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Author Topic: Fairy tales rule the Second University of Medicine in Naples, Italy  (Read 552 times)


  • Boltbender
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Limitations of Western Medicine and Models of Integration Between  Medical Systems
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. May  2016, 22(5):

Francesco Attena, MD

Department of  Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine, Second University
of Naples,  Naples, Italy.


This article analyzes two major  limitations of Western medicine: maturity
and incompleteness. From this  viewpoint, Western medicine is considered an
incomplete system for the  explanation of living matter. Therefore, through
appropriate integration with  other medical systems, in particular
nonconventional approaches, its knowledge  base and interpretations may be widened.
This article presents possible models  of integration of Western medicine
with homeopathy, the latter being viewed as  representative of all
complementary and alternative medicine. To compare the  two, a medical system was
classified into three levels through which it is  possible to distinguish between
different medical systems: epistemological  (first level), theoretical
(second level), and operational (third level).  These levels are based on the
characterization of any medical system according  to, respectively, a reference
paradigm, a theory on the functioning of living  matter, and clinical
practice. The three levels are consistent and closely  consequential in the sense
that from epistemology derives theory, and from  theory derives clinical
practice. Within operational integration, four models  were identified:
contemporary, alternative, sequential, and opportunistic.  Theoretical integration
involves an explanation of living systems covering  simultaneously the
molecular and physical mechanisms of functioning living  matter. Epistemological
integration provides a more thorough and comprehensive  explanation of the
epistemic concepts of indeterminism, holism, and vitalism  to complement the
reductionist approach of Western medicine; concepts much  discussed by
Western medicine while lacking the epistemologic basis for their  emplacement.
Epistemologic integration could be reached with or without a true  paradigm
shift and, in the latter, through a model of fusion or  subsumption.



“The US National Center for Complementary  and Integrative Health and the
Australian National Institute of Complementary  Medicine are other important
centers that have developed programs for the  integration of CAM into
Western medicine. In all cases, the implicit or  explicit premise is the
immutability and supremacy of Western medicine within  which the CAM must be adapted
and integrated."

“This article, starting  from a different viewpoint, considers Western
medicine to be an incomplete  system with respect to a wider explanation of
living matter.”

“On the  other hand, because CAM does not represent a single and compact
medical  system, this article discusses only one nonconventional medical
system to help  make the discourse more concise and simple. Homeopathy and
acupuncture are by  far the most widely used CAMs in Western countries; however,
because  acupuncture is only part of the wider medical system of Traditional
Chinese  Medicine, homeopathy, a more compact system, was selected to
elaborate on a  possible integration with Western medicine. Accordingly, this
review presents  possible models of integration between Western medicine and
homeopathy, the  latter viewed as representative of the characteristics common
to all  CAMs...This discussion will not address the problem, however
crucial,  regarding the effectiveness of CAM, a topic already widely debated 

“Table 1. Comparison Between Western Medicine and  Homeopathy on
Epistemological, Theoretical, and Operational  Levels”

[Contents of the table: I will abbreviate in the form of x vs.  y, where x
is the Western medicine entry and y is the homeopathy  entry:

Epistemology - in general: reductionism vs. holism, mechanicism  vs.
vitalism, determinism vs. indeterminism

Epistemology - in disease  interpretation: external causation vs. internal
causation; negative expression  of the body, disease meaningless vs. disease
as expression of body language;  single organ disease vs. systemic disease .

Theory on the function of  living matter: chemical vs. physical, molecular
vs. electromagnetic;  short-range vs. long-range

Clinical practice - doctor-patient  relationship: specialist approach,
targeting a single organ vs. systemic  approach, targeting the whole person;
explanatory approach vs. comprehensive  approach

Diagnosis: on single organ vs. systemic, on the whole  body

Therapy: chemical molecular therapy vs. physical therapy; strong  action
vs. weak action; local effect vs. systemic effect]

“...the goal  here is to show that Western medicine has two important
epistemological  limitations: incompleteness and maturity. From these limitations
derive  further theoretical and practical limits.

“For these very reasons,  medicine in general could realize and improve
patient care on the foundation  of a model of integration for different medical
systems. Consequently, this  article proposes to show, via the exemplar of
homeopathy, that CAM could fill  the gaps in and overcome the limitations of
Western medicine. From this  premise may arise deeper models of integration
of Western medicine with CAM  than those hypothesized thus far by others.

“...Western medicine has  long been blamed for a too reductionist approach
to living systems and  patients, with all the flaws it entails...The
theoretical consequence of this  paradigm involves the belief that the entire
functioning of living matter is  the result of the interaction between molecules.
The ultimate expression of  this attitude is to attribute to DNA all
responsibility for the final  configuration of living beings. Consequently,
medical practice is centered  primarily on molecular therapy using drugs.”

“Incidentally, the  molecular paradigm is not a monolith impermeable to
other scientific  explanations or integrations; in fact, many criticisms of
this paradigm have  been published and discussed in orthodox scientific
journals. Nevertheless,  because of the predominance of the molecular paradigm, and
the idea that it  provides a satisfactory explanation of biological
systems, it tends to  underestimate and belittle alternative or additional
mechanisms of the  functioning of living matter.”

“Paradoxically, the excess of success  has brought the molecular paradigm
into crisis, according to the following  sequence. In the early stage of a
paradigm, the simplest and more evident  problems are resolved. Later,
increasingly more complex and costly problems  are solved...Nowadays Western
medicine is faced with many problems that are  difficult to solve or that engage
an enormous burden of economic  resources.”

“A further explanation [for the rising cost of health care]  is that the
molecular paradigm responds to the classic economic law of  decreasing
marginal returns, which consists of a gradual reversal of the  cost/benefit ratio.
Being now in a very advanced stage of maturity of the  paradigm, any further
small increase in knowledge involves ever greater  resources: for example,
the huge costs engaged for research on AIDS,  development and production of
new technologies, and research and application  of new drugs.”

“According to the Kuhnian notion of paradigm, the  concept of
incompleteness derives from the premise that each paradigmatic  vision is always a
partial view of the world of interest. In this case,  incompleteness means that
adherence to the molecular paradigm is a partial  vision of the functioning of
living matter.”

“Instead, much research,  proposed, for example, from studies of CAM, has
shown that living organisms  operate not only through the interaction between
molecules but also through  physical modalities. These studies, being
located outside the molecular  paradigm, are poorly understood and little
researched by Western medicine. The  scientifically advanced mechanism discussed in
the literature, which can be  integrated into the molecular paradigm,
involves the physics of living  systems. This mechanism is fairly well known but
somewhat underestimated. The  sensitivity of biological systems to
electromagnetic fields is an indirect  demonstration of this and concerns all types
of biological systems...this  susceptibility might be involved in many
empirical situations or common  experience:...the therapeutic tradition of
bioenergetics, and homeopathy and  other alternative medicines.”

“An important expression of the physics  of biological systems is the
physics of biological water...Biological water is  able to generate frequency
domains and then to store and transmit information,  giving coherence to the
whole system. Indeed, from a scientific viewpoint the  physical
(electromagnetic) organization of living matter could better explain  the long-range
coherence of biological systems than could molecular  organization, and from an
epistemological viewpoint could better explain the  concepts of holism and

“Moreover, homeopathy is well known  for its systemic and holistic approach
to the patient; for anamnesis and  diagnosis that are not limited to organ
disease but investigate the overall  physical and psychological
characteristics of the patient; and for therapeutic  activity based not on molecules but
on water, appropriately diluted and  dynamized to resonate with the living

“Therefore, in this case  also, the three components of this medical system
are consistent with each  other: a holistic, vitalist, and apparently
indeterministic epistemology; a  long-range and systemic explanation of living
matter; a comprehensive,  mind–body, and systemic approach to the patient and
the disease, seen as a  disease not of a single organ but of the whole
organism; and a weak therapy  free of molecules (Table 1). Presumably, hostility
toward homeopathy is of a  paradigmatic nature rather than of a scientific
nature (i.e., the so-called  incommensurability between different paradigms).”

“Theoretical  integration involves an explanation of living systems
simultaneously covering  a molecular mechanism and a physical mechanism of the
functioning of living  matter. Surprisingly, many studies attempt an additional
explanation of living  systems, implying a theoretical integration of these
two modalities, sometimes  also including CAM...Preparata, even 20 years
ago, suggested that living  matter seems governed by the quantum field theory,
with electrodynamic  coherence as a bridge between physics and biology.
Annila and Baverstock seek  solutions in the second law of thermodynamics.
Others seek the study of  ‘crowding’ in living systems, such as the effect
caused by crowding conditions  from the standpoint of statistical physics.
Another, more recent theory tries  to assign to ultra-weak photon emission the
role of nonchemical, distant  cellular interaction. Probably the most developed
hypothesis is the one we  have already discussed concerning the physical
properties of biological water.  Finally, it cannot be excluded that all of
these studies are resting on a  shared and deeper ground, ever expanding.”

“Why are all of these  studies essentially ignored or undervalued by the
scientific community? First,  they address topics totally or partly beyond the
competence of biochemical  researchers, who thus find it difficult to
understand and, more so, judge the  quality and plausibility of the hypotheses
presented. These difficulties are  further increased by the wide heterogeneity
of these studies. Second,  scientists working within a given paradigm have
more resistance to accepting  theories that challenge the paradigm and do
not have access to most of the  relevant accredited scientific journals as
they are considered  heretical.”

“Theoretical integration of the chemistry and physics of  living systems is
the basis and premise of epistemological integration,  allowing us to
overcome the incompleteness of Western medicine. Moreover, it  provides a more
thorough and comprehensive explanation of the epistemic  concepts of
indeterminism, holism, and vitalism to complement the reductionist  approach of
Western medicine, concepts that Western medicine talks so much  about while
lacking the epistemological basis for its  emplacement.”

“According to the classic Kuhnian approach, when a  scientific paradigm
reaches its maturity and is no longer able to support the  recurrent anomalies,
it is replaced, after a scientific revolution, by a new  scientific
paradigm. In the present case a fanciful, but theoretically  possible, hypothesis
foresees the birth of a new scientific paradigm whereby  the two medical
systems of departure are harmonized on a higher level of  explanation of living
matter that is not simply attributable to one of the  previous two systems.”

“The first step should be the definitive  scientific validation of CAM by
rigorous experimental studies.” [followed by  teaching in medical schools and
other integration with the health care  system]

“Ideally, deep integration would cause Western medicine and CAM  to be
provided by the same physicians and institutions (e.g., hospitals),  creating a
unified model of medicine that might not result in additional  economic
cost. The only certainty in this field is that CAM  treatments—consider
acupuncture needles or ultra-diluted homeopathic  remedies—are substantially cheaper
than the treatments and drugs of Western  medicine.”

Alas, we do not know all and everything about the world, about physics, about biology, or medicine. But we try, we try hard, and we have achieved a lot.

To request science to have the total wisdom is an insane idea. To force the scientific community to accept fairy tales like homeopathy to be part of medicine because our knowledge is incomplete is an insane idea. Why on earth should we accept bullshit? Why on earth should we willfully do harm to patients? The idea that we must know all is nothing else but to be god. Are we god? No. We even can't be god because there are not gods. The will to rule the world by magic is infantile. How degenerate are the folks at the Second University of Naples in Italy?
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