This is an even-handed personal narrative published in the @NYTimes today about a woman whose son’s juvenile arthritis was alleviated with dietary changes known to reduce to inflammation, namely cutting out gluten. The author also acknowledges the important role that strong drugs have in treating juvenile arthritis but makes a reasonable call to consider the adjuvant help of dietary changes. I recommend it.
It also brings to mind how difficult it can be as a doctor when you hear your patients express interest in pursuing treatments that you may think have no scientific basis. In this case, the author’s interest in diet changes had some scientific basis and now has increasing evidence behind it. But, there can be other times when our patients don’t believe what we’re telling them. And that presents a big challenge to our mind and our ego. Might they be right? Or, might we have to push harder? It’s a tough call, and I guess we push as much as we think is right and reasonable. But, throughout it all, we must remember how little we understand. We, as doctors, must always remember that our understanding is miniscule and shape-shifting.