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Editorial Issue 96

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 96 - February 2004

Regular readers of Positive Health know that I constantly harangue the medical establishment, government regulatory bodies and the media regarding the widespread scandalous ignorance of the majority of health professionals about published research across the numerous fields of complementary medicine.

Often my specific invective concerns the lack of translation of research regarding Nutrition and Cancer into mainstream cancer care. For, despite tens of thousands of published research studies documenting the effectiveness of certain nutrients – certain vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids – in preventing and even treating certain cancers, we all hear the same unyielding rhetoric there is no research almost as a mantra.

It has been widely established by government white papers and the World Health Organization, that nutrition and lifestyle factors play a major role in the aetiology of many cancers. The epidemiological evidence showing decreased risk of cancer with high intakes of fruits and vegetables has been accumulating since the 1960s. Log onto the research pages of Positive Health's website – www.positivehealth.com – to view just the tip of the iceberg of that research.

The recently halted double-blind, placebo-controlled Women's Health Initiative Randomized trials demonstrating that HRT increased the risks of ovarian and endometrial cancers has led to recommendations for women not to use HRT as their first choice to treat menopausal symptoms or to prevent osteoporosis in the long term. These results have not come as a surprise to those who had been following the dangers and side effects of HRT over many years. Positive Health has published articles by individuals including Celia Wright and Leslie Kenton way back in 1996 in Issues 10 and 11 of Positive Health, outlining the problems with HRT, as well as numerous articles over the past decade regarding non-HRT safe and effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. Log onto Positive Health's website and view the many features under Women's Health to see but a sample of what has been on offer for many years, including many books by acclaimed authors such as Marilyn Glenville PhD, Maryon Stuart, Dr Christine Northrup and Dr Michel Odent reviewed along the way.

This issue our cover story by Dr Nancy Lonsdorf MD details safe and effective Ayurvedic and Herbal approaches to the menopause (see page 31).

However, recently I have been cheered to see that others share my scathing views about the inadequacies and ignorance of much of the medical profession regarding the efficacy of many complementary therapies.

In a forthcoming article to be published in Issue 98: Empowering Women: Natural Approaches to Pregnancy and Childbirth, listen to Denise Tiran MSc RM RGN ADM PGCEA rail against the blindness and deafness of the medical profession toward research:

"one of the often-quoted justifications for dismissing complementary medicine is the apparent lack of scientific evidence to support its claims of efficacy and safety. This is not the case, although maternity-specific research is sparse… Additionally, sceptical practitioners of conventional medicine are unlikely to know where to look for the required evidence, especially as editorial bias can be seen in many professional journals, with reports of lack of efficacy or statistics for adverse reactions being published in orthodox medical publications, while conventional medical databases such as MEDLINE and CINAHL have limited inclusion of complementary medicine research. This perceived dearth of evidence is further reinforced by an over-dependence of the orthodox sector on the 'gold standard' randomized controlled trial (RCT), although this must be balanced with the argument that many aspects of conventional medicine have been introduced without adequate preliminary investigation, notably in the field of surgery.

"It is scandalous that the recent guidelines on maternity care for women with uncomplicated pregnancies, issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, should denigrate complementary and alternative medicine so definitively that healthcare professionals are actively discouraged from promoting or using any aspect when caring for pregnant and childbearing women. The paternalistic, judgmental and ill-informed 'authorities' responsible for developing these NICE guidelines have singularly failed to acknowledge that women will use natural remedies and consult complementary practitioners despite – and perhaps because of – any conventional medical moves to stop them, nor do they appreciate the benefits to be derived from many of the most accepted and commonly used therapies. This attitude is outdated, inappropriate, contrary to any attempts to offer 'woman-centred' maternity care and potentially dangerous in the extreme, as it may serve merely to dissuade women from informing their caregivers about concomitant use of complementary therapies."

It is vital that we as complementary practitioners and health professionals don't remain in separate, isolated boxes with regard to what we read, what we learn and what we seek to implement in our practice. The truth about HRT was known many years ago; it is just that nobody took any notice until the evidence was presented in the form of a randomized double-blind trial. Pity about all the extra cancers caused along the way!!

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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. She has focused 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.

 

In publishing in Positive Health PH Online authoritative articles and book reviews by leading proponents of numerous alternative cancer treatment approaches, Dr Goodman has demonstrated her passion about the necessity of making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, considerable clinical expertise in areas of Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. She is a member of the Therapy Advisory Panel of the Penny Brohn Cancer Care, Scientific Expert Committee member of the Alliance for Natural Health and a Patron of the Avalon Complementary Medicine Trust in Wells, Somerset. Nutrition and Cancer.

 

Dr Goodman and Mike Howell, her long-term partner, seek individuals with the resources, structural organization and interest to continue and expand the legacy of Positive Health PH Online forward into the 21st century, adding facilities to conduct online seminars, fund raise for alternative cancer research, as well as to promote leading holistic organizations and businesses internationally. Follow her Blog and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  Dr S Goodman may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via: sandra@drsgoodman.com     www.drsgoodman.com  sandra@positivehealth.com   and www.positivehealth.com

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