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Letters to the Editor Issue 227

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 227 - January 2016

Lyme Disease Research Campaign - www.indiegogo.com/projects/lyme-disease-research#/

by Maggie Tisserand

Lyme disease is a growing epidemic with many hundreds of thousands of sufferers in the United States and millions worldwide. It is an emerging disease in the UK, where I live, and this campaign is to raise money for research. If sufficient funds are raised I will be able to commission microbiology research in a UK university, but if not I will pay a private microbiology lab to conduct tests, pitting essential oils against Borrelia bacteria - the bacterial spirochaete that causes Lyme disease. When results are in I will get that information into the public domain. And, I will start a Lyme awareness campaign in schools.

Even if you are not in a position to help me financially do please get the message out to your community and add my campaign details to your Twitter feeds.

My FaceBook page is www.facebook.com/LymediseaseresearchMaggieTisserand/  

Please do check into Facebook from time to time to see how I am getting along.

For me this is a very exciting, but hugely challenging journey, and your support is important and greatly appreciated.

Thank You

Further Information

To donate to this campaign, please visit:

www.indiegogo.com/projects/lyme-disease-research#/

www.maggietisserand.com

www.facebook.com/LymediseaseresearchMaggieTisserand/

 

Shills Depriving Patients of Proper Alternative Treatment

by Dr Amir BDS LDS RCS (Eng) MSc (London)

Republished from http://dramir.com/blog/archives/850-Shills-depriving-patients-of-proper-alternative-treatment.html

"Unconventional ideas in science are seldom positively greeted by those benefiting from conformity"

Marcell Truzzi Sociologist

 

Dr Mercola sheds light on the surreptitious methods used by various corporations:

"The food, chemical, and biotechnology industries have all built up intricate and powerful systems designed to manipulate public and scientific opinion using false front organizations and industry shills posing as independent experts. The mission is to mislead people, including lazy reporters, about issues that threaten the corporate bottom line.

[Shilling] is frequently used to discredit the opposition and create the false appearance of scientific consensus on a particular issue.

Astroturfing refers to the effort on the part of special interests to surreptitiously sway public opinion by making it appear as though there's a grassroots effort for or against a particular agenda, when in reality such a groundswell of public opinion might not exist. One hallmark of astroturfing is attacking those who question the status quo, and using derogatory terms such as "crank," "crack," "nutty," "pseudo-science," and "conspiracy theorist" to describe them and their argument. These shills also inject themselves into social media discussions, pretending to be ‘regular people’, when in fact they have a very clearly defined agenda to steer the conversation"

When visiting the forums and Web sites of many "illness"+ Societies one can’t help but notice the many neuroscientists or others with academic doctorates who masquerade as medical doctors suffering from the illness highlighted by the organization. These individuals post information and opinions that appear designed to sway the public away from any alternative form of treatment. Their tactics include blatant attacks on any suggestion or treatment that does not include costly drug regimens. Although these attacks rarely take the form of objective evidence presented to support the speaker’s disparagement, the less educated public will often accept the criticism at face value and adopt the opinion that the suggested treatment is one to steer clear of. These are much rehearsed and refined techniques which these establishments employ to their full advantage.

However, the distortion of treatment alternatives is not the only issue with these organizations. Recently several notable illness awareness societies have come under attack for various reasons including their fiscal management. A recent case in point concerns an MS survivor drawing attention to the fact that Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada spent only 15% of its $211MM of revenue on research into the disease. The majority of the money was used on salaries and fundraising. Considering that these organization’s ‘honourable’ fronts attract volunteers by the hundreds - who do not receive any compensation, the majority of these salaries are paid to executives and administrative staff.

A new patient described his suffering and the losses he incurred. If any of you have suffered in this way you have every legitimate right to sue some of these racketeering societies and people behind these forums whose intention is mainly to promote the drug agenda and swat anyone with any other legitimate view. The unnecessary prolongation of your pain, suffering and financial losses are actionable. If moderators of forums have allowed such behaviour to continue they can be held equally accountable.

One victim patient wrote in the international forum Thisisms:

"I take a real issue with certain posters on forums such as this, who time and time again plant the seed of doubt into the minds of people who seriously need help. Dr Amir, so far as I can tell, is consistently getting the best results the UK has ever seen with people diagnosed with MS.  His treatment makes logical sense even to a lay person. There are numerous writings from various authorities that back up the theory. He is healing people, rather than crudely wallpapering over a couple of symptoms while creating a couple more. The most important thing is that his patients are seeing real, true, lasting, some would say miraculous results. Frankly, in the face of overwhelming positive support from real people who are being truly cured in a way that makes clear and logical sense - how am I going to trust any study funded by any drug company with their own motives over this? And yet, there are those who, having never been treated by him, nor having had a consultation with him, nor even having ever met the man - insist on trying to discredit him time and time again. Looking through, I see that Dr Amir has well and truly shot down all their silly little "arguments". And yet, they can't accept that.

“When I first learnt about how much the mouth (teeth & jaws) affects the entire body, it was through an article on the renowned Weston Price website. It was written by an American doctor. This started me on a quest to find someone in the UK who has the same understanding that he so clearly articulated there.  This was before I learned about shills - people who are paid by or represent major drug companies, to discredit anybody who claims MS or other issues can be cured by something other than drugs. These people, whose actions seem so innocent and harmless, planted the seed of doubt in my mind which stopped me from seeking Dr Amir's help. Doubt is like a virus. I had no logical reason to doubt Dr Amir as, looking back, their posts didn't even make sense. They're irrelevant. They miss the forest for the trees. But the human mind is limited, so just seeing those one or two contrary statements made me disregard him as an option.

“Instead I went with a well-known orthotropist who does palate expansion and other jaw work in adults. This is someone who (the opposite of Dr Amir) is loud with his marketing and has videos and all sorts to grab people's attention. After lots of time and money spent with him, I had to stop as his treatment was obviously not working. It was also becoming increasingly apparent that he really didn't have much experience in treating adults. The whole thing was a depressing waste of time & money, and I was getting worse (migraines etc). This made me continue searching until I stumbled upon Dr Amir's writings again. This time, having recently learned about shills, I re-read forums such as this, and the whole thing read differently to me. I saw what was going on, and I knew I had to see Dr Amir. Having that consultation I believe has changed the course of my life. Dr Amir diagnosed what was wrong with me to the dot - something which dentists, orthodontists, the aforementioned orthotropist, doctors... NOBODY had ever noticed before. Had I continued my previous course of treatment with the orthotropist, it would have exacerbated my condition (to be brief, it involves a severe misalignment of my teeth which isn't obvious as demonstrated by the fact nobody before had diagnosed it). He showed me how this, without any doubt, has caused all the health issues that I'd been suffering with, including many which I thought were just mental or stress-related.

“Those petty few on forums such as this, who focus in on the tiniest thing and take it out of context, in order to divert people's attention from the main message and create doubt about Dr Amir..... They are messing with people's health, with people's lives. People like me who desperately need help, and who are put off going to see someone like Dr Amir, because of their posts. Man, I don't want that kind of karma. It seems like an innocent question here or there, but the effects can be disastrous, and they are great examples of the wolf in sheep's clothing.

“If you are reading this and have considered seeing Dr Amir but have doubts after reading comments from certain posters: Please heed my words. Ignore the nit pickers and look at the core of what Dr Amir is saying. Go and see him, even if it's just for a consultation. I cannot stress this enough - I am so incredibly grateful that I went to see him - I didn't even think he'd accept me for treatment because I didn't think I was that bad. I thought my problems were all stress-related and everyone told me my teeth & jaws were fine. Well, some of the wisest people in various walks of life have said something along the lines of "the majority is usually wrong", which I've come to see is so true. I write this as someone who wishes they saw something like this written when I first read through this forum. It would have saved me a lot of money, time, health and happiness.”

ARAK

Remember you might as well throw your money in the trash can than give to some of these corrupt entities.

Posted by Doctor M. Amir in Multiple Sclerosis at 01:38

- See more at: http://dramir.com/blog/archives/850-Shills-depriving-patients-of-proper-alternative-treatment.html#sthash.UsPUopBP.dpuf

 

The Cam Ban Scam – We Need You! The Future As We See It

by Anthony Rees, General Secretary

According to many opinion leaders in the Natural Health Product (NHP) industry, the public’s future access to natural health products (NHPs) and those tied to them by profession looks bleak in South Africa. There is a systematic ‘shut-down’ of natural health products (NHP’s) and choice underway, and it needs to be stopped NOW!

We do not want to find ourselves in a situation like in Canada, where tens of thousands of safe, effective and good quality products were withdrawn either voluntarily from the market because of the high cost of regulatory compliance, or because they didn’t tick the boxes demanded by bureaucrats in the regulatory body, who can only think through the lens of an inappropriate pharmaceutical premarket approval regimen.

There is no more time to be complacent as a company, health store or practitioner. If you want to save this industry from ruin caused by unelected bureaucrats and those with vested interests in the eradication of over-the-counter natural health products, you must take action and responsibility for your sector now. We are just three years away from the last category call-ups, and the gazetting of further restrictive regulatory amendments earmarked for immediate implementation at the end of this year.

What follows in this month’s opinion piece is an explanation of how the regulations will affect the different sectors involved with NHPs.

TNHA Stakeholders

The TNHA will soon be extending its activities by activating new stakeholder associations for those affected across the natural health product value chain.

We will be launching these associations as focus groups from existing and new members who would like to belong to an association which will represent their interests and vigorously oppose the regulations for NHPs, which are unconstitutional, irrational and inappropriate.

The five sector groups will include, manufacturers, raw ingredient suppliers, retailers, practitioners and the public.

They will be founded as branches of the TNHA, working in unison to analyse, research and timorously respond to regulatory threats, and lobby for new legislation for the industry, by the industry and of the industry.

All affected parties are encouraged to join these associations so that we can present a united front, calling for the dismantlement of the current regulations and propose a new directorate for natural health products, separate from the Medicines Control Council.  We are currently drafting a new Bill for Traditional & Natural Health Products, similar to one being currently adopted in the New Zealand parliament, which will place African Traditional Medicines and NHPs outside the jurisdiction of the MCC, and which will allow them to be regulated by an autonomous Directorate in the Department of Health.  

A leading local political party has expressed interest in sponsoring and proposing such a Bill.  Persons or companies with vested interests in the pharmaceutical industry and the manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs will be precluded from joining these new associations. In the last decade we have witnessed how large multinational pharmaceutical companies have gained a foothold in national health product associations across the globe and gradually steered these organizations towards accepting and adopting pharmaceutical regulations for NHPs.  This has significantly weakened the genuine NHP sector, and allowed regulators to adopt laws with built in ‘regulatory creep’, eventually strangling the lifeblood out of the innovative, small and medium sized companies which are committed to keeping their business 100% natural. 

The TNHA currently represents 176 small and medium sized NHP manufacturers in South Africa, who unanimously reject the current pharmaceutical regulatory regime for NHPs. Through the establishment of a new trade association for real NHP manufacturers, importers and distributors, members will be able steer their own course and have their voices heard, plus utilise our legal counsel to challenge the status quo.

Soon after the establishment of each sector-based association, interim leaders will be nominated from among the association’s membership. One person from the leadership of each sector-based association will be co-opted onto the TNHA Executive Committee, so that there will be fair representation on the TNHA central governing body.

These new arms of the TNHA will be self-funding. Up until now, membership with the TNHA has been free. Generous donations and sponsorship has keep us strong, but in order to expand our reach and have the resources to effectively fund lobbying and litigation costs, cost recovery in the form of reasonable annual membership fees will be levied. 

More information on these developments will follow shortly.  If you are already a member of the TNHA, you will be contacted and invited to join your new sector-based association. We urge lend you shoulder to push the wheel by sponsoring our efforts as the TNHA, and/or to volunteer you time to the cause by taking up a leadership position.

Anthony Rees, General Secretary

Further Information

Traditional & Natural Health Alliance

contact@naturalhealthalliance.co.za

www.naturalhealthalliance.co.za

 

Complete Remission Rates for Almost All Late-Stage Cancer Types, Regardless of Treatment, are Equally Low

Complete Responses (CRs) are dramatic, highly desirable situations for patients where all cancer disappears. A meta-analysis of CR rates from chemotherapy treatment of common types of late-stage cancer during a six-year period shows that CRs have, however, remained surprisingly low despite extensive efforts to improve them.

The report, Chemotherapy for Late-Stage Cancer Patients: Meta-Analysis of Complete Response Rates by colleaguesat Melbourne and Adelaide universities, has passed peer review on F1000Research http://f1000research.com/articles/4-232/v1.[1]

The researchers reported the results of a meta-analysis of 68 chemotherapy trials for cancer treatment between 2000 and 2006 - before the gradual introduction of targeted cancer therapies (drugs that target specific molecular pathways in tumour cells) from 2007, which today can be prescribed alongside cytotoxic drugs.

They found that, regardless of cancer types, chemotherapeutic agent or dose regimen used, the CR rates for patients were equally low, between 5-10 percent across most cancer types, with a mean of 7.41 percent. Such low values and such a high similarity in response rates between cancer types and treatments is both unusual and surprising.

There are, however, rare notable exceptions, such as testicular carcinoma and childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which are known to be highly chemo-responsive with CR rates of around 80-90 percent; these were not covered by this research.

Brendon Coventry, the Principal Investigator for the study, said, “The finding that late stage cancer CR rates have remained at a similarly low level over this six-year period, despite diligent clinical effort to improve therapies, strongly suggests that an underlying mechanism is preventing rates from increasing above 10 percent. If this mechanism can be further understood or overcome, CR rates could be significantly increased.”

Although this research looked at trials conducted between 2000 and 2006, it is still highly relevant today because, as Coventry says, "CR rates even from 'targeted' therapies are often around 5-10 percent too, indicative of some underlying mechanism limiting the ability to produce CRs in patients".  

Although 'targeted' cancer therapies are becoming more widely used, they only work in a subset of patients with the ‘right’ type of mutation in their tumours.  As such, many patients without those mutations still only receive chemotherapy regimens. It remains to be seen how targeted therapies can improve on CR rates in advanced cancer patients.

Reference

1. Ashdown ML, Robinson AP, Yatomi-Clarke SL et al. Chemotherapy for Late-Stage Cancer Patients: Meta-Analysis of Complete Response Rates [version 1; referees: 2 approved] F1000Research 2015, 4:232 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.6760.1)

Further Information

Please contact Andrew Baud, Tala (on behalf of F1000 Research) on Tel: +44 (0) 20 3397 3383; +44 (0) 7775 715775. andrew.baud@teamtala.com

Source: "Harriet Mountford" harriet.mountford@teamtala.com

About F1000Research

F1000Research is an open science publishing platform for life scientists that offers immediate publication and transparent peer review, avoiding editorial bias and ensuring the inclusion of all source data.  This process helps scientists to avoid the traditional, anonymous, pre-publication peer-review process that can cause long delays before new results become visible.

All articles must pass an initial in-house quality check prior to publication on F1000Research. Following open, invited peer review where the referee’s name and affiliation and the referee reports are published alongside the article, authors can make revisions that are then published as new article versions. Since its launch in January 2013, F1000Research has published more than 1,000 articles across the life sciences, written by 4,000 authors. For more details on F1000Research go to www.f1000research.com

 

Comment about Exercise

Exercise is in general a good thing as the article Being Truly Alive by Staugaard-Jones published in PH Online Issue 226 urges. Many people lead lives that are otherwise lacking in exertion - sedentary commuting, screen/button employment and leisure, household tasks without labour.

There's something artificial however about exercise for its own sake: running marathons and operating gym machines etc. provide some cardiovascular fitness, but they (and cosmetic muscles) are oddly arbitrary. Repetition is uninspiring and if performed incorrectly does damage. Vigour alone does help to counter depression but is better in an appropriate context of posture and expression.

Activity with some intrinsic purpose - from practical DIY to dance as art - has a natural validity simply because bodies are evolved for integrated use in life. Practical function might also help Highly Sensitive Persons by Markowitz PH 226 from the confines of inner experience.

The movement analysis deriving from Rudolf Laban provides an instrument for checking an individual's balance of activity Moving Well: Laban Movement Therapy in Action by Salter PH Online Issue 107. A 'movement prescription' is based on the aspects needing to be added. If, for example, a sport is to be the provision there are obvious differences of effort quality, body use and psycho-social context between badminton, darts, swimming and football.

Dr Edwin A Salter kl.humanfactors@talktalk.net

 

National Institute of Medical Herbalists Draws Attention to a Herbal Alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy 

National Institute of Medical Herbalists draws attention to a herbal alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy The National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) draws attention to research published in the journal Family Health of trials that show menopause symptoms can be treated safely and effectively by medicinal herbs: http://fampra.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/5/468.abstract?sid=ac553b88-7bb9-41df-a146-0be2a1d4e1ad .

Between about 40 and 52 years of age most women will experience the menopause. During the menopause ovarian hormone levels decline, leading to a variety of physical and emotional symptoms. These include not just the better known hot flushes but also loss of confidence, nervousness and mood swings. Symptoms can precede the cessation of a regular period, often presenting as a marked increase in pre-menstrual symptoms.

Increasingly women are understanding more about HRT and its potential side-effects, and many prefer to use natural therapies at this time.

Herbs can provide a gentle and effective approach to the menopause, supporting the hormonal and nervous systems. Many medicinal herbs and foods contain ‘phyto-oestrogens’ which can be used to enhance the body’s hormonal status. These phyto oestrogens provide the body with their starting point for manufacturing its own hormones, helping to balance fluctuating hormonal levels. The herbs employed by medical herbalists when working with individual patients help to maintain a healthy hormonal system.

Notes

The National Institute of Medical Herbalists is the UK's leading professional body representing herbal medicine practitioners. First established as the National Association of Medical Herbalists in 1864, today the National Institute of Medical Herbalists has more than 700 members across the UK and beyond. The Institute promotes the benefits of herbal medicine and oversees the provision of the best patient care through the work of its members.

NIMH members undergo a lengthy training programme before they can register as qualified medical herbalists. Practitioners train for at least three years and adhere to a strict code of conduct before they can gain MNIMH or FNIMH after their name. Recently qualified practitioners will have taken a BSc in Phytotherapy (herbal medicine). All NIMH-registered herbalists are fully insured, and follow a strict code of conduct.

NIMH-registered medical herbalists are trained in the same diagnostic skills as mainstream doctors but take a more holistic approach to treating illness. Herbalists treat a wide range of acute and chronic conditions and frequently work in collaboration with GPs and consultants to achieve the best combination of treatments for individual patients.

Further Information

NIMH can be contacted on Tel: +44 (0) 1392 426022; Fax: +44 (0) 1392 498963;  prconsultant@nimh.org.uk    www.nimh-conference.com

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