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Editorial Issue 193

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 193 - April 2012

My partner Mike Howell and I launched Positive Health PH Online in 1994, following my setting up of the Cancer and Nutrition database for the then Bristol Cancer Help Centre (BCNH) [now Penny Brohn Cancer Care]. One of the main objectives for Positive Health was to make available to health professionals and individuals seriously interested in non-drug treatments, authoritative information published in the scientific literature across the spectrum of natural / complementary / alternative health approaches.

At that time, the Cochrane Collaboration [established meta-analysis protocols for evidenced-based medicine] was in its early days. However, even in 1993, I was astonished at the huge body of published evidence amassed, particularly regarding nutritional treatment approaches. I had already written two books, (one about Organic Germanium,[1] the second about Vitamin C[2] published by Thorsons and Keats respectively) in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The early 1990s was also the time of dramatic events and negative publicity about the flawed Chilvers BCNH research study, purporting to show that women with cancer who attended BCHC were more likely to die than women who received conventional care;[3] the repercussions of the media storm almost closed down Bristol.[4] This indirectly led to the publication of my Nutrition and Cancer book [5], and also became the spur to the launch of Positive Health. This was also the date of publication of Martin Walker’s Dirty Medicine;[6] the second edition Dirty Medicine The Handbook was published in 2011.[7]

What really incensed me even in 1994 was the virtually universal ignorance by not only the general public but also by medical and complementary health professionals regarding the massive amount of research published across many disciplines. When I reflect upon what has transpired during the ensuing almost 20 years until the present is the mega-exponential increase in the amount of information, not only archived, but also online, including the social media, Amazon, YouTube and our everyday smart devices – mobile phones, tablets and the like. The explosion has not led to a necessarily more literate or informed health audience, due to the copious saturation and the parallel growth of groups within our society with distinct points of view and health agendas.

Hence the burgeoning of the evidence-led medicine brigade which appears to discard research which isn’t of the randomized controlled clinical trial variety, which leaves out clinical and research studies or ranks unfavourably trials which don’t fit the RCT criteria. I repeat here from my Editorial in Issue 191 an extract from the eloquent and learned critique of RCTs by Anthony L Rosner PhD LLD[Hon.] LLC.[8]

“Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is beset with numerous problems. In addition to the fact that varied audiences have each customarily sought differing types of evidence, EBM traditionally incorporated a hierarchy of clinical research designs, placing systematic reviews and meta-analyses at the pinnacle. Yet the canonical pyramid of EBM excludes numerous sources of research information, such as basic research, epidemiology, and health services research. Models of EBM commonly used by third party payers have ignored clinical judgment and patient values and expectations, which together form a tripartite and more realistic guideline to effective clinical care. Added to this is the problem in which enhanced placebo treatments in experimentation may obscure verum effects seen commonly in practice.

“Compounding the issue is that poor systematic reviews which comprise a significant portion of EBM are prone to subjective bias in their inclusion criteria and methodological scoring, shown to skew outcomes. Finally, the blinding concept of randomized controlled trials is particularly problematic in applications of physical medicine. Examples from the research literature in physical medicine highlight conclusions which are open to debate. More progressive components of EBM are recommended, together with greater recognition of the varying audiences employing EBM.”[8]

Sadly today, much evidence which demonstrates the validity and promise of nutritional or herbal or homeopathic treatment approaches for health conditions is either ignored, criticized or rabidly attacked and condemned as nonsensical, even described as hocus pocus witchcraft. Hence my relentless pursuit within Positive Health PH Online to continue to publish research abstracts which point to clinical promise and potential.

Pfister et al, University of Cologne, Germany, researched the association between plasma vitamin C and the risk of heart failure. Their results showed that ..for each 20 mumol/L increase in plasma vitamin C concentration, there was a 9% relative reduction in risk of heart failure. This supports the beneficial effects of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables to prevent cardiovascular events…

Tanaka et al, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka Japan quantified the association between caffeine and risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Their study demonstrated “A clear inverse dose-response relationship between total caffeine intake and PD risk was observed. We confirmed that the intake of coffee and caffeine reduced the risk of PD.”

Additionally in this April Issue 193 of Positive Health PH Online are important editorial features about the Road to Happiness, Sleep Disturbances, Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Irritable Bowel Syndrome – IBS and the Candida IBS Condition, Prolapse and Posture, Yoga for Stress Relief and Exercise for Fitness and Health and vital Letters to the Editor.

With 20,000 pages on PH Online viewed daily and some 3000 daily visitors, it is impossible to ‘disappear’ the positive body of evidence across a wide spectrum of health conditions.


1. Goodman S. Organic Germanium – The Health and Life Enhancer.Thorsons. 1988.

2. Goodman S. Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient. Keats. 1991.

3. Bagenal FS, Easton DF, Harris E, Chilvers CED, McElwain TJ. Survival of patients with breast cancer attending Bristol Cancer Help Centre.Lancet 336: 606 –10. 1990.

4. Goodare H. The media and cancer survival. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 100(10): 489-94. 2007.

5. Goodman S. Nutrition and Cancer: State of the Art. Green Library. 1995; Positive Health Publications Ltd. 1998; Health Research 2003.

6. Walker M. Dirty Medicine. Slingshot Publications. 1993.

7. Walker M Dirty Medicine: The Handbook. Slingshot Publications. 2011.

8. Anthony L. Rosner PhD LLD[Hon.] LLC. Evidence-based medicine: Revisiting the pyramid of priorities. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 16: 42-49. 2012.


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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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