Monday, June 1, 2009

Disparity of Technological Advance

Humans tend to fear what they do not know and to destroy what they fear. And I think many of us are aware that there are a whole lot of things we don't know.

Perhaps that is why there is such a disparity in our ability to create things that destroy rather than things that preserve. Just look at the items around you and realize how many things had to be destroyed in order to make it happen. Also look at how that item could be used to hurt, maim, or destroy if given in the wrong hands - and no I'm not turning this into a "green" post.

As engineers, our prime directive is to hold paramount the safety and well-being of the public. Yet, how easy is it for us to create things that can easily destroy when placed in the wrong hands? Worse yet, look at all the medical tools we have that are designed to radiate, cut, remove, or otherwise destroy living tissue. Yes, usually remove infected tissue, but there is always collateral damage with healthy tissue. Why is our first instinct in medicine to destroy? Of all the fields of study, I would think medicine would be the field focused on creation, sustainability, and longevity. Look back at doctor's medical kits as shortly as the civil war period and you'll see something more along the lines of a carpenter's toolbox than a med kit.

Personally, I think the best tool we have to overcome disease of the human body is the human body itself. Our immune system, if working properly, can fight off any disease. So why would a sick individual use a treatment method that destroys a part of their body? Well, I can name a few: education, availability of alternate treatments, financial ability, and other methods that we have just come to accept as being state-of-the-art medical care. Well I say poo-poo to that. I think it is time that we engineers (bio-medical specifically) challenge the perspective of our learned brethren in the medical field and come up with ways to treat disease without having to eradicate healthy tissue in the process. If our military has changed its perspective on acceptable collateral damage, it's high time the medical field does as well. Radiation, drugs, chemo, and other treatments that have side effects as bad as the disease itself really shouldn't be offered, much less advertised on television. Let's come up with better ways to create health rather than destroy disease.

I happen to have a personal experience with one such device currently on the market. Short of turning my soapbox post into a shameless plug, I will simply link you to Ed Skilling's Photon Genie.
Basically, this device enhances our body's ability to heal itself and fend off disease. It does so without destroying any healthy tissue in the process. Pretty cool stuff, really. But why aren't more people informed of this option for chronic disease treatment? Why must it always be harmful drugs or surgeries that destroy healthy tissue along with the infected tissue? If you are on maintenance meds, why not ask your doctor about alternative treatment options? Bring up the Photon Genie, and I'm sure your orthodox medical professional will give you a strange look and blow off your question. Don't be intimidated. Remember, (s)he is only "practicing" medicine and doctors are humans, too, capable of making mistakes. Read, learn, educate yourself and take control of your own health. If you can't find medical care that suits your needs, look elsewhere. It's out there, you just have to be open to it and hopefully, engineers will find new methods that will be acceptable by orthodox medicine that follow the benefit rather than hurt philosophy. (Sorry, I'm starting to sound preachy. But I really want to note that some scientist had to come up with the theory on how the Photon Genie works and an engineer had to come up with the means to apply it. This exemplifies the philosophical change in thinking we need today - build up the good rather than destroy the bad.)