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Editorial Issue 93

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 93 - October 2003

My blood is boiling, again. While in the shower this morning, I had been mentally formulating what I wished to say in the Editorial of this Issue.

My thoughts mainly concerned how one can't necessarily trust what the Experts say about many (perhaps most) things in life today, particularly in health, medicine and the environment. For the proof of this one has only to read the highly authoritative article The Hazards of Water Fluoridation by Drs Graeme and Lilian Munro-Hall (page 32), as well as the voluminous evidence cited within the Short Features (pages 5-6) and letters pages (pages 45-50) regarding Fluoride.

This scandalous attitude on the part of the Medical and Dental Establishments regarding the safety of Fluoride is brought to you by the very same expert authorities that have sanctioned Mercury fillings. This is of course, more than of passing academic interest, as the British government is apparently intending to approve the fluoridation of waters within the rest of the UK water supply not already fluoridated.

However, returning to my most recent subject of pique, while in the shower, I caught the Complementary Medicine segment of Roger Harrabin's Science Funding series being aired on the Today programme on Radio 4. The presenter's (James Naughtie) assertions in the preamble were absolutely correct, in that a minute fraction – one thousandth – of the government-funded research budget on medicine goes to researching Complementary Medicine.

The programme clip, recorded at a Healthy Living Festival, covered therapies including Sound, Homeopathy, Bio-Feedback and Magnetic Therapy, with comments regarding the efficacy of such approaches from members of the public and people on the various therapy stands. The point of view which came over was that although some of these therapies might sound improbable or absurd, some of these approaches were being applied for applications within conventional science – magnets being used in medical surgical applications or sound waves being used to cool refrigerators.

This was followed by an interview by James Naughtie with Prof Edzard Ernst, who holds the Laing Chair of Complementary Medicine at Exeter University and who asserted on air that he is not only the Professor of Complementary in the UK, but also in Europe and possibly in the entire world. As readers of Positive Health will be aware, Prof Ernst is a medically qualified physician, and strictly speaking, not qualified in Complementary Medicine, other than his research pursuits during the past decade, which have mainly consisted of performing systematic reviews of research about the many disciplines within complementary medicine.

Why is my blood boiling? Well, in reply to James Naughtie's very reasonable prompting regarding the benefits and likelihood of obtaining government funding for Complementary Medicine, the only feeble response which Prof Ernst could manage was to disdainfully dismiss all the previously discussed therapies – Sound, Homeopathy, Bio-Feedback and Magnetic Therapy – as "wacky", and utter his usual concerns about the safety of complementary medicines. He then proceeded to sound the alarm that people using Complementary Medicine, particularly herbal medicines, might be harmed, and that therefore it was important to research the safety of herbal medicine.

Regarding whether it might be advisable to advocate more research about the efficacy of Complementary Medicine, Prof Ernst was exceedingly negative, stating the cynical view that if Complementary Medicines were found to be safe and efficacious, they would then have to be integrated into the NHS, which would be a disincentive for research funding. He was also dismissive about the therapeutic value of Complementary Medicines for patients with Cancer and AIDS, stating that people with such illnesses are "desperate" and will try anything.

There is an abundance of authoritative research and clinical evidence regarding the many aspects of Complementary Medicine. Certain disciplines, most notably Nutritional and Herbal Medicine, do not, in my opinion, qualify as Complementary at all; they are an integral part of Medicine and have always been since time immemorial. In the ten years since Positive Health was founded, we have published thousands of research updates from around the world about the full spectrum of Complementary Therapies, and hundreds and hundreds of Features, Expert Columns and Clinical Case Studies about the therapeutic application of Complementary Medicine to many ailments.

We may not understand how certain Energy-type therapies work, such as Homeopathy, Bio-Energy Medicine or Sound Therapy; however the clinical evidence proves that they patently do work. An analytical look at some of Conventional Medicine's most important tools – the laser, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), Ultra Sound, CAT (Computer Assisted Topography) scan, TENS, vaccination, for instance – demonstrates, upon closer inspection, the closer parallels they bear to therapies that should never be dismissed as 'wacky'.


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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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