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Letters to the Editor Issue 115

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 115 - September 2005

Obituary: Michael Gearin-Tosh: 16 January 1940-29 July 2005

Very sadly, Michael Gearin-Tosh died on July 29 aged 65. He is well known to Positive Health readers as the author of Living Proof – A Medical Mutiny, 2002 – reviewed in PH Issue 74 March 2002; This book was a landmark; Prof Gearin-Tosh recounted in exquisite detail how he had challenged the medical establishment after he was diagnosed with myeloma – cancer of the bone marrow – in 1994 and given six months to live.

Urged to undergo chemotherapy, Gearin-Tosh examined the case with the rigour he had previously reserved for his favourite poet, Andrew Marvell. He discovered that, according to one cancer statistician, chemotherapy brought significant hope of survival to just four per cent of patients with the same cancer, and that many doctors would not prescribe it for themselves. His conclusion was simple: “Touch it, and you are a goner”. Instead he embarked on a comprehensive regimen of consisting of 12 freshly-made vegetable juices a day, high-dose vitamin injections, acupuncture, raw garlic, coffee enemas, Chinese breathing exercises and the visualization of his immune cells attacking the tumour. Confounding the medical prognosis, he survived a further 11 years and when he did eventually die, it was from a blood infection rather than cancer.

According to Beata Bishop
Michael broke a tooth which then had to be removed. It was tricky work, and he should have taken antibiotics before the dental operation, but – as a true Gersonite – he refused. That was a mistake: even in the Gerson clinic patients do get antibiotics if this is seen to be essential. So it was a tragic mistake of his to have refused the antibiotics. As with all tricky dental work, this too obviously released a lot of old toxins stored in the body. In addition, he incurred a streptococcal infection; and although he was free from cancer, his immune system just wasn’t strong enough to deal with this. Michael and I had a lot of phone contact over the past few weeks, he suffered all kinds of unpleasant symptoms, but then picked up and seemed to be very much on the mend. And then suddenly it all crashed and he died in the Radcliffe Infirmary Friday, July 29, in the evening.

Living Proof triggered angry responses from doctors and from patients undergoing chemotherapy. Some accused him of peddling false hopes and ignoring statistics which indicated a higher survival rate for patients given chemotherapy. “If there was anything in this stuff,” wrote one Consultant physician, “don’t you think that the medical profession would have grasped these ‘cures’ with both hands years ago?” But for others, Gearin-Tosh was living proof that alternative therapies do work, and that it is possible not to be dehumanized by the disease or its specialists.

Positive Health will miss Michael Gearin-Tosh’s irrascible, exuberant and thoroughly irreverant spirit.

Have You Recovered From CFS?

I am compiling an inspirational book of recovery stories for people with CFS and am looking for people who have recovered who are happy to contribute their personal recovery story for the book. I would be very grateful if you would be happy to contribute your story, which will give hope to many people who are still suffering from CFS.

Guidelines For Writing Your Story
Each person will have a chapter for their story – a short or long chapter – whatever length you want to write it.

You don’t need to write a beautiful piece with perfect grammar – just your personal story. Including your feelings and emotions will make your story easier to identify with, rather than a straight factual account. However, if you are a straight, factual account sort of person and it’s easier to write that way, then by all means do it that way – it will be good to have a variety.

A few ideas to jog your memory when thinking what to write…
•    What your life was like ‘before’ CFS – why do you think you got ill;
•    Getting a diagnosis/doctors/treatments on NHS and privately;
•    Alternative therapies, rest, diet, exercise, meditation, courses, books, CBT;
•    How it affected you physically, mentally & emotionally;
•    How it affected career, relationships, finances, social life, spirituality, family issues;
•    How long you were ill;
•    What you think contributed to your recovery and what made the most difference;
•    Did you fight for recovery or did it just happen;
•    Did you learn anything, did it affect the way you view the world, live, look after yourself now;
•    What is your life like post-CFS; job, physical and mental capabilities, happiness;
•    Could you describe a typical bad day when sick and a good day now well;
•    Do you know how to keep yourself healthy in future;
•    Have you any advice for others who are still suffering.

When all the stories have been collated, I will get back in touch with everyone individually to keep them informed about the next step. If any editing is required I will contact the persons concerned and talk about what is needed with them.

Deadline For Receipt Of Your Story – January 2006.
Please return via email to:
Or post to: Mrs A Barton, 24 Dundonald Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 7LW

European Food Supplement Ban Avoided
Food Supplement Ban Avoided By Mutual Cooperation

August 1 2005 could have seen up to 5,000 vitamin and mineral products being banned from health store shelves in the UK alone, with further products being banned in other EU countries such as Ireland and Sweden.

But, following the legal challenge to this ban implicit in the EU Food Supplements Directive, mounted in 2003 by the Alliance for Natural Health and two UK trade associations, the National Association of Health Stores and the Health Food Manufacturers Association, mutual cooperation between the health industry and government authorities has seen the wide-scale ban circumvented.

The ban would have affected products containing over 200 vitamin and mineral ingredients which had not been subject to extensive safety evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority, but nevertheless had been consumed safely as part of the normal diet for thousands of years.

Dr Robert Verkerk, executive director of the pan-European Alliance for Natural Health said: “Without positive pressure from our legal challenge, and increasing amounts of cooperation between industry and government authorities, thousands of products containing nutrients which are increasingly difficult to find in our normal diet, but known to be of great importance to our health and wellbeing, could have today been removed from our food supply. We are working hard to bed in our barristers’ positive interpretation of the European Court ruling. However, we cannot afford to sit back as future provisions in the Directive set to limit maximum potencies of food supplements could have devastating consequences at least equal to those caused by the originally proposed food supplement ingredients ban.”

The European Court of Justice handed down its ruling on the legal challenge to the Food Supplements Directive on 12 July. Although the Directive was upheld, the ruling reduced its scope and greatly improved its clarity, so reducing obstacles to the health food industry. In particular the ruling will make it much easier to access the ‘positive list’ of allowed ingredients, a process previously described by a senior advisor to the Court, Advocate General Leendert Geelhoed in his 5th April Opinion, as “clear as a black box”.

The Directive provided a derogation system which would allow ingredients present on the market prior to 2003 to be used at least to the end of 2009, on the condition that technical dossiers were submitted to governmental authorities for subsequent consideration by the European Food Safety Authority. The dossier requirements were seen as excessive and pressure from the industry, facilitated by the legal challenge, led the government to agree simplified dossier criteria.

Accordingly, some 505 dossiers for vitamin and mineral ingredients were submitted by 12 July, the official deadline for derogation dossier submissions. To facilitate the process further, the UK’s Food Standard Agency has also extended the dossier deadline until today. All products containing ingredients subject to dossiers will remain on the market to at least the end of 2009 unless they are given an unfavourable review, on the grounds of risks to public health, by the European Food Safety Authority.

In the meantime, onus is on the health food industry to make submissions to the previously limited ‘positive list’, which currently contains just 112 vitamin and mineral forms, as compared with over 300 used by the industry. As a result of the European Court ruling, exemption for certain natural forms of vitamins and minerals, clarified and simplified requirements for access to the ‘positive list’, and placement of the primary burden of proof of safety on government authorities rather than industry, the Alliance for Natural Health is confident that the ‘positive list’ will no longer act as a major barrier to getting products on to the EU’s ‘positive list’ of ingredients allowed in food supplements.

Provisions in the EU Food Supplements Directive which aim to set maximum dosages for vitamin and mineral products are in the process of being finalized by the European Commission and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is developing international guidelines for food supplement potencies modelled very closely on the EU Directive. The Alliance for Natural Health has argued, with the support of scientists around the world, that the scientific method being considered to set maximum potencies is flawed.

“We must now move from a legal battle to a scientific battle”, adds Verkerk, “the risk assessment framework that is being considered by the authorities has been borrowed from those systems assessing intrinsically toxic substances such as drugs and pesticides, and have no place for use with nutrients that are essential to life. A new paradigm for safety/benefit analysis is needed specifically for nutrients, and we have commissioned the Netherlands-based HAN Foundation to come up with a new framework that could be used EU-wide and internationally through Codex.”

Further Information

Alliance for Natural Health
Dr Robert Verkerk, Executive Director
Tel. +44 (0)1252 371 275  Mobile: +44 (0)771 484 7225
IKON Associates, (PR advisers to the Alliance for Natural Health)
Adrian Shaw  Tel: +44 (0)1483 535102  Mobile: +44 (0)797 990 0733
Paul Donkersley
Tel: +44 (0)1483 535101  Mobile: +44 (0)796 764 6046

Study: Beta Blockers Don’t Help All

New research raises concerns about the popular practice of giving most heart patients drugs that reduce the heart’s workload before and after major surgery.

Guidelines recommend giving beta blocker pills to people at high risk of heart problems if they are undergoing non-cardiac surgery. But hospitals routinely prescribe the drugs to most heart patients, even those at lower risk of complications, who are having an operation. Researchers found that low-risk patients given the drugs were significantly more likely to die.

This is the first observational study to look at how these drugs affect people with varying heart risk factors and supports the idea that beta blockers, which decrease the force of the heart’s pumping action, should continue to be given to high-risk patients who have surgery.

Beta blockers are commonly used to treat high blood pressure and various heart problems and to help prevent complications in heart attack survivors.

Researchers led by Dr Peter Lindenauer of Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachussetts analyzed medical records of about 664,000 patients who had a history of heart-related problems and who were having non-cardiac surgery in 2000 and 2001.

Doctors took a sample of that population and found that low-risk patients who received beta blockers had a 43 percent increased risk of death. Beta blocker use was associated with a reduced risk of death in high-risk patients.

The findings were reported in The New England Journal of Medicine. Specialists say two ongoing randomized trials – the gold standard in scientific research – should help determine whether beta blockers pose any risk to low-risk patients.

Until the studies are completed, doctors should continue beta-blocker therapy in low-risk patients, according to Dr Don Poldermans of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam The Netherlands which he wrote in an accompanying editorial. He had no role in the study.

© 2005 The Associated Press
Christine Doyle:
Elwood Richard:

Turmeric Prevents and Cures Cancer

By Viji Sundaram
Researchers at the University of Texas have concluded that curcumin, the dye that lends turmeric its yellow colour, can block the biological pathway to melanoma and other cancers.

Dr Bharat Aggarwal, who headed the 12-member team of researchers at UT’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, told India-West in a telephone interview earlier this week that his clinical research has made available not only “the master switch to turn off cancer, but also a cure for it.”

“It was already known that curcumin can prevent cancer,” Aggarwal said. “Now it can also be used to cure cancer.” And, he added: “We are providing evidence that curcumin can work on at least one dozen cancers.”

In fact, “let’s put it this way: we have not found a single cancer on which curcumin doesn’t work,” Aggarwal asserted. Turmeric, whose vernacular name is haldi, is a rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa. The medicinal use of this plant has been documented in Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old system of medicine that has its origins in India.

Turmeric has long been used as a food preservative, a colouring agent, a spice to flavour food and as a folk medicine to cleanse the body. Two to five percent of turmeric contains curcumin.

Turmeric’s extensive use in foods in India and Pakistan, may be a factor for explaining why the incidence of cancer, especially breast, colon prostate and lung, is a lot less in those countries, Aggarwal said. And because south Indians use turmeric more widely than north Indians, “the prevalence of cancer is less among them than among north Indians,” he said.

The spice has been shown to relieve arthritis as well, he added. The UT team’s research focused on how curcumin stops laboratory strains of melanoma from proliferating, and pushes the cancer cells to commit suicide.

The team homed in on a molecule called NF-kappa B, a powerful protein known to promote an abnormal inflammatory response that leads to cancer in some people, arthritis in others, and a wide range of other diseases in other people.

“Nearly 98 percent of all diseases are controlled by this molecule,” Aggarwal told India-West, pointing out that the humble yellow dye can subdue this potent molecule.

Earlier this year, a UCLA study published in the online edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, indicated that curcumin inhibits the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

The team determined that curcumin is more effective in inhibiting formation of the protein fragments than many other drugs being tested to treat Alzheimer’s. The prevalence of the disease among older adults in India is 4.4 times less than in the US, suggesting that many Indians might be benefiting from having turmeric as a dietary staple.

Researchers at Emory University have tweaked the curcumin structure and made analogues – synthetic versions-of it – which are far more potent than the real thing, Aggarwal said. The analogues were tested by the National Cancer Institute and found very effective, he said. Combined with black pepper, curcumin becomes 2,000 times more potent, a fact that has resulted in the manufacture in the US of a formulation called ‘Super Curcumin’ and sold as a dietary supplement by Life Extension.

Aggarwal said that Indians have known all along about the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric, but “there was no documented proof” up until now.

Dozens of clinical trials have already begun in the US, India, Israel and the UK, to see if curcumin also has the same effect on people as it has on the laboratory animals researchers have experimented upon.

The UT findings will be published in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer.

Further Information

Copyright India-West;
Elwood Richard”EUDORA=”AUTOURL”>

Home-Grown Treatments for Advanced Lymphoma

Aileen Warsher
In treating my own cancer, which is late-stage lymphoma I have had to find things which are: [a] affordable on a very modest income; [b] safe to use living at home alone, particularly when living far from the nearest emergency room; [c] easy for a frail 73 year old woman to do; [d] MUST be things that address the basic underlying contributory causes of cancer!!!

I have one extremely surprised medical doctor [who was very supportive from the start, but who I then found out hadn’t nearly the confidence I had in my ability to pull this off… or even that it could be done at all by a totally self-trained non-credentialed little old lady who’s willing to do her homework.] What I’m doing has been mostly addressing basic body needs which have been untreated or undertreated or mistreated for years and some for decades.

Most of these needs are such utterly rockbottom brass-tacks basics, that they go unnoticed by most medical people including the researchers, even the innovative ones. Techniques such as a blood-oxygen saturation level high enough to kill pathogens, oxidize toxins so they can be eliminated more easily… and kill cancer cells.

The latter has been proven over and over, but disregarded by conventional and even many alterative or complementary medical professionals in the US… The medical establishment states that blood oxygen saturation levels of 96 to 97 1/2 % are normal. That is in my experience utterly false! Those levels are sufficient of maintain life, but not at the level of activities of body parts and systems at which they can actually cope with the onslaughts of modern life. These subtly over the years and decades reduce functions of said parts and systems so they can no longer protect our bodies… All those levels can do is ‘keep us going’, i.e. we become the walking wounded, who can function [sort of] but less and less well over time, until a high-intensity red-alert crisis become visible.

These crises all have scary names, the treatments generally suppress symptoms for a while, but the underlying problems still manifest in one form or another [or one disease-label or another]… and all of them cost unreasonably in terms of not only money but in terms of what the disorders and their treatments take out of our lives. That is why I saw the oncologist a few times, but finding nothing of real use or value there… Being unable to afford the alternative or complementary practitioners, I had no choice but to study and experiment my way out of this dilemma. That meant lots of study, much review of notes taken while reading, comparing various methodologies which made sense, and figuring out how to adapt what I knew might work, to things which might work for me but met my personal criteria [affordability, do-ability, safety].

I am using 2 prescription drugs, one of which is harmless in small amounts [hydrazine sulphate] and the other is just ordinary vitamin B-12 shots, in self-administered daily microdoses. The latter I did originally just to raise exceedingly-low energy-levels [I was unable to do much of anything standing up, needed to heat foods sitting in a drafting chair by the stove, and could prepare only the simplest of meals].

I’ve known the medical name of B-12 for 30 years, but after reading a book which explained that the cyanide traces of laetrile [apricot kernel extract] are what made it work, realized that B-12 contains cyanide. This is likely the reason it helps cancer patients so much!! [cyanocobalamin] I can tell you that I take twice what the Gerson clinic in Mexico tells patients to use [I take 100 ccs daily], and can feel the difference within a day or 2 of skipping or skimping on those shots due to time constraints. How I get my blood oxygen levels up… proven with a blood test I didn’t expect to get, 2 hrs. after the first time I used my method – is super-simple: I ozonate pure drinking water for a minimum of 15 minutes, drink on an empty stomach and don’t eat or drink till that water clears my stomach. The ozone breaks down into oxygen in the bloodstream within a few minutes, changes skin colour from pasty yellow-grey to healthy rosy undertone [due to oxygen showing through skin via capillaries, which lie just under the skin surface]… Cancer calls cannot live in highly oxygenated blood; neither can pathogenic microorganisms which contribute so much to survival and metastasis of cancer cells. Ozone and other oxidative equipment can be very expensive, as can the devices used for this by practitioners… I realized I already had a device which could ozonate water: my inexpensive air ozonator, which has an emitter tube that ozonates drinking water very nicely. This is of course slower than what the professionals do as oxidative therapies, but done as often as possible has helped kill cancer cells and pathogens very effectively. [I went through an unusually long, cold, nasty mountain winter here without a single cold let alone flu, bronchitis or pneumonia, while my 2 caregivers had very frequent colds and worse all during this past winter.] This is the first winter in probably 50 years that I didn’t have at least one big respiratory infection. I also have used herbs, colloidal silver, homeopathic remedies, diet adapted to what my body will digest and utilize [which was precious little, when things were at their worst and I weighed 85 lbs. and couldn’t tolerate any raw food of any kind, not a bite of salad or sip of raw juice]. But now I can utilize a lot more foods and more of them… I gained 10 lbs and it’s all solid muscle. [actually gained 15 lbs, but the stress of prolonged major hassles in moving really messed things up in some ways. However, I came out of it losing pounds but gaining energy and muscle-mass, and feeling better, due to being conscientious about enough of my treatment regimen to counterbalance negative stuff.] I found that I did not need medical experts to treat me in person; what I needed was the totality of perhaps a hundred experts’ work and results…

To cherry-pick for the parts which I could actually make use of and which looked as if they might possibly work, what didn’t work, or work fast enough or well enough, was either dropped or modified into something which was effective. What worked was retained as long as it did something useful, and probably 2/3 to 3/4 of what was on the original list of things to try, turned out to be workable enough to meld into a regimen I could actually follow through on during this arduous lengthy moving process [8 months of it, mostly ‘Murphy’s-law days’]. All of which tends to support the idea that we are endowed with a great deal more strength and ingenuity than we’ve been led to believe we have, by echelons of professional certified experts.

A supportive local MD can be tremendously helpful, if you can find one who will accept the patient as a full partner in patient’s own care and who will work with, rather than on that patient… a doctor who actually listens, not fake-listens, and who can tolerate the concept of patient as partner [rather than a body to treat by rote formulas]. Such a doctor will order tests that can monitor the progress of self treatment… and though I do quite well with pendulum-dowsing as diagnostic and treatment-monitoring method, it’s very reassuring to see results in the right medical tests!

Those results surprised the daylights out of my cardiologist/internist, but he’s been just wonderful and said, well, you can’t argue with results. and he has shown me tremendous supportiveness even when behind that neutral demeanour he hadn’t a clue that what I believed I could do, could be done. Then the fluid in my chest which was not medically-possible to eliminate, went away… no more draining of quarts of it from chest every week or 2. Then the x-ray which showed one cancer shrinking over 3 months between x-rays. then the weight gain, blood oxygen level reports with skin colour changes, improvements in standard test panels like CBC [complete blood chemistry], clear sign and symptom improvements he could actually see for himself… Then, a cancer the size of a man’s fist and growing fast as of last June, undetectable by ultrasound by end of last year.

He has come to see that what I told him a couple of months ago is actually true: that medical personnel, most particularly US medical doctors, have been and still are being systematically underinformed, misinformed and dis-informed. They have been prevented from practising the good medicine they really set out to practice, but have been denied both the right info and the legal right to do that. and that a determined patient who is willing to do the homework or has someone who can and will do it for them, can pull off apparent miracles, simply by learning what has worked when done by a large variety of alternative/complementary experts, and adapting that to the patient’s personal individual needs and capacities. The things I’ve learned about address not only cancer but basics that are present in probably most other chronic disorders…

I had a slew of other things which were in fact present, but which were secondary to the underlying causes. These got treated, but either came back or something else replaced them. The underlying contributory causes which allowed cancer to develop and flourish for 8 years were what actually needed to be identified and addressed. When these were addressed, all sorts of stuff which I was not even aiming at have improved which I suspect is evidence that addressing basic contributing causes can clear up a lot more than simply the apparent red-alert crisis condition.

In my case, the signs and symptoms and even lab markers of a blood cancer of some sort were blazingly evident for a good 8 years before this was actually diagnosed, but I didn’t find that out till studying conventional medical material from the American Medical Society, and the lymphoma and leukemia society… where these dunderheads were coming from during those 8 years, is more than anything else a matter of their being so under-informed, misinformed, and dis-informed. [Yes, it would be so easy to blame the medical profession… but I know better. That’s why I studied the stuff they’ve been told is quackery, and determined for myself what might be workable for my own particular needs.] and that last is the key: what are each individual’s actual [not medically determined by conventional standards alone] needs, limitations, plus-points? Find that out, find out what’s been proven to work well if properly utilized, be willing to change any factors which need changing, and do not rule out conventional stuff altogether because some of it has real value which can buy time for the less-damaging methods to do their job.

Bless you for caring enough about Olga and her brother in law to make the appeal which you did for help for him… Love can move not just mountains but whole continents, figuratively speaking.
My best to you and to Olga and her family.
Aileen Warsher
[Editor’s Note]
The above email was one of many in response of an email appeal for help from a PH reader’s (Olga’s) brother-in-law who was gravely ill from cancer.


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