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Old 01-02-2009, 01:07 AM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anitram View Post
It is true.

Her brother remarked that he was ashamed to say that he felt relief that at least now he knew where she was and that no harm could come to her.
Yes, the mother of the woman I mentioned said very much the same thing your aunt's brother did.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:19 AM   #107
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Mental illness can be devastating for everyone close to a sufferer so my sympathies to all of you.

The daughter of my mother's best friend is bipolar and has attempted suicide twice in the last 18 months after periods of going off her meds. She has two young daughters so contemplating growing up with no mother vs sick, dysfunctional mother is one of those difficult questions. So A_W, don't try to claim I am asserting that anyone abandon meds that work for hocus pocus with tragic consequences.

But not to sway too far off topic, her sister tried everything under the sun to get rid of persistent migraines and the only thing that has worked has been moving to a mostly organic diet (from an already whole foods based one).

Personally I've had remarkable success in getting off allergy and asthma meds completely with a form of accupressure.

A_W, does that give you enough ammunition to write another novella on my wild and dangerous assertions?
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:20 AM   #108
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Don't take it so personally, I never said that you were an idiot or asserted that you were opposed to modern medicine. I assumed that you meant, and explicitly said, that you advocated going to the doctor when you are sick, as well as using some form of complimentary medicine (which you didn't clarify, I am assuming herbal supplements and the like). I was defending my position that alternative medicine (which is generally distinct from good nutrition, which should be scientific), probably doesn't work.

I included my anecdote to point out that I don't think people should blindly take whatever a doctor prescribes, and that scepticism should have some consistency.

I believe that modern western societies have a overly clinical view of mental health, and that anything that deviates from a particular ideal state is negative. I think this wipes out room for the much underrated mad genius, or hypomanic and driven individual, who is able to make a greater contributions to society in spite of negatives (infrequently crippling depression, for instance), than "normal" people are able to.

I think that the associations between intelligence, creativity and conditions like bipolar are persuasive enough to start asking questions about why these conditions persist in populations, and what benefits these conditions might confer. I am open to the possibility that some people might be better off without medication.

To be absolutely clear these are not Mendelian diseases, for instance I highly doubt there is a bipolar gene, and as a layman I have a rudimentary understanding that mental illness results from a combination of genetic factors, which may individually persist because they have important benefits for cognition and reproduction but when put together in certain combinations under different developmental and environmental factors result in high risks for depression, mania, and unstable moods.

So on a personal level I have a position which doesn't like the idea of having most of the population taking drugs to feel normal, but I have a strong proviso that a persons choice to use medication should be done on a case-by-case basis with considerations of cost-benefit; now this view is biased and anecdotal, and I don't begrudge or belittle people who enjoy the benefits or medication, but it's made with some consideration towards the facts about the high levels of medication use, the economic costs, the social costs, and the relatively weak effects it has for mild to moderate depression, it works much better when combined with cognitive behaviour therapy, improved diet and exercise.

When you assert that organic diets and alternative medicine are good things you give anecdotal evidence, but you don't tie them to broader studies. In the case of acupuncture the benefits aren't conclusive, and organic diets do seem to reduce a persons exposure to organophosphates - but the benefits of this reduction from the already low levels in regular crops versus the costs in terms of production and consumer dollars needs serious consideration.

The scientific method should validate the genuine facts about alternative medicine, and organic diets, and hopefully lead to improved quality of life for people who can make lifestyle changes; I just feel that by approaching alternative medicine as an equally valid approach to augment your general health without a critical approach you are opening yourself up for exploitation. When it comes to public health and medicine we can't rely on an attitude of treating different treatments as equally valid because different people swear by them, the science has to be there.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:10 AM   #109
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From annoyed, to amused to well...a little turned on. Brilliant!

Just to clarify, I don't view and have not advocated alternative medicine as equally valid overall to conventional or worthy of public funding. Where it can fill a void or form part of program of chronic disease management has meaningful application in overall quality of life for more and more people. Buyer beware and kudos to those who take carefully considered leaps of faith to become anecdotal statistics. Sometimes successfully, more often not.

When that anecdotal evidence builds, so does the likelihood of mainstream support and funding for credible research which has the potential to raise the bar on healthcare for everyone.

I have very strong opinions on the (mis)use of anti-depressants in general anxiety disorders, mild depression, stress management and children so I'll keep them to myself. The criticism stems from having worked in big pharma and GSK in particular and is not aimed at the R&D functions.

For all the advances and advantages of modern agriculture, isn't it strange and a little sad that an unaltered apple from pure soil is a limited luxury available mostly to well-off westerners and remote subsistence societies? A new twist on forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden...
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:36 PM   #110
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Who in hell wants an unaltered apple?

We have built a huge range of delicious fruit by shaping evolution creating things (like modern apples) which otherwise wouldn't exist.

We can build industrial scale orchids to grow these fruits throughout the year using unnatural agriculture, we can keep yields high and prices down with fertilizers and pesticides, and now that we have GM technology we can begin to reduce pesticide use and continue to make fruit as we see fit.

I really don't see this as a little sad, I see it as a triumph, and a continuation of our attempts to shape nature to suit our needs (even though we are part of nature, and can still fall prey to ecological disaster).
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:56 PM   #111
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I'll admit the history of wheat, for one, gives me pause on the question of modern genetic modification of foodstuffs. It is a question of degree, not of kind.

Possibly my main worry about GM crops are the issues of power - the power the owner of the patent holds.
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:39 PM   #112
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Call me crazy but many fruits and veggies just don't taste as good as they used to...hydroponic tomatoes are a better example than apples.

There are many triumphs for sure, but it seems the more we manipulate nature, the harsher the backlash. Terminator seed technology is just a baaaad idea.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:55 AM   #113
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Terminator seed technology serves at least two purposes

1) The green purpose which blocks the GM crops from escaping and wiping out pre-existing crops.

2) To keep farmers buying new seed from the agricultural corporations.

Now both of those are debatable questions, but I think those fail-safe mechanisms are reasonable, and the insane amount of government oversight which goes into trials and development (in response to ungrounded frankenfood scaremongering) are going to do something to reduce risk.

We shouldn't imagine that our food is untouched nature, all of it has been genetically modified by artificial selection when we cultivate crops, or domesticate animals. The law of unintended consequences may produce harm (overuse of fertilizer and pesticides causing environmental damage, too much meat causing higher cancer rates)

The big ethical issue of intellectual property consolidation which Kieran alluded seems to be the most important. Companies which create new crops own the rights to them, and they don't have any obligation to make food cheaper, make crops which prevent malnutrition, or encourage market competition.

As the technology becomes more readily available and more powerful it will be interesting to see how governments and NGO's adapt, could we see open source crops which can deliver all the utopian promises?
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