Article 5 of 7
The first segment of this article deals with the vulnerability, through the lack of knowledge, of the individual in dealing with his or her health. The second segment discusses some of the special means available, through the use of technology, to far better deal with the environment as it relates to human health.
If you would, please refer to handout “B” (the Health Chart) The B handout can be viewed also by clicking on a link at the end of this article. The handout is also an essential part of this discussion.
Let’s say the sloping line in handout B represents our health in general. From the normal-plus level down to the potential disease level area. Although this chart is oversimplified, it does give us a better picture of what we are all presently dealing with on a day to day basis in our lives, and also, in general, what we are trying to accomplish here. It’s very sad but true, that we have no idea where we are at on any such line of wellness, up in the healthy areas or down in the disease area, nor do we have the ability to exercise any organized degree of control over our position on any such line.
The disease area is where our present health care system primarily operates. In fact, the present health care system is often referred to as a disease-oriented medical system. We hear a lot about this area, because this is where most research and other medical activities take place, not up in this pre-disease stage area, or for sure not up in the normal-plus area.
(Although I am using only one line here (in handout A) for discussion, and simplification, purposes, the use of a number of lines, possibly representing major body systems, may in fact provide a more realistic representation).
We are told that major diseases such as most cancer, heart problems and the like usually take years to materialize, yet how often is someone given a complete physical examination and a clean bill of health, only to come down with the symptoms of one of these diseases within weeks? Obviously, the person was not likely in good health at the time of the examination; he or she was in reality down in this disease area, or pre-disease stage area, not up here, and for sure not up here in the normal plus area. The hundreds of health level conditions from the disease level up through the normal plus level would be fully established by this system. Currently you are diagnosed to have some level of diseased, or with the absence of that diagnosis, considered to be normal and sent home. What about the hundreds of subtle conditions in between–for example such as your system being slightly out of balance with minor corrections required?
Unfortunately, at this time, the way we usually become aware that we are not normal is when we develop the physical symptoms of a disease or from the results of a lab test. Instead of being up in the normal area, we are sadly down in the disease area or close to it. We often go from what we consider to be a condition of good health to abruptly finding out we have a disease, sometimes a very serious one, often causing a major change in our life, to often with no warning or opportunity for any form of intervention to prevent it. We then can only hope that the disease is curable or at least treatable.
For all practical purposes, basically we are left completely in the dark to struggle with where we are really at on our own. Most of the time we have no idea of how close we are to the potential disease levels. Operating under these conditions most of us just do the best we can, hoping to help ourselves with our level of health, whether it’s through what we eat, an exercise program, what we try to avoid, etc. This is a very weak and vulnerable position to continually be in, but it’s currently a fact of life. Unfortunately, it’s about all we can do. That is very sad indeed with the technology available to provide us far far more.
The proposed system, would not only provide you far more knowledge about your true level of health, but in addition, and just as critical, usually how you could have far more control over that level of wellness. The contrast between the current health care situation and what the system being proposed here could provide in terms of preventive and wellness knowledge might be compared to someone just feeling around in the dark, and then having someone come along and turn on the lights.
This article discusses a core element of the proposed national research center and how the supercomputers can relate vital data to disease and prevention and wellness. It also discusses a system that has the means of not only closely monitoring your health in great detail but far more control over it as well.
Now let’s take a look at the environmental factors:
In order to exert control over our level of wellness, we clearly also need to take into account external elements that affect our health, and of course that includes our personal environment.
In discussing our environment, we will use the word “environment” in its broadest sense, to include foods, nutrition, and exercise programs so on. However, bringing the environment into the health picture vastly complicates setting up any simple electronic processing system. It requires a far more powerful and sophisticated medical information system, but it’s absolutely essential. Any system that does not include the environment cannot be effective. The current high levels of disease and medical expense would only continue. This system does include the environmental elements.
So, how do we go about bringing in such large and diverse amounts of data into some type of format or system so that they can be evaluated as to their affect on our health?
Please refer to handout “C” Labeled Environment.
These are just a few examples of the many environmental factors that we are exposed to that can affect our health.
If we look at the upper left side of the page we see typical foods such as tomatoes broccoli and grapefruit, and directly across the page are listed some of the potential concerns for contamination, such as insecticides and herbicides, both widely used in this type of farming now days.
Just below that on the left are meats, poultry, dairy products, and eggs. Here we have additional potential contaminants we need to be especially concerned about–antibiotics and hormones–which are used very extensively by the farmers providing these products. (There are details in the book on the excessive use of chemicals by farmers).
We also have water. Well water is usually inspected by the county for bacteria only, not chemicals.
Then, last, but for sure not least, we have medicines, which could well be some of our most dangerous exposures. There definitely needs to be a far more reliable means of testing the typical pharmaceutical drug. In addition, there is a great need for more effective, friendlier and less expensive medicines. Extensive testing of natural elements is part of this system, which will be discussed later.
Sadly, we don’t even really know which chemicals we are ingesting or inhaling let alone the quantity. Also, what about the synergistic effects of these chemical combinations? At this time none of this is known!
Because this involves precious human health, and even life itself, this haphazard method of controlling food and water supply contamination, in this day and age of technology, is very sad indeed, and in my opinion absolutely unnecessary!
Capturing the environmental information for each individual at first seems almost insurmountable, but if we look into it further and with the help of some of the latest technology it is not as difficult as it first appears. For example, one use of technology, that would be very effective and easily applied, is to convert the checkout counter at supermarkets to easily transfer your supermarket orders to a special home computer, by merely having the credit card reader converted over to also read a plastic card you could carry with you. You could pass the card through the card reader the same as a credit card. The reader would recognize it for the type of card it is, read the telephone number on it and transfer details of the total order to a special home computer. This information could be easily downloaded later for use in a health report. Not only would that provide a total list of what you purchased, and avoid detail work on your part, but it would also provide the critical brand names. This would be very valuable in terms of research, in monitoring the quality of food. When significant health problems arose with a particular product, the research and diagnostic computers would be able to actually identify the brand.
This system would be very practical because the supermarkets already have all that store product information on their store computer systems, and such a system would require primarily the conversion of the credit card readers.
Also an environmental staff person would be mandatory in each medical office operation to help input, all environmental data for the patient or individual. This expert’s wages would likely be reimbursed by the government, at least initially, from the huge savings in health care expenses provided by the new system–savings in the hundreds of billions of dollars (there is a small chapter on the economics involved). It should be noted that the environmental data input would be used for research purposes only for the first two or three years, but could likely be used for diagnostic purposes later (there are details in the book on how and why this is so).
We discussed the limited options available to preserve human health within the limitations of the present health care system. We also discussed both the limitations of knowledge, and the ability to control, one’s personal environment as to its effect on human health.