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Editorial Issue 31

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 31 - August 1998

Complementary Medicine hasn't even achieved relegation status, because it hasn't yet officially joined the healthcare system league. While healthcare priorities entail high-tech, high-cost procedures geared especially toward younger people, complementary medicine, not having gone away after being spat at for several decades, is now being kept busy, chasing its tail, by the medical establishment, and will probably be spending the next 5–10 years defining standards, and determining who will be the kingpins within each therapy.

Meanwhile, the evidence is mounting that low-tech, low-cost, simple preventive measures such as eating a healthy diet, taking exercise, not smoking or excessively drinking alcohol could dramatically save and/or improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people in the UK and around the world.

In this issue we report research indicating that as many as 100,000 cancer cases could be prevented each year in the UK (see page 6) and that 90% of oesophageal cancers in Italian men are attributable to smoking, drinking and poor diet (see La Vecchia and Decarli, page 45). Furthermore, Tavani et al found that risk of suffering an acute heart attack – and hence death – was only 50% as great in women consuming higher rather than lower dietary levels of beta-carotene.

Acupuncture, at the forefront of complementary therapies, is highly safe – a search of Medline over the 14 year period 1981-94 revealed that there were a total of 3 deaths alleged to have been caused by acupuncture, one of which was from a severe asthma attack which happened during an acupuncture treatment (see Norheim, page 44). Furthermore, a study with stroke patients in Norway by Kjendahl et al, page 47 found that stroke patients in the subacute stage given acupuncture improved considerably more both in the short and long term.

So, are we being bombarded by adverts on television to take up brisk walking, or to eat apples and onions? No we are not. Instead, we are subjected to a barrage of commercials seducing us to eat chocolate, crisps, pizza, sugared breakfast cereals, drink coffee, tea, beer, wines, spirits and drive fast cars. Do we see commercials advising us to have acupuncture should we be unfortunate enough to have a stroke? No, more likely than not our TV programmes are interrupted by scary adverts, warning us to take out private medical insurance so that we can afford to have hip and knee-replacement operations for our loved ones.

The brutal truth is that health economists would like us to work hard, pay our National Insurance contributions, be reasonably fit and healthy, and then drop dead at age 65. Thus spoke a wise yet outraged consultant in Geriatrics on the Goldring programme about NHS Healthcare aired on Channel 4 on Sunday 26 June. Where is complementary and natural medicine approaches in the Healthcare Scheme of Things? Nowhere in sight!

If the above is not sufficient to boil your blood, and you need an even scarier reality check, then read the cover story, VDUs and the Computer Posture (see page 51). Many of us spend huge chunks of time sitting in front of computers for our work and play, and are undoubtedly familiar with the frequently resulting symptoms of neck, shoulder and back pain which are assuming epidemic proportions within the population. When I was growing up in my exceedingly large extended family, I was aware of only one relative who suffered back pain. Today, I hardly know of anyone from my friends or colleagues at work who doesn't suffer some form of neck, shoulder or back pain. The remedies are simple, but necessitate overcoming years of habitual bad posture and practice. You owe it to yourself to follow the advice proffered.

Lisa Saffron will be taking a sabbatical from writing her regular Environmental Health column. We will miss her astute, critical penchant for communicating difficult statistics in understandable language, and wish her well in her current endeavours.


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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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