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Editorial Issue 103

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 103 - September 2004

A Research Update in this issue by Sherry et al (see page 42) relates the successful treatment in Sydney Australia of an intractable MRSA infection of the lower tibia of a 49-year old Australian man using a complex antimicrobial phytochemical preparation called Polytoxinol™ (PT) antimicrobial. The ingredients of this medication are Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Clove, Thyme as well as BHT (Butylated Hydroxy Toluene), Triclosan (0.3%) and 95 undenatured ethanol (69.7%).

This man had undergone multiple surgical and antibiotic treatments over some 3 years, was in considerable pain and distress and had been unable to return to work. Amputation was being considered. Dr Eugene Sherry packed the bone with calcium sulphate pellets (Osteoset™) soaked with this phytochemical antiseptic. Three months following the procedure, the wound had healed and the infection and symptoms had resolved. This is the first reported clinical use of this plant-derived antiseptic. The authors now suggest "more extensive case studies or a randomised controlled trial".

The Short Feature The Heart of Garlic: Allicin's Effective Natural Healing Properties (see page 7) describes the antimicrobial action of Allicin, the principal active ingredient from garlic, against a wide range of infections, from common ailments to hospital superbugs including drug-resistant Streptoccocus and MRSA.

About one in every eleven UK patients contracts a hospital-acquired infection, with a significant minority of these infections being antibiotic resistant MRSA. This dire situation is routinely reported in the media; however the only remedies mentioned revolve around increased hygiene and the lack of new antibiotics to fight these antibiotic resistant bacteria. The above study by Sherry et al was actually published in 2001, but only appeared in my Medline searches in 2004, probably due to a delay in indexing this journal. The development and successful clinical application of agents such as Allicin and phytochemical antiseptics to drug-resistant infections such as MRSA should be heralded with acclaim and ought to be widely reported in the media.

Another Research Update by Jatuporn et al from Thailand compared the short-term effects of an intensive lifestyle modification programme upon oxidative stress parameters in patients with coronary artery disease. In this study 22 patients in the control group received conventional treatment with lipid-lowering drugs, whereas 22 patients in the experimental group underwent intensive lifestyle modification (ILM) without any lipid-lowering drugs. The ILM programme consisted of dietary advice regarding low-fat diets, high antioxidants and high fibre, yoga, stress management and stopping smoking. All very sensible.

The clinical results after only 4 months showed a statistically significant increase in the ILM group in circulating antioxidants and reduced oxidative stress. As this abstract only discusses short term effects, we have yet to pronounce upon the long-term outcome of this interesting research study. However, given the widely reported serious side effects of certain lipid-lowering drugs, patients and clinicians alike ought to be extremely interested in non-drug, lifestyle modification approaches such as diet, yoga and stress management.

Recent media headlines regarding a study assessing the quality of websites providing cancer information authored by K Schmidt and E Ernst (University of Exeter) published in Annals of Oncology[1] range from "Alternative therapy websites 'need regulation'" – Guardian Unlimited, "Expert warns website cancer therapies put lives at risk" – news.scotsman.com, "Cancer Patients Can Be Endangered by 'Alternative Cures' on the Web" – Innovations-Report. I encourage everyone to read this survey for themselves.

In this study, merely two reviewers assessed 32 websites, including some of the most voluminous sites on the planet, including: cis.nci.nih.gov/fact; rosenthal.hs.columbia.edu; holisticonline.com; nccam.nih.gov; and positivehealth.com. These mere two mortals scored all the sites on their content, ownership, references provided, balance and whether sites posed risks to patients. I searched our own huge site positivehealth.com for cancer. There were 530 articles, 417 research updates, 110 links and 50 books which came up on my site search. Many of the research updates describe molecular biology findings about nutritional supplements or efficacy of stress management or programmes such as meditation for cancer patients. To the best of my knowledge, every research study cites the full scientific reference, and the majority of nutritional and herbal articles are also referenced to the literature. Positive Health's site gained a score of 9 out of a potential of 14, at the upper end of Medium Quality. The site ranked number 1 by Prof Ernst was quackwatch.org. Need I say anymore!

In fact, positivehealth.com, along with the majority of the internet sites assessed, were deemed to "provide valuable and reliable information". Furthermore, the authors' own words in the Discussion are starkly at variance with the alarmist reporting cited above:

"The results of our survey are somewhat reassuring as they suggest that the majority of the evaluated websites provide valuable and reliable information. This was the case, especially for the prevention of cancer. Most of the websites were of medium quality and provide additional links to other main cancer websites."

So much for the extreme variance between what is reported in the media, how the 'Experts' are quoted and what the real story is.

My only suggestion is for people to take the time to become more investigative regarding the information being reported by so-called 'Experts'.

References

1 http://annonc.oupjournals.org/cgi/content/full/15/5/733#MDH174TB2

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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US. She has focused upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993.

 

In publishing in Positive Health PH Online authoritative articles and book reviews by leading proponents of numerous alternative cancer treatment approaches, Dr Goodman has demonstrated her passion about the necessity of making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, considerable clinical expertise in areas of Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. She is a member of the Therapy Advisory Panel of the Penny Brohn Cancer Care, Scientific Expert Committee member of the Alliance for Natural Health and a Patron of the Avalon Complementary Medicine Trust in Wells, Somerset. Nutrition and Cancer.

 

Dr Goodman and Mike Howell, her long-term partner, seek individuals with the resources, structural organization and interest to continue and expand the legacy of Positive Health PH Online forward into the 21st century, adding facilities to conduct online seminars, fund raise for alternative cancer research, as well as to promote leading holistic organizations and businesses internationally. Follow her Blog and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  Dr S Goodman may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via: sandra@drsgoodman.com     www.drsgoodman.com  sandra@positivehealth.com   and www.positivehealth.com

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