Who Do You Want Working With You?
Definition of IDIOT LIGHT: a colored light on an instrument panel (as of an automobile) designed to give a warning (as of low oil pressure) of an impending catastrophic situation.
Curiously, the immense popularity of the “… for Dummies” book series has taken much of the sting out of being an “idiot”, so that the term no longer seems derogatory.
Many patients are searching Dr. Google and Dr. Facebook for information on their health. They are doing so born of frustration from dealing with Idiot Light Medicine. Which can only lead to more confusion and consternation from the Idiot Light medical worst case scenario information on the Internet.
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I recently had a young woman with Hashimoto’s and a moth eaten thyroid. The frustration of Synthroid and no dietary changes as the treatment, a classic example of Idiot Light Medicine, drove her to contact me. Because I look at the individual, I ask questions not related to the thyroid but have a direct impact on the thyroid. As part of my basic overview, I asked how her mouth was. Curious as to why I would ask she excitedly told me she has had bleeding gums since childhood. The dietary changes had a profound effect on the way she felt by going lectin and gluten free. The oral infection had a significant down stream affect on her body. Oral bacteria are capable of entering the broken capillaries and migrate down to the thyroid. This also continuously disrupts her digestion, hormone and drives her into a constant autoimmune status.
Back in the mid-90’s, a study came out in medical journal reporting over 70% of all diagnosis are wrong. While this was much to the delight of the Chiropractic community, this brought much dismay to the medical profession. Since the they have been chipping away at these numbers. The latest reports that misdiagnosis can and does occur and is reasonably common with error rates ranging from 1.4% in cancer biopsies to a high 20-40% misdiagnosis rate in emergency or ICU care. Surveys of patients also indicate the chance of experiencing a misdiagnosis to range from 8% to 40%. This makes misdiagnosis one of the most common types of medical mistakes.
How Does This Occur?
Idiot Light Medicine is the response to interface problems between lab test results and patients. The lab test is more informative for the technical (healthcare provider) user, but the average user (a.k.a. “the idiot”) won’t look at it or notice subtle changes, even as the markers shift into the red zone. The idiot light indicates an exceptional condition, and is supposed to capture the (idiot) healthcare providers attention in time for them to do something about the problem. There are several forms of Idiot Light Medicine.
One is Word Association Medicine. Much like the old “Name That Tune” television game show. Students in healthcare colleges are tested on word association. You say the symptom and I name the disease.
The next would be Band Wagon Medicine. Pay attention the next time a study comes out. A recent example of the Lyme study some media outlet put out. All of a sudden the blogosphere, advertising and social media are lit up with Lyme causes everything. Did you know the common cold has the same symptoms as West Nile Virus? Only a lab test can tell the difference. Unfortunately, many develop a compelling attractiveness or charm towards the disease that can inspire devotion towards the condition. Leaving them with little hope of improvement. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over. Expecting the results to change.
Another would be the Telephone Whispers Medicine. Telephone whispers is a game played around the world, in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first. This takes two forms. The first is the misdiagnosis by the Idiot Light Practitioner. The second would be the patient talking with Dr. Google and Dr. Facebook. After the initial misdiagnosis, the person seeking help will go the next office and inform them that they have “Hatchy-Tatchy”* syndrome. The next provider strapped of time goes with it using the principles of Idiot Light Medicine. With the same previous results.
These all lead to Diagnosis Medicine. Patient will come in reporting they have already been diagnosed with a condition. Doctors will treat the diagnosis and not the person. Leaving the patient frustrated and on the search with the Internet Doctors. When the condition was originally misdiagnosed. This also occurs when the ICD9 diagnosis is treated. This is the wave of the future with the new electronic health records. It will be too much trouble to correct the original diagnosis so you will be stuck with it. All treatment will be based upon it.
An ideal situation, from an informational viewpoint, would be providing both the gauge (lab testing) and the trouble indicator (assessment forms and information from talking with patient). However, most healthcare providers have not been prepared to process even the minimal amount of information provided with today’s lab testing. In fact, they are taught not to. All healthcare providers are taught from the public health perspective, which work at the level of population health rather than the individuals’ health. To add insult to injury, textbooks and class curriculum is being dumbed-down to the lowest amount of information necessary to pass licensing examinations.
The information about health conditions provided by Dr. Google and Dr. Facebook are written based on idiot light illumination. At this point the health condition has manifested and reversal of the condition is difficult and restoration to normal function is difficult if not impossible.
How Functional Medicine Differs
Functional Medicine focuses on preventive medicine or preventive care of the individual that consists of measures taken to prevent diseases, (or injuries) rather than curing them or treating their symptoms. This contrasts in method with Idiot Light (curative and palliative) medicine, and in scope with public health methods (which work at the level of population health rather than individual health).
Functional Medicine strategies are typically described as taking place at the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary prevention levels. In addition, the term primal prevention has been used to describe all measures taken to ensure fetal well-being and prevent any long-term health consequences from gestational history and/or disease. The rationale for such efforts is the evidence demonstrating the link between fetal well-being, or “primal health”, and adult health.
- Primary prevention involves methods to avoid the occurrence of disease. This involves diet and lifestyle.
- Secondary prevention methods to support the reversal of dysfunction and restoration of normal function.
- Tertiary prevention methods to diagnose and direct appropriate treatment of existing disease in early stages before it causes significant health issues.
- Quaternary prevention involves methods to reduce negative impact of existent disease by restoring function and reducing disease-related complications. In addition to supporting methods to mitigate or avoid results of unnecessary or excessive interventions in the health system. Most population-based health promotion efforts are of this type.
It is important to understand that the way the body works does not change to suit a current philosophy of a diseases cause and effect. Neurology, physiology and anatomy in the human body do not change. They have meaning and cannot be ignored or changed to suit a particular philosophy. By understanding functional neurology, physiology and anatomy, you will understand the effect. Each effect rationalizes into a procedure that we hope will eliminate the cause of disease and alters the effect back to normal health.
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I cannot say how many time people have come to my office expecting me to provide the same failed treatment for the same misdiagnosis that had failed so many time before. Some leave because I choose to take a fresh look at their situation. Others find it reassuring that they finally found someone to look at them and not the diagnosis.
Probably the worst cases I see are the CookBook Medicine patients. I recently had a Hashimoto’s patient with a very active cytokine-induced sickness that was treated using the TH1/TH2 challenge followed by stimulating acetylcholine and domapine supplements, stimulating immune system support and the GABA challenge. The doctor refused to talk with her saying she just has to tough it out. This stimulating treatment drove her into a very aggressive Cytokine-Induced Sickness Behavior, where she had to lock herself in her room to prevent any stimulation from occurring. This was not the first case and it will not be the last.
This condition is treatable but it is not easy. The only way to do it is to look at the individual. If your healthcare provider is not looking at the big picture. I invite you to call my office.
*”Hatchy-Tatchy” is a fictitious name made up to prevent people from developing nocebos.
Call today! 530-615-4083