12 February 2010

Degenerative and man-made diseases in the developing world

I came across a relatively recent article by Kuper and Kuper in the Financial Times on the rise of degenerative and man-made diseases in the developing world that I suggest reading. The advent of smoking and low-quality industrial food is making many of the world's poor less healthy even as medicine manages to fight back infectious diseases around the globe.

This paragraph, however, made me laugh:
We now know that Omran failed to foresee a fourth stage of the transition: the decline of chronic diseases. The west – and particularly its richest inhabitants – has now reached this stage. Thanks to the “cardiovascular revolution” – the medical advances in treatment – the past 30 years have seen death rates from heart disease fall by 70 per cent in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and Japan. That translates as 14 million American and eight million British lives saved between 1970 and 2000.
Part of the problem with modern medicine is that mortality trumps morbidity, every time in funding, in research effort, and in much every aspect of the system. Eventually I think the system will figure things out, but there's a lot of inertia to overcome as well as moneyed interests who benefit from people in poor health. The whole article is really a great example of the common wisdom facilities that need to be overturned so we can get anywhere.

I have been a little snowed under lately with work so no substantive posts. I am going surfing in Tofino for reading week, maybe I will work up a post while I am away, or maybe not...