Do You Think Medicine Extends Life or Not?

Juha-Matti I Alakoskela jmalakos at
Sun Mar 1 14:43:35 EST 1998

First of all, dear Carol T., I would like to pass some comments on Your
original article concerning this Hunza Valley in Pakistan. 
In many cultures there is deep respect for old age and elderly people,
which is very fine thing, indeed. In these cultures it is probably not
uncommon for elderly people to exaggerate their age whereas in western
world the opposite is more likely. I think I once read an article about
such a Shangri-La, and they claimed in that article  that atleast some of
the supposedly 100 year old people were in fact about 70. (Sorry, I do not
remember the source, so this comment is somewhat vague.)
   Your claim that these people are extremely healthy seems a bit
exaggerated when one looks at one of the articles written about Hunza:

     Ali A. Khan MM. Malik ZU. Charania BA. Bhojani FA. Baig SM . 
     National Institute of Health NIH, Islamabad. 
     Impact of the long term supply of iodized salt to the endemic goitre 
     JPMA - Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association. 42(6):138-40,
     1992 Jun. 
     The study was designed to assess the impact of the supplementation
levels of iodine in salt supplied since the last 12 years to Gilgit and
Hunza, an endemic goitre area of Pakistan. The overall prevalence of
visible goitre is reduced from 61.36% to 4.68%. [ABSTRACT TRUNCATED BY ME]

So, I guess western medicine has helped this disease-stricken area of
Hunza. :) 

ATeasd5941 <ateasd5941 at> wrote:
: So where do all of you place the sociological factors
: behind the extended expected lifespan?

: better sanitation, better diet, education, better housing
: improved lifestyles etc.....

They are very important, for without proper sanitation infectious diseases
would probably be much more common, even though vaccination and
antibiotics have saved and still save millions of lives every year.  
   In my opinion, better diet means diet that tastes good. :) That is
perhaps not always healthy. 
   One thing I can't understand is why you are bringing this up. No-one (I
think) has claimed that proper sanitation or diet containing all the
essential amino acids, fatty acids and minerals and vitamins in proper
amounts are not important. Certainly these things have extended expected
lifespan, but so has medicine. Vaccination is one example of the power of
western medicine. Just take a look at the statistics of deaths of babies
and children in, let's say,  year 1900 and 1995. One can claim that it's
all because of better sanitation, but sanitation was not the only or even
biggest reason for the extinction of smallpox. Vaccination helps even in
countries where sanitation is not nearly as good as in developed

: Why the arrogance to think that medicine is at the top
: of the list, not down the bottom I wonder? 

I thought that the issue was whether western medicine has extended average
lifespan or not. Though I must have mistaken, for why on earth such a
subject would be brought up in a newsgroup for neuroscience.
Alt.spams.and.alternative.philosophies.and.non-science doesn't exists,
perhaps that's why. 

I apologize all the readers of this group for continuing this thread, and
I promise that I am not going to continue it any further.

            Sincerely Yours,

                      Juha-Matti Alakoskela

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