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Editorial Issue 130

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 130 - December 2006

There are a number of tangible threats which put at risk many vital products and practices of Complementary Medicine. These include:

1.    Attempts by the evidence-based medicine brigades to dispute, denigrate and ignore  research which does not satisfy their very narrow randomized double-blind criteria (see Evidence-Based Medicine: The Over-Reliance Upon Science, page 23);

2.    Attempts to lower optimum dosages and make supplements unavailable, except by Doctor’s prescription, by laws including the EU Supplement Directive and Codex (see Letters, Page 51);

3.    Attacks upon the safety of natural remedies (Nutritional, Herbal, Homeopathic), emanating from the Medical profession, Pharmaceutical Industry and the Media (see Letters Page 53 and Book Review Page 55).

These attacks are ongoing; very recently I heard on BBC Radio 4’s Today Program and in Parliamentary debate in the House of Lords a vituperative attack against granting permission for Homeopathic remedies to state on their label the conditions for which they were indicated. Several eminent Professors objected, saying that allowing this was tantamount to rejecting the entire history of science and medicine, whereby the efficacy of every drug had to be tested and proved.

All the usual objections to Homeopathy were re-hashed (that the remedies were so dilute that there wasn’t a single molecule of the original substance in the remedy). The person on the side for Homeopathy remained calm, and stated that one of the reason the remedies were perfectly safe were that they were so dilute, and also that these remedies were for common, usually self-limiting complaints. I was hoping that she would wade in with chapter and verse about the considerable number of high quality clinical research trials which have been published demonstrating the efficacy of Homeopathy; however, perhaps she was wise to desist, as undoubtedly the detractors wouldn’t have accepted the validity or would have criticised the research.

These huge issues regarding Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), Regulation and the Precautionary Principle are explored at greater length in Brian Beber’s cover story article on page 23 and in the Codex Update by the ANH on page 51. A component of the Regulatory process, the launch of the Aromatherapy Profession’s Voluntary Self-Regulation (VSR) Body, is promoted in this issue as a leaflet insert and the announcement on the back cover.

Brian Beber offers his own views about regulation, in that “Once VSR has been achieved, those who wish to replace clinical regulation with bureaucratic regulation will redouble their efforts to convert VSR to statutory regulation, under a group regulatory scheme similar to that currently being operated by the Health Professions Council (HPC), or the one described as a ‘Federal Council’ and proposed by the FIH.” It is incumbent upon all within the wide spectrum of Complementary Medicine to maintain control of the quality and standards and operating practices of the many disciplines under the umbrella.

What with all the attacks, objections and safety concerns from the Medical profession and the Media, much of which undoubtedly emanating from the Pharmaceutical Industry, one would imagine that all is hunky-dorey in the land of drug-based medicine. Nothing could be further from the truth, as set out in the clearest possible manner in Patrick Holford and Jerome Burne’s book Food is Better than Medicine: your prescription for drug-free health (see Book Review page 55). These authors have juxtaposed, for the most common health complaints, the clinical and safety information for the most common drugs prescribed for each condition, followed by nutritional and dietary approaches for the same conditions.

For cardiovascular conditions, encompassing blood pressure, cholesterol levels and stroke, the authors discuss the mode of action and side effects of the most common drugs dispensed, including: cholesterol-lowering drugs, including statins; blood-pressure lowering drugs, including thiazides (diuretics), beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium-channel blockers and nitro-vasodilators; and blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin (coumadin) and aspirin. As PH readers and most physicians and health professionals will be aware, the side effects of many of these drugs are numerous, often serious and sometimes life-threatening, hence the warnings and recommendations for close medical supervision.

The authors discuss a number of highly effective natural alternatives to many of the above drugs, particularly as preventive measures against heart attack and stroke, including: plant sterols for lowering LDL-cholesterol; niacin for raising HDL cholesterol; mineral-rich foods for lowering blood pressure; antioxidants to protect arteries from damage; B vitamins to lower homocysteine; herbs and spices to reduce blood clotting and omega-3 fish oils for lowering overall risk. Also enumerated are highly effective lifestyle practices, including: exercise; switching to lo-sodium sea salt; drinking water, eating fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds for plant sterols and antioxidants; and reducing alcohol and coffee.

Whether we are Complementary Health Professionals or consumers of Complementary Medicine, we all need to commit to doing our utmost to fight to protect these safer, natural approaches to health. Buy the book, support the ANH and subscribe to PH: there is a special 2-for-1 subscription offer, valid until 31 Dec described on page 36.

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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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