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How to Eliminate/Prevent a Skin Infection and What It Means (continued)

Posted Oct 13 2009 10:00pm

A brief summary of my previous post is all I needed to do to cure/prevent a skin infection was buy more socks. Instead of buying 5 pairs every 6 months, buy 20 pairs every two years. That’s all. Costs nothing. No drugs. No special treatment of the socks. No special cycle on the washing machine. No following a hundred (or ten) instructions about how to avoid infection. Like my depressed friend, I had the reaction: Why didn’t my doctor tell me this? He didn’t tell me because he didn’t know, I realize. Why he didn’t know . . . is a harder question.

The whole practice of health care is called medicine, so focused is it on cure rather than prevention. There are medical schools, which turn out doctors. Schools of public health are the closest thing we have to schools based on prevention but they don’t even train nutritionists. Nor do they do experiments, in most cases. (They do little data collection besides epidemiology.) And they get much less money than medical schools. Scurvy and Vitamin C are the first examples of the new way of dealing with illness I’m talking about — finding the environmental deficiency and fixing that, which is inevitably extremely safe and extremely cheap. After the discovery of Vitamin C, similar examples were discovered and the broader term vitamin was coined. But I think there is a need for a similar term that includes non-vitamins. It would mean aspects of everyday life, food and non-food, that we need to be healthy.

Like Vitamin C, my discovery that more socks eliminates skin infection points to a cure/prevention agent that is perfectly safe and extremely cheap. So do all my posts about fermented foods. It costs basically nothing to let food ferment. You lose nothing and gain a lot. Yet bacteria are not vitamins — and it isn’t all bacteria we need, just the 99.999% that are harmless. (And other foreign stuff, like bee venom, can substitute for bacteria.) I began thinking there are non-food vitamin-like things (things we need to be healthy) when I discovered the effects of standing on sleep and morning faces on mood. So we need several things to sleep well, including morning light, and at least one thing for proper mood regulation. Insomnia and depression are non-infectious problems, like scurvy. We think of vitamins as preventing/curing non-infectious problems, so the analogy was obvious. And these examples (sleep and mood) involved the brain. So there were vitamins for the brain, you could say. But the socks/foot infection example and the fermented foods/many illnesses example both do not involve the brain and do involve infectious diseases and auto-immune diseases (which, although non-infectious, are quite different from scurvy). So the idea that there are bunch of extremely cheap, perfectly safe things we need to be healthy expands to cover more of health.

Vast amounts of money are spent on health research, much much more on the consequences of poor health, and truly incalculable suffering comes about because we don’t know what these things are. (Depression alone causes vast suffering. Now add to that poor sleep, autoimmune problems, much infectious disease . . . ) Yet because studying these things (a) will make money for no one, (b) won’t produce a steady stream of published papers and (c) is useful (= low status), they are nearly impossible to study.

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