Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Disappointed in Disney

Greetings from Prevention 2012, the American College of Preventive Medicine's annual conference taking place at DisneyWorld.

It seems like an appropriate venue for the conference after hearing some of today's presentations. Just as Disney is meant to simulate fantasy and inspire one's imagination, some of things I heard today seemed just as fantastical and imaginative.

During a nutrition related presentation, Doctor Mark Houston claimed that it is best to use nutraceuticals to address vitamin deficiencies. When pressed on why a proper diet is not sufficient, he gave me a weak answer that didn't quite measure up for me. First, he said that a proper diet can't address a vitamin deficiency. It did with night blindness in Egypt, with scurvy among Scottish sailors, and beriberi among Japanese seamen. So I say nonsense that a proper diet will not work just as well.

Then he said that once the deficiency is addressed, the diet would be sufficient and the deficiency would not return. Either diet is good enough to address the deficiency or it won't prevent a deficiency from returning. You can't have it both ways.

Of course when I checked out his website, he is just another pill-touting doctor monetizing on Americans' insatiable hunger for pills. Of course, he also endorsed a battery of lab tests that costs over $400, a cost beyond the budget of most people. And the day wouldn't have been complete without promotion of his new book.

Here I thought I would find reprieve from pill pushers in Disney. Boy, was I wrong.

On the other hand, I found Dr. Mark Hyman intriguing. Although I'm not sure fit I fully agree with his conclusions about the effectiveness of Functional Medicine, I think it merits further investigation. He also had a book to promote, expensive tests to perform, and some pills to suggest, but there seemed to be some interesting science for me to further explore.

Unfortunately he lost some credibility when he recommended probiotics for patients with normal guts. There is no science to support it's use in that regard.

Let's see what tomorrow brings in MickeyLand.


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