Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, PainCare, New Hampshire commented that the recent 350.000 subject study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrating consumption of saturated fats to be no more the cause of cardiovascular disease than consumption of polyunsaturated fats is another blockbuster example of the rise and fall of yet another conventional wisdom. For decades we have been fed garbage (pun intended) by media and by medical literature that the hydrogenation (saturation) of fatty acids (converts liquid fat to solid, as in margarine) is tantamount to chemical ‘perversion,’ and ingestion of such products is certain to lead to a premature death. The recycling of age old “rock solid” advice from physicians is in my opinion analogous to the frequent ‘turning’ of my backyard compost pile. Depending on how deeply I drive my pitchfork, the more likely I am to find intact wine corks, jar labels, oak leaves and other paraphernalia from years ago.
Scientific literature, the term itself meant to be synonymous to ‘truth,’ is hardly that. Facts are destroyed then reinvented in a truly bewildering and dangerous process. When is the public going to raise its intelligence quotient to the level at which it realizes that scientific literature is often no better than my compost pile, and occasionally far worse?
Now this is not to criticize the mountains of ‘applied research’ that has led to astounding technological advances. Information retrieval, data storage, communications, robotics…all have been made possible through science, and many if not most, make our lives much easier and productive. However, when science is applied to the human body, not a machine, not a flask of chemicals in the lab, science does not exactly shine. Medical science more often than not fails us. It usually does not get it right the first time, or even the second, third or umpteenth. This does not reflect an evil underpinning to medical research, but rather the infinite complexity of humans, both the researcher and the researched. The list of barely effective medications, medications that years later cause catastrophic health problems; surgeries that do not cure but rather maim if not immediately after, but years down the road, is staggering.
Which brings me to my favorite subject—Obamacare. One of the primary tap roots of ACA is EBM (evidence based medicine). The presumption is that the medical literature will guide doctors and other worthy practitioners in their treatment of various human pathologies, for the noble purpose of applying the ‘right treatment at the right time’ (whatever that means). This purpose has the effect of reducing providers of healthcare to automatons, who merely plug in patient’s complaints, physical findings and results of lab and radiological procedures and voilá, up pops the right and timely treatment on the computer screen.
If only it all worked so smoothly.