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Editorial Issue 148

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 148 - June 2008

Recently, the negative media coverage regarding the so-called worthlessness or even fraudulence of Complementary Medicine has been growing into an almost deafening crescendo. A week hardly goes by without books, journals, magazines and newspaper articles being published or reviewed stating that complementary treatments are a waste of money, and that many practitioners are snake oil salesmen. In fact, several of the authors of these books and articles are the very individuals who hold responsible positions within the world of complementary medicine.

The flawed reasoning and alternative agenda which lie behind factions of the evidence-based brigade is obvious to those blessed with common sense; however, it is a bit like the fairytale The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. For those of you who don’t remember your fairytales, an emperor who is vain about clothes hires two conmen who promise him the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or not fit for his position. The Emperor is nervous about being able to see the cloth himself so he sends his ministers to view it. They see nothing yet praise the cloth. When the crooks report a suit of clothes has been fashioned, the Emperor allows himself to be dressed in their creation for a procession through town. During the course of the procession, a small child cries out, “But he has nothing on!” The crowd realizes the child is telling the truth and begins laughing. The Emperor, however, holds his head high and continues the procession.

What is the link between this fairytale and the paranoid hysteria about evidence based medicine? In my view, the notion that the gold-standard in research evidence, in fact the only acceptable evidence, is the randomized double-blind trial, has blinded much of the scientific and medical professions; they cannot clearly see that that is not all there is. Nobody is decrying scientific research evidence, but the idea that for every single medical and healthcare treatment, unless you construct an elaborate double blind clinical trial, then there no evidence to suggest that a given treatment is effective, is ridiculous, defies common sense and the past few thousand years of medical practice.

Line up ten different individuals, each suffering from any condition: headache, backache, asthma, heart disease, cancer, arthritis. As every competent practitioner has been trained to do since time immemorial, the first procedure is to take a full case history, examine the patient, take and evaluate any relevant laboratory tests, X-rays, scans, and following an in-depth analysis of these results, and if possible with the input of the patient, synthesize, design and prescribe a treatment plan. As each and every individual is genetically (except for twins),  biochemically, environmentally and in every other respect unique, i.e. different from every other individual suffering from the same ailment, it is extremely likely that the treatments prescribed will vary from one person to the other.

Now, if it is possible to pool the results of all this data into a powerful meta-analysis of all the treatments, then the research evidence for the prescribed treatments could be very strong. However, the idea that
subjecting every individual with back pain, asthma, arthritis, etc. to some ‘gold-standard’ treatment and that this very same treatment would be equally effective is patently mythical, because each person’s treatment would need to be individual.

Common sense is a powerful tool and it must not be thrown out at the altar of the cult of evidence-based medicine, which has been designed for animal drug trials, where every parameter can be held constant. People aren’t rats or mice and their life histories, habits, foods, medicines, and environmental toxins they have been exposed to will all play their specific part in their health or illness.

And speaking of ingested toxins, please remind yourselves of the many serious hazards and consequences of mercury amalgam dentistry in Ann Crowther’s column Toxic Teeth (see page 26). Despite all the voluminous published research documenting mercury as one of the most potent neurotoxins known, the dental profession in the UK and other countries still permit its use. Why? Undoubtedly, because to admit its proven harm would open up an unlimited Pandora’s box to the wider public, necessitating
massive compensation payments to the millions of people probably harmed by this noxious substance over many decades of use as fillings.

The above rant aside, I am incredibly proud of the original line-up of published articles in this issue, including those regarding Psychophonetics by Yehuda Tagar (see page 14), Tomatis Therapy for Children with Learning Difficulties by Ella Williams (see page 21 and the Skeletal Re-Alignment by Carole Preen and Core Alignment by Sue Weller and Allyn Edwards (see pages 36 and 42, respectively).

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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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