Health care in a low energy world

Discussion in 'Environmental and Health Professionals Interested' started by eco4560, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    So.... for those of us that are working / have worked in the health care field - how do you imagine the system looking once we hit the down slope of the energy availability curve? Do you personally, or does the agency / institution you work for have an energy descent plan?

    What skills, knowledge and equipment would you need to manage in a low evergy health care system? What are you doing about acquiring these for yourself and your agency / institution right now?
     
  2. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Eco

    When the (non-renewable, fossil-fueled) generators of energy fall silent, so will the (majority) of machines that go 'beep'. Humankind in affluent (developed) economies will turn to 'natural' forms of 'healing', but will it be enough to stave off death by the billions via disease and injury? I do not believe so. For example, I'm pretty handy with a comfrey pultice in 'treating' sprains and strains, but I don't think I (or the 'patient') would fair very well if I attempted open heart surgery armed with my trusty Leatherman (syn: pocket/pen knife) and 50 year old anatomy text book guiding me.

    'Health', just like all other services we provide and perform for each other, needs to be considered when adopting an energy descent plan. Do I see evidence of this occurring in my part of the world? Not really. Sure, some government authorities (on multi-levels) and NGOs are thinking about it, but mostly in the general sense. Mostly, in my reading of the topic at least, the head-in-the-sand, status quo mentality prevails.

    What can I/we do about this situation? Personally, I'm slowly building a body of knowledge about how I can 'treat' the symptoms of poor health among my own community, but the bulk of my work (to date, and for the foreseeable future) is concerned with planning 'healthy' communities as a preventative measure for all.

    Planning for the (good) health of communities is on the agenda, but mostly because we have put it there through growing a body of knowledge. It is now up to all of us as to how we utilise this knowledge for the development of good, healthy, spaces and places.

    Some examples follow:

    Healthy Spaces and Places

    FSPUD - Food Sensitive Urban Planing and Design

    The above-mentioned full report is available here.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  3. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Another thing I have thought about is the wisdom of broad scale immunisation. The way I see it, if the $hit hits the fan and all the gizmos and medicines disappear, which I assume will to the average Joe. Then these few generations of immunisation are probably going to come back and haunt us (as a species). We haven't built up a naturally derived immunity, or more accurately diluted the immunity we probably started to develop before vaccines. So initially there may well be a few old-school diseases making a spectacular come-back. Pan-demics seem inevitable in that respect.

    Even now some of the diseases we vaccinate against seem to be making a bit of a come-back...
     
  4. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Not looking good, is it Mr G? All the more reason to ramp up the distribution of natural anti-bodies over the bar of the Beer Hall in Mandala Town...
     
  5. Callum EHO

    Callum EHO Junior Member

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    Natural Immunity worked ok in small isolated communities. Now with so much transport potential, aging and immunocompromised individuals, we rely heavily in immunisation and a good health system to prop up global communities. If immunisation or the health system are threatened by lack of dollars or higher costs or demand then things get messy.

    Quality of life is the other thing to consider - this is threatened by chronic illnesses.

    There is lots to be done and health is not something that happens in isolation. We need to raise awareness and prepare for transition to low impact and low energy outcomes. Great thread !
     
  6. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    So it's you Markos who doesn't wash his hands after going to the loo then comes and sticks them in the communal beer nut bowl. I'm on to you now!
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I wonder if medical staff will be able to recapture the old skills of making a diagnosis without using an MRI scanner? Or set a fracture without using a fibreglass plaster. Or ride out a fever without having recourse to antibiotics.

    I think the 1st world may end up being worse off than less developed nations because we have lost so much knowledge and skill.
     
  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
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    Climate:
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    Apparently the general health of people in Cuba increased once they ran out of cheap oil and other stuff. They also have a much better hands on health system that in the West (the ratio of doctors to patients is high, and they do alot of home visits).
     
  9. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Ha ha, not me, Eco *gives Grahame a nudge*. Blame him *points to Grahame*. He's the one who's always pinching all the cashews out of the mixed nuts bowl.

    Seriously, was thinking more along the lines of nettle beer, etc.
     
  10. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Don't know about their 'general health', pebbs. But do I know from researching the topic a few years back, when the Soviet Union collapsed and subsequently Cuba lost access to its 'cheap oil' supply, the average Cuban lost 30% of their body mass. Could be the same thing? I reckon if I lost 30% of my body mass I'd be heaps fitter. Spot on with the doctor/nurse-to-patient ratio, however. Best in the world (or at least it was when I did the research).
     
  11. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
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    I should check, but from what I remember people got fitter from having to walk everywhere, there was the weight loss from that and the shift from high meat to semi vege diets (and I would guess eating alot more fresh food) and the subsequent improvement in some health indicators (most likely diabetes, cholestorol and heart disease I would guess).
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    What about contraception? The pill with cease to exist. Latex too. We'll be back to boiling pigs intestines to make condoms! (Kinda puts you off it really doesn't it?)
     
  13. aneurine

    aneurine Junior Member

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    "Scaevola frutescens - pan tropical - pick a leaf grind up with half a cup of seawater and bingo you dont menstruate for 3-4 years. Pick 3 leaves, grind it up with half a cup of seawater and never menstruate again. Traditional use in polynesia for young girls not to menstruate between 12-21/22. There are dozens of natural contraceptives.." PDC disk 5/13. Bill Mollison

    And for men of course there's always whistlecocking. I'm not explaining that but Bill did on the PDC DVDs. ouch.

    There's always lemon peel diaphragms and sea sponges... although I believe whilst lemon peel diagphragms also prevent HIV infection as a nice side benefit, they increase risk of cervical scarring which can increase chances of cervical cancer.

    aneurine
     
  14. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Junior Member

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    Scaevola frutescens

    The only literature I can find on this suggest that it is used to INDUCE menstruation as it has anti-coagulant properties.
     
  15. aneurine

    aneurine Junior Member

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    agreed, I found the same as you on internet searches and pubmed - anti coagulant properties and used to induce menstruation. But Bill probably found out during a visit or from locals there about its historical use to stop menstruation or prevent its onset.

    I wouldn't necessarily doubt that it may have been used, and even effective, for stopping them. Sometimes the dose of a particular substance or herb can change its effects dramatically - for instance in the case of rhubarb root (Rheum palmatum) it can be used for treatment of both constipation and diarrhoea. When taken in small doses the actions of the tannins predominate (for diarrhoea relief), and when taken in larger doses the anthraquinone glycoside action predominates (for constipation relief).

    With herbs you're looking at the action of all of the constituents of the plant - not just an isolated component. Where aspirin can cause bleeding as a side effect and is even used for blood thinning, white willow bark (salix alba) will not, even though it was where salicylates were originally derived from to make aspirin - why? perhaps the buffering by other components of the herb that stop bleeding, perhaps less salicylates required to produce the effect due to a boosting effect of other contituents of the plant. I dont know.

    In addition, hormones are intriguing and the effect isnt necessarily greatest with greatest dose, or inert at a low dose - take the relationship between food intake and leptin for example - "Rats administered moderate doses of leptin consume less food compared to rats dosed
    with low or high levels of leptin". http://edrv.endojournals.org/content/early/2012/03/14/er.2011-1050.full.pdf+html

    Maybe there is another part of the herb that acts on hormones or as a hormone resulting in the stopping of menstruation or prevention of it, and maybe it is the dose that determines whether the anti coagulant effect predominates or not.

    And then there is the biological system to consider - the homeostatic balance of the body, the fact we may produce chemicals endogenously in response to something taken which may differ depending on dose potentially.

    And the timing of dose - maybe it's the fact these girls took it at just the right pre-pubescent timing to have the effect of preventing menstruation - and just the right dose.

    How long have polynesians existed for and how old is their culture - perhaps they experimented over enough generations to have come to the right dose/timing. Maybe thats more valuable than any scientific test.

    Or maybe Bill got wrong information, or remembered wrongly.

    *ponder*
     
  16. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Junior Member

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    Interesting. Preventing menstruation is the stuff I fantasize about lol but I wouldn't mess about with it personally at least not long term. I am wondering if it may be more about inducing menstruation at a certain time to prevent it occurring at a later specific time in the natural monthly cycle. So if you know it is going to spoil your feast days or whatever you induce it early to prevent the inconvenience. Now that could be handy. :)
     
  17. aneurine

    aneurine Junior Member

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    Or that. Although my herbal teacher on the subject was confident you could stop menstruation for periods of years with the herb shepherd's purse. Would love to try but isn't it a scary thought :p It grows as a weed all around here in Miranda.
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Wow - that comment went unanswered for two years! Great to pick up where we left off.

    (I'm still trying to guess what whistlecocking might be....)
     
  19. aneurine

    aneurine Junior Member

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    lol what's 2 years in the scheme of things for permaculturalists? :p

    sorry, not explaining that ;)
     
  20. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I think that's called waiting for the system to evolve. And damn you! Now I have to find a copy of Bill's PDC so I can find out!
     

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