T Nation

The Last Medical Cure?

You always hear about research working toward a ‘cure’ for this or that disease. However, it seems to me that there are very few, if any major diseases that can be cured other than the ones which are capable of resolving on their own.

It appears that medicine has never really found a cure for any major chronic illness or health problem, with the exception of certain types of infectious disease. Is this observaiton accurate? If so, why should anyone believe that cures will ever be developed?

I am utterly dumbfounded by the stupidity of your post.

I’m not talking about mere treatments for diseases. I’m talking about cures.

[quote]postcrime wrote:
It appears that medicine has never really found a cure for any major chronic illness or health problem[/quote]

Do you have many family members who have died from tuberculosis? Syphilis? Influenza? Is the average lifespan of people you know below 40 years old?

Do you remember the last outbreak of Black Plague? Do you personally know any lepers? How many cousins have died of smallpox?

You should really educate yourself a little bit on the history of medicine if you’re going to criticize it, because that post of yours is 100% pure ignorance.

No, it’s just about entirely wrong. Some disease have been so well contained and countered, you barely remember they even existed.

Read a few biographies from the middle ages and renaissance, and count the numbers of death from tuberculosis or syphilis. And that’s among the well-fed and well-cared for elite, as most peasants didn’t rate a personal biography.

Many type of cancers that used to be fatal can now be cured. Treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are slowly getting better. We are also making progress at correcting defective genes, so that a propensity to develop a disease can be eliminated. Simply because many of the remaining ills are hard (all the low-hanging fruits have long been picked) doesn’t mean there won’t eventually be a successful treatment for it.

Is that you Klip?

pookie- I didn’t ask which disesases can be prevented, contained, or arrested. I asked which diseases can be CURED. there is a significant and rather obvious difference there. and I already conceded the exception of certain infectious diseases

[quote]pookie wrote:
postcrime wrote:
It appears that medicine has never really found a cure for any major chronic illness or health problem

Do you have many family members who have died from tuberculosis? Syphilis? Influenza? Is the average lifespan of people you know below 40 years old?

Do you remember the last outbreak of Black Plague? Do you personally know any lepers? How many cousins have died of smallpox?

You should really educate yourself a little bit on the history of medicine if you’re going to criticize it, because that post of yours is 100% pure ignorance.

with the exception of certain types of infectious disease. Is this observaiton accurate?

No, it’s just about entirely wrong. Some disease have been so well contained and countered, you barely remember they even existed.

Read a few biographies from the middle ages and renaissance, and count the numbers of death from tuberculosis or syphilis. And that’s among the well-fed and well-cared for elite, as most peasants didn’t rate a personal biography.

If so, why should anyone believe that cures will ever be developed?

Many type of cancers that used to be fatal can now be cured. Treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are slowly getting better. We are also making progress at correcting defective genes, so that a propensity to develop a disease can be eliminated. Simply because many of the remaining ills are hard (all the low-hanging fruits have long been picked) doesn’t mean there won’t eventually be a successful treatment for it.

[/quote]
He gave you infectous diseases. They’ve done nothing for Alzheiner’s and Parkinson’s except delay them slightly. You’re right about cancer.

Many diseases occur on a cellular level and may escape medical intervention for many years. I do not think that is a good reason to abandon medical science, however.

As a newborn I developed pyloric stenosis. Had I been born 50 years earlier, I wouldn’t have lived past 2 months. In the modern era, it can be easily cured with a simple operation.

No one hears much about scurvy, pellagra, or endemic goiter now that we’ve got cures.

Hemorrhaging and a wide a wide variety of injuries used to guarantee death, but now they can frequently be cured. Admittedly, “cured” isn’t the best word here, but it matches the spirit of your question.

Hell, even bad eyesight can be cured with laser surgery in many cases.

[quote]postcrime wrote:
pookie- I didn’t ask which disesases can be prevented, contained, or arrested. I asked which diseases can be CURED. there is a significant and rather obvious difference there. and I already conceded the exception of certain infectious diseases[/quote]

Still, the track record speaks for itself. The more complicated diseases will be cured when we understand them and/or the human body better. Many illnesses that target infants are, as another poster pointed out, now successfully treated. “Cured” if you prefer. Cancer has been destroyed entirely (ie, cured) in mice; tests are being done to see if the treatment is applicable to humans.

Many of the diseases of old age are also caused by the lifestyle of the patient. They can be treated successfully, but “curing” them would entail cloning an entirely new body for the person. You can’t erase decades of abuse. At least not yet.

Anyway, it’s not like modern medicine has any competition in the search to cure diseases. Given enough time, I don’t see why they wouldn’t all be curable.

Everyone dies in the end. Medicine is capable of curing very few things that your body cannot do on its own if it is strong enough.

That being said medical research has led to vaccinations that prevent disease. Measures that keep a body strong enough to fight disease, medicine that helps extend the life span of cancer and AIDS patients, etc.

I don’t think there is a “cure” for small pox but they have done a pretty good job of eradicting it.

The past 30 years, medical research has delivered a number of new drugs that do not cure, but enable people to live healthier and longer with their disease. For example, HIV, diabetes and many cancer patients are living better and longer than before, but are still not “cured”.

It’s because of the tremendous adaptability of cancer to develop drug resistance, migrate and undergo cellular mutations that there may never be a single drug “cure”.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Everyone dies in the end. Medicine is capable of curing very few things that your body cannot do on its own if it is strong enough.[/quote]

“If it is strong enough” is not a given. Medicine can help you fight off a large number of diseases even if you’re pathetically weak.

Millions who’d otherwise die get to live. Bah, humbug.

[quote]That being said medical research has led to vaccinations that prevent disease. Measures that keep a body strong enough to fight disease, medicine that helps extend the life span of cancer and AIDS patients, etc.

I don’t think there is a “cure” for small pox but they have done a pretty good job of eradicting it.[/quote]

So let’s recap: Infectious diseases don’t count, prevention doesn’t count. Eradication doesn’t count. Lower infant mortality rates don’t count. Ever increasing life span doesn’t count. Better quality of life doesn’t count.

Yeah, you’re right: modern medicine does suck.

[quote]Yo Momma wrote:
It’s because of the tremendous adaptability of cancer to develop drug resistance, migrate and undergo cellular mutations that there may never be a single drug “cure”.[/quote]

New approaches to curing cancer are very promising. The mice example I was mentioning above doesn’t use a drug, but a specially engineered virus who targets and destroys cancerous cells. Once all the cancer cells are dead, the virus dies, leaving the mouse completely cancer free.

Many other “hard” disease have their roots in genetics. Basically, the disease or illness is who you are. In time, I have no doubt we’ll have the technology to fix it, but the ethical questions might retard it for a long time.

Even ageing might eventually be slowed or stopped completely, hugely extending our lifespans.

[quote]pookie wrote:

New approaches to curing cancer are very promising. The mice example I was mentioning above doesn’t use a drug, but a specially engineered virus who targets and destroys cancerous cells. Once all the cancer cells are dead, the virus dies, leaving the mouse completely cancer free.

[/quote]

The same approach has been done by using antibodies fused to certain molecules. This has also seemed to cure cancer in mice, but failed in Phase III clinical trials in humans.

The viral fusion technique you mentioned has been used in Phase I clinical trials in humans to treat leukemia, but had too many bad side effects to pass onto Phase II.

Many promising drug discoveries that are extremely encouraging in all animal models fail in humans. We are a complex and adaptable species.

[quote]pookie wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Everyone dies in the end. Medicine is capable of curing very few things that your body cannot do on its own if it is strong enough.

“If it is strong enough” is not a given. Medicine can help you fight off a large number of diseases even if you’re pathetically weak.

[/quote]

Absolutely

Just polluting the gene pool.

It is just the “man” keeping us down.

In 10-20 years when Quantum computing becomes reality, it will generate the ability to discover cures for many diseases. Drugs will be manufactured using nanotechnology and custom designed for each patient. Disease will be eliminated and life will be substantially prolonged.

At least that’s what Ray Kurzweil says in “The Coming Singularity”. I’d be happy if 1/2 of it came to pass.

pookie- the purpose of this thread was not to bash the medical establishment and I never said anything to imply that that modern medicine sucks nor that the various treatments which fall short of cures don’t count for anything. the scope of my inquiry was limited to CURES and within that context it is not necessary to talk about anything else. reading comprehension dude

[quote]postcrime wrote:
pookie- the purpose of this thread was not to bash the medical establishment and I never said anything to imply that that modern medicine sucks nor that the various treatments which fall short of cures don’t count for anything. the scope of my inquiry was limited to CURES and within that context it is not necessary to talk about anything else. reading comprehension dude[/quote]

This is the internet. Everything is a pissing match.

It all comes down to how you define cure. If you take a very narrow definition I think you will find that most diseases are not nor have ever been cured, merely treated by medicine.

If that is your take then it is unlikely we will come up with many new cures for diseases. The easy ones have been done.

We still we come up with new treatments and preventions.

[quote]postcrime wrote:
pookie- the purpose of this thread was not to bash the medical establishment and I never said anything to imply that that modern medicine sucks nor that the various treatments which fall short of cures don’t count for anything. the scope of my inquiry was limited to CURES and within that context it is not necessary to talk about anything else. reading comprehension dude[/quote]

Well since cures have been found for many forms of cancers, on the condition that they be detected early enough, your initial assertion that “medicine has never really found a cure” is still inaccurate.