“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Looking back several decades on this planet, say to the 1940s, this is one of the few expressions we can recall that had to do with staying healthy without a doctor’s permission. It shows that today’s emphasis on healthy eating – the popularity of super foods such as blueberries – is not exactly novel. But it’s still been a long road for health maintenance to become an important part of the health care industry. As managing editor Heather Carney points out in “The Theory of Medicine” in this Top Docs issue, there are people out there whose vocations are not to cure you once you are sick, but who work to prevent sickness in the first place.
Not too long ago, practitioners of alternative medicine were often labeled as quacks by conventional physicians. But also not too long ago, cigarettes were touted in advertising as part of a healthy lifestyle. Today, as Ms. Carney points out, traditional doctors are increasingly receptive to new approaches to health care.
We have seen this first hand. We spoke to a prominent local dentist about a friend who was convinced her health issues, which were serious at one time, could be traced to dangerous minerals in her body, some of which she attributed to mercury fillings. She also thought that learning disorders with her children may have been related to dental work she had done while pregnant. The dentist’s response: “Your friend is absolutely, 100 percent correct.” This dentist went so far as to bring in a specialist to lecture his staff on the dangers of mercury in their work.
Of course, mercury in fillings, once routine, is today almost non-existent, and many people have taken the precaution of having such fillings removed – a tricky process in itself. The aforementioned friend had strange symptoms, including wildly out-of-line blood counts. She was tested for leukemia, and a series of doctors had prescribed antibiotics, which only worsened her health because they killed the good bacteria in her system. Eventually, she began reading. She found a book that described her problems perfectly, and she wound up going to an M.D. who was also a nutritionist. He was all the way over in St. Petersburg (there weren’t many such doctors around ten years ago) and he diagnosed her problem as malnutrition, caused by years of poor diet. Following his orders, she became a health food fanatic, and today is back to normal. She also had her kids treated, with immediate improvement.
We noticed that among the many specialities listed in this Top Docs issue, only a few brush on nutrition, and none is directly in the nutrition field. But don’t be surprised if we see that change in coming years. Until it does, keep that old adage in mind: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”