What’s in a name?

photo by Daan Spijer

SAD, CFS, IBS, ADD, ADHD, ASD, CVD, BCC*, DVT*… some of the acronyms of modern health and its challenges. Are they increasing in prevalence because of changing diets and changes in agricultural practices or are they a passing fad, a fashion?

Having worked for sixteen years for the acronymous ACNEM*, dedicated to educating MDs* and RNs* on the prevention and treatment of many of these disorders, and now being associated with ACMN*, I know that there is much that is real about them.

Some are probably the invention of drug companies looking for new markets. Oppositional Defiant Disorder[1] used to be simply the propensity of teenagers to revolt against authority. This should be considered a healthy thing, provided there are responsible adults around to keep the boundaries in good repair. Also, some years ago, research was published that potentially fifty million USA women suffer from Female Sexual Dysfunction[2]. This was ‘discovered’ by a drug company that had just the drug for it, sitting on the shelf.

There are experiences which have been with us for as long as anyone can remember. There have probably always been people whose moods changed with the seasons: up in summer and down in the cold, dark winter. Having officially recognised Seasonal Affective Disorder and given it a name, has opened up the possibility of effective help for these people.

Other acronymic conditions are increasing in prevalence and the cause is probably a mixture of changes in diet, lifestyle and medical practice. Increases in such conditions as Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder may be connected with increased vaccination of children at an increasingly lower age and are very likely connected with the huge increase in the consumption of wheat; highly refined wheat is used in most processed foods, along with sugar. These days it is even hard to find cornflour that is made form maize instead of wheat. Food additives can also play a role. In some places, notably Western Australia, there is an over-reliance on drugs such as Ritalin, when changes in diet can often be effective and much safer. [3]

There is a vigorous debate about the impact of Genetically Modified Organisms on our health, with more and more of what we eat containing them; especially processed foods, which often contain genetically modified rapeseed oil (canola), cottonseed oil, maize flour or corn syrup. Like mass vaccination, there has been little good research done to show it is safe.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are other maladies which have a strong connection with the things we eat and the quantities in which we eat them. There are indications that they may also arise from the overuse of antibiotics and the continuing failure of the majority of doctors to recognise the curative role of injected vitamins in megadoses.

I am not critical about the people who end up in a hospital ER*; this is an area in which modern medicine excels. However, many patients in ICUs*may not have ended up there if they had had access to, and encouragement to use, NEM*. Many degenerative diseases, such as cancer, Cardio-Vascular Disease, diabetes, dementia and RheumatoidArthritis can be avoided by most people by paying attention to living a healthy lifestyle, including diet, sleep, exercise, nutritional supplementation when needed and dealing appropriately with stress.

Like in orthodox medicine, with its PPIs* and NSAIDs*, the non-orthodox medical field is awash with acronyms for its treatments: IVC*, EDTA*,DMSA*, ALA*. All medicines legally available in Australia (including nutritional supplements) are controlled by the TGA*. Doctors may belong to the AMA*, the RACGP* or the ACRRM* and keep up to date with theirCPD* by reading the JAMA* the NEJM* or the BMJ*. They may send you to a NATA* member for an FBC* or to the RMH* for a GTT* or a CAT*scan. Your doctor may carry out an EEG* or an ECG*. You may augment the advice your doctor gives you with information from the WWW* or rely on reports published by the HWT* or in the SMH*.

Anti-ageing ‘medicine’ is another area with spurious remedies and its own acronyms. In Australia, the foremost body is A5M*. Many doctors use HGH*, DHEA* and other hormones, as well as a raft of cosmetic procedures, in a bid to keep their ‘patients’ younger-looking. What we need is vigorous ageing, not anti-ageing.

I should be fine for some time, provided I keep my BMI* and BP* within healthy limits and eat plenty of FFV* and avoid too much food with a high GI*. This way I won’t stress my GIT* and should not have to concern myself with PSA* levels.

  1. see for instance: www.vic.gov.au and: www.abc.net.au
  2. www.mayoclinic.org
  3. see for instance: Sydney Morning Herald

*

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine
  • Medical Doctors
  • Registered Nurses
  • Australasian College of Medical Nutrition
  • Emergency Room
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Nutritional and Environmental Medicine
  • Protein Pump Inhibitors
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
  • Intravenous Vitamin C
  • EthyleneDiamineTetraacetic Acid
  • DiMercaptoSuccinic Acid
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Therapeutic Goods Administration
  • Australia Medical Association
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
  • Continuing Professional Development
  • Journal of the Australian Medical Association
  • New England Journal of Medicine
  • British Medical Journal
  • National Association of Testing Authorities
  • Full Blood Count
  • Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Computed Axial Tomography
  • Electro EncephaloGram
  • Electro CardioGram
  • World Wide Web
  • Herald and Weekly Times
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • Body Mass Index
  • Blood Pressure
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
  • Glycaemic Index
  • Gastro-Intestinal Tract
  • Prostate-Specific Antigens
  • Austral-Asian Association of Anti-Aging Medicine
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • DeHydroEpiAndrosterone

[originally posted on Thinking-Allowed.com.au on 14 July 2010]

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