Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Need for Serious Medicine--And A Serious Medicine Strategy

David Axelrod, the White House adviser, and his wife, Susan Axelrod, tell the moving story of their daughter, Lauren Axelrod, who has suffered from epilepsy all her life. The Axelrods will be featured on "Sixty Minutes" Sunday night.

That The Huffington Post gives the story such prominence--on its front page, as of Saturday night--is a useful reminder of the importance that medicine plays in our lives, with little or no regard for ideology. Good health, and the tools we need to keep our good health, are not only decisive on matters of life and death, but health and medicine also determine how we are able to live our lives.

Serious Medicine Strategists say that we should be organizing our society toward maximizing good health and the search for Serious Medicine. If we do, not only will people live longer and better, but we will have more prosperity, as we live better and more productive lives, and as we export our knowhow to the rest of the world. SMS is a win-win.

Let's hope that the Obamacare healthcare plan, if and when it finally emerges, will do everything possible to accelerate the search for cures for epilepsy, and for all other diseases. I will admit that I am not confident on that score, and if, in fact, we miss this chance to effect real cures, that would be a tragedy of monumental proportions.

1 comment:

  1. As I watched Susan and David Axelrod on "60 Minutes" the other night, I was of two minds. First, I was, of course, happy to see a disease, which doesn't usually get enough recognition, given significant air time.

    But on the other hand, I was disappointed that, as one writer, health writer Alison Rose Levy, pointed out in her Huffington Post column, titled “Hold the MSG: Food Triggers for Epilepsy and Other Neurological Illnesses,” it is a shame that “proactive, preventive health care strategies that might help to reduce incidence of epileptic attacks were overlooked” by the Axelrods on the show.

    This was particularly troubling to me, since I know for a fact that the Axelrods are very much aware of at least one dietary strategy, the Ketogenic Diet, which is known to help approximately 70% of the children with epilepsy who try it. Unfortunately, I believe their daughter Lauren was one of the 30% the diet did not help. Even so, since this diet has such an excellent track record, and has been used successfully since the 1920s in institutions such as Johns Hopkins, I believe it should be included in all serious discussions of epilepsy treatments. Yet the Axelrods didn’t mention it on "60 Minutes," or in a recent "Newsweek" story, where they were quoted.

    I am so impressed with the Ketogenic Diet that I am featuring it, and one of its tireless champions, Jim Abrahams, in my upcoming book, “Four Lifesaving Medical Treatments That Could Change Healthcare.”

    If the Axelrods didn’t know about the Ketogenic Diet, that would be one thing. But Susan Axelrod lists Jim Abrahams as an “honorary board member” of her organization. In addition, she has included an article by him in her organization’s publication as recently as the Spring of ’08. And Mr. Abrahams includes a link to CURE on his Charlie Foundation website.

    In our conversations, Mr. Abrahams expresses the highest praise for Ms. Axelrod. Why, now that she has this wonderful public platform, does she NOT inform the world about one dietary treatment that has helped so many children with epilepsy? I hope this was just an oversight, and that she will mention it in the future.

    Julia Schopick