Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Another entry in the Public Address Medical Journal

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  • Islander,

    Not wrong Hilary - my whanau person who'd had gallstones, and a protrated labour, made that point: relatively healthy infant & all the ovel oxytocin inputs - but still will not have another child.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Not wrong Hilary

    Ditto, I was just thinking after reading you that I have a GP and an acupuncturist plus I 'll use an osteo I know well if I want, but just thought It's my GP who supported the idea of an acupuncturist so the idea of a combination comes from the professional side too.Good eh? :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Also 'scientific' medicine doesn't have such a great record in some areas. For example, anything around fertility is best dealt with - in my opinion - by Chinese approaches (or in conjunction with). Homeopathy can be quite effective with fears, phobias or addictions. A consultation is usually quite lengthy (a half hour or so at least) and treatment very personally matched to you.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3225 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Over the last few days I've been talking a bit about te whare tapa wha approach to health which is NZ's unique contribution to the world. It's also a bit of a challenge to those trained only in the Global North's scientific/medical model.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3225 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    A consultation is usually quite lengthy (a half hour or so at least) and treatment very personally matched to you.

    We saw a (reputable, apparently quite well-regarded) homeopathic doctor for Lucia's eczema and I was horrified. Back home it's the odd GP who subscribes to it, as ours did, and they make it seem fairly reasonable - I really wasn't prepared for a cook of the magnitude that we encountered in Wellington. Sorry if that sounds opinionated and dismissive, I could tell you what the session consisted of and I think you'd agree.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    'scientific' medicine doesn't have such a great record in some areas

    Auto-immune conditions like arthritis, for instance. The only quacks I've ever encountered were rheumatologists. Not that there aren't good clinical practitioners.

    Can't really understand the tension between treatment options. It has always puzzled me why 'science' should automatically have precedence over much older paradigms that gave us acupuncture or herbal treatments. And why you must have either/or. The main thing is to find someone you trust as a healer, or a treatment that works for you.

    Agreed. I have no problem with people holding religious beliefs either, although there are issues with making them policy just like there have been with different forms of healing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Eczema!
    I had 'it' from age 6 through to 28- you ever had bits of your face crack open? Scratched until you bled? Like, daily/ Had people say "ooo" out loud at your redscarred weeping face? Knew you were a kid leper?

    Gio,
    a)check that Lucia isnt allergic to chlorine (it turned out I was:)
    b)isnt allergic to cow milk products (I wasnt but a lot of eczemaceous people are-goat & ewe & soy milk products are good alternaives;)
    c)dont go down the hydrocortisone path unless the itching is extreme-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    dont go down the hydrocortisone path unless the itching is extreme

    Why?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Hydrocortisone is pretty harsh, our doctor gave us the prescription for a tube and then said: don't use it. Besides, you can't use it on broken skin, and what are the chances that a child with eczema bad enough to need hydrocortisone won't have made herself bleed?

    Thanks Islander, Lucia has more or less grown out of it we think. She's always been off dairy, which seems to be a pretty likely candidate by and large, but is less strictly so now, and it doesn't seem to bother her much. This time last year we had to put her in those dreadful supertight underwear to stop the scratching - the poor thing was quite miserable.

    Interestingly (perhaps) it was initially brought on by a trip to Italy in winter, as had been Joseph's - meaning that they were predisposed and mild sufferers, but that's where it happened to explode. I say interesting because a friend who moved to Australia has reported to us just last week that her son, now eight and who had also more or less grown out of it, now has very bad eczema. She blames it on the central heating and on the evidence of those Italian trips there might be something in that.

    I had no idea about the chlorine.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    You mean you've also uncovered a benefit of our un-insulated housing stock?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Kind of. I think it's more the dryness for eczema though. Our house is insulated and we can get it comfortably warm in the winter (more so than my mum's apartment), but we do keep a bowl of water on top of the woodburner and I think it helps a lot. Can't really do that with most forms of central heating.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Does Lucia like drinking plain water? Why not have both a spray/waterbottle available - o dear, you are good parents, you know this stuff- OK, check the laundrywash materials-

    I spent too many uncomfortortable leporous years to be indifferent to this kind of discomfort/pain. I know: it's tiny. compared to other disorders, but it is a real one.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Also 'scientific' medicine doesn't have such a great record in some areas. For example, anything around fertility is best dealt with - in my opinion - by Chinese approaches (or in conjunction with). Homeopathy can be quite effective with fears, phobias or addictions.

    Some things are hard to fix. In those fields, mainstream medicine doesn't have its usual advantages over methods that haven't been formally tested. Fertility is a huge field, some of which is straightforward (contraception, say) and some of which is tricky (15% of infertility has no known cause). Chronic pain's another difficult area. I can see why if you can't find an answer in one field, you'd look in others. You might do as well, simply by chance.

    Homeopathy, well. It's everywhere in pregnancy care literature. Not because it's more effective than, say, folic acid supplementation or 2000 years of trial and error on how to conduct a caesarian without killing the patients. It's because unlike treatments that have active ingredients in them, it's absolutely risk-free, and nobody likes risk when there's babies involved. Long, personal consultations are nice, but when they deliver a concoction diluted to one molecule of substance in a volume of water the size of the entire planet, they're only going to generate a placebo. Which is a real effect (and handy when you're dealing with mental issues like phobias), but still.

    Herbal treatments are old, but so is surgery (trepanning). What you've got with modern medicine is those parts of the older traditions which have been subjected to such thorough testing we're confident that they work better than a placebo. Animal magnetism didn't survive that test, but magnetic resonance imaging did. I'm happy to accept there are things that haven't been sufficiently tested to write them off, but the testing is still vital.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Eczema - misery. I was one of those children covered from head to toe, and in those days it involved black smelly coal tar ointment and being swathed in bandages like a mummy. I was administered phenergan by the sickly sweet tablespoon out of quart flagons to soothe the itch, particularly at night. That was the extent of medical intervention then. Apples and tomatoes and wool were banned as allergens. The only thing that really helped was swimming in the sea - first few times in the water in the summer it stung painfully but after a few days started to heal.

    Now if I was advising a parent with a child like I was I would recommend Chinese herbal treatment as it treats by cooling an overheated immune system, and that makes sense to me. But I would only recommend going to the person I have been to for years, and have built up a good relationship with. There is always a long waiting list to see her, which indicates consumer satisfaction. And she is not anti-GP or dermatologist - just comes from a different treatment paradigm.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3225 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O fuck o dear (excuse the language Hilary!) - I had successfully blanked out coal tar ointment & the one that looked & felt like custard-yeeech! The clamminess! (Did you have the gloves too Hilary?)

    Swimming - in the sea- I loved (and love.) I'm a good swimmer, built for it,and swum a lot in the sea but - swimming in the 1950s also meant swimming in public/school baths too - which is when self/family discovered the chlorine allergy thing. There was one stage when it was recognised I could distance-swim & that I was suppoosed to train...when the skin over my ribs scaled and cracked open- I ceased to swim.

    I am, to this day, highly allergic to chlorine.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Yes clammy cotton mitts tied on. But to give medical science some credit - non-ionic cream, hydrocortisone and other advances have helped many children and mothers since then.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3225 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Can't really understand the tension between treatment options. It has always puzzled me why 'science' should automatically have precedence over much older paradigms that gave us acupuncture or herbal treatments.

    I don't find that a puzzle at all. Science is, well, science, ie a systematically tested, repeatable, reassessed body of knowledge based in observation. All the other stuff, in one way or another, is not. If it does acquire all those things, then it becomes science. Is it really that odd to give precedence to those treatments whose claims are based in a systematic evaluation of evidence?

    Which reminds me, I want to defend doctors against a canard I've read more than once in this thread -- that other practitioners are "holistic", whatever that is, and doctors are not. Bollocks to that, I say. My personal experience with my doctors is that they want to know about me and how I live, they consider different causes, they look at lifestyle stuff, etc etc. And if you have ever looked at a medical textbook, you'll see that their model is one that sees the body as a number of complex systems that interact in complex ways.

    Homeopathy can be quite effective with fears, phobias or addictions.

    I would expect something that works entirely on the placebo effect to be most efficacious with mental conditions.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Stephen - I think what is important is the relationship that is built up between the person seeking wellness and the practitioner. Some doctors are interested in the holistic person (and the social etc factors involved) and some aren't. Most often they just don't have time to do other than concentrate on the body part requiring fixing.

    Islander - I am interested in whether you think there is an eczematic personality type. I think that it must affect you if you are born hot and itchy and have ongoing problems with physical sensitivity to your environment, poor sleep from itching (and probably breathing/asthma related problems too). What's more people react differently to eczematic children - they are not so positive about grizzly, rashy faced kids. I was permanently bad tempered (still am), not helped by having cute amenable sisters on either side,and a brother who was a supreme teaser.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3225 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I would expect something that works entirely on the placebo effect to be most efficacious with mental conditions.

    I had to look efficacious up in the dictionary.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Science is, well, science, ie a systematically tested, repeatable, reassessed body of knowledge based in observation.

    It is also really really expensive, and there are all sorts of political factors involved, when pharmaceuticals are involved.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    My last sentence was meant to rhyme, but I inadvertently cocked it up.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Science is, well, science, ie a systematically tested, repeatable, reassessed body of knowledge based in observation. All the other stuff, in one way or another, is not. If it does acquire all those things, then it becomes science. Is it really that odd to give precedence to those treatments whose claims are based in a systematic evaluation of evidence?

    Nobody is saying here that your first port of call shouldn't be your GP. Although if your GP happens to be of the kind who nixes midwife care or osteopathy or acupuncture as a matter of principle, then I'd say look for somebody else as fast as you possibly can.

    Which reminds me, I want to defend doctors against a canard I've read more than once in this thread -- that other practitioners are "holistic", whatever that is, and doctors are not. Bollocks to that, I say.

    And I say bollocks to your bollocks. My GP back home, who was a very highly regarded diagnostician but was for a time persona non grata for subscribing to homeopathy, was pretty adamant on this point, and saw the value of homeopathy or Chinese traditional medicine precisely in that they sought to construct broader pictures of the interconnectedness of pathologies and clusters of predispositions. It's something that goes much further than (as somebody said upthread) finding out that the pain in your foot may come for an issue with your back, and allopathic medicine hasn't come close to adopting that philosophy.

    Now, we all know that most homeopathic remedies can't possibly work, or have meaningful chemical properties - he used to say that too, and I suspect that he saw their value primarily in that they allowed him not to prescribe far more harmful drugs dispensed by the regular pharmacies; but in terms of constructing a picture of the person for the purposes of diagnoses, he thought those schemas were very valuable indeed. And he was, to put it in context, a fantastic doctor, his eventual loss was felt quite deeply by the medical community.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Most often they just don't have time to do other than concentrate on the body part requiring fixing.

    The standard GP appointment is how long, 15 minutes? That in itself pretty much guarantees inefficacy.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Mrs Skin,

    Homeopathy can be quite effective with fears, phobias or addictions.

    I would expect something that works entirely on the placebo effect to be most efficacious with mental conditions.

    Stephen, not understanding a mechanism is not equivalent in science to having disproved something. There are studies coming through that provide small amounts of support for homeopathy's effectiveness. New Scientist has a few articles.

    Often these studies haven't been reproduced, or where they have there's negative or inconclusive results so it's hard to say that the evidence is building. But that's true of any area of scientific research. Getting to an absolute truth is generally a VERY slow process in science. Evolution, for example, is still a theory - of course the evidence for it is substantial.

    I also note that addictions are often physical changes in the brain.

    the warmest room in the h… • Since Feb 2009 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Ascend the Scaffold...

    I had to look efficacious up in the dictionary.

    did it mention Lily the Pink?

    Those bloody McCartneys - tinkering with the culture again (with the marvellous poet Roger McGough as well)

    yrs
    Lydia E. Pinkham
    a tonic for the troops

    PS: and a tonic for the NZ film industry - The EczeMen franchise starts here - casting tips anyone?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

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