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Editorial Issue 116

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 116 - October 2005

It is generally only through the sobering experience of personal or family illness and the ensuing medical treatments for that condition that we discover the truly pervasive and possibly devastating influence that prevailing medical opinion can exert upon our lives.

Regarding healthcare and scientific research endeavours, it is a generally accepted myth propagated within our society that truth and fact underpin what is euphemistically termed best medical practice. The majority of non-scientists and non-health practitioners are under the impression that there is an accepted, correct treatment for most illnesses, and that when new discoveries come along, they are ipso facto accepted by the medical community and implemented into mainstream healthcare.

This is certainly still what is taught to graduate PhD students, myself included – that if you prove, through experiments, that a given treatment is effective for a given condition, that it will then become the norm for that given illness. However, politics, economics and human nature being what they are, that is rarely the case, and there are myriads of well-known examples to illustrate the deep and bitter feuds which populate the worlds of science and medicine.

For example, the twice Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling could never have believed that when his clinical trials with vitamin C for cancer patients during the 1970s[1] demonstrated a significant beneficial result, that he would be viciously attacked by the medical establishment.[2] Today, twenty-five years later, Linus Pauling is still often the target of denigrating gibes in the media, who love to gloat that there still isn't a cure for the common cold and that vitamin C is useless and 'expensive urine'.

The vastness in the numbers of strands which make up the hugely divergent sections of the medical and research communities are therefore no surprise for Positive Health readers, most recently typified by the recent meta analysis published in the Lancet, which concluded that homeopathy was no better than placebo treatment. Please see Letters pages 51-53 for two considered and learned rebuttals of the methodology utilized in the homeopathy meta analysis.

The serious broadsheet newspaper media were awash with journalists pleading with the government to stop wasting taxpayers' money with useless complementary therapies. These very same journalists are also the first to pillory the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies with ghastly stories of tens of thousands of patients dying from medical mishaps, adverse drug reactions and hospital-acquired infections. Not to mention the high profile withdrawal of drugs such as Vioxx, which have reputedly caused tens of thousands of deaths prior to their withdrawal from use.

Within the research community there are highly divergent views regarding how research and treatments ought to be considered. It is the stated and published view of the most fundamentalist, evidence-based research clan, that despite the axiom that "absence of evidence of an effect is not evidence of the absence of an effect", all treatments and substances, including nutrients, herbs, in fact all complementary therapies, should be considered unsafe until they have been proven to be effective and safe. Proven that is, by the only acceptable brand of research to this particular group to researchers – by double-blind, randomized controlled trials.

These researchers claim that we wouldn't accept anything less from drugs; however, we must bear in mind that the vast majority of drugs carry significant, sometimes life-threatening side effects, and that the majority of substances and treatments used within complementary medicine are totally benign and carry tiny risks. Drugs are not the same as nutrients and herbs. The extrapolation of this view would be to ban all food and drink and legal drugs, including tobacco and alcohol, until they were proven safe. Tobacco and alcohol are already well documented killer substances; I doubt that following clinical research with salt, sugar, fizzy drinks, aspartame, chips, ice cream, cake that many or any of these foods would be considered safe.

The moral of the above is to recognize that there are many considered sides in every medical and scientific argument, and that we must consider all the opinions before embarking upon our chosen treatment options. No one yet appears to have a monopoly of medical truth.

This issue is an outstanding example of some of the most forward-looking treatments, both in the realm of psychology and psychotherapy (see Root Cause Healing™ by Peter Donn, page 9, Energy Psychology in Psychotherapy by Russell Henderson, page 16) as well as in 21st Century Integrated Medicine (see An Integrated Approach to 21st Century Medicine by Dr Shamim Daya, page 24).

On a more sombre note, however, we publish a Tribute to Vivienne Silver-Leigh (see page 14) who died recently and an Obituary of Michael Endacott, who also recently died of cancer (see page 50). In their search for their best individualized cancer treatments, these two individuals embodied the best of spiritual and health exploration approaches to wellbeing and fulfilment.

References

1. Cameron E and Pauling L. Cancer and Vitamin C – A Discussion of the Nature, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment of Cancer, with Special Reference to the Value of Vitamin C. The Linus Pauling Institute. 1979.
2. Richards E. Vitamin C and Cancer – Medicine or Politics? MacMillan. 1991.

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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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