Thursday, October 23, 2008

Adopting a dog better for your health than pills?

An e-mail from Canada's historic Maclean's Magazine tells me that "Pfizer believes in more than medication":

If so, Pfizer agrees with most Canadians:
While the results of Pfizer Canada’s More than Medication Survey* were sometimes surprising, the in-depth Ipsos-Reid survey (conducted between December 2007 and January 2008) involving 4,001 consumers, 200 physicians and 190 natural health experts, showed more similarity than differences between the three groups.

“More than 90% of all three groups (consumers, family physicians and natural health experts) agree that good health is about More than Medication — and the majority agree the most important ways to stay healthy include: eating well, regular exercise, keeping a positive attitude, supportive friends and family and spirituality/religion,” says Sean Simpson, Ipsos-Reid.

The message from Maclean's focused on adopting a dog - a great idea if you want to go out a lot with someone who totally loves you.

Campaigns like these signal a departure from the much more materialist and mechanist attitude of decades ago (= got a problem, take a pill). As Mario Beauregard and I noted in The Spiritual Brain,

... by the 1960s, materialism was so pervasive in medicine that [Herbert] Benson had a hard time persuading his colleagues that mental stress could contribute to high blood pressure. Mentors warned that he was risking his career when he began to study the physiology of meditation in an effort to understand how the mind influences the body. (Pp. 233-34)
The question of whether mental stress contributes to high blood pressure continues to be a source of controversy, but the idea that meditation might help is now uncontroversial, at least in principle.

And will Pfizer go broke, encouraging people to adopt dogs instead of take pills? I doubt it. Pfizer has a big veterinary medicine division - Pfizer Animal Health.