I thought I would start a thread for places where I've observed magical thinking in modern medicine. I think until we identify, acknowledge, and correct them, people will continue to be poorly served and confidence in medicine will remain shaky. I have three to start.. if you have more insights into them or if you have new ones, please contribute. The purpose isn't to say "medicine is bad" but to point out ways it can be better.
- Magical thought: "Systemic antibiotics will kill targets on mucous membranes like sinuses." Well, they will probably annoy them, but in my experience, topical nasal spray with antibiotics is much faster and cheaper, plus it doesn't destroy the gut flora. I was struggling yet again with a sinus infection for the thousandth time in my life and got fed up, cut one antibiotic in half, powdered it and put it in my nasal spray. One spray later and it was an amazing change. No amount of saline spray, steam therapy, or Afrin type sprays worked for more than a few minutes. A quick google search will locate several compounding pharmacies who do this for you, so it's not a new idea. I wouldn't have had that thought if women weren't so poorly served by the probiotics theory (see next magical thought).
- Magical thought: "Ingesting probiotics will improve vaginal flora." So... you expect me to let fecal matter touch my vagina, then? Because I'm also told to never let that happen with detailed instructions about how to wipe, even. The only way I've ever "improved vaginal flora" is by directly applying the probiotic to the target area. Directly applying things to the target area is not a new concept in medicine. when I had an infected cut in my mouth, I was told to swish for 30 seconds with an antibiotic before swallowing. When my relative had horrible toe fungus, he was told to apply antifungal topically and to use it internally. There's nothing wrong with using something internally, but there is something wrong with expecting an effective dose to arrive at a topical area, that's the magical thinking part.
- Magical thought: "If your TSH is high, then if I give you T4, it will drop because your body will convert it to what it needs." Complete whimsy. Many websites are dedicated to this fallacy. In my own case, my body was converting T4 into inactive T3. And I was low in iodine. It's not old fashioned to check someone for a vitamin or mineral level. They do it all the time for Vitamin D, so why not iodine? I should probably add: Magical thought: "If I make your thyroid work better then nothing else will be affected." Um, wait, doctor, you were the one who gave me the speech about how hormones are all in a delicate balance. Was that a lot of smoke? - I say this because my doctor was surprised I had adrenal symptoms after my thyroid got better. Why was he surprised? Should've expected that.