medical schools receive from Pharma for education and research. Mary-Lee seems to imply that the ‘cure’ to this healthcare system ill is for MDs to be taught more about nutrition, prevention, and cures for diseases. As an alternative solution, I suggest that the entire health care spectrum (from emergency care to high-performance athletics) is too broad to be addressed by a single profession. There is too much content to be taught in the basic medical doctor degree program. Medical doctors in the United States have training and results that are superb for emergency care, critical care, and traumas. Where the medical profession tends to get poor results (few cures and therapies that focus on ‘control’) is regarding chronic health issues.
Think of the problems where people who go to MDs expect to be on medications for the long term or permanently… high blood pressure, diabetes, hypo-thyroid, mental health (i.e. depression, anxiety), arthritis, asthma, etc. From my perspective, these conditions are the failures in Pharma-based health care. I suggest that healthcare consumers, regulatory and insurance organizations would do better to focus instead on supporting the health care professions that already have a greater degree of nutritional training and prevention care rather than trying to expand the scope of medical training.
For example, let’s look at the two of the largest primary health care professions in the United States, Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) and MDs. They both receive very comparable education in many regards. The undergraduate requirements, basic sciences, and internships are very similar in terms of years and the total number of credit hours of education and training. The largest difference between MD and DC programs is regarding clinical care. Where MDs receive drugs and surgery training, DCs receive nutrition and bio-mechanics training.
Rather than trying to expand the already overburdened MD curriculum with yet another enormous field of study, let’s shift our focus so that consumers with chronic and non-emergency care issues, (rather than trauma and critical care issues), embrace the existing primary healthcare professions that are already trained in nutrition, prevention, and cures. (DCs, naturopaths, etc.)
This is a response to the reader’s comment below:
Oh, I can’t tell you how happy I was to see and read the article “6 Bodily Tissues That Can Be Regenerated Through Nutrition” by Sayer Ji. I am a retired registered nurse and I have been studying natural healing for over 20 years, since leaving nursing, and will take every opportunity to inform people about the power of natural supplements and food.
Every MD, upon graduation, takes the Hippocratic oath, but so many don’t practice by it. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Yet so many doctors rely too much on Big Pharma because that is how they were trained: learn how to diagnose, recognize the symptoms, and prescribe the drugs for the symptoms. They have stopped trying to cure and to prevent.
So thank you for getting out this much-needed information. I hope everyone reads it takes it to heart.
Rotonda West, Fla.