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Editorial Issue 61

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 61 - February 2001

Recently I have been reminiscing, with deep misgivings, about how a significant body of conventional medical research is being subverted away from the good of the public and patients, and applied, apparently, toward harm of ourselves and possibly of our children.

Never having been a fully paid-up member of the conspiracy theory brigade (that the establishment or the pharmaceutical companies have got it in for us all), I have spent decades, first as a conventionally trained research scientist, and more recently as a communicator of scientific research, in the belief that putting scientific knowledge into the professional and public domain will result in the education of medical professionals, and the public's greater understanding of the complexity underpinning the varied success rates of many therapeutic approaches to chronic and widespread health conditions.

There is no monopoly of medical wisdom in either the 'orthodox', 'complementary' or 'alternative' healthcare systems; however, there has previously been a fairly high degree of trust by the public that the medical profession dispenses drugs based on the best research available, and that public health and environmental agencies act in the public's best interests.

I no longer feel that such trust is automatically merited; the following shocking examples illustrate how the findings of properly conducted research can be totally ignored, manipulated or distorted, with probable devastating consequences.

The first example, which almost beggars belief, described in the Jan 2001 issue of Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients concerns the widespread and "outrageous use of asbestos in the manufacturing of children's crayons, potting soil used by gardeners for flowers and vegetables, and in perhaps the worst discovery of all, asbestos continues to be found in brakes, subjecting 750,000 brake shop mechanics to asbestos dust inhalation annually". Apparently, although US governmental agencies and brake shoe operators don't believe that asbestos is found in brake shoes; however, clearly marked on the packages is 'asbestos' or 'Chrysotile' (the asbestos-based material used for brakes). There isn't any doubt whatsoever of how harmful asbestos is: it is the primary cause of mesothelioma (a tumour of the lining of the lungs), as well as the case of the terminal condition asbestosis. When decades of incontrovertible scientific evidence is flagrantly flouted and ignored by both government and workers, one starts to wonder who has got the strongest death wish. For more information regarding the special investigative report published by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, please refer to

I received another truly unimaginable jolt of disbelief when I read a newspaper clipping from the Sunday Times Dec 2000, proposing that all school children were to be tested for cholesterol levels, and that children with high cholesterol levels would be given cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. I strongly implore all readers of Positive Health to read the impeccably researched book The Cholesterol Myths by Dr Uffe Ravnskov, MD, Ph.D (reviewed in Issue 60, also at  under Reviews), which meticulously dissects the 5 decades of research into the cholesterol-heart disease saga. What this brilliant scientist has done is to revisit the myriads of clinical trials and point out the massive degree of questionable shenanigans done in the selection and interpretation of the huge mountains of data generated over the years. As most health professionals have neither the expertise nor the time to wade through such a morass, it certainly behoves us to read with great relish the facts presented in an entirely different light, using the data to speak for themselves. The bottom line is that the data regarding statins is at best questionable, there are concerns that these drugs may be carcinogenic, and that no research appears to have been carried out on children. Order your copy today at
Yet another horribly yet brilliant exposé of the distortion of research data about new cancer chemotherapy drugs is elucidated by Ralph Moss, Ph.D. in the same issue of Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. With this material, you really have to dig into the fine print to discover that, for example, in a clinical trial comparing Arimidex (anastrozole) with an older drug Megace 'survival' for breast cancer really means 'two-year survival'. In fact, the median time to death for the women treated with Arimidex was 26.7 months compared to 22.5 months with Megace, a difference of 4.2 months, which wasn't statistically significant! With Taxotere, a semi-synthetic derivative of the Pacific Yew tree, although there appeared to be a reasonable 'response rate', the median survival time was 15 months with Taxotere compared to 14 months with Adriamycin, merely a one month different! However, 87% of patients experienced serious side effects, such as fluid retention. For more cancer chemotherapy facts, please log onto

According to the House of Lords Select Committee on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, we are about to usher in an era of complementary medicine's 'integration' with conventional medical practice. It would be wise for us to keep abreast with the conventional scientific literature, and always remember that even the best research can be omitted, distorted or manipulated by those with other agendas. Please, let us within complementary medicine not be sacrificed on the altar of scientific research.


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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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