For the most part I opt for natural remedies over drugs for my own personal health. But, there are times when a doctor’s recommendations may differ from my wishes. So I was fascinated to learn that sometimes medical practitioners may not be totally objective in their appraisals of our health.
Dr. Sunita Sah practiced general medicine for several years in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. When she came to the United States, she noticed something strange.
The U.K. guidelines for tests such as mammograms and colon cancer screenings drastically differed from those in the U.S. – even though they were based on the same medical evidence.
“Having colonoscopy at the age of 50 – that struck me as rather odd when I moved to the U.S., because you don’t really hear about people having colonoscopies as a screening procedure in the U.K.,” said Sah. “It’s much less invasive to test for blood in the stool. It’s also less costly and doesn’t have the risks of undertaking a colonoscopy.”
A 2001 study that was published in Trends in Molecular Medicine found that prescription drugs are only effective for between 50% and 75% of patients, on average. This number drops down to 25% for patients with cancer and 30% of people taking drugs to treat Alzheimer’s.
Since the first healers began treating people for illness, the way it worked was that you described your symptoms to the doctor, who would then give you a physical examination and perhaps run some tests. Then he or she would make a diagnosis of your condition and treat you with drugs or other therapies that were standard for that condition. Personalized medicine takes the diagnosis and treatment of disease to a whole new level due to recent advances in genetics.
Scientists are now beginning to understand that each person’s unique genetic and molecular profile gives them greater susceptibility to particular diseases. Personalized medicine is a way of approaching medical treatment for the individual based upon their specific genetic profile. This can allow doctors to design treatments that are likely to be the most safe and effective for that person. For example, one drug may work well for one person, but…
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