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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: The Term - "Medicine" (Harris' 2nd Law of Information)
Date: 29 Dec 1999 08:43:33 GMT

In <> George Lagergren
<> writes:

>Topic:  The Term - "Medicine"
>"Doc Steve" <>  wrote:
>DS> Always enjoy a good argument - and this one has a lot of sparkle
>DS> to it!  Y'know, the term "disease" is so broad, it's hard to use
>DS> general concepts to define approaches to it.
>    How about discussing the term - "medicine"?  Should not the term
>    "medicine" be broad enough to include all forms of medicine like
>    diet medicine; exercise medicine; folk medicine; nutritional
>    medicine; and even if needed, pharm drug medicine; surgical
>    medicine; etc.???
>    And shouldn't doctors be educated, trained, and do practice
>    using all forms of medicine???

   No, they should be trained in all practices that have been shown by
proper study to effectively treat the complaint or problem in question.
Call them (these practices) what you like.

   Do I think that medical doctors get enough training in some of the
things that work very well?  Like, for example, stretching muscles
under hot water, as treatment for musculoskeletal spasm, which is
incidental to most musculoskeletal pain?   Or the use of nutrition to
prevent disease?   No.  Only a few medical doctors (physiatrists, for
example, who work with physical therapists) ever learn what most
medical doctors (given the frequency of musculoskeletal complaints)
should know.  Part of this is inherent in the history of the profession
("professionals" don't touch the patient more than they have to), and
part of it is a very deep problem concerning the value of information.
How do you get somebody to pay what information is worth?  The sad
answer, is that you general can't.  Thus, information that can't be
sold in the form of a tangible product, gets discounted and
undervalued, since it is copied too easily.

   This is not just a problem for medicine, BTW, but is a generic
problem thoughout any profession, and it distorts all markets where
people try to make a living, as the "information age" keeps coming down
on us.  Sooner or later, every purveyor of pure information (writer of
books) comes out with a product line.  That's just as true in
alternative medicine as it is in orthodox medicine.  Copying gets you,
otherwise.  Thus, Harris' Second Law of Information: "You may really
sell information.  We all do.  But if you don't sell something other
than *pure* information in today's world, you're either gunna have to
stay in academics, or you're gunna starve.  Or both."

                                  Steve Harris, M.D.

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