Sunday, October 9, 2011

Environmental Medicine - Tolerance or Immunity?

By Dr Abe V Rotor

Many diseases and ailments develop through long and constant exposure to poverty, tempering the body and spirit. We are not certain how to measure the pain of those affected, much less to compare with ours. How little can we take pain and endure the suffering as other people do.

This condition reflects social inequity that is often viewed with indifference. We can’t hide from ailments, while others can. This could be the reason why there are more reported cases of human health in a highly developed society.

Phobia, anxiety, disease, malnutrition, loneliness, are difficult to decipher and separate from one another when one is suffering of extreme physical, mental, and emotional distress.

Basis of Environmental Medicine

Environmental Medicine can be summarized in three parts.

Total Load - accumulation is like drops of water in a bucket which becomes full, and overflows, resulting to allergies.
Individual susceptibility - heredity, age, gender, physical, emotional, and nutritional condition, seasonality, etc.
Floodgate-spillway principle of simple ailments to develop into serious diseases, and even death. Delayed-onset has serious complications that affect organs.

Environmental medicine grows with the rush of modernization. As we prosper economically we seem to have forgotten the basic equation of weighing the deleterious by-products of progress, and keeping them out of harm’s way. Here are some basic equations that keep our environment healthy.

• oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange that keep the biosphere in balance,
• energy-matter relationship that maintains steady energy supply,
• organism-habitat balance that protects species and ecosystems,
• acid-alkaline balance that prevents formation of acid rain.

Our apparent disregard to these basic equations have resulted into the these consequences:

• Nature’s distilling process – evaporation-condensation - is now contaminated with pollutants.
• Acid rain is formed by the combination of CO2 and SO2 in air with water vapor.
• Algal bloom causes “fish kill” when dissolved Oxygen is displaced by CO2 emitted decomposition.

So little do we know about human health in relation to our changing environment.
There are many ailments from falling hairs, infections, allergies to direct poisoning that accompany harmful substances entering the food chain, and ultimately into the food web. They puzzle doctors and researchers, disturb the economy and peace. These among many other environment-related ailments constitute the scourge of modern man.

Thus there is urgent need to vastly enlarging, if not revise many areas and approaches in medicine and human health care.

Modern medicine has taken us to the fast lanes and well into the sophistications of
computerization, Human Genome Project, Gene Therapy, “Pharming.” (Implantuing genes of pharmacological plants to food crops.)

Alternative medicine, being part of culture and closest to local remedies, time-tested and practical, shall remain the mainstay of folk medicine, catering to the grassroots.

The relationship of the three main fields of medicine – conventional, alternative and environmental - is like a tripod.

Six Blind Men and an Elephant

This fable by the Persian poet Jalãl al-Din Rümï (d 1273) is about human ignorance.

Each one of the Sight-Challenged men mistakes the part for the whole, just as today's adherents of various religious sects, political ideologies, and economic theories, claim a firm hold on Truth while disparaging or ignoring others.

1st Blind Man: A bed, referring to the belly.
2nd Blind Man: A venomous snake, the trunk
3rd Blind Man: A rope, the tail.
4th Blind Man: It's a pillar, a leg.
5th Blind Man: A beautiful fan, the ear.
6th Blind Man: A sword, the tusk.

In a parallel way, most people are blind to the Earth, perceiving it only in terms of utility -- as stacks of natural resources, raw materials, background scenery, and other commodities -- rather than as a Living Whole.

One wonders whether the six blind men - or women - would not have asked directions, joined hands, done a bit of networking, before declaring that they had Truth by the tail, trunk, ears, belly, tusk, or leg.

Which leads us to examine the so-called syndromes that continue to haunt mankind – his relationship with his fellowmen on one hand, and with the environment, on the other. ~

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