LE Magazine July 2003
Bridging the Gap Between
Science & Medicine
Each day, hundreds of medical discoveries are published in internationally recognized scientific journals. Only a few of these life-saving findings are ever made available to patients.
The result is that human beings suffer and die while effective therapies already exist to alleviate or cure their condition.
One reason for this travesty is that today's physicians are overwhelmed with a crushing burden of bureaucracy and patient load. Hurried doctors cannot possibly keep up with the abundance of new information bursting out of the scientific arena.
Physician ignorance and apathy has created a hostile backlash that is motivating a growing number of Americans to turn away from conventional medicine.
In this article, we reveal how Life Extension members can bypass today's broken down healthcare system so they can take full advantage of today's wealth of scientific knowledge. This information provides members with the opportunity to gain greater control over what happens inside their own bodies.
We live in a world where medical discoveries have become routine events. The sheer volume of new findings, however, has inundated both the public and practicing physicians. While the media superficially reports on a few scientific discoveries, the vast majority of medical breakthroughs remain buried in the millions of pages of journals that are published each year.
When medical discoveries are not delivered to patients, the inevitable result is less than optimal care. If you suffer from a non-life-threatening condition, this absence of applied knowledge means your agony may not abate. If you suffer from a lethal medical condition, the result of your physician not taking advantage of current treatment findings can result in premature death.
In 1999, the Life Extension Foundation published a 946-page medical textbook titled Disease Prevention and Treatment (3rd ed). The amount of new information that has been discovered since 1999 is nothing short of remarkable. Regrettably, few of these discoveries have been incorporated into standard medical practice. The result is that people are dying needlessly, even though therapies to treat their diseases may already exist.
In order to help bridge the gap between the findings of scientific research and conventional medical practice, Life Extension has just published the fourth edition of Disease Prevention and Treatment that contains over 1,500 pages.
Why doctors can't keep up
What differentiates practicing physicians from the Life Extension Foundation is our team of researchers who investigate the world's published scientific literature to uncover effective preventatives and treatments that are not being utilized by mainstream doctors. In many cases, this overlooked information has been published in conventional medical journals that physicians subscribe to. The difference is that Life Extension employs dedicated staff members whose job is to review, interpret and catalog the novel data they discover. Even well intentioned physicians lack the time and resources to systematically conduct this type of meticulous research.
A review of past medical discoveries reveals how excruciatingly slow the medical establishment adopts novel concepts. Even simple methods to improve medical quality often meet with fierce resistance.
A classic example of this occurred when a young Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that a contagious disease was being transmitted to hospital patients because medical personnel failed to wash their hands.
In the 19th century, tens of thousands of women died every year from puerperal sepsis (childbed fever). The reason for this epidemic was that doctors were performing autopsies and then conducting vaginal exams with their hands covered with decomposing necrotic tissue. Dr. Semmelweis observed that women who used midwives instead of doctors had low rates of childbed fever.
To test these observations, Semmelweis implemented a policy in his department that required doctors to wash their hands with disinfectant prior to attending patients. Mortality rates from childbed fever immediately declined from 18.3% to 1.3%.
When Semmelweis published his meticulous findings about the importance of hand washing, the medical community reacted with hostility or dismissal. The prevailing belief at the time was that childbed fever is caused by bad air. After strident attempts to persuade skeptics, Semmelweis was committed to an insane asylum where he died at age 42, possibly from beatings by asylum guards.
Accessing today's scientific pioneers
How many forward thinking individuals like Dr. Semmelweis exist today? The answer is more than in any previous era. The challenge is finding those who possess exceptional degrees of compassion, competence and willingness to apply new discoveries.
Over the past three decades, Life Extension has been privileged to interact with scientific pioneers who have developed novel solutions for preventing and treating degenerative disease. Their methods are based upon reviewing thousands of published scientific papers and medical conference reports, interacting with innovative doctors throughout the world, and their own professional experience.
Medical history documents that bureaucratic committees do not make discoveries. Instead, it is the individual with an insatiable desire for knowledge that innovates by thinking beyond prevailing dogmatic principle.
The new edition of the Disease Prevention and Treatment reference book represents a compilation of work by individuals who are passionate about ending today's epidemic of unnecessary disease and death.
How this book came into being
It is important to understand how the Disease Prevention and Treatment book came into being. In the 1970s, the founders of the Life Extension Foundation began to uncover information that could be used to alleviate suffering and prevent death. Conveying this information to those with health problems often resulted in significant improvements in their condition.
As we delved deeper into the scientific literature, it became clear that many people were dying from medical ignorance. This startling revelation did not go totally unnoticed. A growing number of individuals began asking us for help when confronted with difficult-to-treat disorders. As more cases were presented to us, we came to the realization that a lethal communication gap exists between scientists and practicing physicians.
Marvelous discoveries are published in prestigious medical journals today, yet little of this information is utilized to save lives. It's as if an impenetrable barrier separates scientific solutions from those in critical need of this knowledge. One objective of Disease Prevention and Treatment is to break down the walls of ignorance and apathy that are the underlying causes of most human suffering and death.
The concept of "scientific medicine"
The primary purpose of this new book is to provide information to Life Extension members that are overlooked by the medical establishment. Our mission has been to translate diverse scientific findings into therapeutic protocols that can be understood by lay people and their physicians. We call this concept "scientific medicine."
Physicians who practice "scientific medicine" react uniquely when they hear about a new therapy. Their curiosity motivates them to evaluate the new therapy for safety and efficacy in the context of treatment regimens appropriate to their patients' conditions. The scientific physician evaluates the new therapy based upon:
The evidence demonstrating its safety and efficacy
- The chance that a therapeutic effect will be produced in particular patients
- The risks of using the new therapy to treat these patients
Once satisfied that a new therapy has merit, scientific physicians then integrate the therapy into individual treatment regimens. These physicians, in essence, are using the results of promising new studies to help save the lives of their patients.
While this may appear to be a common sense approach to better medical practice, it is no longer common in the clinical setting. The general public is often surprised to learn how seldom breakthrough discoveries are used to save human lives. Managed care and bureaucratic over-regulation have relegated most physicians to the practice of "assembly line" medicine. Sadly-in the most advanced medical system in the world-we have seen a move away from "scientific medicine" towards "fast-food medicine." In Disease Prevention and Treatment, we emphasize the need for physicians to return to scientific medicine for the benefit of their patients and for the continued advancement of medical care.
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