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Editorial Issue 104

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 104 - October 2004

Since reading Vaccination: A Guide for Making Personal Choices (reviewed on page 61), I have continued to be impressed by the stunning clarity of this little book. Author Dr Hans-Peter Studer and Editor Dr Geoffrey Douch have succeeded in presenting one of the most complex and contentious health topics of today – the subject of vaccination – in a highly informative, factually accurate, yet unpatronizing and unbiased manner.

Vaccination is one of those polarizing subjects that are usually presented as either a life saving necessity with dire consequences if not performed, or a potentially damaging medical procedure with dire consequences if performed. Rarely have I seen or heard a balanced presentation which discusses the complexities of the numerous types of vaccines available, their composition, their availability as single or combined vaccines, the vaccination schedule for that particular vaccine and the potential choices available regarding vaccination.

The entire medical establishment, including the government and the World Health Organization is highly pro-vaccination and usually uses scare-mongering tactics (no herd immunity, children dying of measles epidemics, etc.) to threaten beleaguered and conscientious parents into succumbing to the horrible pressure of vaccinating their children at terribly young ages, as young as 2-4 months.

Drs Studer and Douch, in their highly commendable approach, provide a historical overview of vaccination, discuss adverse side effects, unwelcome constituents such as thiomersal (mercury-containing compound), aluminium and formaldehyde, inappropriate scheduling of vaccination (when ill, pregnant, undergoing cancer treatment) and vaccine surveillance (the yellow card system).

They fully discuss vaccinations within the context of the immune system, childhood immune development and the role childhood infections play in perhaps protecting childhood from atopic (allergic) illnesses later in life. In other words, that illness can train our immune system. Also, that vaccination is not the same as natural infection, in that many of the body's own immune barriers are bypassed during vaccination and that vaccinations do not always provide complete protection, nor do they protect all vaccinated individuals.

There is a very thoughtful chapter discussing when to vaccinate, which vaccines to avoid under possible individual circumstances and what to do if complications arise following vaccination.

The above takes up about half this little book of only 96 pages; the remaining half goes through each of the specific vaccinations available, discussing the particular illness, the vaccination available, its side effects and recommendations.

In their discussions, the authors are very balanced; they are not anti-vaccination, but neither do they recommend every vaccination in every individual circumstance. In consideration of all the options and situations of children, they introduce possible choices of delaying certain vaccinations until the child is slightly older. However, in the event that the child may be at risk from dangerous illnesses due to exposure from other young children, they present arguments for vaccination.

Decisions regarding vaccination are never going to be easy for conscientious parents; however, having all the background information, facts, as well as considered recommendations is exactly how all such material should be presented.

I, along with probably a majority of Positive Health readers, have envisaged such an inclusive approach to our entire healthcare system, encompassing natural, complementary and alternative therapies as well as conventional drugs and surgery-based medicine. Individuals with diagnosed complaints such as allergies, back pain, asthma, arthritis, even cancer and heart disease ought to be offered a range of treatments, starting from the least harmful, such as diet and lifestyle interventions, nutritional and herbal medicine, massage and bodywork as appropriate. If these approaches are not successful and symptoms become more serious, then more aggressive measures including drugs, surgery, etc are undertaken. In the event of life-threatening illness or traumatic accidents, where there isn't the luxury of time to save lives, whatever is necessary to save life and limb should be undertaken.

In order for this type of healthcare to become implemented, an integrated system of medicine is required, with medical physicians knowledgeable about complementary disciplines to the extent that they can refer patients to the appropriate practitioner. Complementary therapists would work together with conventional doctors in an integrated system: practitioners would benefit from doctors' superior diagnostic and medical skills; medical doctors would have more clinical approaches available for their patients; and patients would benefit from a joined-up system, and be spared the long-winded and sometimes agonizing journey to find an approach that works for them.

Cuba's Green Revolution – Natural Medicine Advances by Geoff D'Arcy (see page 32) describes a medical system that is green, herbal, nutritional, homeopathic with acupuncture, not out of choice, but out of lack of funding for high-tech medicine approaches. Physicians and nurses are offered four-year speciality training in traditional Chinese medicine, and two-year master's programmes and various courses and seminars. The result is that patients are prescribed foods and herbs rather than drugs, prevention is emphasized and large incentives are offered to farmers to produce 100% organic produce. On the high-tech side, Cuba is also a world leader specializing in the treatment and rehabilitation of people with neurological injuries and illnesses and development of stem cell technology.

Surely 21st century medicine deserves to include all healthcare modalities; this is worth the good fight.


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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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