Propaganda Shouts, Truth Whispers


Theranos was a healthcare startup commanding a $9 billion valuation before enquiring minds discovered its technology to perform lab tests from finger pricks instead of test tubes didn't actually work.

Today's Wall Street Journal introduces the latest excess in healthcare startup financing, a Chicago firm called Outcome. What do they do? Outcome installs monitors and tablets in physician offices so they can sell pharmaceutical ads targeting waiting patients to drug companies. Perhaps there's less technical risk than Theranos, but the article suggests a similar level of hubris among Outcome and its investors -- they're currently valuing the company at $5.5 billion.

Does a $5.5 billion valuation seem even a tad ambitious for putting drug ads on a tablet in a doctor's office? What if patients resent another intrusion, and refuse to tune in?

Dr. Robert Lustig's recent book The Hacking of the American Mind explores the length that companies and governments have gone, and continue to go, to exploit the "reward pathways" that cause and reinforce addictive behavior. Not surprisingly, these addictive substances -- whether in the form of meth, oxycodone, vodka, sugar, or social media -- can be incredibly harmful to our physical, mental, and spiritual lives.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that our most common chronic diseases are lifestyle-mediated, and thus self-inflicted, we're continually bombarded with messages that the latest "cure" is another pill... preferably one we'll take for life.

There's a quiet revolution underway in healthcare, however. Consider Toronto nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung's excellent article detailing why We're Losing the War on obesity, Type II diabetes, and cancer. He paints a justifiably stark picture of the institutional blindness characterizing incumbent healthcare providers. 

Yet case studies of individuals who have conquered sugar addiction and fundamentally reversed chronic disease like obesity and diabetes by diet and lifestyle alone are too numerous to ignore.  These individuals then encourage family, friends, and colleagues to ask their own questions about the root causes of health, and disease.

Are you pursuing answers to these critical questions? Perhaps it is time to start separating the propaganda from the truth, and engage in a quiet conversation.

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