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The Follies of Medicine and the Perils of Government Medicine July 25, 2011

Posted by geoff in News.

One of my big issues with nanny state intervention in our health care and lifestyles is that, well, the science of health isn’t very good, yet. Just look at how many fundamental health platitudes have been questioned or proven wrong over the past years:

  • Salt is Bad for Your Heart. “…a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure.” (July 8, 2011)
  • LDLs Are the Bad Cholesterol. “The so-called “bad cholesterol” – low-density lipoprotein commonly called LDL – may not be so bad after all, shows a Texas A&M University study that casts new light on the cholesterol debate, particularly among adults who exercise.” (May 4, 2011)
  • Saturated Fats Cause Heart Disease. “We’ve spent billions of our tax dollars trying to prove the diet-heart hypothesis. Yet study after study has failed to provide definitive evidence that saturated-fat intake leads to heart disease.” (December 13, 2007)
  • Alcohol is Bad for Your Heart. “Drinking a bottle of wine a day, or half a dozen beers, cuts the risk of heart disease by more than half in men, it has been shown.” (November 19, 2009)
  • Being Overweight Will Shorten Your Life. “…in elderly persons followed for two to 23 years, a baseline body mass index (BMI) below normal (18.5-25kg/m2) was associated with a higher risk of mortality whereas a BMI above normal (>25kg/m2) was associated with a lower risk.” (No Date Provided)
  • An Oldie But Goodie: Stress Causes Ulcers. “…bacteria were present in almost all patients with active chronic gastritis, duodenal ulcer, or gastric ulcer and thus may be an important factor in the aetiology of these diseases.” (June 14, 1983).

The medical profession wastes enough money, time, and health on blind alleys without putting the full force of government behind it. Medicine is currently like an ecosystem, where certain treatments rise and fall according to their efficacy and competition. The government will pare that ecosystem down to only a few dominant species, which will be immune to competitive forces, limiting us to one-size-fits-all treatments.


And when the government picks the wrong course, via either the consensus of a misguided medical establishment, or to the advice of politically influential lobbyists, the current harms will be magnified through the power of a significant portion of the American tax base.


1. Cathy - July 25, 2011

Just one word…


2. lauraw - July 25, 2011

It’s so nice to see all these Geoff posts here again.

Wish there were some big blog out there where Geoff has posting rights where this smart and pithy stuff would get a lot more eyeballs…*cough*

3. geoff - July 25, 2011

Weeellllll, let me just say this about that. I was saddened when the old rule of never letting a day go by without a post was dropped, and by the declining comments & readership of IB, So I thought I’d try to at least make sure that something went up every day.

And I kind of just sort of like posting here better, anyhow. At least as i ease back into it.

4. Retired Geezer - July 25, 2011

When I lived in Vegas, I worked a zillion medical conventions as a Projectionist.
Doctors/Dentists/Surgeons would come back to my table with carousels full of slides (remember those?), my job was to load the slides into the projectors in the right order and push da button when they said ‘Next Slide’.
I always hated to hear “Those aren’t my slides”.

Many times the speaker would say, “This procedure was the treatment of choice but now we have discovered it is contra-indicated”… In other words, we screwed up.
The Law of Unintended Consequences

Milk is good / Milk is Bad

Brush your teeth up/down … sideways… down only… better yet, just buy a Phillips Sonocare(tm) toothbrush like Michael.

5. daveintexas - July 25, 2011

Those aren’t my slides.

6. Mr. Matamoros - July 25, 2011

Well, I’m glad you’re posting somewhere, geoff…

7. kevl - July 25, 2011

“Smokin’s cool” has yet to be disproven.

I thought geoff had the keys to the Mothership? Dave?

8. daveintexas - July 25, 2011

Eating fat instead of carbohydrates makes you fat. Except it doesn’t, the carbs do.

He does have the keys kevl.. whenever he wants. I too am very glad to see geoff posting, except when I get jealous.

9. More Medical Uncertainty « Innocent Bystanders - August 16, 2011

[…] may recall a post of a few weeks ago, entitled, “The Follies of Medicine and the Perils of Government Medicine“. It went through a list of things that had been broadly assumed to be healthy/unhealthy, but […]

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