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Archive for the ‘Two line sermons in cardiology’ Category

Bedside wisdom

We have been  using unfractioned Heparin for long , and its  is better than any other anticoagulants  in ACS . . . 

Our observation shows that Streptokinase has distinct advanatge over Tenektepelase as it works longer duration  . . .

My experience  says Diuretic and beta blockers  are still good as first line therapy for Hypertension  . . .

Mind you , there are infinite  number of such wisdom in every sub specialty of medical field.

However , the typical response from any  modern scientific intellect would be . . .

Stop it . . . Its old  stuff folk  , What does the current data say ?

medical-data-ethics-futility

Common uttering  in scientific forums,

Is there data backing up your  treatment modality ?

Is there sufficient data ?

Come’on , grow up , don’t talk about experience in a scientific forum . . . come out with data man !

No one seem to care the quality of the data . Every one bothers  about the quality of the Author and Journal instead  .  if its X Y Z its ok If its A B C no its not acceptable data.

Probably , Data is most misused word in medical science.

In scientific world,  “unpublished sense” goes straightway to  dustbin ,while we have so many avenues for the  published nonsense to  be celebrated (Still, bulk of guidelines in cardiology is backed up by Level C evidence which means experience  of experts !)

By the way what do we mean by data ?

Its organised collection of genuine scientific information , that’s post processed ,  follow it up with sound inference and faithful questioning and debate that should ultimately end up as  “clinical  application” in patient domain for consumption.(No prizes for guessing , whats happening in real world !)

OMG, give us back that elusive Common sense . . . which  I  think we  lost some time  at the turn of this millennium  !

Wrong or useless data : Who will recall ?

Once applied to patient , these data is  to be scrutinized and monitored . If we find a study conclusion  and reality does not match , we  need to stall the data from adversely  exploding .Every stake holder should have the power to do it. There have been instances a treatment modality got banished in one country is legally permitted in other country knowing fully well the futility.

Final message 

Modern scientific Data* is not God sent. Its  created , synthesised and disseminated in various mind factories. All you require is , backing up with some pioneering journal publication with huge impact factor.It’s not really blasphemy to question things which doesn’t make sense .Unfortunately , wrong data can be tackled only with further data .(There is no other means I guess !)

When does “good common sense”  become hard data and evidence ?

Its the act of publication , so  please guys whenever you  find some contamination  in so-called scientific data  please post here.  To begin with I am registering a new Journal  “Commonsense journal in cardiology”

*Please note, data is not a bad word as this write-up  seem to suggest.Naturally occurring , epidemiological and  observational data about diseases are the foundations for medical science .The issue become murky when few motivated humans play brutal  games at the sensitive  interface between science and truth.

It should be acknowledged , there is a distinct risk  of  this fight against falsehood end up in blocking  true progress  of science . Still , Homo sapiens  are (believed to be !)  intelligent enough to differentiate good from bad , that’s the reason God gave us the sixth sense !

Link to Lown Institute (Started by Cardiologist and Nobel peace prize  Laurate Dr Lown who strives hard to pursue this goal)

Further reading :  Scientific Reversals in cardiology 

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These two quotes  on practice of medicine are close to my heart , one from Voltaire , a non medical man (a French poet )  and  the other from ,one of the greatest medical professional of our times, William  Osler .

gretest medical quotes william osler voltaire

It is amazing ,how the thinking pattern of a  philosopher  and a true scientific professional living  centuries apart are almost in sync with a great medical reality !

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After nearly three decades of , treating patients , teaching students and little involvement in research , I have consciously created a new  null hypothesis in medical research  !

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Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi ,  father of my country , India , made these observations in year 1925  about the  fundamental constituents of  violence in society . These words of monumental wisdom came when he was  addressing young Indians in a country- side rally .

mahatma gandhi quotes medical science humanity

Note, his finger points to , what  exactly is relevant to our profession ! He emphasized this  nearly  100 years ago, when medical science was at its infancy .One can only guess what would be Mahatma’s comment about our profession in it’s  current form !

Should we include moral, behavioral and ethical classes  right from the first year of medical  school along with Anatomy , physiology and bio chemistry.Medical council of India obviously need to burn more mid night oil , I wish it happens in my life time. !

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I frequently  refer to one of the most famous  medical quotes made in last century by a Harvard professor Dr Herbert Lay  in 1969.

 

medical quote herbert lay fda modern medicine Five  decades have gone since this observation was made by Dr Ley .Mind you ,Dr Ley is not a lay person , he was heading the same FDA  which  he targeted ! I guess when Dr Ley made this  statement  there was  little commercialization in  pharma Industry . Now along with it  an entirely  new field of medical device industry has grown to gargantuan proportions !

I  wonder what Dr Herbert Ley would have to say as on 2014 !

Many modern  medical  professionals would   shrug these views  as controversial , pessimistic and negative forces of science !

Here I borrow my own quote from venkat@thoughts

medical quotes venkatesan ethics

 

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Shall I begin with a provocative quote (My own !)

Inability to think beyond  self , family, private life  reflects a backward and immature  state of human mind

How to eradicate this backwardness  we all suffer from !

I stumbled upon a book which made me wonder , whether  eradication of  backwardness is little to  do with education ! It lies much, much deeper in our cortical thinking influenced by  inheritance , evolution , culture and economy .

The stunning truth was exemplified  by  American political  scientist  Edward C. Banfield  .A must read for every one who have mind for society , community and the humanity !

In this book he introduced a new term to describe this self centered thinking as “Amoral familism”

“Banfield concluded that  human  plight was rooted in the distrust, envy and suspicion displayed by  them in  relations with each other. Fellow citizens would refuse to help one another, except where one’s own personal material gain was at stake. Many attempted to hinder their neighbors from attaining success, believing that others’ good fortune would inevitably harm their own interests”

Banfield theroy  and  “Moral Bankruptcy in Modern medical care

I am afraid  there is a  compelling link between Banfield’s observation in a remote Italian village  to the current  medical  community   mind set who care only for their patients who pay them and keep them happy !

If you  think  education will eradicate social backwardness ,Why ?  one of the most highly educated community that form the noble profession remain backward in their thinking !

How do you explain  innumerable instances of hospitals ,  doctors shutting doors for  lesser humans  even in dire emergencies ! ?

Why do many of them  join hands with powers that can be detrimental to the overall health of the society ?

The stunning irony is , they do it  unashamed (with pleasure  at times!)  in  violation of the oath they take when they join the Noble profession. Shall we call it  as ” Moral Bankruptcy in medical care ?

Read further

Moral Basis of a Backward Society 
 
Moral basis of a backward society banfield

Highlights of this book  (Text from Wikipedia)

The Moral Basis of a Backward Society is a book by Edward C. Banfield, a political scientist who visited Montegrano, Italy . He observed a self-interested, family centric society which sacrificed the public good for the sake of nepotism and the immediate family. Banfield as an American was witnessing what was to become infamous as the “mafia” or families that cared only for its own “members” at the expense of their fellow citizens. Banfield postulated that the backwardness of such a society could be explained ‘largely but not entirely’ by ‘the inability of the villagers to act together for their common good or, indeed, for any end transcending the immediate, material interest of the nuclear family’.

 

Link to this book in PDF

 

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nobel prize in medicine 2

Why not Nobel prize for clinical  science ?

 

nobel prize for medicine

Nobel prize was constituted  to reward people or organisation  who make a  huge impact on the welfare of man kind. It is given in various categories  for  outstanding contributions in Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physiology or Medicine, and Economic Sciences

Unfortunately,  there is a strong bias towards  raw basic science when it is given in the filed of medicine.Do you know  ,there is no Nobel prize exclusive  for medical science ? It shares with human physiology the only field included for Nobel prize in medicine.

Evolution of human  history reveals it is not the stunning  scientific discoveries that impact the mankind . It is  largely dependent  on how we  use them . It is true and natural ,invention of  sub atomic particles , decoding  quantum mechanics  and  trans-cellular  signals always generate great interest  than others.

In medical science, time and again we have seen problems arise in  applying fruits of scientific  research into  practical  usage in the patient domain  in the bedside.

What is use of rewarding inventor of  nitric oxide with a  Nobel prize , when billion-dollar nitrate  industry is thriving on a non existing  life long indication of  stable angina .

It is  surprising  to note ,  Nobel  committee does  give credit to wisdom &  intellect  while awarding  prize in  peace,  literary  or  economic sciences. For some reason it lacks  such a vision when it comes to medical sciences !

We have seen Nobel prize being  awarded to organization that strive for peace and welfare of society and community like UN ,EU  etc.The world health organization is the premier power supposed to provide and  regulate the health in this planet.I do not recall any time WHO  was close to  considered for the  Noble prize in medicine  !

Nobel Ironies

Nobel committee rewards  economists who point out lacunae in vital world macro and micro economics  theories.

Dubious men(Heads of state )  are decorated with Noble peace prizes  for preventing a war in  one geographical area while doing exactly the  opposite elsewhere !

In this modern  millennium  where scientific pursuits are contaminated and  many of the  research questions are misdirected or irrelevant , Nobel committee needs a through rejig in the manner in which  medical  Nobel prize is  being awarded. We know ,Noble’s death wish was to award the brightest mind with highest scientific  breakthroughs in those world . . . but

I guess Alfred Nobel if alive would have changed his rules .He wouldn’t  have imagined modern science would systematically devalue common sense and reinventing it would also deserve an award equivalent to Nobel !

Some of the medical  discoveries that deserve noble medical prize

  • States which excel in   school health nutrition and  other basic health programs  for the downtrodden
  • Doctors who promote bed side clinical skills
  • Tobacco eradication networks
  • Organisations like medicine san-frontiers which strives for basic life saving medication for all
  • Journal houses that specialise  on Medical ethics and clinical sciences
  • Medical professionals and institutions provide value education
  • Medical economists who expose the wasted financial resources that  widen the gap between sick and rich

How about    Nobel prize in cardiology  for preventive cardiologist  who successfully terminates a million statin prescription and restoring natural exercise directed lipid regulation in them  ?

How about  Noble prize for a noble  physician sitting in corporate hospital infested with all commercial ingredients who could resist and argue successfully  against   inappropriate tonsillectomies  and appendectomies ?

I am sure , such a man will be a  laughing stock  for most of us !

An appeal to Nobel committee

It is a wish , Noble prize  in medicine is to be included for people who do yeomen services in preventive and  clinical care and professional who carry forward the legacy of  caring for the sick with  clinical application of available scientific wisdom !

In this scientifically obsessed world , It will be a new beginning in the  way future medical research will be directed and nurtured ! Only then the true power of Noble prize in medicine will be  realised !

Reference

Link to Wikipedia Nobel prize in Medicine

 

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