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The age of infectious disease has given way to age of chronic disorders. The major killers today are heart and vascular disease, chronic degenerative diseases and cancer, largely incurable and increasing in incidence. The strategies that worked so well for all but eliminating acute infectious diseases just don't seem to work for chronic and degenerative conditions.
"The prevalence of asthma, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, immune deficiency syndrome, HIV and a host of other debilitating conditions is increasing. Conventional biomedicine - so strikingly successful in treatment of overwhelming infections, surgical and medical emergencies and congenital defects, has been unable to stem tide of these conditions". James Gordon M.D., Washington, D.C.
Even during time of Sir Isaac Newton human body was viewed as an intricate biological machine. The Universe was an orderly, predictable but divine mechanism, a 'grand clockwork'. Although hundreds of years have passed, Western scientific medicine still holds same basic philosophy, but are more sophisticated in studying biological mechanisms at a molecular level.
The first Newtonian approaches were essentially surgical. The body was seen as if it were a complex plumbing system. If it went wrong offending piece was removed or bypassed. These days instead of using knives, drugs are often used to do more or less same things.
Humans though are far more than walking sacks of chemicals. The animating life-force central to other medical systems is an energy that is not addressed by modern scientific methodology and there are no Western medical models that explain what it is and what it does. It is misguided by concept that all illnesses are cured by physically repairing or eliminating abnormal cells. This is partly due to a conflict between 'Western' and 'Eastern' philosophies and has its roots in division of science and religion along with destruction of folk medicine in both U.S. and Europe.
Cancer cannot be treated effectively under a philosophy of reductionism. Scientific cancer research has failed to find a cure because it is looking in wrong places with wrong tools. Cancer needs to be understood as a 'whole' disease in relation to each individual's experience and culture of which they are part. It has multiple causes that vary with each patient. The strategies that worked so well for tackling acute infectious diseases are inappropriate for dealing with chronic and degenerative conditions. Cancer patients can be at best increasingly 'patched up' by orthodox treatments but at spiralling health care costs.
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