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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Licensing / health

Paul Fernhout wrote:    (01)

> Eric Armstrong wrote:
> > [Snipped Interesting stuff on patented drugs vs. free supplements]
> > The real issue here is that, for lack of profit, hugely beneficial
> > potential remedies go unadvertised, unpromoted, and unrecognized.
> > [More snipped]
> > No. The answer, I'm afraid, is social judo. We *have* to create
> > profit opportunities for useful discoveries, to hasten their adoption.
> >
> > Again, there is value in the government-patent process, too. We need
> > a taxonomy which would allow us to distinguish the cases. I don't
> > really see it, at the moment. Perhaps the counter-view described above
> > will help us to identify it.
> I enjoyed reading this. You are quite right in the main, for example
> physicians are still prescribing antibiotics instead of cranberry juice
> for UTIs and applying whatever instead of applying yogurt for yeast
> infections.    (02)

And they are prescribing anitbiotics for poison oak/poison ivy infections,
when a liquid soap called TecNu attacks the *real* problem, much more
effectively. It breaks down the oily resin, urishol, which is what causes
the harm. Before discovering it, I always had to go to the Doctor. Now,
I never do -- and I've had some pretty severe cases. I've got other
horror stories, too, but I won't bore you with them.    (03)

> <snip: many great examples of medical systems for profit gone berserk>    (04)

The most interesting part of your response was the two potential prongs
for attack. Where I was suggesting making nutritional remedies profitable,
you appeared to be coming close to the recommendation that drug
information shouldn't be patentable (especially since the majority of the
research comes from government labs, or government grants).    (05)

Although your suggestion would take some "miracle cures" off the table,
overall I think we would be a lot healthier. Such a step might help to
refocus our attention where it belongs, too, on prevention through diet
and exercise, instead of the temporary fixes that are often labeled as
"cures" by people who aren't considering long term consequences.    (06)

> The medical system definitely has problems. Doctors prescribe what they
> are pushed by the drug companies, patients have little else to turn, and
> Pharmacists no longer prescribe (as they once did) and packages by law
> can't usually claim health benefits. But the internet is starting to
> change that -- even with something as simple as usenet newsgroups. So
> here's a suggestion -- perhaps some companies making nutritional
> supplements will support you in making a free OHS like system like you
> implicitly outline. If it had a major web presence, then perhaps
> patients would become more aware of these alternatives.    (07)

Interesting thought. Some of the major providers just might get interested,
at that.    (08)

The tricky bit is the mutliple levels of interactions. For example, Vitamin
C reconsitutes vitamin E after it's does it's job as a heart-antioxidant.
see a study that says vitamin E prevents heart attacks. Sure, that makes
sense, when you know what vitamin E does. Then you see one that says
Vitamin C prevents heart attacks. But knowing the mechanism, you can
see that vitamin C has an effect on heart attacks that derives from it's
effect on E.    (09)

In fact, had the model existed, you wouldn't have needed a study to show
that vitamin C prevents heart attacks. You could have queried, "what
prevents heart attacks", or the like, and come up with the chains:
        E -a->        a) protect cell walls or heart muscles or some such
        C -b-> E    b) Reconstitute vitamin E after it has broken down    (010)

Even that simple example shows one of the aspects of the problem that
brought me up short. The WAY in which X assists Y has a lot of
variations. It may promote absorption of Y, or substitute for Y so Y is
more available for other purposes, or protect Y from harm, or act as
a co-factor with Y, or make it possible to construct Y, in addition to
putting it back together, as in the example.    (011)

This is another example of the "typed link" problem. There is a link from
C to E, but that link has a specific type you need to know about.    (012)

The model is also needed to make sense out of studies like the ones that
show Vitamin C prevents obesity. Well, maybe there is a cause and
effect relationship. If so, it should be possible to find it in the model.    (013)

Or maybe it is just the case that people who are concerned about their
health take time to exercise. The same people take vitamin C, so maybe
there is a statistical correlation, with no causal relationship at all.    (014)

That consideration brings up the subject of "kinds of evidence". We know
C -b-> E by inspection of the chemical interactions, and that is very
strong evidence, or even proof. But a study that shows X --> Y is much
weaker. So maybe we put "C -?-> obesity" in the model, to identify a
correlation which has yet to be proved.    (015)

For all such entries in the database, links to the source from which they
came have to be captured, so that arguments can be assessed and data
reexamined.    (016)

And of course, there are the multiple levels of interaction. At the
physiology level, there are heart and lungs and so on. Then there is
the cellular level, with different kinds of interactions going on. Then
the biochemical, with long molecules and interactions. Underneath
that is the quantum mechanical, which gets fascinating when you look
at essential fatty acids providing electrons, with proteins providing a
deficit, thereby making little batteries.    (017)

The query, "what affects the heart?", then, has multiple answers, from
studies that show what happens when people take a supplement, to
the biochemical interactions that take place.    (018)

Like Cyc, this is *huge* undertaking. It requires a lot of data entry,
and a system for representing the information.    (019)

Such a system could provide an awesome foundation for nutritional
healing, however. At it's peak, I expect that one could model the
individual organism, masage the diet/exercise/lifestyle inputs and tweak
the hereditary foundation until the model's symptoms mimiced those of
the patient, and then suggest dietary interventions (supplements) that
would make a difference -- monitoring the results achieved to guage
the accuracy of the model, and feeding that information back in to make
it more exact.    (020)

If major harm were predicted before a nutrititional remedy could take
effect, then in those circumstances drugs or surgery might be an acceptable
alternative. Otherwise, why would want even want to?    (021)

I have been fortunate enough to find an allopathic physician who depends
on nutritional remedies -- and who has also been trained in Chinese
I've got to tell you, this guy is *good*! That's good for me. But there a
world full of people who are hurting, as a result of ignorance.    (022)

> Here is a starting point, an loosely licensed book (seems you could
> perhaps put it on the web) called "Where there is no doctor: A Village
> Health Care Handbook" by David Werner which claims to be for both the
> underdeveloped and overdeveloped worlds.
>  http://www.healthwrights.org/books/wtndoctor.htm    (023)

Useful reference. Thanks.    (024)

> But if you did create an on-line health and nutrition reference, I hope
> you structure the licensing in such a way that it encourages the whole
> community to participate for the long term in creating a global resource
> related to nutrition and health. An easy way to do that is put the whole
> thing under some specific form of free or open source license like the
>   http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html    (025)

Good reference. Should I ever gather the wherewithal to make progress,
I'll make use of it.    (026)

At one point, I started collecting data and capturing it in rudientary form.    (027)

I found that, like the Cyc, the project, there was a ton of detailed stuff
to    (028)