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Editorial Issue 123

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 123 - May 2006

The media disparages Complementary Medicine almost as quackery and voodoo witchcraft; snide comments in the print and broadcast media are prone to insinuation and scaremongering, portraying complementary approaches and practitioners as practically off-the-wall and definitely unqualified.

To contrast the above portrayals with the content of the current May Issue of PH gives me to wonder whether we are living on separate planets. The array of serious conditions successfully treated with Complementary Medicine discussed in PH belie such naïve and negative reports in the Media.

There is a huge degree of experience and expertise within the many fine feature articles published in this issue. These include Reflexology for Tinnitus by Mary Martin (see page 18), Herbal Treatments for Skin Conditions by Colin Nicholls (see page 28), Essential Fatty Acids for a Heart Condition by Jav Nazemi PhD (see page 24) and the Case Study for Colonic Hydrotherapy by Emma Lear (see page 38).

The wholistic approaches used, whereby many of the patient's physiological systems are analysed in assessing appropriate treatment, are excellent medical practice, in contrast to the frequently prescribed symptomatic fix-it drugs dished out by overworked GPs. Hence, if you attend your GP for a headache, you will probably receive a painkiller in the first instance. If you are constipated, a laxative and the advice to eat more fibre. If you suffer from eczema, a steroid cream may be prescribed. In few cases will the GP assess the root causes of your headache, your constipation, your skin complaint. Hence, in many instances of Complementary healthcare, apart from life-threatening emergencies, complementary medicine is superior to conventional medicine.

As we go to Press, the first case of Avian Influenza has been detected in the UK. The day prior to this discovery, Exercise Hawthorn, a real-time simulation of an outbreak of avian influenza in poultry in Britain was carried out in London, co-ordinated from the headquarters of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London with local disease control centres in Bury St Edmunds, Leeds, Cardiff and Gloucester.

That very same day prior to the detection of H5N1 in the UK, I listened to an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme with Parliamentary Under Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Ben Bradshaw who was being interrogated about the UK government's readiness for an outbreak of bird flu, specifically about recommendations from several eminent virologists including Prof John Oxford, whose position was that the arrival of Bird flu was inevitable, that we should be ready to bring indoors free range poultry and that we should include vaccination as part of our Avian Influenza strategy.

Ben Bradshaw was literally crowing that Prof Oxford had been wrong on all the above, i.e. that bird flu was inevitable, that it would be a disaster to bring poultry indoors and that vaccination would actually mask the disease and perhaps spread it further. I remember groaning at the time at the ignorance of these remarks, which had shades of the government's backward approach to the foot and mouth disaster, in which countless tens of thousands of cattle were slaughtered. I recall hearing learned discussions from American and other scientists during the initial foot and mouth outbreak, informing how advanced vaccines could distinguish between vaccinated and non-vaccinated cattle. Evidently neither the government nor the farmers consulted widely enough; in my opinion, they made the wrong decision and didn't vaccinate cattle. Slaughter was evidently the preferred option then.

That same evening as the interview with Ben Bradshaw, the announcement was made of the arrival of H5N1 in the UK. Neither Ben Bradshaw, nor any government ministers has been in evidence since. This is a huge relief to me. There is an extreme case of déja vu this time, as the Chief Veterinary Officer announced that they don't intend to vaccinate, despite the recommendations from the Soil Association, Virologists and numerous farmers. I can't understand nor forgive a policy whereby killing is preferable to vaccination, despite the shortcomings of the currently available vaccines. If the laboratories are overworked and unable to cope, the military I am certain could provide invaluable assistance in virus detection.

Complete disagreements between experts on varying extremes of medical fields is not new; experts invariably have opposing opinions regarding the best treatment approaches for a variety of health conditions. Even journalists have widely differing positions; columnist Simon Jenkins has evidently concluded that there is no risk from H5N1 and thinks that we should be worrying about terrorists and not about bird flu. Not being ready for a virulent outbreak which might have the potential to kill 50% of people infected would be criminal and irresponsible, in my opinion.

Therefore, the highly expert nutritional advice for achieving and maintaining our immune systems in optimum condition in the wake of Avian Influenza by Julia Pendower (see page 22) has become ever more relevant, now that H5N1 has finally arrived in the UK.


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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, focusing 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. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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