If War Generals were MD’s

It’s midnight. Your squad sits in a valley with hills on all sides. Fifty hills. The ground beneath your boots vibrates with enemy tanks rumbling beyond the blind horizon.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they attacked from one direction? They’ve done it before.

But they could just as easily attack from fifty directions, the way you would.

You’ve seen war up close. You place a priority on winning.

But the Generals back in DC are MD’s now. Their “evidence based medicine” extends to every problem humanity faces, even war.

Today they’ve set up a test. Your orders are to defend whatever comes over the big hill to the north, ignoring attacks from other directions.

If your troops lose, the Generals will have ruled out the hill to the North.

After the loss, they will select another hill for study with another garrison of expendable troops. You won’t be among them. And you won’t be looking down from Heaven. Now that western science owns DC, there is no Heaven. Namaste.

“One hill at a time” is the motto of “Evidence Based Warfare.”

Though BS scouts have crawled up the hills on their bellies to find enemy troops ascending each of the fifty discovered hills, basic science must be ignored until war deaths can be analyzed and published. It’s the only way to be sure: First, do no harm.

War drums bang in your ears. Enemy tanks leap over the hills.

Your squadron fires North with deadly weapons. Nothing stands against them…

To the North.

But your flanks are exposed. Casualties mount.

Against better judgment you call D.C.

“They’re coming over all fifty, Sir. It’s a multi-pronged, attack.”

“You woke me up for this?”

“General, Sir, I’m sorry, but I’ve got an idea. Listen, I know this is a little late, but if you give the order to defend our flanks, I think we could still…”

The General laughs like a sadistic resident enjoying the pimping of a medical student. “You don’t seem to understand experimental design, Captain. Your job is to isolate one variable. If you go off willy-nilly defending multiple hills, we can’t generate meaningful statistics. Scientific chaos. Evidence Based Warfare demands a blinded, randomized study with one and only one variable at a time. That’s why progress has to be slow.”

It’s the only way to be sure, a voice says in your head.

“But Sir, we are blinded. Totally blinded down here. And honestly, some of my kids aren’t ready to die. Shelly’s barely eighteen.”


“Sir, I know we’re going to die, I can accept that. But can’t we go down with a fight this time?”


“Just this once? Hello?”

“Do you want the words, ‘Snake Oil Soldier’ carved into your gravestone, Captain? There’s one scientific way. You know it. You know you know it.”

“Yes, but couldn’t we just think outside the…

“What is it we’re doing here, Captain? Come on now, you know the drill. Say it with me…”

“Evidence Based Warfare.”

“Good. And what’s your motto, soldier?”

“One hill at a time, Sir…” Your last words on Earth.

I wrote this to illustrate the blind spot in so-called “Evidence Based Medicine,” the inappropriately named paradigm of emotional superiority currently pushed in western medicine as the only way to weed out bad science.

If you’re familiar with Dale Bredesen’s breakthrough work on Alzheimer’s Disease, then you know that this lethal disease can’t be approached with the same methods and assumptions that have worked against simple diseases with a single cause.

Alzheimer’s is a multifactorial killer with dozens of separate biochemical points of failure coming together to cause what is wrongly considered a single disease – simply because of its appearance under a light microscope.

Aerobic exercise and carbohydrate restriction are two of the many components of Bredesen’s protocol, a multifactorial therapy that is unequivocally working in the fight against dementia.

Ironically, some MD’s are calling for a slower approach with double-blinded studies and monotherapeutic (one-pill) experimental trials.

Someone needs to ask these critics how to doubly blind a study that involves exercise, fasting, eliminating all simple carbohydrates, doing yoga, meditation, eating more vegetables, limiting meat intake, using an electric tooth flosser and an electric tooth-brush in addition to taking multiple non-prescription pills and prescription hormonal replacement therapy.

Let’s see… one group exercises, the control group doesn’t, one group does yoga, the controls don’t, (etc.) and somehow neither group knows if they’re the therapeutic group or the “placebo” group? And also the doctors in charge of the experiment can’t know who’s doing what.

It’s an impossible requirement, and the critics know it if they’ve actually read Bredesen’s peer-reviewed articles.

The critics don’t seem to be interested in evidence-based medicine at all. Their agenda appears to be creating a roadblock to effective treatment of Alzheimer’s, along with every other multifactorial disease.

Meanwhile Alzheimer’s patients are suffering and dying in hell’s worst agony.

The rigid absurdity of the critics makes me wonder if they’re not funded by drug companies or maybe the sugar industry.

Drug companies are not objective in this fight. Monotherapy has always meant economic survival to them. A multi-therapeutic approach involving mostly over-the-counter pills and lifestyle changes is likely seen as threatening to their tradition of educating and motivating doctors to sell their products.

Drug reps are the prominent educators of busy MD’s in the US. And our MD’s are busier and more chronically exhausted than most people would ever imagine.

My short story is intended to clarify the weakness of the current experimental design paradigm that cannot accommodate multifactoral diseases like Alzheimer’s in an efficient, reasonable way.

The truly scientific and compassionate way to approach complex disease is to save dying patients as efficiently as possible by applying basic science knowledge in multifactoral human studies, despite the technical “shortcomings” of such studies. We must not let cranky perfectionists stop medical breakthroughs the way they’re trying to shout down Dale Bredesen’s monumental accomplishments.

Why let the “perfect” be the enemy of the good? Perfectionism isn’t perfect. It’s flawed like everything else on Earth.

I hope medical practitioners and their patients will allow “Reality Based Medicine” to dominate the 21st century rather than the straightjacket of yesterday’s simplistic experimental designs that targeted one disease caused by one organism, treated with one antibiotic. That mindset worked for a while with simple problems, but it’s the wrong approach to modern complex diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Medical science needs to defend all fifty hills at the same time or patients will continue to die unnecessarily.

If you know someone, a relative or friend who has Alzheimer’s disease or just early memory problems, please click here, I’m begging you. Learn about Dale Bredesen’s unprecedented work, then send an email to the person you have in mind, sharing Bredesen’s links.

I’m telling you, this is important. Do it for the sheer joy of helping someone who needs you!

Do not put it off, please.

Run! Go! Get to da Chappa!!!

With warmest regards,

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD


13 thoughts on “If War Generals were MD’s

  1. The linear approach nearly killed me almost two years ago, until I consulted an oncologist/hematologist (more than a hundred miles away) who was willing to listen to me and order the right lab tests. She personally phoned me with the results and asked what to what pharmacy she should send the prescription that saved my life. Then we went on to treat the malignancy that also had erupted. I still feel as if I’m pinned down in a shell hole, but I’m still in the fight.

    Your post also resonated with me because my current work-in-progress involves the First World War, which was plagued by linear thinking. And your definition and experience with perfectionism are – dare I say it? – perfect. 😉

    Great writing.

    • Thank you. I’m thrilled to hear that you found a nonlinear oncologist/ hematologist. It must be horribly difficult, though, feeling pinned down still. It sounds like you’re on your way out of the hole. That’s awesome! Have you tried slow, deep breathing for ten to 20 minutes at a time? I like to put on a YouTube nature video of waves or rain, and watch it for 20 minutes while reminding myself to breathe slowly, about 4 to six breaths per minute, though I don’t time myself. Slow breathing shunts blood to the prefrontal cortex where, among other things, there’s a sort of “pleasure center.” Doing this really brightens my mood, increases my creativity and clears up my mind. I don’t usually think of it as meditation, but it sort of is. Here’s a YouTube video that I like to have going: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PyLgaqvYhA
      Glad you’re writing. I think it’s one of the most meaningful things in life. The First World War is an era that’s full of potential for new perspectives, thoughts and insights. For most of us, WW II has eclipsed it in terms of our historical knowledge.

      Hang in there and keep writing! 🙂

  2. “Perfectionism isn’t perfect.”[?] That depends on the definition of perfectionism. If following approved procedures, tested in the courts and passed through medical and hospital boards, and, yes, drug companies (also seeking to avoid law suits), is perfection, one can be mindlessly perfect. Anything outside those parameters invites condemnation, and any failure—even though failure was inevitable following approved methods—can be worse.

    In our society, succeeding unconventionally is more often criticized and failing conventionally can get you promoted. That idea comes from Edward de Bono’s work on lateral thinking.

    BTW M. Talmage, my site, “Strange Things Done” says I’m subscribed to this blog, but I have not been receiving anything. Do you have me listed as a subscriber?

    • Hi Keith,
      Thanks for your comment! I see what you’re saying. Definitions are always the key to understanding things…

      I’m a “facultative” perfectionist. I wasn’t naturally that way, but as a pathologist I felt that any mistake was intolerable, so I acted accordingly for 26 years. The trouble with that attitude is not that it’s incorrect, really, it’s that the Universe is imperfect and doesn’t treat perfectionists kindly because they’re not in harmony with reality. Trying to be perfect made me too slow. It made my workload twice what it would have been if I’d been less of a perfectionist. Doing twice the subjective work of other pathologists, who would be done and leave the building in the morning while I stayed all day consulting books and other resources to get every diagnosis as up-to-date with the (imperfect) literature and as accurate as possible, wore me out. I burned out, retired early and hated my job most of the 26 years of my practice. That’s an imperfect outcome caused by my idea of perfectionism. That’s the sort of definition I was thinking of when I said that perfectionism isn’t perfect.

      As a writer, I find that my perfectionism makes me a slow, low-output writer. I’m struggling to overcome it. I have to remind myself that nobody’s going to die if I make a mistake now. I need to lighten up and move forward efficiently.

      I took a look through my non-email followers and didn’t see you listed, but there are about 6,779 of them, so I couldn’t go through the whole list. I didn’t see any search mechanism for that. The people there are set up to have my posts show up in their wordpress “Reader.” I’ll bet you’re in that list.

      My wordpress email followers list is tiny. You were not listed there. I’m not entirely sure how people got on that list. There was a pop-up device asking for name and email address that I disabled long ago because it seemed obnoxious. I guess I should try to enable that thing again.

      I have a separate email list with MailChimp, but I’ve neglected it. Those people don’t receive any notification of my posts. I’ve only written to that list three times in the last few years and never before then.

      Thanks again, Keith, for your insightful comment. 🙂

  3. I read this and had to share it. Do we “heal a whole person in ways that are effective yet difficult to understand?” or “attack symptoms with a linear approach that is predictable and ineffective?”

  4. Pingback: If War Generals were MD’s — Storiform.com – Chris Shelby

  5. Hilarious – and haunting metaphor for the current approach to tackle Alzheimer (as well as any other endeavor that current medical research may find itself in.) Mainstream medical science may be fast-sliding down on the wrong track, (un)aware it is ultimately heading towards its own demise. I do believe in a paradigm change, and I am not delusional in saying that; enough is to ponder over the many breakthroughs in the way we now view reality, undreamed of only ten-fifteen years ago.
    Interesting to see there is no hurry to dig our graves once Alzheimer declares itself; prevention – a responsible lifestyle would be best, but, after reading on Dale Bredesen’s successful approach in tackling it, there is much hope, I’m sure.

    • There’s incredible hope for Alzheimer’s patients. It really hurts to see so many MD’s fighting on the wrong side of this battle. They’re often so busy and tired they just want to follow a cook-book approach to medicine to get the administrators off their backs for not seeing enough patients per hour to support the US business model of medicine. Nothing’s perfect, but MD’s really need to take care of themselves, wake up and realize they’re on the wrong side of the fight over “functional medicine.”

      Thank you for your insightful comment, Mirella 🙂

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