curiosity, disease causes, cancer incidence

Are You Curious

Are You Curious

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of

My granddaughters provide a constant reminder that curiosity is an innate human quality. They are interested in investigating anything and everything that comes their way, and they never tire of asking “Why?”

Children never tire of exploring. Their inquisitiveness is endless. In contrast, adults rarely explore new territory and rarely, if ever, ask “Why?” It is as though their natural curiosity has been extinguished at some point, never to be rekindled. Curiosity, after all, killed the cat – or so we are told. Somewhere along life’s path the message that asking “why” is asking for trouble becomes deeply ingrained and the person stops asking the question. Better to mind one’s business and leave well-enough alone.

This is particularly apparent in regard to illness. I am amazed at the lack of interest in learning why a particular symptom has emerged, of exploring the factors that set the stage for the appearance of an illness. To most people I meet, whether professionally or socially, disease simply happens.

A person afflicted with an illness may ask philosophical questions such as, “Why me?” or “Why did this have to happen?” He or she may ask theological questions: “Where is God?” and “Why did He allow this to happen to me?” Rarely, however, does anyone ask important scientific questions about the origin of their illness. Sickness is viewed as a cruel act of fate, a bad hand dealt, a bolt from out of the blue over which one has no control.

Mainstream American medicine is particularly devoid of curiosity today. Most doctors stop asking “why” before they finish medical school, where the focus is upon identifying and treating diseases rather than on determining the factors that cause them to arise. It seems to be enough to discover that someone has osteoporosis and write a prescription for a drug such as Fosamax without exploring the factors that led to the loss of bone density. It seems to be enough to diagnose and remove a colon cancer without questioning why the tumor arose and what underlying conditions can be changed to minimize the likelihood that the same or another cancer will appear in the future.

Unfortunately, if the factors that allowed a disease to develop are not addressed, treatment will have limited success. The therapy may appear to have been successful (“They got it all!”), but the challenge will often reappear if action to correct predisposing conditions is not taken.

Questions that are not commonly asked are crying out for answers. Why is the incidence of cancer approaching one in three people in the United States? Why have the incidence of and death rates from asthma doubled over the past thirty years? Why has the incidence of eczema tripled since 1970? Why has the prevalence of heart disease changed little despite intense efforts to lower cholesterol levels? Why have viral illnesses such as hepatitis C and HIV risen to epidemic proportions? Why has the risk of fracture increased by 50 % in male high school athletes over the past decade?

I have addressed many of these questions in Health By Design articles. I will continue to seek answers to these and similar questions, letting you know how you can avoid the challenges that are accepted as inevitable by so many.

Linus Pauling, who was ridiculed by the medical profession for his work on the body’s need for vitamin C, once stated, “Physicians, as a profession, do less independent thinking than any other.” If physicians truly care about the welfare of their patients and the health crisis facing our nation they must begin to think creatively once again. They must begin asking why.

Only by exploring the questions “How and why did this disease develop?” can one hope to successfully recover and avoid a recurrence. Only by discovering why disease incidence has increased and addressing the factors responsible can we produce a healthier society. I encourage you to renew your childhood curiosity and begin asking “Why?”

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