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The New Arthritis Breakthrough

I just finished reading "The New Arthritis Breakthrough" by Henry Scammell. First published in 1993.

Some of the highlights:

"majority of prescriptions in America are for off-label applications and, even before the studies, FDA approval had never been required for a family doctor to prescribe minocycline for arthritis or anything else."

"There are several classes of common disease organisms frequently targeted by this antibiotic[tetracycline] that have never produced a single recorded instance of a tetracycline-resistant strain."

"difficult to overstate the importance of ecomomics in health care. Simplicity and low cost may appear as virtues to a consumer, especially when, like minocycline or its kin in the tetracycline family, a medicine backed by decades of safe usuage in hundreds of widley varied applications. But appearances deceive: the pharmaceutical industry is not driven by the consumer, but by money."

"two ways to reduce pain and swelling in an arthritic joint. One is simply to suppress the symptoms, and the other is to reduce the cause."

"theorized that the minocycline worked at least in part not just as an antibiotic but by blocking the enzymes that destroy cartilage inside joints."

"Dr. [Thomas McPherson] Brown had been forced to dine on a heretic's standard fare, which ranged from polite tolerance to open ridicule."

"Basic research into the older concept of rheumatoid arthritis as an infectious disease was almost completely abandoned in the shift to cortisone."

"Good science permits dissent; in fact, dissent is the only road to discovery and change."

"there are few areas of medicine with a lower cure rate than rheumatology."

"doctors don't lose malpractice suits if they can prove they followed the traditional path, and there's substantial risk for the physician who openly departs from established procedure. For forty years, that's been the Catch 22 of the infectious theory, and in particular of antibiotic therapy: the rewards are not for success but for failure, and the only penalty is for advocating basic change."

"I never thought of myself as turning the medical world upside down: if anything, I was trying to set it rightside up."

"It's a lot safer for doctors to kill their patients with treatments that have approved than to cure them with ones that challenge tradition."

"In medicine, when you challenge the way people think about what they've been doing---especially what they've been doing wrong---you're certain to find yourself with a whole lot of opposition."

"you put two rheumatologists in a room and you'll get three opinions."

"mycoplasma, but they are so commonplace in healthy people as well as those with rheumatoid arthritis, it is difficult to prove a causative relationship. However, he acknowledged the possibility that there's something connected to the immune system that allows these ubiquitous agents to become triggers, even though they're in everybody and most people don't get the disease."

"other types of diseases, such as barley blight, that involve at least a two-component vector system."

"Medicine is based first and foremost on personal relationships. The people who get sued the least are the ones who most nearly fulfill the image and role of the family doctor, who treat their patients as individuals and who are themselves seen as human beings by their patients." page 67

talks about "Herxheimer reaction." get worse before you get better.

"patients were told they were born to have the disease through heredity, or that it was produced by stress, injury, a glandular defect, or aging, and that nothing could be done to avoid it or to cure it."

"nearly every disease is influenced to a certain extent by what we eat."

"because the autoimmune theory has been taught in most medical schools for the past half-century, rheumatoid arthritis carries with it the stigma of a persistent, downhill condition that can never be cured."

"In some forms of rheumatoid arthritis the specific infectious agent, such as a mycoplasma or spirochete, has already been identified."

"our paper showed was that tetracycline did indeed produce improvements that were measurable...and that those improvements endured."

"With tetracycline, on the other hand, I have not see any toxic effects in forty years in anybody. The drug is used in low doses, widely spaced to avoid sensitization."

"Tetracycline doesn't attack the part of germs where immunity is formed, so it can be used virtually forever without giving rise to immune strains of the organism it is fighting."

"when people get old, the reason they become wrinkled is that the connective tissue between cells is washed out and the abscence of collagen creates furrows, like mountains and valleys."

"people who have the most rheumatoid nodules are frequently the ones who have had a strepococcal infection, perhaps in childhood, and in whom there is evidence that the strepococcal antibodies are still present along with the mycoplasmas."

"problem in using penicillin-based antibiotics is that they tend to create drug allergies after a certain amount of time." page 151

Courtesy: Dave