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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Homeopathic Treatment of Arthritis

Arthritis is caused by a variety of factors. The individual’s immune system will try to fight it, in order to  heal itself. However, when arthritis becomes a chronic condition, it will have reached the stage when it is no longer able to do so.

Conventional medicine has little to offer arthritis sufferers other than temporary pain relief that does not get to the cause of the pain. The NHS admit this when it says:

               "There is no cure for arthritis but there are a number of treatments that can help slow down the condition’s progress".

As a result, patients will too often find that in time they are taking ever-stronger pain killers, for limited and temporary relief. And most likely suffering from all the attendant adverse reactions, and Disease-Inducing-Effects (DIEs) of long-term drug taking.

Indeed, pharmaceutical drugs may well be a major contributing cause of the epidemic levels of arthritis we are now suffering (see the 'Creation of Illness').

Homeopathy, in contrast, seeks to aid and support the body’s own defences, and to stimulate a person's own healing abilities. This more natural approach can be very effective. It can be helpful in relieving the pain and stiffness associated with the condition, and has more to offer in terms of long-term treatment. Nor are we so concerned with the many types of arthritis and rheumatism that are diagnosed now, like osteo-arthritis, rheumatoid –arthritis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, polymyalgia and so on. In homeopathy we focus on individual symptoms, which vary greatly, rather than a named or diagnosed condition

There are several homeopathic remedies that can treat arthritis effectively, and some of these are listed below. Self-treatment is possible, and there are some ‘broad formula’ products for arthritis (available at stores like Boots, and Holland and Barratts). But these are generally effective only for treating acute bouts of pain rather than the underlying cause of the disease.

But with such a difficult, and varied disease, professional homeopathic treatment is usually required, especially if the condition is becoming long-term, and if you are looking for deeper, longer-lasting relief from the pain (see this website for a list of professional homeopaths in Britain).

Arnica: Chronic arthritis with a feeling of bruising and soreness. The painful parts feel worse from being moved or touched. (Herbal Arnica gels and ointments may also help to soothe arthritic pain when applied externally to areas of inflammation and soreness)

Aurum met: Wandering pains in the muscles and joints that are better from motion and warmth, and worse at night. Deep pain may be felt in the limbs when the person tries to sleep, or discomfort may wake the person up. People who need this remedy are often serious and focused on work or career, with a tendency to feel depressed.

Bryonia: This remedy can be helpful for stiffness and inflammation with tearing or throbbing pain, made worse by even the smallest motion. The condition may have developed gradually, and is worse in cold dry weather. Discomfort is aggravated by being touched or bumped, or from any movement. Pressure brings relief (if it stabilises the area) and improvement also comes from rest. The person may want to move, but has to stay completely still and not be interfered with.

Calcarea carbonica: This remedy may be useful for deeply aching arthritis involving node formation around the joints. Inflammation and soreness are worse from cold and dampness, and problems may be focused on the knees and hands. Weakness in the muscles, easy fatigue from exertion, and a feeling of chilliness or sluggishness are common. A person who needs Calcarea is often solid and responsible, but tends to become extremely anxious and overwhelmed when ill or overworked.

Causticum: This remedy may be indicated when deformities develop in the joints, in a person with a tendency toward tendon problems, muscle weakness, and contractures. The hands and fingers may be most affected, although other joints can also be involved. Stiffness and pain are worse from being cold, and relief may come with warmth. A person who needs this remedy often feels best in rainy weather and worse when the days are clear and dry.

Calcarea fluorica: This remedy is often indicated when arthritic pains improve with heat and motion. Joints become enlarged and hard, and nodes or deformities develop. Arthritis after chronic injury to joints also responds to Calcarea fluorica.

Dulcamara: If arthritis flares up during cold damp weather, or after the person gets chilled and wet, this remedy may be indicated. People needing Dulcamara are often stout, with a tendency toward back pain, chronic stiffness in the muscles, and allergies.

Kali birch: When this remedy is indicated, arthritic pains may alternate with asthma or stomach symptoms. Pains may suddenly come and go, or shift around. Discomfort and inflammation are aggravated by heat, and worse when the weather is warm.

Kali carb: Arthritis with great stiffness and stitching pains, worse in the early morning hours and worse from cold and dampness, may respond to this remedy—especially if joints are becoming thickened or deformed. People who need this remedy often have a rigid moral code, and tend to feel anxiety in the stomach.

Kalmia: Intense arthritic pain that flares up suddenly may responds to this remedy—especially when problems start in higher joints and extend to lower ones. Pain and inflammation may begin in the elbows, spreading downward to the wrists and hands. Discomfort is worse from motion and often worse at night.

Ledum: Arthritis that starts in lower joints and extends to higher ones may respond to this remedy. Pain and inflammation often begin in the toes and spread upward to the ankles and knees. The joints may also make cracking sounds. Ledum is strongly indicated when swelling is significant and relieved by cold applications.

Pulsatilla: If the arthritis pain is changeable in quality, or flare-ups move from place to place, and gentle motions relieves the pain, this remedy may be useful. The symptoms (and the person) feel worse from warmth, and better from fresh air and cold applications. People who need this remedy usually are emotional and affectionate, sometimes having tearful moods.

Rhododendron: This remedy is strongly indicated if swelling and soreness flare up before a storm, and continues until the weather clears. Cold and dampness aggravate the symptoms. Discomfort is often worse toward early morning, or after staying still too long. The person feels better from warmth and gentle motion, and also after eating.

Rhus tox: arthritis, with pain and stiffness that is worse in the morning and worse on first motion, but better from continued movement, may be helped with this remedy. Hot baths or showers, and warm applications improve the stiffness and relieve the pain. The condition is worse in cold, wet weather. The person may feel extremely restless, unable to find a comfortable position, and need to keep moving constantly. Continued motion also helps to relieve anxiety.

Ruta grav: arthritis with a feeling of great stiffness and lameness, worse from cold and damp and worse from exertion, may be helped with this remedy. Tendons and capsules of the joints can be deeply affected or damaged. The arthritis may have developed after overuse, or from repeated wear and tear.

There are many other remedies, and as always with homeopathy, it is important to match the right remedy with the right person.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

BBC News whitewashes Statin Drugs!

BBC News is always doing Big Pharma's advertising for them - free of charge. On BBCs 'Today' programme (17th May 2012) it was reported that even healthy (low-risk) people should be taking Statin drugs, and that by doing so, 1000s of heart attacks and strokes could be prevented. They quote evidence published in the Lancet.

So the millions listening to BBC News this morning will be left with the understanding that there are no problems taking Statin drugs.
* No mention of adverse reactions.
* No mention of Disease-Inducing-Effects (DIEs).
* No mention that Statins are now known to cause Diabetes.
* No mention of serious structural muscle damage.
* No mention of serious skin diseases.
* No mention of Prostate Cancer.
* No mention of heart disease.
* No mention of Arthritis.

It seems pointless to BBC News why they continue to remain quite ignorant about all this evidence? Or indeed to suggest they might like to look at this website - and indeed so many other websites from organisations that, unlike the BBC, are prepared to fully inform their readers and listeners. Or is the BBC merely content to propagandise for Big Pharma drug companies? Or is it just that your health correspondents are not doing their job properly?

Yet, look at the BBC News website. The same news is put forward here, that is, the benefits of taking Statins. But this also mentions at least some of the downsides of Statins. So BBC News is aware! I have to assume, therefore, that it is just not prepared to tell its listeners (and viewers?)

I wonder if the BBC has an explanation for this? Is it because BBC News is aware that their Radio and Television News broadcasts are listened to by millions, whilst their website is seen only by thousands. Does honesty at the BBC News, certainly in their health reporting, only stretch so far.

I notice this research has been published on the GP website, Pulse; with no mention of adverse reactions, other than the usual 'the benefits outweigh the disadvantages' argument. But there are some interesting comments. First, that "nearly all the trials and authors are subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Industry", and second, that "after more than two decades of statin use, heart disease appears to still be prevalent and statins are not having any noticeable effect on cardiovascular disease incidence rates".

But it is unlikely that BBC News will be very interested in such matters! But there is a further matter, why is BBC News, and other mainstream Media outlets, not putting forward other medical research that does not involve advertising for drug companies? If they are genuinely concerned about lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and preventing heart attacks and strokes, this new research might be of interest. It was reported by the WDDTY magazine today.

"High-dose vitamin C lowers blood pressure, prevents stroke. Taking 0.5g of vitamin C – the equivalent of drinking six glasses of orange juice – every day lowers your blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke.
The amount, which is around five times the recommended daily allowance, is especially effective in people already diagnosed with high blood pressure, or hypertension.
The vitamin can lower blood pressure by 5 millimetres of mercury, which is half as good as an ACE inhibitor or diuretic (water pill), in people with hypertension.  The immediate impact is a 3 millimetres fall, enough to reduce significantly the number of people who suffer a stroke, say researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The researchers think the vitamin works in a similar way to a diuretic, allowing the kidneys to remove more sodium and water from the body, and helping relax blood vessel walls.
The process suggests that vitamin C doesn’t directly reduce rates of cardiovascular disease, they caution.
Vitamin C is found in fruit and vegetables, and can also be taken as supplements.
(Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2012; 95: 1079-88).

It is becoming increasingly clear that Big Pharma drugs are dangerous. It is also becoming increasingly clear that diet, exercise, and other medical therapies, such as Homeopathy, are far safer, and more effective than conventional medical treatment. So perhaps the solution to many health problems can be a little simpler than taking pharmaceutical drugs.

But from this mornings evidence, we cannot rely on the BBC telling us this. Indeed, they don't seem to be in the least interested!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Health Debate (7). Patient Choice and the Conventional Medical Monopoly in the NHS

It was never the intention that the NHS became a monopoly supplier of just one type of medicine. 

Nonetheless, this is virtually the position as it exists today. All UK citizens are all entitled to NHS treatment. But when anyone asks for it, we are routinely and unquestioningly given one type of medicine - conventional, drug based medicine - ConMed. 

What this usually means is that patients are prescribed Big Pharma drugs - that are often useless, and usually dangerous and detrimental to our health - and which an increasing number of people do not want.

So what should the Media be asking about this situation? These are just some of the questions they should be asking, if they were doing their job, and engaging us in "the Health Debate".
  • Why does ConMed dominate the NHS for completely? Why are patients not offered information about, and access to different therapies to treat their illnesses?
  • Why does the NHS fail totally to provide patients with information about and access to the different medical therapies available for treating illness?
  • Why is the ConMed Establishment seeking to stop the NHS spending even small amounts of money on homeopathy, and other CAM therapies?
  • Why is the NHS not researching non-drug therapies, like homeopathy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, reflexology, and others, in terms of the outcomes of such therapies? Why is the NHS not comparing these outcomes with the outcomes from ConMed treatment?
  • Why are many Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) refusing to allow patients to have access to homeopathy, and other CAM therapies, and what is their justification for doing so?
  • Why, when patients are entitled to, and have paid for medical treatment on the NHS, are they being routinely denied access to the therapy of their informed choice.
  • Should patients not have the right to make an informed decision about the medical therapy they wish to use to treat their illness?
  • Why are patients being told that conditions are 'untreatable' by ConMed practitioners when they are treatable using other medical therapies?
Every political party in the UK now speaks about ‘patient choice’. Yet for any patient to have real informed choice, and any patient to give real informed consent, to any treatment, they need access to information about all medical therapies.

The NHS is currently failing to provide both information about alternative medical therapies, and giving patients proper access to them.
But perhaps equally important, the Media, in failing to ask these questions, and provide discussion on all these issues, is failing lamentably in its duty to its readers, listeners and viewers. 

Instead there is a tacit assumption, rife within the mainstream Media, that conventional medicine is the best medicine for everyone, when for an increasing number of us it is most certainly not. Increasing numbers of people are looking for non-drug treatment, and are turning to Homeopathy, and other CAM therapies. Despite this, the Media seems content to suck up to the Conventional Medical Establishment, afraid to question it, fearful of challenging it,and  considering it to be the sole source of medical expertise.

For real patient choice, and to ensure patients are fully informed, every GP surgery should be able to provide good quality and unbiased information about Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Osteopathy, Reflexology, and other medical therapies.

The eighth and final part of this series will seek to make some concluding remarks about 'the Health Debate", and why our mainstream media are refusing to engage.

If you would like to be informed when the final part of this series is published, why not become a 'follower', and sign up for this blog; or subscribe to it by email - and join the Health Debate.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Health Debate (6). Why pharmaceutical drug testing & regulation fails to protect us

Both Drug Testing, and Drug Regulation regimes have been established around the world now for many decades, introduced to protect patients from pharmaceutical drugs that were a threat to our health - drugs like Thalidomide, which caused such havoc to the lives of so many families in the late 1960s, early 1970s.

Both Testing and Regulatory regimes came into being in recognition of the simple, and undeniable fact that Conventional Medical (ConMed) drugs were inherently unsafe, and that the public needed to be safeguarded from them.

However, one notable feature of both Testing and Regulatory regimes over the last 40 years and more, and throughout the world, has been their apparent inability and failure to protect us from useless and dangerous drugs, vaccines and other treatments.

Drug testing has allowed new drugs to be introduced on a regular basis, pronouncing each one to be effective and safe, and often proclaiming many to be 'wonder drugs' , or 'magic bullets. They are then marketed, prescribed to patients for many years, usually producing enormous profits for the Big Pharma drug companies, but one-by-one these same drugs have been found to be dangerous, or ineffective, or both, and they have had to be progressively restricted in their use before being withdrawn or banned.

Drug Regulation was established to verify that new drugs have been properly tested for their safety and effectiveness, prior to giving them approval for use with patients. After this, Regulatory agencies were supposed to monitor the performance of drugs once they are used with patients. However, in far too many instances, drug regulators have allowed pharmaceutical drugs to be used many years after they were initially found to be unsafe or dangerous.

The Health Debate should be concerned with the performance, and even the basic integrity and honesty of both these processes. Indeed, if the mainstream Media had any compassionate interest in their readers, listeners or viewers, all of whom are also patients, and consumers of these drugs, they would have been asking several key questions many, many years ago.
  • Why are Medical Drug Testing regimes unable to ensure that all Big Pharma drugs are safe and effective, and do so before, rather than after, they have been given to patients, and causing serious, detrimental and even lethal effects on our health?
  • Why do Drug Testing outcomes regularly fail to reflect the later outcomes when Big Pharma drugs are prescribed to patients and found to be useless or dangerous or both?
  • Are Drug Testing regimes sufficiently independent from the influence of the Big Pharma companies? And if not, why not?
  • Are 'negative' Drug Testing results routinely publicised, and made available to Drug Regulators? Are key conventional medical bodies routinely made aware of negative Drug Testing results, and if so, do they inform the Media, and patients?
  • Why does Drug Regulation fail to pick up the regular and ongoing inadequacy of Drug Testing? Why do they fail to approve drugs that are ineffective and unsafe?
  • Why is the Drug Regulatory system not more successful in monitoring the performance of Big Pharma drugs, and pick up on serious adverse reactions, and disease-inducing effects (DIEs) of Big Pharma drugs, at a much earlier stage?
  • Are Drug Regulatory Agencies sufficiently independent from the influence of the Big Pharma companies? And if not, why not?
  • Why is it that only an estimated 10% of 'adverse reactions' to pharmaceutical drugs reported by patients through their doctors actually getting through to the Drug Regulators?
  • Why are Drug Regulators slow to restrict, and to ban ConMed drugs? Why do they ignore problems with pharmaceutical drugs when they first become known, and wait, sometimes for years, before taking action against them?
  • Why are Big Pharma drugs, banned in one country by one Regulator, still allowed to be sold in another country by another Regulator? Why, for instance, are drugs banned in one country, say, the USA, but allowed to be sold in this country? And vice versa?
  • Are the Drug Testing, and Drug Regulatory regimes failing because ConMed is an inherently dangerous and ineffective medical system?
  • And are their safer, and more effective medical therapies available that do not suffer from such inherent dangers?
Statistics are readily available about the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs, for instance, the number of hospital admissions arising from taking them, and the number of fatalities known to be caused by taking them. These statistics demonstrate clearly that Drug Testing, and Drug Regulation regimes have failed. Unfortunately, these statistic are just as readily ignored by the mainstream Media.

The seventh part of this series concerns the issue of Patient Choice, and the monopoly of ConMed treatment within the NHS.

If you would like to be informed when the seventh part of this series is published, why not become a 'follower', and sign up for this blog; or subscribe to it by email - and join the Health Debate.

Informed Consent and Homeopathy

Conventional medicine (ConMed) usually fails to provide patients with sufficient information about the effectiveness and safety of their treatments, and so fails to provide patients with a situation in which they can give their 'informed consent' to medical treatment. So what information should Homeopaths give to patients to ensure they are able to give their 'informed consent'. As 'the Black Duck' said, in response to my previous blog:

          "Perhaps you might like to tell us how homeopaths tackle the tricky issue of informed consent? Do you set out some of the controversial aspects of homeopathy, the current lack of understanding of how homeopathy might work, and so on? Do you allow patients to make their own informed decisions on the back of this information, or do you make that decision for them?
Most new Homeopathy patients fit into one of two categories. Some arrive at an early stage of their illness because they have already decided that they do not want to go through the ConMed route of drug-based treatment. Others have gone through the NHS-ConMed route, some for many years, and found that their health has not improved, or has gradually declined. In neither category can the Homeopath take for granted that the patient knows enough about their illness, and its treatment by Homeopathy, to ensure that they can make an 'informed choice' about it.

What do you know about homeopathy?
This opening gambit is probably a sensible one in any initial Homeopathy interview as it will ascertain just where the patient is in terms of his/her knowledge and understanding. And it is always important to start from this point rather to make any assumptions. Increasingly, I am finding that potential patients have already done considerable research into Homeopathy, and/or have heard about it from former patients who have been treated successfully. But nevertheless the question remains important. What patients say in response to it will determine what the Homeopath needs to say to enable them to made an 'informed choice' about proceeding with Homeopathy.

How does homeopathy work?
The Black Duck feels that this is important. Actually, for most patients, it is not important! Indeed, it is probably not important for patients who seek help from any medical discipline. Patients know that they are ill, and that they want to get better. Most conventional doctors would be hard-pressed to explain how their drugs are supposed to work! And it is not my experience that patients want to sit through a long, philosophical lecture on the working mechanism of any particular medical therapy!

So I usually keep the explanation (or answer) to this question quite brief, mentioning the homeopathic principle of 'treating like with like', and briefly describing 'remedy pictures', and 'symptoms of illness', and the importance in Homeopathy of matching the two together. If patients want to ask further questions about this (and most don't) I will try to provide them with answers, based on my understanding.

However, one important point should be made in response to this question. This concerns the nature of the healing process, and how this will be driven by the body, and not by the homeopathic remedy. All the remedy does is to seek to assist the body to do so - it will not do so in its own right. Remedies are not 'wonder cures', all they do is to 'nudge' the body towards its self-healing task.

In addition, every patient should be told that Homeopathy works best when it is used as part of a 'holistic' strategy, which stresses the importance of good diet, exercise, and other life-style factors. 

Primarily, most patients want to know about two things. Is homeopathy an effective treatment for their condition or illness? And how safe is it?

I usually begin with the latter - safety. I tell them that homeopathy is safe, and will not cause 'side-effects', 'adverse reactions', or indeed, cause disease or death. To support this, I will give a brief description of how remedies are made - by serial dilution and succussion. I may then tell them about the 'mass suicide' demonstrations undertaken by 'homeopathy denialists', like 'the Black Duck', in order to show that remedies cannot harm patients in the same way as Big Pharma drugs. I will then affirm that if, together, we arrive at the wrong remedy it will do absolutely no good whatsoever - but likewise it will do no harm!

It is then quite easy to move on to discuss effectiveness. I have always felt it important to tell patients that in order to be effective, a correct or 'similar' remedy has to be found. If such a remedy is found there will be some measure of improvement in the condition or illness. If it is not there will be no improvement. At this stage I always feel that it is important to manage expectations. There are no guarantees. This is especially important, perhaps, when a patient has arrived after homeopathy has cured or successfully treated a friend or relative (the source of most new referrals).

The Working Partnership
This quickly introduces another vital piece of information the patient needs to know about homeopathy, that the treatment process needs to be a partnership, and that it is not an 'expert-client' relationship. Although the Homeopath may have all the training and knowledge needed to determine a remedy that is 'similar', he/she can only arrive at this if the patient is able to openly, honestly and with insight, explain and describe their symptoms. 

This means that the patient is a vital part of the process. Even the most skilled and experienced Homeopath has to depend on the patient for the treatment to be effective.

Normally I will also tell patients that I am likely to ask some strange, and sometime intimate questions, and that these questions will often appear to have little relationship to the illness or disease being treated (at least, not in conventional terms).

In my experience, Homeopathy works best when it is conducted within a professional relationship that is open, honest and transparent. And I know of no reason why the homeopath-patient relationship should be based on anything else!

It is always important for 'non-doctor' homeopaths, like myself, to explain that we are 'homeopaths' and not 'medical doctors' - that, for instance, we do not diagnose disease - that our skills are about matching the patients' symptoms of illness with remedies. I will usually tell patients that if they tell me anything that suggests that a formal diagnosis is necessary, or advisable, I will ask them to see their GP.

Do they wish to continue on the basis of this information?
At this point, I feel it is important for Homeopaths to ask the question - do they wish to continue? Often, this question is asked and answered during an initial telephone, or email enquiry. However, in my experience, few people who have bothered to ask these questions, when given these answers, have then decided to decline treatment. Most are content with the explanations given, and genuinely keen to proceed at this stage.

And in response to 'the Black Ducks' implied criticism, I don't know of any patient who has been forced to accept Homeopathy. Nor am I aware of any decision that I, or any other homeopath, 'make on behalf of patients'

Perhaps I can remind him that most patients who choose Homeopathy pay for it privately. This is quite different to the approach most patients find within the NHS: "you are ill, we are only going to offer you drug-based, ConMed treatment, and we are not going to tell you much about it"!

Providing the remedy.
I will always tell the patient about the remedy I would like them to take (I don't think I have ever told a patient to 'take a remedy' - I have always said 'I would like you to take this remedy'). Normally I will tell the patient what the remedy is, share some of the key symptom that it is known to deal with, and tell the patient why I feel this is important in their case. 

I will also tell the patient that if, after taking a remedy, the symptoms get worse (what we call an aggravation) to contact me in order to discuss the situation, and what to do about it.

Thereafter, the process of homeopathic treatment is concerned with the patient and homeopath working closely together, discussing changing symptoms, modifying the potency of remedies, and moving to other remedies when necessary.

Providing the patient with this information, honestly and openly, enables them to give their 'informed consent' to Homeopathic treatment. And as we have seen, Informed Consent is also important to the very process of providing patients with homeopathic treatment.  So it is not 'tricky' to do so, as 'the Black Duck' suggests. It is actually quite easy, and essential to the process of healing.

Of course, it is true that providing this information to patients is easier for homeopaths as we have nothing to hide. Our remedies do not cause 'adverse reactions', disease or death. Our treatments do not involve potentially dangerous chemicals, invasive surgical procedures, or dangerous X-Rays or Radiation.

Homeopathy works alongside the body, helping it to achieve what it usually does quite naturally - keeping us healthy. Homeopathy has an easy, straight-forward and honest message that most patients, when they hear it, will understand and readily accept.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Books Openly Critical of Conventional Medicine

There are a growing number of books that are critical of ConMed.
No-one needs to imagine that the news and views expressed in this blog about the dangers and ineffectiveness of conventional medicine is a subject that has not been widely discussed, and intensively investigated.

It is just that no such investigation has been by those who we rely upon (mistakenly) for information on matters of health - the Government, the NHS, and the Conventional Medical Establishment. Nor does our mainstream Media, for its own reasons, get involved in these matters, thereby letting us all down.

Here are just a few of these texts - the one's I have read.

The Failure of Conventional Medicine (free to read E-Book)
Steve Scrutton
The e-book asks the questions - why do we spend so much on the NHS and face so much illness and disease. The answer is in the title - the failure of conventional medicine.

Anatomy of an Epidemic. Magic bullets, Psychiartic Drgs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
Robert Whittaker
This book 'investigates a medical mystery': Why has the number of adults and children disabled by mental illness skyrocketed over the past fifty years? The answer is, of course, ConMed drugs!

David Healy
Pharmageddon has been defined as "the prospect of a world in which medicines and medicine produce more ill-health than health, and when medical progress does more harm than good". We see the need to investigate and explore that risk and to identify the factors and features that describe it.

Dirty Medicine: The Handbook
Martin J Walker
This is Martin Walker’s 20 year follow up to his book Dirty Medicine: Science, big business and the assault on natural health care. He gives a full and detailed picture of the vested interests, their personalities, organisations and ideas that have shaped the present attack on alternatives in the field of health. "With alternative medicine under attack on all fronts, The Handbook gives us the knowledge with which to defend ourselves and fight back.

Silenced Witness: the parents story. The denial of vaccine damage by Government, Corporations and the Media. 
A book written by parents.

Prescription for Injury: the politics of Pharmaceutical Manufacture, Regulation and Prescription.
Colin Downes-Granger
This book examines the history of Benzodiazepine drugs, and the long-term damage done to patients, including the experience of the author himself.

Sacred Spark
Lisa K. Sykes
"Sacred Spark is the compelling true story of a child affected by mercury-poisoning and his minister-mother's decade-long battle to restore the light in his eyes". 
HRT: Licensed to Kill and Maim
Martin J Walker
A critique of Hormone Replacement Therapy

A Shot in the Dark: why the DPT vaccination may be hazardous to your child's health
Harris L Coulter, Barbara Loe Fisher 
Although published in 1991, the DPT vaccination is still universally used in this country

Vaccination, Social Violence and Criminality: the medical assault on the American brain
Harris L Coulter (published in 1990)

It Makes You Sick: The politics of the NHS
Colin Thunhurst
Pluto Press 1982

The Health Scandal: your health in crisis
Vernon Coleman
Mandarin (1988)

Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis: the expropriation of health
Ivan Illich
Pelican (1976)
Yes, it goes back this far! Illich introduced the concept of Iatrogenic disease - doctor-caused disease.

If you know of a book you would like me to publish in this list, please let me know.

The Health Debate (5). An epidemic rise in chronic diseases

The mainstream Media reports regularly on two general health matters. First, they tell us about all the wonderful new 'medical breakthroughs', and new 'wonder drugs' that are on the Big Pharma horizon. We are led to believe that these new understandings and treatments will eventually banish diseases of all kinds, forever! There is usually the additional implication in these news stories - that we are all beholden to conventional medicine (ConMed) as we are all living longer largely because of its amazing successes in treating illness.

Second, the Media will often tell us, at a different point in time, about a variety of chronic diseases that are reaching, or have reached, epidemic levels.

So how can these two matters be matched up? Why are we spending more on health than ever before, yet suffering more chronic disease too?

Clearly the two stories cannot be adequately matched! So this should lead to another topic for 'the Health Debate' - but unfortunately it never does. 

What is causing this rise in chronic disease? Why is conventional medicine, despite its many claims, unable to deal with this rise in chronic disease? And most important, does ConMed treatment, in all its forms, contribute to this rise in chronic disease?

Certainly the increased consumption of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, especially during the last 60 years (following the inauguration of the NHS), and the epidemic rise in chronic diseases, have run parallel to each other. Unfortunately, this rarely seems to register within the mainstream media journalism. Here, for example, are just some of the possible connections between increased medication, and increased disease (there are many more, some highlighted in this blog over the last few years).

* In a previous blog in the series, the connection between HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and breast cancer was made, and the declining rate of this cancer since 2002 when prescriptions for HRT declined after it was found to cause breast and cervical cancer.

* The prodigious rise in the use of Statin drugs over the last few years is another example. Statins have only recently been associated with both diabetes, and prostate cancer - so are Statins one cause of the epidemic of both these diseases? The Media has spent enough time in recent years allowing ConMed spokesmen to tell us how 'safe' these drugs are, and how we should all be taking them : perhaps now they can spare a little time asking why they have been telling us this, when it is palpably untrue, and may be connected with an increase in both these diseases.

* The link between vaccines, especially the MMR vaccine, and the Autism epidemic is increasingly well documented, but vehemently denied by the ConMed Establishment. BBC News, and other mainstream Media outlets, appear to be afraid to take on this issue, and they currently absolutely refuse to discuss it.

* The link between incidents of extreme violence, including the many mass killings in recent years, have been associated with people who are on antidepressant drugs. Yet with each incident, the association between violence and these drugs remain studiously unasked.

* The huge rise in Dementia, including the earlier incidence of the disease in many cases, is routinely discounted by the Media as being the result of 'the population living long'. Yet the number of Big Pharma drugs that cause 'confusion' is legion. It seems likely that such drugs play a role in the increased experience of dementia diseases like Alzheimers.

There are many, many more such examples of Big Pharma drugs causing disease - certainly, they are not just simple 'side-effects'. And what is clear is that the mainstream Media are either not aware of this (and so are not doing their job properly), or they are aware, and are just not interested in investigating, and informing their readers, views and listeners about the connection.

If the Media bothered to ask just a few simple questions, it might prove to be illuminating, certainly if they were asked seriously and persistently by journalists who understood the health debate, and realised that it was important for their listeners, viewers and readers needed to know!
  • Do conventional medical treatments, especially Big Pharma drugs, cause disease? Are these so-called 'side-effects' and 'adverse reactions' actually new diseases? Should we not start calling the outcomes of pharmaceutical drug-taking  'disease-inducing-effects', or DIEs?
  • Does giving Big Pharma drugs (that can cause disease) not merely make people more sick, and lead directly to these diseases becoming increasingly common? If patients take one drug for one condition, and then have to take two drugs for two conditions, and so on, is it not making us more, rather than less dependent on conventional medical services?
  • Why is conventional medicine and the various treatments available to it, unable to deal effectively with these diseases?
  • To what extent are the DIEs caused by pharmaceutical drugs responsible for the rising incidence of these chronic diseases?
  • Are there other alternative medical therapies, like homeopathy, that can deal with chronic disease more safely, and more effectively? Therapies that do not cause disease in the first place?
Conventional medical drugs and vaccines are not the only reason for the phenomenal increase in chronic disease. But they are, without doubt, a very significant cause. The neglect of this issue by the mainstream Media has meant that most sick people don't realise that their health may have been compromised by the drugs and vaccines they have taken to make them well! It means that every patient who goes to his/her GP accepts the treatment he/she is given without full knowledge of the possible consequences.

In other words, patients are not giving their 'informed consent' to medical treatment because they have not been given the information - by the ConMed Establishment, or by the Media.

The sixth part of this series on "the Health Debate" will follow shortly, and it concerns why drug testing, and drug regulation have not protected patients was dangerous drugs, and from the DIEs they cause.

If you would like to be informed when the sixth part of this series is published, why not become a 'follower', and sign up for this blog; or subscribe to it by email - and join the Health Debate.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Health Debate (4). The cost-effectiveness of Big Pharma drugs

The cost of Conventional Medical treatment is exorbitant, and always has been. Given its ineffectiveness, and also its inherent dangers, the issue of cost-effectiveness should now be considered. We have a National Health Service (NHS) that has cost us in excess of £110 billion in recent years. From its inauguration in 1947, costs have risen year-by-year - usually alongside claims that the service is 'under-funded'.

We also have a situation where the numbers of people suffering from chronic diseases, like Arthritis, Cancers of all types, Dementia, Depression, Autism, and disease linked to heart, kidneys, liver, have all increased, often exponentially.

We suffer chronic disease now at epidemic levels. Why? Why is it not discussed?

If we then consider (just) the known, and admitted side-effects, adverse reactions, and the disease-inducing effects (DIEs) of Big Pharma drugs, the link between increased expenditure on conventional medical treatment (largely drug based) and increasing costs becomes clear.

But, of course, this essential feature of the 'health debate' is rarely discussed by the mainstream Media. Nor is the performance of conventional medicine ever compared with other medical therapies, like homeopathy.

Why is this? And what kind of questions should the Media be asking if it had any intention of entering into "the Health Debate"? Perhaps these are just of few of them!
  • Why does the Media not ask searching questions about why Big Pharma drugs are so excessively expensive?
  • Why does the Media not focus on either or both side of the 'cost-effectiveness' question when it comes to pharmaceutical drugs?
  • Why does the Media not ask questions about the link between increasing NHS expenditure, especially on pharmaceutical drugs, and the rising levels of chronic disease?
  • Why has the NHS conducted so few comparative studies on the cost-effectiveness of conventional medicine, Homeopathy, and other CAM therapies?
  • Why are NHS resources spent almost totally on one medical discipline, conventional medicine? Why does the NHS not spend more money on Homeopathy, and other CAM therapies?
  • Why, despite massive annual increases in NHS spending in recent years, are conventional medical health services still overstretched, and often, apparently, quite unable to cope with the demands of ill-health and disease?
When HRT (hormone replacement therapy) was found to cause breast cancer in 2002 (it was actually known to do so many, many years before that), prescriptions for the drug (once said to be a wonder drug, and entirely safe) was reduced massively. There followed, over the next few years, a major reduction in new breast cancer cases in the UK. Of course, the mainstream Media has barely mentioned this (and has since allowed the ConMed Establishment to claim that this reduction in breast cancer is part of its successful campaign against the disease). 

What this means, of course, is that conventional medical treatment is not only expensive, in its own right, but it is expensive in that it creates other diseases, and treatment is then required for the new diseases! The pharmaceutical companies have developed a marvellous business structure! Their drugs treat disease; cause more disease; and so they then profit again from treating the new, iatrogenic, diseases.

The cost of some Big Pharma drugs is quite amazing. Several years ago there was a debate about the drug Herceptin, and whether it should be available, free of charge, on the NHS. Herceptin was said at the time to cost some £30,000 per person per year, and was designed to treat women with breast cancer. Many of these women, of course, would have been those who developed breast cancer as a result of taking HRT! The mainstream Media did not point at this time, either that the campaign for Herceptin was funded by the drug manufacturer; or that the drug had been known, for some years, to cause heart problems, and death. And so it continues

For the drug companies it is a profitable business. 

For many patients it is a personal disaster.

For the NHS, and the British taxpayer, it is a spiralling, out of control, bottomless pit.

The fifth part of this series will focus on the epidemic levels of chronic disease that we are now experiencing, and why burgeoning expenditure on ConMed treatments has not been able to cope with these epidemics.

If you would like to be informed when the fifth part of this series is published, why not become a 'follower', and sign up for this blog; or subscribe to it by email - and join the Health Debate.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Informed Consent - the Dark Heart of Conventional Medicine

"Doctors are deliberately withholding information about the dangers of some routine screening and clinical procedures - often because they fear patients would then refuse treatment".

So begins a Special Report on 'Informed Consent' in the magazine 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' (WDDTY), May 2012. The report discusses the information patients are given about their treatment, and raises the important question:

Are patients giving their true, informed consent to medical treatment?

          "Although it happens every day in surgeries and hospitals, the failure to inform is against the law and a breach of human rights legislation - which gives the patient the absolute right of autonomy over his or her body. It also leaves the doctor open to a legal challenge of negligence, assault and battering, and possibly even manslaughter if the drug or procedure goes wrong"

Given the dangers of Conventional Medical treatments, not least through Big Pharma vaccines and drugs, this is important information that every citizen should know. The report goes over all the reasons doctors give for NOT telling us the information, all of which are illegitimate; it insists that patients have the right to know, and that if they don't, they cannot make an 'informed choice' about their treatment.

The information being withheld from us is legion, and the report mentions just a few of these:

* CT Scans cause cancer through radiation in 1 in 270 people screened by them.

* 5.7% if patients undergoing surgery for ulcerative colitis will die.
* Bronchoscopy (when a tube is threaded down the nose) results in a death with every 2,500 procedures.

As the report states, not many patients know this kind of information, largely because not many doctors are prepared to give the information to their patients.

          "Even after the Vioxx drug scandal had become public - eventually, tyne manufacturer agreed to pay out $4.85 billion to the families of around 50,000 people who died while taking the painkiller - doctors were still asking, 'What should we tell our patients?'"

The answer is probably simple! The truth! But as the report goes on to describe, medical paternalism is rife within Conventional Medicine (it is very different in homeopathy and other alternative medical therapies), and so patients are rarely told about the dangers of the treatment they are 'offered'. The report suggests that patients should ask the following questions before agreeing to take any prescription drugs:

1. How long has the drug been on the market (if less than 2 years ask for an 'older generation' drug)?

2. Can you confirm I am not taking part in a drug trial?

3. Is the drug suitable for my age/gender/condition?

4. Are you using this drug 'off-label' or for the condition for which it was originally licensed?

5. Are there any special warning or 'black-box' alerts for this drug?

6. Can you explain to me the known side-effects and the likelihood of me suffering them?

7. Has the drug been tested among people similar to my own age/gender?

8. Do you know if the drug has been banned from use in other countries? (Note, many drugs prescribed in this country have been banned in other countries)

9. Have you given this drug to other patients? If so, have they reported any adverse reactions?

10. Is the dose you are recommending within the guidelines of the manufacturer for my age/ gender/ condition?

11. Do you know if the new drug will react with other drugs I am currently taking?

12. If I start to suffer from health problems when I take the drug, I shall stop immediately, and come to see you again. Do you agree this is the best course of action?

However, the report goes on to question how many of these questions the average doctor is actually able to answer. In other words, it questions how well informed doctors are about the drugs they prescribe to us, and how reliant they are on Big Pharma information.

The report goes on to consider, in some detail, what informed consent should consist off, and asks another set of questions, with the guidance - don't give your 'informed consent' to treatment or procedures without the answers to each of the questions. One of these questions is:

           "Are there alternatives of which you are aware that could also be considered?"

The report states that it is highly unlikely that most doctors will recommend the patient to try homeopathy as a reasonable alternative, or indeed, any other form of alternative medical therapy! The reason for this, of course, is that most doctors will not be qualified to pass any judgement on this question. Indeed, many of them are known to consider homeopathy to be akin to witchcraft!

* Even 'alternative' advice on diet and nutrition may be a stretch too far for the doctor. Medical students in the US receive around 19 hours of education about nutrition during their five-year medical training".

As the report says, informed consent for the patient infers that the doctor is 'informed' and able to pass on the required information.

          "Informed consent infers that the doctor is informed ... not only is this far from the truth, it is also untrue even for specialists".

So an informed doctor, capable of answering important questions for you, is certainly not something that can, or should be automatically inferred! Certainly, the vast majority of doctors are informed only about conventional medical practice. And even within this single medical discipline, they appear to work on the information provided to them by the Big Pharma drug companies, and other ConMed companies and commercial interests. Little wonder, then, that they have only a limited knowledge about the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs, and other treatments and procedures!

However, the problem of getting informed consent is probably even more difficult than the report suggests. The NHS is (virtually) a ConMed monopoly, and as an organisation it is equally unlikely to answer the kind of questions the report recommends that we ask. Successive governments have failed to challenge the Conventional Medical Establishment, and appear more interested in funding and supporting it than asking serious questions about its efficacy and safety. And the mainstream Media is entirely supine in matters relating to health - parroting the 'good' news of conventional 'medical breakthroughs' tomorrow - and ignoring the conventional medical disasters of both yesterday and today.

So no-one appears to be asking the questions, or undertaking the investigations, that might lead us all towards a greater understanding and awareness of the problems associated with the conventional health treatments we are routinely offered today.

I would encourage everyone to read WDDTY on a regular basis. It is a magazine which is full of information about conventional medical treatment, and about alternatives to it. And it really does include material that 'doctors don't tell you', so it can lead to you, at least, becoming more aware of health issues, and therefore capable of making an informed choice.