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Medical future of children and adults in question

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By Charles Seng

This letter is addressed to the medical professionals doing business in the Lancaster area, but it should be of interest to other folks, as well.

In reading newspapers, watching TV and listening to AM radio lately, it has become apparent that many things are occurring in this city, state and country that should be of concern to everyone.

What got my attention initially was an Associated Press story reporting that the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended low-fat milk for 1-year-olds with weight issues and wider cholesterol testing. The academy’s nutrition committee reported that this view “is based on mounting evidence that damage leading to heart disease, the nation’s leading killer, begins early in life.”

The next sentence should alarm not only all physicians and other health professionals, but all parents with an interest in their children’s health: The academy report says “recent research showing cholesterol-fighting drugs are generally safe for children ....(and) if we are more aggressive about this in childhood, I think we can have an impact on what happens later in life and avoid some of these heart attacks and strokes in adulthood.”

The report goes on to say that drug treatment would generally target kids at least 8 years old who have too much LDL (bad cholesterol) and overweight children with too little HDL (good cholesterol) and that pediatricians should routinely check the cholesterol of children with a family history of heart-related events. Screening is recommended after age 2 and no later than age 10 at routine checkups.

Basically, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that small children must now be treated as adults with regard to their future cardiac health care. At such early ages, they are advocating getting young children used to taking potent medicine and drugs, that have been known to have all kinds of unpleasant and harmful reactions.

Sorry, I don’t think that is necessary for children at this age.

Then I read in the latest edition of Popular Mechanics a story about how schools in California are experiencing frightening percentages of parents who are opting out of having their children vaccinated for common childhood diseases.

For many of us, at no time in our past were such routine vaccinations harmful. The story said parents were opting out because of children’s vaccinations and mainstream medicine in favor of nature-based therapy or new-age or religious beliefs.

Because of this opting out the once thought-to-be-wiped-out diseases are reappearing.

Every day on television and in newspapers and magazines we are subjected to expensive ads by pharmaceutical companies, touting wonder drugs – full page splashy ads and, of course, the fine print that tells about all the side effects and warnings.

Most of these ads are aimed not at medical doctors, who should be the only ones who decide what type of medications you will take. Instead they are aimed at people, who have little or no scientific understanding of the medical implications of their diseases, or about medications that are being advertised as if they were delicious foods for their choice of types.

You, the medical professionals out there, know such ads are meant to have consumers come into your offices and try to dictate to you what type of medication your patients should take. This is wrong.

Consider the ads enticing and demanding consumers go in for full body scans, which if used in the proper cases as screening tools for older adults experiencing unexplained pain, can be very valuable. However, the intent of these ads is to convince the young and other perfectly healthy young adults or even older adults that they should take part in getting one of these scans. The implication is that unless you get one of the scans, you can’t be sure you are healthy. Of course, the unstated part of this is that these tests are not only usually unnecessary, but are quite expensive. But who cares, if the insurance pays?

And everyday more and more children, some as young as kindergarten age, are diagnosed as being hyperactive or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD). Yet, many of these children are diagnosed, not by a physician or medical doctor, but by school teachers or administrators.

The result is that children go through life on drugs and walking around like zombies. The results are that these millions of children who have been so diagnosed and treated grow into adults who carry with them the same diagnosis, but instead it is called Adult ADD or ADHD, with similar drug treatment. This is frightening.

So, I ask the medical professionals, is this the future of medical treatment in the United States?

Also, I ask parents is this the future of medical treatment you want for yourselves and your children.

Charles V. Seng is a Lancaster County resident.