Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All health care starts with diet. My recommendations for a healthy diet are here:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle.
There are over 190 articles on diet, inflammation and disease on this blog
(find topics using search [upper left] or index [lower right]), and
more articles by Prof. Ayers on Suite101 .

Friday, July 4, 2014

Can Apple’s HealthKit Avoid Health-Exploitation?

More healthcare begets more health costs and less health.  Tests detect symptoms that trigger treatment, but more often than not fail to contribute to health.  Apple’s newly announced HealthKit promises to facilitate increased surveillance of personal health statistics and to integrate the data with the health industry.  If recent history is a guide, more data will simply mean more inappropriate interventions, greater expense and further deterioration of public health.  More public interaction and scrutiny is needed to keep the public safe from the health industry and to hold doctors to their pledge to do no harm.

Breast, Prostate and Pelvic Exams Lead to Costly, Harmful, Unnecessary Interventions
In the last two years, major studies have found that frequent breast exams, prostate tests and pelvic exams cause more harm than good.  The surgery, followup procedures and treatments that the screening tests trigger are worse than the cancers that went unnoticed under more relaxed scrutiny.  The bottom line is that the information gathered from screening was not sufficient to produce appropriate, measured treatment.  Patients were harmed without benefit and the health industry was compromised by increased profits from inappropriate tests and treatments.  Doctors routinely convinced themselves of the value of routine exams that they performed to yield excessive false positives that resulted in unnecessary biopsies or disfiguring surgery.  Those flawed exams, tests and procedures also contributed substantially to the profitability of their practices.  Patients may have inadvertently been harmed, but the doctors knew that they benefited.

The Health Industry Pursues Profitable Tests and Treatment, not Causes and Cures
I was astounded a few years ago to read an article in the biomedical literature by a researcher who bemoaned the lack of interest in understanding the causes of diseases and the pursuit of cures.  Public and private funds were only spent on patent-protected tests and treatments.  I watched as the development and testing of fecal transplants demonstrated a safe and effective treatment for numerous diseases, and yet this approach was tracked down and caged by the health industry.  I think broad use of this approach could save billions of health dollars, but there is no patent protection and minimal profit, so the approach was stiffled.  The efficacy of fecal transplants also points directly at damaged gut flora (and antibiotics) as the cause of many diseases.  Where is the public forum to discuss the use of public funds to promote approaches that are safe, effective, cheap, but without potential for proprietary exploitation?  What will happen to simple cures, such as resistant starch and probiotics with Clostridium butyricum?

Is HealthKit Personal Data for Personal or Corporate Gain?
Will there be mechanisms for individuals to contribute their HealthKit data to large scale public health experiments to determine simple lifestyle, dietary and exercise approaches that can replace expensive and destructive pharmaceutical-based health industry approaches?  HealthKit provides the potential to wrest health from the health industry.  We will see if there is an app for that.


Zad said...

Hi Dr. Ayers,
I'm sorry for leaving this question on an article not related but I'm just hoping you can answer it. In your last article you said essential oils are very bad for gut diversity. How should one treat conditions like SIBO when essential oils and other antimicrobials are bad? Is a whole bowel irrigation enough to stop small intestinal bacterial overgrowth?

raphi said...

CERN should teach us a lesson. Gather lots of data but learn to sift through it meaningfully. Getting the former without having the latter might result in more burden than progress in the immediate.

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OldTech said...

I think that it is possible for personal tech to improve health but only if it is put under the control of patients.

As an example, the blood glucose meter has made it possible for diabetics who want to normalize their blood glucose through diet and insulin to do so.

However, not all bio-markers are that useful. Just because we can measure or test something does not mean that it will improve health if we use it as feedback. Examples where it might help would be an insulin or an infection meter.

The major problem that I see is that companies will only develop new tech if they see big potential returns. We need 'open source' for this to work!

Anonymous said...

looks like google is doing the same thing --- gathering patients data for better "treatment" (probably _drugs_)


Unknown said...

Apple's HealthKit will have challenges when it comes to privacy. The main purpose of HealthKit is be able to share health data, but it will have to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that protects personal health information. To solve this problem, users will be able decide if they want to share personal health data from third-party apps.
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Anonymous said...

Another spot-on article. Congratulations for being one more curageous person to speak up against this well oiled disease management system.
I am a big fan of your blog, and am using your wisdom with my clients, and all the wealth of groundbreaking information to reframe the perspective I have on the human health topic.
May he force be with you.

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