I read a lot of online discussions about Panama. There is a Yahoo Group called Gringos in David, it encompasses discussion relevant to Boquete. Today I opened an email called “Looking for Doctor Gruber” a person looking for Frank Gruber and a cure for cancer. I read the discussion with interest, I know Frank Gruber, if he is a doctor of anything I am not aware of it, however since the doctorate does not make the man I will discount that error. Frank does sell some herbal cures, one claims to cure skin cancer. I can attest his Jungle Oil is a good insect repellent but that is my anecdotal experience not a proven fact. For something more significant than repelling insects I would fall to my scientific background and want to see some studies to prove anything works before I ingest it.
I can guarantee all those living today are going to die. How and why we die is to a limited extent based upon how we choose to live life. Life insurance companies have actuarial tables to limit their risk when writing life insurance policies, they will assure you that a person working on a fishing boat has on average a shorter lifespan than a milkman, if they still exist. Health insurance companies do the same type of analysis and they will be more reluctant to write a policy for someone obese or with diabetes than some one of normal weight and no health issues.
Many people I have met in Boquete in their “golden years” have become preoccupied with diet and natural cures for all things. I am not going to discount their beliefs, a healthy diet is easy here. Most locals do not eat well. In Panama the diet is rice and fried anything. Still on the average Panamanians live to an average age of 77.96 years, in the US the average is 78.29, source CIA World Fact book. In Monaco the average age at death is 89.68, does that mean we should move there for long life, maybe, but I doubt moving will help.
We cannot predict our death, you can eat well, exercise daily, never become ill and be hit by a bus. You can do the same thing and add to the same statistics if you eat only a diet of Big Macs and french fries.
The question becomes how to we try to maintain good health while we are alive, not how long we will live. Most of us grew up in a world of professionally trained doctors. If we were ill we went to a doctor with a degree, with practice and hopefully with a heart. Western medicine is symptom based medicine and has evolved into reactionary medicine. In the US it is driven by what solutions insurance companies are willing cover; that means little proactivity and lots of pill pushing. Panama is still a little better, doctors are not as focused on insurance but they are still trained in the same schools and hospitals. In general I have found doctors here better than in the US.
The natural practitioner might have some education, there are schools that educate in non traditional techniques, some natural cures work, some do not; just like in western medicine. I my life I have experienced that acupuncture resolved problems for me that western medicine could not. However I would not go to an Acupuncturist for a cancer cure. I have experienced that a Chiropractor resolved problems with my back that a doctor could not, still I would not go to a Chiropractor for a cancer cure. I am a cancer survivor, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer more than ten years ago. I went to several specialists in prostate cancer, medical doctors, I listened to them, consulted with others who survived the surgery, they all made recommendations and I selected the doctor I though would be best. The cure worked, I am here more than ten years later to write about it.
If the doctors had said it is incurable. I would have looked at other options. When there is life there is hope. There are so many people selling natural solutions that sorting the wheat from the chaff is nearly impossible for anyone; even someone with education and experience. There are however some misconceptions to be dashed.
There are many who do not trust big pharmaceutical companies because, as stated in the Gringos thread, they are profit motivated. Yes they are, that is capitalism, make money regardless of the means. That is the reason that governments usually have agencies that require testing of medicines and other solutions before allowing the marketing. It is true that the FDA in the US is funded by the same companies who want to sell the drugs; that is a consequence of funding and politics. Still other things are less regulated and that includes “natural supplements”.
In the US this is the current state of the law.
“FDA regulates both finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients under a different set of regulations than those covering “conventional” foods and drug products (prescription and Over-the-Counter). Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement or dietary ingredient manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement or ingredient is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register their products with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements.*”
FDA Bolding is mine, not theirs.
The contrast is dramatic, no studies, no testing until after the product is released and sold to anyone. Then and only then, if there is a problem can the government step in.
So now we have the next argument that big pharmaceutical companies do not want to cure cancer, that the cure is there but it is natural and they cannot patent it so they do not want to sell it. The argument is bogus, if they can find it they can purify a natural drug, patent it, sell it and gain megabucks.
“( The US) Congress eventually revised the patent laws in 1952, to permit patenting of “anything new under the sun made by man.” While Congress intended this to be expansive, the U.S. Patent Office was more restrictive. The courts were more reasonable, agreeing that natural products might still be patentable. ”
“… don’t assume that because a product is based on naturally occurring substances, it won’t qualify for patent protection.”
So now time for two plus two plus two equals six. Good health is a combination of luck, genes and how you choose to live. If you do decide to eat only McDonalds daily you will likely tend toward obesity and a shorter life than if you eat well but maybe not. If you use natural practitioners and food supplements you might live better, or not. If you choose to avoid doctors and big pharma I hope you never have a crisis that needs them.
As for me, here in Panama. I eat more fish and great pork, still enjoy an occasional visit to the Golden Arches in David, take a multivitamin and fish oil daily. Recently I rediscovered some green vegetables and thanks to Rodrigo Marciacq and Ron Miller eat great hydroponic salads. Oh and yes I do like Rum Abuelo with some cheese too. The outcome is I am happy, healthy and living a good life. Variety is indeed the spice of life and fanaticism of any type is to be avoided, have an open mind but learn the facts.