Dr. David Angus has written a book entitled The End of Illness and is busy promoting it.  First, a disclaimer, I haven’t read the book. I don’t think I will either. His ideas are interesting but like most health oriented books, I think the reviews tell the main points and the rest of the book just repeats them over and over. If you do read  The End of Illness and this isn’t true – please let me know.  I have however, read the McLean’s review of the book and listened to Dr. Angus on The Current. So this article is a review of those, not the book.

I really like the way Dr. Angus describes our body as a system and that health and disease (specifically cancer, he is an Oncologist) are dynamic states. He goes on to talk about how cancer is in all of us and it takes the right environment to make it replicate and become a problem. This is totally in line with my belief that health is a spectrum and that the absence of disease doesn’t necessarily mean you are healthy or not in a state of health that will more likely promote disease in the future.

I also agree with Dr. Angus’s emphasis on individuals being responsible for their own health. I think personal responsibility for our health is lost in a world of advanced testing, breakthrough medical procedures and super drugs becoming available. While I am all for medical advances, I sometimes feel it makes people take their health for granted – that all medical conditions can be ‘fixed’ by a drug or medical procedure, with little or no effort on the patient’s part. He encourages people to know their numbers and what they mean, to ask more questions and to pay attention to their bodies. For example, how has your blood pressure and cholesterol ratio changed over the past 10 years? Or, how has your waist circumference changed?

The End of Illness also discusses the importance of the basics: proper nutrition, good sleep and staying active. Who can argue with those?

There are, however some inconsistencies in his message. He is all for “off label” uses of drugs but requires ‘double-blind, placebo-controlled’ studies on minerals and vitamins. This is double standard I encounter frequently.

He briefly talks about how everyone is an individual but thinks most people over 50 should be on statin drugs and aspirin. He is ignoring the potentially serious side effects of these drugs which, for a lot of people, would far outweigh the benefits. There are other ways to combat inflammation which have far less potential to cause side effects and address it in a way that doesn’t hijack your bodies inflammatory response. Fish oil for example.

Dr. Angus supports the hypothesizes of Paul Patterson that inflammation caused by the influenza of 1918 was the cause of health concerns later in life for people in utero at the time. While I agree that a pregnant woman’s health strongly affects a baby’s health throughout his or her lifetime, it is more than a bit of a stretch to use this data to promote the flu vaccine.  There is no data or studies to support his hypothesis that flu vaccines prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer. Instead, this is his train of thought: people with inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or colitis get cancer more often—–>the flu causes inflammation——>the flu shot is ‘suppose’ to prevent the flu——>the flu shot prevents cancer. Even if the flu vaccine was shown to decrease the incidence of flu in our population (which it isn’t) this would be faulty reasoning and have potentially many compounding factors. Kind of like when we thought coffee caused lung cancer back in the smokin’ 60′s . He is in favor of using epidemiological data(populations studies) to support the flu shot but totally dismisses all the epidemiological data (and double-blind, placebo-controlled studies) supporting Vitamin D. You can hand pick data to say anything you want and I feel like this is happening a lot with Dr. Angus.

I respect Dr. Angus for challenging our beliefs, even if I don’t agree with everything he has to say. Like I said at the beginning of this article, if you read the book and there is a lot more information and interesting ideas, let me know.

 

 

 

3 Responses to The End of Illness? Dr. David Angus, MD

  1. Olivia says:

    I was watching the view this morning and I found myself getting angry at Dr. Angus while he suggested pharmaceutical solutions and never mentioned the alternative. When Barbara Walters asked what he thought about vitamins he said don’t take them. Wow, talk about sweeping statements. I won’t read his book, do to the fact that he is bias towards healthly alternatives. Yes, he said a few things I agreed with but none of that mattered after his push for pharmaceuticals.
    He’s not worth a visit.
    Thank you.

  2. richard grace says:

    Haven’t read the book either but saw tail end of an interview w Dr Angus on ( who was it?? Jon Stuart??)…anyway if I’ve got one thing right ( maybe not) ’cause I only caught last part of interview Dr angus is inclined to believe that taking vitamin & mineral supplements may ultimately be bad for your health….if what he’s driving at here is the rigours of gov’t enforced safety & efficiacy testing of same are not as refined or legally stringent as those for drugs like aspirin & lipitor etc, then this is in line with general worries and suspicions of most of us..What the hell are you buying & how reputable is the manufacturer???….Who knows?…also a lot of the ‘stuff” may be manufactured off shore where quality control & safety bow to the almighty dollar…Now your wonderful supplement company will tell ya ” oh we have the most stringent quality control once products arrive on our premises? Thanks a lot I’ll sell ya a bridge and we’ll call it even….I do know Health Canada apparently as of ’09 now requires certain testing of supplements as to quality control…at least I think this is the case…But who’se on first ?? will always remain an eternal doubt….Natural Factors AOR and Sisu =- all manufacturers of various supplements here in Canada have a reasonable reputation – at least they have variously been quoted by some authorities including medical doctors as reliable sources for supplements…

    On the other hand the above manufacturer safety & efficacy concern aside , if Dr Angus is simply asserting that all supplments vitmain & mineral are ultimately “bad’ for you, guess I better read the book rather than speculate….the various medical sources I’ve read – those doctors who’ve taken a long look at the efficacy of supplments, all seem to endorse at least the taking of various antioxidants like Alpha Lipoic acid, Co enzyme Q 10 Vitamins C & D, Selinium, etc….I’ve taken up the torch here and can only ancedotally note that over the last 6 months or so, on the endurance training I do on the bike, my recovery times between workouts seem to have been reduced…so maybe same do remove a lota them bad Free Radicals and maybe even some other “nasties” that clog the system after a hard workout… of course you’ve got to monitor dosages fairly closely and not go overboard…take Vitamin C for example some commentators Dr Oz Dr Weill only advise 250 mg per day….a Dr Spengler on PBS in his book suggests 1000 mg for endurance athletes…and one report I read off the web wh had suspicions on the efficacy of statins ih heart disease suggested 2000 mills a day to combat inflammation in the artery & heart walls, it being suspected that the main culprit here is not cholestrol as the MAIN cause of heart disease & related problems but inflammation…so context & objective obviously bears a lot on dosage….

    on cholestrol & heart disease, apparently according to the above commentator there have been a number of disturbing cases where folks with low or “acceptable” chol levels have been felled by heart disease…so other factors such as inflammation ( wh seems to be the eternal health bugga bear for everything these days) may be at work …who knows?? sorry for the rant but if you have any thoughts, much obliged…Richard Grace

  3. Karen says:

    Thank you, Dr. Angus, for being real, sometimes I feel just want to have a say in every single thing, but what we have to remember that is the purpose of studies and for people willing to be truthful, going into the nursing field myself, and growing up with a huge family, with children, and many, many different life styles, and having the great opportunity to live in as a health care aid, with continuous 24 hour care over individuals, from age 70 to 103, it’s amazing, how the strongest people , health, wise took, less meds, and had great routines, such as sleep, good diet(real food), in other words, before i get carried, away, with all of this, it’s the simple things that can carry us a long way, in life, and don’t forget, surround ourselves with more positive folks too, oh, and by the way, my life has not been all that easy, but one thing is for sure, i will control my health to the best of my ability, and i will keep track of changes and listen to my body, and not pretend, things will go away. also, i’d rather get a good check up, and pay, instead of waiting for almost the end of my time here on earth, and then do something. I guess i’m saying, I believe people are smarter than they give themself credit for, take control over your life, health wise, not just financial, stuff, and there are people out there, that truly care about healthier people, we all know healthier people perform better, are better examples for children, and lets face it, have a better all around general good attitude about life, we all know we are not here for ever, stop knocking the Doctors for goodness sake, no offense, in every person, we are all so quick to judge, if we don’t hear what we want to, even i could come up with a million excuses, but that will catch up to all of us. The trick is learn what works best for you, don’t play dumb, and expect the experts to have all the answerws, but i can guarntee, most of the time, if you experiment with a even a 1/4 of healthy advice, you will see a difference. Thank you for now!

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