An eye-opening 1949 TV commercial from Camel cigarettes. Makes you wonder about the products doctors are shilling for in the present day, doesn’t it? History sure has a tendency to repeat itself, and I would venture to say that in another 100 years, possibly less, your descendants will be looking back on many of the common practices doctors recommended in 2009 -- and regarding them as utterly foolish, just as we do when we watch this video.
Back then, of course, a doctor’s advice had much more authority and credibility, and few would be so bold as to go against it. So you can imagine the influence a commercial like this would carry. Fortunately, the advent of the Internet has done quite a bit to put doctor’s recommendations into a more realistic perspective.
Still, just a few years back a December 2006 Gallup poll compared how people rated the honesty and ethical standards of people of various professions. Doctors were rated “very high” for honesty and ethics and were fourth from the top of the list at 69 percent, exceeded only by veterinarians, pharmacists and nurses, who rated highest.
In other words, 69 percent of people polled believed their doctors were honest and ethical.
A similar Harris Poll from July 2006 compared how likely people are to trust another person, based on the other’s profession. Again, doctors topped this list -- 85 percent of the people polled believed they could trust their doctors, followed by 83 percent for teachers, and 77 percent for scientists.
This is not to say that doctors across the board shouldn’t be trusted. Just that, throughout history, many well-meaning physicians have made very serious errors in judgment very similar to the TV commercial posted above. And this is still going on today.
Obviously, doctors are no longer promoting smoking, but they're wholeheartedly endorsing treatments that may be even more absurd and dangerous, such as relying on drugs for virtually every disease while virtually ignoring the underlying causes of disease.
It Can Take 100 Years for Health Truths to Be Accepted
Today we look at it as obvious that smoking is not a particularly healthy behavior. This change in perception didn’t come about until 1957, when then-Surgeon General Leroy Burney reported a causal link between smoking and lung cancer.
Even then, it wasn’t until 1964 -- when Burney’s successor Luther Terry commissioned a special committee that produced Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General -- that a massive shift began in people’s attitudes about smoking.
But here’s a fact that may surprise you: an English physician by the name of Charles R. Drysdale actually issued a report confirming the dangers of smoking long before that … in 1878!
And Drysdale had reportedly been on an anti-smoking crusade since at least 1864, the same year he published a study showing that tobacco could cause jaundice, “distressing palpitations of the heart,” and other health issues in young men. He even wrote a book explaining the negative impact nicotine could have on your lungs, circulation system, and skin … and also warned people about the risks of second-hand smoke.
Yet as is so common when a health truth is first reported, it is often ridiculed or ignored entirely, and that is what happened to Drysdale’s work. It took nearly a century for people to accept the idea that smoking could be harmful.
What Medical Mistakes Are Going on Right Now?
As I mentioned earlier, perhaps the biggest mistake is the reliance on pharmaceutical drugs to treat everything from cancer to the common cold, while the underlying reasons why these diseases occur in the first place are completely ignored.
There is a surprising lack of knowledge in conventional medicine when it comes to the basic tenets of health, things like proper nutrition, exercise and emotional health, and the massive impact they have on your ability to thrive.
All too often the primary focus is on the treatment of disease and relieving symptoms with dangerous and expensive drugs Meanwhile, the side effects are often dismissed by doctors, who, by the way, may be heavily influenced by the drug companies that produce these same drugs.
Little to no attention is paid to optimizing normal healing systems your body has to recover and repair from just about any disease.
There are many other errors in judgment going on as well. Evidence is emerging that radiation from cell phones, cell phone towers and other wireless technologies is a real health risk, yet in the United States public officials continue to assure us they’re safe.
In fact the cellular phone threat may be the closest analogy to the tobacco issue in contemporary medicine. Although physicians are not going on TV promoting cell phones, their deafening silence on this important health threat speaks very loudly about their awareness of this health risk.
Similarly, health officials have frightened people into avoiding sunlight to avoid skin cancer, and in so doing have raised the risk of numerous chronic diseases in these people because many are now deficient in vitamin D.
These are just a few examples and they are just skimming the surface. I encourage you Vital Votes members to add other examples you think of in the Community Comments below.
Who Can You Trust When it Comes to Your Health?
That is a question only you can answer, but I encourage you to not blindly trust anyone, even me. Your health is too important. Dig a little bit deeper and you may find what appeared trustworthy on the surface may not be so right after all, especially if it came from a source deeply entrenched in the conventional medical system’s often flawed way of thinking.
Personally, when I find out a new piece of information, health-related or otherwise, the first place I look to is the source. If it’s biased and there are conflicts of interest present, I take the information with a grain of salt, and sometimes discard it entirely. Remember that even well-accepted health “truths” can turn out to be wrong, and those that are ridiculed can be right.
So keep an open mind and, above all else, be your own best ally when it comes to deciding what’s best for your health.