Are we limiting our view of how to maintain health? I was just reading an article by Dr. Margaret Chan, Director–General of the World Health Organization (WHO), where she stated that modern medicine as we know it could be coming to an end. How could that be? Well, she claimed that every antibiotic ever developed is at the risk of becoming useless. It seems that stronger drugs have to be manufactured and tested in order to overcome the build-up of resistant bacteria to existing antibiotics.
photo of Dr. Margaret Chan by Embassy of Equitorial Guinea’s photostream
I guess I can understand that logic. According to Dr. Chan, misuse and overuse are making drugs ineffective. Let’s look at what Dr. Chan stated: “Under these conditions, the lifespan of antibiotics becomes shorter and shorter, to the point where pharmaceutical companies can’t see any value in developing new drugs, because they aren’t going to recoup the huge investments in research and development.”
According to Chan, three conditions come together to create the AMR (Antimicrobial Resistance) crisis: increasing use of antibiotics in humans and animals and their inappropriate use, which accelerates the emergence of resistant strains of germs; increasing world travel of humans and foods, which spreads resistant strains more widely and more rapidly; and a “dry pharmaceutical pipeline,” which means no new drugs to fight with in the future.
Interestingly, researchers are finding other methods of helping an individual maintain or regain their health. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, is the author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health. According to Welch, in the past, early diagnosis and treatment were too easy to support and too hard to challenge, but members of the medical profession are starting to question this practice.
Welch wrapped up what he has found in medical overdiagnosis by saying, “For years now, people have been encouraged to look to medical care as the way to make them healthy. But that’s your job – you can’t contract that out. Doctors might be able to help, but so might an author of a good cookbook, a personal trainer, a cleric, or a good friend. We would all be better off if the medical system got a little closer to its original mission of helping sick patients, and let the healthy be.”
In this statement, is Welch suggesting that alternative medicines such as yoga and prayer (to name a few) might have a positive effect on one’s health? If so, Christianity has something to offer in this regard. In fact, I checked a few research studies about the most used alternative therapies and in an NIH study, the use of nine alternative therapies was reported and prayer for self was the most used at 43%. Maybe rather than an end of modern medicine, we’re looking at a different form of medicine that addresses the whole person rather than concentrating on just the physical.