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Editorial Issue 152

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 152 - November 2008

These are exceedingly frustrating times for those of us, and that includes most PH readers, who yearn for an integrated approach to healthcare which embraces the best of all disciplines and modalities from the entire medicine repertoire. Despite the polarized information from both the conventional and alternative/complementary medicine camps which posits a conspiracy on the part of the  pharmaceutical and orthodox medicine establishment to wipe out non-drug medicine, I still harbour the hope that the majority of conventional doctors who espouse these views are more likely the victims of their inadequate training in other approaches, and the somewhat fundamentalist guidelines published by the medical hierarchy which favour RCTs (randomized controlled trials) over case-based medicine and the general media which are not expertly schooled in scientific and research methodology.

These days, headlines in the print, online and broadcast media persistently complain about the alleged dangers or uselessness of natural or complementary approaches, homeopathy, nutritional supplements, despite an avalanche of research data demonstrating the dangers of many drugs and the life-saving properties of certain nutritional supplements, as discussed within Dr Robert Verkerk's column in this issue -, as well as in the Letters pages -

As eloquently described by Dr Verkerk:

Americans on average make over 1.1 billions visits to physicians or hospital outpatients departments annually, amounting to an average of around 3.8 visits per person... Over 3 billion prescriptions are filled each year, averaging around 10 prescriptions for every person in the USA annually... Adverse drug reactions (ADRs), which increase exponentially in those taking 4 or more different medications, are now the fourth leading cause of death in the USA, putting them in front of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents, and motor vehicle deaths... the UK, adverse drug reactions cost the country's National Health Service £2 billion (US$3.9 billion) annually. A recent Swedish study has revealed that 3% of Swedes die from adverse drug reactions, making them the seventh most common cause of death in the country... In the USA, if the estimated 98,000 deaths associated with preventable medical and surgical injuries in hospitals, as well as the estimated 90,000 deaths associated with preventable infections in hospitals are added to the estimated 106,000 deaths from ADRs which follow the non-error prescription of medications, orthodox medicine is unequivocally the third leading cause of death in the USA...

As the Letters to the Editors of this issue discuss:

A recent review looked at 45 years of research on the protective effect of prenatal vitamin supplementation on the frequency of childhood cancer. It concluded that "maternal ingestion of prenatal multivitamins is associated with a decreased risk for paediatric brain tumours, neuroblastoma, and leukaemia. "Vitamin supplements reduced the chance of a brain tumour by 27 percent. Vitamins lowered children's leukaemia risk by 39 percent. Risk of neuroblastoma was cut in half. Clearly, prenatal vitamin supplements are very important cancer fighters...

The riveting letter Chemotherapy Doesn't Work, So Blame Vitamin C discusses the background to a recent media news item warning the public and cancer patients not to take any vitamin C supplements, claiming that vitamin C could interfere with chemotherapy. I urge all PH readers to study this letter, which discusses the flaws in the current research performed in mice who synthesize their own vitamin C and cites previous research results demonstrating that mice with cancer respond well to high-dose vitamin C therapy and that 10,000 mg of vitamin C has been shown not to interfere with chemotherapy treatment...

"Cautioning" the public to avoid taking any supplemental amount of vitamin C will decrease host resistance to cancer, increase the incidence of this dreaded disease, and shorten survival times. A cynic might say it will also create a larger market for chemotherapy.
Is vitamin C a commercial competitor for chemo? To answer this, one needs to consider what appears to be serious conflict of interest at Sloan-Kettering. Bristol-Myers-Squibb makes chemotherapeutic drugs. According to a DEF 14A SEC filing of March 22, 2006, the Chairman of the Board of Bristol-Myers-Squibb is also a director of the Coca-Cola Company, and Honorary Chairman of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. ( A previous Bristol-Myers-Squibb Chairman of the Board was a director of the New York Times Company. He was also Vice Chairman of the Board of Overseers and the Board of Managers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Chairman of the Board of Managers of Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. ( Some sources say that there are even more Bristol-Myers-Squibb directors who have or held positions on the board at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Positive endorsements for vitamin C as a cancer fighter are not in the interests of any pharmaceutical company. Scaring the public away from vitamin C might be profitable.

My own book Vitamin C - The Master Nutrient (Keats 1991) -  also discusses the considerable research body of evidence demonstrating the anti-cancer properties of vitamin C .

The current Nov Issue 152 of PH demonstrates how powerfully effective a range of treatments can be, even for serious illnesses. These features include:
Homeopathy in the treatment of chronic chest infections and asthma -
Aromatherapy treatments which over time, restored partial use and feeling to a man's useless and devoid-of-feeling right arm and alleviated blinding headaches -       
Management of hypothyroidism using Ayurvedic medicine - 
Neuroskeletal Re-alignment Therapy  for the treatment of migraine and hip and back pain  -

Research Updates in this issue also demonstrate the efficacy of a number of complementary approaches in cancer treatment, including reflexology for pain, massage for alleviation of negative feelings following chemotherapy treatment and the significantly decreased risk of breast cancer and ingestion of long chain n-3 fatty acids -

If I were a military historian, schooled in the philosophy of how to conduct battles and campaigns of war, perhaps I would have a better perspective of where both sides of the medical divide are currently situated. However, having spent much of my life reading about all aspects of medicine - natural and conventional - I hope that I will discover the answer to this dilemma before I shuffle off the proverbial.


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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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