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Editorial Issue 45

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 45 - October 1999

Don't we tend to pride ourselves with being well-informed and knowledgeable? With all the high-tech gizmos, internet and network communications available, don't we congratulate ourselves with our knowledge of the most recent advances in the health and sciences?

Unfortunately, much of this self-congratulatory self-praise is little warranted; what appears to go on throughout much of science and medicine is a constant rediscovery of the proverbial wheel.

As an example, let me draw your attention to Curhan, Willett et al in this Issue's Research Updates Section on page 39. These authors, from one of the most prestigious laboratories in the world at Harvard Medical School in Boston, assessed the risk, in over 85,000 women, of taking high doses of vitamin B and vitamin C upon kidney stone formation. Their results, published in J Amer Soc Nephrology, April 1999, demonstrated that the highest intakes of vitamin B6 were inversely associated with kidney stones, and that vitamin C intake was not associated with risk of kidney stones. In other words, taking vitamin C did not increase kidney stone risk.

Why am I going on about this study? Well, if you turn to page 36 of Issue 41, you will see a similar study by Auer et al, from Cape Town, South Africa, investigating whether large doses of vitamin C are association with kidney stone formation. Their conclusions, published over a year previous to Curhan, Willett et al, in March 1998 in Clin Chem Lab Med, were that large doses of vitamin C was not a risk factor for kidney stone formation. If we go back 10 years earlier, to page 20 of my book Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient (Keats, 1991), I devote almost 3 pages to exploring the myth that vitamin C causes kidney stones. The literature about vitamin C and kidney stones is extensively reviewed, and numerous publications cited, including Safety of High-level Vitamin C Ingestion by Rivers JM published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1987!!, which demonstrated that high doses of vitamin C do not constitute a risk for kidney stones.

Is this a waste of research funding or what?

An even more tragic example of broken telephone, or, rather, non-existent telephone, is the totally erroneous advice being given to cancer sufferers to discontinue taking vitamin C while undergoing methotrexate chemotherapy. The origin of this misinformation was a paper published in 1984 by Sketris & Farmer, which hypothesised that vitamin C might affect the excretion of methotrexate. These researchers did the experiment, measured the effect of vitamin C, and concluded that vitamin C did not affect excretion of methotrexate.

There are doubtless unlimited examples of misinformation or re-inventing the wheel in every field of health. It infuriates me no end to hear about a news report on some supposed "breakthrough", which is actually based upon old news. Pathetic!

And why are all these non-original "discoveries" allowed to slip through the net? Obviously, the people publishing the news haven't heard or read or known about what had gone previously. A disgrace for scholarly journals, much more understandable for non-experts who don't spend their entire lives reading the research literature.

Let this be a reminder to all of us, experts and total laypersons alike, not to slavishly believe everything we hear or read, no matter how august the source. This is a difficult area, for whom are we supposed to heed, if not trusted experts, practitioners and the like? I am sorry to conclude that the final responsibility must rest upon ourselves.

This is borne out by reading the horrendous stories of Kerry Burrows and Pam Clayton in this Issue of Positive Health, whose health finally improved after removing their mercury amalgam fillings. This took a tremendous amount of courage, determination, not to mention expense, on the part of these women. I am afraid that where the dental profession still permits using mercury, a most potent neural toxin, for dental fillings, we all must take a stand for the sake of our own health.


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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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