Dr. Clarke's Website

Lewis K. Clarke, M.D., Ph.D.

The Science Behind the Medicine

What’s This Website About?

 

The human body is a most amazing machine that is designed to heal or fix itself. Man has yet to achieve such a creation.  How this happens is a most fascinating mystery. To learn about it, in my opinion, is a divine pursuit.  Every day there are hundreds of papers published in journals dealing with biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, pathology, pharmacology, cell biology, physiology and countless other areas of science that directly pertain to disease, drugs and their effects, and how the body works to heal itself.

 

Doctors spend 99% of the day ‘kicking against the pricks’, but we’d all like to spend more time learning how it all works so we can help and heal and change lives. Patients want to know how it all works, too, either for their own health or that of a loved one. This site is designed for both doctors and patients in an attempt to shed some light of understanding on a few tiny corners of the mystery of helping the machine to heal itself.

 

I’ll be using articles and videos, and providing references from some of the most recent journals-research from all over the world that may assist in preventing or healing some of our more common maladies. With my training both in medicine and as a Ph.D. in cell biology with a focus on neuropharmacology and biochemistry and a Master’s in human development with training in biostatistics, I hope to be able to distinguish between good science and bad.

 

We are inundated daily with articles from newspapers and magazines about health and medicine and commercials about what drug is best for this or that and we’re told to “ask your doctor”.  But do the doctors really know? For most of us medical school was a long time ago. Do we remember how cholesterol is made? Or where? Or how many enzymes are involved in its production and degradation? If we block its production, do we remember how many other chemicals are also blocked that might be necessary for the body to function? The answer is probably not.

 

This website should help with things like that.

 

 

 

Why Aren’t Doctors ‘Up To Speed’?

 

Why don’t doctors implement new innovative treatments that are documented in the scientific literature? “Why didn’t my doctor know that my cholesterol drug would make me too weak to get out of my chair?”, a multiple sclerosis patient asked me.

 

Reason 1.  Scientific information is doubling every few months. There are so many fields of science that affect medicine, there is no way to keep up with the thousands of papers written every month in all these areas. That’s the first reason.

 

Reason 2.  Doctors are no longer in control of their patients’ care. It has been wrested away from them by insurance companies, lawyers, governmental agencies…faceless people in faraway offices denying my patient’s need for that surgery or that MRI or that medication, never having laid eyes on the patient and many without any medical degree whatsoever.  Innovative treatments are not likely to be approved by entities who are looking for any excuse to NOT pay.

 

Reason 3.  If there is ever a bad outcome in any patient, the doctor is going to be sued. So he cannot afford to do anything innovative, even if there are 5 papers published on how well it works for that kind of problem.  The lawyer will say that the doctor practiced “outside the community standard of care” for that medical problem. He’ll probably also argue that the “FDA has not approved this medicine for that medical problem”. (See my notes on FDA on this website) The doctor is forced to do what everyone else is doing, even if it’s been proven by recent papers to be ineffective, if not wrong.

 

So medicine stays 10-20 years behind the science…

 

Reason 4.  Doctors are also NOT in control of their income. We are told how much the insurance company or Medicare will pay us for each patient visit. This payment is ever decreasing, by up to 10% per year. So if I get paid $30 for a patient visit and my office overhead is $300 per hour, guess how many patients I have to see to break even. (and guess how long your office visit will be with the doctor) . If I want a profit (a salary), then I need to see more patients. So I work 12-15 hours a day, 6 –7 days per week. Where can I work in some reading? Where can I study some new papers?

 

So it’s not entirely the doctor’s fault that he’s not “Up To Speed”.   Of all the doctors I’ve met over the years, I can count the “slugs” on one hand.  Almost all of us went into medicine because we wanted to care for people, contrary to popular opinion. Put us back in control of our patients. Allow us to have a union or some semblance of one (it’s illegal for us to have a union) so we can collectively bargain for fair fees....to at least cover our employees’ cost of living increases.  Remove the onerous specter of liability that prevents innovative care.  Your plumber and mechanic make more per hour than your doctor….and he’s fixing YOUR BODY.   You’ll get better care, probably have more time with your doctor on your visit, and your doctor won’t be terrified about trying an innovative treatment that might help you.