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Editorial Issue 224

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 224 - August 2015

It has never been a secret that one of the principal objectives of Positive Health PH Online  was to attempt to bridge the gap between orthodox/allopathic and alternative/complementary medicine. The rationale was that to publish authoritative and credible clinical articles, case studies and published research across the entire spectrum of the many disciplines encompassing the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of  health would constitute and add to the body of material available about natural treatment approaches to health issues.

Now some 21+ years, 224 Issues, 3000+ articles, 1000s of research studies later, the archive has certainly accomplished those objectives. No matter what subject one might wish to select including Teen Suicide, Chronic Fatigue, Mindfulness, Colloidal Silver - merely several of the subjects published in Issue 224, valuable clinical information has been published.

Over this period, a considerable number of highly regarded practitioners, authors and publishers of natural medicine have died, including in the past month, Dr Nicholas Gonzalez, whose work in developing and implementing clinically effective alternative cancer treatments must be carried on by Dr Linda Isaacs and colleagues in his clinic. See his tribute in this issue.

However, despite the progress in building a critical mass of reliable information about natural treatment approaches, it is my own critical observation that when it comes to most patient treatment modalities for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal (bodywork) and mental illness, that the conventional medical professions in the UK, USA and most other developed nations offer drug-based and surgical solutions and ignore complementary and hundreds of natural modalities including nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, massage, and osteopathy. There are presently huge dichotomous disputes ongoing about immune enhancement, cancer treatments, diabetes, heart disease; however complementary and alternative treatments are rarely if ever mentioned in the media or in learned journals, except in a mocking or disparaging tone.

This is not only my own observations; a recent article published in Research Involvement and Engagement by authors Sally Crowe, Mark Fenton, Matthew Hall, Katherine Cowan and Iain Chalmers appears to concur, although phrasing the divide as a “mismatches”. Iain Chalmers is one of the original founders of the Cochrane Collaboration which developed a critical mass body of evidence-based medicine (EBM), the current holy grail of all researchers.[1]

“Comparisons of treatment research priorities identified by patients and clinicians with research actually being done by researchers are very rare. One of the best known of these comparisons (Tallon et al. Relation between agendas of the research community and the research consumer 355:2037–40, 2000) revealed important mismatches in priorities in the assessment of treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee: researchers preferenced drug trials, patients and clinicians prioritised non-drug treatments. These findings were an important stimulus in creating the James Lind Alliance (JLA). The JLA supports research Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs) of patients, carers and clinicians, who are actively involved in all aspects of the process, to develop shared treatment research priorities…

“We found marked differences between the proportions of different types of treatments proposed by patients, carers and clinicians and those currently being evaluated by researchers. In JLA PSPs, drugs accounted for only 18 % (23/126) of the treatments mentioned in priorities; in registered non-commercial trials, drugs accounted for 37 % (397/1069) of the treatments mentioned; and in registered commercial trials, drugs accounted for 86 % (689/798) of the treatments mentioned…

“On average, drug trials are being preferenced by researchers, and non-drug treatments are preferred by patients, carers and clinicians. This general finding should be reflected in more specific assessments of the extent to which research is addressing priorities identified by the patient and clinician end users of research. It also suggests that the research culture is slow to change in regard to how important and relevant treatment research questions are identified and prioritised…

“It is not a surprise that a very high proportion (86.3 %) of the registered commercial trials concerned the evaluation of drugs. However, the very low proportion (2.6 %) of registered commercial trials that studied the effects of the non-drug treatments rated important by patients and clinicians is noteworthy: it suggests that few of these drug trials can have used non-drug comparators, for example, comparing drugs with psychological therapies for treating depression.”

This is not in the least intended to disparage the considerable achievements of modern medicine, including and especially the recent development by the partnership of the Canadian Company, Welcome Foundation and Merck of a 100% effective vaccine against the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 11,200 infected people across West African countries since 2013. The VSV-EBOV vaccine was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The vaccine was licensed to NewLink Genetics, and on 24 November 2014, Merck & Co., Inc. and NewLink Genetics Corp…A ring vaccination protocol was chosen for the trial, where some of the rings are vaccinated shortly after a case is detected, and other rings are vaccinated after a delay of 3 weeks. This is an alternative to using a placebo by providing a randomized control group for comparison but at the same time ensures that all contacts are vaccinated within the trial.[2]

It has always been my fervent hope/intent that the brilliant and combined therapeutic techniques of both the allopathic and alternative universes could cooperate to offer cancer and other patients the most effective and least toxic treatments leading to recovery and full health. Such a prospect is offered by the recent discovery by Israeli scientists of the trigger mechanism for deadly melanoma. I hope that this won’t take another 20+ years.


1. Sally Crowe, Mark Fenton, Matthew Hall, Katherine Cowan and Iain Chalmers. Patients', clinicians' and the research communities' priorities for treatment research: there is an important mismatch. Research Involvement and Engagement 2015, 1:2  doi:10.1186/s40900-015-0003-x.

2. World on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine. World Health Organization. 31 July 2015.


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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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