Which online sites do you trust for health information?
Search engine company Optimum 7 writes that Bing will rival Google in getting health results because Bing is narrowing their health information search results to 9 sites.
“This move will possibly allow Bing to make serious gains against Google as the population ages and higher quality medical information is needed by users,” writes Optimum.
“When it comes down to it, there is no substitute for 8 years of medical school and professional medical experience in the field. That’s apparently what Bing thinks as well, because they are limiting their results to the expert content generated by:
The Mayo Clinic, Medicine.net, Medstory, Medline Plus, The National Institute of Health (NIH), About.com, Wikipedia and others.”
While I don’t think relying on doctors is always the ideal pathway for a patient to get health information and to heal, I do agree for the most part, with Bing’s top 9 list.
I hate to see people land on health information sites and get half-baked answers. It’s a good idea for people to conduct their own credibility and gut check before they agree with high profile medical information providers, a doctor, mom, friend, neighbor, wellness writer — anyone.
Ultimately, we are in charge of our own wellness and if what the NIH, your doctor or mental health practitioner suggests doesn’t genuinely sit right with you, don’t do it. I put that much weight into deciding how to steer our individual wellness.
It’s more work to take charge, but it’s always worth it.
In my view, advice/information + personal experience + instinct = gained wisdom.
I’m no doctor but….
I’m not a healthcare practitioner but I do work hard to provide accurate, scientific findings in my articles, to offer my own experience and insights.
I attended the school of hard knocks by going to numerous doctors over the years, of trial and error, of my dedication to hundreds of hours researching medical science. As a Psychology student way back when, I poured over academic journals and learned how to read the language of peer-reviewed studies, the foreign language of term-heavy medical jargon.
More importantly, I understand how I feel when I try something and it works, or when it doesn’t.
Also, I was diagnosed with empty sella syndrome at age 19, a benign pituitary disorder that along with other contributing factors, sporadically affected my mood for decades. As a result of having post-partum depression and monthly mood changes, I dove unrelenting into studying the brain and natural mood management.
My obsession with the brain, what I believe is our most fascinating organ, (our beliefs, and the functions of the brain), my psychology degree and my personal belief that everyone can live a positive and empowered life led me to write the articles you’ll find on this website.
Natural medicine moves front and center
The once deemed quackery of medicine, the red-headed step-child of healing is slowly but surely becoming mainstream. Who isn’t taking at the very least, fish oil and a multi-vitamin? Chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), all of these healing practices have seeped into our paradigm of well-being.
I’ve been doing massage and chiropractic for more than a decade. I tried acupuncture a few times and felt floating and calm. I loved it. My medicine cabinet is my fridge and vitamin cabinet and I almost never get sick. If I get a sniffle, I wipe it out within a few days.
Preventative medicine by way of lifestyle changes, herbs, supplements and alternative healing practices have yet to become our nation’s FIRST line of defense for well-being, but these are no longer considered voo-doo fringe for the “granola-eating set.”
Increasingly conventional medicine combined with alternative solutions is becoming the wave of our health-care future. Practitioners from both fields will become friends, or at least friendly, best practices from both branches will merge into better healing solutions. Metabolic medicine will become the rage, changes we can make to prevent diabetes, heart disease and other epidemic level metabolic disorders that are largely due to what we eat, do and don’t do.
Dr. Mercola offers healing solutions not prescriptions
Kudos to Forbes for offering their best of alternative medicine sites. They “sifted through the muck and found reliable, informative sites“…
Excuse me but Dr. Mercola should top the list.
The issue I suspect is Dr. Mercola and other alternative medicine vocalists / activists have no problem bucking the traditional paradigm of conventional medicine for the good of their readers. Point out the layered politics behind the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and you’ll never make top lists in mainstream dialogue.
Mercola presents critical bias in favor of alternative medicine and he makes no apologies.
And, out of fairness to online medical information rankings, Mercola’s site is not an encyclopedic list of diseases symptoms, causes, and treatments. Mercola chooses health issues of his and the public’s interest then presents an argument against traditional approaches to address the issue.
He backs his report by peer-reviewed studies, studies cited in reputable publications such as the Lancet, the results of which can be found on Pub-Med, THE online database for reviewed medical research.
The National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine
The National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine (NCCAM) under the NIH, doesn’t make it into the news often, but I wonder with critics of the NCCAM like Dr. Wallace Sampson who set up a website calling for the defunding of the NCCAM due to its “quackery” how it ever could.
Writes Dr. Sampson on his website:
“While the public is distracted by terror attacks, wars, and personal and business scandals, modern medicine’s integrity is being eroded by New Age mysticism, cult-like schemes, ideologies, and classical quackery, all misrepresented as ‘alternative medicine.’ Using obscure language and misleading claims, their advocates promote changes that would propel medicine back five centuries or more.
They would supplant objectivity and reason with myths, feelings, hunches, and sophistry. NCCAM is presented as a scientific vehicle to study alternative medicine’s anomalous methods. But it actually promotes the movement by assuming that false and implausible claims are legitimate things to study.”
Dear sir, healing practices outside the standards set by Old School doctors are not “New Age” mysticism. The natural world compromised of organisms, botanicals, our minds and our invisible beliefs, these are the roots, the genetic code for all healing.
Doctors learned through desire, discovery, innovation and evolution how to use what the natural world gave them.
Now however, we use what pharmaceutical companies offer, what genetically modified, preservative-rich foods offer, what chronic stress and lack of exercise take away, and so our bodies are collectively screaming “OUCH!”
In response we find new drugs to fix what we created by bucking the natural laws, and the cycle continues. If that cycle of of insanity is more beneficial to healing than working within the natural world, our minds, and our “hunches” as you call it, then I’m at a total loss.
When medication harms
I’ll go with my gut to inform my health over five doctors scratching their heads and writing me another prescription, charging me thousands, who with the best of all intentions STILL can’t figure out the cure.
I’ll go with my husband’s instinct to pull himself OFF Baycol when it was prescribed to him by his doctor, despite the fact that his cholesterol was only borderline high.
Days later and “just not feeling right,” my husband stopped the medication on his own a decision that might have saved his life because Baycol was pulled from the market in 2001 after 31 people died from rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle tissue breaks down resulting in kidney failure.
This FDA approved drug, like all drugs in the US, underwent the usual rigors of clinical trials before release, then like many drugs, harmed the consumer. Yet the natural methods of lowering my husband’s cholesterol worked without any side effects. But we remained open to trying a statin when his numbers rose so he took medication for six months, then weaned off and increased his nutraceuticals. His numbers remain good.
I’m in love with the world of science and medical research. Yet, scientific research, peer-reviewed reports, measurable results, all the parameters we use to decide what medicines and methods work are ONLY as good as they DO heal rather than just resolve some symptoms and yield new side effects.
Don’t discard the invisible power of your gut, your feelings and your OWN gained insights simply because doing so over reaches your doctor’s advice or the NIH, CDC or FDA. They don’t live in your body, you do.
Yet, I fully understand that we cannot prescribe unproven methods or supplements to millions of people, what has not been thoroughly tested in controlled clinical trials, over time, with repeatable results.
Alternative medicine becoming mainstream too slowly
A doctor friend of mine, an MD who supports alternative medicine, was kind enough to address my frustration with the slowness (or non-existence) of alternative practices and/or supplements getting into the healthcare paradigms. It relates to the law of unintended consequences and I fully respect the intention behind this. Prescribe the untested or unproven to a few patients, harm a few, prescribe to millions, harm millions.
But aren’t we doing that already with the long list of side effects we hand patients with our litany of drugs, the statins for instance, that we prescribe by the millions? We legally harm patient’s by accepting side effects as expected, but “unintended” consequences. Hmm.
And Dr. Sampson wants to discredit the alternative medicine branch of the NIH and strip away its funding. Talk about moving back in medicine five centuries.
So Dr Sampson, if the NCCAM threatens your institution’s comfort zone you chase it away rather than tightening up standards to prove validity and reliability? Rather than working to further our understanding of the mechanisms behind the nutraceuticals and ancient array of alternative healing practices that have worked for cultures, you liken this to witchcraft.
Not wise. The invisible unseen world, whether it’s cellular memory, the mind-body connection, gut or God, all of it informs our healing.
We should support the evolution of BOTH the traditional and alternative branches of medicine, to find the OVERLAP where the strengths and protocols of each branch CURES the patient rather than keeps them on a treadmill of symptoms and side effects and feathers the nests of the drug companies.
Writes Wikipedia Medicine : “Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness.”
The art of healing doesn’t sit entirely within the walls of scientific study, often it sits within our own minds, inside our instincts, along side the practitioners’ bedside manner.
Stay open-minded…placebo, nocebo
Belief is power.
Patients given placebos, sugar pills for a condition, show improvement just because they THINK it will work, even if they’re told they’re taking a placebo up front. The nocebo affect, when a patient takes a harmless, inactive substance and reports negative affects because they expect a negative outcome, is equally as fascinating.
The placebo, nocebo response demands we put the influence of the mind front and center to healing. The force of the mind is as important (much more so, IMO) to our health as the most promoted pharmaceutical or revered surgical procedure (which is, not to dilute the benefits of the latter in some cases.)
Believe acupuncture, supplements, magnetic therapy, herbs, chiropractic, TCM won’t do a thing for you?
Does it really matter how healing comes as long as healing comes safely, permanently and offers patients the eventual power to steer their own well-being?
I think THAT’s where the worry lies in the hearts of traditional medical practitioners who nay say alternative practices, fear of patients stumping and then trumping their own doctor.
What does it mean if the patient becomes the healer?
It’s not necessary to fight against alternative medicine to protect traditional practices, complementary medicine offers the best of both worlds. We will ALWAYS need our brilliant, our schooled, our insightful and compassionate doctors to partner with patients in their wellness, to give them the knowledge they do not have, but to ASSIST in their well-being, not to determine it.
We are evolving with new ideas, innovations and medical practices and so we must allow progress to flourish and to promote the well-being we all deserve.
To our empowerment,