Make Yourself Healthy Article by Me at Boing Boing

An article by me about how a woman figured out she had gluten intolerance is on Boing Boing today. I first learned about the story through a comment this blog. Thanks, Ginna!

If you know of a case where someone (such as you) improved their health through science (= looking at data, experimentation, collecting data — the opposite of trusting experts) please let me know. In the gluten intolerance story, the experimentation and data collection were as simple as trying a gluten-free diet and learning its effect on (a) how you feel and (b) a kidney function score.

6 Replies to “Make Yourself Healthy Article by Me at Boing Boing”

  1. This isn’t exactly a self-experimentation story with an ending, not yet anyway. Instead, it’s more like the beginning, or just a question that may lead me to a self-experiment that would be different from medical advice.

    I often have swelling in my legs (lymphedema), and sometimes the skin starts to break down, and clear fluid (lymph) drains out. In the past, I have worn tight over-the-calf socks to provide some compression, and I try to restrict salt, elevate my feet, moisturize the skin on my legs, and walk more.

    But one solution from doctors bothers me a bit: they treat the fluid loss as the problem (instead of just a symptom of something else), and they try to stop the draining with compresses soaked with a Domeboro solution. The Dpmeboro does seem to slow and stop the drainage, but I’m not sure that’s the best approach.

    From what I’ve read, the lymph carries some healing substances, including tPa, or Tissue Plasminogen Activator. As a survivor of two mild strokes, I’m familiar with tPa, which is used in emergency rooms to break up clots after a stroke.

    It seems to me that there may be some good evolutionary reason why the body is sending clot-busting tPa to an open wound, instead of the usual clot-forming substances in blood. After all, a small skin wound usually is closed off in seconds or minutes with a blood clot. So why is the body trying to keep the wound open and draining? I can think of 3 possible answers:

    1. Maybe the wound is being kept open to release fluid and reduce the swelling. A clot, on the other hand, might trap the lymph, and perhaps interfere with normal blood flow.

    2.Or maybe the clot-busting tPa is keeping dangerous clots from forming in the legs, which could travel to the heart or lungs and form fatal blockages.

    In either of the cases above, the tPa may be beneficial, and stopping the lymph could cause worse problems.

    3. Of course, on the other hand, the oozing lymph may just indicate a failure of normal functioning, in which case the doctors might be right to try to stop it.

    I don’t now the answer, but I’m reluctant to fight against something that the body seems to trying very hard to do.

    I have several medical appointments in the next few days, and I see some possible arguments in my future.

    In previous arguments with doctors, they wanted to amputate a leg and do quadruple coronary bypasses. In both those cases, without surgeries, the leg and heart conditions got better. Those would have been dangerous and life-changing surgeries, so I don’t blindly follow “doctors’ orders,” and I’m not sure I want to follow their orders now.

    I’ll let you know what happens. I may just end up ditching my atheism, and becoming a Christian Scientist, since they don’t trust doctors either.

    Seth: No one could forget your amputation story.

  2. Seth, your BoingBoing article was fascinating. And I loved the doctor’s arrogance in dismissing a patient’s comment as “trendy.”

    Doctors … who needs them?

    Oh, I remember who needs doctors: the drug and medical device companies.

  3. Last year, I read How Doctors Think by Jerome E. Groopman (Mar 12, 2008). Groopman is an honored establishment doctor. Just about the first story in the book concerned a woman who almost died from gluten intolerance because her doctors weren’t looking for it.

    Seth: I didn’t know that. I will get the book.

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