Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Pulse Beat

Medical developments from around the world

Cannabis Can Cure Cancer!
Cannabis sativa plant produces hemp and cannabis. Cannabinoids are powerful immune boosters. The human body also produces bio-cannabinoids. Cannabinoids in cannabis boost the human immune system to contain and cure cancer. In addition, they also kill cancer cells. However, this treatment is not a part of mainline cancer therapy as there is no revenue potential for the MNCs because they cannot patent it.
 
Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health
Gilbert Welch, professor of medicine at Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy, makes a strong case against routine mammograms which I call ‘scammograms’. He writes, “To understand why, you need to know how doctors now think about cancer: in terms of turtles, rabbits and birds. The goal is not to let any of the animals escape the barnyard pen to become deadly. But the turtles aren’t going anywhere anyway. They are the indolent, non-lethal cancers. The rabbits are ready to hop out at any time. They are the potentially lethal cancers, cancers that might be stopped by early detection and treatment. Then there are the birds. Quite simply, they are already gone. They are the most aggressive cancers, the ones that have already spread by the time they are detectable, the ones that are beyond cure.” As I have been saying for decades, there is nothing called ‘early’ cancer. All cancers fall in these three categories, under all circumstances. So their future outcome can only be predicted by God, if there is one. Let us not make the poor patient unnecessarily anxious and afraid of cancer. Fear CAN kill!

Statins Can Exacerbate Migraines
A new side-effect has been added to an already long list of dangerous side-effects of this money-spinner. Severe migraine de novo, or reawakening the old migraine that has subsided, is the known side-effect of statins because statins are capable of increasing the nitric oxide levels in the blood. While nitric oxide might be good in some situations in kicking back migraine attacks, it could prove difficult to manage. “Statin drugs increase the level of nitric oxide in the very region where migraines occur to the point where it causes the blood vessels to expand and become so inflamed (that) they put pinching pressure on the nerve endings, causing a blinding and pounding migraine,” states Daily Health, a health blog.

Old Age Care Needs a Paradigm Shift
People live longer even in third world countries. Diseases do not come in isolation as one ages; they come in groups called ‘multi-morbidity’. The present organ-based disease model and its treatment algorithms do not fit these elderly people. Our present model invariably ends up with over-diagnosis, over-treatment, under-treatment or mistreatment. This week’s editorial of British Medical Journal proposes a new homecare for the elderly people in their own home setting with one physician in charge. “Switching to a home-based model of primary care will be a challenge. Medicare, a bureaucratic behemoth designed in the 1960s, moves slowly and will need a lot of time to adjust. Physicians, a notoriously self-important lot, will need to see themselves as part of a team in which a nurse or a social worker often takes the lead. Nurses will need to see hospitalization as a last rather than a first resort. Patients will need to learn that home care can be as good as hospital care, often better. None of this will happen fast,” writes Jonathan Rauch for The Atlantic. This plea might fall on deaf ears as of now but will soon become a compulsion. Elderly people can have incurable, but not necessarily killer, diseases together, but are not dying. Rauch further writes: “A single person might be diagnosed with, say, heart failure, arthritis, oedema, obesity, diabetes, hearing or vision loss, dementia, and more. These people aren’t on death’s doorstep, but neither will they recover. Physically (and sometimes cognitively), they are frail.” Indians need to think seriously on this plea before it is too late.

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