What diseases can (modern) western medicine treat (or cure) ?

(Translated from online article: https://www.zhihu.com/question/398291172/answer/1314302385)


There are many diseases that can be treated, but only a limited number of them can be cured. Lobar pneumonia is one of them.

Other specific diseases are difficult to say. Surgical resection and transplantation cannot be regarded as a real cure, and internal medicine can only control the disease.

Western medicine is relatively good at first aid, and to be honest, the success rate is really good.

Vaccines (if you don’t consider quality issues) can be regarded as the gospel of mankind.

Today’s mainstream media, have myths about modern Western medicine. In fact, the level of medical care today seems to be prosperous, but in fact there are many problems.

However, the media are all promoting the theory of high energy and rigor of modern medicine, giving many ignorant people the illusion that modern medicine is very powerful.

If you can’t cure me, it must be because you didn’t treat me with attention. It must be because I didn’t meet a good doctor, and I must have not spent enough money, but what happens after I go bankrupt? Still not cured. (*note: in other country, people do use “cure” word in medical treatment, but in U.S. this word is NOT allowed to use in professional field.)

A logical chain appeared: The modern medicine is highly capable, and patient spent money, and should get the best service, but patient still died or disabled. Why? it must be caused by the lack of medical ethics of doctors. (*Note: again, this is in another country’s situation. The “cure” was the expectation from thousands of years of traditional medical practice as a standard. When there’s no “cure” happened, people would think that’s the doctor’s ethic problem.)

In fact, the media should be more rational and tell the common people that doctors are human beings, not gods. There are many defects and drawbacks in modern medicine, regardless of the limitations of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and western medicine.


When I was a freshman in medical school, my teacher told me on the first day that medicine is essentially an art of failure.

I have read that Ni Ping (*Note: a famous public figure in China) interviewed a Peking University doctor, and the doctor told the truth: “Currently, the diseases that (modern) medicine can solve can be counted on two fingers. Western medicine can hardly cure the current chronic diseases, and the result is the current Hospitals, large and small, are full of patients, and there will be more and more! This has entered an endless loop.”

Ni Ping asked again: “Then why not tell the patient the real situation!”

The doctor replied: “Most of the current medical behaviors are actually meaningless! If we tell the truth to the patients then we may lose patients and money. Of course, this must be in a public place (we won’t tell these in public place). We can’t say that. Otherwise, all the patients will give up medical treatment, then where’s the income for the hospital and doctors?”


Honestly speaking, the theories of Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine are not complete, and there is today’s debate between Chinese (TCM) and Western medicine.

As long as there is one kind of medicine that can solve 90% of human health problems, the other will directly become history.

In fact, we can say that modern Western medicine has no theory. For the human being, the theoretical basis is actually physics, chemistry, and biology.

Modern medicine is easy to understand because of its interoperability with other fields. In this way, the accuracy of modern medical theory may seem self-evident, but the opposite is true.

Chinese medicine (TCM) fans and Chinese medicine opponents actually have a consensus that fortune-telling is unscientific! Why is fortune-telling unscientific? This is determined by the methodology on which it is based.

Fortune-telling is based on idealistic fatalism, and the research method is subjective. These facts determine that fortune-telling is unscientific. However, computer fortune-telling only changes the tools of fortune-telling and does not touch the core of idealism, so it is still unscientific.


Western medicine claims to treat based on “human body indicators”. This indicator can be the level of a certain physical quantity in the human body, or the level of a certain chemical substance. (Note: Indicator means something we measured and most of indicators we use to categorize the disease, such as blood pressure, sugar level, platelet count, red cell count, white cell count, certain hormone level, etc.)

But can this standard truly reflect the situation of the human body?

If you ask Western medicine doctor: “When the indicators return to normal, is it guaranteed that the disease has been cured?”

Western medicine doctor will answer: “I can’t guarantee it.”

Western medicine doctor always tells hypertensive patients that you need to take medicine for a long time for this disease, otherwise you will have a stroke, disability or even death.

If the patient asks at this time: “Doctor, if I take the medicine for a long time, can you guarantee that I will not suffer from stroke, disability or death?”

Western medicine doctor will still answer: “I can’t guarantee it.”


The reason why this happens is that Western medicine can’t figure out the cause. So they just put all the patient with same indicator as one disease category, so-called “hypertension”. This categorization is based on purely subjective assumptions. Doctors kept to lower the indicator (i.e. blood pressure in this case) to give patient a false impress that doctors are trying to ‘cure’ the high blood pressure for patients. (*Note: again, people use “cure” in medical practice in other country because they had such expectation within thousands of years of practice.)

As for the real course of the disease, Western medicine does not have any effective means of intervention.

Opening the textbooks of Western medicine, there are many descriptions of “unknown” etiology and “possible” pathogenesis.

This is especially fatal.

For example, non-specific chronic colitis, Western medicine tells you the cause of this disease: it is not completely clear.

The main doctrines are as follows:

There is an autoimmune theory, but the use of corticosteroids cannot cure it.

There is a theory of genetics, but many patients have no family history; and after being cured, there is no recurrence, and birth defects are also ruled out.

There is a theory of infection, but the use of antibiotics is ineffective.

There is a theory of food allergy, but the patient’s treatment with special food is ineffective.

There is a theory of mental anxiety, but the patient’s treatment with stable drugs is ineffective.

Therefore, Western medicine does not understand the cause and does not know the “cure” method.  The underlying problem is due to the subjectivity of Western medicine in the research.

It’s not that Western medicine doesn’t want to find objective standards, but that they can’t find a suitable objective standard, so they have to pick something as a standard, such as the indicator for certain diseases (e.g. blood pressure level, sugar level, etc.)

In fact, only some diseases caused by bacterial infection can be regarded as truly “cured” by Western medicine.

But, there is another problem following. In the view of Western medicine, bacterial infection can cause various diseases such as “skin infection”, “soft tissue infection”, “endocarditis” and “pneumonia”.

However, the treatment methods for these patients are very consistent, mainly antibiotics.

So are these multiple diseases (i.e. “skin infection”, “soft tissue infection”, “endocarditis” and “pneumonia”, etc.) truly “multiple” and “different” disease or just one disease (assuming infected by same bacteria)? What are the judging criteria? Western medicine still subjectively thinks that they are multiple diseases due to different infected locations/organs, so they are divided into multiple diseases.

Of course, doctors will explain that these diseases have different infected sites, so they are not the same disease.

However, what is the basis for using different body parts to classify diseases?

Gout are mostly in the joints of the limbs, but it’s not necessary in the same body parts fin terms of “disease location”. But why is it classified as the same disease? After they are divided into the same category of diseases, is there any unified method in western medicine to cure them?

No! These diseases are grouped together because they share something else in common, instead of disease location, and there is no cure for them.

The frightening thing is that many people still think it as “science”, even it has no objective basis and only relies on subjective indicator to group the disease together.

This is only a problem of subjective assumptions in Western medicine.


From the perspective of specific research methods, Western medicine is also different from other natural sciences.

Regardless of the fact that Western medicine also has experiments, it uses a beaker and test tube hematology meter in a decent manner.

Are the results found in large test tubes reliable? Adapt to the human body?

For example, the tricarboxylic cycle we have learned in textbook. It is said that when a person eats a piece of bread, it is hydrolyzed into glucose in the stomach, and enters the blood to start the process of aerobic decomposition and anaerobic decomposition;

In the process of aerobic decomposition, there are acetyl-CoA, Di lipoic acid dehydrogenase, aconitase, isocitrate dehydrogenase, oxalosuccinate decarboxylase, succinyl-CoA, nucleoside diphosphate phosphokinase , fumarase, malate dehydrogenase involved.

Hearing this, some students raised their hands in confusion and asked: “Teacher, how are these chemical reactions proved?”

The teacher replied: “This is all proved by experiments conducted by scientists.”

The student kept asking: “Teacher, how did the scientist do the experiment?”

The teacher said, “In the laboratory.”

The student asked again: “Teacher, do you use the human body for experiment?”

The teacher said: “Use a test tube.”

The student said: “Teacher, why not use the human body to prove it?” (Assume there’s no ethic issue).

The teacher said: “The biochemical reactions of the human body are too complicated to be studied in one single experiment.”

have you understood?

The Krebs cycle is not a human experiment but a conclusion drawn from a large test tube.


Because the biochemical reactions of the human body are too complex for modern western medicine to understand, many experiments were indeed done in glass tubes, and the conclusions of many experiments are indeed only inferences;

Many students just believe it without ever doubting it.

Biochemistry is the basis of medicinal chemistry, and the effect of drugs on biochemistry in the human body is a pharmacological process.

Since there are inaccuracies (or insufficient) in biochemistry, the conclusions of medicinal chemistry are naturally inaccurate (or insufficient). So, the clinical medication must be inaccurate (or insufficient).

So, RCT (randomized controlled trial) can be regarded as a living person experiment, but under the premise that the etiology is unknown and the classification of diseases is extremely subjective, this kind of experiment can only play the role of trial and error. (*special Note: all clinical trials are based on statistics. Statistics is NOT an exact science, refer: Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (General) Vol. 141, No. 3 (1978), page. 385. with link:  Is Statistics a Science? on JSTOR)

As far as the experiment itself is concerned, there is no essential difference between Chinese medicine practitioners who have not yet formed a theoretical system 4,000 years ago to determine whether a plant has medicinal effects through continuous trials.

Therefore, from this point of view, we can think that Western medicine is a pseudoscience with a considerable subjective component in a scientific cloak.


Some people say that RCT can rule out the placebo effect, but there are actually many ways to rule out the placebo effect.

The four-selection method proposed in “Yao Zhi Tong Fa” 600 years ago is to divide patients into four groups and give four different Chinese herbal soups to see which group has the best effect, and the placebo effect can also be ruled out.

Also, is it a placebo effect for an unconscious person to take medicine and get better? Is it a placebo effect if the baby is recovered after taking the medicine? Placebos effect only work on people who believe in placebos.

In fact, unlike most of the sciences that people are familiar with, Western medicine does not have holistic theories like relativity and energy conservation in other disciplines.

Western medicine textbooks are more like a comparison table of various diseases and treatment methods.

As long as you can memorize some of them, you can be qualified for the position of the doctor.

And when a doctor in a certain department ran to another department, his eyes were completely darkened.

This fully shows that the research of Western medicine is actually a pile of fragmented correspondences.

It is also because the research is fragmented, so the effect of the treatment must be very little.

It is also very obvious in the experiment. Taking biological experiments as an example, when verifying the catalysis of enzymes in animal liver, it is necessary to take a piece of fresh animal liver first, prepare a certain amount of hydrogen peroxide and divide it into two equal parts. Add chemical catalysts.

After the control experiment, it was found that hydrogen peroxide oxygen was produced faster when added to the liver. Most importantly, this was the case 100% no matter how many times the experiment was repeated (*Note: this is real science, with repeatable and precise prediction.).

This is not only the case in biology, as long as the basic principles are met, physics experiments and chemical experiments can obtain results that are consistent with theories.

If the experimental results do not match the theory, then after excluding the problem of experimental equipment, it can only be that there is a problem with the theory.

But the controlled experiments of Western medicine are different. Even if Western medicine has determined that a certain drug has a therapeutic effect on a certain disease, in the experiment, there will always be an “effective rate” such as “60 or 70%”.


In fact, many people are wondering whether the “effective rate” produced under the name of science are higher than the “accuracy rate” predicted by fortune-telling and astrology?

Some people say that western medicine has a strong self-innovation ability, I agree, and I believe that if the Chinese medicine opponent spent time to criticize western medicine, it will definitely make the development of western medicine faster.

Some people say that western medicine is supported by capital and has a bright future. I agree, but the understanding of the power of “money” may be different, as Goldman Sachs in “Genome Revolution” pointed out in April 2018: the capital market itself does not support truly effective treatments.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart