From the January 2005 Idaho Observer:

The disease name game

Disease names are misleading and confuse patients about prevention and treatment

The fastest way to solve most problems is to immediately establish cause and effect relationships. Failure to identify the true cause of a problem inevitably results in an incorrect assessment of what must be done to correct it. When it comes to our health, treating the effect as a cause is a prescription for disasteróand death.

by Barney Folger

Cause or effect?

There is a curious tendency in conventional medicine to name a set of symptoms a disease. I was recently at a compounding pharmacy having my bone mineral density measured to update my health stats. I spotted a poster touting a new drug for osteoporosis. It was written by a drug company and it said exactly this: "Osteoporosis is a disease that causes weak and fragile bones." Then, the poster went on to say that you need a particular drug to counteract this "disease."

Yet the language is all backwards. Osteoporosis isnít a disease that causes weak bones, osteoporosis is the name given to a diagnosis of weak bones. In other words, the weak bones happened first, and then the diagnosis of osteoporosis followed.

The drug poster makes it sound like osteoporosis strikes first, and then you get weak bones. The cause and effect is all backwards. And thatís how drug companies want people to think about diseases and symptoms: First you "get" the disease, then you are "diagnosed" just in time to take a new drug for the rest of your life.

But itís all hogwash. There is no such disease as osteoporosis. Itís just a made-up name given to a pattern of symptoms that indicate youíve let your bones get fragile.

As another example, when a person follows an unhealthy lifestyle that results in a symptom such as high blood pressure, that symptom is actually being assumed to be a disease all by itself and it will be given a disease name. What disease? The disease is, of course, "high blood pressure." Doctors throw this phrase around as if it were an actual disease and not merely descriptive of patient physiology.

Fatal flaw

This may all seem silly, right? But thereís actually a very important point to all this.

When we look at symptoms and give them disease names, we automatically distort the selection of available treatments for such a disease. If the disease is, by itself, high cholesterol, then the cure for the disease must be nothing other than lowering the high cholesterol. And thatís how we end up with all these pharmaceuticals treating high cholesterol in order to "prevent" this disease and lower the levels of LDL cholesterol in the human patient.

By lowering only the cholesterol, the doctor can rest assured that he is, in fact, treating this "disease," since the definition of this "disease" is high cholesterol and nothing else.

But there is a fatal flaw in this approach to disease treatment: The symptom is not the cause of the disease.

There is another cause, and this deeper cause is routinely ignored by conventional medicine, doctors, drug companies, and even patients.

Medical illogic

Letís take a closer look at high blood pressure. What actually causes high blood pressure? Many doctors would say high blood pressure is caused by a specific, measurable interaction between circulating chemicals in the human body. Thus, the ill-behaved chemical compounds are the cause of the high blood pressure, and therefore the solution is to regulate these chemicals. Thatís exactly what pharmaceuticals do ó they attempt to manipulate the chemicals in the body to adjust the symptoms of high blood pressure. Thus, they only treat the symptoms, not the root cause.

Or take a look at high cholesterol. The conventional medicine approach says that high cholesterol is caused by a chemical imbalance in the liver, which is the organ that produces cholesterol. Thus the treatment for high cholesterol is a prescription drug that inhibits the liverís production of cholesterol (statin drugs). Upon taking these drugs, the high cholesterol (the "disease") is regulated, but what was causing the liver to overproduce cholesterol in the first place? That causative factor remains ignored.

The root cause of high cholesterol, as it turns out, is primarily dietary. A person who eats foods that are high in saturated fats and hydrogenated oils will inevitably produce more bad cholesterol and will show the symptoms of this so-called disease of high cholesterol. Itís simple cause-and-effect. Eat the wrong foods, and youíll produce too much bad cholesterol in the liver which can be detected and diagnosed by conventional medical procedures.


Yet the root cause of all this is actually poor food choice, not some bizarre behavior by the liver. If the disease were to be accurately named, then, it would be called Fatty Food Choice Disease, or simply FFCD.

FFCD would be a far more accurate name that would make sense to people. If itís a fatty foods choice disease, then it seems that the obvious solution to the disease would be to choose foods that arenít so fatty.

Of course that may be a bit of simplification since you have to distinguish between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. But at least the name FFCD gives patients a better idea of whatís actually going on rather than naming the disease after a symptom, such as high cholesterol.

You see, the symptom is not the disease, but conventional medicine insists on calling the symptom the disease because that way it can treat the symptom and claim success without actually addressing the underlying cause, which remains a mystery to modern medicine.


But letís move on to some other diseases so you get a clearer picture of how this actually works. Another disease thatís caused by poor food choice is diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the natural physiological and metabolic result of a person consuming refined carbohydrates and added sugars in large quantities without engaging in regular physical exercise that would compensate for such dietary practices.

The name "diabetes" is meaningless to the average person. The disease should be called Excessive Sugar Disease, or ESD. If it were called Excessive Sugar Disease, the solution to it would be rather apparent; simply eat less sugar, drink fewer soft drinks and so on. But of course that would be far too simple for the medical community, so the disease must be given a complex name such as diabetes that puts its solution beyond the intellectual reach of most patients.


Another disease that is named after its symptom is cancer. In fact, to this day, most doctors and many patients still believe that cancer is a physical thing: A tumor. In reality, a tumor is only a side effect of cancer, not its cause. A tumor is simply a physical manifestation of a cancer pattern that is expressed by the body. When a person "has cancer," what they really have is a sluggish immune system. And that would be a far better name for the disease: Sluggish Immune System Disease or SISD.

If cancer were actually called Sluggish Immune System Disease, it would seem ridiculous to try to cure cancer by cutting out tumors through surgery and by destroying the immune system with chemotherapy. Yet these are precisely the most popular treatments for cancer offered by conventional medicine.

These treatments do absolutely nothing to support the patientís immune system to prevent further occurrences of cancer. Thatís exactly why most people who undergo chemotherapy or the removal of tumors through surgical procedures end up with yet more cancer a few months or a few years later.

It also explains why survival rates for cancer have barely budged over the last 20 years (In other words, conventional medicineís treatments for cancer simply donít work).

This whole situation stems from the fact that the disease is misnamed. It isnít cancer, it isnít a tumor and it certainly isnít a disease caused by having too strong of an immune system that needs to be destroyed through chemotherapy. It is simply a sluggish immune system or a suppressed immune system. And if it were called a sluggish immune system disease or a suppressed immune system disorder, the effective treatment for SISD would be apparent.

Secret language

Many other diseases have been given misleading names by western medicine. But if you take a look at how diseases are named elsewhere, you will find many countries have disease names that actually make sense.

For example, in Chinese medicine, Alzheimerís disease is given a name that means, when translated, "feeble mind disease."

In Chinese medicine, the name of the disease more accurately describes the actual cause of the disease, whereas in western medicine, the name of the disease seems to be intended to obscure the root cause of the disease, thereby making all diseases sound far more complex and mysterious than they really are.

This is one way in which doctors and practitioners of western medicine keep medical treatments out of the reach of the average citizen. Because, by God, they sure donít want people thinking for themselves about the causes of disease!

By creating a whole new vocabulary for medical conditions, they can speak their own secret language and make sure that people who arenít schooled in medicine wonít understand what theyíre saying.

Thatís a shame, because the treatments and cures for virtually all chronic diseases are actually quite simple and can be described in plain language, such as making different food choices, getting more natural sunlight, drinking more water, engaging in regular physical exercise, avoiding specific food toxins, supplementing your diet with superfoods and nutritional supplements and so on.

See, western medicine prefers to describe diseases in terms of chemistry. When youíre depressed, you arenít suffering from a lack of natural sunlight; you are suffering from a "brain chemistry imbalance" that can only be regulated, they claim, by ingesting toxic chemicals to alter your brain chemistry.

When your bones are brittle, itís not brittle bones disease; itís called osteoporosis, something that sounds very technical and complicated. And to treat it, western doctors and physicians will give you prescriptions for expensive drugs that somehow claim to make your bones less brittle.

But in fact, the real treatment for this can be described in plain language once again: regular physical exercise, vitamin D supplementation, mineral supplements that include calcium and strontium, natural sunlight, and avoidance of acidic foods such as soft drinks, white flour and added sugars.

Virtually every disease thatís prominent in modern societyódiabetes, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, clinical depression, irritable bowel syndrome and so onócan be easily described in plain language without using complex terms at all.

These diseases are simply misnamed. And I believe that they are intentionally misnamed to put the medical jargon, and therefore medical diagnosis, treatment and prevention, beyond the comprehension of everyday citizens.

The language of health and healing

Mastery of their secret language has created a great deal of arrogance among the practitioners of western medicine. This arrogance deepens the divide between doctors and their patients. Division never results in healing. In order to effect healing, we must bridge the communication between healers and patients using plain language that ordinary people understand and act upon without learning a new language.

We need to start describing diseases in terms of their root causes, not in terms of their arcane, biochemical actions. When someone suffers from seasonal affective disorder or clinical depression, for example, letís call it what it is: Sunlight Deficiency Disorder (SDD). To treat it, the person simply needs to get more sunlight. This isnít rocket science, itís not complex, and it doesnít require a prescription.

If someone is suffering from osteoporosis, letís get realistic about the words we use to describe the conditionóitís really Brittle Bones Disease. And it should be treated with things that will enhance bone density, such as nutrition, physical exercise and avoidance of foods and drinks that strip the human body of bone mass.

All of this information, of course, is rather shocking to old-school doctors and practitioners of western medicine, and the bigger their egos are, the more they hate the idea of naming diseases in plain language that patients can actually comprehend. Thatís because if the simple truths about diseases and their causes were known, health would be more readily available to everyday people, and that would lessen the importance of physicians and medical researchers.

Thereís a great deal of ego invested in the medical community, and they sure donít want to make sound health attainable to the average person without their expert advice. Itís sort of the same way that some churches donít want their members talking to God unless it all goes through their priesthood first.

Doctors and priests all want to serve as the translators of "truth" and will balk at any attempts to educate the public to either practice medicine or talk to God on their own.

But in reality, health (and a connection with spirit) is attainable by every single person. Health is easy, it is straightforward, it is direct and, for the most part, it is available free of charge. A personal connection with God is the same, if we ask humbly in prayer for a relationship with Him, and guidance.

Donít believe the names of diseases given to you by your doctor. Those names are designed to obscure, not to inform. They are designed to separate you from self-healing, not to put you in touch with your own inner healer. And thus, they are nothing more than bad medicine masquerading as modern medical practice.

Barney Folger, founder of Advanced Scientific Health (ASH), would have died years ago from heart disease had his cardiologist not clued him in on the orthomolecular work of Dr. Linus Pauling. With one foot in his coffin, Folger began applying the elemental principles of health that earned Dr. Pauling the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1954. Folger was able to reclaim his health and is now leading as many people as he can to medical truth so they, too, can experience the benefits of understanding the uncomplicated relationship between health and sickness.

Want to learn more?

You can listen in on ASH conference calls every Saturday at 1 p.m. ET and each Wednesday 9 p.m. ET

The number to call is

(212) 990-8000; pin #3024

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