A classical definition of “public health” describes it as the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical and mental health, sanitation, personal hygiene, control of infection, and organization of health services. The practice of public health derives from dim antiquity, at least with respect to sanitation and personal hygiene, which was often done for religious purposes. The Greeks—including Hippocrates—in the 4th and 5th centuries BC, are considered the first to have applied logic and right reason to the causation of disease.
Author Archives: Michael D. Shaw
Last March, I posted a column sketching a historical background on the irrational fear of dietary sodium, and the less than great science behind such fears. Current guidelines are 1500 to 2300 milligrams per day, or lower. As was pointed out in the earlier piece, the much recommended super-healthy Mediterranean diet averages 4200 mg of sodium per day. Also mentioned was that a standard hospital saline IV drip logs in at more than 10,000 milligrams per day, and whatever the patient might eat on his own will take it up from there.
The career path of Dr. Mehmet Oz is most puzzling. Boasting a fine education (Tower Hill prep; Harvard undergrad; Penn med school; and Wharton), Oz did his residency at New York’s Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, and is now an attending surgeon at the same hospital. He also holds various academic appointments at Columbia’s med school. His name appears on more than 150 research papers, and he has published over 20 books—most of which have “You” in the title.
You might ask: What does this have to do with junk science? Behind most—if not all—junk science is a fierce dedication to some preconceived notion, or even an ideology. Thus, the results of the experiment are always made to fit the preferred hypothesis. In health care, far too many so-called random and unpreventable events derive from nothing less than willful blindness, as will be demonstrated in our first item. Continue reading
The TV series Dark Secrets, from 3net Studios, begins each episode with a teaser prologue, followed by this ominous voiceover:
“When an abandoned industrial building is cleared for demolition, a locked door is discovered in its basement. The door conceals an archive of strange and disturbing specimens, recordings, photos, and documentary films—compelling evidence of monstrous creatures and preternatural events. The documentarian’s whereabouts remain unknown. In his records, he identifies himself only as ‘The Teller.’ His investigations reveal a frightening world of dark secrets.”
Reforming health care is a signature issue with the current administration, but even the most ardent proponents of Obamacare would be reluctant to call it a success. Notwithstanding the well-publicized problems, of the countless billions spent on this program, precious little has gone into actual patient care. But really, what should we expect from a system designed by soulless bureaucrats such as “bioethicist” Ezekiel Emanuel and Donald Berwick, former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services?
A few weeks ago, this column ran a story exposing just a few of the shocking ethics violations that occurred in conjunction with a clinical trial called SUPPORT (Surfactant, Positive Pressure, and Oxygenation Randomized Trial). The trial’s primary purpose was to examine the efficacy of two experimental strategies for managing oxygen and two strategies of ventilation therapy in extremely premature babies. As noted in the earlier piece, the consent forms left much to be desired. In fact, it is likely that if the risks to the babies were properly outlined, few if any parents would have agreed for their children to have been part of the trial.