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Bratisl Lek Listy. 2009;110(2):112-5.

Paradoxes in medicine: an access to new knowledge?

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Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, Bratislava, Slovakia. ginter.emil@mail.t-com.s


The analysis of health and nutrition data from various countries shows many surprising and seemingly incomprehensible facts and paradoxical relationships. Health status of a country is the result of long-term factors and therefore it cannot be changed from day to day. For example in Central European countries there was a sudden increase in life expectancy after the fall of Soviet hegemony. French paradox is the oldest example of apparent contrast between "unhealthy" nutrition and low cardiovascular mortality. Although, the consumption of animal fat and milk and milk products in Switzerland is very high, but premature cardiovascular mortality of Swiss men and women is the lowest in Europe. In USA there is concominant increase of obesity and decrease in cardiovascular mortality. In Cuba, in spite of great economic problems its relatively high male and female life expectancy is very similar to the rich USA. The life expectancy in Albania is significantly higher than in many countries in Central Europe and in the Balkan region, in spite of the fact that Albania remains the poorest European country. Analysis of these unexpected and paradoxical relations indicate the importance of the quality of medical care, control of cardiovascular risk factors (USA) and the influence of modest but biologically balanced diet on low prevalence of cardiovascular disease in Cuba and Albania. The experience from former communist Central European countries suggests important influence of chronic stress and psychosocial factors on heart diseases and life expectancy. These paradoxes open the door to new information (Fig. 5, Ref. 11). Full Text (Free, PDF)

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