Slow Medicine will be no match for Fast Measles

Slow Medicine will be no match for Fast Measles

Measles is a very infectious disease. Attack rates can be has high as 95% in unvaccinated populations, as the 1990 outbreak in Philadelphia demonstrated, where it killed 1.2% of the infected children.

It is important to remember that infectious diseases have evolved to be, well, infectious. It is how they survive and spread. A ‘wise’ organism is both highly infectious and not particularly fatal. Like measles.

We have an immune system that has evolved to combat these infections, and it does a reasonable job most of the time. I spend my days taking care of people whose immune systems, for whatever reason, are not up to snuff, so I have a confirmation bias about the immune system. And it is very clear that there is no single immune system we all share. We are chockablock full of variations, polymorphisms, that may increase or decrease our risk for infections and about which we can do little.

You might be able to ameliorate measles by optimizing nutrition, specifically vitamin A, but if you want to change your chance of catching measles from 95% to 5%, the vaccine is the way to go.

 

But I would suggest slow medicine is not the way to go to prevent measles:

According to self-described “Slow Medicine Dr.” Dr. Michael Finkelstein, parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids can turn to an alternative method he calls “slow medicine.”

The Slow Medicine doctor says even if a person is vaccinated, 1 percent of those people will still get the measles because they will not have the anti-body response that protects them.

That’s where slow medicine methods, like eating healthier foods, can work to improve your child’s chances of resisting a contagious virus like the measles, according to Dr. Finkelstein.

“Slow Medicine is a way of living where you thoroughly and comprehensively look at things that contribute to your life and how you function. Let’s say on the immune system level, or inflammatory level, and how your relationships and how the meaning and purpose of your life’s work and harmony in your home all come together to make you more, or less susceptible to any illness.”

Slow medicine is, from what I can tell from the their website, a standard integrative medicine program, but with a great title. Being a quasi-foody in Portland I know about the slow food movement. The tag line of slow medicine is marketing genius.

I see on the website nothing unique in the ideas or approaches to health and disease that would help treat measles, except all the raised vegetable beds in the photos. A good source for vitamin A. Organic or paleo. I wonder whose cuisine reigns supreme in stopping measles?

Somehow I suspect slow medicine will do nothing to slow measles. And the slow medicine doctor recently lectured at University of Arizona Medical Center. UAMC is perhaps practicing slow medicine as well. Slow. As in dull of perception or understanding.

Points of Interest
Points of Interest 2/10/15

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