Sunday, April 15, 2012

The End Of Illness. David Agus' Inability to See His Own Prejudices.

One day I too hope to write the definitive book on the cure for Cancer.  But I think I will base my treatment protocols on more than one reference book.   

Let me begin by saying I like much of The End of Illness.  Dr. Agus and I agree on many things, including that Michael Pollan does a wonderful job of talking about food.  But my admiration for Pollan does not distract me from the simple reality that Pollan is one of hundreds of opinions about food and what we should eat. 

So, I do not base my recommendations about food while referencing a single author, no matter how authoritative. 

Given that Dr. Agus' focus is on food, and that he spends a great deal of time trashing supplements of all kinds, I would expect a little more emphasis on what will be the most curative diet.  For it is diet alone, and nothing else, that will impact our genetic inheritance and help us live. 

I disagree with the concept that we'll be getting personalized medication any time soon.  Perhaps the very wealthy will be able to afford the sort of technological testing Dr. Agus describes, but the reality is that for almost everyone modern medicine is too expensive already. 

And here is the the fundamental flaw I see in the End of Illness.  Dr. Agus dedicates a huge section of the book to really making readers second-guess taking even a multivitamin because of the possible health consequences.  But he waxes rhapsodic about the benefits of the Statin medications and baby aspirin, taking both himself for "preventative purposes."  Hello?  We're not talking about inert medications.  A statistic percent of those following Dr. Agus' recommendations of daily statins and baby aspirins will suffer debilitating muscle pains and/or hemorrhagic stroke as a result of his "preventative" pharmaceutical supplements.  While we have large studies that show possible risks from overuse of multivitamins, we have no large scale studies that confirm the benefits of statins or aspirin for the general population without the real risk of side effects for a minority of those individuals. 

To place preventative supplementation off limits as a clear negative while recommending pharmaceutical medications as healthy and safe clearly shows a prejudice and double-standard for conventional medical "solutions."  Given the cost and safety profile of the statins, they are at least as dangerous for the general population as the Vitamin E supplements that Dr. Agus so effectively vilifies.  And aspirin is as dangerous to elderly populations as their multivitamin.  So we are left with food as the only panacea, and that needs a bit more book time that simply gushing over Pollan's ideas. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for provide the nice book The End Of Illness.
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    Thanks for it..