For Health and Life, I have written around 180 articles, and I’ve also written for other sites as well. It adds up to easily more than 200 articles in the medical field.
What lessons have I learned?
1) You know too little if you think you know so much.
First, let me say that I do not feel as though I now know a great deal. Actually, I feel like I know almost nothing. In the realm of health and medicine, the only attitude one can have towards knowledge is humility.
Every week, studies are published that reveal new information. Many things evolve and that were once popular fall into obscurity and vice versa.
2) Other people are passionate about their beliefs
I have, however, greatly changed in my perspective towards things. At first, I was on the skeptical side, with my articles focused on addressing the concerns around medications. In antidepressants in particular, I was concerned by what was and is at times questionable science.
This perspective is highly important, yet time has changed how I see things. You can be right about the concerns in an area, but changing someone’s mind is not easy to do. If you tell someone that antidepressants don’t work better than placebo in many studies, you will get this as a response:
“My cousin took them and they saved her life. How dare you say they don’t work?!”
Some arguments are easier not to have.
3) You have to be skeptical
I remember being at a meeting with a head of testing at a hospital and his colleague, very reputable experts. There, I was unclear about the validity of Vitamin D testing, which I mentioned, and the colleague said, “But the science here is valid.”
Despite that, it felt to me a fad, and with time, my perspective seems to be one that is more widely held. Vitamin D deficiency is real, but it generally does not seem to be causing bad health. You could be deficient, but just fine.
Some of my friend’s started getting concerned about being deficient, which may not have been necessary.
4) We are making new meds, slowly
The FDA has gotten fairly tough lately on new meds, but there are interesting and likely important innovations constantly being pumped out, like the new anticoagulants, of which I personally like apixaban.
In a year, something like 20-30 new meds are approved. Most are not that new. That said, progress is slowly being made.
It’s sad when you analyze a medication and see that it could have health concerns that others miss. I, for instance, picked up heart complications from Actos, a relative to Avandia, way back in the day. Half a year later, as data started to show these problems occurring in patients, I was not surprised.
Cancer chemotherapies are fascinating and I’ve written a great deal on them.
Why? Well, If you want to see the latest, most advanced techniques in drug research, they often appear first in chemotherapeutics. Cancer is such a bad disease that new ideas are often tested there.
On pharmaceutical companies: Neither good or bad, but they do a great deal for society.
It hurts me greatly to see the excesses and sadly common questionable ethical problems that have occurred at many companies, but now I try to put it in the overall picture.
As a whole, pharmaceutical companies have granted better health to many millions. They do much good. I’ve worked at one, and our drug (telaprevir) is going to hopefully reach market soon and really help patients with hepatitis c.
Pharmaceuticals are where I’ve written most of my articles and they remain fascinating. Each pill represents great achievements of scientific research and testing – and ultimately better health.