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High-Paid Fuddy-Duddies
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Daring To Go Against The Consensus


By James Donahue


The firing of a professor of dermatology from his job at Boston University Medical Center in 2004 because he wrote a book about the benefits of sunlight is an example of just how close minded some schools of knowledge have become.


In his book, The UV Advantage, Michael Holick recommends that people spend a few minutes, two or three times a week depending on skin type, exposed to the sun without sun cream.


Holick argues something that we have all known for a long time, that our bodies need sunlight to absorb natural vitamin D. He also reminds us that that a little solar exposure also gladdens our day, thus alleviating depression, and helps maintain good health.


What is new and controversial about that?


According to Boston University’s world of dermatology sunshine is considered an enemy of human skin. That Holick, a professor in the field of dermatology at a prestigious medical school, would dare to challenge this cherished belief among his colleagues, apparently was among the greatest of offenses.


Under pressure from the other professors in the department, Holick was forced to resign from his position as a dermatologist. But all was not lost. Holick remained on as head of the bone health care clinic and director of the general clinical research center. To this day he holds down a professorship in medicine, physiology and biophysics. We suspect that he knows what he is writing about.


This kind of thinking among our so-called men of higher learning makes us shake our heads in disbelief at times. It is a good example of why new ideas in science, politics, economics and spiritual matters are often slow at catching on. You just can’t make the old guard consider exciting new ideas. We first must wait for generations of fuddy-duddies to move out of the way.


We are happy to report that progress is made in due time. After all, it was only five hundred years ago that most people still thought the world was flat and even more recently that Spaniards searched the “New World” for a fabled fountain of youth.


The sacking of Professor Holick from the department of dermatology because he dared to write a book reminding us of the health benefits of moderate sunlight makes me renew my argument that the entire field of contemporary medicine sometimes appears to be moving in the wrong direction.


What Holick did with this book was offend one of the largest business institutions operating in the nation . . . the producers of skin creams that block “harmful” ultra violet rays from the sun.


Few people realize that a world-wide promotional campaign has convinced billions that the sun is, indeed, a deadly enemy and that we do not dare to step in its rays without first rubbing the exposed parts of our bodies with protective creams. This campaign has made the sale of skin creams, HUV protective sun glasses and other solar protective devices among the hottest selling items in the world.


It is an ultra billion dollar industry. The dermatologists are groomed to be among the industry’s biggest promoters.


Thus the sacking of Holick for daring to say what he did involved money, not that he said anything incorrect in his book.


Our fear is that the entire medical industry has gone down the same path the dermatologists have taken. This is the primary reason President Barack Obama is having so much trouble getting legislators to approve his plan for fixing the nation’s antiquated health care system. That family doctor is no longer interested in relieving the pain and suffering as much as he is a trained pill pusher, promoting the latest high-cost cure for problems that probably don’t even exist.


Doctors have become so specialized that it is almost impossible for a person to walk into a medical office today and get immediate relief for a symptom.


I remember when I was a child my father took me to a local physician, a small-town general practitioner, to examine a lump that developed in my left eye lid. This wise man took one look at it, declared it to be a harmless cyst, then quickly used a scalpel to lance it right there in his office. He did such a clean job that there was no scar and the problem never came back. 


Not long ago, a small growth developed on the side of my nose and I went to see a local doctor thinking I should have it removed. He made an appointment for me to see a skin specialist. This specialist, located in an office about sixty miles from where I lived, was so busy I had to wait months to get an appointment.


When the day came for me to keep the appointment I had a serious conflict with my job and had to cancel. When I called to discuss the visit with a receptionist, I learned that this doctor was only going to examine the growth during the visit and determine if surgery was needed. If removal was required, he would refer me to a skin surgeon for yet another appointment.


I could see my insurance company doling out thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for the removal of a minute little growth on my nose that the old MD from my childhood years would have scraped away in a heartbeat and for a modest price.


It was at this point that I threw up my hands and told them all where to go. I treated the problem with vitamin C oils and the growth gradually went away.