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Editorial Issue 126

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 126 - August 2006

A longitudinal investigation of 143, 325 individuals, initiated in 1992 by the American Cancer Society and followed up in 1997, 1999 and 2001, examined whether people exposed to pesticides had a higher risk of Parkinson's Disease (PD) than those not exposed. The team, led by Professor Alberto Ascherio of the Harvard School of Public Health, published their findings in Annals on Neurology.[1] This research has found that individuals exposed to pesticides had a 70% higher incidence of PD than people not exposed (rr = 1.7; p = 0.002). The relative risk for pesticide exposure was similar in farmers and non farmers, i.e. people who were exposed as a result of pesticides in the garden or in their homes.

This chilling finding adds gravitas to this month's (August '06) PH feature The Health Risks of Pesticides by Georgina Downs, which describes the numerous health consequences, acute and chronic to pesticide exposure. "Pesticides, by their very nature, are designed to kill living organisms… Once pesticides have been absorbed, they can enter the blood stream and be carried throughout the body… There are a number of different pesticide groups, including organochlorines (OCs), organophosphates (OPs), carbamates, pyrethroids and acid herbicides… Many pesticides have neurotoxic, carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting capabilities. Studies have shown that very low doses of pesticides can disrupt hormone systems at levels significantly lower than previous research considered safe."

I strongly encourage Positive Health readers to carefully scrutinize this article, and familiarize themselves with the alphabet soup of governmental organizations responsible for public health of safety, including the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP), the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP). "…the RCEP report published in September 2005 entitled Crop-Spraying and the Health of Residents and Bystanders, concluded that agricultural pesticide spraying is a potential health risk, and that chronic illnesses and diseases reported by people in rural areas, including cancer, Parkinson's and ME, could be associated with pesticide exposure." Please also note that the majority of crop-spraying in the UK is carried out via ground tractor, rather than aerial spraying.

Happily, as somewhat of an antidote to such toxic chemicals, we publish Components of a Personalized Detox Programme by Amanda Griggs, who illustrates how to devise a personal yet wholistic cleansing programme including lymphatic drainage and massage, nutrition and botanicals, acupuncture, colonic irrigation, Shiatsu, and cranial therapy. This programme also includes information regarding the Lemon Detox Diet.

Recently, when speaking with Denise Tiran, Director of Expectancy, Midwife and expert authority regarding Complementary Medicine in maternity care, she remarked that she has been a midwife for over 30 years, and that nothing had changed regarding acceptance of complementary methods by Consultants and Registrars. We then proceeded to discuss the vicious attacks recently directed at Homeopathy and Complementary Medicine in general, the subject of my Editorial in Issue 125 (July '06). These attacks invariably purport to deny or undermine the existence of an evidentiary body of research. Regardless of the discipline under attack, the protagonists allege that there is no evidence supporting the clinical efficacy of the particular therapy, or that such evidence which exists is weak or flawed.

This highlights what may be the most negative school of thought among a cohort of scientific researchers, that of evidence-based medicine. This laudatory sounding term has become a perverted slavish adherence to the original Cochrane Review's technique of systematically reviewing research. In the early 1990s, the Cochrane group developed rules and techniques of scoring and reviewing meta analyses of the scientific literature. The intent was to provide an indication of the quality of the research. Since then, this has taken off, and entire research careers have been devoted to conducting these systematic reviews. Researchers who may have expertise in a limited area of knowledge, suddenly could sit in judgement over the entire knowledge base in science and medicine. In this school of thought, the only research which counts is that of the randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial. Therefore, any clinical evidence gleaned over the past few hundred years from patient case notes, or non double-blind clinical studies, become mere anecdotes, to be consigned to the rubbish bin.

This is lunacy, and destructive to best medical practice and patients' health. It is as though we throw out every iota of health advice we have accumulated until it has been tested double blind. We don't acknowledge that neurotoxic pesticides and mercury can be deadly to humans until the double-blind evidence has been compiled. This is an impossibility, because no ethical committee would ever grant approval to researchers to spray people with pesticides or fill their mouths with amalgam.

Whoever invented the term Kafkaesque would be familiar with the craziness and cynicism of today's edicts pronouncing upon complementary therapies. We all need to take Martin Walker's advice from the July Issue 125 and begin to organize against the onslaughts against effective natural and Complementary Medicine from parties with competing interests.


1. Ascherio A et al. Pesticide Exposure and Risk of Parkinson's Disease. Annals of Neurology published online 26 June 2006, Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1002/ana.20904.


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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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