Thursday, November 14, 2013

Third World Reality(第三世界のリアリティ)

Here in the tropics, there are plants that are used in traditional medicine.  So I decided to study the effects of them on some volunteers.  Technically, I want to see how they affect the sympathetic nervous system.  I have my doubts about their efficacy.  
Anyway, I began taking baseline data on some volunteers.  I began by measuring their heart rates and blood pressures.  At one point, a young man came to me.  This man had a high heart rate and blood pressure.  He had not been running or drinking caffeine.  I asked more questions.  He told me he had chest pain and unilateral headaches at night.  I asked more questions.  As a small child, he had also experienced unilateral muscle spasms.  I suspected a congenital heart problem.
I listened to his heart carefully – something was wrong.  I’m not very good but I thought there was a murmur. I got a second opinion - again, a possible murmur.  I really think it was an S3 sound.  But I’m not a doctor.  The sad thing is - no doctor had ever listened to his heart.  It is such a simple thing too.  I’d advised him to go to the hospital and get an ECG.  He could not afford it.  And that’s the reality.
I guess I’ll have to buy my own ECG machine.

私は慎重に彼の心に耳を傾けて - 何かが間違っていた。私は非常に良いではないんだけど、雑音があったと思った。再び、できるだけ雑音 - セカンドオピニオンを得た。私は実際にそれがS3の音だったと思う。しかし、私は医者じゃない。悲しいことです -  ない医師は、これまで彼の心に耳を傾けなかった。それはあまりにも単純なものです。私は彼が病院に行くと心電図を取得することをお勧めしたいと思います。彼はそれを余裕がなかった。そして、それは現実のものだ。
- Just a peasant
Photo of simple tools


Blogger radius said...

Dear Just-a-Peasant, Coming back to your initial plan to test the different plant remedies of the peoples medicine: Would you consider trying one of them on this patient?
If his heart problem is congenital, than maybe it is common in such an isolated population. And if so, maybe the people have already learned over the centuries which plant or root or fruit is a good remedie for it. I think there is a wealth of hidden information in traditional folk medicine about very active plant ingredients. We should never forget that Aspirin, Artemisine, cyclosporin, adriamycine, chinin, etc etc were all originally plant derived pharmaceuticals.
It is a great idea to try to identify and popularize more of these by talking to the local people who use them of centuries.

good luck, and keep us up to date

3:23 AM  
Anonymous just a peasant said...

Hi Michael,

For the substance I am testing, this time around, I have to exclude the patient. It's not worth the risk. At this time I don't know exactly what the problem is or if it is commonly encountered out here. That's definitely a good point though. You're absolutely spot on about different plant ingredients as well. However, there is also a lot of superstition (ghosts and black magic etc.) about various 'cures' despite the fact that people continue to die after such treatments. For instance, there is a traditional cure for diabetes here yet still, 1 in 3 adults in Micronesia has diabetes and will die an early death because of it. Still, it is important to investigate the claims just in case there is some compound in this lush landscape and rich marine environment that might be found beneficial.

7:52 AM  
Blogger radius said...

Hi Just-a-Peasant, I think the black magic or the esoteric use of natural compounds is a serious problem, in particular it very much descredites the real effects of plant and fungal compounds (I guess nobody would argue for instance about the neuro-psychological effects of opiates, narcotics, caffein, alcohol, all of which are plant- or microorgansim-derived).
But one should be extremely suspicious, I think, if people start to use plant or even animal derived products, just because the shape of the fruit/body part/root etc. resembles a particular part of the human body one wants to cure (like using rhinocerus horn to improve potency, using bear gall bladder secret (bear bile) to improve vision, or eating brain of primates assuming it will strengthen intellectual performance.
Equally questionable is the homoeopathy, "like cured with like", very popular here in Germany. Despite many studies showing it has no effect (beyond placebo) many people still go for this (because they like the idea that you can "ban" a disease from your body without ANY pharmaceutical side-effects). A disease is a serious thing, and one needs sharp weapons for this, and sometimes one has to accept sideeffects of a treatment. Very many people even think that the pharmaceutical industry (or the surgeons) intentionally develop and use treatments with strong side-effects. I guess if you look for followers of conspiracy theories, you will find many which consider classical pharmacy, academic medicine, genetics etc. as the big evil. But the scientific pharmacists were and are always open to consider very potent phytomedical drugs to combat disease.

Have you been affected by the tornado that hit the Phillipines ?
I tried to locate on a map which showed the "path of destruction" of the tornado, but could not exactly sort out how far west is Pohnpei from there.


10:04 PM  
Anonymous just a peasant said...

Hi Micheal, Of course you're right about all the strange assertions used to justify consumption of animals and plants. Worse is how it always differs from one healer to another. Homeopathy is the most nonsensical of these things. If it worked, I suppose the residents of Fukushima should start drinking doses of polonium 210 to 'cure' any radiation. Intentional side effects? Yeah right! It's the side effects that keep getting them sued in court and losing hundreds of millions dollars. However, pharmaceutical companies do conspire to cover up side effects. There are numerous court cases demonstrating this.

We were not affected by the typhoon. We are pretty far east of the Philippines. In fact, typhoons tend to form to the west of us so all we ever get is some heavy rain.

11:38 PM  

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